Bob’s agenda for an Ashland that works for everyone
- Address housing affordability
- Improve resilience to climate change
- Reduce our environmental footprint
- Maintain and improve infrastructure
- Support smart economic growth
- Restore trust in local government
- Reinforce community solidarity
- Engage authentically
- Climate Change
- Economic Recovery and Smart Growth
- Fiscal Responsibility for Today AND Tomorrow
- Community Engagement and Solidarity
I believe the widening wealth gap – people falling farther and farther behind while the affluent get richer – is at the root of many of our nation’s social and economic problems. We need an inclusive community that works for everyone – young and old, working and retired, long-time residents and recent arrivals, and everyone in between. We need people who work or own a business in Ashland to be able to live and play here too. We need more housing, with options that suit families with children, seniors on fixed incomes, young couples, and students.
I will work for:
- Progressive utility rate structures that reduce the cost burden on low and middle income households while also encouraging conservation
- City ordinances and planning processes that accelerate housing production of all types, while maintaining Ashland’s unique character
- A walkable/bikeable city where we can safely and efficiently get around town without driving if we choose
It’s here, it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and we have to take action. Most Ashlanders are deeply concerned about climate changes we already see and those yet to come. We know we need to be part of the solution, and we want to be. Thanks to incredible advances in technology, electric options are increasingly more affordable than conventional fossil fuel equipment. I believe we can move from climate anxiety and paralysis to climate solutions and transformational economic opportunity. City policy must direct resources to helping our most vulnerable neighbors adapt to increased risk of fire, smoke, extreme heat, and drought.
My approach will be to:
- Work to ensure low-income households can join the transition away from dependence on fossil fuels and don’t get left behind
- Continue investments to make our city firewise, expand access to smoke-free and cool indoor space in the summer when needed, and rationalize our water use
- Be prepared! We need first-rate communications and evacuation plans in case of disaster. We also need to increase local solar power generation and energy storage so vital city and community operations can function in the event of a prolonged disruption
Economic Recovery and Smart Growth
Ashland has all the necessary ingredients for a robust and thriving economy: a well-regarded institution of higher learning, creative and innovative people, abundant cultural resources, and incredible natural beauty. The pandemic dealt a blow to some parts of our economy and illuminated other opportunities we can build on. The Almeda Fire drove home how our future is intimately tied to that of the whole valley.
I believe we can:
- Bring together our community talents and resources in new and innovative ways to create a shared vision for the future
- Diversify our business and employment opportunities beyond tourism, and grow our tax base without sprawl
- Strengthen collaboration with our neighboring communities for the benefit of all
Fiscal Responsibility for Today AND Tomorrow
Ashland has developed an impressive array of infrastructure to meet our needs. In addition to roads, we manage an electric utility, a complex system for producing and distributing clean drinking water and collecting and treating our sewage, and a fiber optic network. We also have our own fire department and police, and an extensive parks and recreation system. I often hear questions about whether our current model is cost-effective and how we can continue to maintain it. Based on my career experience and my service here on Ashland’s Citizens Budget Committee, I believe we can manage these challenges without breaking the bank. I will focus on sustainable solutions and building a greater shared understanding of our fiscal strengths and weaknesses.
I will work with my colleagues to:
- Clarify our priorities and find sensible, cost-effective ways to achieve them
- Maintain and improve our infrastructure for today, and make smart investments for tomorrow based on clear-eyed analysis of the full life-cycle costs of each option
- Insist on absolute transparency to keep public trust and confidence that our government works for us
Community Engagement and Solidarity
Over my career, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from countless civic leaders and exceptional people working with integrity and compassion to help their communities thrive. I’ve seen firsthand that city governance is improved by actively gathering input from a wide range of perspectives and working through the best options together. I was hopeful when a group of Ashlanders got together to propose a way to reopen our Community Center and Pioneer Hall, which have played an important civic purpose for many years. I applaud these dedicated Ashlanders, and I’d like to move forward with sensible repairs to re-open these cherished community spaces, perhaps through a community-led initiative in partnership with the City.
I will always:
- Consider all ideas with an open mind
- Be accessible to all Ashlanders and seek out opportunities to learn from everyone, with particular sensitivity to people who feel unwelcome or left out
- Look for creative ways to enhance community solidarity and engagement so we all advance together