ACA listserve continues to be a positive venue for constructive discussions on
Ashland watershed and environmental issues, including with 2 city councilors.  We
now have an additional venue for dialogue with all 19 Ashland candidates for 9
public offices (judge, recorder, parks(3), council(4)), and any issue related to
that public servant’s duties.  This email announces this new venue, which has
different guidelines, and does not replace the more focused ACA listserve.
  
  
  [Please forward this email to your friends and neighbors.]
  
  …tired of negative campaigns?
  …personal attacks and name-calling?
  …distractions from core issues?
  
  Ready for civil discourse on real issues?
  
  Ready for breakthrough?
  
  Welcome To Ashland Dialogue!
  
     Ashland Dialogue exists for thoughtful, respectful dialogue on how we choose to
govern ourselves in Ashland, Oregon.  Ashland chooses among 19 candidates this
fall to elect 9 public servants to represent the majority will of We The
People.  Ashland Dialogue focuses on key issues for the future of Ashland
families and finances–during and after the campaign.
     Open, inclusive. Ashland Dialogue is a series of open, inclusive listserves for
respectful dialogue in the public interest.  If you care about Ashland, you
have a home here.
     Free, independent.  We’re free (no charges to read or post) and independent.
We have no sponsors.  Not affiliated with City of Ashland.  Spam and email
business ads not allowed.
     We’re conversational.  Ashland Dialogue is designed for interactive
conversations. Feel free to interact with candidates.  It’s a conversation, not
a campaign speech.
     Keep it local.  We focus on specific issues that Ashland council/ recorder/
judge/ parks commissioners will vote on or act on in their public servant
duties.  There’s a listserve for each position type elected this fall:
  
  AshlandCouncil@yahoogroups.com
  AshlandRecorder@yahoogroups.com
  AshlandJudge@yahoogroups.com
  AshlandParks@yahoogroups.com
  
     Easy to start.  Anyone can post to the listserves.  Just send an email to the
listserve for your topic.  You can ask a simple question in your email’s
subject line.  (You don’t even need to type text in the email body unless you
want to.)  Your entire email can be as simple as:
    What’s your position on ___?
  
  Example: For example, you can send an email to AshlandCouncil@yahoogroups.com and
simply say on the subject line:
  
  Workforce Housing:  What’s your position on workforce housing?
  
     Anyone can view the listserves.  To see how candidates respond to your
question, click:
  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AshlandCouncil
  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AshlandRecorder
  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AshlandJudge
  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AshlandParks
  
     Anyone can receive the emails.  To receive listserve emails (individually or as
a daily digest), simply join the listserve following the directions there.  If
you have any problems joining, email the moderator and we’ll send you an
invitation, which makes it easier to join with a click.  One big advantage of
joining is seeing the original emails (with bolds, italics, original spacing,
etc.) rather than after it’s been re-formatted by listserve software.
     You control the topic, you frame the issue.  Unlike candidate forums with
someone else’s questions, here you ask the question in YOUR language.
Candidates don’t have to respond to your question, unless they want your vote.
     Write respectfully.  No labels.  No personal attacks.  No name-calling.  Think
civil discourse.
     Moderated.  The listserve is moderated to prevent spam, business ads,
employment seekers, personal attacks, off-topic posts, mass mailings,
filibusters, etc..
     Accountability.  Ashland Dialogue is home to issues like accountability,
transparency, and fiscal responsibility.  If candidates give slogans instead of
real answers, or duck tough questions, this is the place for accountability.
     Respect for public servants.  Disrespect is out, accountability is in.  Public
servants, including candidates, are accountable for their decisions, actions,
and inactions.  Of Ashland’s 14 elected positions, all are volunteer positions
except city recorder (full-time) and municipal judge (about 1 day per
week–Tuesdays).  This listserve is about respect for regular Citizens like you
who climb out a limb to run for public office, and become your public servant.
     Observe the proposed Ashland Code of Ethics at
http://www.AshlandConstitution.org/Amendment-2.html.
     Speak your truth. This is not the place for rumors. Address public
responsibilities, not candidates’ private lives or person characteristics.
     Name and address are optional.  Unlike City’s new listserve policy, we don’t
require your name and address.  Since your public interest issue is probably
echoed by hundreds of others, name/address are usually irrelevant.  You can
provide your name and/or address when your post, or be anonymous.  We respect
your decision.  Note that the email address is posted.
     See listserve for listserve guidelines.  Because dialogue to new in our
environment of attack ads, feel-good slogans, and distracting articles about
candidates’ personal lives, I’ve posted listserve guidelines as Welcome 1-4 on
each listserve. In general, as long as your email is directed to a specific
issue within the public servant’s scope, and follows guidelines for respectful
dialogue, it will be posted as is.
     Beyond “Letters To The Editor”– We’re “Corresponding With Candidates”. With
this listserve, you don’t write letters to a ‘middle-person’.  You talk
directly with those responsible for our tax money and community’s future.  We
‘co-respond’–candidates respond to you, you respond to them.  This listserve
is correspondence, not a one-time letter.
     ‘Post early and often.’  There’s no pre-set limit to number or length or
emails, within the limit of ‘filibustering’ (long repeats, off-topic
distractions, etc.).  If you have a report you want the entire community to
read, and for candidates and public servants to respond to, email your report
as an attachment to the moderator, who posts them as open documents.  If the
document is already on the web (as on City’s web site), link to it in your
email, possibly with a 1-2 sentence orientation.
     Citizen oversight of government.  With a 2006 tax increase of almost $10
million and a City budget now over $100 million, City of Ashland is quickly
becoming larger and larger.  The corporation known as City of Ashland has
involved itself in many businesses–ski resort, golf course, airport,
ambulance, fiber network, cable TV, and now a new ‘utility’ service–wireless
internet.  Citizen oversight of this expanding government requires a place
where Citizens can speak honestly, directly, and publicly to their
representatives, without intimidation or retribution for agreeing or
disagreeing.  Ashland Dialogue provides such a forum.
     Continues after the election.  After 19 months of design and development, my
plan is that Ashland Dialogue be a ongoing forum for respectful dialogue in the
public interest.  We aren’t going away after the election.  Campaign ‘promises’
won’t be forgotten.
  
     It’s your family.
     It’s your $100 million of taxes.
     It’s your government.
     And it’s your listserve.
  
    Welcome To Ashland Dialogue.
    Enjoy.

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