The rest of the story—Letters for May 14, 2022

Siuslaw News Letters to the Editor

(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on these and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)

The Rest of the Story

The Siuslaw News coverage of the Florence City Council meeting on April 18 (“Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor First Responders at Florence City Council Meeting”) referenced the public comments, but did not report on what was said. Here is the rest of the story.

Donna Cherryholmes, Jeff Ashmead, Michael Allen and Ivy Medow gave verbal testimony. Three of us provided written testimony as well. Linda Poppenheimer also submitted written testimony.

Councilor Sally Wantz acknowledged the public comments by saying: “I want to thank our speakers tonight … I really appreciate hearing their opinions (and) ideas. Maybe they’re contrary to one another, but I know we have some common grounds; trees are one of them, (and a) healthy environment.”

In her testimony, Cherryholmes presented a petition titled, “No Nonsense at Florence City Hall.” The petition states “We are not seeking statements or resolutions to be passed concerning issues of climate, immigration, race or gender.”

The petition claims these issues are not for small cities like Florence.

In contrast, Medow said in her testimony, “Please revisit the idea of joining other municipalities around the state in order to address climate change and its devastating effects — proactively and collaboratively.”

Poppenheimer closed her testimony with: “I respectively request that the City of Florence join Lane County … by declaring a climate crisis emergency and then creating an action plan for the city.”

My testimony ended with a recommendation that the city add to Florence City Hall some of the innovative green technologies that Public Works Director Mike Miller has integrated into his buildings and yard. The city would then demonstrate they support technologies that help address climate change.

Perhaps we can follow the recommendation of Lisa Walter-Sedlacek that she made at the Environmental Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) meeting in April. “I would love to have a discussion during the June meeting about what we can do … maybe we can have a work session.”

EMAC member Erick Oshel recommended it be a two-way session with the public.

Walter-Sedlacek went on to suggest that for the May meeting they look into what a climate mayor is — “Let’s do some research on it.”

It’s important to have these discussions about climate change. We need systemic, long-range and impactful solutions that only the City of Florence can provide. We call upon EMAC to take a leadership role in starting discussions that end in effective, meaningful and comprehensive actions.

Michael Allen—Florence