RIGHT ON AND DEAD WRONG
Last week's Opinion Letters were most interesting. Highly accurate and thoughtful assessments in "Reply to Housing Pressure" and "Bend's Misguided Tourism Focus." I'd agree that Bend's reactive City Council (or at least a couple of members) is finally beginning to understand the nature of classic planning tools, not the least of which is zoning. And, yes, the UGB is long-term. But it does represent the State's interest in curbing urban sprawl and out-of-control growth, which Bend is deftly pursuing. It is disheartening to hear our local leaders pronounce rapid growth as inevitable given Bend's incredible appeal. That's just plain wrong! Smart, limited growth is possible, as many progressive (and equally desirable) communities in America have proven. It's OK to admit the obvious, that our local government's ineptitude and lack of vision and the City's crumbling infrastructure are proof that Bend needs to pause and catch up before we turn the Chamber, business boosters, and opportunistic developers loose, untethered. For example, my street, Linster St., lies a half a block from Wall St., in town. As it was in 1900, it is an unmaintained dirt road. And I can assure you that not one dime of the proposed gas tax proceeds will change that. Some of that money will be spent on potholes downtown, but most will go to subsidize gateways to new development on the Eastside. Trust me.
The "Misguided Tourism" piece was spot on. Aside of St. Charles, the beer business, and construction there is no major industry here to employ our hapless newbies. Were you here in 2009? Do you not recognize that the same corrupt business people, their companies, and market dynamics are ready to strike again, with impunity? A tourism-based employment base is what it is: seasonal, highly cyclical, and vulnerable. I guess the silver lining of another recession here is that there will be plenty of vacant homes and rentals, as construction evaporates.
But the real masterpiece was "Bend Landlord Rebuttals." I'm still trying to envision the Benevolent Landlord/Investor. Mr. Bailey is clearly a "self-made" man. I mean really, 3 (not just 1) paper routes as a teenager. But let's face it: Investors are investors, meaning that they should understand the risk and rewards of investing. The inherent costs of owning property (imagine routine maintenance, capital improvements every now and then, and taxes) are inescapable. But unless you're stupid, you knew that going in. Yet you invested! I particularly have little sympathy for the droves of opportunistic buzzards that descended on this town after the recession, many of whom don't even live here. So please, enough with your sacrifice and enough about the service you are providing by renting property here. If you weren't making money you wouldn't be doing it. But I will give you this: You nailed the profile of our beloved Bend Millennial Drifters, right down to the non-stop smart phone, lattes, and tats. They are an entitled lot, they contribute little to the community other than beer sales, and they are multiplying like rabbits.
IN REPLY TO "FROM THE EDITOR" (11/19)
I have been a reader of TSW for many years and for many years it had frustrated me to read submitted letters by people too cowardly to sign their name. Good move on your part with your new policy of requiring the writer's signature.
I'm very pleased to read of your decision to require signed letters to the editor. I've always thought that those with something to say should say it, not hide behind it.
—William T. Castell
About time! I've been challenging you for ten years to somewhat legitimize your publication by disallowing contribution from cowards lacking the conviction to sign their names to their writings.
IN REPLY TO "NO LICENSE TO DRIVE" (11/19)
Get documentation showing that the immigrant has started the citizenship process and I think it's fair to give them the PRIVILEGE to a driver's license. Then again, like the article says, "the measure passing won't change anything." This means those who are illegally here and have no license will continue driving. I have no issues with immigration from any country, as long as the immigrants are working on their citizenship. I want newcomers to this country to pay in to social security and everything else that entails being an American citizen.
But shouldn't the lawsuit be against the people of Oregon who created the Initiative and voted for this measure with 66 percent? Or does the state have the ability to deny an initiative on the ballot on unconstitutional grounds...so would then be libel? And would this require citizenship or that the person wanting a license is in the process of working towards citizenship? Inquiring minds want to know.
GOOD MORNING BEND...TIME TO WAKE UP!
I could devote this diatribe to grousing about the hoards of refugees fleeing the socio/political/ecological grease fire that we call California. I could grumble about the hideously inappropriate location of the new OSU campus. But hey, game over there. And, in spite of those smarmy patronizing "I Believe" ads, I predict that, post-mortem, some reporter will actually do some legitimate journalistic investigation and uncover the fact that someone—or people—who made a bundle on the deal. It's always all about the money.
What I do want to gripe about is Bend's rotting and woefully inadequate traffic infrastructure. Bend's growth (some might say cancerous) is inevitable. It's time to wake up and try to get ahead of it. I suggest the following:
1. Do a better job of syncing traffic lights, shorten some, lengthen others.
2. After green, convert all left-turn arrows to blinking amber.
3. Require every-other-car merging at circles during peak commute/schools out times.
4. Ban studded tires or, at the very least, tax the hell out of them.
5. Spend money... lots of it... upgrading, adding (at least two new E/W arterials) and maintaining our roads.
And here's how I'd fund it:
1. Stop approving the Parks & Rec bonds (they're flush and we don't need any new parks—just take care of the ones we have).
2. I'd gladly pay a 10¢/gallon road improvement tax providing not one penny goes to other uses or for adding more paper-pushing bureaucrats.
3. Find a way to tap some of that dedicated money flowing to BP&R and tourist promotion.
Tourists use and abuse our roads too. They should shoulder some of the cost. And besides, the word's out. We really don't need to continue with the "Visit Bend" hyper-hype.