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Letters 1/29-2/6


In reply to "Is 'Drone' a dirty word?" (News Features, 1/28)

Astonishing mis-information leads this Feature article. 

The Lockheed U-2 was and still is, very much a piloted aircraft. It's first flights began in the mid-1950s and, though it is scheduled to be retired sometime this year, the U-2 remains in service nearly sixty years later. The project to develop the U-2 was code-named "Dragon Lady," not "Red Wagon." And the name stuck to the plane itself. A U-2 was, indeed, downed by a Soviet surface-to-air missile on 1 May 1960. However, it very much had a pilot, one Francis Gary Powers, who gained a significant place in history by surviving and then being tried and convicted of espionage. This event wrecked the scheduled summit meeting convening in Paris on 16 May between Eisenhower and Khruschev and the leaders of France and Britain. The lasting impact of the summit's collapse is hard to exaggerate. Before the downing of the U-2 and capture of Powers, Eisenhower and Khruschev had developed an increasingly warm relationship.

Hopes were high that the summit would bring about a major thaw in the Cold War. Perhaps even its ending. Powers' capture destroyed all that. Vietnam and three more decades of Soviet-American conflict would result. The U-2 has had a remarkable history and is quite an aircraft. By no stretch of the imagine can it be labeled a "drone."

—Peter G. Howse

The U2 was NOT an unmanned surveillance plane. Well, unless you are talking about AFTER it was shot down by a Soviet missile and pilot Francis Gary Powers parachuted to ground in 1960 (NOT 1959). So, it is nonsensical to use it in the lead of a story.

—Michael Funke

Francis Gary Powers would have been very interested in knowing the U2 was unmanned. Try sticking to topics you can write intelligently about like... uh... well... maybe just write about something else.


Editor's note:  Oops! Let's set our history straight. The U2 was a manned flight, but AFTER the U2 was shot down (was that "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"? JOKING!  Jeez) . . THEN the US Air Force launched "Red Wagon," which was its unmanned drone program so that more pilots wouldn't be put in danger. Okay, our history was off a bit, but we were in the ballpark...and the intent remains the same: Drones have been around a long time (as long as some of you old-timers, apparently!), and have largely been for military purposes, but now are finding civilian uses.

In reply to "Don't Just Sit There, Bus a Move" (Local News 1/28)

Unfortunately, the elephant in the room no one seems to want to talk about is why they rushed the site selection and the lack of transparency thereof. I find it interesting from a number of perspectives: 1) Fascinating to see who owns the derelict mine property that is being purchased and their relationship to OSU and the Bend community (insider dealing anyone?), 2) Why is the City of Bend so hot to agree to this location based on their last experience with the types of issues they had with putting in Summit's athletic facilities in similar circumstances, and 3) Why isn't a bigger deal being made of the fact that the city already has a site for this type of thing that is part of the Regional Master Plan. That site is the Juniper Ridge property. It's on flat, "shovel-ready" land and it would be geographically positioned to serve ALL of Central Oregon, including the communities of Redmond, Madras and Prineville. The current proposed location is about as far away from regional students as possible without being in the middle of the Deschutes National Forest. Plus, no unintentional tobaggoning down Westside slopes every winter. As it is, it just seems like more of the same rent-seeking behavior by Bend's historical property owners and enabled by City of Bend officials. But then, the consistent lack of transparency seems to be the M.O. around here (see the topics mentioned by the author above) until it is presented as a Fait Accompli.


Public Servants (?)

Representative Walden, Governor Kitzhaber and Senator Wyden spoke in Bend recently.

Walden's presentation was by invitation only for the Chamber of Commerce.  Chamber of Citizens were not invited.  Wonder if tiny chamber pots were used as favors symbolizing the " trickle down" theory of economics. Kitzhaber's presentation was less exclusive but the price of admission automatically excluded the bottom 1% and many in the 99%.  Senator Wyden presided at a Town Hall Meeting open to everyone.  The Chamber of Citizens does not have to accept the unacceptable.   Economic justice is not possible unless citizens demand to be heard by their elected officials and actively resist these corporate economic power grabs.

—Sue Bastian

But what about barrels?

We have a drought in Oregon. Shouldn't "our" governor declare this fact before we, in Central Oregon, are literally scraping the (polluted) bottom of our wells, rivers and aquifer? I survived several Northern California droughts where even flushing of toilets was limited. Voluntary reductions in water consumption now would help ease the inevitable.

—Irene Laver

Strange request

We live in Bend, are retired and would like to assist a teen in a family relationship.  We have three grandsons here in Bend.  We would like to introduce a male or female teenager to our life and those of our family.  What are our options?  Thanks.

—Terry Brown

From a frustrated music lover

For all the great music events Bend brings us, it is very frustrating to have to see great music being played at such a lousy indoor venue as the Midtown. We went to see a incredible band last week and even though we had prepaid for tickets, we waited in line for over and hour to get in the door, missing the first band. Then, once we got into the venue, we had to wade through a line of folks that were waiting for the few bathroom stalls that are available to open up, plus then fight the crowd to get a cold beer.  I recently had an opportunity to chat with the members of some big time bluegrass bands and asked why they haven't been back to Bend to play, and their answer was that, due to the poor indoor venues we offer, they're not interested in playing in Bend. Really, we must have a better indoor venue for us fans and the great musicians that want to play here. C'mon, we can do better.

—Jerry Ellis

Letter of the Week!

Jerry: We agree. Here are a few suggestions, 1. People should have stronger bladders...that would shorten the bathroom lines. 2. If more petite people attended concerts it wouldn't feel as crowded (ladies night!) 3. Stop by our offices and pick up a $5 gift certificate. No beer lines at the front desk.

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