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GUEST OPINION Earth Day

Have you ever imagined how the climate story will be written in 2050? Will it be from a point of view of achievement or despair? Those who attended Osher Lifelong Learning Institute's excellent program on climate this month learned that U.S. government scientists knew the risk of burning fossil fuels as early as 1965 and communicated it to the president at that time. Since then scientists from both academia and government have continued to highlight this concern right up to the present day.

Spring time is just nicer at Smith Rock State Park! At least through the lens of @iamerica4. 
Tag @sourceweekly on Instagram to get featured in Lightmeter. - SUBMITTED
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  • Spring time is just nicer at Smith Rock State Park! At least through the lens of @iamerica4. Tag @sourceweekly on Instagram to get featured in Lightmeter.

Many people listened over the years and now we see a heartening level of activity addressing the drivers and effects of global warming at local, county and state levels. Bend is developing its Climate Action Plan. Oregon is likely to pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill that finally puts the state on a path to greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Individuals are making decisions to limit their carbon footprint and businesses are responding to customer demands to become authentically green. Similar action is happening across the U.S. and beyond.

And yet – emissions continue to rise at an accelerating rate around the world. We are not on target to reduce emissions to a level that would keep temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The environmental and social reality of a world that exceeds 2 degrees Celsius is an unhappy scenario to contemplate.

A fundamental role of government is to address problems that cannot be addressed in piecemeal fashion, and climate change is surely one of those problems. What is missing in the U.S. is effective policy at the national level to move the economy away from fossil fuels and towards renewable, non-carbon emitting fuels within the small window of time between now and mid-century.

While so far our government has been unable to create effective policy on climate, today we have the opportunity to travel in the right direction. Public opinion by solid majorities in both parties supports robust action, and scientific understanding of the dynamics of global warming continues to grow. Fossil fuel companies can see their future. To benefit from this politically open moment, voters need to pressure our elected members of Congress, Representative Walden and Senators Wyden and Merkley, to develop climate policies that will make a meaningful difference.

A promising initiative is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) currently on the floor of the U.S. House and soon to be introduced into the Senate. This bipartisan bill puts a fee on carbon emissions paid for by the owners of fossil fuels right when the fuels enter our economy. The money collected is then distributed equally to American households every month to cover price increases in energy. The bill also incentivizes businesses to switch to renewables to avoid the impact of the carbon fee.

This policy is projected to reduce U.S. emissions by 90 percent from a 2016 baseline by 2050. While not enough to solve our climate problem singlehandedly, it is a huge push in the right direction and restores the U.S. to a leadership role in the global community. If we enact this legislation, we may give our children the chance to write the climate story in 2050 as a unique global achievement and one that preserved their right to a healthy, life-sustaining planetary environment.

— Helen Seidler, Bend Citizens' Climate Lobby co-lead

Scooters

I hope your politicians in Bend handle the scooter situation better than the politicians have here in San Diego.

I think we have more than 25,000 dockless scooters, and they just keep coming. It is a nightmare, ESPECIALLY for pedestrians and the disabled.

Local doctors estimate between four and six scooter injuries per DAY (probably much higher), and we had our second scooter death here in San Diego County on March 15. Yet we STILL have no regulations, and the ones that our mayor has proposed are ridiculous!

There are already four personal injury cases filed against the City of San Diego for mishandling the scooter situation. Those settlements come out of taxpayer pockets.

In addition, Disability Rights California filed a class action lawsuit in January against the city of San Diego and three E-Scooter companies due to their inability to maintain sidewalk accessibility for the disabled. This will probably be a big problem for you guys too.

https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/montoya-et-al-v-bird-rides-inc-et-al

I truly hope things turn out better for you than us. If not, there will unfortunately be a lot of scooter injuries and accidents to write about in the coming months/years.

—Karen Millhouse

New Rent Control

As a longtime landlord, I have to say that the rent control portion SB 608 is fair to landlords. Capping the rent increase to around 7 percent to 10 percent gives the landlord a very good return on their investment. They are lucky to own rental property in such a booming market.

The restrictions to "no cause" evictions, however, are not fair to landlords and would discourage me from ever owning rental property in Oregon. For example, the bill makes it very difficult for an owner to ever sell the property, with no regard to the owner's needs or circumstances. In order to sell rental property, the seller must first get a legally-binding, accepted offer from a buyer. Then the seller can give 90-day notice to the tenant. The sale would complete after the tenant leaves the property. My experience is that it would be exceedingly difficult to find a buyer willing to wait more than 90 days before completing the transaction. Additionally, the buyer must be planning to move into the unit upon purchase. Information is scarce but my information on this comes from the Multifamily NW website.

The eviction protections in this bill are essentially a wolf-in-sheep's clothing. The protections are being being sold as preventing an eviction solely because the landlord wants to raise the rent. If that is the desire, simply make it illegal for the landlord to list the rental for a higher rent following a "no-cause" eviction. Penalty would be three months' rent, payable to the former tenant. With this simple change, a tenant who feels unjustly evicted can simply scan the current rental listings looking for their former residence. If they find the listing at a higher rent, they can report it and will receive three months' rent in return for their forced eviction.

The government really doesn't need to get into regulating how and when the property can be sold. As a former tenant, I've been evicted twice where my landlord wanted to sell the house. I understand the need for the owner to sell the property and move on. I would have appreciated a relocation fee for my troubles.

—Paul Miller

Restaurant Guide 2019

Regarding your Restaurant Guide 2019, I just gotta say, El Sancho is deserving of any and all accolades they receive. Hail to the Source for going out on a culinary limb, going beyond fine dining and choosing El Sancho as Restaurant of the Year. They do everything right—food, service, business model, philosophy of community. Everything I have ever eaten there has made me smile inside and out. And I eat there a lot. The staff is incredible. From Joel and Jon to each and every one who participates in the venture, it is clear that doing what they do, and doing it well, is very important to them. I feel like part of the family the minute I walk in the door.

And one more thing, I was pretty skeptical that a hoagie sandwich shop could be the best new food truck of the year. And then I had a sandwich at Hogan's Hoagie Stop. I am no longer skeptical. Kudos to the Source for spotting the gustatory genius of the place!

—Julie Naslund

Letter of the Week:

Julie: Dang it, I'm craving both those places again now. Thanks for teaching me a new word: "gustatory," which, according to Google Books, reached peak usage in roughly 1910. (Meaning: concerned with tasting or the sense of taste.) Come on in for your gift card to Palate!

—Nicole Vulcan

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