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home : letters : letters May 24, 2016

3/11/2014 1:42:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 03/12/2014

To the Editor:

I have lived in Sisters since 1989, and have had the privilege of calling this town my home ever since.

Through the years here I have noticed a serious common thread: This town's disdain for change. I have seen this with the use of plastic fencing in place of wood, fast-food restaurants, sewer systems, back-in parking and now the stop light.

I get it, change is new and scary and the idea that the town grows with its population puts fear in the common citizen almost as much as Quilt Show does for locals. However, within the first two times I used the light I saw two very dangerous things happen. First, when you are in a turning lane (left-turn-only) you are expected to turn. Not only is there a bright red arrow pointing that way but there is also a sign and pretty arrows painted on the road that show you which way to go.

Don't go forward and ignore it, that's how insurance claims are made.

Second, the bright red arrow isn't just a stop sign. You have to stop until it turns green ... green means "go." I'm not sure how many times you all leave town, and I might suggest you do it more often because these signs and lights are used all over the place, and I'm sure you use them there.

Just as a reminder, that is now the main intersection for maneuvering through this town, as well as being the gate to the grocery store, Bi-Mart and three schools who have new, teenage drivers. Do us all a favor and read the signs, use a blinker and be open for a little change. It's inevitable.

Tanya Nason


To the Editor:

Regarding restaurants in Sisters: Any business would like to find ways to reduce competition, but is that fair?

Reducing competition often means higher prices, poorer service, and/or poorer quality. There are many people in Sisters that would love an In-N-Out Burger in town, with their burger quickly and freshly prepared. How about a great taco shop, or an Olive Garden Express?

I understand the difficulty in operating financially successful businesses in Sisters with our short season, but is it fair for residents or visitors to pay more, sometimes much more, so some can protect against competition?

Regarding image, I do agree that any business should be required to follow our local storefront design guidelines.

Chris Green


To the Editor:

To the people of Sisters Country.

We all live in a beautiful place, and for most of us just for that reason. We need to be careful not to lose our precious quality of life that we live here for.

I know that a lot of the businesses have had to move or close, and the ones left need more business. But is it because we do not have what people want? Or is the economy bad?

And are we ready to cut down more trees, put in more sidewalks to nowhere and pave over everything for parking to make the tourist come and spend their money? And will that bring them in?

It seems to me we already have what they want! You name it, we pretty much have it. You can remodel and throw money at the downtown all day long. But if the tourists do not have money to spend they are not going to come here as often.

And it seems to me the more we pave over and put in sidewalks, cut down the trees, the less attractive we become. And do the tourists not come here to get away from all the concrete and pavement?

I know the reason we moved here was because of that small-town feel and looks, not a giant parking lot.

P.D. Henninger


To the Editor:

The city council will soon need to fill three positions that will be voted on this November. Those positions are currently filled by Brad Boyd, Wendy Holzman, and David Asson and perhaps one or more of them will choose to run again. Regardless, the following are characteristics that I look for in a candidate, and I encourage Sisters voters to also look for those candidates who:

• Have demonstrated leadership skills based on past experience and achievements;

• Have the ability to work collaboratively to address complex issues and effectively problem-solve;

• Have been involved in Sisters and/or Sisters-area organizations;

• Exhibit collegiality and tolerance of different views;

• Demonstrate effective listening and communication skills, both orally and written;

• Have a track record of acting in good faith and in the best interests of the organization;

• Are team players;

• Are willing to commit to the duties and responsibilities of the position, including preparation for - and attendance at - workshops and meetings that occur four times a month.

(Taken from a Sunriver Scene article as they were looking for candidates to serve on the SROA Board of Directors)

If you meet most, but preferably all of the above, I encourage you to enter the race for city councilor, or if you know someone who does, please encourage/recruit that person to enter the race. Campaign season begins in June or July and you will need to knock on doors, do meet-and-greet events and make yourself and your objectives known. As a former councilor, I can assure you that you will find the experience rewarding and, more importantly, the city will benefit from your service.

William B. Merrill


To the Editor:

I want to comment on the page 1 article in the March 5th edition of The Nugget, "Public weighs in on Sisters future." An unidentified woman is quoted as saying "We need to create a community platform for people like us to move here. Innovative, creative, and well-educated people." Oh my...

Lucky for me that wasn't a requirement for residency when I moved here 15 years ago, or I may have not felt welcomed in "Sisters Country." Not everyone is blessed with a life that leads them to innovation, creativity and a fine education, in fact most are not. Perhaps what is needed is a "Community Platform" that would attract hard-working and honest citizens to a town that can offer them an affordable place to live and a wage that would allow that. After all, the creative, innovative and well-educated class will need someone to do the actual labor.

Be careful Sisters, or you may lose sight of what a community is!

Patrick A. Rose


To the Editor:

Reading the editorial and article on the economic development forum. All I have to say is that this community is following in the steps of Detroit, Stockton, etc. No ideas to create a vibrant economy, just a wish-list of economically unfunded projects or bashing retirees.

Much like the rest of this nation, Sisters is in desperate need of leadership that is not being demonstrated by the current group of politicians and career civic employees that have little touch with reality or are living in their own personal importance.

Clifford W. Steele


To the Editor:

My wife, Marjie, and I have lived just outside of Sisters off Wilt Road since 2002. We love the area. We do some traveling, particularly in the winter, and are presently in South Texas. As we travel through many small communities and towns of our great country, one thing we notice is that practically every one has a community cemetery. Some are very small others larger. But no matter the size it is usually a very well-kept space used to honor the people who have made their particular community special. Other than Camp Polk, Sisters has no such space.

I think developing a community cemetery for our area would be a very worthwhile project.

Dick Tipton


To the Editor:

What if we put students first when deciding how to resolve our school district's budget shortfall?

What if we are moving too abruptly and not slowing down to truly assess more viable options? What if we found out what was best for our students by listening to our students?

What if teachers (those who are in the trenches and have a great sense of what is best for students) are not able to weigh-in their true thoughts for fear of layoffs due to administrative reprimand?

What if we ask students, families, staff, and teachers if a four-day week works for them?

What if we fix what is broken (distribution of funds) as opposed to what is not broken (teachers, programs, and support staff).

What if we model an egalitarian, democratic system to our children and cut from the top down? What if we cut at an administrative level (least impact on student contact and learning) and asked our highly qualified teachers, staff, parents, and volunteers to do those jobs until we recover.

What if we temporarily merge with Bend or Redmond and use their administrative resources?

We could potentially be well over half our budget shortfall and retain the very back-bone of our district - support staff that directly impacts the success of students and teachers.

Pardon the bold requests, but I keep wondering why the most vulnerable continue to pay for decisions made by the few in power...

If you care about this issue, show up on Wednesday, March 12, 6 p.m. at the Sisters High School Lecture Drama Room and we can explore the very best options for our underfunded school system. We all know we're only as strong as our weakest link.

Julia Wieland-Smith


To the Editor,

It has been interesting that the hottest news in campaign politics has not been on the national or the state level; but instead has been our own race for the Deschutes County District Attorney. It has been undisputed that the current DA's tenure has been consumed with turmoil, lawsuits, and settlements that are paid for by the taxpayers of Deschutes County or by the county's insurance


A district attorney's legacy should be about the cases prosecuted and won, instead of being about a lack of management and human-relations skills in his or her office.

A good manager doesn't fire employees as their first official duty. A good manager will meet with an employee; explain the expectations of the job performance expected and give the employee a chance to conform to the goals of the new manager. A good manager follows the laws and regulations related to dismissals instead of assuming that the people he is firing are "at-will" employees.

Based on all of the settlements, it looks like the legal system doesn't share the current DA's interpretation of who he can fire or how he can treat the people in his office.

I have been honored to have known John Hummel since the first time he served on the Bend City Council. Even if he did not agree with you, he gave you time to share your concerns and he treated you with respect. John later moved to and supervised a staff of about 40 Western law professionals in the war-torn African country of Liberia. For two years, John and his staff trained Liberians and helped them to establish a new justice system. John brought people together who had been on opposite sides of a brutal and deadly civil war.

With John's success in Liberia, I know he can heal the turmoil in the District Attorney's Office.

I encourage you to help heal the DA's office and to stop the hemorrhage of money going to settle lawsuits. In May, please elect John Hummel as the next Deschutes County District Attorney.

Tom Wright


To the Editor:

Superintendent Jim Golden asked "Am I missing something? Is there another path?" What about cutbacks at the school administration level, where the biggest salaries are? Wouldn't cuts in administration have the lowest direct impact on students and working families?

Wouldn't such cuts hurt the maintenance of the district's expensive buildings less than cuts to hourly employees who keep the physical plant running and maintain its long-term value? Haven't the district's building and bus maintenance, custodial, and other hands-on teams already have been cut to the bone?

Since you're looking for "radical solutions," it might be time to radically cut administration expenses.  

Bill Stevens

s s s

To the Editor:

The proposed Creekside Campground renovation results in a change in campground demographics (with) the allocation of no hookup spaces verses full hookup spaces.

The campground has a total of 67 spaces: 42 no-hookup and 25 full-hookup; roughly a 60/40 split. The data from last season indicates that just over half of all spaces occupied were no-hookup. These are tent campers and smaller RVs. Tourists with trailers and campers will stay one or two nights surviving on battery power, propane, and holding tanks to avoid paying the higher fees for a full-hookup spot. In USFS campgrounds, like Cold Springs, Indian Ford, or Camp Sherman, there are no services. The rates are $12 to $16 per night, and seniors pay half the full rate.

But the no-hookup occupancy at Creekside accounts for only 31% of the revenue. The renovation shifts the space allocation in the opposite direction, so that of the 76 spaces, only 25 will be no-hookup. As a result, revenue is projected to shift from $90,000 to $253,000, a 280 percent increase. And $34,000 of that increase is projected during winter. Really, camping in


Is it believable that by adding nine spaces, and converting a number of other spaces to full-hookup, that the revenue from the campground will increase by 280 percent? The stated conclusion is that you can generate a lot more money if you can fill the campground with RVs occupying full-hookup spaces.

The big question, as always, is "if." What if the revenue projections fall grossly short? How much of a priority should it be for the City of Sisters to spend $300,000 in the hopes of increasing the revenue stream from the campground?

And whose priority is it? It's not on the Parks Master Plan, and it's not on the list of council goals and priorities. And why is it that trying to engage citizens in taking an interest in this issue results in being demonized by the mayor, the city manager, and the council president as purposefully spreading misinformation?

Ed Protas

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