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home : letters : letters September 15, 2014


3/18/2014 12:33:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 03/19/2014

To the Editor:

The Sisters School Board would like to thank the community for their attendance and positive participation at our March 12 community budget input meeting.

It was clear to everyone present that we were all there for the same goal - the best education for our students.

A wide array of speakers presented creative, passionate and thought-provoking suggestions. You asked important questions. Together we must now do the hard work of determining the right answers for the good of the whole, especially our students. Please bring your solutions to our next community budget input meeting on April 9 at Sisters High School.

NOTE: The handouts and presentation slides from our March 12 meeting may be found on the school district's website: http://www.sisters.k12.or.us/pages/Sisters_SD.

Kay Grady, Sisters School Board member

•••

To the Editor:

Medicine is easier swallowed in small doses, and doing things in increments is often a ploy by politicians to get their way. Creekside Park seems to have had three or four phases of alteration and damage. The first was last year in the northwest corner. The second unacknowledged "phase" is the recent cutting of 24± trees. When asked, City officials still won't explain the reason behind their activities and I don't think council was consulted until after these deeds were done. Why does our government's agenda so often exclude us, and how can we change this dynamic?

Creekside is a lovely visual portal to town. Last fall I was deeply saddened when the City obliterated all the native vegetation and trees that sheltered the park from obnoxious highway noise and ugly subdivision views. In the process they wiped out a grove of 40-to-50-foot trees and an attractive natural swale, giving us a flat exposed park with the sound of traffic instead of water. I was told such trees (under eight inches diameter) are valueless, yet they plan to spend more money planting baby trees and flowers. Why?

Irreparable damage can happen in the blink of an eye, contributing to the government's growing legacy of shortsightedness. Yet, we're rarely given a say on City expenditures or their chosen alterations to town.

Somehow this polarization between City and citizens must end! Our future depends on the ability to tap the best and brightest ideas from the entire community, not just from our know-it-all officials or the minority citizens who have time for meetings and no fear of speaking in public. I'm very thankful for that minority, but it should be the City's duty and a priority to reach out and build an inclusive collaborative citizen forum. A monthly newsletter and questionnaire would be a viable start.

Jan Daggett

•••

To the Editor:

Two items concerning Sisters future have come to my attention this week.

The first, an interview this week on the news with three experts on modern email (add Twitter, Facebook, et al). The experts pointed out the current and future effects of all these on buying habits in America (Sisters?). I cite the closing and/or merging of grocery stores, closing of bookstores (reading over computers?), lower movie attendance. I'm sure that this is one of Sisters' problems.

Second item, the article in last week's Nugget about increasing room tax and increasing the Chamber of Commerce budget. The only item in the program which made any sense about assisting Sisters were the two words, "cultural events!"

Other than Mr. Willitts' FivePine Lodge and, possibly Hoodoo, what inducements are there in Sisters to increase "overnight stays." Food, shelter, what a joke! As it stands today Sisters is a gasoline and lunch stop on the way to Bend or the Valley.

My 25 years here have convinced me that the residents of the large housing areas here have long since expressed their views on any changes in Sisters, and the nays have far out-paced the yays. But, as I have stated in many previous opinions, if Sisters were to purchase the U.S. Forest Service property and construct a year-round theater-opera, symphony, stage plays, a Sisters cultural center, the whole picture could change.

The existing structures could be modified to provide complete facilities to handle any large entertainment group; think St. Olafs choir! Add the current well-planned local events, but it has to be on a 12-month basis. (Think Chamber advertising down in the Valley! Think of not losing 200 schoolchildren because their parents cannot live on six months pay). It would be spendy, but what is the alternative? It would require the moral and financial support of all of those now-nays but I think they would approve, and support it. Think Sisters Cultural Center!

Russell B. Williams

•••

To the Editor:

I am blessed living near Sisters. My property is worth so much more just by its proximity to good schools. Many people move here just because of the reputation of our schools. We need to keep our excellent teachers and small classes. Even though I am retired and my own kids are in their 50s, I still understand the value of our schools.

It doesn't seem right that I benefit but don't share in the costs. I don't like higher taxes but when I get my money's worth, it's OK.

I propose a special school assessment district including all of zip code 97759 that will spread the cost fairly and affordably across a wide swath of benefiting people rather than expect a few Sisters residents to pick up the full cost.

Drew Berding

•••

To the Editor:

There are rare occasions when you meet someone who impresses you in every dimension. Randy Miller is just such a person. I first met Randy when he was recommended to me to handle a delicate and complex patent and securities dispute between business partners. Randy took the time to thoroughly understand the dynamic of the situation and the personalities involved. Randy was able to guide all the partners toward a fair resolution of the issues involved. My partners and I could not have been more pleased with how Randy handled all of the legal issues on the table.

But what impressed me even more than the lawyer I met was the man that I met. Randy is all about family, community, country and his commitment to each. There is no doubt that by virtue of his hard work, intelligence and innate fairness Randy could and would be successful at anything he undertakes. The fact that what he has undertaken in his lifetime is service as a Marine, his service as a police officer, and service in the legal profession speaks volumes to his commitment to those things he treasures and we treasure most. You add to this Randy's first commitment - to his wife and daughters - and what you have is where I started, with an individual who impresses in every dimension of his life.

The citizens of Deschutes County are fortunate to have Randy Miller as a neighbor. And now this trusted neighbor can serve in a capacity that one can rightfully say Randy has been preparing for all his life. I hope you will join me in giving Randy the support he needs to become the judge all communities so desperately need: a judge who will be first and foremost fair and knowledgeable and committed to pursuing and delivering justice. Support Randy Miller for Judge.

Ron Schwartz

Livermore, California

•••

To the Editor:

I really congratulate that Sisters residents support of the school and the local experience. When I grew up in 1980s in Tumalo, Sisters was too small to support the administration, a high school, and all the functions of a school district.

With declining enrollment that I see, maybe working together with Redmond or another school district to normalize administrative expense and maybe recruit 100 kids to go to Sisters is the route.

I know kids from Redmond would love to go to Sisters if they had transportation from Eagle Crest, Tumalo and other regions.

Lance Brant

•••

To the Editor:

Last Friday I learned that the City of Sisters is moving to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from our city. Council President McKibben Womack is "confident that the council will approve the ban" by a vote of 3 to 2.

Thank you KTVZ for the update, but why am I learning of this from the media when there was no mention of the issue in the city council agenda?

Councilman Womack is quoted saying that everyone he's talked to agrees with him. Are these the same people that think spending a half-million dollars to "improve" the Creekside campground is a good idea? At least a medical marijuana dispensary requires no capital outlay on the part of the City and would, in fact, generate money for the City coffers.

I get it that in a representative democracy we elect leaders to make decisions for us. That said, this is exactly the kind of issue that screams out for public input. Did our councilors decide this course of action over drinks? There doesn't seem to be a clear public record of a discussion or vote regarding medical marijuana dispensaries. And there certainly was no attempt made to engage the community and seek their input.

Perhaps the City attorney could clarify the legality of decision making outside of a properly noticed public meeting.

Ray Kenny

Editor's note: The city is crafting an ordinance on the matter of medical marijuana dispsensaries. There will be a public hearing on that ordinance when it is brought to the council for a vote. See story page 1.

•••

To the Editor:

In regards to the letter from March 12 about competition for businesses, I believe it is entirely unfair to add big corporation-named businesses to our little town.

If people feel like we should add large named food businesses we might as well add a Starbucks, a Staples, a Walmart, as well as a 24 Hour Fitness.

Asking small businesses who already compete with each other to compete against big named corporations is completely irrational. We have such a small busy season and then we are fighting to survive on the off-season.

People do not come to Sisters to see big corporations, they come to Sisters to see small mom-and-pop shops and locally owned shops run by families and locals. People do not come into our town to see big shops that are overpriced; they come to see our small quiet town and to enjoy the scenery. People say "Hey let's go to the Sisters Rodeo or the Quilt Show," not "let's go to the Walmart in Sisters."

I find it unnecessary to have large named businesses in Sisters Country.

Tierra Bunker

•••

To the Editor:

I find it hard to believe, after all the work that was done and money that was spent to put the parks master plan together a few years ago, why it obviously wasn't considered during the process of coming up with this idea to renovate the Creekside Campground and turn it into a paved-over, full-hook-up RV park to make more money.

In their earnest and haste to improve the economic situation in Sisters, the council has dismissed guidelines and procedures that were well-thought-out and approved by the community. In addition, it appears council bypassed the City Parks Advisory Board when it comes to decisions about city parks. The board was given certain responsibilities (ORD 409) to provide input and recommendations, but was denied the opportunity to participate in this process until after the fact.

Somebody dropped the ball here, and I suggest the community is owed an explanation - and maybe it needs to be added somewhere officially that council MUST seek advise from the City Parks Advisory Board BEFORE taking any action related to city parks, to prevent this from happening in the future.

Diane Goble









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