Letters to the Editor - 5/5/2021
Last updated 5/4/2021 at Noon
Response to Wessel column
To the Editor:
I am responding to Andy Sichler’s letter to the editor appearing in the April 28 edition of The Nugget. I agree with most of what Mr. Sichler has to say in his response to Craig Wessel’s guest column in the April 21 edition.
However, I take issue with his closing argument that “Many of us worked our way through college …”
Yes, we did, but our summer earnings and much lower tuition and fees made getting a college degree much easier to pay for. I went to OSU and graduated in 1972. For the academic year 1973-74 the annual tuition and fees were $536 (resident). In 2014-15 the annual tuition and fees were $7,800, and for the current year it is $13,856 (https://registrar.uoregon.edu/statistics/historical-tuition).
Higher education at our two major public universities has increased 2,585 percent from 1974 to present, while over the same period the consumer price index has increase by 437 percent. Higher education is not supported with tax dollars like it was when I attended college. We can do better at supporting public higher education with tax dollars to make a college degree not so costly.
Our other big advantage was being able to get well-paying summer jobs. I worked in a millwork plant for two summers and for two summers as a surveyor’s chainman. In our day when you told a potential employer that you were a college student it was often the ticket to a good summer job. Many employers considered it a civic duty to help college students by giving them employment.
Finally, Mr. Wessel did not ask for, nor did he imply, that student loans should be forgiven.
Keep skies dark
To the Editor:
I am responding to your excellent article from April 14, “Keep Sisters’ night skies dark.” The value of dark skies may be a new concept to some readers, but is quite familiar to others. The dark skies of Central Oregon are unique, just one of the many reasons that we love our area and choose to live here.
I am an avid stargazer and one of the newest members of the Sisters Astronomy Club. I live 10 miles out, between Sisters and Redmond, not far from Whychus Canyon Preserve. My night sky views are some of the best. The sky to the north is completely dark. The skies from the east all the way to the southwest, however, are not. There are three “light domes” created by the lights of Redmond, Bend, and Sisters. The size and brightness of the three domes vary, based on the sizes of the towns. I have watched the Sisters light dome grow steadily higher and brighter, especially in the past couple of years.
As Sisters continues its rapid growth, the light dome will continue to grow, as well. More businesses bring more light; more residences bring more light. Keeping the light dome under control by choosing appropriate lighting options now and into the future will enhance Sisters’ dark skies so that we can all experience a shooting star, a bright comet, or a shower of meteors.
Signe L. Johnson, Amateur Astronomer
Learn civic duties
To the Editor:
Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying, “learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.”
I taught high school California and United States history for seven years before pursuing my career, until retirement, as a special education teacher/RSP.
While teaching United States history, I made an effort to incorporate civics into my lesson plans (civics, as its own class, wasn’t being taught anymore). I believe that a disturbing deficiency in civic knowledge probably began in the late 1970s.
I was reminded of how much the general population in America is not aware of their basic rights while overhearing a conversation between two young folks at a store in town. Neither person could remember the Vice President’s name, or that the position is currently held by a woman.
A recent article in The American Legion Magazine (April 26, 2021), stated: “A CNN story reported that Americans know virtually nothing about the Constitution, with very few Americans knowing the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Most college graduates think Thomas Jefferson was the Father of the Constitution, though he wasn’t even in the country at the time of its drafting.
Only two in five Americans can name all three branches of government.
More than a third of those folks polled could not name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment (which is the most commonly known amended part of the Constitution).
Incredibly, one in 10 college graduates polled in 2016 thought TV’s “Judge Judy” was serving on the Supreme Court. More than 25 percent of millennials polled believed that choosing leaders through free elections was ‘unimportant.’ Only 30 percent of millennials polled believe elections essential to live in a democracy.”
An American constitutional democracy can not run on autopilot. I was bothered by the overheard conversation as the young people both mentioned they weren’t going to vote in the current election, even though both voted last presidential election. I can only hope we can learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for a better tomorrow.
Questionable credit taking
To the Editor:
I hadn’t really wanted to, but gave in and watched Biden’s speech the other night and it raised a lot of questions and I wonder if others felt the same way.
Have you ever known someone that blatantly stole your idea/work and presented it as his or her own? Or, maybe a boss took credit for all the hard work you did for his or her self-aggrandizement. Wasn’t there a politician that once took credit for inventing the Internet? I saw lots of very questionable credit-taking.
Was anyone frightened to see our leaders all wearing masks and separated by a great distance after having taken ‘the shot’ now being pushed upon us? What do they know that we don’t?
How can Joe claim America is systematically racist in one breath, and say we’ll work together to achieve great things? If we’re a racist country, why are people from all over the world so anxious to leave their country for ours? What’s it like at the borders of China, North Korea, Russia or Venezuela?
As a child I was constantly told there is no money tree in our backyard on 12th Street in Beaverton. Where is Joe’s money tree to provide endless freebies? Area 51?
About that endless hateful racist agenda; who is pushing our children to question their skin color and hate America as a racist country? Who is injecting racial hate seemingly into every single conversation or issue? Is anyone getting tired of the hate being promoted to destroy America by Dems and fake news?
School board candidates
To the Editor:
I have recently had the pleasure of meeting Rodney Cooper at a “meet and greet’’ gathering. Mr. Cooper’s background is in education. I share his passions in keeping the curriculum teaching facts and history as it happened. His concerns in particular are: critical race theory, age-level-inappropriate sex education, and equity programming.
Rod supports transparency and accountability. He supports:
• Teaching how to think not what to think.
• Teaching students to read and write well.
• Teaching math and science skills to navigate life and interpret fact from fiction.
• Teaching technology skills required in our ever-changing world.
• Teaching both vocational skills and college prep skills.
Mr. Cooper plans to be on site at the schools on occasion and participate in whatever way he can. As a retired teacher he will make the time to do this.
Our children are America’s future and America’s hope. It is important they understand our Founding Fathers’ mission in the Constitution. My vote goes to Mr. Rodney Cooper. I hope yours will as well.
For more information please visit the website: https://RodCooper73.wixsite.com/SistersSchoolBoard.
To the Editor:
Growing up, I went through the public school system. Overall, it was a very positive experience for me, but I remember my father being active in the PTA because he was shocked and concerned at how much he felt things had morally declined since he went to school.
I thought he was just being “old fashioned,” but now as a father of four school-aged kids, I find myself thinking the exact same thing.
Thankfully, for reasons unrelated to this belief, we decided to homeschool all our kids from the beginning, and we’ve never regretted that decision. That said, it’s still frustrating to see how things have shifted over the years. I distinctly remember having great teachers that taught me how to think critically, and how to learn. There was never an agenda or focus on topics that were controversial — it was a foundation that set me up for success as an adult. I feel this should be the No.1 focus for education today, but it seems that learning how to think has taken a back seat to learning what to think.
While my kids are thankfully not missing this critical training, I feel strongly that change is needed in our schools. There’s a reason that Oregon ranks No. 48 out of 50 states in graduation rates.
This is why I’m supporting Rod Cooper for the Sisters School District Board. He supports an agenda-free curriculum and a focus on what the point of K-12 education should be —preparing our kids to graduate and learn how to learn.
He understands that, while our history as a country is far from perfect, understanding our history is important or else we as a society are doomed to repeat our mistakes. He believes in unity in a time that we’re being fed division. He believes that every child deserves the same opportunities to succeed, but that there is not just one way to achieve it.
Oregon kids deserve better than No. 48 in the US, and we can take one step to improve their chances for a bright future here in Sisters by choosing a lifelong educator who understands that agenda-driven curriculum like we’ve had is not the way to achieve this.
Please join me in supporting Rod Cooper for Sisters School District Board. Much has changed over the years, but the whole purpose of education hasn’t. You can learn more at http://www.RodCooper73.wixsite.com/SistersSchoolBoard.
To the Editor:
I am urging my fellow residents of the Sisters School District to vote yes on School Bond 9-141 and, just as important, vote Rodney Cooper for Board Position 1.
I am a father of three in the district and a former student and School Board member of Sisters Schools. Having attended the current elementary school, many, (many...) years ago, I can attest to the need for a new facility. Continuing toward the District’s master plan of relocating Sisters Elementary School near the middle and high schools will save parents time during drop-off and pick-up, as well as allow for the fifth grade to return to an elementary school educational culture. This will be a strategic investment for our children and our community.
Rodney Cooper would be a key asset to help guide our district through this significant transition. As a former school board member, I know the importance of experience — especially when you consider the possibility of a new bond, and Mr. Cooper is just the person for the job. He would bring over 43 years of public educational experience to the board in addition to many years as a track-and-field, cross-country, and basketball coach. He’s a teacher first and foremost, and our District would greatly benefit from his leadership.
While his extensive resumé speaks for itself, perhaps the biggest reason I’m voting for Rodney is that he comes from small town Oregon. He knows what it’s like to be in public education in a rural community that’s passionate about its schools. He knows what it’s like to see someone at the local grocery store or post office and welcome ideas on how to improve our kids’ education. He understands the importance of bringing hard work, humility, and courage in a way that reflects the values of a small town. I encourage you to vote for Rodney for School Board Position 1.
Sisters school bond
To the Editor:
Be proud of Sisters School District! They are forward-thinking and continue to demonstrate their vision to improve an already existing, excellent school system.
The Sisters School Bond 2021 will build a new elementary school for grades K-5, that will become a part of a consolidated campus which will include the middle school and high school.
Sisters Elementary School is currently operating at 106 percent capacity and will be at 111 percent optimal capacity for 2021-22.
There will be no increase to our already low taxes. The new bond will replace existing bonds that are concluding this year.
Uniting our community’s schools on one large campus provides many benefits, including consolidation of services, collaboration between K-12 students and educators, a K-5 community (instead of K-4) better matched to curriculum and developmental needs, and improved safety and traffic flow in town.
Please join us in voting YES on Sisters’ school bond 2021.
Jim and Debbie Barnes
To the Editor:
A quality education in a safe environment can be a significant factor in deterring individuals from criminal activity and behavior. I am writing in favor of ballot measure 9-141.
Relocation of the elementary school to the property between McKinney Butte Road and Highway 242, adjacent to the middle school and high school, will provide for a consolidated campus that improves safety and security. The Sheriff’s Office Sisters School District Resource Deputy will be able to patrol three school buildings on a consolidated campus at a higher frequency, improving visibility and reducing gaps in contact with students. In an emergency, deployment of first-responders to a single campus can allow for a safe, efficient response in a reduced amount of time.
Moving the elementary school away from Highway 20 has pedestrian and traffic-safety advantages as well. The intersections of Locust and Highway 20 are subject to traffic flow challenges, especially during critical drop-off and pick-up time slots of the school day. School children managing the crosswalk connecting the north and south sides of Highway 20 manage multiple lanes of both commercial and private vehicle traffic.
The volume of traffic on Highway 20 will continue to increase.
By relocating the current elementary school, the voters within the Sisters School District have an opportunity to provide a safe and secure educational environment for kids. Please join me in supporting ballot measure 9-141 by voting “yes.”
L. Shane Nelson, Deschutes County Sheriff
To the Editor:
I love seeing our elementary school first thing when driving into town.
Kids running around the grass earning their running club miles.
Admiring all the hard work of community, teachers, and students to curate the beautifully decorated fence.
Knowing they can walk right over to Whychus Creek for outdoor learning.
The current school right smack in town highlights that we are not just a tourist or retirement community, but a community of families, too.
As a parent of two young children who will benefit from the proposed new elementary school, it might surprise others that when I first heard about the new school bond, I did not immediately jump up with excitement.
I knew what I liked about the current school location, but I did not really understand the dire situation our elementary school is already in and the benefits of being closer to the other schools, especially for special services.
I had conversations with other parents. I read the informative article in The Nugget. I asked questions. I heard answers. I learned more. Our community is growing. Fast. But even if it slowed or stayed the same, our elementary school is already way over capacity. It is not uncommon to hear of parents who have moved here due to the reputation for the great schools. Yes, I, too, am one of them. Let’s continue to take pride in our schools. Our kids, our community, our future and our now need this.
If you are still in doubt, please ask questions and get more information. As parents and community members, we can guide what happens with the current elementary school space, how we maintain our community charm, how we move forward. We can participate, we can have conversations and we can vote.
Please join me in voting YES on Ballot Measure 9-141.
Jamie Sheahan Alonso
To The Editor:
Just driving around Sisters every few days it seems that a housing mycelium has invaded our town. This growth alone is an obvious indication that our schools are greatly impacted. It is time to upgrade! Overcrowding, limited resources, building maintenance costs, all indicate the need to pass the pending bond measure.
The good news is this will not increase our taxes because the old bond retires, and a new bond would be a seamless aide to this pressing concern. Interest rates are low, a perfect time to do right by our children and grandchildren’s education.
Please support the passage of the new school bond to secure a timely solution to this community need. Our beautiful town has rallied together during this stressful time. Voting to support our schools is another call to rally for now and for our future. We need each other; we need your vote.
Ann Nora Kruger
Cloverdale Fire Board candidates
To the Editor:
My name is Cindy Kettering, and I am running for re-election to the Cloverdale Fire District Board of Directors.
A little about me: I began as a volunteer firefighter in 1990 in the Willamette Valley, and became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1991. In 2004, I was hired by the Bend Fire Department as a fire inspector. I have also been a member of the Cloverdale Fire District since 2004, first as a volunteer firefighter/EMT, and later as a member of the Board of Directors beginning in 2013.
I am still employed by Bend Fire as a Deputy Fire Marshal, and I am presently the Vice-President of the Cloverdale Fire Board of Directors.
In addition, I hold a bachelor’s degree in public management, with a specialization in emergency management.
So why do I want to be re-elected?
Cloverdale Fire District has been in existence for over 50 years, and seen many changes during that time. The District has progressed from a coalition of local farmers to a professional department with modern stations and equipment, but we face future challenges in terms of funding and staffing that require well-thought-out and fiscally responsible decisions made with integrity and transparency.
The levy currently on the ballot has become a very contentious issue, and whether it succeeds or fails, the district needs experienced and knowledgeable guidance to navigate future challenges. I have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience to help lead the Cloverdale Fire District into the future, and I ask for your vote in order to continue to do so.
To the Editor:
My name is Deanne Dement and I am running for re-election to the Cloverdale Rural Fire District Board Position No. 4.
I joined the Cloverdale Rural Fire District as a firefighter in September 1991 and served the community for 21-plus years. During my tenure with the department, I became secretary and president of the volunteer association at least 2 years for each. I was also on the budget committee for the Volunteer association’s yearly budget.
I became an EMT-Basic in 1996/1997, and served many years in that capacity. I joined the local Central Oregon chapter of International Association of Arson Investigators. I served as secretary for two years and then became president of the local chapter in 1999/ 2000.
At the point, I realized that Cloverdale had not had many arson cases and that my efforts could be better channeled to fire prevention. I joined the Central Oregon Fire Prevention cooperative. I worked with every agency that participated in fire prevention and safety. I was voted as Fire Prevention Person of the Year in 2002.
I also served as vice president of the prevention cooperative for one year. I also applied for fire-prevention classes at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and was accepted. I was able to attend four classes over a four-year period of time.
When the Fire Free Program opened up to the greater Central Oregon area, I was one of the first to get involved. At the landfill yard debris day, I had the chance to interact with everyone who brought in the yard debris, until 2012.
A year later I chose to leave the fire department because I felt that I could not participate with 100 percent participation. It was time for me to step back and rebuild.
A couple years later I was asked to be a part of the budget committee for the Fire District and I accepted. In 2017 I ran for board Position No. 4 and won. I am proud to have served this community as a board member for the last four years and would like to serve you for another four-plus years.
The safety of the residents and visitors of the Cloverdale Rural Fire District is and has always been my number-one priority. We must continue to step forward, increasing our efforts to provide the best service possible for everybody.
Cloverdale Fire bond
To the Editor:
You’ve heard it said, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Well, in regard to the Cloverdale Fire District (CFD) levy on the May ballot, if you’re seeing smoke you should also look for the mirrors and sleight of hand trying to distract you from voting YES on measure 9-142.
The efforts against the measure have been putting out misleading information to make you think it’s not what it seems. It’s unfortunate something as simple as a levy to provide reliable and sustainable emergency services is being opposed by those who want to keep things the way they have been for almost 60 years.
Times have changed. Cloverdale has changed. The fire service has a saying, “150 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.” It’s used to show how people with a static mindset can be so resistant to changes which are necessary to continue in our mission. And make no mistake, CFD’s mission is, “Dedicated to providing the best and safest levels of service with pride in our community.”
The facts are, CFD currently has 21 volunteers. 12 have two years of service or less. Four have more than 24 years of service and are close to retirement. Of the remaining, only one is qualified to be an officer. It’s not easy to recruit and train volunteer firefighters these days. Since 2012, no volunteers have stayed much more than two years. The current service model has worked for almost 60 years, but the writing is on the wall that something MUST change.
Voting YES for Cloverdale Fire will accomplish several very important things:
• 24/7 paid staffing out of the CFD south station (something CFD has never had).
• A paramedic ambulance out of the CFD south station (something CFD has never had).
• A second fully staffed ambulance in the Sisters Ambulance Service Area (which currently only guarantees one ambulance and often has multiple calls occurring simultaneously).
• Streamline costs to get maximum benefit out of our precious tax dollars.
• Provide increased support and training opportunities for our volunteer firefighters.
Voting YES for Cloverdale Fire will establish a sustainable emergency service partnership with Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District which will provide reliable, timely service to every part of CFD for years to come. Cooperation is how expenses are streamlined in modern emergency services. Community is about working together instead of trying to be an island unto yourself.
If you see information which concerns you, please contact CFD at 541-389-2345 and ask about it. Don’t be misled. Many of your firefighters support measure 9-142 and those who don’t, well, the opposition campaign calls themselves friends of CFD. With “friends” like that, who needs enemies?
Damon Frutos, CFD Volunteer Lieutenant/Paramedic/EMS Coordinator
To the Editor:
We encourage you to vote NO on this overly expensive and unnecessary tax increase.
If passed, this levy would:
• More than double the current tax rate in the Cloverdale Fire district from approximately $1.10 per $1,000 in assessed valuation to $2.45 per $1,000.
• Generate an additional $572,252 for a total assessment of $1,034,292 and increase the average cost per call from $1,320 to $2,955, including false alarms.
• Increase Cloverdale Fire District staffing from two to five full-time personnel even though the average call volume is less than one call per day.
• Eliminate the Cloverdale Chief’s position and contract with Sisters to provide those services.
• Turn over full operation and management of the Cloverdale Fire District to the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (Sisters Fire).
• Pay the Sisters Fire District $77,000 per year in management fees.
• Place a Sisters Fire ambulance in the Cloverdale south station, but Cloverdale is already in the Sisters Fire Ambulance Service Area (ASA), and Sisters is already responsible for providing ambulance service. Over the past three years, the Sisters ambulance responded to an average of only 112 Cloverdale medical calls per year (one every three days).
• Split the Cloverdale training officer’s time between the two districts.
• Create a significant increase in taxes and raise an additional $2,861,260 over five years, with only a marginal, if any, improvement in service.
This levy would not:
• Guarantee better or faster service, especially in the areas of the District north of Hwy. 126, where the response time from Sisters is essentially the same as it would be from the south Cloverdale station.
• Have the support from many of the Cloverdale Volunteers and could result in a drop in volunteer participation.
• Guarantee a reduction in fire-insurance rates.
To the Editor:
I have eight years of experience with the Cloverdale Fire District, moving up through the ranks. Last week I submitted a letter in which I told of a couple of concerns I have about the proposed Cloverdale Fire District levy. Those being a lack of a signed conditional contract and lack of volunteer support. A couple of more thoughts have come up.
According to one proponent letter writer, the Cloverdale Board of Directors has been studying this problem for the last two years. Why haven’t we, the public, heard about this problem before now? Why haven’t there been any articles in The Nugget, or on KTVZ or KOHD explaining this dire need of the fire district, prior to the levy announcement a few weeks ago?
I have seen numerous articles on these news outlets describing how the fire district supplied equipment and personnel to all of the surrounding fire agencies during fires in their districts. I also read where we sent engines and crews out to the big fires last fall near Klamath and Santiam. Somehow our district has been able to do this at any hour of the day or night.
At Chief Olsen’s suggestion I contacted my insurance agent (Farmers). If the district’s insurance rating improves to a 3 as has been suggested (pure speculation at this point), my insurance rate may drop $78 per year, versus a $320 annual tax increase.
The District has stated that they are running about one call per day. How many of these are medical calls where an ambulance actually transports patients to a hospital (as opposed to smoke investigations, illegal burns, mutual aid calls, etc.)? According to Sisters Fire Chief Roger Johnson there were 74 ambulance transports from the Cloverdale Fire District last year.
To the Editor:
Words have meaning. Words have power. Words have consequences. Their use or misuse reveal ignorance of either language or the subject being addressed.
As a possible example I cite a sentence from last week’s Nugget. In an article titled “Voters to decide on fire district bond,” (The Nugget, April 28, page 3).
Cloverdale Fire Chief Thad Olsen is paraphrased as having noted that fire fighters and paramedics have literally hundreds of certifications requiring hours of education and training to pursue...
Use of the word “noted” implies to me that what follows is an accepted fact. Use of the word “literally” informs the reader that the statement is not mere hyperbole but to be taken at face value. Finally, use of the plural, “hundreds” tells us that there are at least 200 such required certifications.
Really? Seems like an awful lot to me especially when combined with the refresher/currency training many of these likely require. Perhaps it’s true, but exaggeration is an easy line to cross and very tempting when trying to persuade others to one’s point of view. Those in positions of public trust should be ever mindful of this, especially under circumstances where they are likely to be quoted or are speaking in a public forum.
To the Editor:
In looking at the objections to the Cloverdale Fire Levy, there seem to be two main themes: One is the increased taxes — which I think we can all appreciate. The other is the objection to the cooperation with Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District. This position is inaccurate to my mind.
What the opposition does not consistently mention is that Cloverdale will receive staffing by Sisters paid personnel. This results in Cloverdale staffing HALF of the total paid shift personnel across the two departments the majority of hours. Sisters residents will also benefit, along with Cloverdale, from having an increased total personnel count and an additional staffed ambulance ready to respond to any secondary calls.
This becomes one of those rare win-win scenarios where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
The contract arrangement also consolidates common expenses for significant cost savings for both departments. This is an approach that has been successfully employed by other districts across the state and across the country. The increased fire tax rate puts Cloverdale nearly equal with Sisters residents’ tax rate. If Cloverdale were to independently add staffing and ambulance service equivalent to the proposed operations, the cost would be far, far greater than the cost of this levy.
I understand some people do not want the old ways to change. I feel the same about many things. However, I do not believe that life and property-saving services are a place to object to progress. When it comes to the benefit received by the taxpayers and recipients of our emergency services, I believe the Cloverdale Fire Levy provides good value.
To the Editor:
The time is approaching for us to vote on several new measures that, if passed, would raise our property taxes. One of these measures is measure 9-142, which pertains to the Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District. I want to encourage you to read the arguments in opposition to this levy in the Voters Pamphlet.
Several of the Friends of Cloverdale Fire District, as well as Keith Cyrus and Nyle Head, have given their assessment of this levy. These are people that have lived in the area for many years and know the district and what the true needs are.
Their conclusion is that there is no justification for the additional services this measure proposes. It will not guarantee better or faster services. Those in the district who are promoting the levy will benefit the most from it, by pay raises and increasing our administrative expenses. It will more than double the current fire district tax rates.
This is not something we need, folks. Please look at the facts and make the right decision. Vote no on this measure.
To the Editor:
Please support Measure 9-142
This levy is about providing the residents of this community with the security in knowing that when they are having one of the worst moments of their lives, be it a fire or a medical emergency, they can be sure that the help they need will be on its way immediately. Not just with the properly trained staff, operating our most up-to-date equipment this district has ever had, but that the help they request will be able to respond faster because the station that the assistance is coming from is staffed 24/7.
There are members within our own volunteer ranks who I feel are undermining the fair voting process. They were able to silence some volunteers through intimidation by stating that if the volunteer association voted to support this levy there would be letters to the editor stating that all volunteers did not vote to support. When confronted that their statement sounded like a threat, the person who made that comment stated it was a fact. The resulting vote was that the volunteers would not take a stand, but stay neutral. This individual is now spreading false and inaccurate information to anyone who will believe him because he is a longtime volunteer member.
I have been a volunteer with this fire district for almost 25 years now, as a firefighter, operator/engineer, emergency medical responder, and over 20 years as a fire officer. I have seen a lot of changes within this district — its personnel, its equipment and its stations. This district is growing, and with it the needs of our community. The passage of this levy is the next needed step to assure the evolution of our mission statement:
Dedicated to providing the best and safest levels of service with pride in our community.
Thank you all for your support to this community, this fire district, our citizens and all their needs. Your YES vote on Measure 9-142, will help ensure that support continues.
Rex Parks Sr.
Lieutenant, Volunteer Firefighter, EMR Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District
To the Editor:
I am writing in regards to the Cloverdale Fire ballot measure 9-142. I am bewildered by the lack of substantiated information concerning this proposed tax levy. To the extent there has been information provided by the District, I find it inadequate and confusing for such a large tax measure.
This tax levy is based, in large part, on a proposed Interagency Agreement with Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire. However, there is no detailed information provided on what that important agreement looks like. This reminds me of the old saying: “Never buy a pig in a poke!”
What little has been discerned is that the unpaid volunteers who make up the bulk of the firefighters and EMTs, and to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, will not receive anything from this proposed levy. It’s probably no wonder that the District apparently has difficulty in recruiting volunteers. I wonder if the District has evaluated the “best practices” of other successful volunteer departments?
Seemingly, the entire levy, about $572,000 per year, would be used for personnel costs for full-time employees, including transitioning the chief to the Sisters Fire wage scale and benefit package, along with pay increases.
I personally support strong fire and life safety functions with the best response times reasonably and affordably possible. I don’t believe, however, that the case has been made that this levy will deliver benefits to district residents commensurate with its cost. My calculations show that the District will have raised taxes by 246 percent since 2011 if this levy is passed.
This is a five-year levy, at the end of which it is difficult to see how the absorption of Cloverdale Fire District into Sisters Fire would not occur.
In my opinion, there are too many unanswered questions to lend any support to this expensive tax proposal.
Steve L. Loveland