Letters to the Editor 2/22/2022
Last updated 2/23/2022 at Noon
Town halls in Sisters
To the Editor:
We are not talking to one another! We are not listening to one another! We need to communicate to each other within our community in order to work together and get things done in our community. Yes, politics is everywhere and in everything you do but it is now the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Civility and speaking with respect to each other is essential in order to get things done — environmental action (wildfires/water preservation), racial reckoning, mask or no mask, women’s rights, voters’ rights, education, infrastructure, farming needs, drought, growth, political tenure, gun policies, houseless remedies, crime control, drug trafficking, COVID (vaccines), and many other policies are taking a backseat to politics.
I am sure I forgot something on this long list of issues our state, our country, and the global population face, but this is a very stressful list of issues we face every day.
Do you want to be part of the many decisions we face? Do you want to help? We have Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and those who do not care and don’t want to be involved — fine! But if we don’t communicate to one another in some type of town hall or forum, then we will just be going in circles trying to help our community deal with these issues and those coming in the future. We need to govern in a respectful, inclusive manner. If we can put our personal anger, frustration, and knowledge in a direction of calm, understanding, and growth, this community will be
Let’s get our City Council and local leaders to allow this to happen. They need to schedule town halls not council meetings — to be allowed to discuss and respond to the many decisions we are faced within our city.
Diane L. Hodgson
Certificate of Acceptability
To the Editor:
I was pleased to see the explanation by Sisters City Council President Nancy Connolly of the destination management (DOA) effort underway to assure that those coming to visit will add to “resident livability,” since they “share our cultural and environmental values.”
Perhaps the City should develop a process by which potential visitors can be certified as to their acceptability prior to visiting. These people can be issued a Certificate of Acceptability (COA) that can be displayed at entrance gates to be installed at City entry points.
Perhaps our local realtors could be “deputized” by the City to assist with the issuance of COAs since they are already doing a good job of making sure those who visit and decide to stay possess at least a half million dollars should they want to buy a house here.
Thankful for Title IX
To the Editor:
Thank you to Paul Bennett for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX in his recent letter to the editor, and for inspiring me to respond to how it had an effect on my life. Title IX had a huge impact on my life prior to and post-passage in 1972. I was born in the middle of six boys who were all very active in multiple sports. I wanted to play competitive sports such as basketball and football, but most competitive sports weren’t
available for girls at my high school.
When I decided to try out for quarterback of the boys’ high school football team, my mom told me to give up on my dream and that the coach would just turn me away. Unfortunately she was right. Yet I persisted by asking the boys’ coach if he would coach our powder-puff girls’ football team. We practiced for several weeks to play one 30-minute game for the season, yet I was excited and I got to be the quarterback.
When girls’ competitive tennis was available in my high school in 1970, I jumped all over it, even though I had never played before.
Our coach hadn’t either.
Today, I have switched from tennis to pickleball. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, and is expected to be an Olympic sport in the year 2028. It’s a sport for all people of all ages. Title IX has taught me to advocate for recreation for all people of all ages and especially for public recreation. Learning to advocate for sports for women prior to and post-Title IX has inspired me to help promote the sport of pickleball and to pursue public courts for our Sisters community.
Our Sisters Country Pickleball Club partnered with Sisters Park & Recreation District to promote the joy of pickleball to our Sisters community. We all know the benefits of recreation and thanks to Title IX, in the United States; we now have equity in opportunities and
funding on the basis of sex.
Yes, the 2022 Olympics are an excellent display of the positive results of Title IX. They just held the first-time Mixed Team Aerials competition. And yes, there are even girls on the boys high school football teams today. And yes, Sisters will someday soon have public pickleball courts for our Sisters community and visitors. Paul Bennett, thank you again for inspiring me to use my voice.
Not so secret
To the Editor:
I hate to tell you, but the notion of secret socialists has long since passed in the state of Oregon as well as our shrinking island of conservative American values in Central Oregon. Bend left the party a long time ago and Redmond and Sisters have quickly followed.
All you have to do is look at the makeup of local government and the infiltration of not-so-secret is staggering. Yep, these “secret socialists” are crazy like a fox. Just take a look at the “new” District 5.
Unmask the children
To the Editor:
A scene played out during last week’s Super Bowl that is indicative of how shameful our COVID-19 policies have been. Two singers performed as dozens of kids played instruments behind them. The adults were unmasked, while the kids were masked, and faceless. Later during the game, they cut to show all the “celebrities,” none of which had masks on.
Just a week before this, a maskless politician posed in front of a class of masked young school children and proudly released the photo, only to be surprised by the backlash.
Our children, who the data showed were never at risk from COVID from the very beginning, have suffered psychologically and developmentally from the devastating effects, not of COVID, but of how the adults forced them to respond to it. We still mask our children for a seven-hour school day, when they face almost zero risk of severe illness or death. It’s shameful.
In a month and a half, the masking mandates will end in Oregon. What changed? The medical science has not changed on COVID-19, but the political science certainly has, as polls clearly show that those who support masking and mandates are facing a bleak future.
My greatest regret as a father has been sending my four daughters to school each day, masked and faceless. Have we forgotten that life comes with inherent risk and it is our responsibility to mitigate those risks as best we see fit? We’ve instead turned that task over to the government, and their failure has taken a devastating toll on our children’s mental health, as depression and suicide rates have hit unimaginable levels.
We tolerated tyranny and we gave up liberties in the name of “safety.” Good luck to us getting it all back. But it absolutely starts with unmasking our vulnerable children immediately.
Masks and fear
To the Editor:
On Wednesday, February 2 at the Sisters School Board meeting, two deputy sheriffs came demanding I leave the meeting. It begs the question: Why? School board meetings are public meetings. I’m a citizen that lives in and pays taxes to the school district. Why was I denied my right to address the school board with my concerns? Was my behavior outrageous? No. Was I being obnoxious and disruptive? No. Was I being loud? No.
When I spoke to the superintendent prior to the start of the meeting, he informed me that if I wanted to speak in the public comment portion, I would have to go home and do it on Zoom. I was set aback but I did not argue, I simply took a seat in the back of the room.
During the flag salute I did say “one nation under God,” without a pause because there is no comma in that phrase. Was that my offense?
So why was I asked to leave? For the chairman of the board, it was about my refusal to wear a mask.
He said I had to either put on a mask or leave.
I chose to peacefully not comply because I don’t believe he has the authority to make that medical decision for me.
The other 20-plus people that filled the room made the decision to wear a mask.
And that’s their choice to make.
What I’m not OK with is being forced to live at their level of fear; that’s not liberty.
Remember that phrase in the flag salute, “with liberty and justice for all.” If other people need a mask to alleviate their fear, that’s fine.
If, by being in a room wearing a mask while I’m unmasked is too high of a level of fear for them, it is they who should leave and watch on Zoom from the safety of their own home.
My being unmasked has not infringed upon their liberty to make their own choices.
The officers that were called, upon entering the room, demanded that I leave. There was no curiosity of the circumstances nor investigation of facts. As near as I can recall their demand was “Mr. Cooper, you need to leave now or you’re not going to like what happens next.” Under the weight of such heavy intimidation, I chose to leave.
Later I conversed further with one of the officers. I asked him why I had to leave the public school board meeting, when Sheriff Nelson has stated that he will not enforce the mask mandate.
It wasn’t really about masks. The officer told me the phone call he received from the superintendent indicated the meeting was “by invite only.” This raises another question: Why are some people allowed to assemble physically at the public school board meeting while others can only join on Zoom? Are we back to pre-1964 where there were separate “drinking fountains” for the maskers and non-maskers; the privileged and the bullied?