Letters to the Editor 1/17/2024

 

Last updated 1/16/2024 at 9:40am



It takes a village

To the Editor:

Sisters’ average minimum income (AMI) was $81,016 in 2021, up from $75,662 in 2020 (per Data USA). A 7 percent increase. Point2Homes.com agrees with that 2020 AMI and adds that Sisters’ 2020 average income was $99,679. Another source, Census Bureau Data reported an AMI of $84,088 for Sisters in 2020.

Using a 5 percent yearly increase in AMI (rather than 7 percent), considering both 2020 AMI sources as a base, and knowing there’s far more than a percentage that can impact AMI, here is a novice’s forecast:

• In 2022 Sisters’ AMI was between $85,067 and $92,698,

• In 2023 our AMI is likely between $89,310 and $97,333, and

• In 2024 our AMI may be between $93,776 and $102,200.

This year, we might have an AMI of $98,000! 30 percent of AMI is the bottom range of what is considered affordable on up to 150 percent of AMI. 30 percent of this 2024 novice’s forecast is $29,400 which a worker earning Oregon’s minimum wage at $14.20/hour can afford. Yay!

But who builds 30 percent of AMI affordable for the service workers all around us? No one because, “it does not pencil out.” Not enough revenue to cover the expenses to build. Instead, the city must seek out government funding and applicable NPOs, and give tax breaks and other incentives to encourage developers to build lovely abodes for our working families. This is why it takes so darn long to get affordable homes or apartments in our little rich town, to house those who serve us every day in restaurants, gas stations, and stores.

The good news; work to address Sisters’ workforce housing gaps, done by past and present councils and past and present staff, will come to fruition over the next two-plus years. This work considers all aspects of Sisters Vision, the Comprehensive plan and numerous other City plans to which the public provided input to complete. These affordable developments will occur within the current northern and eastern city boundaries. It takes time and a village to manage our towns growth but it is happening.

Speaking of it “taking a village,” the City of Sisters also donates to a few of the numerous nonprofits and groups including those helping our unhoused community to a total of $20,000 each year (we may increase that for future years). This winter, the Sisters Cold Weather Shelter (SCWS) continues to help our unsheltered neighbors (over 50 percent of them are working in Sisters), brought heating elements to those without, and assisted people with basic needs in numerous ways.

Sisters Community Church helped unhoused with access to have a warm shower and continue to offer Senior Lunches. Sisters Kiwanis Food Pantry and Family Kitchen offered groceries and served all comers warm meals, respectively. You can help our unhoused neighbors get through this winter with a donation to SCWS, P O Box 1782, Sisters, OR, 97759.

Susan Cobb

Fact check

To the Editor:

My apologies to the good folks at St. Edward the Martyr for omitting them in my column of January 10 (“Does Sisters need a cemetery?”). I found no page on their website of their Saint Winefried’s Garden and Cemetery, a beautiful addition to the church completed in the early 2000’s.

It is an urn-burial place of reflection, peace and solace. According to available public burial records there are close to 100 memorials with about 30 percent GPS located and more than half photographed.

I am assured by parishioners that the garden is open to all for visitors and I am headed there now to reflect on my carelessness.

Bill Bartlett

Do nothing Republicans

To the Editor,

By all accounts, this past year of Republican control in the House of Representatives has been the least effective in nearly a century, and very possibly the least effective ever. Republicans passed just 22 mostly inconsequential bills this past year, one more than the Congress of 1932 which passed just 21 bills, but only met for 3 months. Instead of passing legislation that would benefit the nation, Republicans wasted an entire year on infighting, retaliation, and trying to salvage the candidacy of twice impeached, 91-count indicted, sexual assaulter and business fraudster, self-proclaimed dictator wannabe, Donald Trump.

What did our Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer and her MAGA House colleagues do all year? They spent their first four days taking 15 votes to elect their House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, only to oust him after 9 months. After ousting McCarthy, they fought for another three weeks over their next Speaker, only to settle on Mike Johnson who helped spearhead Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. They fought amongst themselves and went right to the brink of defaulting on United States debt, which would have created financial chaos in the U.S. and beyond.

They failed to reach any agreement on a budget, and twice went right to the brink of a government shutdown before passing continuing resolutions (one of which expires this week; it is uncertain what will happen next). They voted to censure several of their colleagues as political retaliation. They fought and threatened like schoolyard bullies.

And finally, in their last worthless act of the year before adjourning for a month, every single Republican voted to retaliate against Democrats for Trump’s well-deserved impeachments by launching a baseless impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

Chavez-DeRemer pretends to be a principled, pragmatic moderate, willing to reach across the aisle to get things done. She is not. In fact, she was a key player in the MAGA dysfunction, described above, that has consumed the House since 2023.

For example, Chavez-DeRemer voted for HR 2811, which would have sent the US into default unless its draconian proposed across-the-board cuts to social programs like the VA, education, Medicaid, SNAP, plus the rescission of funding for renewable energy and the IRS, had gone into effect. That bill passed in the House by one vote, her vote. The MAGA threats to default on our debt and to shut down the government caused the U.S. credit rating to be lowered, making our borrowing costs higher and increasing the deficit!

Any doubts that Chavez-DeRemer is MAGA, not moderate, were dispelled for good when she voted to install Mike Johnson, a “key architect of Republican’s objections to certifying Mr. Biden’s victory on January 6,” as Speaker. She touted him as a “consensus candidate” even though he vociferously opposes gay marriage, asserting that it would lead to people being able to marry their pets(!); believes in creationism; and opposes abortion under any circumstances.

Americans deserve better than the strife, chaos, incompetence, and dissension that MAGA offers. And voters in Oregon’s District 5 deserve better than being represented by MAGA Representative Chavez-DeRemer.

Mary Chaffin

Israel history

To the Editor:

I’m giving a small history of Israel. The original land of Israel given to Abraham in the Old Testament of the Bible went from Alexandria, Egypt, south to Aswan, Egypt, then northeast across Saudi Arabia to Kuwait, northwest along Euphrates River in Iraq to Adana, Turkey, south to Syria and Lebanon, and back to Alexandria, Egypt, along the Mediterranean Ocean. This is forever to the Jews.

In about 135 AD, Romans changed Israel to Palestine to this day.

Ezekiel 34; Jeremiah 31:35-37; Romans 11:1-6. Israel is God’s people for eternity. There is a lot more in the Bible that speaks to all this.

Chet Davis

 

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