Bethlehem Inn needs help buying property

Your editorial on Dec. 18 about the Bethlehem Inn was a strong and welcome reminder of the Inn’s work and the critical need it serves in the community as Central Oregon’s largest emergency shelter for homeless families and individuals.

As you rightly noted, “Many nonprofits depend on donations.” With only a small part of funding from government, we are deeply grateful that the Inn’s mission — transforming lives through shelter, help and hope — is supported by donations from an amazingly generous community. Those donations confirm, again and again, that Central Oregonians feel the Inn is a good steward of their support.

As Bend City Council considers the $300,000 loan of which you wrote (toward the purchase of the Inn property from Deschutes County), we are proud of the Inn’s long and successful efforts to build a reputation for strict accountability.

The Bethlehem Inn offers a wide and strong range of safety net services. Services often noted by Bend’s police and other agencies as they mean enormous savings for both city and county, to say nothing of the most important savings: the lives of countless homeless Central Oregonians.

We are grateful for The Bulletin’s editorial support for the work we do and our effort to purchase the existing property. We’d love to see you at the Inn for a tour!

Bruce Cummings, member of the Bethlehem Inn Board of Directors


Injustice to Father Radloff

Since it is not only my right, but my obligation to express my opinion, according to the Catholic church’s Canon Law, I believe a huge injustice has been done to not only Father James Radloff, but to the community of St. Francis of Assisi parish.

According to Bishop Liam Cary, Father Radloff “is a priest in good standing” … he “did nothing immoral and nothing illegal.”

If this is true, then why is Father Radloff banished to the Chicago area, not allowed to say Mass, not allowed to hear confessions, not allowed to “be a priest in good standing?”

This man did nothing wrong, but is being treated like a criminal.

Does this situation sound familiar to another “man” over 2,000 years ago?

RoseAnne Hyman


Tax for fire is not revenue neutral

Before the stampede begins for a fresh temporary tax levy for two new ambulances for the fire department, let’s surgically remove from the argument Chief Larry Langston’s suggestion that it is “revenue neutral” or effectively free. This misleading claim was used in the department’s survey to boost the approval rating for the new tax.

The expiration of two other taxes in the same year does not make it revenue neutral. For 2013-14, the total tax rate is $15.161 cents per $1,000 assessed value. So, for a house assessed at $250,000, the property tax would be $3,790.25. The expiration of two county levies in 2014 would save that taxpayer $67.50. Chief Langston proposes a new tax that would gobble up $50, or about 75 percent of those savings.

Maybe I just don’t know how it works around here. Is it the custom to leap in with a new tax whenever an old one threatens to expire? One suspects the only reason Chief Langston doesn’t propose three new ambulance crews is because it would consume more tax than is being saved by the expiring levies.

And what happens when the “temporary” tax ends? Will we fire the two ambulance crews?

Adding two ambulance crews may be a good idea. It may be cheap at any price, something we want to pay for with our taxes. But it ought to be decided on its merits. Being free or even “revenue neutral” aren’t among them.

Mike Stamler