Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor.

Water belongs to Oregonians

Recently The Bulletin endorsed using $48 million of taxpayer funds to pipe the Arnold Irrigation ditches, which the newspaper characterized as a “win” for all concerned.

However, the question that is not being asked is why tax dollars should be used to enhance the bottom line of a private irrigation district and the agricultural irrigators it serves?

It is especially ironic that the public is being asked to fund such projects when irrigators are already subsidized in numerous other ways by the public.

All water in Oregon belongs to the state’s citizens and is to be protected as a public trust by the state.

What is particularly galling is that irrigators remove our water and do not pay a penny for that water.

According to the Oregon Supreme Court, “All water within the state from all sources of water supply belongs to the public.”

The courts have further stated that any instream water right — e.g. irrigators’ removal of water — shall not diminish the public’s rights in the ownership and control of the waters of this state or the public trust therein.”

Finally, the courts have determined that any removal of water must be secondary to protecting the public’s interest in its water, including protecting public resources.

The removal of water from the Deschutes River clearly damages the public’s wildlife, fisheries and recreation. These ecological “costs” are in effect yet another subsidy to irrigators.

George Wuerthner

Bend

We need civil discourse

The League of Women Voters has urged the active participation of informed citizens in government. This can lead to strong opinions and sometimes, as we seem to be seeing throughout our country, to increasingly heated arguments and accusations. Recent polls indicate that there is progressively more intolerance for the “other” view.

While the League of Women Voters has always promoted civility in government, the current extremely polarized politics calls for more respectful communication among citizens and elected officials at all levels of government.

The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County has adopted a position on civil discourse.

We the members of the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County:

“Promote civil discourse through action and education for all government bodies, staff and citizens for the purpose of improved public policy decisions and processes.

Civil discourse means, at a minimum, mutually respectful, courteous, constructive and orderly communication.”

We agree with the LWV of Washington who state: “Civility in our democracy is not about squelching assertiveness, protest, civil disobedience or rigorous discussion of the issues.

Civil discourse and deliberation is a set of attitudes, behaviors and skills that support thoughtful, fact and values-based discussions when citizens and public officials do come to the table to talk.”

Join us as we encourage those in every aspect of local, state and national government to engage in civil discourse, which will help all of us to become more informed citizens.

Kim Smith

Bend

No driving benefit without legal status

Joanne Mina (Bulletin April 5, “Help people drive legally”), with all due respect, has her priorities and facts incorrect; the system now is being exploited, not the people who illegally enter this country, and there most certainly is a legal path to citizenship.

For it to be stated by her or anyone that this is otherwise is to mistake the facts.

What this individual apparently is saying is to allow the people to enter the United States illegally, then provide them with, at least, driving benefits, which is the key to still further benefits.

If anyone, from anywhere, wishes to have legal benefits in our country, they should and must enter through the established legal system, and all good will subsequently flow to them.

Charles McCoy

Bend

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