Letters to the editor

(Joe Kline/Bulletin photo)

In his guest column, recent Deschutes County Republican Chair Paul deWitt warns that without cuts to both Social Security and Medicare, spending for other programs, “including national defense,” will suffer. (“The untold story of the Trump economy,” Dec. 21).

The message to all of you Social Security retirees out there: Please do your patriotic duty and give up part of your monthly benefit check so that defense spending, currently at a record $738 billion per year, can be maintained. That amount, by the way, is more than the defense spending of the next seven countries combined (including China and Russia).

DeWitt reads straight from the Republican playbook: cut Social Security and Medicare, spend more on defense. Can’t they at least admit that the $2 trillion spent on the Iraq invasion and its aftermath could have gone a long way toward improving military readiness, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, or reducing the national debt?

The annual federal deficit is projected to reach $1 trillion this year and even more next year. Not since World War II have we seen deficits this large with the unemployment rate so low. As we saw in the late 1990s, we should be running a budget surplus when the economy is strong. What will the deficit balloon to when the next recession inevitably hits and tax revenue slumps?

Trump and his aides proclaimed that the 2017 tax cuts would pay for themselves. Not according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the cuts will cost $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

— Tim Galvin, Bend

Step close to the river’s edge. A belted kingfisher skims the currents. Five common mergansers slide down a rapid. Aspen trees reflect white trunks and willow roots weave the banks. An osprey nest crowns the tallest pine. Oregon’s wild rivers are clamoring for our attention in 2020.

What better way to start the new decade than by answering Sen. Ron Wyden’s call for nominations to add new congressionally-designated Wild & Scenic Rivers? So far, Oregon’s 70-plus designated rivers add up to 2,173 miles — 2% of all river miles. Our work has only begun, and I am grateful to Sen. Wyden for giving us the opening. At stake is our drinking water, Oregon’s growing outdoor recreation economy, our fish and wildlife, stream-side forests, and intact watersheds that hold snow and release and filter water slowly — more important than ever with warmer winters and drought.

What makes a wild river? Hold out one hand and study your palm. Imagine a river coursing down the center and your fingers and thumb as the streams that nourish it. The entirety of your hand is the river. To honor our well known rivers and their buffers, this is an opportunity to put forward their tributaries, too. To qualify, a river or stream cannot be dammed (in the section nominated) and should flow mostly through public lands. Send in your entries through Jan. 20 at: rivers@wyden.senate.gov

— Marina Richie, Bend

Driving by the desecrated, newly almost treeless land, at Reed Market and 15th Street today, (and it is outrageous to me what is being done in the name of progress), my mind was on the Charles Boyd guest column of Jan. 3, regarding the ongoing Bend changes in livability. A lone bald eagle flew low and slow, over surveyors and machinery, then the entire devastated property. The symbolism and irony were overwhelming.

And contrary to the guest column, I do believe Bend leadership can develop a new tree preservation ordinance … if they do choose to do so.

The shortsightedness of the current mature tree destruction, in favor of economic and housing quick development needs to be tempered. A year or so ago, a city staffer had mentioned trees could be replanted. In the High Desert this is unrealistic and unreasonable as a solution.

The east side of Bend is being deforested at a terrible rate. Mature trees that sustain wildlife, the soil and add so much to our quality of life must have the support of the people of Bend, and be given protection by the leadership of Bend.

We could be a national model with a sensible tree protection ordinance, an ordinance that benefits growth, keeps Bend special and is sustainable with the new inevitable development. Such an ordinance must also have legal teeth.

I urge and challenge the city of Bend to set a new and admirable tree protection in place, one developers must accept and of which the citizenry can be proud. Keep Bend green and beautiful.

— Colette Blum Meister, Bend

Your Dec. 28 Bulletin contained an article called “Light: A Key Component of Curb Appeal” in your real estate section. Featured was a photograph of a house lit up like Graceland with a dozen or more glaring lights. The article read like something from your “That Was 50 years Ago” section. In this day and age, especially here in Central Oregon, we need to consider how our outdoor lights can pollute the night sky and trespass into neighbors yards and windows. A home that is thoughtfully lit and takes into account Dark Sky concerns, can be quite attractive and have much curb appeal, especially if it is in a neighborhood of other homes showing similar thoughtfulness. Install lighting only where it’s needed, make sure your lighting is shielded so light shines down and not up, use timers, dimmers and motion detectors on outdoor lights. There is no clear scientific evidence that more lighting deters crime.

We are fortunate to be able to see the night sky in much of Central Oregon, but 80% of American children have never seen the Milky Way due to light pollution. The International Dark Sky Association (darksky.org) offers much information on this topic. The Sisters Movie House will be showing the film “Saving the Dark” on Jan. 15. This is one of those big world problems that can literally be solved … overnight!

— Paul Alan Bennett, Sisters

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