The Independent Party of Oregon and its officers thought The Bulletin’s recent non-endorsement in the race for Oregon’s House District 53 demanded a response.
While we appreciate The Bulletin’s local journalism and thoughtful independent editorial perspective over the years, we were stunned to see you continue to ignore warning signs about Republican candidate Michael Sipe. Both in coverage to date and now in your editorial stance on the race, you’ve excused or failed to recognize Mr. Sipe’s pattern of political extremism, including his denialism over the 2020 election results and encouragement of a “holy war” in the days leading up to the January 6 assaults in Washington, D.C. His professional ties to a Trump-associated business are similarly concerning.
This is a candidate who fully aligned himself, politically and professionally, with Donald Trump. Now he is distancing himself — because it’s expedient — while taking in massive amounts of money ($629,000 so far) for this local race, primarily from billionaires, corporations and elites that want to control our state government? No thanks.
Voters in House District 53 should ignore the ads, trash the glossy mailers, and join the Independent Party of Oregon and numerous Oregon community organizations in voting for Emerson Levy for state representative in District 53. She’s far more qualified, and she’s beholden to no one but you.
— Drew Kaza is the chair of the Independent Party of Oregon
Re-elect Tony DeBone and Patti Adair
Spend a minute looking at candidates for county commissioner Morgan Schmidt and Oliver Tatom’s list of supporters. Are those the folks whose voice resonates with you? Are those the only voices that you see in this county? Two very far left candidates are running against our sitting commissioners Tony DeBone and Patti Adair. Phil Chang clearly represents the leftist ideology. Schmidt’s website addresses the divisiveness in this community. With Tatom, Schmidt and Chang as our county commissioners any opposing views will simply be squelched and policies of one side will be implemented. Just like our current Bend City Council and Bend La-Pine School Board, no viewpoint other than the far left will be considered. Everyone in this community talks about the need for diversity and listening. If we elect one-sided officials a large segment of our community will not have any representation. If you truly believe in a diverse viewpoint, don’t elect one side to control all aspects of our local government. Polarization ratchets up when one side controls and the other side has no seat at the table. Please let’s keep balance in our local government. Re-elect DeBone and Adair. They have the knowledge, experience and track record to work with Chang for the good of our community.
— Lisa Quattlebaum, Bend
Climate and energy are on the ballot in new House district
The Bulletin recently published an article about the three Oregon seats in Congress up for grabs. Indeed, the races are close, the competition is fierce, and the stakes are high.
With so many important issues on the ballot, Election Day is a time to reflect on those issues that impact us most deeply and weigh our highest priorities. As a climate-concerned Oregonian and a member of Citizens Climate Lobby, a non-partisan grass-roots advocacy organization, there is no bigger issue on the ballot than addressing the climate emergency. This issue amplifies the impacts of myriad other social issues, including food and water security, disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, immigration, and the list goes on. While the potential impacts of the climate crisis are serious and challenging to even fathom, there is tremendous opportunity before us. Not only do we have an opportunity to implement effective policies that will mitigate the worst effects of climate change, but as demand for renewable energy sources surges around the globe, the U.S. has a golden opportunity to seize this moment and lead the world on energy innovation.
With that, the Bend chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby reached out to both U.S. House candidates for District 5 to have a discussion around climate policy. Democratic candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner agreed to meet with us, while Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer has not yet responded to our request. During our meeting with Jamie, we discussed a range of opportunities to address the climate crisis, from national policies that would help the U.S. reduce carbon emissions, to local initiatives that would help our farmers in Central Oregon adopt more sustainable practices that will improve soil health and water retention. Jamie was supportive of many of the initiatives CCL is working towards and was able to share connections within our community to help us move forward on key initiatives.
While we did not get the chance to speak with Chavez-DeRemer, we are eager to hear what conservative solutions she supports to address such a colossal challenge, and incredible opportunity. In Utah, a group of Republican congressional representatives formed the Conservative Climate Caucus, which promotes market-driven solutions to the climate crisis that would spur innovation and position the U.S. to lead the world and transition towards energy independence. This group also works to educate other House Republicans on climate policies and legislation consistent with conservative values. We would embrace a similar stance from Lori, and we continue to welcome a discussion.
As we spend the next few days reflecting on our core values, and voting, we await results of what is shaping up to be a nail-biter of an election. While we do not yet know what the election results will hold, we do know this: the officials we elect to Congress hold tremendous power in shaping our U.S. climate policies.
— Dan Duffy is Bend chapter chair of the Citizens Climate Lobby
Build more homes for middle-income people
This is in response to Kathy Austin’s recent letter endorsing my opponent. City councilors operate in a closed system: they follow the directions of city staff and city-appointed citizen committees. This caused them to miss two important opportunities for more workforce housing.
In 2015, Councilor Barb Campbell voted to permit whole-house short term rentals (STRs), rejecting Portland’s code, which only allows STRs in owner-occupied homes. Now, Bend has over 1,000 whole-house STRs, with more being permitted daily. Other jurisdictions are imposing moratoriums; not Bend.
HB 2001 required cities to allow duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes on single-family residential lots, with the goal of encouraging developers to build smaller housing units, which middle-income people can afford.
Portland adopted a code estimated to add 24,000 new housing units. It encourages construction of smaller units by regulating the floor-to-area ratio (FAR), which is the total square footage of the building (i.e., all floors).
The Portland code sets the FAR for a single-family home at .5. On a 4,000-square-foot lot, the building cannot be more than 2,000 square feet. But for a duplex, the FAR is .6, so the total building size can be 2,400 square feet. This allows two 1,200-square-foot units. The FAR for a triplex is .7, allowing a 2,800-square-foot building of three 900-square-foot units. These smaller units are more affordable.
In contrast, Bend’s code does not encourage multi-unit buildings and would even allow a 4,400-square-foot McMansion on a 4,000-square-foot lot. See BDC Table 2.1.700.
We need to adopt Portland’s code and build more homes for middle-income people.
— Karon Johnson, Bend
Vote for candidates who care about global warming
Have you ever thought about climate refugees from southwest states, especially California, Arizona and Nevada coming to Central Oregon and other Northwest cities in record numbers? Rivers and reservoirs there are at record lows in these states. They are essentially running out of water. Their migration could further drive up housing prices and rents, creating more homeless and worker shortages due to high living costs. This migration will also create more gridlock, road rage, traffic accidents and pollution.
Be sure to vote for candidates that believe that global warming, climate change, extreme weather and forest fires are primarily human caused and something can be done about it. Also vote for candidates that realize the Ukraine War is the main reason for high gas and diesel prices in the U.S. Remember, we should do everything possible to mitigate this serious problem. Be aware of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Egypt Nov. 6-18.
— Bruce Meland, Bend