It’s saddened me to read the attacks on the library facility plans the citizens voted to fund in last November’s election. I view a thriving library system as essential to our quality of life and have done all I can to support our libraries since I moved here in 1946.
The library upgrades proposed in this plan are badly needed. With any major civic project, there is always controversy — think building the Bend Parkway, relocating the hospital, extending Reed Market Road, and constructing the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge.
When I served as Bend’s first woman mayor in the 1980s, we built the city’s first sewer system — again, controversy. The important thing was that these infrastructure projects, vital to the future functioning of our region, were not abandoned because there was opposition. They were needed and they were built.
No one solution to a problem will satisfy everyone, but our democracy teaches us that the majority rules. Deschutes County citizens took the time to weigh the arguments for and against the library proposal seven months ago and they voted yes.
The library board and staff have done their due diligence and have presented a carefully thought out, fiscally responsible plan that will ensure we will continue to have great libraries for decades to come.
The library board has an ethical and legal responsibility to carry out the project they outlined before the election.
They should not allow criticism from a minority to derail a project that the voters approved.
— Ruth Burleigh, Bend
Clearly, we are not alone in sorting through the concerns about the new library.
We are writing about a change in our position after gathering more in-depth information about the larger plan for growth on Bend’s north side. There will be residential development, new schools will be built, a new transit hub, bike lanes, Costco, etc.
We also learned that several metro areas, including Portland, have closed neighborhood libraries as financially unsustainable. … Neighborhood kiosks, bookmobiles were explored as more financially sustainable resources, which are also being explored by our library system.
Given rapidly escalating building costs, the window for building the new library is narrow. Let’s honor the vote of the people and move forward.
We celebrate how well the many communities of Deschutes County are served by our library system.
Let’s equip them to do so in the future.
— Leanne K. Latterell and Richard Lance, Redmond
I regularly read Rich Belzer’s submissions to The Bulletin. I find them well researched and generally well presented. I am loath to question the statistics he presents. I do fault his misuse of them, however, and the reasoning and conclusions he draws. Regarding his guest column of July 10 (“Gov. Kate Brown’s actions through the pandemic saved lives”), with the glaring exception of New York’s governor, a state’s chief executive has had only limited effect upon the spread or severity of the corona virus.
A cursory look at state death rates suggests a different causal factor in play: population density. The states with the highest death rates are New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island (three of these four headed by Democratic governors, incidentally). And the many factors conveniently ignored by Mr. Belzer in his selection of states (tellingly, all having Republican governors) with which to compare our own in this regard is a disservice to readers.
A closer look at South Dakota’s experience seems appropriate, but Texas has several large cities with international airports and hundreds of miles of mostly unsecured border with Mexico (and five other states). Florida is also densely populated and is a national as well as international tourist destination. Facts should, in my view, help to illuminate the truth, not obscure it.
— Ross Flavel, Bend