Klamath water deal criticism is irresponsible

Tribes, irrigators, commercial and sport fishermen, and most environmental groups involved are hailing Sen. Ron Wyden’s introduction of Klamath legislation as a major step toward resolving over a century of bitter conflict in the basin. The legislation seeks implementation of three carefully crafted agreements between stakeholders, including Klamath dam owner PacifiCorp.

Together, these agreements place firm limits on irrigation, yet provide greater water security to irrigators who need a dependable water supply to remain economically viable. Over 8,000 pages of technical analysis has led tribal, university and government scientists to conclude that the restoration elements and flow plan detailed by the agreement, including the removal of four dams, will serve to restore the Klamath’s struggling salmon runs.

Unfortunately, WaterWatch of Oregon continues to misrepresent the science behind these agreements. Without providing its own technical analysis detailing the alleged shortcomings of the agreements or providing an alternative analysis detailing what sort of flow plan would be appropriate, WaterWatch continues to deride the science behind the agreements, which has been in large part developed by tribes that have fished the Klamath River for millennia and today employ some of the top fisheries biologists in the nation.

Criticism is valuable only if supported by facts and analysis. WaterWatch’s criticism of the Klamath agreements lacks scientific credibility and it is doing a disservice to its members, Klamath communities and tribes that depend on salmon for cultural and economic survival. This type of irresponsible advocacy gives environmentalists a bad name.

S. Craig Tucker

Orland, Calif.

Closing park is not the answer

The Downtown Bend Public Library recently closed the small park between it and the library administration building due to an overwhelming number of people using the park, littering and allegedly causing a nuisance to library customers.

Really? Is closing the park the solution to these types of problems? The activities described are illegal: littering, drug dealing, shouting obscenities at citizens. Have we decided that we offer no other disincentive to criminal behavior other than to give up? While the park is closed, will we enforce that law even though we are seemingly unable to do anything about the lawbreaking that is causing the original problem? If the drug dealers, litterbugs and obscenity shouters decide to set up shop at Drake Park or Riverbend Park, will we also close those parks?

Many communities have learned the hard way what happens when quality-of-life issues are not policed. Unlawful behavior increases, ordinary citizens avoid the area, and the departure of ordinary citizens makes the public spaces more inviting settings for serious criminal activity. Closing the park will keep the ordinary citizens away.

The library evidently spent a good deal of effort in its decision and I do not wish to criticize the decision it made along with several other stakeholders in the issue. However, closing the park sounds like giving up, and I have to think that giving up is not the answer.

John Skaggs


Common Core benefits all

In the 31 years since “A Nation at Risk” was published by President Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education, educators and reformers at the local, state and national levels have attempted to improve public K-12 education. Some efforts have been successful — witness the valiant work of our local educators — but results at the national level have been mixed at best.

Now come the Common Core standards, the most recent — and promising — national education reforms. A recent column by David Brooks (April 20, “When the circus descends,” http://bit.ly/SJn2ft) amply demonstrates how the coordinated attacks on Common Core are founded on misconceptions. As he points out, the standards “are not curricula. They do not determine what students read or how teachers should teach. They are the goals for what students should know at the end of each grade.”

Brooks further debunks many of the myths surrounding Common Core, such as that it is a federal mandate. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed Common Core, and adoption at the state level has been by choice.

We often hear nationally that our students don’t measure up to their counterparts throughout the world. Through Common Core, we can raise the bar. Here in Oregon, such standards will help us meet our 40-40-20 goal.

David Brooks’ credentials are of the highest caliber. I encourage our community to read Brooks’ column and gain a deeper understanding of how Common Core benefits all of us.

Doug Nelson,

Former Bend-La Pine Schools superintendent

(This document was corrected on May 29, 2014.)