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Bend needs new fee

The Bulletin offered a strong editorial on Oct. 27 of a proposed Transportation Utility Fee (TUF) in the recently released draft “Initial Funding Assessment” to inform Bend’s Transportation Plan.

The editorial said the fee will compel households to pay a tax that will never be on an election ballot and that would be fundamentally undemocratic and tyrannical.

The initial funding assessment also includes other revenue sources such as “Urban Renewal” or a “Local Improvement District” or a “County Vehicle Registration Fee.”

In fact, the revenue-raising tools proposed in the report may not all be needed. Nevertheless, The Bulletin raised a premature red flag on the TUF option. Why?

The maximum amount the scary TUF would raise is an estimated $5.8 million annually by the consultants who drafted the funding plan.

The TUF funding source would help share the proposed revenue increase with more of our citizens and removes what could be a larger burden on property owners.

The report says the TUF would enable “property-tax exempt system users contribute to funding key transportation infrastructure.” There is nothing wrong with considering a variety of funding streams for all to share the costs of our growing city.

My electricity bill already carries all kinds of charges, like low-income assistance or removal of dam facilities or the opaque benefits of public purpose and energy conservation. If adding this small fee to our utility bill helps levelize the costs of transportation improvements to all citizenry, the Bend City Council should support the recommendation for a TUF.

Leslie Barbour


Shift to renewables

The shift to renewable energy sources is critically essential to a livable future. The fossil fuel and CO2 driven climate crisis is actively harming Oregonians in a variety of ways.

Warming and drought worsen the inevitable wildfires, warming waters threaten fish, and algae blooms threaten sea life, to name a few. Ten other states have already successfully implemented carbon cap and invest programs. Oregon needs to follow suit.

The largest climate polluters will be required to pay to pollute, with flexible incentives.

The collected revenues will be reinvested in clean energy solutions, drought mitigation and wildfire prevention. We must abandon fossil fuels as an energy source; they are the primary driver of the warming climate that is proving so destructive. The Clean Energy Jobs bill is a great first step in this essential realignment. The bill is also a job creator. Please insist that your state representatives support this wise and forward thinking legislation.

John Rahm


Limit firearms

Tyler William Herrick was killed by his neighbor after he killed his neighbor’s roommate. His family claim his actions were out of character. My question is, “What was he doing with an AR-15: a gun only designed to kill humans?”

I’ve been reading “Student Voices,” written by our teens in Central Oregon printed in The Source.

Isaac Cruz, Bend Senior High: “Now I’m a teenager, not a senator or a congressman, but by God I hope someone reading this is. Me and my fellow students have cried for change, screamed for the right to feel safe in the four walls we sit in every day. Be an American and instead of protecting your ‘rights’ to have a person destroyed, hear our screams and protect your children’s and family’s lives.”

Kylie Marie Lanuza, Summit High School: “So what do we do? Do we take away all guns? Do we implement more mental health care? … I believe we can find a solution we can all agree on … and I propose we do it sooner than later. We need to cut down on our guns; we need stricter laws, more frequent and mandatory mental health checks … limit firearms per household … make mental health care more accessible to students … help those who are suffering enough to want to make others feel their pain. We as taxpayers need to push this forward if we are to see change.”

Let the youth lead us, they are wise beyond their years, and I am listening!

Thiel L. Larson