Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor.

Mirror Pond solution

Mirror Pond dredging should not be funded by local electric customers. Increasing Pacific Power’s franchise fee is an indirect tax increase. Bend’s utility rates are already high. Surely, there are higher priorities for Bend taxpayer money than using $6.4 million to dredge Mirror Pond. It is unfortunate that the city and Bend Park & Recreation Distric have agreed to spend $300,000 each on dredging.

Any dredging should be funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and irrigation districts since the silt is largely from bank erosion below Wickiup Reservoir during high water irrigation releases. While Mirror Pond dam was constructed in 1910, apparently, there was no dredging prior to the beginning of Wickiup Dam construction in 1938.

The $5.8 million needed to complete dredging should not come from a citywide permanent power rate increase. If Mirror Pond substantially supports tourism, perhaps some of the dedicated tourism portion (31 percent) of Bend’s transient lodging tax could be used with a broader interpretation or tweak of the law. It would be better to use it for this than to promote more tourism in overcrowded Bend. Those interested in maintaining Mirror Pond can contribute through the Celebrate Bend Foundation.

The fix is temporary, and the pond will silt up again in 20 to 30 years. We need to look at longer-term solutions such as Mirror Pond dam removal and reduction of high discharges from Wickiup. Meanwhile, a fish ladder is needed; one existed with the original dam in 1910, was rebuilt in 1940 and fell into disrepair by the 1960s and was removed, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Greater public involvement and transparency is needed in developing a long-term comprehensive solution.

Robin Vora


Protect federal workers

On Jan. 10, a Bulletin guest column written by Delane Sholes highlighted the highly charged political issues of the day and was rather partisan. The article included a couple of paragraphs about the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association that advocates for the earned pay and benefits of federal employees and retirees and acts as an information resource for federal employees and retirees regarding pay and benefits. NARFE is nonpartisan and does not take a partisan stand on issues.

The partial government shutdown is unacceptable and is political, and NARFE is working to influence our elected legislators to reopen the government, put our hardworking federal employees back to work and ensure that they are paid. Furloughed federal workers and federal excepted employees working without pay are being used as pawns. This is not right. Lives are being negatively impacted. In addition to federal workers, many citizens and businesses are feeling the pain of not having government agencies working.

NARFE’s advocacy work does not care if you are a Republican or a Democrat but rather how legislation impacts federal workers and retirees. But we believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and has a right to express that opinion.

Whatever your political leaning, let’s stop using government workers as bargaining chips. Let’s put our government back to work.

Ruthann Couch


The secret life of plants

I enjoyed Janet Stevens’ column about life with her jade plant. It reminded me of a quote I read years ago:

“Plants are like people. Some of them need a lot of attention, and others just want to be left alone.”

Barbara Craig


Force a solution

I can appreciate Jan. 23 guest columnist Jim Lussier’s sincere attempt to outline a balanced and well-thought-out proposal for a solution to the shutdown. However, it is something like the fine print “boilerplate” on a software contract that no one reads, much less puts into action.

I would propose the alternate solution of immediately suspending the salaries and expense reimbursements of members of Congress and the White House and their respective staffs until the standoff is resolved. Although Pelosi and Trump are in the multimillionaire category, if not higher, many of their political colleagues are not.

I suspect that there would be a resolution within days.

Joe Fullop