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

Redesign roundabouts

As the city is going to start the Murphy Road extension I want to ask the city to not build the new roundabouts like they have in other parts of the city. Of the two styles one is more dangerous than the other, but both are bad. One has no place for bikes to ride but to take the car lane. The other has the side ramps for bikes to take if they are going to make a 90 degree turn. But I have seen riders take the ramp and then cross on the walking crosswalk to go further around the roundabout. Several times riders have almost been hit by cars.

The roundabout design they should use is the Dutch style. In this case cars, bikes and walkers each have their own lane. There are no trees or shrubs between the lanes so everyone can see where others are. The area for the roundabout is a bit larger but far safer for everyone. If the city wants more people to ride bikes or walk they need to step up and build the roundabouts the best and safest way they can. If not, at some point someone will get hit and killed. The city will than maybe be sued as relatives will be able to show that the city could have done it right but did not care.

David Roth


Correlation, not causation

The article you published on March 11, “ZIP code is shown to affect life expectancy,” was lengthy, well-written and completely misleading. It was a textbook example of a misuse of statistics. While it was typical of other journalistic efforts to report on correlational studies in the social sciences, it, too, falls victim to the common mistake of confusing a statistical relationship between two variables with cause and effect. The title of the piece illustrates this nicely. It implies that ZIP code somehow affects life expectancy, which it does not. It is true that when you perform a regression analysis on large human data sets, these two variables pop up as related to each other. But this kind of analysis does not establish cause and effect relationships.

Throughout the article, various factors are implied to be causally related to longevity — income inequality, educational attainment, access to health care and lifestyle choices. These factors are a standard cast of variables regularly linked, inappropriately, to all kinds of human problems. And though they intuitively sound plausible, they are not causes but collateral effects. For instance, poverty and life expectancy are not in a cause and effect relationship, but, instead, are common effects produced by other underlying causal factors.

Trying to modify the factors you cite, though tempting targets for public policy, will not move the needle on life expectancy unless actual causal factors are considered. Regrettably, these causal factors, while known, were not identified in your story.

Ron Smith


Walden deserves thanks

Recently a letter to the editor written by me was posted to this publication thanking Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., for ensuring the Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act was included in the Senate’s land package bill. My thanks to Senator Wyden stand, however I was remiss in not ensuring Rep. Greg Walden’s part was equally acknowledged. Congressman Walden, R-Hood River, and his staff were the first to recognize the importance of this cause when it was brought to them by members of our community. Congressman Walden initiated discourse with various community groups to find the right balance to this problem.

Congressman Walden championed this in the House to create and ultimately get House Resolution 2075, Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act, passed. Senator Wyden would never have been able to support this piece of legislation without the initiative, foresight, and tremendous amount of work started and done by Congressman Walden and his staff.

So, while I am grateful to Senator Wyden for continuing this in the Senate, we should all not forget, and be just as thankful (if not more so), for Congressman Walden’s work in getting this moving as well as his continued championing of the Senate version of the bill that was signed by the president.

David Palmer

Crooked River Ranch