USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL...AND SAVE THE PLANET
For those of us who measure time by the season [you know, rafting/golf season and ski season!], it is now the combined school and ski season. This makes for some pretty heavy, and perhaps unnecessary, traffic backups at strategic traffic circles, like Century Drive/Mt. Washington and Reed Market/Brookswood. It may be possible to reduce the rush hour congestion with one simple step: use your turn signal when exiting. Those who don't can cause drivers to wait...and idle...just a little longer to merge in. Very conservatively, it's not uncommon to see four or more cars in each of the four directions waiting for that safe moment to enter the circle. Using four cars by four directions, 16 cars total, idling unnecessarily at virtually every moment, with each car producing 1 ounce of carbon dioxide every minute (look it up), within 30 minutes we've collectively added 30 more pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere.
By the way, if saving the planet for you and all of our children is not enough incentive, please note that it is also the law. It's really pretty simple. Traffic circles are awesome. Use your turn signal when exiting (e.g. "turning"), and help everyone save time, fuel and our awesome fresh Cascade air!
BEND DOESN'T NEED MORE GROWTH
The entire functioning of the home owning/renting, job-holding population system has been upset by an outside force with no conscience or legal standing, intent on making money at the expense of our way of life.
Our only gain is a transient tax paid on vacation rentals, which goes into a fund used to draw more people to visit and live here. Originally, the transient tax was used to offset visitors' use of our infrastructure. Now the city only receives 10 percent of the proceeds.
This town doesn't need more growth. What it does need is a careful survey to determine its carrying capacity or what Bend can use of its natural resources without damaging them and to live within those means.
In light of the reality, let's make some real guidelines for running Bend and cease to be a cute showpiece community for everyone else. Let's be a bright, self-sustaining town that has the nerve to explore our limits and live within them.
Who needs a concert the day after Thanksgiving, a family holiday, clearly heard all over Awbrey Butte. After all, only two or three restaurants even serve dinner on Thanksgiving. I know because I've had to find one for that holiday.
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND IS MY LAND?
The recent television ad campaign being run by one of the major outdoor recreational equipment manufacturers in this country is very interesting for a number of reasons. The background music is the Woody Guthrie song, "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land," and the images that are displayed are fantastic outdoor shots of people doing all kinds of outdoor activities in beautiful settings across the country. One of the very interesting things about this song that most people probably aren›t aware of is the fact that Guthrie originally wrote the song to protest the timeworn inequalities of the rich vs. the poor and the working people vs. the wealthy elite. One of the verses that addresses this says, "You might be working hard as you're able, but you just get crumbs from the rich man's table, you have to ask is it truth or fable, that this land was made for you and me." It is interesting to note that a company that makes high priced outdoor recreational equipment for wealthy people who have no trouble purchasing the stuff would choose this song, while working people who, even if they did have time to "recreate," couldn't afford much of anything more than what you find at Walmart (if that), on the minimum wage sub-subsistence wages most of them are earning. The news lately is continually bombarding us with how good the economy is and how unemployment is at its lowest level in how many umpteen years. But the real story is that while Wall Street and everyone associated with it is raking in the bucks, the majority of working people are hardly any better off than they were years ago and in most cases worse, due to the ever-increasing prices of just about everything. The theory of trickle down economics put forth by that brilliant brain-dead president of yore is an absolute joke, just like the war on drugs. The truth is the rich are becoming increasingly richer while the middle class is being squeezed to extinction, if there is anything still left to squeeze. That the minimum wage in this country remains as low as it is in the face of all the good economic news and the earnings of the rich points to just one thing: the greed of those who control the wealth. A lot is not enough; they want more. Even Guthrie himself, sad to say, sold out to the corporations. He had another verse in the song that went, "In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, by the relief office I saw my people, As they stood there hungry I stood there asking, Is this land really made for you and me?" But neither this verse nor the previous one, or a third verse making reference to the white man stealing the country from the Native Americans, ever made it to the public, except maybe when sung by a few people like Pete Seeger. And it for sure wouldn't have brought Guthrie the notoriety and/or financial remuneration it has—and continues to with this latest commercial—if he had recorded the song as he originally wrote it. So in the end, again, as Bob Dylan so aptly put it, "Money doesn't talk, it swears." And if you listen you can hear the rich cursing all the way to the bank.
BEND'S EAST SIDE HAS CHARACTER AND COMMUNITY
Those of us who live on Bend's east side often feel that there is a condescending attitude coming from the Source. For instance, in a recent article about the new Jackson's Corner Eastside (12/4/14), the reporter mentioned that businesses like Worthy Brewing "have added some character and community to the east side." Speaking as someone who was born and raised on the west side of Bend, I feel qualified to address this point of view. Once you cross Wall Street and head east, it is not a cultural wasteland; there are plenty of interesting spots. We, too, have Mother's, Longboard Louie's, Village Baker, and Hola along with Rockin' Daves, Croutons, The Phoenix, Double Happiness, and more. We have Tai Chi and yoga studios, and a couple of great gardening centers. We have Pilot Butte and great mountain views.
Best of all we have the East Side Library. This branch of the library opened four years ago, and has become the hub of cultural activity on the east side. As an employee there, I can tell you that our meeting room is booked up with poetry, music, political, and art presentations. Some programs have been so full that people were turned away. Our children's activities are always packed. Add to that, the circulation at the East Bend Library rivals that of the whole Redmond community. Obviously people on the east side of Bend read books. Not only that, they also read the Source. Our stack of papers disappears the first few days of the week. So, I am asking you to please view all of Bend as a great place to live, and leave the west side/east side rivalry behind us.