To the Editor,
I respect the endorsement process. Considerable questions arise when considering the BPRD endorsements. Both Bend newspapers endorsed "establishment" candidates; the "safe" choice.
I have significant concerns regarding my opponent's position as a bureaucrat and paid city of Bend employee. Decision makers have chosen the "Rubber Stamp" of approval and the "same old, same old." According to them, my primary flaw is bringing new and different ideas, concerns and suggestions to the proverbial table. New ideas create innovation, excellence, and compromise.
Beginning March 4, 2013, I have knocked on 3,037 doors and spoken with 1,364 citizens, residents, and businesses. It is Grassroots Community Organizing. I am dismayed that neither the Bend Bulletin nor the Source reviewed any of the methodology or data. It is a slap in the face to voters and violates "journalistic" integrity. Our community should be shocked that the print media can no longer separate "Fact" from "Opinion."
Another example is the skateboard community. The group was ignored by the establishment for 18 years. The new state-of-the-art skate facility at Ponderosa Park would not be in development and construction if it wasn't for the 837 individuals who signed the Miller's Landing Skate Petition. No one has reviewed the petition signatures; it has been 18 months since the campaign. This is the definition of community activism, engagement and "closed" government. The lack of review in both cases is a violation of the Public Trust.
After many years of economic hardship and the "Great Recession" (it was a "Depression"), I see nothing wrong with advocating for divergent opinions from the established Majority. Please remember, it takes a Majority vote of 5 popularly elected Directors to change policy, procedure, and Park Law (Comprehensive Plan).
Grassroots organizing was the real method our Forefathers used to marshal the American Colonists and defeat the British Empire. It was our 'Revolutionary' War for Independence. America is, has been, and will continue to be a New World experiment in social order. Elections provide an opportunity for citizens and residents to bring new and different voice to any Government. The time is now for a new experiment in Bend regarding our Parks and Recreation District. Democracy is always for the people, by the people!
To all the individuals I have personally communicated with in the last few months, I will continue knocking on doors and speaking directly with the people until Tuesday, May 21, 2013, and, if elected, beyond.
It would be a pleasure to symbolize the New "Voice" at BPRD. I consider it an honor and privilege to represent the people. Please remember to vote by May 21.
Justin Gottlieb, Candidate BPRD – Position #5.
Fighting back—streets of Philadelphia-style—characterized the first draft of this letter. I had, after all, just lost the Source endorsement for Bend Parks & Recreation District (BPRD) Director.
Both of my non-endorsements by Bend's print media charitably encouraged me to continue my activist work: Stay in the streets, they said. Just don't do it in our BPRD board room.
But, then, as it happened, I journeyed to Portland to see the Dalai Lama. With boundless compassion and legendary humor, he held a stadium spellbound. At the end, the magical moment: In symbolic acceptance, each of the 11,000 of us put on a prayer shawl, creating streaming cascades of white from the highest seats to the floor.
Because he has lived his life in exile and out in the world, the Dalai Lama has accomplished so much and touched so many hearts—more so than any head of state. In my own small way, I can take heart from his example that one need not be an elected insider to make a difference in one's community.
Nevertheless, for this final week of the campaign, I will continue to knock on doors and seek out votes with this message: I will never ignore or silence any citizen who wishes to speak out on community issues. I will be a strong advocate for the park and recreation services that the public desires. I will not cater to special interests. My guiding principle will be the wisdom of democratic engagement, and I will in no way insult the public with deceptive practices. I will be a director for the workforce of BPRD, the men and women who create the world-class parks we enjoy and who maintain the facilities that enrich our lives. I will guard against workplace intimidation, unsafe conditions, and unreasonable hours cutbacks.
More so than any other entity, public or private, BPRD encroaches on wildlife habitat. Through BPRD polling, the public consistently chooses preserving habitat as a top preference. Yet, BPRD pays an agency, USDA Wildlife Services, $27,000 to $29,000 annually to kill animals that are considered to stand in the way of progress. I would support canceling that contract and using the funds to partner with a current local initiative to build a wildlife rehabilitation center. These centers are popular attractions for tourists and volunteers wherever they exist.
I would urge partnership with the City of Bend to establish Park Safety Zones. A thousand black-and-white "It's Our Neighborhood...Slow Down" signs are distributed each year, yet our elected leaders seem tone-deaf to this concern. As a first step to wresting control of our city away from the relentless domination of the automobile, I would work to promote the installation of traffic calming devices surrounding every neighborhood and community park.
Eerily reminiscent of the time when the City of Bend blew off the disabled community and now faces potentially cataclysmic court sanctions, BPRD has disdainfully refused to engage in discussions with United Senior Citizens of Bend (USCB) in the Reed Market Senior Center controversy. Consequently, this matter will likely go to litigation, thus exposing BPRD to the possibility of millions of dollars in court costs and damages paid for, of course, by our tax dollars. For the sake of reconciliation and healing, I will continue to advocate the use of arbitration or mediation to reach a resolution.
Finally, the fate of Mirror Pond should be decided by a binding vote of the people, not by the unrepresentative, unelected five-member steering committee that currently has final say.
Although I have reduced my reading of the Source Weekly to just a few select pieces, I still seem to be shocked by something every week. In the "Cinco de Mayo" issue it was the seemingly innocuous promotion of frog legs served at the new Blue Pine restaurant on the west side. According to the article, the "chicken fish sells like crazy," proving yet again that there is no limit to how low humanity will go. On humane, hygienic and environmental grounds, it is insane to eat frogs' legs. How do you kill a frog? Frogs used for trade usually have their legs cut off with a blade while still alive. The rest is tossed aside on a bloody twitching pile of limbless torsos to die slowly. Once the cruelty was exposed, India and Bangladesh imposed bans in the late 80s. Although poaching and illegal trade continued, Indonesia took over as the main international supplier. If you've seen what happens to dogs in Indonesia, you'll know the fate of frogs could only be labeled hell. If morality leaves you cold, then consider the environmental damage— the increase in insects and the diseases they carry, like malaria; the resulting increase in pesticides and pollution. Frogs are our "indicator species," the species that shows the health of our environment. They're born with gross deformities scientists have yet to explain, and they're disappearing at mind-boggling rates that USFWS has yet to begin to monitor (a funding issue, they say). So what does that say about you, who eat amphibians? And what does that say about the press that promotes such ignorance?
Before you guys had the use of this land, we dirt bikers had it... now we can't access it at all. You think YOU got problems!
What makes Don even more inspirational to me is the fact that he's overcome a recent battle with cancer. Go get 'em this weekend!
"But what we gained in financial security," she lamented, "we would have lost in peace of mind for our kids' lifestyle."
In what world is a parent's financial security not critical to the well being of their children? That said, a good article. We should remember the old saying about those that do not learn from history.
- John Mundy