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Letters 8/17-8/24 

A quiet moment on Mirror Pond captured by Erik Ellingson. Follow him on Instagram @ErikEllingson and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured in Lightmeter!

A quiet moment on Mirror Pond captured by Erik Ellingson. Follow him on Instagram @ErikEllingson and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured in Lightmeter!

CORRECTIONS: In the Aug. 11 issue, writer Danielle Meyers' name was spelled incorrectly.

In the Aug. 11 edition of Little Bites, the owners of Palmer's Cafe were misidentified. The current owners—who are now selling Palmer's Cafe—are Karen McCormack and Harold Johnson.

Smoke Signals

Nineteen-year-old Thomas is facing federal charges for allegedly supplying 1 gram of cannabis?! What a complete waste of our resources. I pray this can be resolved gently.

—Rachel Craig

(Editor's note: The charges have been dropped, as reported in the Source Weekly last week.)

Open Letter to Walden

Dear Representative Greg Walden,

On July 28th, Mr. Khizr Khan took the stage at the Democratic National Convention. He spoke in memory of his son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in service to this country. I can only imagine the courage it takes a Gold Star family to stoically take the stage at such an event. As a veteran myself, I have lost several friends. I attended more funerals before the age of 30 than most Americans will attend in their lifetime. None were direct family members, and I still have a hard time talking about them without breaking down. Watching the Khan family on stage that night, I was in awe of not only Mr. Khan's articulate nature, but also Mrs. Ghazala Khan's ability to remain composed while faced with images of her dead child.

Party conventions are historically a time for pomp and parade, and appeals to patriotism. They tug at our emotional connection to this country and what has allowed America to continue to develop into a truly great nation. And while you may disagree with Mr. Khan's endorsement for president, you cannot deny the sacrifices of his family, or claim that his son was not part of what makes America great.

However, Mr. Walden, the nominee of your party doesn't see it this way. Mr. Donald Trump stated that his sacrifice of money is equal to that of a human life. He ridiculed a grieving mother for her emotion, belittling her faith in the process. This is a man who believes he is qualified to both be the Commander in Chief of armed services, and preserve the Constitution, a document that protects the Khan's freedom to worship in this country. If my time serving in combat as an officer in the United States Marine Corps taught me anything, it is that the most important qualities in a commander are humility and empathy. You must know the individuals that you are leading into war and recognize that behind each political decision is a group of human lives required to carry it out. Mr. Trump has shown time and time again that he lacks both the temperament and the breadth of understanding required to be trusted with our country's most precious assets—the women and men who have volunteered to protect it.

Mr. Walden, you are Oregon's sole republican voice on the national stage. You represent a district with one of the largest per capita veteran populations in the country. Many of us, myself included, have intentionally come here for the resources and community that Central Oregon offers. I truly believe that Oregon represents the best in the country that individuals like Captain Khan and myself fought to protect.

It is why I call on you now, Mr. Walden, to publically condemn the statements by your party's nominee. They do not reflect the values of patriotism, liberty, duty and honor to country that the Republican Party has historically stood for. You have the chance to show the thousands of veterans—and all the people who support us—that despite the rhetoric of your party's chosen leader, you still hold us up and respect the sacrifices of those who volunteered to protect your way of life. Now is not the time to remain silent.

Respectfully, Kyleanne Hunter

Maj, USMC

Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom

Tourism

Congratulations to the Source for highlighting the increasing problems created by the tourism industry in Central Oregon.

Several weeks ago on a Friday afternoon, I was driving into Bend on Hwy 20 from the west. When I got near Empire Ave. the traffic was backed up over a quarter of a mile. "A traffic accident" I thought, but there were no signs of a problem. A few weeks later, again on a Friday, the scenario was repeated. Then, it struck me, this congestion was the result of tourists arriving for the weekend.

In moderation, tourism is probably good for Bend. But it is now out of control and I believe things will only get worse. Why?

We have numerous vested businesses interests, including hotels, destination resorts, vacation rentals, restaurants, a ski resort, and tour agencies, who want increasing numbers of people. They hire agencies like Visit Bend to advertise for more tourists and will never be satisfied unless the numbers continue to increase. (Interestingly, individuals or organizations promotion of their own self-interest is know as "Tragedy of the Commons" because it usually results in a deterioration of a public environment.) According to the article in the Source, we average 20,000 tourists per day.

The next step will be for various groups and government agencies to attempt to mitigate the impact on natural areas, probably by limiting the numbers of visits by requiring some form of registration. This is already being done to control visits to Lava Butte and parts of Shevlin Park. The days of hopping in the car with the kids for spontaneous trips to a river site or park will eventually end. Even with this attempt at control, some recreation sites will probably resemble "Coney Island."

Tourism creates a tremendous negative impacts on our local environment. At the very time we are trying to find ways to limit CO2 emissions, the area is being flooded with thousands of tourist cars. We are told this is good for the economy. A Bulletin article stated that the Tourism/Hospitality industries account for some of the lowest wages in the area. What percentage of the individuals who work for the Tourism/Hospitality industries can afford a house, or apartment in Bend? It is the owners of the resorts and restaurants who are making the money.

The title of your article should have been "Paradise Lost."

—Jim Brown

Jim – Thanks for your input regarding wage gaps and environmental impacts—two issues we have to address in this community, pronto. When you come in to grab your $5 gift card from Palate, maybe you'll walk or bike? - Nicole Vulcan, Editor

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