Letters to the Editor 6/10/20 | Letters to the Editor | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Letters to the Editor 6/10/20 

GUEST OPINION: Include More Diverse Voices In City Government With Paid Childcare

Editor's note:

Black
Lives
Matter.

A shot from the peaceful protests in Bend on Saturday, June 6. - DARRIS HURST
  • Darris Hurst
  • A shot from the peaceful protests in Bend on Saturday, June 6.

Thanks for reading,

—Nicole Vulcan, Editor

GUEST OPINION: Include More Diverse Voices In City Government With Paid Childcare

The 2020 national reckoning with police brutality and systemic racism has laid bare the need of our governmental institutions to listen better and include more of us in the work of government. As a Country we have failed by not doing more to include all voices in government policy- and decision-making. Bend in particular has so much work ahead of us. We need to better listen to voices that have not been adequately included in City government, especially those of Bend's BIPOC communities. We need to take concrete action to include more, diverse voices in government. One immediate change that will help more people publicly comment at or simply attend City Council meetings would be to provide childcare for parents during such meetings. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") Coronavirus Relief Fund ("CRF") may allow us to do so using federal funding; we can also support local businesses who provide childcare during meetings.

Bend City Council has taken measures to encourage involvement before, which we also support. But right now we can encourage people to participate in Bend City Government and quickly reduce barriers to doing so. Childcare is often cited as a reason why citizens do not participate in civic affairs. For example, research suggests that individuals who are older, male, longtime residents, voters in local elections, and homeowners are significantly more likely to participate in planning and zoning board meetings. This affects how decisions are made.

In this moment, the City needs to be doing all it can to involve all citizens—especially those who have not previously been involved in civic processes. We must listen to the voices of color in our community. We must listen to the voices of primary caregivers of young children. We must reduce the barriers to participation in City government borne disproportionately by working class parents, single moms and dads, houseless families, and two-worker households.

The federal CARES Act allows local governments to spend CRF dollars on unbudgeted necessary expenditures incurred due to COVID-19. We have ample evidence of the impact to childcare in our City from COVID-19. Any attempt to remedy the dearth of childcare options for working parents created by COVID-19 may satisfy CRF restrictions. At the very least the City could make small-business grants with CRF dollars to small-business childcare facilities. Now is the time for the City to partner with businesses and families in Bend. This is a small piece of what we need as a community and it won't fix everything. But this is one thing we can do now. The City Council makes decisions that deeply affect people's lives. More of those people should be heard by City Council.

Councilor Barb Campbell, Bend City Council, Position 6

Anthony Broadman, Candidate for Bend City Council, Position 2

Masks

Do you want to know why Oregon's Covid-19 deaths are waning dramatically (May 26, 2020)? Why we are not following in a version of Italy's or NY's death rates? It is Governor Brown's March 23 order to Stay Home! Responding to the evolving scientific consensus, she set out a plan to keep us safe. Thank you, Governor Brown. Speaking personally, I am happy not to have died.

The science of COVID-19 infectivity also recognizes the importance of everyone wearing masks each time we leave our family bubble to interact with our communities. Your mask does not protect you; it protects all those you come in contact with. So, I need for you to wear your mask. Thank you!

—Julie Chapman, Physician Assistant, retired

RE: Cell Tower Wars... Continued 5/29, News, published at bendsource.com

Thank you for this platform, enabling our voices to be heard! Mayor Russell and the Bend City Council may not be aware of a directive from Homeland Security that specificly addresses the avalanche of new construction for 5G infrastructure while the Nation, or local area, are in crisis. In the matter of "Acclerating Wireline Broadband Deployment", the FCC found the following: [See: FCC 18 111, 33, FCC Rcd 7705, 7784-7785, pp 157 (2018)] "We recognize that there may be limited situations in the case of a national disaster, or comparable emergency, where an express, or defacto, moratoria, that violates Section 253 (a), may nonetheless be necessary to protect the public safety and welfare, or to ensure the continued quality of telecommunication services."

It is ~ 20 times easier to stop the permitting, placement, and/or construction of this untested technology than it is to remove it once erected.

Posters and flyers with information about 5G have been mailed to every one of the 14 neighborhood associations in Bend. Please join yours and be heard!

—Sheilajean Whitefield

RE: Kudos to the Peaceful Protesters, Opinion, 6/4

Dear Nicole,

Thank you for featuring the opinions and experiences of people of color in our community. It's vital and I look forward to more. I'm writing to comment on "Kudos to the Peaceful Protesters. Now, Let's Get to Work" in the Opinion section. The piece rightfully calls out racism here in Deschutes County and lays out solid steps that need taking, but it missed a key part of the solution: self examination and personal accountability. Along with political action, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for police, sheriff's department, and teachers, all white people need to take a hard look at their own thinking, behaviors, and actions (or lack of action) in order to be anti-racist. Police officers and teachers operate within a system and culture we all create. Pointing only to police reform and DEI training allows us to blame something outside ourselves, to exempt ourselves from complicity, when in fact we were all socialized into racism and contribute to the problem. Along with acknowledging our privilege, we, white people, need to take a hard look at our biases—we all have them—and make corrections. If we don't, we'll continue to contribute to racism. A place to start: Read "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor," and other books that educate and challenge us to examine our history, our reality, and ourselves.

—Michelle Hamilton

Letter of the Week:

Michelle—Thanks for offering some constructive places to start. Good advice is only as good as the tools provided to help make the advice given possible. Come on in for your gift card to Palate!

—Nicole Vulcan

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