We made it to the end of January—so congrats, all you Dry January participants: your month of temperance is nearly at an end. I tried, then stopped trying because Omicron. Now I'm trying again. Also, where did January go?! For those who, like me, have escaped Omicron's clutches, I suspect the month flew by on account of us covering for those who weren't so fortunate. But as Jack Harvel's news story details, things on the staffing front are improving, with more people now filling job vacancies. For those interested in the ongoing science around COVID-19 treatments, check out this week's Smoke Signals, where we talk with one of the researchers who discovered how hemp may help battle the virus. That and so much more is inside this week's issue, and as always, thanks for reading!
Guest Opinion: Votes Matter
The Source Opinion column on January 20 addressed the issue of "Low Voter Turnout," but that might be what happens when some voters don't have a voice! On January 3, 2022, at 8:04am the Deschutes County Clerk's Office updated the voter registration database. At that time there were 153,912 voters across the county registered to vote in federal elections. Of those 31% are registered for the Democratic Party, 29% for the Republican Party, 33% are not affiliated with any party, and the remaining 7% are registered for one of the seven other minor parties. That means a total of 40% of Deschutes County voters are not affiliated with one of the two major parties in the state. These voters may, or may not, realize that their May 2022 primary ballot will not allow them to vote in any partisan race. For example, Oregon has U.S. Senate and House races, the governor's seat and two of the three Deschutes County Commissioner seats on the primary ballot in May. Only those voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat will be allowed to weigh in on who goes to the general election for those races next November.
Unaffiliated voters in Deschutes County—do you care about which candidates will be on your November ballot for US Senate/Representative, for governor or county commissioner? If so, the last day to register for the May 17 primary election is April 26. If you want to make your voice heard in the primary, go to the Oregon Secretary of State website and declare a party. A party change has no long-lasting effect! Your new party affiliation will only stay with you until you decide to change it again.
The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County believes that every vote and every voter is important. We want to remind voters to check their registration status before the April 26, 2022, deadline to make any changes.
— Respectfully Submitted by The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County
Bend Park and Recreation
Bend Park and Recreation District has so much to offer and they do a fine job of it!
Our parks are well designed and plentiful, offering outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone. And the District now has two Recreation Centers for indoor fitness and enrichment opportunities. If you haven't yet checked out the new Larkspur Center, you are truly missing out!
But today I want to give a shout out specifically to the instructors!
Over the past couple of years I have taken time to sample a variety of fitness classes. Whether it be water aerobics, strength and tone, Zumba, Bliss Dance Workout, or any one of the four different types of yoga classes I have attended, each and every instructor has been top notch. These ladies are personable, knowledgeable, professional and, best of all, they make fitness fun! Thank you, Bend Park and Rec instructors, for being there for all of us.
— Ida Green Gurule
Candidate for redistricted Congressional District 5—our district as of November—Rep. K. Schrader declares he is a progressive and has been doing all he can to address the climate crises. This missive covers two points: what is meant by Mr. 47% and more importantly, who funds this unlikely progressive regarding the climate crises.
Redistricted CD5 includes most of Bend and amoebic-like extends northwesterly into southern Portland. That shape excludes voters who used to see Schrader on their ballots and includes voters who were previously in another district. Specifically, 53% of new CD5 voters do not see him as an incumbent. Only 47% will have had his representation in the past. He is not an incumbent to the majority. Thus, he is Mr. 47%.
Schrader serves on the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee. Great seat to address the climate crises. ECC oversees many federal entities, notably; Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Conflict of interestingly, Schrader is totally in the pocket of polluting carbon corporations; Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, BP Corp, Chevron Employees, Conoco/Phillips Spirit, American Petroleum Institute, Petroleum Marketers Associates of America, Marathon Petroleum Corp, Valero Energy Corp, Phillips 66, Duke Energy and Haliburton Co. Rep. Schrader was the 6th largest recipient 2019-2020, receiving $98,000 from these PACs.
We all know petroleum corporations donate expecting returns from their legislative campaign investments. FYI: Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a candidate for CD5, actually is a pragmatic progressive who has never accepted any corporate PAC donations.
—Susan G. Cobb
COID—The Problem, Not the Solution
I met with Central Oregon Irrigation District via Zoom recently (after receiving a letter stating that my backyard was to be piped) and when I asked about how they've incentivized me to waste water, there was no response (they send out warning letters to homeowners if they don't use enough water). When I asked about most farms not having any meters for measuring use and water running off the end of canal laterals unmeasured and unaccounted for, the direct response I received from Craig Horrell was "Look, this (piping) is going to happen." All concerns I brought up were quickly minimized and dismissed and Mr. Horrell had very little patience with me. COID touting themselves as water conservationists is a total joke. There is a large sum of money that they stand to gain by tapping into federal funds for their piping projects. All the while, any water that is actually "saved" is quickly wasted via other inefficient means/contracts that they have set up...means that they financially profit from.
COID has already sold the land on the canal to make money, directly incentivizes landowners' and farmers' water waste to make money and now wants federal funds to line their pockets and make more money.
Very frustrated with how two-faced they are and how brazen they are in their tactics.
Letter of the Week:
Josh: Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that Zoom meeting! You get Letter of the Week. Come on by for your gift card to Palate.