Lots of ink gets spilled in this region talking about how resources such as land or water are used. Farmers downstream often lose out to farmers upstream when it comes to water use—and those farmers sometimes complain that the people using water closer to Bend aren't even "real farmers." Farmland comes with its stresses, but it also comes with its benefits—such as tax breaks. In this week's feature, Damian Fagan explores one way a local woman was able to provide a safe haven for wildlife while retiring her family's farming duties—and getting that coveted tax break, too. Yet more ink used to explain and understand how land can be used in our region.
It's just one of the many stories we're bringing you this week that explore our area's changing needs, its complex issues and the way some believe they can make things better. Happy reading!
Biden needs to support ending the filibusterBiden has a choice to make: Does he want to establish his legacy as a president who fought for voting rights, or not?
In order to be remembered as a president who fought for voting rights, Biden must do more than ask the Senate to pass voting rights legislation. He knows as well as we do that bills like the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act won't make it through the Senate unless we abolish the filibuster.
Biden must publicly and unequivocally support abolishing the filibuster to clear the way for these crucial reforms. It's time for Biden to be the leader he promised to be and call on the Senate to end the filibuster and protect our right to vote.
We're counting on him to do the right thing.
Price or Policy?Congress is currently considering two infrastructure spending bills totaling $4.5 trillion. The dollars will be spent over a 10-year period on roads and bridges, railroads, the power grid, internet access, water infrastructure, cyber security, climate change, public transportation, airports, affordable housing, clean energy, health care, education, child care, wildfire prevention, much more. That amounts to $450 billion per year.
By comparison, over the past 10 years we've spent $6.3 trillion on defense, or an average of $630 billion per year. The 2021 defense budget is $753 billion. That goes towards the cost of military operations, equipment maintenance, pay, retirement and healthcare for military personnel, weapons and equipment and construction and management of military facilities.
The United States spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia — combined.
It is proposed that infrastructure bills will be fully paid for by tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy as well as through various fund reallocation strategies for already approved, but unspent stimulus dollars.
Defense spending comes from the discretionary federal budget which is funded primarily through income taxes and borrowing.
Granted, it's not an "either/or" situation, but in the long run, which do you think provides a better return on our investment?
The homeless and how to help themI am writing to comment on the growing homeless problem in Bend and how the city is or is not assisting them.
I don't have a problem with homeless people or where they set up camp.
What we should all have a problem with is the mess that accumulates wherever they are.
The city and some volunteers have tried to help the homeless by setting up cooling stations in summer and to provide water, dumpsters, washing stations, and porta-potties. This is good.
But the amount of trash that accumulates at these camps is abhorrent.
It's time for the city to do something about that. For instance just driving along Hunnel Road one can see that there are approximately 145 dead tires and wheels, over 12 decrepit vehicles, and piles of useless trash everywhere that is not being put in the dumpsters.
If the city is going to let the camps remain, then it's time for them to clean up this mess before it gets worse. It's disgusting and unnecessary.
Thanks for listening.
RE: Changes at Mt. Bachelor. News, 10/14Wouldn't it be neat if we could just petition ALL privilege and advantage away? Those with money can...do, will, and do suck the joy out of the hands of those who don't..and that is the way it has always been since the advent of money & power
—Nicole Jackson via Facebook.com
The spirit of free enterprise is alive and well! Love it! The Freedom to charge for premium experiences is going against the freedom not to pay the big bad corporation (as people post the petition on FB via Apple iPhones (both among the top 5 largest and most profitable corporations in the world) The market is never wrong. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
—Wade Westhoff via Facebook.com
This isn't exactly as black and white as the market vs. the government. Powdr Corp. is creating shareholder value by using public land for the benefit of the public. It's not as if this is a privately owned club with a guest component which would allow tiered fees and access. While this may not be subject to the lease agreement, we generally don't allow improved access based on income to publicly owned recreation sites. Regardless it is poor PR on their part hence the offer for pass refunds.
—Jim Roberts via Facebook.com
Letter of the Week:Thanks for your perspective, Jim. Come on by for your gift card to Palate!