To the Editor:

A "prescribed burn" in September? Near Wizard Falls, the Metolius River, and Camp Sherman? Are you kidding?

This is the end of summer with some hot weekends still in play, tagged onto a dry summer with little moisture out here. It was a few short Septembers ago that all of us who live in Camp Sherman were evacuated. Now we have an out-of-control "prescribed burn" racing up Green Ridge called the Wizard Fire, due to somebody's decision that this was as good a time as any to light a big fire out here in one of the most pristine and scenic areas of our state.

Whoever in the Forest Service was the "wizard" who made this decision should be fired.

Bill Carmichael

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To the Editor:

As a long-time annual visitor to Sisters, I have always dearly loved the region. The sense of peace and visual beauty here is unique and special.

When forest fires have occurred in the past few years in the area, I am always distressed by the seeming waste although I am aware of the necessity for Mother Nature to express herself.

But when I see the devastation caused to this lovely area due to the blatant stupidity of seemingly forest "experts," I am outraged!

I cannot for the life of me understand how a "controlled burn" (September 25, 2008) could be condoned during the height of the driest season of the year, with forecasted winds in the area, and fairly near a residential district.

With prior "controlled burns" becoming problematic here in the past, I would like to ask, what non-thinking person decided to continue with this burn? What was he or she thinking? Even a child could see that to continue with this effort could potentially become highly destructive, not to mention extremely expensive to fight any fire resulting from an errant spark or flame.

Clearly I was not on the fire crew assigned to this effort (thank God), nor am I an expert on forest maintenance, but I do have common sense and for my money, this was inexcusable behavior.

Darleen Hegerle

To the Editor:

Oh, there it goes again jumping the fire line on our controlled burn. Call 911 for additional help here; we thought we had everything under control.

So what are we doing, burning during fire season according to all the signs put by the US Forestry Service. Never mind we are exempt by the USFS blessing no matter how much carbon dioxide we put into an atmosphere.

"We the people are trying best to help create a greener climate" but become hindered by "controlled burns" by the "gang who can't burn straight" like the one near the Metolius River.

The "gang" starts with a set number of acres for the controlled burn and with improper monitoring the fire turns into 30 more no problem it's OK with the USFS. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that smoke creates a hazard to our health.

Recently I took a walk in the woods seeking the fresh smell created by the grasses and bushes and all I could smell is the smoke a controlled fire or not-so-controlled fire.

Our governor has said we need to champion ethanol. What better ingredients than small trees, limbs and pine cones. LET'S STOP CONTROLLED BURNS and move into the 21st Century. We are not aborigines. We can't be allowed to continue to burn because of health hazards. Let's start managing our forests like we love and cherish them not as something to throw away when were done.

Controlled burns stink!

Bill Hughes

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To the Editor:

Most can probably agree that the City Council candidates are all civic-minded, with the best intentions. But the question remains: what does "civic-minded" mean - what is their vision of our community, how will they administer the city, do their personal interests match those of the community?

Mayor Brad Boyd's record provides exemplary answers to these questions. A small business owner for 20 years, a resident for 13, he strongly identifies with the adopted vision of Sisters. His interests mesh fully with a strategy of smart growth - ensuring the economic vitality of the city while preserving the small-town, pedestrian-friendly qualities that make it such an amazing destination and a pleasure to live in and near. He has no personal stake in rapid expansion of the city or development for its own sake.

As mayor, he has championed a highly professional approach to city management. Just to illustrate: after years of vacancies, the planning office is now fully and competently staffed; after years of inaction, we now have safer crosswalks near the Elementary School and will soon have an off-road bicycle path to the Middle School. He models the highest integrity in city governance - insisting, for example, that all new developments fully respect City standards and that City ordinances be applied equally to everyone, rather than accommodating exceptions.

As a leader, he has been instrumental in helping finally achieve deep consensus on a new Transportation System Plan that will protect and enhance the downtown core, a first for Sisters.

I have been very impressed by his vision, his professionalism, and his absence of conflicting interests. He has the courage to speak his mind, the wisdom to find compromise, the integrity to insist on transparency and honesty in government. His experience and qualities are indispensable for the City Council and the future of Sisters.

Chuck Humphreys

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To the Editor:

I've had the pleasure of working with Jerry Bogart for almost three years now at his design/build firm here in Sisters.

In these past three years I've come to know Jerry very well. He's an experienced, competent leader, and has been involved with many different functions in the City of Sisters. He is very active in the community and supports various activities such as the folk, jazz, and blues festivals.

He has also been President of the local Rotarian group and has been active in this organization for years. He had donated to many local charities and has helped out many people in times of need. He is the type of person that would give you the shirt off his back if that is all he had left to give. He is a person of integrity and honesty.

In working with Jerry I've also had the privilege of meeting and working with Lon Kellstrom, and Pat Thompson. These men are great individuals and care very much for the well-being of our city and the members of the community.

I believe that we all have a responsibility to care for the city in which we work, play, and live. We have a chance to make that a reality here in Sisters.

I have been very fortunate to work with Jerry, Lon, and Pat. I hope the people of Sisters have the same opportunity that I have had, and if they do, I am confident that the City of Sisters will benefit from it.

Vote for Jerry Bogart, Lon Kellstrom, and Pat Thompson in the next election for City Council. We all have the power to bring about important changes that matter to our community.

Joe Mendez

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To the Editor:

A number of people within the local pro-development community are understandably upset. They are angry because they believe the City of Sisters and Mayor Brad Boyd in particular, have not given them the level of support, economic incentives or legal approvals necessary for their projects to be successful. Being men and women of action and substantial resources, they formed and financed a special interest group to install a slate of candidates that will be more supportive of their projects and their vision for our community.

The "Citizens for Sisters" financial backers are upstanding community members who, like many others, have done good things for Sisters. Yet, even if they embraced the constitution of Mother Teresa, all their good works do not justify a VIP pass through City Hall.

The real question before city voters in their selection of candidates is a decision about bias for moderate growth or faster growth. I think of it as a choice between a bicyclist and race car driver's frame of mind. From a race car driver's perspective, a bicyclist gets nowhere fast enough. In fact, bicyclists prefer a pace that allows them to see and experience beautiful things that are but inconsequential blurry images to a race car driver.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a biker. But I am also a builder and business owner in the industrial park with several employees who rely on me for a paycheck. Economic development is no small issue for me. And, I like the fact that right now there is a conservative, competent and fiscally responsible voice in City Hall. I suspect that Mayor Boyd's position on development issues, while costly and aggravating to some, may well be a better reflection of his constituency than the vision of those underwriting the "Citizens for Sisters" slate of candidates.

Kris Calvin

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To the Editor:

Three cheers for the local businessmen and women who had the audacity to stand up for themselves after accusations they were "buying" city council seats for their own narrow interests.

My own organization faced similar attacks in 2006 from a majority of Bend City Councilors who circled the wagons after we had the nerve to support a challenger against one of their incumbents. Such arguments are baseless and represent nothing more than noisy, populist rhetoric.

The accusations distract voters from the real issues, as they're intended to do.

Campaigns cost money. Organization, campaign material and advertisements are not free. Candidates need to raise money. Individuals, businesses and other organizations routinely contribute to candidates of their choice, as it should be. Those candidates whose ideas, governing philosophy and, yes, personality, are most popular will generally attract the most money.

The contributions of political action committees to campaigns represents an important freedom for Americans - the ability of a group of people to band together and aggregate their individual contributions to express their individual voices as one. This uniquely American freedom, which is available to everyone, should be celebrated, not vilified.

If you can't raise money, the next best tactic is to criticize your opponent for doing exactly that. Don't buy it. If Mayor Boyd had compelling ideas and a vision for the city's prosperity he wouldn't be facing such opposition.

The city council and administration of Sisters has been beset by problems of their own creation. It's time to elect candidates that have demonstrated by their personal investment in the local economy their commitment to the well-being of Sisters. It's time to move beyond the narrow self-interests of a few councilors and elect candidates that will competently lead the city in these challenging economic times.

Vote for Kellstrom, Bogart and Thompson.

Bill Robie

Government Affairs Director

Central Oregon Association of Realtors

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To the Editor:

Regarding recent letters to the editor:

I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to applaud the accomplishments of Bill Willitts and Curt Kallberg. They have done a terrific job with FivePine, a fine development which adds immensely to the recreation and culture of Sisters.

I am concerned, however, about the possibility of having three developers on City Council. This would dramatically change the balance of our city government. As a majority, they could take the council in any direction they wish with regards to development, which may not be in keeping with the desires of the larger community.

Last year a survey was conducted by the city to get a feel for how the Forest Service property might be developed, if sold. A large percentage of Sisters Country residents expressed their preference for limited development, in the form of public facilities. Some advocated maintaining the land as open space. There is a history in Sisters of wariness toward development.

It is up to the planning commission and the city council to make sure that guidelines are followed when considering any new building project. It is also their job to balance the interests of citizens. Keep in mind, that the planning commission is appointed by the Mayor. Do we want the input of developers in the city planning process? Sure. Do we want developers running the town? Not in my opinion.

I urge you to cast your votes for Brad Boyd and Wendy Holzman. Brad has a proven record of strong leadership as Mayor of Sisters. Wendy has worked tirelessly to educate herself about the issues facing Sisters as a member of the Committee for Citizen Involvement and has faithfully attended weekly meetings of the city council over the past year. Both are thoughtful, dedicated civil servants who provide a balanced perspective.

Sarah Rahm

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To the Editor:

Last week's Nugget included a letter from Eric Dolson, paid campaign manager for the Developer Three. You know the Three I'm referring to. You have probably seen their billboards around town.

The big money interests behind this block of candidates hope to take control of a city council that has been resistant to unwanted and unneeded development.

Mr. Dolson begins his letter by defending the money behind the campaign. Then, rather than emphasizing positive qualities in his candidates, Mr. Dolson launches into a personal attack on Brad Boyd using misleading and untrue statements to try to paint our current mayor in a negative light.

I feel compelled to defend Brad Boyd from this unfair portrayal.

Mr. Dolson's attack begins with an alleged quote from Brad condoning arson. This statement was simply never made. Don't you think we would have heard about a city councilman supporting arson before now if it were true?

Mr. Dolson then insinuates that Brad Boyd has been irresponsible with taxpayer money by using urban renewal money for street repair (exactly what it's intended for!) and for supporting the garbage franchising.

Anyone with a calculator and a little common sense can see that better trash service for less money is a wise decision for the city, and three other council members besides Brad agree.

Lastly, Mr. Dolson questions Brad Boyd's integrity. Brad has consistently defended the Citizen Vision of Sisters against developers and ODOT and has made decisions for the greatest good without bending to the pressures of big-money developers.

Sisters needs strong leaders like Brad who are willing to stand up for the interests of average citizens and to make sure our voices are heard.

Jason Larmore

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To the Editor:

Although I am not a resident of Sisters and do not have a vote in the city, I support Mayor Brad Boyd for re-election to the city council.

While other non-city residents, fine citizens and good people, seem to desire to change city government, I have been impressed by Mayor Boyd. He has proven himself to be a stickler for detail and a willing listener, with a mandate to act in the best interests of city residents as their representative.

He makes himself very available for anyone who has an issue to discuss, and he has clearly studied city codes and seeks adherence to these. He is a good watchdog and brazen supporter of the common welfare of his constituents. He heads a city council that supports growth that is managed and considerate.

Progress happens. As a native Oregonian, I have always recognized this, but I also appreciate good elected representation in management of that progress to the benefit of all residents of a community.

Whomever else you in Sisters chose to support, please remember the outstanding service of Mayor Brad Boyd.

Bonnie Malone

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To the Editor:

In his letter to the editor published last week in support of city council candidates Kellstrom, Bogart and Thompson, Grady Brown points out that building volume is dictated by market forces, not the city council. 

True enough. But what Mr. Brown doesn't point out is that the policy decisions that control how, where and when Sisters will grow, such as the location of the Urban Growth Boundary and the make-up of the planning commission, are made by the city council.

One of the candidates running for city council - Pat Thompson - owns an interest in a large tract of land on the east end of town that is just outside the UGB. Several landowners who have interests in large tracts on both ends of town that lie outside the UGB have made donations to the PAC that is supporting the Kellstrom, Bogart and Thompson campaigns.

Time and again the citizens of Sisters have said that maintaining livability of the community is one of their most pressing concerns. Setting the policies that directly impact the livability of Sisters - including how, when and where Sisters grows and expands, requires taking into account the best interests of the entire community. 

Brad Boyd has a long and successful track record of putting city and community interests first. Wendy Holzmann has worked tirelessly on numerous commissions and committees to maintain the livability of the city. A vote for them is a vote for balancing the interests of the whole community.

Doug Hancock

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To the Editor:

No one should be surprised at unusually strong language directed at CEC from a judge. CEC is a monopoly and acts like one. The second C in CEC could well be changed from Cooperative to Cavalier.

Four years ago when we wanted to bring electrical power into our 80 acres for household use, CEC demanded that we pay a large percentage of our neighbor's private run of electricity to his property. Only a small portion of that new line could potentially be used by two other parcels. But no matter, CEC told us it was too much trouble to differentiate new power lines proportionally.

We were to pay for not only our neighbor's private nine or 10 poles and wire solely for his use, but also a portion of his underground line to his private underground vault, his underground vault, and his secondary line and underground conduit, including installation costs, clear up to his private meter base.

I asked CEC if they even used computers... because here was a seven-step procedure that would accommodate proportionally, differentiation between potential common-use power lines and sole-use power lines, not to mention private underground runs, vaults and private secondary lines. No dice.

So it evolved that CEC was OK with new services paying tens of thousands of reimbursement dollars because they weren't willing to input a simple program into a computer for each extended long rural installation.

Thus, we chose instead to create our own off-grid solar power company with diesel backup for about the same cost of CEC running power in. We had to redesign the house plans and re-engineer the entire energy envelope of our endeavor. We have no regrets today, it was a compelling exercise, the results were stunning, and best of all we receive no bill each month from CEC.

Jack Addison