Right to view
I am responding to Kevin Gorman’s letter, Oct. 16. Of course there is no challenge of us building. Kevin Gorman seems to forget about the agreement we signed on Apr. 12, 2002, regarding our ability to build our home. I believe if we did not sign this agreement, we would not be building today. My home was the view from the trail on Beacon Rock for 50-plus years. I do not see how another home in the same spot is going to change that view. We have no exact dimensions of our old home, but if there is someone who could see a change in size, shape, height, width or what have you, more power to them. We have agreed to paint our home a dark brown, use dark brown windows instead of the standard white or almond, use low-reflective glass, which I might add is an added cost because it is not standard. Also to plant 12 trees to the additional 136 trees we have already planted since the fire and before our agreement. If anything I think we are very giving to the view from Beacon Rock. As we have heard “visually subordinate” means not to noticeably contrast with its surroundings. It does not mean you have to be screened.
From what I have read, since they applied the day use fee visitors have dropped 30 to 40 percent. So it shows they want to use it, they just don’t want to pay for it. I would like to know about the 97 percent of approved applications in the NSA. How many are outside an urban boundary? And at what cost to the landowners? What is that percent? The Friends and Gorge Commission need to remember the Commission approved Multnomah County’s Land Use Ordinances for the NSA. All we did was follow those rules! Everybody has the right to the view. Even I have the right to keep my view.
As a member of the Eye Openers Club, it has been a real “eye-opener” to assist Doctors of Optometry Mitch Martin and Chris Barbour during the Lions’ annual vision screening of Hood River’s elementary students. During this week the eye doctors and the Lions have seen more than 3,500 eyes at the valley’s five public elementary schools and Horizon’s two campuses.
As parents, my wife and I had volunteered and helped with screenings at our children’s schools in past years. This is the fifth year that these doctors have donated a week from their work schedule, coordinating with the Health Department, the Oregon Lions Foundation’s Mobile Screening Unit and about forty local Lions, to give a much more thorough vision screening than we parents were ever able to offer. With their professional knowledge and skill, the doctors’ screenings have uncovered examples of strabismus (crossed-eyes), severe hyperopia (far-sightedness), amblyopia (lazy eyes), and astigmatism which would not have been identified under the prior screening system.
In these times of limited resources when our schools are suffering from diminishing resources from the state, I believe this is a wonderful example of how the private, service club, and public sectors can all work together to help maximize the delivery of quality services for our children. This is another example of how a whole village helps raise our kids.
Cost of trust
After reading the letters to the editor in the Hood River News pertaining to our local school system, on Oct. 23 I attended a school board meeting. I was recognized and read the following:
“I have been told that the strongest force in the universe is gossip” (this said by a Board member in a previous meeting.) I would remind you that it can’t work without our help. The American public, in view of recent history from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, will forgive incompetence, adultery, and even murder, but not the appearance of a cover-up. It is time for a full explanation from the Board and the Superintendent. The Board has expressed a desire to have a better relationship with the general public; therefore, be up front, open and explain in depth Mr. Elliott’s and Mr. Kolb’s departure, and what role the Board/Superintendent had in both. You (the Board) asked Mr. Kolb to write a letter of explanation to the students. You owe at least as much to the public. You have the ability and opportunity to turn rumor and gossip into a positive public relations move.“
The Board answered with words to the effect that because of employee confidentiality rules, the Board cannot say anything regarding the matter.
After the meeting one of the Board members said they would be sued along with the school district if they told the truth. I have no reason to doubt this individual’s integrity or sincerity.
Isn’t it amazing? Here in Hood River, Oregon, United States of America (not Communist China), a group of volunteer, publicly-elected officials in charge of public funds and decisions are afraid to tell the public what information they used to determine how these funds are spent and decisions are made. What happened to public disclosure, open and transparent public meetings, and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech?
It appears to me that we have a system in place that guarantees protection of the guilty. If one of the school system’s objectives is to prepare students to become future good citizens, what lessons are being taught/learned by this example?
Intestinal fortitude and civic disobedience (doing what is morally correct) quite apparently are not part of the Board’s curriculum. I was taught that you can do the wrong thing for the wrong reason, the wrong thing for the right reason, the right thing for the wrong reason, and you will still be wrong. The only way to be right is to do the right thing for the right reason. Then and only then can you have a clear conscience and enjoy a good night’s sleep. The public deserves the right thing to be done.
The Board member I spoke with was worried about the cost of litigation. Hasn’t secrecy been costly? How do you assess the cost of lost public trust?
Michael F. Fifer
See ‘Les Miz’
Music teacher Mark Steighner has done it again. This time, he’s taken on “Les Misérables.” It’s the first high school in the Northwest to produce the musical that’s taken the entire world by storm. The huge cast of youngsters does a wonderful job with a difficult musical. As for me, I’d rather see and hear the high school show than one of the traveling professional performances. Here, we get to see the best of the best of our young men and women.
Do yourself a favor. Rally all your friends and relatives, and go to see this great performance at Hood River Valley High School. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Shows are Thursday through Saturday Nov. 14 through 16.
The husband of one of the exotic dancers asked us to not judge the books by their covers. What I want to know is: How do you judge the books if they don’t have any covers?
I’d like to take a minute and thank CAST for putting on the Albee play, “Three Tall Women.” The performance ended Friday night but the drama continues in my mind. Questions of life and death and control and the lack thereof were presented by the very talented women and men of Creative Attention Seeking Thespians and they expanded my mind and thoughts. I wish I would have seen the play earlier so I could tell more friends how much I liked it and how much I appreciate having a resource like CAST in our community.
Again we read of Dave Riley’s tribulations with the obstructive and frivolous Hood River Valley Residents Committee. (Hood River News, Nov. 9). I mean, how frivolous can these people be, grasping at legal straws trying to save the water supply of thousands of Hood River Valley Residents? What I cannot understand is how our County Commissioners could legally pretend this giveaway of our watershed was a timber trade, and valued it as such. The implication that our watershed could have been clearcut under county management is bad enough, now we have the possibility of drinking up the waste water of the wealthy patrons of the development corporation’s “destructination” resort from underneath their “private land.” Land that we property tax payers paid them a million dollars to “trade.”
Where are the legal protections for our common resources — the water, the few remaining undeveloped areas at mid-level on Oregon’s tallest mountain, the agricultural land in the upper valley? When do we get to read coverage that doesn’t assume Mt. Hood Meadows rights to profit above all else?
Help! Good people Hood River Valley, your voices are needed! The next County Commissioner’s meeting will be Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. at the county court house. (With any luck, the courtesy of prior arrangements for sound piped out to those of us stuck out in the hallway of the too small space will at least be able to hear the proceedings. They will figure out this detail, because they have begun to understand that our participation for the common good is part of the democracy of this Nation.)
Help! Capable people of Hood River Valley and beyond, your money is needed to pay for Mt. Hood Meadows development corporation’s legal fees in their fight against the common good. Evidently our million dollars wasn’t enough.
Make a donation to Hood River Wild and Free Coalition. Who knows, it could be less expensive than the costs of fouled waters.