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Letters -- October 2

No Meadows ‘Stew’

Why does the Hood River News generally give the majority of the article space in the coverage of the “destination resort on Mt. Hood” skirmishes to Dave Riley?

Why does Dave Riley continuously get to present himself as the most reasonable person involved, while opposing views get lumped together and marginalized as the “sour grapes” of a small, outrageous group? The majority vote for Roger Schock for county commissioner is a huge statement in support of our land use planning laws over private manipulation.

Why do we have to keep pretending there is NO PLAN for a destination resort while county, state(?) and federal agencies make decisions intimately connected to the advancement of that no-plan resort?

In the court case over the county land swap we read your coverage about the legalese of whether Mike McCarthy and the HRVRC have any right to complain. The huge, gaping, unreported issue is that our county commissioners, behind our backs, made a “timber” swap of our watershed to a corporation with a lousy environmental track record, and paid them a million dollars to boot.

If you think this is ultimately about timber, have I got a mountain to sell you! I am outraged that our watershed may be permanently compromised. It may not be “wilderness,” but it is no small part of the last wildness we’ve got on this mountain. Now we get to depend on the court to decide whether it is Meadows’ private land—on the basis of petty side issues! I guess that’s the strategy of having no plan.

Where is the investigative reporting beyond what Dave Riley (or even Mike McCarthy) thinks? How about some serious research into the many pieces of the “stew” Meadows is concocting for our future? We need to find out more about the impact of this no-plan resort, on the traffic and further suburbanization of the agricultural land in our valley. What sort of lobbying is going on at the state level with our land use plan and zoning? Officially we don’t have a plan to work with, but what about a discussion of the possibilities? We need to be aware of them sooner than later.

I am sorry Dave is so “terribly disappointed” we “won’t put our positions aside,” but I am worried about him “mediating” what our “mutually acceptable alternatives” will be. Crucial decisions affecting these concerns have already been manipulated behind closed doors. Is this possible to mediate?

Karen Harding

Mt. Hood

No Wal-Mart delay

I’ve just heard that Wal-Mart is, for a second time, requesting postponement of the planning commission meeting. This comes after over six months of the County requesting Wal-Mart change their plan to fit into our community. At each turn, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest corporation, has submitted the minimum required, choosing only superficial adjustments to their cookie cutter plans.

Now, after a thorough review by the county, and at great expense to us as taxpayers, (which resulted in an 84-page report reccommending denial) Wal-Mart wants to postpone the planning meeting again so they can submit “more” information, information that should have been submitted over three months ago when it was originally requested.

I’m perplexed that Wal-Mart, a company with limitless financial resource, and the ability to solve this problem with it’s cadre of consultants, lawyers and architects, finds itself so confused as to what they should be submitting. Is it possible that they are attempting to locate something here that shouldn’t be here, is not allowed by our laws and our own Comprehensive plan?

The short answer to that question is yes.

Wal-Mart, stop postponing your time in front of the planning commission, you have had enough time to adjust your plans, continually throwing stuff up against the wall to see what sticks does nothing but waste our communities limited time and resources!

If nothing else, at least show up with a plan that does justice to the town you are locating it in, and not another concrete monument to profit at all costs consumerism model that you have so expertly honed.

Maui Meyer

Hood River

Sliced, diced enough

Hood River New’s recent article about Meadow’s promoter Dave Riley’s disdain over being unable to convince the Hood River Valley Residents Committee to get together with a mediator was sadly comical. Mt. Hood has been sliced and diced so much, that between logging roads and ski resorts, it’s hard to find the wild mountain.

However, some beauty and wildness remains. Riley’s plan would further erode the wild character of Mt. Hood, in a nice way mind you, wrapped in a Natural Step package to boot. Just right for rich out of towners to buy second homes, golf, and ski and not understand their impacts. Why would HRVRC and the coalition that has formed to block Riley’s aspirations, want to mediate with such a plan? As the mantra goes, and it fits well for the Wal-Mart and No Casino issues too: “There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.”

As those who have fought the battle to protect nature have learned, mediation and compromise always result in less wildness. Always. I salute the coalition for its refusal to mediate with Riley and encourage all those who think Mt. Hood has been developed enough, to support their efforts as much as possible.

If you like to ski or snowboard, great, do it. But please stand up for what wildness remains on beautiful Mt. Hood. Demand that Meadows improve the facilities they currently operate and get over their cancer-like desire to grow and grow until all wildness is gone.

Daniel Dancer

Mosier

Wal-Mart Plans

I understand by the latest reports in the Hood River News that there are some problems with the plans for a Super Wal-Mart. I can appreciate some of these concerns. There seem to be problems with numerous specific portions of the plan. I think that I have a solution for all of these concerns. Wal-Mart could assume liability for potential problems by downstream landowners. Of course, I think that they already have this responsibility. Other remedies are listed below.

If we were able to put a golf course on this location I think that it would meet all of the requirements that the county seeks. First, it would be aestetically pleasing. Parking could be hidden in the trees, It would be easy to control the size of the clubhouse and other facilities, I doubt that there would be a major problem with traffic.

I know that if the approval can be granted for a golf course in an area listed as agriculture, despite numerous appeals from adjacent property owners, then it would be very easy to gain approval for a course in an area zoned as commercial. I doubt that there would be complaints raised by nearby orchardists.

I do not know if the number of jobs provided would be comparable. Perhaps a study could be made. I am sure that this could delay development by a year or two.

By the way, what properties are located downstream from this proposal? I thought that the freeway was adjacent to this location.

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

Here we go again

Ronald Reagan was right when he said “here we go again,” politicians take the oath of office when they are elected to look out for the people who can’t look out for themselves. This includes protecting the watershed and allow stores that can survive the current and future taxes and regulations, not protect stores that are on the edge where the next tax or regulation will force them to close.

Hood River cannot live in the past and must look to the future to protect all Hood Riverites to drink clean water while shopping in town at the new Wal-Mart super store.

Paul Nevin

Hood River

Defeat war idea

President Bush and Vice President Cheney often compare Saddam Hussein to Hitler. But are we preparing to fight a total war against Iraq — when Iraq is only a small part of the threat of weapons of mass destruction?

Pakistan, India, and Israel — not to mention “traditional” powers such as the U.S. and Russia — already have nuclear weapons. A dozen countries are Iraq’s equal or superior in biological weapons.

Yes, Americans dislike Saddam Hussein. But terrorists could as easily steal or buy weapons of mass destruction from disintegrating Russian arsenals — or even from our own stockpiles. Striking Iraq will not deny terrorists weapons of mass destruction. What attacking Iraq will do is to swell the ranks of potential suicide terrorists.

Joy von Buschow, LMT, CNMT

Hood River

For mutual respect

I was appalled to see that small-minded intolerance is alive and well in the Hood River Valley. Mitch West wrote on Sept. 28 that it’s time to “Draw the Line” between environmental groups and timber and farming interests.

According to Mr. West, we (pro-environment citizens) “live in fear and trepidation of global warming, cigarette smoke, and McDonalds”. Apparently Mr West hasn’t been watching the news lately, or he would see the clear and obvious effects of these agents: Rising sea levels, shrinking ice-pack, record drought, tropical diseases in North America, lung cancer, and record obesity.

He furthermore asserts that our best interests lay in proclaiming a schism between Americans, those who promote environmental sustainability, and those who promote unchecked capitalism. To anyone with a whit of insight, it is obvious our only way to profitable and sustainable timber and farming activity is cooperation.

As to his claim that “Earth worshippers think 9/11 was a fantasy,” this inflammatory rubbish is not even worth a response. I will say only that my love for this country is inextricably linked to my love for the rich landscape upon which it stands. To Mr. West, patriotism is apparently best expressed through the gluttonous consumption of every resource you can lay hands on.

To anyone else involved in the shaping of our beautiful valley, I believe we can find our way with mutual respect and intelligent discourse. Anything less is simply uncivilized.

Alex Dixon

Mt. Hood

Smoke screen seen

The Ben and Jerry show may have finally come to an end. Apparently neither person was above board in their dealing with Glenn Elliott. As I stated in this paper before ... getting rid of Elliott by RIF’fing his position was a smoke screen for their real reasons. The smoke screen apparently caught up with them and has now cost the citizens of Hood River County a ton of money to correct their bad judgement.

We the taxpayers have lost a good activities director and vice-principal, have to spend more money pursuing another superintendent during troubled fiscal times, operate a school with “co-principals,” and deal with a lame duck administration until June.

Where was the school board during all of this? Were they being misled as being put forth in the media, or were they also on the bandwagon knowing full well what Ben and Jerry were up too. I hope we citizens get a full accounting from Dr. Sessions and the schoolboard at the next district meeting.

My guess is the season finale of the Ben and Jerry show has been put on hold for a few more months. There are just too many good story lines to let this show end too quickly. Someone owes the citizens of this school district a full accountablility of what truly transpired. The smoke screen needs to dissipate, and soon.

Daryn Fogle

Hood River

No mudslinging

Voters have another insult to our intelligence with the recent mailing from Friends of Bob Montgomery. This kind of junk politics should be embarrassing to those who prepared and approved it. It leaves us with two possibilities: Bob Montgomery’s campaign has nothing intelligent to say about real issues and/or they think ridiculous claims and mudslinging will pay off.

This is not the kind of candidate or campaign that I want to represent our community in Salem.

Darlene Daggett

Hood River

Elliott deserves job

If the school board has the nerve to ask Glenn Elliott to return his severance package, the least they could do is make him the new principal, or offer him his job back. Glenn was a terrific role model during his career at Hood River Valley High School. He was my coach and mentor and he deserves a lot of credit for making me a better student, businessman and citizen.

He was a class act. Mr. Sessions ended up paying him about two bucks a kid for all those years of great work. I know what I learned from Mr. Elliott was worth way more than two lousy bucks and a slap in the face. I’ll be at the next school board meeting, learning who not to vote for during the next election.

Mike Caldwell

Class of ’83

Hood River

Tax the tourists

Here’s a suggestion for our state’s financial crisis. I think we should implement a sales tax for tourists only. Here’s how it would work. All residents of the state of Oregon would need to obtain a tax exempt card. This card would be like a driver’s license/ID card (with picture) and a bar code. The card would be scanned through a credit card/ATM machine at point of purchase for all nonfood items.

The costs of the cards and implementation of the plan would be divided among the residents of Oregon. The new sales tax revenue would eventually decrease the tax burden for the citizens of the state and help fund many of our social and educational services.

A vote for Kevin Mannix would also help our state’s financial crisis.

Gail Hagee

Hood River

Stop ‘cheap shots’

Although the Friends of Bob Montgomery apparently don’t know the difference between a statute and a statue, they are adept at taking cheap shots at Senator Rick Metsger. Especially bothersome are their campaign flyer’s shady deceptions such as implying a vote to refer a temporary tax increase to the electorate is a vote to raise income taxes. It is, in fact, a chance to let the public decide if we are willing to pay a few extra dollars in order to improve our sorry school funding situation.

Before allowing his friends to sling more political mud, perhaps Mr. Montgomery should consider a Latin proverb: he that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.

Larry Blakely

Hood River

Dragging process

Wal-Mart has just requested a postponement of the planning meeting until November. What a drag this process is being on our resources, requiring us to start, and stop and start again ... As I understand it, the last long response to the Planning Department’s criteria did not meet half of requirements. This was their second opportunity to address clearly defined criteria. This megacorporation has plenty of staff and experience and funds to do it right the first time, let alone the second time.

I had heard they had some really creative ideas to get what they wanted and fit in here. I was really disappointed that they didn’t do their job. Now, to hear they want to cancel and postpone yet again? We are not made of time and money, and we don’t have Megastaff, but Hood River really does know what kind of a community we have chosen to live in and how we choose to see it become in the future for our kids, our older adults, all of us. And we really are persistent in our determination to do it right.

Are we being underestimated in our decision not to be Everytown-USA, and to commit everything we have to making sure of it? Come on, Wal-Mart! Be serious!

Donna Gray-Davis

Hood River

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