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Letters - February 15

A steady leader

Regardless of the polarity of opinion within and outside Hood River County on the issue of a proposed destination resort at Cooper Spur, I believe we can all unite in gratitude to the members of the Planning Commission under the leadership of Bill Lyons. Their willingness to listen to testimony from every single individual, and their patience and attention throughout three long evenings, set a standard of which any community can be proud. Such a level of civil discourse is neither accidental nor universal. The steadying hand of Bill Lyons and his graciousness with the three-minute time limit were vital to maintaining this civility.

Now that the Commissioners have heard the citizens of our community speak from both their minds and their hearts, we look forward to decisions reflecting their own concern for our irreplacable natural resources.

Thank you, members of the Planning Commission!

Margo Earley

Mt. Hood

A great show

In this time of shrinking school budgets it often takes community support to get new programs up and running. One group who stepped up to help out this weekend were the music professionals who graciously donated their time and talent to the KHRV Kickoff Concert, held at HRVHS on Feb. 8.

The concert was a fundraiser for the high school’s new campus radio station, KHRV. The station would like to thank those who volunteered to perform for free and helped us purchase some much-needed computer equipment: The Dragonflies (Mikel X, Scott Byrd, Jeff Beuner, and Steve May) The Consul (Jakob Savishinsky, Anders Burggren, and Zane Williams) and Stick Pony Rodeo (Ed Hrebec, Alex Bryan, Herbie Annala, and Tyson Kingrey), as well as sound technician Dan Helseth. These folks showed that you can have long hair and play rock and roll for a living and still care about providing opportunities for kids. The show was great and their efforts are greatly appreciated.

We’d also like to thank The Crazy Pepper and The Hood River Inn, who donated food and lodging for the bands; Allen Johnston and Samantha Murray, who ran the lights; and all those who donated to the station.

Dave Case, teacher

Hood River Valley High

Fears Bush

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Yet our country’s leaders are hard at work fueling the fires of our fear, hoping that our emotional manipulation will result in our country’s endorsement of an illogical, immoral war.

The only thing I have to fear is the Bush administration.

Peggy Dills Kelter

Hood River

Future soil burns

Future forest soil has burned once again in Hood River County. All over the forest lands of Hood River County, and most forested northwestern state counties, logging slash piles are burning up future forest soil. Today’s natural needle, leaf, branch, tree fall, and logging slash is tomorrow’s soil. The usual process is to burn logging “debris,” followed by the use of herbicides and fertilizers to force growth of merchantable tree species on soils that are badly abused.

When soils are nurtured and nourished, toxic chemicals are not needed to promote tree growth. These chemicals eventually move into waterways, from which virtually all drinking water originates. Not to mention the further decline of biodiversity of our life support systems.

Landowners and foresters who love the land and trees as more than mere commodities choose the trees to cut for forest products one by one. They leave logging slash in the forest to become rich future soil.

The keepers-of-the-status-quo will say logging must be done the way it is presently done, for economic reasons. Why is it everything (education, communities, human and all species health, etc.) is bent subserviently to twisted principles of business? Business, rather, should be bent to fulfill the highest ideals and aspirations of humanity. As one great spiritual teacher says, “The realm of business should give traction to higher ideals and aspirations.” Business is the realm of human endeavor that makes manifest the ideas of humanity.

Standard logging practice should be to lay all “debris” low to the ground in order to minimize fire hazard and to increase long term soil physical and nutrient vitality.

This and other issues should be in daily public conversation. What if, instead of being consumers (to eat up, devour, to waste,) we were citizens who continually moved to greater awareness, intelligence and community participation? Let’s compel our elected officials, agencies and corporations to develop a long term perspective. I believe our descendants will thank us.

Keith Harding

Mount Hood

Talk is cheap

I picked pears in Hood River in the 1970s and 1980s and always liked the place. So I keep your newspaper on my list of Web sites. I am disturbed by what I am reading about Wal-Mart, about development at Cooper Spur and development all over Oregon and the United States. Because the “environmental” movement has one goal only: To see the progress of a successful nation halted.

If you think that “environmentalists” wish to preserve Hood River’s agricultural character, think again. Look at how they treated the farmers in the Klamath Basin, opting to shut down agriculture in favor of the sucker fish. This could happen in the Hood River Valley. And note how many ecology groups are headquartered in cities, and are run by intellectuals who choose to live in cities, which are man-made places far from nature. They then try to thwart development in rural areas where they think they can push people around.

These eco-activists are mesmerized by “save-the-planet” rhetoric. They are traumatized by the movement’s apocalyptic vision. They spout an endless stream of phony scare stories. And they see themselves as the world’s savior. This is a dangerous state of mind.

They are “passive” people who build nothing. But they actively criticize all productive enterprise because that is all they know how to do. If you cut a tree and use the lumber to build a house, they attack it as a negative act. They never see anything positive — that the tree grows back, for instance.

Many “environmentalists” are people with no insight about how the world really works. They pack meetings, hog the microphone and serially write letters to newspapers. There are some good people too, but they do not fully comprehend this movement.

Ecologists often hide behind a smiling facade, but many in fact are angry and insecure people. And the productive, optimistic people who built America are in their sights as despoilers of paradise. Oregon contains millions of acres of wilderness. The ecology movement focuses in on every single development and tries to stop it, one by one, by wearing people down with endless challenges, reviews, complaints and criticisms. Talk is cheap, folks. Building things is hard. Eventually your economy will die if the productive citizens of Oregon don’t see the bigger pattern and fight back.

Steve Nikitas

Pittsfield, Mass.

Don’t start war

I felt much sorrow reading RaeLynn Gill’s account (Feb. 8) of her 21-year-old son, Jesse, preparing his will as his reserve unit is activated for war on Iraq. I was especially saddened by Ms. Gill’s belief that people who oppose the war would think Jesse brought “this danger . . . upon himself by choosing war instead of peace.” Such unkind sentiments are not typical of those in the peace movement. More common is the wish that the lives of young people like Jesse be spared by avoiding this needless war.

I grieve that Jesse and his comrades should die believing they are protecting our national security, when in reality they are giving up their lives to secure our control of the world’s wealth and power. The evidence of this egregious deception abounds for those who are willing to see it. On the same day that Ms. Gill’s column appeared, The Oregonian’s front page reported the British government’s admission that its “latest intelligence” report on Iraq is phony, cut and pasted from magazine articles as old as 1991. CIA and FBI officials have recently told the New York Times that the Bush administration is exaggerating intelligence reports about Iraq for political purposes.

What are those political purposes? Why would the U.S. and Britain be willing to distort the facts and rush the world into war? Why does the rest of the world oppose this war? Military and foreign policy experts and the leaders of many nations insist that Saddam Hussein can be controlled by a policy of vigilant containment and deterrence. Why does the Bush administration ignore that advice?

Before we sacrifice our sons and daughters, before we kill countless innocent Iraqi civilians, we have a moral obligation to learn the real reasons why our government is so determined to attack Iraq. Please make the extra effort to find out for yourself. There are many excellent sources of information available, especially over the Internet. Several Web sites offer daily reports from independent and international newspapers. Two excellent examples are www.indymedia.org and www.commondreams.org. A site that war veterans and those with loved ones in the military will find especially worthwhile is called Veterans for Common Sense. Please visit it today at www.veteransforcommonsense.org.

Paul Woolery

White Salmon

No bullying

This letter is in response to the letter submitted by Richard Lee in the Feb. 8, 2003, Hood River News.

1. In your letter you state that public opinion is divided between “those who understand the clear and present danger the Iraqi regime presents” and “those who will never concede that Saddam is indeed a ruthless dictator.” You are mistaken. Many of us do believe that Saddam is a ruthless dictator, but bombing Iraq and its citizens isn’t going to change that. Remember Desert Storm? We claim a victory and yet Saddam is still there.

2. You refer to a madman in possession of untold volumes of weapons. We — the U.S.A. — are in possession of more weapons of mass destruction than anyone anywhere. What is your definition of a “madman”? Self-centered, egotistical, greedy and ready to risk other people’s lives? If so, then many of us believe that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are madmen. You also refer to an area of the world where terrorist organizations thrive. Terrorist organizations are everywhere, even here. (Remember the Federal Building?)

3. You mention rewarding families of bombers with money after fulfilling their evil biddings against Israel. We — the U.S.A. — spend more money on death, destruction and rewards (bribes) than any country in the world and Israel has their own terrorists, so please don’t make them sound like innocents.

4. Saddam may have a score to settle, but don’t kid yourself into thinking we don’t. His desire to dominate Kuwait and the Middle East is no different than our desire to dominate that same area. Big Money.

5. Give the inspectors more time is not a common theme, it is common sense. If you truly don’t want a war then you try all other options first.

6. You state that the U.S. will have to step up to the plate on behalf of the world again. Why? Why are we — the U.S.A. — the self-appointed police of the world? And not just the police but judge and jury too. Our constitution is based on a system of checks and balances and yet we object to that in a situation as serious as this. The U.N., the opinions of other countries, don’t these count? The more important question should be, “Why do they hate us?”

7. Is it okay for us to make money selling weapons to other countries (including Iraq) and then yell “foul” when they use them? That’s what weapons are for.

Look at our country now. Education, healthcare, employment? No we won’t pay for those things. We just build more prisons when our citizens stumble and fall. Help other countries with education, healthcare and employment? No, we’ll just impose sanctions, threaten, bully and bomb when they stumble and fall. It’s 2003, do we really want to continue to live this way? Is this really what we want to teach our children? One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, but to expect different results. Let’s stop the insanity and try something different. Mr. Lee, if we do go to war, and I fear we will, I hope you back up your words by going and fighting on the front lines.

Amy Wheeler

Hood River

Stay with peace

Members and attenders of Mt. View Friends Worship Group (Quakers) feel called to share our peace testimony at this troubling time. While we deplore the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein and others like him, history has shown that using violence to achieve his removal can only beget more violence.

The peace testimony goes far beyond the simple idea that war is wrong. It is a commitment to try to solve all problems without violence or threats. Whenever a problem is “solved” through the use of force, the person or people against whom violence was used are left dissatisfied and the seeds of future violence are sown. Nonviolent solutions are lasting and bring harmony. We seek not only to bring about an end to violence once it has started, but also an end to the causes of violence.

We support ongoing efforts to resolve the Iraqi conflict through the use of diplomatic means. Mt. View Friends meets on the first and third Sundays of each month at 10 a.m. in the old St. Paul’s chapel in The Dalles, 601 Union St.

Jeff Hunter

and 13 co-signers

Hood River

Defining loyalty

Dave Dockham writes in the Viewpoint section of the Feb. 12 Hood River News that he is “very reluctant to have our democracy initiate a war,” and he goes on to claim that he is “not chicken nor disloyal nor stupid.” The “chicken” and “stupid” are issues that sound personal to Mr. Dockham, but I would like to comment on the disclaimer of disloyalty. Disloyal is exactly what Mr. Dockham and every other American citizen are being, at this late stage in the process, if they are publicly protesting possible U.S. military action against Iraq. These protests are way after the fact and therefore totally ignorant of what the facts are. Democracy has happened in this instance, and there comes a time in a democracy when an issue has been discussed, debated, and voted upon, and then, as good, loyal citizens, we accept the democratic decision as granted. Way back in October, Congress passed a joint resolution allowing the President to use military force by nearly a 3 to 1 margin in each respective vote — it was not even a close call as only a simple majority was necessary. Incidentally, the joint resolution does not specify that we need the permission or blessing of the United Nations, France, Germany, the Rev. Al Sharpton, or anyone else to exercise military force in Iraq. The U.S. Constitution outlines this process exactly as it has occurred — I refer those in doubt to the beginning of the Constitution, right after the Preamble, Article 1, Section 8, where it explains the powers of the Legislature. By the definition in Webster’s dictionary, “disloyal” is what American citizens are when they do not accept and respect the outcome of our legitimate democratic process. (Webster’s: “faithful to the constituted authority of one’s country.”)

Bart Cohn

Hood River

No pretty picture

I have taken some time to think about the outcome of Measure 28 and I have come up with, I wish it passed, but glad it didn’t. It was just a short fix to a long term problem, it would have impacted the today and hurt the tomorrow.

Having had a lot of conversations with my grandfather about politics within our country and Oregon, we both agreed that today’s politicians really don’t look at education as much as they should. As a matter of fact we here in Hood River don’t even focus at our own problem in education countrywide. We like to focus on Mt. Hood Meadows and Wal-Mart and a possible casino coming in. We need to wake up and smell the coffee. I may only be 25 years old, but I know that we are not looking pretty. There are going to be cut backs everywhere. I am very surprised that more art and music classes haven’t been cut yet, but I am sure they will be the first thing to be cut back.

We need to talk to our senators and representatives and let them know that we will not let them cut back on our children’s education. We will not stand for that. If anything should be cut back it should be their salaries and the administrators. If our politicians can raise millions of dollars to get into office, maybe they can raise some money for our state education system.

Andrew Darling

Parkdale

Still in love

It is said that every person has a double somewhere in the world. I have never met my double, but I’ve been mistaken for someone else in this town quite often because we have the same name. And we are similar in age.

And we have been pregnant at the same time (twice.) And we had the same due date. But now I have heard that this other woman and her husband are getting a divorce, and I want to make sure people understand which couple it is.

My husband and I are still very much in love, just as much, if not more, than we were when we were married. We are constantly amazed that we were able to find our soul mate so early in our lives, aware that some people never find theirs. And we realize that we are truly blessed to have the love that we do for each other.

Lately, however, I’ve been receiving funny looks around town. Mike has been asked many times if I am leaving him (not exactly what a husband ever wants to hear). And we’ve heard rumors that people think that we are closing our restaurants. Please help me dispel these rumors. If you have heard talk of this, please pass along the facts, and let people know that we are not closing the restaurants, and that I am definitely married to an amazing man, and have no plans on leaving him.

Shawna Caldwell, owner

North Oak Brasserie

and Stonehedge Gardens

Push protest

This is a call to veterans who doubt the wisdom of an immediate war with Iraq.

Men and women who have served in our armed forces often have a more realistic perspective of what war entails. Most of our military leaders are far more cautious about going to war with Iraq than our civilian leaders, who, though they have never worn the uniform or known combat, are nevertheless leading us into war.

All American citizens who oppose a rush to war in Iraq, especially without adequate inspections and full U.N. support, need to be heard. Our words should be seen continually on this page. But veterans have a special responsibility because of their military experience and their credibility in the eyes of the public.

Before thousands are needlessly killed and the horrors of war loosed upon our young men and women, as well as on innocent civilians here and abroad, we have a patriotic duty to again stand up and be counted.

If you are interested in participating in the vigils, marches, demonstrations or civil disobedience actions now underway or planned in Hood River, Goldendale, White Salmon, The Dalles, Stevenson or other area towns, contact Columbia River Fellowship for Peace at: members@columbiariverpeace.org or call 509-493-4991.

David Duncombe

White Salmon

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