Letters - May 21

Envision progress

What’s your vision of economic development?

In this time of interesting opportunities, economic development clearly can mean different things to different people. However, a simple definition is: a process that ends with the startup or expansion of an enterprise by the creation of jobs.

The startup or expansion by the creation of jobs is the key. Under the flag of economic development many opportunities are being pursued. Some good, some not so good. Depending on your vision of economic development.

Think about your vision of economic development. How do you make your living now? Do you like where you live? Do you think about your impact here? Will you be here tomorrow? Do you support how your community is developing?

My basic vision of economic development is the creation of trade or professional jobs supporting the economic growth of the community. Not a job shift from small local business to Big Box Retailers.

Is Big Box Retail really economic development for Hood River County? No, it is a transfer of jobs — it does not startup or create jobs. It shifts them from places like Franz Hardware, Tum-a-Lum, Kreig Millworks, Hood River Stationers, Shortt Supply, Hi School Pharmacy, Hood River Supply, etc. — when these businesses can’t compete economically with a Big Box and they have to let a person or two go. Show me a study that documents the drop in the employment rate when a Super Big Box opens up (longer than within the first 30 days of opening) and XXX jobs are documented to have been created, not shifted. I can’t seem to find those studies.

Why do you think so many people have supported the location of Cardinal Glass Company in Hood River County? Because this is a process that integrates the startup or expansion of an enterprise by the creation of jobs, not the shifting of jobs.

Hood River County do you want to thrive or survive? You think it’s hard to keep residents working, our industries of agriculture, tourism, timber, entrepreneurialism and our sweet community alive now, wait until it looks like and becomes every other town U.S.A.

What’s your vision of economic development?

Joanie Thomson

White Salmon

Wants to return

I will forever call Hood River my home, and say that I am an Oregonian no matter where I live. Yet it saddens me to see how the leadership of the state is hurting the children by gutting the school system. How secure would you feel also knowing there are less police to keep the peace? “Budgets are tight you know, sorry about your missing car.”

The state legislators feel more inclined to burden the residents of the state with taxes than the visitors. It isn’t rocket science. Scale back the outrageous property tax. Adjust the unfair state income tax, and implement a sales tax. Even the national comic strip Doonesbury is making the Oregon school system a laughing stock. To me this is terribly sad. I would move back to Oregon as fast as I could if I believed in the school system and the economy.

The problem is once you sacrifice the school system it is a domino effect. What companies would set up shop there? The educational system would not look too promising to employees thinking of settling there. No industry, no business taxes, no income taxes etc, etc. I wish someone could convince me to bring my 6-year-old and 3-year-old back to what I call home, and I could believe they would get the best education possible. Is that too much to ask?

Rich Whitaker

Raleigh, N.C.

Raise your voice

I would like to thank all the concerned citizens who took the time to attend the Hanford meeting at the Hood River Inn on Wednesday. The meeting was an opportunity for public comment and was attended by representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. When I first moved to the Gorge six years ago, I became aware of the radioactive waste upriver at Hanford that threatens our area. Back then, with the help of Columbia River United (now, Columbia Riverkeeper) those meetings were filled to capacity, and it seemed that real progress was being made toward decommissioning and cleanup. This progress has been dealt severe blows in recent years to the point that DOE is actually ready to begin shipping vast quantities of nuclear waste to Hanford and other sites around the U.S. via our interstates and lesser highways.

The attendance at Wednesday’s meeting was respectable but our numbers are smaller and there are signs that we are being systematically worn down. It is time for every concerned citizen to make it known that we will not tolerate further contamination of the Hanford site, that cleanup must be promptly and thoroughly addressed and that it is totally unacceptable to allow the transport of nuclear waste through our communities.

It is well documented, if not well known, that the radioactive contamination at Hanford is already seeping into the ground water and into the Columbia River.

If this issue is important to you, please take a few minutes to write to your elected officials, especially to the President. Nothing will change unless we are heard.

Alison Hodges

White Salmon

Eagle’s flight

As a child and also as an adult my superhero has always been the American bald eagle. The bald eagle is one of nature’s fittest creatures in the sky, with abilities outnumbering most others in survival skills. In the early morning or evening it can be spotted near a tree line or near a river, lake or stream; most likely the viewer is amazed by this spectacular performance. This species of nature also represents our country’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. It can be seen on currency, official documents, military, law enforcement, and public safety uniforms; also can be seen on the top of most flag poles where it guards the freedoms of our country’s people, and in times of need the freedoms of other countries as well. But like the eagle, the ideas and freedoms it represents need to be looked after and maintained constantly.

Physically the eagle, with its wide wing span, visual abilities and intense grabbing skills allow it to fly higher, see farther, and hold on tighter than most. The eagle is a great hunter, continues to have a high success rate in raising its young, and so is able to endeavor as an adult. This enables the bird to live a long, prosperous life.

Although the eagle has been seen in a more glorified light in the past than in the present, against the odds this magnificent creature of nature is still able to survive in more challenging conditions and circumstances. As the areas where the eagles live change with economic growth, the bird loses its abilities to continue to be an animal worthy of a title such as a superhero, and at times turns to scavenging to keep its existence.

It’s agreed that the eagle should represent a nation with the same skills and interests. Superheroes save lives, restore liberty and guard freedoms that can create growth and prosperity. By enabling the necessary tools to complete goals we learn from our heroes what happiness can bring into our life.

For good reasons the eagle has been placed as our nation’s symbol of longevity; it has remained the most recognized and accepted sign of freedom in the world. Many of the ideas that have been derived by the observation of the eagle have been the foundation of other heroes and doctrines. Identifying the heroes of our nation we can appreciate the freedoms that they have given us. It would be in the best interest to continue to incorporate these ideas into our modern day heroes.

While the human population is at its highest in numbers, the quality of life for other living creatures is declining. As the physical examples which are the foundation of many ideas are lost to future generations, so is the quality of these ideas of our heroes. As a response to the ideas of the past heroes the character of today’s modern heroes is formed.

Terrence Mayer

Hood River

Taxes for schools

On May 6 I attended the school budget presentation. I sat there in awe!—admiring: the works of Rick Eggers and Gwen Gardner, their time spent in preparation, and their expertise in sharing the facts of a “mind-boggling conglomerate” of information, followed by a scientific formula from the athletic department for reducing their budget.

Relating back to my childhood when: (1) the class size was 20 kids; (2) the lumber industry reared a stable population as well as a staple to our educational funding; (3) when a gallon of gas cost 30 cents and a postage stamp, 3 cents; and (4) my savings account drew 2 percent — they didn’t have to ponder which athletic programs to cut (like today’s golf and skiing which offer more social than educational benefits).

I applaud the concerns expressed in their formula for maintaining the programs that benefited the greatest number per dollar value for education, per student.

As the Hood River News once quoted our new superintendent-to-be, her expressed concern was to seek programs that would be of greater interest to the lesser populace. (I predict that U.S. History will soon have a competitor. My someday dream is that all races will be equally provided with a Head Start Program.)

As Mr. Eggers pointed out, no department will be spared the axe; nor will we property owners — for the future of my grandkids’ education is in my left hip pocket — for if I’m not willing to pay an additional $1.33 to meet the $5 cap, their music and P.E. programs will be axed.

And this would be like removing the foundation from under my house — which would be contrary to the athletic department’s formula for the best and wisest use of my tax dollar.

Note: Elementary music and P.E. serves 99 percent of our student populace — the wrong place to cut!

P.S. How about a payroll deduction school tax?

Alan Winans

Hood River

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