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Letters - September 10

Behind the offer

This letter explains my recent offer to build and donate a big park along the Columbia River.

In July, at an informational session hosted by the Port at the high school, I heard the port director (Dave Harlan) state that the Port could not afford to develop a large new park along the shoreline. Instead, the Port is obliged by financial pressure to crowd four-story and five-story buildings along the river’s edge.

This financial problem at the Port seems to be leading to a community battle. I offered to intervene, to avoid this battle. Under this plan, I would buy all of the Port’s waterfront land, build a huge park along the shoreline and donate the park to the county Parks and Rec District. I would then attempt to recover my expenses from the remainder of the land. I began discussions with the county Parks and Rec board about details of the shoreline park and about how big the accompanying donated cash endowment would need to be. I believe that I can succeed with this plan, where the Port anticipates only financial failure, and I’m willing to take the risk.

The Port declined my offer, saying “the land is not for sale.” Instead, the Port has engaged a consultant group to begin preparing a new waterfront development plan, and continues to ask the city for new zoning to allow tall buildings along the river’s edge. Apparently, the Port hopes to negotiate a better deal for its constituents. Dave Harlan expects the preliminary negotiation to last 6 to 8 months. I had planned to have grass and trees growing by next spring.

The Port has my best wishes for success in this latest effort. If things don’t go well with the negotiations, my offer will continue to be available to the Port. But I’ll be pleased if the Port receives a better offer, as I have other projects to work on.

Andy von Flotow

Hood River

Don’t quickly judge

Hard to believe the accusations made against Lee Jenkins and Linda Kremin (page A1, Sept. 3.) Although we rarely have the opportunity to enjoy their company while in Hood River, we have spent countless hours with them in Baja.

They are highly regarded in Baja for their charitable acts. They are avid hikers and have walked countless miles in Baja to bring clothing, food, medicine and tools to many families. Please don’t be too quick to judge these wonderful people.

Scott and Gail Hagee

Hood River

‘Confused’

There’s one thing that particularly confuses me about the Wal-Mart issue. The land for the proposed development is currently under county jurisdiction but everyone knows it will have to be annexed by the city before building could begin. The city would have to provide all the basic services and the city would incur the most impacts.

The city planning process has recommended denying the project. Why are we going through the exercise of planning review at the county level when the store would be in the city? And where does the county planning staff get away with the arrogance of not endorsing the city’s recommendations?

Just who are the powers controlling this issue? A store the size of the proposed Wal-Mart is incompatible with everything that makes Hood River the special place that it is.

Louise Wilson Noyes

Hood River

Consider the source

Here in Hood River County, we are about to witness a gigantic propaganda push where large corporations will soon be trying to influence voters with sophisticated advertising in the newspaper, on the radio and TV, and in editorials. This propaganda is intended to scare us all away from protecting our water sources in the high elevation forests. We will hear how these resources are not at risk (they are), how voters are somehow acting illegally by voting to protect these resources (they are not), and how our economy will suffer if we protect our water (it won’t). Consider who really stands to gain from development in and near the source of our water. You? Most of the county’s watersheds have not even been mapped, and the developers argue with the maps the state has drawn and certified. We must resist the developers’ urgent cries and hold our ground. Watch out for all the talk about sustainability, Natural Stuff, green development plans, how the companies are suddenly eco-friendly, green energy, recycling, etc. It is designed to confuse you, and to make your natural caution about your water seem extreme and expensive. Please consider the source of these messages. These are very slick people and however convincing they may sound, at the end of the day we will pay dearly if we allow them to screw up our water with subdivisions and resorts. Water resources in Hood River already support tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, families, fishing, schools, yards, recreation, and gardens. We must vote to protect those resources. Without water, Hood River would have the economy of Harney County while the developers sell huge houses with “large lawns” (golf greens), and water users pay for buildings full of filtration equipment or can’t irrigate their orchards.

John Wood

Hood River

‘Voice’ too liberal

It was offensive to read the totally partisan liberal nonsense by David Fowler in “Another Voice” (Sept. 6, 2003.) He criticized the common sense “cut wasteful spending” plans of Republicans like Patti Smith. He advocated the liberal “more taxes and more spending” agenda. He tooted his own horn on his partisan soap box which was provided free by the Hood River News.

Fowler was so righteous. He was so special. He stated that he does not use government services, but he is so sacrificial that he is willing to pay for them anyway. Isn’t he wonderful? He wants every one of us to pay more taxes, for what? For anything that the liberal spenders desire. What a bunch of baloney.

If there is to be obvious and blatant partisan propaganda like that published in our local newspaper, make him pay for it as an advertisement. His rantings are not news. He is not objective. He is strictly partisan with liberal propaganda. Where is the fair and balanced view in the newspaper?

The thinking of liberals like Fowler starts with the premise that there is no tax that is a bad tax. There is no spending item that is a bad spending item. There is nothing run by government that should not be budgeted upward with more taxes.

Oh wait a minute ... He does object to the spending on our military and national security. Listen up, it is easy to get his vote. Just promise to tax and spend. Fowler and his liberal friends will not only vote for you, they will write “Another Voice” column in the newspaper to support your candidacy.

Mitch West

Parkdale

Bravo, firefighters

Last Tuesday morning, as I drove to work past Government Cove, I thought to myself “God. we are lucky that there hasn’t been a big wildfire in The Gorge!”

At around 8 a.m., I almost choked, as I heard the Cascade Locks Fire and Rescue called out to a fire.

Now, I think “Thank God that we have such talented and knowledgeable fire fighters and emergency crews in the area!” BRAVO to all those involved!!

Shelley Gimbal

Hood River

Government good

Why do people criticize the government and its employees so frequently? Do they not realize the freedoms we have? Do they not realize that imperfect humans run our government? “Let you who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I say, quit your childish belly-achin’.

I have worked for local, county, state and federal governments. I currently work in a government facility. My job gives me the “pleasure” of listening to the general public, clients, customers and taxpayers directly or indirectly on a regular basis. Frankly, these people moan, groan, and under appreciate exactly what our government and its employees do on a daily basis for the citizens of this country.

They assume that government employees are taking endless coffee breaks, eternal vacations, chit-chatting all day on just plain nothing. The fact is, they work endlessly on your behalf. People, for some unknown reason, assume the government and its employees are perfect, without mistake or blunder. Let’s set the record straight.

Please know that you are not the only citizen in this country with a need or request; there are millions. Countless hours, and I mean countless, are spent updating, correcting, reviewing and organizing your personal case or file. This includes, but not limited to, investigating information given by you or others so that you may obtain the benefits or services that you are asking the government to award you. Collecting information that the government requires so that your claim or benefit can be awarded in a timely manner. Ensuring that you are provided with the appropriate and factual information you are requesting.

Countless hours are worked to ensure that you, your family and all in this country have electricity, security, affordable housing, paved roads, good schools, disability and retirement benefits, effective transportation, beautiful parks, clean water, somewhere for your sewage to be processed (if that alone isn’t enough), fire and medical protection and services ... and the list goes on and on and on.

Without the hard work of the men and women working for our governments where would we be? If you really want to know, I suggest visiting a third world country sometime soon.

Whether or not you have walked a mile in the shoes of a government employee, I ask you to hold your tongue, be grateful, accept that they are only human and show some respect for your fellow citizens.

These men and women are doing the best job they can. No one expects you to bend rules or break the law so do not expect them to. Why should they risk their job and livelihood just because you do not like the rules. They may possess information you do not, they may or may not be able to share that information with you. Just know that they are doing the best they can.

So be patient, understanding, and respectful.

Government employees, you are appreciated.

Jonathan Bigelow

The Dalles

Homage of reason

John Love, in his letter to the editor dated Sept. 6, makes a number of allegations and statements that are false. Most importantly he claims that those of us who support freedom of religion (meaning ALL religions, not just freedom to practice Christianity) hate America. This is a total fabrication of the right wing uses to scare people. Those of us on the left and those of us who believe in a stricter and higher moral code than offered in the Bible (all life is sacred, not just humans) hold a deep and abiding love for America. This is a mature love. A four-year-old child loves his mother in an unquestioning, devout way, and that is proper; mother is perfect. As we mature we still love her, even though we see her flaws. We want to help her make the right decisions and be the best person she can be. As a veteran of three wars don’t ever try to tell me that I don’t love this country. America is the bright shining star of the world but is on her way to becoming just another world bully if we don’t do something to stop the immoral leadership being forced on the good American public.

Secondly, it is not just atheists who are offended by the public display of a Christian symbol in a place of government, but members of all religions who value their right to worship as they see fit. How would Mr. Love like seeing a Pagan pentagram or Hindu God displayed in front of our courthouse? My guess is he wouldn’t appreciate it.

True, many of the founding fathers were Christian (certainly not all of them) but I don’t hold that against them because they understood that tyranny from one religious sect harms us all.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than of blindfolded fear.”

Rick de la Tour

Hood River

No theocracy

As someone who grew up in Hood River and attended public schools here in the 1950s (Hood River High School class of 1960), I would like to respond to John D. Love’s Sept. 6 letter to the editor.

Our classes never began with a prayer and I feel that I turned out just fine.

I have never committed a crime, had an abortion (although I strongly support a woman’s right to choose), seen a porno movie, nor engaged in any other kind of “moral decay.” I do believe in science and I know that evolution happened, and I think that religion should be taught in the churches, synagogues, mosques, etc., not in public, tax-supported schools.

It sounds like Mr. Love would be most happy if the USA became a theocracy with police enforcement, Taliban-style, of the religious edicts of his particular faith. Well, I say, no thanks.

I prefer freedom of thought and the strict separation of church and state, as established by our U.S. Constitution. Mr. Love, you’d be astonished at how many people in this world do just fine without God and the Bible.

Claire Carter

Portland

Keep Kleenex

As a student still in the public school system, I’ve heard plenty about our educational cuts, and funding setbacks. It was amazing to me to hear last year that our schools are getting so little funding, that Kleenex is on the list of items many schools might be cutting.

Furthermore, just this week I was reading a little bit about Mr. Bush’s $87 billion request for the fight against terrorism. Although I am sure Mr. Bush is going to accomplish a lot more with this bundle of money than what he did with the billions of dollars in Iraq.

I wonder if he knows that influenza is a much bigger killer in America than terrorists, and Kleenex can help prevent influenza for much cheaper than some bomb that costs millions of tax dollars to make.

Phineas England

Hood River

No initiative

The Port of Hood River and Hood River City Council, along with a very respected and experienced company picked by competitive means, are working together to zone and develop the remaining waterfront area.

They are factoring in all of the needs of the citizens in the county, and a high priority will be windsurfing and other water activities. They will factor in the needs of those of us that are older and want to enjoy the waterfront in a different way. They will factor in the economic and social needs.

They will process the fact that use from Victoria Day (week before Memorial Day) and a week after Labor Day, is not enough use.

The combined governments want to provide income, jobs, and no additional taxes to complete the work. A group of elite extremists are trying to scuttle this process again. They have no plan except higher taxes for city residents. This group will have an initiative on the November ballot. It is ill conceived and way too extreme. Vote it down and allow the coalition of local elected officials do what they were elected to do.

Bob Montgomery,

Cascade Locks

Open question

An open question to the Hood River area public and public servants:

What is the leading industry (revenue generator) that drives the Hood River area economy and tax base?

Which are the second and third leading industries?

Mike Stroud

Hood River

Normal in CL

Residents and businesses are still reeling in the aftermath of the Cascade Locks fire, yet trying to regain a sense of normalcy. The fire is out and Cascade Locks still stands with relatively little damage, thanks to the hard work and cooperation of many fire fighting agencies.

It’s really quiet here now, and we want everyone to know we are still open for business. The Port of Cascade Locks operates one of the area’s main attractions, the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge day cruise paddle wheel boat.

The Sternwheeler crew planned for beautiful fall season touring before the fire struck. Of course, people couldn’t or didn’t want to come to Cascade Locks during the fire, but now it would really help the area recover if we could see visitors return as usual.

Chuck Daughtry,

Port of Cascade Locks

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