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Letters - August 31

Standing for rights

At a meeting Aug. 25 involving the city manager, representatives of the Art Council, Downtown Business Association, and the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace, as well as other concerned citizens, a DBA person indicated that the volunteer security people were overzealous and lacking in tact Friday, Aug. 5, and that the DBA certainly supports the Bill of Rights.

As one of the complaining parties, I accept this to be the truth. I also applaud the downtown merchants for conducting First Fridays.

I appreciate the many problems connected to an event that has become an overwhelming success. I also understand that this success is accompanied by a multitude of problems including parking, liquor consumption, skateboarding, unsupervised children and pesky free speech advocates.

I think this affair was an unexpected consequence of good intentions. I hope the forward-looking (avoiding the word “progressive”) and creative people of all Gorge communities will continue to support First Fridays and the merchants of Hood River.

In l964 Supreme Court Justice William Brennan said, “... debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide open.”

The four senior citizens involved Aug. 5 were not loud, were not on skateboards, were not a threat to the public safety, were not “skinheads” (but two of us are kind of bald), and had every legal right to their actions.

We think First Friday is a wonderful event and will continue to support it as we also continue to support the Bill of Rights.

Bill R. Jones

The Dalles

Fight fascism

Hats off to Richard Randall for alerting the media about the neo-Nazi Aryan Fest last Saturday (C. Locks allows Aryan rally, Aug. 20) in Cascade Locks! Publicity and organized protest is just the bright light that will send these bigots back under their rocks.

Instead of violence-baiting Mr. Randall, port director Chuck Daughtry should have prioritized the free speech and assembly rights of anti-Nazi protesters and encouraged the community to defend itself. Neo-Nazis use First Amendment rights to promote violence against people of color, women, immigrants, sexual minorities, and unionists. By sitting on the true nature of this fund-raiser for pro-Apartheid white farmers, public officials and the police protected the Nazis, not the community which abhors white supremacist ideology and will take action to counter it. I was one of many people who traveled to Cascade Locks to protest Volksfront’s bigotry. We represented the vast majority of people who refuse to stand silent while a fascist movement is allowed to grow.

Jordana Sardo

Freedom Socialist Party

Portland

Not a ‘bad guy’

About three weeks ago, your newspaper ran an article about local swimming holes, and I’m sorry to say your uninformed reporter broke the camel’s back.

As the previous owner of the property, I posted a sign requesting folks to take their trash with them, but to no avail. So I had to contend with fast food litter to an old abandoned junk car — in the heat of summer, I had to contend with fireworks, target shooting and even campfires at night.

I know Mr. White tried to be fair with these thoughtless folks. He even put a trash barrel in the area. But that was too good — they stole it.

Now in your Aug. 27 story, you make Mr. White the bad guy for closing the parking for swimmers. On Gravenstein Day, a very hot day, his parking lot was jammed. I think if your reporter had to police the area for one week, I’m sure his old swimming hole article would have been quite different.

Wayne Severns

Hood River

CL Port did right

I am a bit confused about the angry outcries, few as they were, concerning the Aryan Nation Fest in Cascade Locks not long ago. The reaction showed a definite sign of priorities the public is displaying. For those, however, who got upset by the actions of the Port of Cascade Locks, a little food for thought.

The minuscule number of those sorry wretches is and cannot be a danger for this nation.

Our Constitution guarantees all of us freedom of expression, of speech, freedom all around. We certainly do not want to go back to the late-’50s when then-Senator McCarthy unleashed a witch hunt looking for communists. We cannot have it both ways. We either reap the benefits of the Constitution (and include everyone), or go to a selection process which would mean dictatorship.

I trust our populace to be able to distinguish between a hateful philosophy and meaningful inclusion. The Port of Cascade Locks did right, as much as we all are displeased with the displayed hatred of the so-called Aryan Nation.

Peter von Oppel

Hood River

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