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Letters to the editor for April 9, 2011

April 9, 2011

Enforce

phone laws

I enjoyed your letter, Charlie Christensen (Our Readers Write, April 2), but I feel you are being a little too kind. The laws about phone use while driving are very clear and we are past the point of making polite suggestions to drivers.

If we just enforced the current laws we could probably make a better chunk of money to reopen the library or fund our schools than the well-meaning students who raised $700 (or so) collecting bottles and cans.

Driving the Gorge every day for work I can tell you that for every driver I see using a headset or another hands-free device, there are an equal number of people still holding their phones. As with any law, it is the enforcement and associated fine which makes it work; not the debates in the state legislature or the polite messages in the paper.

The statistics clearly show the safety risks associated with phone use while driving. Unfortunately, we sometimes have to "legislate common sense," as some like to say.

Sorry, friends without headsets, but we have to show equal treatment to all. It looks like Hood River just purchased new police cars. Let's make it easy for us to pay for these in light of so many budget cuts. Click it (your phone off) or ticket.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

A siege, not class war

You are right, Sean. Palmieri (Our Readers Write, April 2), we are not in a class "war"; it is more like a siege. One side seems to have all the power and all the weapons, while the other side is too brain-washed, too dispirited or too burdened with other problems to make use of the power that they have.

We live in a wonderful country where every citizen in good standing has the power of the vote. But the vote means nothing if it is not an informed vote.

I just want people to wake up; take time to study the issues for themselves and vote for their own best interests the same as big corporations do.

Anne Vance

Hood River

Dark enlightenment

Cliff Mansfield (Our Readers Write, March 19), if you don't follow what these talking heads are saying, why were you defending them saying liberals were imagining these attacks? If you don't know what this and the other moronic mouthpieces of the right are saying, are you living in a cave?

These talking heads are the greatest disinformation machine this nation has seen, and the National Republican Party and the Tea Party are kowtowing to nearly everything they say.

He says that unions are anachronisms; what would he replace them with? Perhaps he just thinks that these corporations will always make safe working conditions and take good care of their employees. I must ask: Did you turn down union wages or working hours? Did you turn down your union benefits and go it alone?

All you have to do to know what they will do without unions and union-created laws is to pay attention to what happens in non-union countries. Perhaps the death and mutilation tally will illustrate the value of union and environmental protections.

As far as Conservatives and Tea Partiers goes, I'm not sure what they mean by the truth and being enlightened by it. Anytime science or reality conflicts with what they believe, they ignore it. Pick an issue - global warming, evolution, the danger of pollution - and you will find conservatives not only denying it but actively doing their best to stop any science to find out what is really going on.

It seems that the conservative idea of truth is only what they believe is true, regardless of the evidence; such a dark enlightenment.

Gregg Morris

Hood River

What to do?

In Hood River County, we sacrificed our library to save the spotted owl. Now the spotted owl is threatened by the barred owl. What to do!

I wonder what we will have to sacrifice for global warming?

Rita Swyers

Hood River

Open HRV campus

To the editor of "The Talon":

Hi, my name is Zach Olmstead and I feel that the Hood River Valley High School should allow its students to have off-campus lunches.

School lunches are a major topic among students everywhere: taste, looks and prices. At Hood River Valley High School lunches cost $2.75 which gets you a slice a pizza (if that's what you choose) and a small carton of milk.

I am here to present the idea of off-campus lunches to the school board. A few years back HRVHS had off-campus lunches but made the decision to get rid of that option and now requires students to stay on campus for lunch. By doing so this brings in money for the school if students are buying the lunches offered.

I personally wait until after school to either pick up lunch from somewhere or just go home and eat. Off-campus lunches would present a wider variety of options for students to choose from. Students would also have access to better quality and healthier food.

Off-campus lunches would also give students the chance to go home and eat lunch, allowing them to save that $2.75 that they would have spent on a single slice a pizza and a glass of milk.

If off-campus lunches are not instated, students who think like me will still continue to not eat the school lunches and go hungry throughout the remainder of the school day until they get home or leave.

People think that students would take advantage of the off-campus lunches and not come back to school. Students who would not come back to school would be punished by the school and receive detentions or whatever punishment they deserve for the consequences of their actions.

Off-campus lunches would present a great opportunity for more money to be pumped into our economy due to students eating out in town during lunch. Off-campus lunches could also create more jobs due to all the extra business during the lunch hour.

In conclusion I feel we need off-campus lunches at HRVHS to allow students to be able to choose where/what they want to eat, save money on food, and to help create a stronger economy in Hood River.

Zach Olmstead

Hood River

Anyplace, U.S.A.

We do shop locally!

Walmart, Safeway, Rosauers, Walgreens, Les Schwab, Hood River Supply and others are just as local as any business in Hood River. We depend on these stores to sell us goods at a fair price, which they all do.

So be careful when you class stores or a business as local or not. All of these stores are local; some just happen to be chain stores.

P.S. We became Anyplace U.S.A. when we became a tourist town.

Jerry D. Petricko

Odell

Tax breaks misplaced

In a recent letter to this newspaper (April 2), Sean Palmieri states his belief that if we lowered the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, more corporations would keep their profits in the U.S. and hire more workers. Yet a recent report showed that 15 major corporations used tax loopholes and off-shore tax havens to pay no tax at all in 2010.

For example: GE, which made a profit of $14.2 billion last year, but paid no U.S. income tax. Google, Microsoft, Altria and 11 other major U.S. corporations also paid no income tax in 2010.

So tell me: Why would a corporation be willing to pay 15 percent when they currently pay no tax at all? In truth, the average effective tax rate (the rate corporations actually pay) is higher in India, China, Brazil and several other countries where the jobs have gone.

Fact is, a high tax rate is not why corporations are shipping jobs overseas. If you can pay a software engineer $15,000 a year in India, why would you pay an American $80,000?

We've been cutting taxes on the rich for the past 10 years but where are the jobs? Due to 10 years of tax cuts, the richest Americans now have a larger share of the national wealth than at any time since the roaring '20s. The top 10 percent now own 78 percent of the wealth and they own 90 percent of stocks and bonds.

Whether you believe that this great recession was caused by the greed of the banksters and the fraud of the hedge fund hustlers or not, the truth is that middle/lower-income Americans have little money to spend on housing, college, health care, goods and services. To get out of this great recession, we need to get more money into the hands of the middle class through higher wages and tax breaks so people can buy stuff again.

If you want to stimulate the economy, which would work better? Giving $1 million in tax breaks to one person or giving $1,000 in tax breaks to 1,000 Americans?

You can't have a business if you don't have customers with money to buy your product. As Henry Ford said, "I need to pay my workers a decent wage so that they can afford to buy the cars we make."

To many right wingers, this simple fact of demand and supply seems lost in their "trickle-down" economic view.

Guy Tauscher

Hood River

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