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Letters to the Editor for July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011

Anarchy's rewards

I just read an article about Grover Norquist. He is the extreme right-winger who invented the Republican mantra "no new taxes."

Unfortunately, he has been very effective in brainwashing Republican congressmen and women, as well as Republican rank and file, about reducing taxes for the rich. At the same time not paying for the things a modern society needs.

He is an unreasonable tyrant with a one-track mind (and it is a narrow, myopic one). He hates taxes and forces Republican congressmen and women to toe the same line.

Those who waver from the trench he digs find themselves facing a primary election battle. The way he sees it if you are a thinking, reasonable person you have no business being in the Republican Party.

His most telling hedonistic, self-centered, to-hell-with-anyone-not-rich-enough-to-buy-anything-and-anybody attribute is summed up in this quote: "My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed carry permit. Because that person doesn't need the … government for anything."

He will never need the services of a policeman or fireman or the protection of a military; after all, he has his own handgun. He can quit driving when unrepaired roads and bridges become unsafe. His IRA is perfectly safe from financial industry skullduggery because it will all be "self-regulated."

His ideal citizen will not need a permit to carry a hidden handgun or AK47 because there will be no "g--- government" to issue one. All he will need is practice to be able to out-draw or gun down his neighbor.

I can see why so many Republicans love this guy. They are trying to live in a fantasy world. Something that exists only in fiction and their self-centered little minds. If Norquist is your role model, I suggest you get out a piece of paper and a pencil and start writing down all the things the "g--- government" provides you. See if you could really afford to live without them.

Gary J. Fields

Hood River

Appropriate punishment

Tom Hons (Our Readers Write, July 27) was impressed by a teenage vandal's excuse being grief over a friend's death. Fortunately, the judge said he wasn't impressed with that or other excuses.

The part that impressed me was that some of the vandals expressed concern about getting back in school in time to get on the football team. Nothing about time to work and paying folks for the damage they did.

I guess I'm not only getting old (75) but old-fashioned, too. But not so old that I've forgotten the great lessons I learned from the appropriate punishments I received for any inappropriate actions as a youngster.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Do the math

I do not get all these people who intentionally disrupt the council meetings of our city. Threatening to recall a council for a problem they did not create.

One in particular, our former mayor leading the charge, alongside former recalled councilor Rob Brostoff and even former councilor Mayor Ralph Hesgard, has come out to revolt. Which only make me question the motives?

All I need do is read what is on the record and I can see what happened here and it is not this council's fault. I can take our last auditor's report and it is clear to me that this city has been operating without any reasonable fiscal responsibility whatsoever.

That concerning our Emergency Service Fund, this council is only addressing what should have been addressed long ago. Being the fiscal responsibility of the city's financial affairs and, yes, they are opening the books.

Now I can take and do the math beyond what is reflected on the surface of this auditor's report and see $345,075 gone from the Emergency Services fund between the 2007 and 2008 budget year. When I should see those missing funds as expenditure in the 2008 budget year and don't; I see a $52,175.00 ending fund balance when the math tells me it should be a $345,075 ending fund balance.

Couple this with the fact that in the minutes of the council, on Feb. 7, 2011, when this council began questioning discrepancies in the records, we all learned that our fire chief who recently resigned, was asked (or ordered, depending on which time he explained to council) to explain the fact that he and the former city administrator backdated the time cards to deliberately hire an employee, before council approved it - which could have only led to further changes in the books to pay this employee it would seem?

The way I see it, those missing funds along with spending more in expenditures than revenue being generated, along with the fact that a city department head and the administrator of a city would knowingly conspire to change any official record, seems to me is proof enough that this problem was not created by this council, nor was the fall of our Emergency Services Department created by this council.

Which makes me as a citizen question, why was this former administrator ever granted immunity from the law and why is this revolt, which is being led by our former mayor and former city officials, as I see it, because this council is opening the books?

So is there something to hide? It is not a council opening books that should be recalled; it is the policy concerning the financial management and the lack of a financial policy in our city's financial practices that should be recalled.

And I see a council working toward changing these bad practices and you want to recall them?

Cody Steelman

Cascade Locks

Bad decisions

As a longtime resident of Cascade Locks, I don't believe I've ever seen my city in such a dysfunctional state, as what we are witnessing right now before us. Since this new mayor and council took over, we have watched them (not all, but the majority, unfortunately), destruct so much and repair/resolve so little.

They have done away with a good city administrator, in my opinion, and a fire chief that our city was very fortunate and lucky to have!

Much of the past few months, we have been without a city administrator, public works director, planner and attorney. Now we have a fire department smoldering, unfortunately after our leader's last fire storm. Not to mention the demoralization of our volunteer fire department, who gives so much and receives so little.

This elected body should be ashamed; let's hope no death or serious long-lasting injury or loss of property result by this gang of five's actions.

I understand the budget restraints - we are all having them - but the priorities exhibited by this mayor and council do not match the majority of my fellow citizens, I can assure you. We take the time go to the meetings, speak our minds and it seems our words fall on deaf ears.

Knowing many of our leaders of past generations, they would be shocked, disappointed and appalled by the actions of this group. The metaphor of the children and their toys was a good one - it would have been funny if not true; this council could be replaced by some children with their toys, in my opinion, and certainly do a better job. They would govern with some common since, something that is lacking currently.

It's sad this bunch hasn't devoted as much time to improve the economic climate, in trying to get businesses and jobs here in our town; then the budget crisis will ease. How easy is it going to be to attract growth in a city that is functioning as ours is right now?

We elect people to represent us and do what is best for our city; most of this group's new motto seems to be "If it's not broke, break it!" This town is getting as weird as Portland.

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the state, if not the world; we have access to the interstate freeway system, Union Pacific rail lines and the Columbia River; we even have an airport and yet we are economically depressed - what am I missing? Would someone please explain this to me - or do I already know the answer and am witnessing it right now?

The tasks at being a good fire chief is simply too much to ask of a volunteer, like it use to be, but times have changed. Most volunteers do not work locally here in town and cannot drop what they are doing and report every time a call comes in, like the old timers used to do.

Maybe if we get some good family-wage jobs that could change. Safety and emergency services are our leaders' number-one priority; everything after those two entities are just luxuries.

If there is a recall petition, where do we sign? No, I am not interested in running for mayor or council right now as some have hinted. My grandson, age 11 (soon to be 12), is available and would do a fine job for us.

Marvin Hansen Jr.

Cascade Locks

A railside scare

This is the story of a courageous little boy who was playing on the train tracks with his brother. On the morning of July 24, I heard a noise from a train putting on its brakes. I was staying at Memaloose State Park.

From stories from the camp host is that the little boy was very lucky to be alive. Where were the parents when this happened? I am so saddened when parents have lack of attention when their kids start wondering off. Especially when a camp ground is close to rail road tracks.

According to one of the camp hosts the little boy who was playing on the tracks was mentally challenged he had no idea that a train was coming and was only 50 yards from hitting him. I think there should be more of a warning for pedestrians who want to cross the tracks to go down to the beach to play in the Columbia River.

Minutes later the cops came to arrest the father of the two children and the mom was still at camp.

I believe when someone has children and the children can't think for themselves they should be very careful when they camp at Memaloose State Park. It is very dangerous because there is easy access to train tracks.

I believe there should be some kind of warning when someone access the park and there are fully aware when someone goes down and crosses the train tracks to go to the water.

Roy Leigh

Portland

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