Letters to the Editor for July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011

Fair taxation

Thank you, Anne. Vance, for acknowledging how important taxes are for running the government (Our Readers Write, June 29). Unfortunately we are not even close to an equal playing field.

There is a push now within our country for a flat tax by many Libertarians seeking equal taxation to achieve the fairness you suggest. According to which website you search, it appears that up to 50 percent of tax filers ultimately pay absolutely no taxes and many receive money back.

My wife has been told in firsthand accounts about people receiving IRS checks for "several thousand dollars." I have used TurboTax for several years and this never happens to us.

Meanwhile, some still manage to have the latest iPhone while their kids sometimes have the best gaming systems. We work full-time and we have none of these things.

Fairness is such a tough thing to consider when you look at all the variables. Business owners deserve to be rewarded for putting in 12-14-hour days to earn a living. Workers also need a fair deal when it comes to keeping some of their hard-earned money.

No one likes to look at the other side of the spectrum because it isn't politically correct to mention. As a liberal I want everyone to succeed; and given the right tools and motivation, many do.

Conservatives do have a point when they disagree with the degree to which some are granted immunity from responsibility and hard work. It isn't much of a stretch to see why they wouldn't want their taxes paying for someone else's child to have an iPhone.

We have to get past the emotion when we discuss these issues if we have any hope of resolving them. Being able to step back and see the big picture is only possible when we all fill in our trenches and put away the weapons. Thanks for listening.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Doing the

right thing?

Once again, as eternally "usual," summer and the dreaded Fourth of July hits us "with a bang."

Hey, don't get me wrong: Independence Day with its picnics, parades and other wholesome family stuff is really great. And quite possibly some of us "oldies" might even know what we are celebrating.

But, as recently as (wow) last week, the HR News ran feature articles about the injuries that happen "this time of the year." Fire Chief Devon (Wells) talked about the brush fires, homes lost and a variety of missing body parts from the under-20 crowd. Julie (Raefield-Gobbo) gave us a safety lesson on what to do if our clothes catch on fire. Good stuff under the circumstances.

And your front page of June 29 had a headline article that read "tossed firework causes first brush fire" - from a moving car yet. Cute! Home-grown terrorist or just a kid having fun?

And Russ (Paddock), we've been buds for 65 years and I admire you for what you do for our community and for your "Flying Kids." But don't you think that the 10 or 12 grand that we spend on the 30-minute fireworks show might be better spent on educating our kids on what Independence Day really means?

Perhaps the purveyors of these "bang-up" devices could offer a small civics questionnaire to potential customers before they could qualify for purchasing these explosives. As in (1) where was the Declaration of Independence signed? (2) Where is (hint-hint) Independence Hall located; (3) Name 3 people who (hint-hint) put their John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence. Maybe even "What year was the Declaration signed?" or (gasp) what was the Declaration declaring?

Please, folks; I'm not being critical of human nature (I mean blowing up stuff is fun and we all like fun) but the spirit of '76 will live on if we educate our kids about the historical significance of the event rather than how much fun it is to blow stuff up.

And thank God we have had a wet spring. The "Birdland Park" immediately to the west and windward side of my home on Eugene street is not the tinder that it was a few years ago when the fire department (God bless them) was called to extinguish a blaze there that was set by a rocket that came from some reveling teenagers celebrating on a porch just above my home.

Whew! Close call!

Come on, folks. Just think about it: Are we doing the right thing?

Phil Jensen

Hood River

Misleading percentages

I am referring to the article regarding the increase in basic ambulance transport rate.

I find it difficult to believe that increasing a rate from $900 to $1,500 is actually an increase of 40 percent. This increase is actually 66 2/3 percent.

In order to come to a 40 percent rate the increase has to be figured as a percentage of the new rate: 40 percent of $1,500 is equal to $600.

In retail, this is the result of computing new prices as a percentage of the new price. This results in a lower percentage, useful as propaganda, but, in effect, resulting in a higher price.

Example: 40 percent of $900 would result in an increase of $360 for a net price of $1,260.

Next, what records are necessary to document that these increased parking fees are actually spent at the Library Park?

I doubt that the increased fees will cover the costs of documenting where this increase came from. In other words, how do we justify charging a higher rate at specific locations if we cannot document that these fees were spent at that locale?

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

Violence begets violence

While concerned about what turned out to be a false bomb threat at Insitu, I was reminded of a woman's question at an educational event regarding drones. She asked about our community's security regarding the military contractors in our midst and the threats we might encounter because of their presence.

Practically speaking, Insitu poses a potential threat for retaliation, or terrorist attacks. While seemly far-fetched, in today's world anything could happen. Ignore the potential for this is ignoring the obvious.

I take exception to the insinuation that put the potential bomb threat in the same sentence about demonstrations that have occurred at Insitu. While it's obvious whom this references, what is not perhaps obvious to the reporter is that the local peace community strongly advocates and strictly practices non-violence. Never in our nearly 30-year history has the group committed acts of violence.

A local reporter has repeatedly tried to spin an image of the local peace group that paints a false picture. Once, she wrote about potential violent acts, vandalism and "outside agitators," that might occur at one of our events. A swat team was ordered to stand by, an event full of families, grandparents, little kids oh, and those outside agitators - yes, they did come, a father and his young wheelchair-bound daughter. Another money-wasted moment!

Noise is not an act of violence. When some members of Columbia River Fellowship for Peace demonstrated at Insitu, we were noisy singing songs, and even when faced with violent language and threats to one of our veteran members from the "pro-troop" counter demonstrators, we never resorted to violence.

What should be obvious to the reader is the peace group advocates for non-violence, in word and deed, and the media often perpetuates a mythology about peace activist groups as being violent.

Obviously, a company that works for the Department of War, developing cogs in weaponry that acts as judge and jury to hundreds of innocent victims will create desperate, tormented and hopeless perpetrators of more violence.

Violence begets violence; that much is obvious.

Linda Short

Hood River

Too quick

to presses

You should have the editorial ethics to check out your facts before you print them. You ran your Cascade Locks story about the fire chief resigning with no confirmation from anyone at the city and you didn't even bother to attend the meeting. You ran the story on your printing press with no confirmation the night before you published it. That means you didn't care about the facts and just wanted to make money.

As a nationally published writer, that is what I called poor and unethical journalism. You cheated your readers by doing no research and you simply sensationalized the story to make money.

For the record, I admire the fire chief and I understand the city council's action. You don't understand either and treated Cascade Locks as a second cousin. Which is what you do best.

Try treating Cascade Locks as a real community in Hood River County. You need to understand the story you publish before you write for money.

I understand that the citizens in Cascade Locks are polarized on the issue of the fire chief. I also understand that you want to make money on it. So publish this. I will.

Richard Carson

City administrator

Cascade Locks

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