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Letters to the editor, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011

SB 742 is step toward equity

I'm writing in support of Senate Bill 742, tuition equity for undocumented students in Oregon.

Tuition Equity doesn't use tax dollars to support undocumented students; it simply allows them to pay the same tuition rate as any other resident, not the rate set for international students. There are a number of reasons why this is good for Oregonians and good for education.

Tuition Equity allows students who, through no decision of their own, are in the U.S. and without papers. These students are already attending public schools and would have the chance to get a college education, at an equitable tuition rate. This doesn't cost anything additional and, in fact, will bring benefits to our colleges, and to all of us, as these students gain more education and more skills.

Often, immigrant students are scapegoated for being in the U.S. without papers, but these students are living with families who are working, contributing taxes and often literally bringing the food we eat from the field to the table. In Hood River, The Dalles and many other agricultural areas, immigrant workers make it possible to harvest the pears and cherries that are our economic base. In towns and cities, these workers are essential to the service sector.

But everyone needs the promise of a better job and a better life. That promise includes a path to full citizenship.

Tuition Equity is one step toward citizenship for undocumented students. This path to citizenship is a humane way to address the reality of immigrants living and working in the U.S. Many or most of these workers and students are refugees from the violence and devastated economy of Mexico.

It does no good to deny students and workers a path to citizenship, and does much harm to our communities through promulgating fear and frustration.

Please let your representative in the Oregon House of Representatives know that it's time to pass SB 742.

Mark Reynolds

Hood River

Cut military spending

We have become a nation of assassins. I feel deep sorrow and shame about this. I love my country, and its people. I am a patriotic person, and a religious person, to the degree that I am able to be, and I am asking why we keep spending our nation's wealth on killing.

For how long will our young people be faced with such narrow opportunities that they are forced to accept the occupation of hired gun, just to be able to afford an education and health care?

When will we find the wisdom in leadership that will face problems, from a perspective of truth, of true resolution based on a long-term view, which holds the well-being of humanity as its goal?

The military budget is an oppressor that we can no longer afford to tolerate. I am writing this letter in honor of my father, who served as an infantry sergeant, during World War II.

Gina Schena

Home Valley, Wash.

Congressmen queries

An open letter to my Congressmen:

I've written to two of you on your websites, without replies. One problem: I can't print out a copy, so I can't prove it or mail you a reminder. Is that deliberate or just thoughtless?

Also, is it possible to have honest questions answered? Even if there's implied criticism, like "has this lobby group donated to your campaign?"

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Big deal

For a couple of weeks, coming into Memorial Day weekend, I've been seeing headlines in various news media stating that gas prices would be coming down for the holiday weekend. Thinking that would be an opportune time to fill up my truck and maybe even get a little out-of-town time in, I had no idea that fuel was only going to come down 4 cents a gallon. WOW! Now we can afford to take that road trip to the grocery store!

Why bother to get us excited over such a little decrease? I don't think they need to say anything unless it's going to come down a dollar or two. That would be news.

Dale Peck

Hood River

Support

SB 742

The Oregon House is currently reviewing Senate Bill 742, the tuition equity bill. This bill deserves our attention and support. It will allow all students who live in our state to have access to in-state tuition rates.

This bill would directly affect, in positive ways, many young people in our community who would otherwise be unable to pursue a post-high school education. Through no fault of their own, these students arrived in the United States as young children without documentation. For most of them, Oregon is the only home they have ever known; yet they must pay out-of-state tuition at our community colleges and universities. SB 742 would rectify this.

If we offer these students the opportunity to receive an advanced education, we all will reap the benefits as students reach their potential and become wage-earning, productive adults. In addition, the Oregon University System found that SB 742 will bring in additional tuition dollars for Oregon's universities without cost to the Oregon state budget. The students win, the economy wins and we win.

Finally, SB 742 requires longtime Oregon students to pursue citizenship. It moves these students toward citizenship and helps them build productive futures in Oregon. The more education a student has, the more options there are for that student to legalize his or her status through the immigration system, such as through high-tech visas.

Please let Rep. Mark Johnson know that you support SB 742.

Peggy Dills Kelter

Hood River

Consumer protection

Elizabeth Warren is an attorney who teaches contract and bankruptcy law at Harvard University; she currently serves as assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

She chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel to investigate the U.S. banking bailout known as TARP (troubled asset relief program) and she is currently being asked to set up and head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect consumers from bank and Wall Street abuse (remember the 2008 meltdown).

Call Rep. Greg Walden and urge him to support this brilliant woman in protecting us from more Wall Street abuse; you can reach him at: 800-533-3303 in his Medford office, or write him at: The Honorable Greg Walden, U.S. House of Representatives, 2182 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515-3702

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Memorable Memorial Day

As a veteran of our armed forces for many years, my wife and I have attended many Memorial Day ceremonies around our country, including military bases, but none more memorable than the 2011 ceremony held at our own Idlewilde Cemetery here in Hood River.

From start to finish, the ceremony was very well organized, planned and carried out. The cemetery sexton, Bob Huskey, should be commended for doing an outstanding job as emcee as well as his grounds caretakers for doing a superb job of maintenance.

One of many inspirational events was the speech by our very dedicated Congressman, Greg Walden, who paid tribute to the military as well as the very many deserving Japanese Americans from our valley who served with distinction. Other memorable contributions were one by Nick Kirby on "The Old Ragged Flag," and very appropriate and inspirational songs by Dana Branson as well as many others who made this a day to remember.

All in all, a most fitting tribute to those who have kept us free and proud of our country. In the event you missed this ceremony, you missed a "most memorable day."

God bless the good old U.S.A.

Percy and Doris Jensen

Hood River

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