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Letters to the Editor for May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

Vote not unanimous

Let's set the record straight. Concerning the ad in the Hood River News espousing Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department support of the proposed merger of Pine Grove Fire Department with Odell Fire Department: The vote was not unanimous.

There are 26 members, of which 20 were in attendance at the meeting in which the vote was taken. The motion passed on a vote of 12 to 8. Four of the members hold dual membership with OFD. Not all of those four members were in attendance for that vote.

Just the facts.

Jim Wells

Hood River

Misplaced priorities

The juxtaposition of those on the hunt for Obama's birth certificate and those on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, in the same week, would be rather humorous, if it weren't so pathetic!

Those who are in the camp with the birth certificate hunters - you know who I mean: the Tea Partiers and assorted other wingers, mostly right, and yes, so-called centrists media, politicians and candidates, Trumping up grist for the anti-Obama mill - considered it huge news that Obama's long form birth certificate hadn't been produced quickly enough, ridiculing the president for saying that he had "more important things to do with his time" than justify his birth announcement in the Hawaiian newspaper 44 years ago. Must'a been a hoax! That's a bit of a stretch for most conspiracy theorists that I know.

But still, Tea Partier logic prevailed; priorities were given - after all, what could be more important than asking the county of Hawaii to come forth with the long form of Obama's birth certificate - immediately! - or else. Hmmm ... let's see ... priorities ... hmmm ... thinking really hard now, it's starting to hurt but I think the priorities are lining up ... should we let go the rabid hounds, foaming at the mouth to hunt for Obama's birth certificate, or ... hunt for Osama bin Laden. Wait - late-breaking news - we found the long form birth certificate for Osama bin Laden! Oh, uh … I think I'm getting my priorities mixed up. Sorry, dude.

P.S. Thanks to Squrl for all the great music he has brought to town over the last 20 years - especially during the early years when quality music was scarce without driving to the city. Too bad his last show is May 14.

Mike Rockwell

Hood River

Thank our businesses

The business people here in Hood River deserve a big round of applause for doing something that they do often, and frequently without or praise: donating generously to worthy causes.

The Odell Lioness Club wants to say a huge thanks to the many merchants who donated gift certificates, goods and services to make our annual May Basket Raffle such a success. The basket contained nearly $1,200 worth of wonderful things from Mt. Hood Meadows lift tickets to spa services, to luxury knitwear, to dinners at most of the fine eating establishments in Hood River.

Proceeds from the sale of tickets are going to traditional Lions charities for sight and hearing, plus many other groups in our area who make life better for so many folks. It is the purpose of our club to work year-round for funds to donate.

Our winner has been contacted and we hope that person lets each and every donor know how great we think they all are when she makes use of the great gifts! Thanks to all who helped us by purchasing tickets: You are all winners!

Pennie Burns

Odell Lioness Club

Hood River

Serving banks?

Republicans became absolutely hyperbolic over the forming of a Consumer Financial Protection Board and doubly hyperbolic over the possibility of Elizabeth Warren, who first conceived of a way to protect consumers, from being appointed to lead the CFPB.

Warren speaks simply and eloquently about the need to make contract language less mystifying and putting a stop to predatory lending. It seems Republicans must crush anyone who actually cares about what's happening to average Americans.

Why do Republicans hate the idea of American consumers getting a fair shake from banks and other financial institutions? Possibly because it may mean that the banksters make slightly less money.

House Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachaus (R.), who's raked in $864,000,000 from financial industry PACs, has said his role in Congress is "to serve the banks." Oh, really? Whatever happened to the concept of our elected representatives serving the people who elected them?

I guess in a way he is: $864,000,000 can buy a lot of air time.

Sheila "Kelly" Cooper

White Salmon, Wash.

Rates unfair

to locals

Yesterday for the first time I visited our Parks and Recreation District website. I was surprised to see the district's own statement that "Over 60 percent of the Aquatic Center's operational budget is provided by resident [property] taxpayers" and yet they only charge non-residents $3 compared to the residents' rate of $2.50.

Simple math indicates non-residents should be paying $6.25 or the residential rate should be halved to $1.25.

Once again, as with the community college, I'm left wondering why Hood River County residents are subsidizing Washingtonians, especially seeing that so many of them moved there in order to pay less taxes to begin with?

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Arnold for CGCC board

We encourage you to elect Charlotte Arnold to serve on the Columbia Gorge Community College Board of Education. Charlotte not only believes in life-long learning, she has demonstrated it.

Charlotte has been an arts educator for more than 40 years. As a business woman and parent, Charlotte understands education's relevance and impact in our community. Charlotte Arnold's experience, commitment and persistence will benefit the Columbia Gorge Community College Board of Education.

We enthusiastically support Charlotte and hope you will, too.

Jerry and Deborah Jaques

Hood River

Not a done deal

I would like to respond to a letter to the editor published Wednesday, May 4, that called out the need for a Walmart Supercenter in Hood River.

The letter referred to a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the Hood River Walmart store. This paper and others have reported on the proposed expansion as if it's a done deal, but Walmart's application to expand its Hood River store has not been considered complete by the city planning department. Therefore, it has not been formerly submitted or approved.

As a relative newcomer to Hood River, I was not involved in the fight against a proposed Walmart Supercenter in Hood River in the earlier 2000s, but in 2001, the city of Hood River passed a footprint ordinance banning commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet, essentially banning the future development of big box stores including a Walmart Supercenter. The county soon followed suit.

Today, a group of concerned citizens are fighting a proposed Walmart Supercenter in The Dalles due to its potential impacts on salmon spawning grounds, traffic, local retailers and other concerns.

It's not a black-and-white issue by any means, and one that will likely continue for years to come - especially as unemployment continues to cause hardships for many Americans - but since it's such a hot issue, I think it's important to get the facts straight.

Becky Brun

Director, Gorge Owned

Business Network

Grange's

darker side

Julie Raefield-Gobbo's article about the Rockford Grange (Kaleidoscope, May 4) was informative and revealing. This new generation of grangers and associated seekers finds inspiration in a grass-roots movement founded during a post-Civil War period characterized by social conflict, unbridled individualism and westward expansion.

The grangers resisted only part of their social and cultural environment, and Raefield-Gobbo embellishes the account slightly by describing the origins of the Granger movement with anti-corporate terms more common today than in the 1870s when the Grange was born.

Grangers sought to preserve individual farms and rural culture and advocated dismantling railroad monopolies and regulating shipping rates. The literature and speeches of the Populist Party, the Farmers Alliance movements of the 1880s and 1890s and the rhetoric of William Jennings Bryan, Eugene V. Debs and Emma Goldman were more likely to include phrases similar to those noted by the News reporter.

There is also a darker side to the history of the Grange in Hood River County, a condition the Salem Capitol Journal in 1945 described as "Hood River hysteria."

Many Hood River grangers participated in periodic anti-Japanese movements from the early 1900s through the 1940s. Seeking to block Japanese ownership of land, they joined with the local American Legion in a successful campaign for a state Alien Land Law in 1923.

In the spring of 1945, with World War II drawing to a bloody close, Grange leaders from the Pacific Coast states and Idaho and Montana adopted a joint statement declaring that the deportation of all persons of Japanese ancestry "is the only realistic solution to the racial problem." And they added in reference to African Americans: "If racial segregation is not the answer, what then is?"

I am confident today's Rockford Grange members only worry about the color of their tomatoes.

Eckard Toy

Parkdale

Thanks for support

The Early Assessment and Support Alliance program at Mid-Columbia Center for Living is a statewide program serving transition-aged youth 15-25 experiencing the early signs of psychosis. Psychosis is a common brain condition which, if untreated, prevents the person from being able to know what is real and what is not real.

Psychosis affects young people's ability to complete schoolwork, interact socially and accomplish daily tasks. EASA's mission is to provide effective support and treatment for these youth as early as possible so they can be successful in life.

EASA and MCCFL would like to extend our gratitude to the Odell Fire Department volunteers for their generous contribution to support a young man in our program. Their support allows this young man to meet some of his goals to be successful.

Susan Sisko, clinical supervisor

The Early Assessment and

Support Alliance and Mid-

Columbia Center for Living

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