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Letters to the Editor for October 26, 2011

Where is your spirit? Living in the Gorge. Are they nuts? More...

Where's

your spirit?

We have been going to the HRV football home games this season and to our disappointment there hasn't been as big a crowd as we've seen in the past.

Our HRVHS football team needs to get some support from our HR community. Come cheer them on this Friday against Crook County at 7 p.m.

Some tailgaters will be serving chicken fajitas for all HRV fans Friday to get the community together to cheer on our boys.

Donations we collect will all go to the HRV football team. We would love to see you all HR valley folks come and cheer on our HRV Eagles! We love our Eagles!

Chris and Christy Weekly

Hood River

Vote for the good of all

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

First Amendment to the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

As a person who came of age in the 1960s the "Occupy America" movement has struck a chord. It has given me - and I hope you - inspiration to believe again that the American public can stand together to foster change in our political system.

Whether you are democrat, republican, independent or just plain fed up with the political status quo, we need to stand up and speak out to take our government back and put the welfare of the people ahead of the greed of the corporate structure. Corporate influence in our political process has simply gotten way beyond what is right for our country and no longer "promotes the general welfare."

Corporate influence in congress is there to promote one thing and one thing only, that is to line the pockets of the CEOs and the top investors of the corporation. Yes, some of the money trickles down to stockholders, but not millions to individuals like the CEOs who promote their personal agendas.

I am not opposed to making a profit! I am opposed to corporate influence affecting OUR congress to pass tax and other laws specifically to benefit the corporation so their bottom line improves and the CEO makes millions in bonuses; passing laws that are not what is best for the majority population.

The influence of PACs has got to end! Our representatives are elected to office to serve "by and for the people," not to serve the corporate structure and make themselves rich.

I don't have the figures but I am confident that most, if not all, representatives leave office better off financially than when they took the oath. A recall of our senators and representatives, every one of them across the board, is what needs to happen.

This, however, doesn't seem to be a viable option due to ambiguity of the 10th amendment; people have the right to recall, legal and political obstacles would delay the process so long it is impracticable. Therefore our redress should be the ballot box.

It is time to clean house! Vote what is right for "All the People"; not what is right for the rich ruling class. Vote to change the tax structure; vote to change the way our government operates.

The stalemate of party politics is not good for our country; the politicians need to understand they work for you and me - we vote - corporations don't vote; they just throw money to influence the politicians - criminal, in my mind. Our representatives need to start voting within congress what is best for the majority of their constituents; not what is best for their political party.

Stop the bickering of partisan politics once in office and conduct the business of the "People's House." You as an individual can effect change; think about what is right and good for all the people, not what is right for your personal agenda.

Vote for the people; not the politician.

Marty Johnson

Hood River

Things go better with Koch?

Our feelings about Windows Vista notwithstanding, Bill and Melinda Gates deserve great respect for their foundation's huge investment of their and Warren Buffet's billions in relieving hunger and other threats to the poor and neglected of this world.

On the other hand, the Koch (pronounced Coke) Brothers, as well as numerous fellow billionaires and multi-millionaires, deserve our contempt for their unabashed attack on our democratic institutions for their personal aggrandizement.

You may remember the taped telephone conversation between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and a Buffalo news reporter posing as David Koch. The governor eagerly laid out his plans to destroy the public employee union's right to collective bargaining and thanked the bogus Koch for his financial support of the Walker campaign. He also accepted the "Koch" offer to fly out to L.A. for a "good time" after they "crush the bastards," in clear violation of Wisconsin law.

Koch Industries, an oil, gas and chemical conglomerate, is the second-largest privately owned company in the United States. The brothers and their foundations fund numerous conservative advocacy organizations, including Citizens for a Sound Economy and Americans for Prosperity. They are currently lobbying hard to get approval for a pipeline to carry oil from Canadian oil sands to Louisiana refineries.

The Kochs and other "one percenters," including the CEOs of major corporations using corporate funds as well as their own, have for decades systematically invested in the campaigns of supportive state governors and legislators, as well as U.S. presidential and congressional candidates, in order to protect their vested interests from "oppressive" legislation like banking and environmental oversight, civil rights and others.

We are now seeing one result of their efforts as Republican-controlled legislatures are not only gerrymandering (as expected) but attempting to change voting laws to negatively impact citizen groups that tend to vote Democratic. In other words, they are further tilting the playing field which already favors the interests of wealth and power.

Another result is the occupying of Wall Street and financial centers around the world by citizens who are fed up with the grip that the wealthy have on their economies, their governments and their futures.

The logical tonic for the problem is to get the money out of law making and governing. Simple, right? Of course not. The problem is old and systemic, and the powerful will not give up their control without a fight. It exists due to the fear in our congress of losing office and the money and power that represents, which equates to the fear of losing campaign funds (94 percent of congressional elections are won by the candidates who have the largest war chests).

So, as voters and tax payers, we can use this fear to our advantage by insisting that we fund campaigns ourselves. No loopholes, compulsory public campaign financing may eventually require a constitutional amendment, but demanding that every 2012 candidate sign a pledge (a la Grover Norquist) to cosponsor, support and vote for a comprehensive public finance law in the next session (results to be published prior to the election) should make it clear to them where their loyalties belong.

What do you think?

Russ Hurlbert

Parkdale

Are they nuts?

I see the port commissioners voted to raise the bridge toll. The reason they gave is that they need it for repairs and replacement.

Replacement! Do these commissioners think one minute that if the port puts a few million dollars toward $200 million-plus bridge project that they would own or control a new bridge that the taxpayers paid for! Are they nuts?

The fruit growers, business owners and workers who have to use this bridge have been bled dry for too many years paying tolls. These folks should be given BreezeBy passes of at least 75 percent off of the going bridge toll.

Jerry Petricko

Hood River

Living in

the Gorge

I'm amazed at how those outside of it treat it: PGE with its coal-fired power plant to the east at Boardman; the Portland air shed which blows up here when winds are from the west.

Now we have two new proposals, mile-long trains passing through with coal to be shipped to China; these will add to the noise pollution, the polluted air from both the engines and the coal dust blowing off open cars which is hazardous to the health of residents, and longer delays at crossings. It will double the number of trains passing through the Gorge with no benefit to the area's economy or improvement in employment. When that coal is burned overseas it contributes to global warming, and the smoke blows back toward us.

Now there's a proposal for two to three gas-fired power plants at the old Reynolds plant in Troutdale; again with no benefit to the Gorge community - a few jobs at the plant and that's it. More dirty air for the Gorge, water for cooling out of the river which will raise the water temperature of the river and be detrimental to fish, and the loss of another river site in the metro area.

That site should be a park, not a power plant; the people of the Portland metro area and those in the Gorge should insist on it; it's a far better use of that land.

Friends of the Gorge have yet to speak out on either proposal; I've only heard one member speak out about the coal trains and that was unofficially. And the Scenic Gorge Commission - where are they; strangely quiet. What a lack of leadership from both groups.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

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