I have to admit that up until a couple months ago, most of what I knew about what a district attorney does was what I had learned by watching "The Good Wife." I've been fortunate; I haven't had to deal with the legal system from either side.
But when I learned a social acquaintance was running for the office, I decided to get myself informed. I Googled "What is a district attorney?" and confirmed my understanding that this elected official runs an office staffed with assistant district attorneys and other positions, is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in the county, and decides whether or not a case will go to trial (we know that most don't).
What I didn't know was that the DA's office does a lot more. They not only represent me (and spend my tax dollars) prosecuting criminals, they also work extensively in victim advocacy (e.g., assist victims of violent crime with getting compensation from victims funds, and provide other victims services), and can play a key role in reducing crime in a county.
I hadn't thought about it, but it makes sense: How the DA does his job determines how effectively my tax dollars are spent reducing crime and protecting victims in Hood River county.
I attended the DA and sheriff debate on April 4 - it was evident to me that Brian Aaron's approach is what I want in our DA office. I encourage you to attend the next debate on April 23 and decide for yourself.
I believe there is a clear choice in this election, and that the outcome matters.
Mary Beth Rogers
Don't reward Obama
Re: Stick with Obama, April 7: President Obama has many failed policies. No budget, massive debt, unemployment, waste. I hope anyone who is going to vote in November will look at the facts and do the research and realize what this socialist radical is doing to our country. Let's not reward him with another four years to complete his destruction.
Prevent child abuse
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. I am writing to encourage your readers to take the extra step to protect our children.
The effects of child abuse and neglect are far-reaching and tragic; not only for children but for society in general. Child abuse has many harmful consequences, including future mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse and criminal behavior. Children who were abused are more likely to abuse their own children, resulting in a perpetual cycle.
We cannot rely on government to solve the issues of child abuse and neglect. The community must step up to see that families are supported and kids are valued by the adults in their lives. There are multiple ways each of us can help reduce child abuse and neglect. Some are very time- and energy-consuming, but some are quite simple.
The easiest and often most productive way to prevent child abuse is to reach out to families in need. We all know of families that are stressed by time constraints, finances or by conflicts in the home.
If you know a family which is stressed, offer to help. Take the kids to the park, cook a meal, offer to drive kids to their activities or just be listener for a parent needing a friendly ear.
Many organizations already in place are great places to volunteer. Your involvement will surely help a child and family. Here are a few suggestions:
Be a foster care placement for abused or neglected children (800-331-0503);
Volunteer as a Big Brother/Sister (541-436-0305);
Be a mentor for older kids (www.mentor4success.org);
Volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (www.gorgecasa.org);
Help out with Youth Think events (youththink.net); or
Just volunteer in classrooms or with youth teams.
April, Child Abuse Awareness Month, is a great time to become involved to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
Please put angel back
On Aug. 2, 2008, my grandson's mom died in car accident above the Odell Junction on Highway 35. He was 2 years old at the time. You might have noticed the cross and yellow flowers at the roadside. Whenever we drive by he always says "There's my mommy flowers."
When he was 3 he picked out a special angel for his mommy. There are also white rocks from the Clearwater River in Idaho where she used to swim.
Last week I stopped and cleaned up around and added a new angel. Two days later I drove by and they were both gone.
I'm asking who ever took the angels to please bring the little boy angel back because it was special for his mommy. Thank You.
I'd like to thank Fran Mazzara for her letter focusing on Peter Nordbye's bid for state house of representatives (Our readers write, April 7). We really appreciate her recognition of the corrupting influence of huge amounts of money in the election process. Still, she missed a few points here.
Peter is not refusing to work with unions, business or people outside of the district. On the contrary, he has held conversations with these groups and as many other stakeholders as possible. Peter's position here is that the most effective way to address the needs and concerns of the citizens of this house district is to represent them rather than to represent state and national trade or advocacy groups.
Of course Peter has been attending meetings of various groups here in the district. He's been listening and getting input from service organizations like the Kiwanis and Lions, local business groups like the Sandy, Mountain and Hood River chambers of commerce; as well as community organizations, local granges, CPOs, friends of the library and others.
Peter is convinced that attending to local concerns and accepting only local donations from in district donors is the right way to best represent the constituents of the district.
I very much appreciate Ms. Mazzara's concerns around this issue and I urge her to join with Peter in his principled effort to return government to The People.
The process by which we elect our representatives is corrupt, and corruptible - even if those we send to the legislature are not personally so. They go to the legislature to represent us but are beholden in some, perhaps subtle but effective ways to those economic interests who put them there. All politicians deny it, but this doesn't change what is abundantly clear.
It is corruptible for huge financial interests from outside House District 52 to be able to so blatantly influence our selection of our representative. Over $2 million was spent on the four races for the two local positions two years ago; almost all coming from outside and provided by those who wanted to select our representatives so they could obtain influence in legislation.
These four candidates, two Republicans and two Democrats, all decent and well-intentioned, were pictured as besmirching each other. But this was perpetrated by those controlling each of the campaigns with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In our small corner of Oregon, we can put a stop to the "politics as usual" which has come to be accepted as necessary but that has left citizens largely cynical about how we govern ourselves. It doesn't take hundreds of thousands of dollars to select our representative.
You have witnessed the very low-cost Peter Nordbye signage. Many of those displaying one or more of the signs of the five candidates for local office are also displaying Nordbye signs. And while letting her speak for herself as she chooses, at least one very close family member of at least one of these candidates supports Nordbye enthusiastically, and expressed this openly to me in a public setting.
We will be conducting the same type of decent and low-budget campaign as these five local candidates.
Meanwhile, we will be debating campaign finance reform with our opponent, not willing to pretend any legislature anywhere will be doing anything significant to upset this vast pork barrel.
You will need to be asking both candidates for House District 52 about how much money they expect to spend, where it will be coming from, just who will be actually supplying it and what these vested interests expect to get from these contributions. The two candidates can be expected to have dramatically different responses and reasons for their positions.
Tiffany is a go-to leader
I support Gerry Tiffany because his vision, mission and goals will take the sheriff's office forward providing exceptional and professional services to the community.
He isn't in this race for himself; he's in this race for the residents and visitors within Hood River County. He's in this race to give back to the community, a community that came together to help and support his family when they were in need.
Gerry Tiffany is a go-to resource in Hood River County for various agencies aside from the sheriff's office. His continual promotions through the ranks are evidence of his ability as an effective leader.
As Hood River County's next sheriff he will be an inspiration. Integrity, honor and loyalty are the traits that best describe Gerry Tiffany!
I attended the Columbia Riverkeeper presentation regarding the Chinese coal train problem at the Hood River City Council meeting last Monday; an enlightening presentation of the dangers to the Gorge and the Northwest and the efforts being made to prevent it.
Of great concern is the amount of money available to the coal industry, related industries and other proponents to buy the politicians, elected officials and decision makers.
We have little money, leaving us with no control over what affects our lives. The only way we have to be heard and be fairly represented is to expose these campaign contributions, bribes and payoffs and bring serious pressure against their efforts.
It's time for the print and broadcast media to acknowledge their responsibilities and do some good investigative reporting. (Of course if they're receiving advertising money, then forget about it.) We have to let them know our heath and quality of life are not for sale.
Holste is true leader
We have known Neal Holste all his life (he was born and raised in Hood River). He is a man of leadership, honesty, friendly - a man of integrity.
Neal has learned to "discuss without arguing" and listens and cares about people's opinions - that is a true leader; we need that for Hood River County.
We are voting for Neal Holste.
Bud and Vada Harvey
Help is appreciated
April is National Child Abuse Awareness month. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Columbia Gorge Children's Advocacy Center to make it such a success.
The advocacy center is a child-focused program in which representatives from many disciplines, including law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy, work together to conduct interviews and examinations and make team decisions about investigation, treatment, and management of child abuse cases.
Cases are referred to the CGCAC by child welfare or law enforcement agencies. Not all cases referred are found to be abuse as there are medical diagnoses that mimic child abuse.
The CGCAC is a nonprofit organization and we appreciate the community support we have received; for example, our medical equipment, office supplies, financial support and comfort items for the children.
We are sincerely grateful for the contributions from a wide variety of community members.
Michele Beaman, M.D.
Beatriz Lynch, forensic interviewer
Michelle Tremblay, forensic interviewer
Debi Baskins, executive director
Holste leads by example
Neal Holste for Sheriff - that has a nice ring to it and it makes sense.
I have known Neal for many years and will share some of my observations. He has always taken the time to be friendly and share his time with the people he is around. He listens and adds value to any conversation.
Neal has a smile and laugh that brings joy to all those whom he interacts with. He has a deep love for his family as well as his extended family. He is willing to help people and share the thing that is most precious to all of us (time). He will help his neighbor, friend or a stranger such as going on a church mission.
Neal is a man of integrity and honesty, which are a couple of virtues that are so important in our society. He has been a law enforcement officer for many years and would be able to use those experiences to draw from as well as a great core group that would surround him. Neal as the leader - what a team they would make and you as citizens would be the recipients.
Now you know why it makes sense for Neal to be elected sheriff. It is always better to lead by example, and what better example would you have than Neal Holste as your sheriff? It really does have a nice ring to it.
Waterfront needs you
Happy spring, wonderful Gorge community! I am hoping that many of you will join us at the Waterfront Community Park on Earth Day, April 22, any time between 9 a.m. and noon. Our Adopt-A-Plots need some TLC!
If you have adopted a plot, come on down! If you don't have a plot, come on down! We will have some refreshments, cookies and the lovely folks from Humbleroots Nursery to help us identify the natives from the noxious weeds.
Bring your gloves, clippers, shovels, and energy!
Besides letting you know about this opportunity to get involved with the park on Earth Day, I also wanted to share a great idea one of our adopters shared with me:
Robert adopted a plot in memory of his brother. He wrote to me that he goes to his plot and weeds while visiting with his brother. He finds peace in thinking of him and being with him while overlooking the river, with his dog resting in the shade of one of the trees on his plot.
His plot is large. It takes some work. He thought that perhaps there would be others who have lost family members who would like to join him in keeping the plot tended. I thought it was a lovely idea.
Then Robert suggested the idea of other like- minded groups coming together and adopting plots where they can honor a common theme - I think it is an amazing way to create special connections within the Adopt-a-Plot community! Some ideas suggested are: plots devoted to those who have lost children; those mourning the loss of a pet; former and current Craig Rat members; a meditation plot - just ideas!
If you have any desire to adopt a plot with a theme that would unite those in a similar place, contact me. If you would like to join in Robert's plot, contact me. Would love to assist in uniting community members together while helping the Waterfront Community Park.
Looking forward to Earth Day with you all; if you're not at the park, I hope you participate in one of the many wonderful opportunities in the community.
Keep Sewell as DA
It is certainly understandable why the district attorney's position is elected so the person would not be beholding to any specific employer in regard to influence. However, what is not understandable is why people would vote to remove someone from office when they are doing a good job.
I have done some checking and everyone I have spoken with that is involved with the judicial system has indicated John Sewell is a valuable resource and should not be replaced. In any job, when someone is competent and productive, the normal procedure is to reward them, not remove them from their position.
I have also found out that John is endorsed by the Hood River County Law Enforcement Association and a municipal court judge.
Keep John Sewell as District Attorney for the benefit of Hood River County.
Health care hypocrites
Isn't it interesting how so many people clamor for less government interference in their lives and personal choices? Take, for instance, the wailing and prostrations we hear against having to buy health insurance. So many claim the government has no right to force them to have health insurance, and it's not fair to fine them if they don't get insurance.
Now comes the part making these same people (and the people who represent them in governments) into flaming hypocrites:
These same protesters are perfectly willing, in fact demanding, that government interfere in a woman's right to birth control and personal choice about a pregnancy. They want and get passed voter ID legislation making it difficult or impossible for some people to exercise their constitutional rights to vote. They are quite OK with government requiring them to have a license to fish, hunt or drive and in this state, auto liability insurance.
I guess it boils down to just their own choices they want government butting out of. But if their neighbor holds different personal views, then by all means, make sure government interferes with those "wrong" beliefs and personal choices.
Yes indeed, so many hypocrites.
Thankful for 'no' vote
We want to thank the Hood River City Council for voting to oppose plans by the coal mining industry to ship hundreds of tons of coal, in 20-40 mile-and-a-half long, uncovered trains per day through the Columbia Gorge.
These trains are destined for ports in Oregon and Washington, where they will be shipped to markets in Asia. In Asia the coal will be burned and we will be treated to a second assault on our health and environment as the contaminated air moves across the West Coast.
Fortunately, Hood River has joined more than a dozen other municipalities opposing this harmful proposal. Thank you.
Jane Harris and Mike Allen
Affordable homes needed
After many road blocks put in the way, Cascade Locks finally got its affordable housing. The grand opening occurred April 11 with all but one unit already spoken for, an obvious success. Built by Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation and spearheaded by Ruby Mason, it turned out to be a beautiful asset to the city of Cascade Locks.
Due to lack of foresight the project was cut back and we lost work force housing which might have meant the retention of our schools here in Cascade Locks. Hopefully, CCHC will renew its efforts on behalf of our community and be willing to help us start another affordable housing project, this time for younger people starting out who need access to housing they can afford, particularly in a time of over $4 a gallon gas.
The housing is located off Edgewood on a cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by large trees and an area for park development. For those who haven't seen it, drop by and look; it's an asset to the city.
Keep coal trains out
Thank you, Hood River City Council, for hearing the community's unanimous opposition to coal trains traveling through the Gorge for export to Asia this past Monday. Rail baron Warren Buffet and foreign coal export corporations will not invade our precious fishing holes, schools, businesses, parks and homes with toxic coal dust and noxious locomotive fumes.
Where is the Gorge Commission on this?! They're quick to judge what color folks can paint their home in the National Scenic Area, but silent on a 20-fold increase in rail traffic and local pollution jarring and destroying that same Scenic Area. Step it up!
Occupy the Gorge
Thanks for memories
I love and am lucky to be able to home school my children, and I miss my work that I did with the children of Hood River area, as well. I am glad that the Hood River Library is now open, but I do not go there. Instead, I go to the White Salmon Library.
I refuse to go to the Hood River Library because I am angry right now and am honoring that feeling.
If you see me around town, do not make assumptions about me working at the Hood River Library. While I love the children and families I had the marvelous chance to inspire and work with, I was not rehired at the library three times; not because I did not try, because I did try.
I went, I tried, I was told over email and Facebook that the job that I loved was not mine three times. I tried, and I was not hired. My portfolio, my work there was not considered. Instead, I was turned away and new people were hired.
So when you see me in the store or another place in Hood River, do not pat me on the back and tell me that I must be so happy the library is open again; it is insensitive and breaks my heart. It happens three times a week still.
I worked so hard, I tried my best, I did nothing but an excellent job (or so I am told by many of you) and yet I was not rehired and told it was none of my business why, and my heart is broken.
It has been a hard year, emotionally and financially. I am not alone; other marvelous people were turned away. Kudos to the few who were rehired - really, best of luck - but on behalf of the rest of us, the tablecloth trick that Hood River County played on me did not leave all of the dishes standing.
A double whammy
It is no longer a "maybe"; it is a fact that China's economic rise creates clouds of pollution here in the Pacific Northwest.
Bruce Hope, the senior environmental toxicologist for Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality recently said: … "we've externalized our environmental costs to China and they are using chemicals there that are illegal here to make the things we buy."
How stupid is that? Just when we are cleaning up and shutting down our coal-fired power plants, and focusing on creating clean energy here, coal companies have made plans to export additional tens of millions of tons of coal through the Pacific Northwest to China.
This is the double whammy that we in the Columbia River Gorge will receive: First is the additional fumes and coal dust created by the increase of trains and barges that move through the Gorge. The second is the pollution return we receive via the jet stream as mentioned above.
If this seems like a bad plan to you, please attend the City Council meeting, Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Hood River Valley Adult Center. Our city leaders need to know how we-the-people view this issue.
It's a fact that grassroots efforts can and do change even the largest corporate ideas.
Tiffany is best choice
Gerry Tiffany is the best choice for Hood River County Sheriff. Of the three candidates for sheriff, only Gerry has military service. Service in the U.S. Military provides Gerry unique and valuable experience that the other two candidates do not possess.
Gerry is running for sheriff because he has the knowledge, skills and abilities for the position and because he wants to give back to the community that has always been there for him and his family.
Gerry has 21 years of service in the Hood River County Sheriff's Office as a patrol officer, detective, sergeant and supervisor. He has been instrumental in solving several serious crimes in his career through innovative thinking and serious old-fashioned police work combined with relatively new technology.
Gerry has worked hard to educate himself in criminal justice and has an excellent work ethic to be the leader of the Hood River County Sheriff's Department.
Recently Gerry helped in solving the "Gorge Robber" case with his innovative thinking, where key evidence was seized under a search warrant. He was able to use recent technology to positively tie the assailant to a sexual assault victim months after the crime took place.
Gerry did this as part of a multi-jurisdictional investigative team. He provided this evidence to District Attorney John Sewell. As a result, a dangerous offender was convicted and is now serving serious time in prison making the community safer for all of us.
Gerry has an actual track record of crime-solving achievement and the supervisory and management experience to use it effectively. I'm sure the other candidates have police experience, but Gerry's experience is more extensive and qualifies him to perform in the position of Hood River County Sheriff the day he is elected.
Please join me in voting for this highly qualified candidate and genuinely nice guy to be our next Sheriff.
Vote for Tiffany
Hood River County deserves a sheriff who truly cares about his community and the people who live in it. Gerry Tiffany has common sense, integrity and a huge heart.
Hood River has gone too many years with many things being overlooked or swept under a rug; it's time to stop and Gerry is the man to do it!
Several years ago I was brutally raped; Gerry was the lead detective on my case. He was very sincere with me and made sure I was OK; even called to check on me. He worked hard to get all the evidence together and take it to trial, where we succeeded in putting a rapist behind bars for 26 years and 8 months. Gerry made sure that I never felt alone or scared during the whole process; he truly goes the extra mile!
Thank you again, Gerry, for being there for me! Gerry is the man we all need behind us to make sure Hood River is a safe place to live. Please join me in voting for Gerry Tiffany!
Aaron to change roles
Why does anyone hire a defense attorney? Do you hire the best or just a jack-of-all-trades attorney? Does a mother, father, sister or brother do everything in their power to help a family member justly or falsely accused?
The answer is: You hire the best attorney. Many people have made this choice over the last 22 years when they hired Brian Aaron to defend them.
Now Aaron is taking his knowledge and changing roles with your help. He wants to defend this community as the new district attorney.
I commend anyone for their willingness to serve via the electoral process. What a tough job interview!
If someone calls for help, the DA should be there and follow-up on any and all legitimate complaints. If someone is innocent, our justice system should come to that true conclusion. If someone is guilty, both the community and family wish for them to be fairly punished.
Child support payment enforcement, a victim and offenders restitution/reconciliation program and a returning veterans court are added services this community will see under the new direction of Brian Aaron.
Let's help Aaron change roles to serve as our defense attorney.
Help HR schools plan
Are you the parent of a high school student? Please join us in helping improve the educational experience for all kids at Hood River Valley High School by responding to the HRVHS Parent Survey. The administration and staff want to hear your comments and concerns on a variety of subjects, from school safety and security, to student testing, to school/parent communication.
You can complete the short survey online between April 16 and April 27 by going to www.hoodriver.k12.or.us/hrvhs. Or, you can take the survey on computers that will be set up for parents during Parent-Teacher Conferences, April 25 and 26, at the high school. Surveys are available in English and Spanish.
We are hoping all parents of high schoolers will share their views, so that we may better serve the students, parents, and community in the future.
Please take a few minutes to add your voice. It's quick, easy to complete and will make a difference in our school.
Parent and HRVHS Site Council member