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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 18, 2012

Think outside box

Crfl wht U Cr8...... The plants I water and feed grow to produce fruit. Tending a garden is reflective of our lives. We see the fruits of our labor.

Scott Haanstad

Executive director,

Mount Hood Ministry

Hood River

Where is property?

While I was disappointed to hear that the Barrett Park project was denied, I was heartened to read that Fritz von Lubken is aware of “numerous places a park could go in the county.” I hope Mr. von Lubken is willing to share that valuable information with Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation, as they have struggled for years to find suitable property.

Jeff Lorenzen

Hood River

Ryan for VP?

It’s all over the news. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, is notorious for his controversial budget plans, which call for higher spending on the military, lower tax rates that benefit mainly the highest-income families, corporations and oil producers.

To pay for the tax cuts it would make draconian cuts to social programs. And it would convert Medicare to an inadequate voucher system.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that one version of Ryan’s plan, passed by the House last year, would increase retirees’ out-of-pocket medical costs by about $6,400 annually.

A new plan (endorsed by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden in collaboration with Ryan) is only a little better. It would, in the words of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, convert Medicare from a defined-benefit to a defined contribution program.

Instead of guaranteeing to pay for services as they are rendered, as fee-for-service Medicare does, the program would give beneficiaries a subsidy (“premium support” or voucher) to purchase coverage from one of multiple competing health plans. The competition would (the Institute asserts) give the insurance companies an incentive to cut premiums or other costs for recipients.

But there is no guarantee that this would happen. History teaches us quite the opposite. Insurance companies are like any other business whose primary concern is profit.

I strongly oppose Romney/Ryan. This is the team that will run the country for the benefit of just the top 1 percent.

Anne Vance

Hood River

No Trojan horse

I couldn’t disagree more with Jeff Hunter’s recent statement in a letter to the editor (Aug. 15) that a park is “an overwhelmingly urban use.” Parks belong anywhere there are people. The whole valley needs and uses parks, ball fields, picnic and play areas, open spaces, trails and gardens, not just the incorporated areas of Hood River and Cascade Locks.

By calling parks an urban use, Hunter creates what I believe is a false disparity between the nature of a park and “high-value farmland.” The Trojan horse analogy of a park beckoning other urban uses just doesn’t hold true. Toll Bridge Park and Tucker Park, both county parks in rural areas, have not led to increased urbanization or loss of farmland.

I am saddened that our county commissioners rejected the Barrett County Park. While I understand the need to preserve farmland, I hope that as we continue to grow, creative thinking and compromise will lead to a Hood River Valley with more park space per resident, not less.

Jennifer Ouzounian

Hood River

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