Letters to the Editor for Dec. 25

Watery blind spot

You may be reading this newspaper with hopes for news of economic recovery. A seventh brewery is opened. Cherry orchards are giving way to wine grapes. New hard cider products are adding value to the apple harvest. Cascade Locks is negotiating to sell bottled water.

Wait a minute. Water? Portland-based BARK and Washington, D.C.-based Food and Water Watch are concerned about the consequences of bottled water?

Our Hood River Police Department Sgt. Don Cheli reminds us that 9,878 fatal crashes in 2011 involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. He’s not going to arrest anybody this year for drinking bottled water. There might be a blind spot in our community awareness when we wholeheartedly encourage the production of alcoholic beverages but object to Cascade Locks selling water because of the consequences.

Larry Gohl

White Salmon,Wash.

Imperfect freedoms

“On freedoms” (Our Readers Write, Dec. 21) David Schneeberg’s premise that our rights in the “Constitution” ensures they can’t be “infringed” is instructive, but is plain not true. Nowhere in the document does the word appear and makes the argument against the healthcare law invalid. With most conservatives, both past and present day, Change is an anathema — the instructive part.

The collective genius of the founders was to embody in the Constitution the ability for “the People” to change their minds. They knew, as our country matured and changed over time amendments and subsequent legislative laws, drawn from their original document, would and have, reflect Change and respond to our “freedom.”

They showed — and lead even today, though their examples — that we utilize compromise for the collective good of all citizens — “a more perfect union”; the preamble written in 1787.

The Bill of Rights was legislation passed in the first congress, fulfilling a compromise our founders made between themselves to allow all 13 colonies to ratify the “Constitution.” The word “infringe” is in the Second Amendment, and concerns an individual “freedom,” but was not intended for all “freedoms.”

A few centuries later, after many laws, a few amendments and astounding number of compromises; ratified by all three branches of government — Constitutionally limited — have passed a healthcare law: a mere perfection of our union. It is a just a law. It’s not a secret plot or takeover of some kind or other. It is just the best Change all “the people” can agree on right now.

Greg Walden is elected by “the people” in our district, and took an oath to defend the “Constitution” which includes the Amendments and current laws. I don’t question his word or deeds. We “the people” have the power to elect.

The fact he is a member and party leader of the least productive Congress on record, does not give me the right to grade him as a failure — he is not a teacher — an complete grade or 35 percent is fine for now, as our founders planned for just such an event.

George Selleck


Sad irony

I take the subject matter in my letters quite seriously despite underlying humor. I write about irony in others’ letters or the behavior of those claiming to support my interests and those of my fellow citizens in order to stimulate discussion and thought.

It is ironic people hold President Obama personally responsible for the ACA healthcare website design and performance. I strongly suspect he did not write the software code himself in an attempt to frustrate so many.

It is also ironic that Americans would be so against a system which permits neighbors to obtain healthcare insurance that two years ago they could not afford or qualify for because of previous health issues. I suspect many in opposition have encountered marked increases in their own premiums and personal costs annually under the old system which worked so well.

No one with insurance ever brags to me about premium reductions or reduced out-of-pocket expenses. Double-digit percentage increases in premiums are the topic of conversation.

The Affordable Care Act is an attempt to rectify some of the injustices, enormous costs, and inequities of healthcare while permitting many Americans an opportunity to actually obtain insurance. Tens of millions have sacrificed for decades through higher costs under the old system so a small percentage could make millions. The ACA will probably ask many to sacrifice a little to benefit many more.

Hoping the ACA fails merely for spite means rooting against your own friends and neighbors obtaining healthcare. Sacrificing community members to express displeasure in the president’s policy seems a little extreme. I did not support the Iraq war, but I never hoped for the death of any soldier or commander to express my opposition.

We are supposed to be the “greatest country in the world,” yet we continue to fight about why we cannot take care of own people. Is that ironic or just silly?

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Water and our future

I am very concerned about the article “Ruling brings Nestlé closer to CL” in the Dec. 18 edition of the Hood River News.

We Oregonians have some of the best fresh water in the country. This is a wonderful resource and a very valuable one at a time when fresh water is becoming scarce. Scientists predict that fresh water will become one of the most important resources in the future.

The water Nestlé wants to bottle belongs to all Oregonians. I am concerned about giving away “public water” to a private company. Shouldn’t Oregonians make the decision about our water and make the profit from selling it? It would set a dangerous new precedent in Oregon to allow a state agency to make public water available for private profit.

Another major concern is that Nestlé has a terrible track record where they have gone into communities to bottle their water. They have shown no concern for the communities and the people who live there.

As a born and raised Oregonian, I ask you to look into the issues surrounding Nestlé creating a water bottling facility in the Gorge. On the outside it looks like an opportunity for Cascade Locks to have more jobs and boost the economy; yet if you look further into the issue, it may change the future of Oregon and our right to our own water.

Pamela Larsen

Hood River

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