Letters to the Editor for Oct. 29

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I am very disturbed the Hood River News allowed a column to be published in the Oct. 22 edition (columnist Craig Danner, page B2). I am more disturbed that a societal “professional” from Hood River did the writing. What is going on here? The News has many awards for publication quality and resource integrity and this article was disgusting. To personally attack someone, Rep. Greg Walden, is inappropriate and unprofessional at best. One may disagree with another, that is a given.

Approach that person and find out why differences are so far apart. To insult and decide one’s dog should defecate on any townsperson’s lawn is unacceptable print. Come on!

If one understood Rep. Walden, one would know he cares deeply about our community, the sense of family and the extreme challenges that face all people of our district; he works hard to make our lives in rural Oregon better. Walk in his shoes and try to keep up. Walden is a person with more passion for the USA than one could imagine. Leash your lack of integrity, Hood River News... that was junk.

Barbara Hosford

Hood River

Get out and vote

Cemeteries at home and around the world are filled with thousands of Americans who gave their lives for the freedom and rights we have. Get out and VOTE!

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

Smoky Future?

There were many disappointed people on Panorama Point during Harvest Fest last Sunday. The smoke was so thick you could only occasionally see the outline of Mt. Hood. It was sad to see the people try to take a photo, to turn away and drive off…

How will that affect the Fruit Loop? Future Harvest Fests? Hood River’s reputation as a tourist destination — as a healthy, clean environment? As a place that grows superior fruit?

How does this affect people’s health in the valley? Besides the smoke you see, what’s in it?

As a grower or someone burning your garbage, please give it some thought. How is this affecting our local economy or your neighbor’s health?

Of course, we are all polluters. How can we be more responsible? Have a cleaner environment? Future?

Lawrence Jones

Hood River

Yes on 88

Please vote YES on Measure 88.

As a citizen and former Health Officer (for 12 years) of Hood River County, I feel strongly about public health and safety. Measure 88 will permit eligible adults living in Oregon to obtain a limited-duration driver’s card, as long as they pass a standard driver’s test and pay the required fees, even if they are ineligible for an unrestricted driver’s license (due to immigration status or other reasons for inability to prove legal residence, such as being the victim of a crime that required leaving a former residence quickly for safety).

The driver’s card, in turn, will confer eligibility to obtain automobile insurance, which is currently unavailable to those without a driver’s license.

Surely it is in the interest of all of us in the community that everyone driving on our roads has passed a competency exam and is insured.

Some opponents of Measure 88, including a few who have been published in this paper, are allowing their feelings about US immigration policy to spill over into their vote on this simple public safety measure. As a physician who always treated patients regardless of their immigration status, I often explained to colleagues, “We don’t solve immigration policy in a hospital ICU (or exam room).” Similarly, I would respectfully remind us all that we don’t solve immigration policy on our streets and local highways. There are other ways and places to debate and decide what those policies should be. Allowing people who must drive for work and family reasons to do so legally, if they are competent drivers, is another matter and should be easy to support.

I urge us all to vote yes on Measure 88 in the interest of public safety and common sense.

Tina Castañares

Hood River

Brun, Counihan, Cornelison

Hood River has a pivotal location for responding to the world’s climate emergency. As the Pacific Northwest becomes a ground zero in the transport of extracted fossil fuels headed for export and burning throughout the world, Hood River has the invitation to model what a healthy future looks like. A future that is built on the values of carbon neutral development and sustainable energy choices. A future we can entrust to the livelihood of our children. We need a city council that establishes a vibrant economy and adopts policies that protect and nurtures the fragile surroundings we love. It starts with serious attention to global warming as we improve the quality of our lives! Voting for well-seasoned and experienced community leaders Becky Brun, Tim Counihan and Peter Cornelison for City Council raises the bar as we seek to model responsible living on a fragile planet. We need to elect council members who are up front about their unwavering commitment to generate a livable community for all. They have drafted a “Sustainability Initiative” and they will pursue it if elected. They are serious about it. That is why I am serious about my vote for them!

Rev. John Boonstra

Hood River

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Community sustainability relates to sustaining the economy, environment and society. City council candidates Becky Brun, Tim Counihan and Peter Cornelison exhibit these qualities and are running on this plank. They will focus on small and local business growth and retention, creation of a much needed storm water strategy, and protecting Hood River air quality and affordable housing. I have worked with Brun and Cornelison and respect their passion for creating a Hood River all of us can live in and be proud of.

Now to Mayor. Paul Blackburn was on the City Council when I was on Hood River’s Planning Commission. I saw Paul make decisions on difficult issues such as the City’s budget. Paul has no tie to special interests such as real estate development. He listens to all points of view on issues and makes a decision with the interests of all of Hood River’s citizens. I believe he would make an excellent mayor and he runs a small business.

Jurgen A. Hess

Hood River

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It’s rare that I get very excited about City Council candidates, but it’s really encouraging to see Becky Brun, Tim Counihan and Peter Cornelison running for City Council with the goal of working to protect the livability of Hood River. My wife and I choose to raise a family here because it’s a safe place to raise kids with a good quality of life. I really like seeing candidates who recognize the priorities on a local level connected to larger issues of our planet.

When I think back to news headlines about river access to our waterfront park being shut down this summer due to bacteria pollution warnings, it is a reminder why I think our City could do well to have people concerned about such matters. Quite frankly, a livable community for all, protecting our water and environment and addressing climate change are commitments that we need to have on the local, regional, national and international level.

The Hood River Sustainability Initiative does not look like a “voting block,” but a plan by highly independent thinkers who share in the belief that Hood River is a special place to live and one that deserves thoughtful consideration on how we want Hood River to look in the future.

I’m encouraging my friends to support Brun, Counihan and Cornelison for City Council.

Patrick Hiller

Hood River

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How unfortunate to read the letters arguing against City Council candidates Becky Brun, Peter Cornelison and Tim Counihan simply on the grounds they are running with the common goal of protecting the quality of life in Hood River and working together to promote sustainability. Becky, Peter and Tim are each highly qualified in their own right. Resorting to name calling or “scary” fear mongering is low.

The citizens of Hood River are better than that, and should be respected. As a business owner, I can’t imagine trying to run my company unless I shared common values and goals with my partner, but it hardly means we don’t disagree or have our own opinions. It just means we can at least be moving in a common direction. That makes sense for the city as well.

Hood River is a good place to live, but it will not stay that way unless we decide to make that a priority. Having a City Council that values protecting small locally owned businesses, the character of our city, and the quality of life that makes this a good place to live seems like something we should all be able to support.

Michelle Hollister

Hood River

Attend MHM lot hearing

Will the community of Mt. Hood become a parking lot for Mt. Hood Meadows? Is this the “small scale-low impact” business that we envisioned with 30 years of State Land Use Planning for small communities, a parking lot for 179 cars?

Attend the Planning Commission hearing on Nov. 12, 7 p.m. at 601 State St., Hood River and let them know what you think.

Jane Bratt

Mt. Hood

Vote for Johnson

I think it’s important to provide an informed response to some of the recent criticisms directed at Mark Johnson and his efforts to support public education. Recent letters would seem to suggest that if Mark had really been on the job and supporting education as much as he claims to, then there would be no crowded classrooms anywhere and every student would have their every need met. A few facts:

1) Mark Johnson’s party doesn’t control any branch of state government.

Mark’s opponent’s party controls the House, Senate and Governor’s Mansion. They control the budgets for all state agencies including education. One legislator in the minority party cannot single handedly reverse years of disinvestment in public education.

2) Mark was one of a bipartisan handful of legislators who supported the entire package of bills that the legislature passed in a special session last year. This package contained needed reforms to our Public Employee Retirement System, as well as revenue increases and a small business tax cut. The PERS reforms are especially significant as our Hood River County School District is saving nearly one million dollars this year in PERS withholding costs. For parents of elementary students experiencing crowded classrooms in Hood River schools this year, they should know that the situation would be much worse if the special session package had not passed. Mark’s opponent has repeatedly stated that she would not have supported this legislation because her strongest supporters (OEA) did not.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. This week, Mark received a strong endorsement from the Willamette Week. The entire endorsement interview is available to watch online and provides a good opportunity for voters to see for themselves the contrasts between Mark and his opponent on education and a variety of issues. I recommend it.

Kyle House

Hood River

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As the owner of an orchard business and a lifelong resident of Hood River, I have seen how the valley has changed over the years. Agriculture has managed to remain a constant. Representative Mark Johnson understands the importance of agriculture to this area, the jobs it provides and capital it puts in our local economy.

Rep. Johnson is a small business owner as well and he knows the significance of supporting local business. He has worked hard to support the agricultural sector during his time in Salem, and I know he will continue to do so when re-elected. I hope to see the Hood River Valley’s tradition of agriculture and local excellence to continue for many more years and I know Mark is in our corner.

Michael J. Oates

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Now that you have received your ballot in the mail, I would like to recommend Mark Johnson for our State Representative. His is not a new name to you because he has served well in this capacity for the last two terms. I have known Mark Johnson for over 20 years throughout many activities in the community.

As a resident, I appreciated his excellent leadership as school board chairman when important decisions required leadership.

Through these experiences, I have found Mark to be someone who leads both by listening and making strong decisions when necessary. I have been glad to see him doing these same things in Salem. Because he is able to work with people he agrees with and people he differs from, he has accomplished many things for our State education system and economy.

I know he still has plans and hopes for the good of our state and I hope he has the opportunity to continue this in the next term. I will gratefully vote for Mark Johnson and hope you will too.

Gerri Beal

Hood River

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Vote for Mark Johnson I have known Mark Johnson for over thirty years. We attend the same church as his parents did before they passed away. He is honest and has a strong conviction for schools and getting jobs for his district. He is approachable and knowledgeable on issues facing our area.

Wanda Taylor

Hood River

Accidents waiting...

The Community of Mount Hood, a wide-spot in the road with a 45 mile per hour speed zone that is NEVER enforced! I live in the Upper Valley and spend a fair amount of time, as a walking pedestrian, in the above mentioned zone. In 37 plus years, I’ve yet to see a vehicle pulled over for exceeding the speed limit in that area. I can only guess a vehicle’s speed and that guess would be an average of 60 miles per hour going through the community. I’m sure that some are topping out at over 70 miles per hour. So few are the law abiding drivers that they stand out in the crowd. They’re the ones with the driver behind, riding their bumper. Now, Mount Hood Meadows, wishing to put in a huge parking lot, smack dap in the middle of this unenforced speed zone. It’s not rocket science, figuring out what is going to happen. Looks like the dollar sign will be winning again.

P.S. Paved or not, where is the runoff from this acres of parking lot going to end up?

Larry Larson

Mount Hood

Choose Blackburn

We have a real race for Mayor! It’s a great chance for all of us to sit up, pay attention and think about what we want and who can lead us there.

Paul Blackburn reached out to me when our family moved to Hood River to see what a hospital chaplain might offer to his church’s care team of laypeople who support folks during times of crisis. It was clear to me from that first meeting years ago that Paul collaborates to find the best solutions and that he is unafraid to lead a team through challenges and opportunities. My respect for him has since grown, as I’ve seen Paul’s leadership on City Council, Library District Board, HR Education Foundation, United Way, and Teacup Nordic and more. The finances and services of each of these have significantly improved with Paul’s leadership, and that is no accident. Paul is bright, caring, collaborative and for all these reasons, effective.

Paul always has his finger on the local pulse. He understands the issues and how to get things done. He seeks people with different perspectives and he’s interested in being Mayor for all of us — especially those whose quiet voices might be missed.

In a town this size, our choice for Mayor should be based on real knowledge of, and relationships with the candidates and those who know their contributions first-hand. Let’s keep reading the paper, but also attend the forums, talk with neighbors and the candidates. See for yourself the opportunity we have to elect Paul Blackburn as our Mayor.

Mark Thomas

Hood River

Pitch in

Do a good deed this coming Sunday, Nov. 2, and join a few of us with the Hood River Valley Residents Committee for our semi-annual litter pick-up on Highway 35. We work both sides of the road from China Gorge up to the railroad bridge at Whiskey Creek road, about 2.5 miles.

Clean up takes about three hours, starting promptly at 8:30 a.m. in the park and ride lot across from China Gorge. We should be done by 11 a.m. or so, depending how many volunteers help.

We clean the road early to avoid traffic and noise. Litter pickers have to watch a short Oregon Department of Transportation video to participate; we use ODOT’s vests, tongs and bags, but bring good gloves. Last time we picked up 18 bags of trash. Pitch in to keep Hood River Valley and County beautiful and lovely. Email me at peterc@gorge.net or text/call my cell at 541-490-8473 if you want to participate.

Peter Cornelison

Hood River

Vote for Walden

I know Greg Walden and I have known him for a long time. I know that Greg works hard on issues that are important to us all.

Greg is a lifelong Oregonian who cares deeply about the meaning of family, community and the challenges that face us each day. Greg knows what it is like to be a small business owner, what it takes to create jobs in the Columbia Gorge, and he brings common sense to government at all levels. He works hard to protect our farm and ranch economy, pass legislation to improve management of our forests and create new high tech jobs by expanding broadband to rural areas. We have never needed Greg’s dedication and experience more than right now. Greg’s “get it done” attitude will help us all. Please join me in voting for Greg Walden for Congress.

Jo Ann Wixon

The Dalles

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We wanted to thank you for your tireless dedicated work as Congressman for our district, the largest in the nation. Throughout the 33 years we have lived here in Hood River, we can personally attest to your integrity and hard work. We are truly saddened by the slanderous remarks that you must hear. It appears that these people obviously do not know you. We are proud to say we do. And we thank you for your long-time commitment as our Congressman. Not a job most people can handle.

We also wanted to personally thank you and your staff for coming to our aid a few years ago at our winery (Pheasant Valley). Our federal wine license had been suspended due to an error on paperwork. We called your office late on a Wednesday afternoon. Your staff worked round the clock to contact the right person to get this corrected so we could be up and running for the Harvest Fest. Mission accomplished. We were permitted to work the weekend. The issue was then corrected the following week. We sincerely thank you for helping us and understanding the needs of a small business and the importance of that weekend.

Please join us with a vote for Greg Walden. Greg is unequivocally the best person for the job.

Scott and Gail Hagee

Hood River

Nystrom stands for workers

Stephanie Nystrom supports increasing the minimum wage. She stands for equal pay for equal work. Stephanie believes that workers should not have to fear abuse, wage theft or an unsafe work place.

Mark Johnson voted against HB 2112, a bill increasing the fines employers pay when they get caught stealing wages from employees. Mark Johnson voted against HB 2672, a bill to protect domestic workers from verbal, physical and sexual abuse in the work place. The bill also protects domestic workers from wage theft and failure to pay over-time pay. Mark Johnson voted against HB 4104, a bill to strengthen workers comp claims though a more expedited and inclusive process.

Hard-working Oregonians deserve protection. Stephanie Nystrom has their back. That is why I am voting for Stephanie Nystrom.

Tracy Triplett

Sandy

Voting principles

As you vote between now and Nov. 4, keep these principles in mind.

Budget/debt: We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.

Economy: We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.

Health care: We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

Veterans: Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.

Security: Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.

Education: Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.

Poverty: The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.

Values: Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.

Energy: We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.

Immigration: We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.

Constitution: Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.

Tom Yates

Hood River

‘Supreme Court’?

Is the conservative portion of the U.S. Supreme court out to destroy the United States?

Our forefathers designed our constitution and our form of government to protect and benefit the citizens of our country. But decision after decision by the right wing minded justices seem to have other ideas. Take, first, their majority ruling personalizing corporations and the spending of dollar bills, i.e. Citizens United. Nowhere in the constitution is there any mention of the rights of corporations nor any organization. No corporation has ever registered to vote. Nor has any dollar bill marked a ballet. But this current court majority has ruled both have constitutional rights. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who warned against this very thing. This makes our democracy and our election campaigns a travesty.

Now this same majority has said Texas can bar over 600,000 legal residents from voting in the coming election. They agree that Texas voter ID law allows “racially motivated disenfranchisement of legal Texas citizens.” But they say it is too close the coming election to do anything about it. They obviously want this discrimination to go forward. It should be obvious to everyone they do not want people to vote that might oppose their conservative views. They gutted the strongest portion of the Voters Rights law that would stop voter ID laws from discrimination.

ISIS? Terrorists? Foreign IT hackers? Mass Murders? Abortion Clinics? Can these be more destructive to the United States than a Supreme Court majority putting their political ideologies before the U.S. Constitution? I don’t think so. Supreme Court Justices or Supreme Destroyers?

Gary Fields

Hood River

Yes on 92

Somehow this debate has focused on whether GMOs are good or not. But it is just about adding a label. In this day and age in a free country, shouldn’t we be allowed to know what is in our food? There’s already a sticker on every piece of fruit I buy, so what’s the big deal here? If GMOs are such a great thing, these companies should be proud to add it to their label. I can see it now, “Brought to you by Monsanto, the makers of DDT, PCBs, and Agent Orange!”

Olivier Bock

Hood River

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There’s an elephant in the room or in the valley. It may not be the big elephant of Agri-business we are used to hearing about, but it is an elephant, make no mistake. When food grown in the US must be labeled GMO to be exported to other countries, but it is not in our own country, the power of agribusiness — no matter how big, family or corporate owned — has gone too far. Labeling GMO is a start for the change we must see in the agricultural industry. Clean air, clean water, clean bodies. We have a right to choice. We have a right to voice. Yes on 92.

Erika Rench

Hood River

Results speak loudest

There is clearly a common theme for letters written in support of the current representatives for our district. Virtually every letter cites the way each incumbent “supports” and “fights for” education and education funding for our district. Most letters also say these elected representatives “work hard” as leaders for education reform.

I beg to differ with the writers who have expressed these viewpoints to the point of calling malarkey. Dan Goldman, our superintendent, recently reported an 86 percent high school graduation rate, which is apparently one of the highest in the state. In spite of this very positive data, several other key data points exist which are not so optimistic.

Of the 40 percent of HRVHS students who took advanced placement (AP) tests in 2013, only 53 percent of those tests achieved a passing score, according to US News and World Report. Many elementary school kids are below benchmark even with considerable effort and time invested in their progress. In addition, teachers in higher grades have been forced to consider allowing for larger class sizes to permit more teachers at lower grade levels. Imagine voting to INCREASE your work load. I have never done that at my job.

I believe the teachers are doing the best they can with what they have been provided. It is the decision-makers who have them working in a system which is struggling to succeed. I cannot say who is at fault, but I can speak from experience that all the people currently “supporting,” “fighting,” and “working hard” have not solved anything.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Candy may contain GMO

Dear Columbia Gorge parents, Please be advised about Halloween candy. Most commercial candy contains non-organic soy, which means it is GMO candy. Also, most commercial candy contains corn syrup, which is largely GMO and can contain mercury. Please Columbia Gorge parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, do not give our trusting youth unhealthy Halloween candy. Also refer to www.oregonrighttoknow.org.

Charlene Ihmoda

Hood River



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