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Letters to the Editor for Nov. 14

Signature drive ongoing in CL

I want to tell you about a group of Cascade Locks citizens who are helping Cascade Locks residents sign the petition that will place the Water Protection Initiative on the ballot.

Are you eager to sign the Water Protection Measure petition, live in Cascade Locks, and just don’t know where to go or how to access?

Whether you vote for or against it, we feel it is important to be sure that Cascade Locks gets a chance to weigh in on this important decision.

Every Wednesday evening in November from 5-7 p.m., we’ll be having a drive for your signatures. Yes, we will literally drive to your door for your signature. We will even assist with a voter registration card so you can sign after you are registered.

  1. Message us on Facebook to NO Nestlé in Cascade Locks, or

  2. Email your address and phone number (for confirmation only) drivetosign@gmail.com

  3. We drive to you and you sign

Plus, if you want to help, we can give you a brief training and leave a petition for you to share with friends and family.

Message us today and get started!

Katelin Stuart

Cascade Locks

Curious on Nestlé

Proponents of the Nestlé plant often cite the need for jobs in Cascade Locks. However, I have never seen Nestlé publicly state what kind of jobs they would be offering. Managerial and technical level jobs would, I suspect, be transferees from within existing Nestlé employees. This leaves what sort of jobs and pay levels to be offered to Cascade Locks unemployed folks? Come on Nestlé, let’s be publicly up front with us: How many jobs for Cascade Locks folks, what kind of jobs and the pay scale for them? Curious George (and others, I am sure) wants to know.

George Earley

Mt. Hood

The real issue

The Hood River City Council is considering ideas to bring affordable housing to the City of Hood River. The city reviewed the recommendations of the planning commission and accepted them. One main area of focus is vacation rentals’ impact on the affordability of homes in the area. Licensing and inspections were considered. All seemed to be reasonable approaches.

Then an interesting thing happened. The valuable discussion around affordable housing became diverted by a few of the council members to enact regulations that would essentially ban vacation rentals. No logical and systematic approach was used, contrary to the recommendations adopted by the council in August. No consideration was given that the ban would put several small businesses out of business and would negatively impact other small businesses who need the vacation rental visitor support.

I believe that vacations rentals can become better through reasonable regulation, licensing and inspections. Many people have volunteered to work with the council to come up with policies that would work for all parties and address concerns that have been raised. The requests to help have been met with silence.

From the testimony at the council meeting, it has become clear that eliminating vacation rentals will have little impact on the price of homes in the area and most likely no impact on affordable housing. What I would like to suggest is that we change the discussion to a solution that would increase affordable housing.

The city has a few levers it can pull to help. These will help, but financial incentives are need to increase affordable housing. Instead of killing the vacation rentals, let’s take the “Transient Room Tax” that is paid by each vacation rental and point that tax towards making homes more affordable.

The city manager wants more staff to monitor the vacation rental market and use the license fee to fund this position. How about taking the same concept, but instead use these license fees and existing taxes to have a housing advocate that could help the whole community find funding sources for affordable housing? There must be more that we can do.

Let’s create, not destroy.

Ron Montague

Hood River

‘Hypocrisy’

Local tribes oppose bottling water here in Cascade Locks. According to the article, “Governor intervenes on Nestlé water transfer,” our governor, Kate Brown, talked to the Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes in regard to Nestlé’s attempting to bottle spring water from Oxbow Springs, and have set back local efforts. The governor has yet to grant a meeting with any representatives from Cascade Locks, either the port or the city, not that they haven’t tried to meet with her. So we have the Warm Springs arguing against the bottling of water here, and at the same time, water is being bottled for the Indian Head Casino at Warm Springs by Earth2O; it comes from a community water system and is clearly labeled “Indian Head Casino.” Up in the Paloose, more Indian bottling of water. You can also find water being bottled for many of the casinos, water for the tribes to make money from. You could call this strange coming from the tribes who oppose Cascade Locks bottling water; I’d call it hypocrisy. Unfortunately, hypocrisy looks so small when money is involved.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

STRs

The three prong strategy to address the promotion of affordable housing seems to be out of balance. As stated, it includes (1) addressing land use for affordable housing. I assume this means identifying land use that is available and has proper zoning, and perhaps examining changes in zoning, (2) regulating and managing short term rentals (STRs), and (3) developing affordable housing. I would think this last category includes examining the possible subsidies available, examining incentives to builders to build affordable housing, developing a stream of funds. I’m not sure why the council is choosing to offer most of the emphasis on number 2. It seems as though in the big picture, it is the least productive of the three. I see affordable housing and STRs as two separate economic entities and I think there is much too much emphasis implying that STRs are the cause for the other. If STRs were completely banned tomorrow, the effect on affordable housing would be minimal. Why not spend time and effort on what will produce the most?

For example, 1 and 3. By the way, in having a conversation with AirBnB this week, they told me that they would gladly initiate transient room tax (they currently do not) on anyone doing business with them simply by request of the local government. Now there’s an income stream toward affordable housing.

John Bryan

Hood River

Ascent to reason

After reading several of the Nov. 4 letters to the editor from a select few Cascade Locks residents, I couldn’t help but feel saddened by the writers’ choices of words when referring to those of us who simply see Nestlé’s proposed water bottling plant very differently from them: “conspiracy theorists,” “bashers,” and my personal favorite, “C A V E people.” Perhaps it is enough to point out that those of us so-named “C A V E people” are not slandering the opposition nor twisting their words; we are simply moving forward with a measure that, we believe, will safeguard our county’s water supply for residents, farmers, and tribal fishing people and for the many native species that rely on a steady supply of cool water.

We need to understand that this issue is not just about Nestlé, nor is it just about Cascade Locks. If Nestlé gets in and establishes a bottling facility, they can then start trucking water to their plant from all over the county and possibly from beyond. It would also set the precedent that our county is open for business when it comes to water bottling, thereby making it more likely that other water bottlers could come in. We need only look to our neighbor state to the south to see what could be in our future, especially given the context of global warming, the recent reports on the warming of the Pacific, and the projections for ongoing droughts.

I understand the difficult economic situation that our city finds itself in, and I hear in the voices of some of those whose letters on Nov. 4 an understandable desire for “what the City of Hood River already has” or for our town “to join in the American dream.” However, I believe that we can find a way to mitigate our economic situation and build an appropriate, sustainable economy without compromising our water security for the entire county.

This is an issue that requires us to think and act bigger. And this is a measure that should unite all of us to act responsibly and mindfully. If we don’t, we risk becoming another sort of cave people, the kind that lashes out at others and that is lulled by false promises and a semblance of the American dream.

Ed del Val

Cascade Locks Resident

Chief Petitioner of Measure 14-55

Recreational Marijuana

Many ardent opinions circulate regarding Oregon’s choice to end prohibition of marijuana. Recently on a road trip through our state, I observed new crops of white and green signs, marking a new era of legalized recreational cannabis. As a nurse, and mother, I think it is an important time for individuals to put personal sentiments aside and reflect on how exercising this new freedom may affect our community, especially our vulnerable youth. Despite prohibition, in 2007, a survey revealed that 25 percent of 10th graders and 32 percent of 12th graders had used marijuana (Thoma et al., 2011).

Another study produced evidence that marijuana is among the top three addictive substances abused in the United States. Greater accessibility and observation of adults modeling the use of marijuana may lead to an increase in the in these statistics.

Responsible adults will consider that medical studies have shown memory and cognitive deficits in youths who regularly use marijuana.

Even if the drug is considered safe for legal use by adults, addiction itself has physical impacts on the brain, altering decision making processes, emotional intelligence, and social development (“Harvard,” 2011). Adolescence is a time of rapid development in preparation for adulthood. Let’s get our children off to a good start by closely considering how we allow recreational marijuana to impact our families.

References:

How addiction hijacks the brain (2011, July). Harvard Mental Health Letter, 1-3. Retrieved from www.health.harvard.edu.

Thoma, R., Monning, M., Lysne, P., Ruhl, D., Pommy, J., Bogenschutz, M., ... Yeo, R. (2011, January).

Adolescent substance abuse: The effects of alcohol and marijuana on neuropsychological performance.

Clinical and Experimental Research, 35(1), 39-46.

Erin Gossett

Hood River

Gun situation

Please consider our current situation with guns in these United States of America.

At the top we have the so called “original intent” justices of the Supreme Court. They ignored the stated reason for the gun amendment, “to provide for a militia.” They liberalized the intent. That being the case, I would expect those who most love their guns would be the first to go to Syria now to fight Isis. They would be defending the gun amendment.

Next, we have our congresspersons who know the polls show most Americans favor moderate limitations on gun owners, such as security checks on buyers, registration of guns, and limits on gun fire power. Yet, they fail to do what most Americans want.

Third, we have citizens who favor moderate limits on gun owners and do not let their congresspersons know that. And do not say so to their friends.

Finally, we have gun owners trained how to shoot, but untrained in how to react in a shocking, crisis situation. I imagine it will come to where a shooter will come into a classroom, church, or theater and start shooting. In shock, others will pull out their guns and start shooting. They will mistake some other shooters for the original attacker. Both “carrying” defenders and the attacker will go down. Arriving police will be confused.

And so, we have today’s (Nov. 11) HR News headline that reads, “Agencies combine for school shooting drill at HRVHS.” Lord, have mercy!

John Ihle

Hood River



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