Letters to the Editor for Nov. 24

Smarter than that

Unfortunately, Jon Laraway falls prey to Nestlé’s glossy facts (Nov. 18). While Nestlé’s facts may hold some water in an isolated context, they don’t hold any water in the most important context: our county’s water security.

Here in Oregon, we pride ourselves on environmental stewardship, and our voters are smart enough to not be fooled by Nestlé’s slick marketing strategies and tactics. We are well aware of some other facts that Mr. Laraway conveniently avoids acknowledging.

For example, over 200,000 salmon died this past season on the Columbia River due to low water flows and high temperatures; many of our county farmers and residents felt the effects of our drought, complying with irrigation rationing and dealing with crop and garden stresses; and Governor Brown, understanding that we’re in a “new normal” when it comes to drought, has requested the withdrawal of the water rights transfer application between Cascade Locks and ODFW, an application that if approved would have precipitated Nestlé’s grab at our public water.

And let’s be clear: Nestlé does have a record of supplementing their local operations with trucked water from other sources. And they don’t need to secure water rights to do so. They need only strike a contract that will give them essentially what they want, and as Daniel Jaffee and Soren Newman point out in “A Bottle Half Empty”: “The long-term contractual guarantees of water supply and price stability, on which Nestlé insists to protect its substantial investment, belie claims of an easily revocable, arm’s-length commercial relationship.”

As to a theoretical “Oxbow Springs Brewery,” breweries are completely different from the bottled water industry; they use municipal water (not cool public spring water) to produce products for which there is not a one-to-one alternative; we can simply turn on the tap for what Nestlé would gladly sell back to us.

We can’t afford to be duped by large-scale water bottlers’ slick campaigns and a few dangled jobs in a highly automated plant at the expense of our water security. Hood River County voters are smarter than that, and come Election Day, we’re prepared to show Oregon that we, in fact, are.

Ed del Val

Chief Petitioner of Measure 14-55

Cascade Locks

Hanford mess

Recently, the Federal Department of Energy staged a community meeting in Hood River to present their proposed changes in the program for cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

If you manage to plow through their complicated proposal, you will find that the cleanup program can be delayed indefinitely. It does not represent a commitment to secure this incredibly dangerous source of radiation pollution in the Columbia River. It does represent a commitment to waste billions of taxpayer dollars in the future, while deluding us that the site will be cleaned up.

Sure, Hanford is a complicated mess. But see for yourself: check the information at Columbia Riverkeeper (columbiariverkeeper.org) or Heart of America Northwest (www.hanfordcleanup.org). Without a serious commitment, serious funding, and competent use of that funding, Hanford will be our slow-motion Fukushima.

A river is a terrible thing to waste.

David Hupp

Hood River


How ironic that, as local hero Minoru Yasui is posthumously honored with the Congressional Medal of Freedom for bravely resisting the anti-Japanese fervor of WWII, our Congressman, Greg Walden, sees fit to join the ranks of his fellow xenophobes to shut out the new peril of Syrian refugees who are yearning to breathe free (H.R. 4038: American SAFE Act of 2015). Meanwhile, Republican governors and presidential candidates are shouldering each other to turn this latest wave of fear and hatred to their own political advantage.

When will we learn to look deeper than skin color and facial features to recognize instead the mentality of violence and hatred that is the real enemy of freedom and harmony? Who cannot see that very mentality in Hood River’s own shameful history of bigotry against Japanese-Americans, now being repeated in the new guise of anti-Syrian hysteria?

We know the words of wisdom, the gospel of love and compassion, the caution that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Words are not the solution; it is how we embody the words of wisdom in what we do.

That depends on each and every one of us making the small differences we can make, to honor Minoru Yasui with our every mindful action.

Paul Woolery

Hood River


In response to the diatribe against pro-lifers by Gary Fields, I comment: He and many others support the “pro-choice” option. This means the mother of the unborn baby can have him/her killed for any reason during the nine months of pregnancy. The overwhelming reason for abortion is the inconvenience of the baby to one or both parents.

Mr. Fields thinks that pro-lifers should be forced to adopt these babies. Adoption has been done a long time and is being done by pro-lifers already.

But a big question is this: Would the “pro-choice” person want his/her mother to have had an abortion while she carried him/her because he/she was inconvenient? I doubt it. It’s easier to have someone else killed, but not yourself … especially for being inconvenient.

And to make matters worse, some abortionists are selling aborted baby parts to make money!

Donald Rose, MD

Hood River

Clean-energy piggybank

Fossil fuels are egregiously underpriced, with global subsidies estimated by the International Monetary Fund at $5.3 trillion annually. Subsidies include direct government giveaways plus social costs of healthcare, land use degradation, and climate change costs, including over a million premature deaths from toxic pollution annually and cumulative atmospheric pollution that’s shrinking our snowpack, erasing glaciers, and acidifying oceans.

Economists recommend fuel fees to account for the real costs and to level the playing field for renewables. But King Coal, Big Oil, and Big Gas can’t prosper without these subsidies, so they rent legislators (and wacky presidential candidates) to maintain legislative gridlock.

Lacking fuel fees mandated by society, a conscientious household could “pay” pollution fees into their own clean-energy piggybank. Fortunately, going clean continues to get cheaper and is already cheaper to operate because the sun and wind are free. The only hurdle left is financing the new infrastructure.

How would that work? Fossil-fuel damage is as large or larger than fuel costs — so an average household saving a dollar for every dollar spent on gasoline would accumulate over $3000 annually. Or whatever fee per gallon you can afford.

Before long you’d be upgrading your home’s insulation and windows, adding a heat pump, and buying an electric vehicle or two. Multiple electric models with 200-mile range at $35,000 are coming in 2017. With solar generation, your fuel bill would collapse to the minimum monthly fee, your piggybank fees would end, and you’d be part of the solution.

Eric Strid

Bruce Bolme

White Salmon


As a newly married couple in the ‘70s, we left the safety of our families and moved to a ski/sport town in Colorado similar to Hood River. Housing was scarce and very expensive. The answer ... a cozy manufactured home, 20 miles from work. We didn’t get rich, but we were able to save enough money there to buy a home later ... a stepping stone.

I wonder if this same scenario could help the affordable housing problems here. The city could purchase the land, rezone it, and buy manufactured homes from The Dalles, helping out a local business there.

Ideally, then the city would contact the county’s largest employers like Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, Mt. Hood Meadows and Insitu, and offer to sell or at least rent the trailers from the city and then they rent them to their employees. Grouped together, these folks could do what we did to save money by carpooling with others to their jobs. Maybe there is still land available at the northeast end of Country Club Road where there is an existing trailer court. Folks there could walk to Walmart for essentials or call CAT for other needs.

This was the solution to housing that got us on our feet. Maybe it could be the answer here today. Just a thought.

Judy Hanson

Mt. Hood


As a Boy Scout, I have learned and obtained knowledge that will guide me throughout my life. Boy Scouts has taught me morals, survival skills, first aid, all of them giving me tools I can use to help others. Boy Scouts provides an opportunity to gain experience in leading, following, and serving. Boy Scouts has become very important to me and it has affected my family my friends and many other aspects of my life. It remains to be part of who I am to support and live by what Scouting has taught me.

Larry Collett

White Salmon, Wash.

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