Letters to the Editor for April 9

Toll ideas

As mayor of North Bonneville, I understand how hard it is for small cities to survive these days. I also understand we are limited in finding the revenue needed to pay our bills, maintain our streets and make sure water comes out of our faucets and goes down the drains.

That said, I respectfully submit that the notion of tripling the toll for cars and standard trucks to cross the Bridge of the Gods is a bad idea.

The current toll structure charges $1 for cars and regular trucks, 50 cents for trailers, bicycles, motor cycles and pedestrians, $2 for dualies and double axle trucks, and an additional $1.50 for every additional axle on larger trucks. The maximum charge is $13.50 for a 9-axle truck. Locals can buy ticket books that give us a break at 75 cents per crossing for cars and standard trucks.

I would like to offer an alternative idea. Get rid of the ticket books along with all the hassle and expense that goes with them and charge us locals the same $1 as everybody else. Increase the trailer and motorcycle charge to $1. Leave the bicycles and pedestrians at 50 cents and the dualies at $2. Raise all multiple axle trucks by 50 cents, $2.50 for a double axle, $5 for 3 axles with a new max of $14.

Give locals an option to buy a windshield sticker for $750 that allows unlimited crossings in a car or standard truck. That works out to one round trip every single day of the year plus 10 extra round trips. This sticker would be good from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of each year with no prorating for partial years and would change color from year to year to make it easier for the toll takers to identify.

When I was a kid, I read Aesop’s fable about the goose that laid the golden eggs. If the toll is raised to $3 per car, the Port of Cascade Locks may very well find themselves the proud owners of a dead goose.

Don Stevens, mayor

North Bonneville, Wash.

Great event

This past Monday evening, I went to the Columbia Center for the Arts (CCA) to hear Brian Doyle, author of the great Oregon coast book “Mink River.” Frankly, I probably wouldn’t have gone if my wife and I hadn’t bought a “season pass” — a 10-pack ticket to 10 events CCA is having this year to celebrate CCA’s 10th anniversary. This was the first of the 10 events, so I thought what the heck …

Wow, was I glad I went — Brian Doyle was fantastic. Funny, a little off-color, clever, rapid-fire monologues about things like debating — with the Dalai Lama! — whether soccer players or basketball players are the better athletes and the philosophical questions he gets from 8-year-olds (“Is that your real nose?”). But he was also deeply, deeply moving as he spoke of life and all its glorious experiences, the generosity and courage of ordinary people, the 100 prayers he wrote for the simple things we normally overlook, the truer beauty of older women, and dozens of other mysteries of our existence. At times he teared up as he read some of his passages from books, and most of us probably wanted to cry, too. Truly a fun and powerful evening.

I report this because Brian Doyle is coming back to Hood River later this month or next. His new book, “Martin Marten,” is the Hood River County Reads selection for 2016, so he’ll be speaking here again. I can’t promise he’ll be as wonderful as Monday evening, but you might want to think about going.

By the way, you might also think about buying a CCA 10-pack “season pass” for yourself. For me, it’s going to be a great way to get myself out to experience things I normally wouldn’t — like on Monday.

Mike Hendricks

Hood River

Mailer questioned

I had a good chuckle when I saw Nestlé’s multi-page glossy flyer opposing Water Protection Measure 14-55. The flyer was what I figured Nestlé would send to convince voters in our county that handing over our limited water supply to Nestlé and other water bottlers is a good idea. Some of the claims, however, were quite entertaining. For example, the claim that preventing big corporations from trucking away hundreds of millions of gallons a year of bottled would “take away local control” was interesting and made me wonder how a city would keep local control by handing over their water supply to Nestlé?

The flyer also claims that a Nestlé plant would create “nearly 50 jobs,” but of course does not mention that these would mainly be low-paying security, cleaning or maintenance jobs. For a little context, there are popular restaurants in our county that have over 80 employees. But would job numbers on this scale ever warrant opening our door to industrial scale water bottling when there were farmers who had their water cut off just last year and when most of us worked hard to try to save water?

Granted, Nestlé has a pretty tough pitch fighting 14-55 given that less than a year ago our county was in a drought emergency and all the projections are that drought will become the new normal across the Northwest.

Unfortunately, I expect this will just be the first of many Nestlé mailers, but instead of hiding behind a political front group called “Coalition for a Strong Gorge Economy,” I would call on Nestlé to admit they are paying for and organizing these mailers so voters know whose voice they are actually hearing.

Aurora del Val, Local Water

Alliance campaign director

Cascade Locks

Third party look

There is another interesting dynamic about to emerge in the 2016 presidential race: The Libertarian presidential candidacy of former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He just polled nationally at 11 percent in a Monmouth University poll. This may not sound like much, but at 15 percent, the DNC and RNC debate platform rules, which are designed to keep third party competitors from participating, can’t keep him from the national debate stage. In addition, the American Initiative law suit (www.ouramericainitia-tive.com) against the two party stranglehold will be coming to bear.

If Gov. Johnson is polling at 11 percent with minimal coverage, imagine what will happen once he hits the national stage ... A third party candidate will change the nature of this already tumultuous race. His contention is that many American voters are already Libertarians, they just don’t know it. He cites the non-partisan website www.isidewith.com/political-quiz, where each candidate answers a set of questions and voters compare their answers to the candidates as evidence of this.

As an American citizen who is exasperated with the choices before me, I respectfully request you help us learn more about Gov. Johnson.

Currently, Sanders may not beat Clinton’s Super Delegates, Clinton might yet be indicted by the FBI, Cruz is despised by the establishment, Trump might be facing a brokered convention and Kasich is jockeying for the windfall. In other words, anything goes ...

As a former New Mexico resident, I can tell you New Mexico has a great history of solid statesmen like Sen. Pete Domenici, Secretary Bill Richardson and Gov. Gary Johnson. I’d like to learn more about Johnson as a presidential candidate. I bet our nation and your readers would too!

Scott Scrimshaw

Hood River

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