As of Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Rep. Greg Walden, are you hiding in Trump Tower? We need you.
First, I studied your website to find the answer to my question: where does MY representative stand on DACA and immigration in general? DACA was not mentioned. Amazingly, the word “immigration” does not appear anywhere on your website. I called you. I emailed you. I submitted the form on your website. I sent a personal letter. No word from you.
There are many, many immigrants in the area of Oregon you represent, particularly here in your HOMETOWN. These immigrants, and the people who care about them, hire them, work with them, teach them, and live next to them want to know what your position on immigration is, understandably. Is it your goal to deport my children’s friends? Will you direct law enforcement to arrest my neighbor? Will you allow my former and current students to continue to work legally, pay taxes legally, and attend college legally by fighting for DACA? Will you stand behind a bully who threatens to take away the federal funding of your own hometown? Why won’t you tell us what your position is, Mr. Walden?
I know you supported P-E Trump. But with a Republican-sponsored bill to protect current DACA holders, I am wondering where you are on the issues. With so many Oregonians affected, why have you stayed silent to us?
An informed electorate is so, so important. Please tell us where you stand.
I use my apartment six months a year and employ Hood River Vacation Rentals to find visitors on a short-term basis. Consequently I earn additional income and Hood River City Council receives revenue from “transient tax.”
I have now had to submit an application limiting STRs to 90 days a year leaving my apartment empty for 3 months. The city council now employs more staff to reduce the amount of taxes payable — this cannot make economic sense.
It is somewhat ironic that new hotels have been built to accommodate the increasing number of visitors but STRs are being restricted. Why is this?
There is continual talk about affordable housing. The council minimize the importance of tourism claiming a total economy of some $1.8 billion — surely an economy as massive as this should be capable of providing affordable housing for a (county) population of only 23,000. Who is benefitting from this $1.8 billion?
I have lived in Singapore for over 30 years. Singapore is an island state with a land mass some 65 percent the size of Hood River County. Living in this confined space are 5.5 million residents with an economy of $300 billion. Every Singaporean is entitled to affordable housing. Singapore embraces tourism. It boasts the world’s best airport, best airline and busiest seaport. This has been achieved since independence in 1965 when there was nothing apart from location and dynamic leadership.
I encourage Hood River City Council to embrace this forward looking attitude of achievement.
With good intent,
First, heal thyself
In light of the recent dramatic shifts in the political landscape of our nation, it is hard not to be thinking differently about the upcoming New Year, and its traditional call for self-enforced change through the drafting of resolutions. Particularly important at this juncture in time is the demand for a more localized attention toward enacting change: that, if we hope to continue fighting for what we believe is right on a national scale, we are not only responsible for but complicit in fostering rightness in our small communities.
As resolution culture suggests, I believe this starts at the level of self: the small, singular community I inhabit through intentional mindfulness, the ways I do and don’t take up space with my body. How can I begin instituting productive change at the local level, starting with the community most immediately accessible to me: myself.
One resolution I would suggest everyone consider, in whatever capacity best suits the individual, is to pay greater attention to your consumption of animal products. Whatever your stance is on enacting rightness in your community, I believe in the metaphor of affixing one’s own oxygen mask before attempting to help others with theirs. A diet that consists largely of plant-based foods, with fewer animal products, is not only good for my own body, but it symbolically, spiritually and literally advocates for the health and well-being of the animals and the environment surrounding me. By eating less meat, my carbon footprint is drastically reduced, as is my complicity in the horrors of animal cruelty that take place so regularly on factory farms.
By reducing or eliminating meat from your diet, you are lowering your risk for a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain forms of cancer. And by avoiding red and processed meats in particular, you are cutting out the consumption of carcinogens in the same category as arsenic and tobacco. In other words, you are ensuring the proper inflation of your oxygen mask, creating healthy and mindful opportunities for you to go forth in helping others with theirs.