Letters to the Editor for May 7

Water grab

As a concerned member of our community, I would like to add my voice to the county residents opposing Nestlé’s attempted water grab.

Water is a commodity of the future and Nestlé knows that whoever owns water can dictate price and availability. There’s a global race to privatize drinking water. Nestlé is leading the way by attempting to monopolize the market. Cascade Locks is one of many desirable water sources that Nestlé has targeted for their bottled water source. This giant, multi-national corporation does not have Cascade Locks’ best interests at heart.

First and foremost, they are profit driven, not community driven. Nestlé has a long history of preying on economically depressed towns by overpromising jobs and tax revenue, yet under delivering on both fronts.

They bully, cajole, and pit neighbor against neighbor to achieve their goal of exclusive water rights ownership.

The wellbeing of Cascade Locks is not a concern of the Nestlé Corporation. It is absurd to think that Cascade Locks has such a difficult time attracting jobs (maybe ask the elected officials responsible), but Nestlé is a bad choice and a desperate choice; they can do better.

Mike Kitts

Hood River

‘Serious business’

As I read the STR article in the Saturday, April 23 edition of the Hood River News, I came across a paragraph about the Mayoral Resolution regarding “Meatless Mondays.” This completely took me off guard. One would think that an elected official would have bigger fish to fry. One can only hope that the council members can offset this serous business by declaring “Tri Tip Tuesdays” or “Wing Wednesdays,” anything that will help save this town would be appreciated. I also think that it is only fair that I declare that I am a county resident that wrote this on a Monday night while cooking a steak.

Mark Beam

Hood River

Vote Weaver

Paul Weaver of rural Toledo, Ore., is running in the May primary to defeat incumbent Ron Wyden. He is a Nebraska native and has lived in Oregon since 1977. He has a degree in business administration from Eastern Washington State College (now Eastern Washington University) in Cheney, Wash. Weaver is also a retired locomotive engineer, with 30 years’ service with Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads.

Washington, D.C., is out of control. The only way to fix it is to send new people of integrity. Weaver’s main thrust is the need to get Washington’s spending binge under control, balance the budget and start paying down our national debt. Our national debt has doubled over the last seven years. Nine trillion dollars of debt threatens to wreck our economy and profoundly lower our standard of living.

Why vote for Weaver? He does not need the job and he is not part of the political establishment. He is not wealthy like Sen. Wyden, yet he is running a grassroots, self-funded campaign. His statement is not in the Voter’s Pamphlet because it would have cost $3,000 to purchase an ad.

For more information, visit www.paulweaverforussenate.com.

Elections matter. Please vote.

Paul Weaver

Toledo, Ore.

Manipulative

I got a lengthy phone poll last night that sounded a lot like the Water Protection Measure opponents. They were clearly hunting for just the right political language to spin and convince voters that handing over a public water supply to Nestlé and other water bottlers is a good idea. Of course they would not admit Nestlé was paying for the poll when I asked, but I talked to the “Yes on 14-55” campaign, and they said the poll was not theirs.

I felt manipulated by the Nestlé pollsters who fished for phrases that trigger strong emotional reactions that would likely make Hood River residents feel like bullies if they voted to protect our county’s water supply.

If the “No” campaign is so bent on preserving “local control of future economic development,” why do they back one of the world’s most powerful foreign corporations? How is that local control?

The pollsters never offered real arguments motivating Nestlé and other water bottlers who spin and pay for their political mailers and radio ads. Is Nestlé opposed to 14-55 because it wants to see new jobs in Cascade Locks? Does Nestlé really want to open a plant to give more tax money to Cascade Locks? Of course not. So while they are spending lots of money on arguments that surely polled well, they are not genuine beliefs of the companies who pay to distribute them.

The reality is that Nestlé wants to get at Cascade Locks’ water and will employ as few people as possible to bottle up that water to truck to Portland, Seattle and beyond. The argument that a Nestlé plant would provide fire services and bring back the high school in Cascade Locks is almost comical, given that Nestlé would qualify for a tax break, so it would not pay property taxes for five years or more. Who would really have to pay for the local roads and services Nestlé would use? We, the taxpayers.

While not every argument made by 14-55 supporters’ appeals to me, I at least respect them as genuine arguments supporters believe in.

Alex Zavadsky

Hood River

Support market

This season, Hood River’s weekly farmers’ market can be found on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at Fifth and Columbia downtown. I am writing as a community member who served on the Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee this past year. We stood out in the cold rain looking at sites all over town, trying to find a large, flat, wind-protected place with ample parking in Hood River. It was tricky — and our group agreed on making this move that we believe will help our market grow and thrive. I urge you to try out the farmers’ market in its new time and place, and support hard-working Gorge farmers.

Last year’s market was stunted by a lack of room for new vendors, shifting hours and locations, and a limited number of shoppers who could make it out on a Thursday evening. Booming farmer’s markets overwhelmingly occur on weekends, when 9-5’ers are more free to participate.

Some people have expressed concern about summer crowds downtown. At the new market site, half of the parking lot will be dedicated to free customer parking.

Please, also, can we lie to rest the idea that this is now a “tourist’s market.” It’s a shopper’s market, be they local or visiting, and welcome to anyone who is excited to buy fresh local, food and support Gorge farmers. Hope to see you there.

Bonnie Cox

Hood River

Reality

As someone who lives in Cascade Locks, I find Nestlé’s argument that Measure 14-55 would hurt Cascade Locks insulting.

Please come visit our town and drive down the streets, and you will see as many “Yes on 14-55” signs as you will see against it. The argument that keeping our water supply public would hurt our town is pure political fiction.

Nestlé may want to ignore the fact that many of us in Cascade Locks completely oppose giving them 236 million gallons our water a year for a small, small number of jobs that pay poorly, but that’s the reality of the situation and why Nestlé has such a hard time finding any town that is short-sighted enough to hand over their water despite the growing realities of drought in our region.

Dayna Stallsworth

Cascade Locks

Vote no

I have been following the issue with the Cascade Locks water and Nestlé’s desire to bottle the water. First of all, this is an issue that mainly involves Cascade Locks residents, but the old time saying, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” applies here.

The vote yes supporter’s slogan “Our Water Our Future” really gets your attention for sympathy. Their claims really do not hold water (pun intended).

This water source is a renewable, never-ending God-given gift. This source also has no impact nor endangers our water source for farms in Hood River County as this comes from different sources. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department has said it will not impact nor harm the fish operation in Cascade Locks. Those two issues are of upmost importance.

Jobs will be provided and Cascade Locks residents can apply, and good employees should have no problem holding down a job.

The most reasonable vote is no, and should be in the best interests of the county and City of Cascade Locks and its residents.

Bob Tallman

Hood River

Water concerns

As a resident of a rural area of the county, my family and I depend on well water for drinking and everything else. Nestlé wants to build a large scale water bottling plant in Cascade Locks. If they were to propose the same type of plant near where I live, I would be worried about what it would do to my water supply. Hood River’s people and businesses are dependent on our water. Orchards and farms need water to operate and earn a profit. Then these small businesses pay local employees, keeping the money invested in the county and its people.

Contrast this with Nestlé taking the same water to create a profit for people living outside of Hood River County. Many families in the Upper Valley, like mine, rely on natural groundwater for everyday life. Both of these local uses of water would be threatened by Nestlé consuming millions of gallons of vital water a year. I have heard the argument that the plant being built in Cascade Locks does not affect people living in the rest of the county, but it sets a dangerous precedent for large corporations to exploit the county’s water supply. When water is important to so many people in the county, we cannot afford to allow Nestlé to harm our limited water supply. If you believe in supporting local farms and families, please vote yes on measure 14-55.

Jake Bromham

Hood River

Agrees

Jon Laraway’s article on Measure 14-55 was excellent. If the supporters of this measure read his article and walk away with their original conclusions, they are either turning a blind eye to the facts, or they are looking for an entirely different form of government. This is a legal agreement between a company and a government entity and is subject to review and control by various state departments.

Water, among other things, is one of our natural resources. Are we to conclude that all it takes to totally change our management of our water, timber, etc., is to bring in some community organizers and let them convince the voting public by using scare tactics and no concrete back-up of their positions? Hood River County has its own timberlands and it is managed to contribute to the welfare of this county through the sale of timber. It is not a far leap in logic to see that a yes vote on Measure 14-55 would be a stepping stone to block all future timber sales by the county to forest products companies.

Joe Kochis

Parkdale

Change needed

This winter, I walked through the halls at my son’s school, Parkdale Elementary, to the sound of the heating system clanging away.

Some rooms were so hot that teachers had the windows open. Other rooms were too cold, far from an ideal environment for learning. Come to find out, the boiler is 85 years old. This is just one example of the disrepair and antiquity of the schools within our district.

Luckily we have an opportunity to change this. Measure 14-58, the school bond levy, will fund important electrical and plumbing repairs at Parkdale Elementary as well as provide a new STEM classroom at Wy’east.

Other necessary improvements are planned for the entire district.

This bond does not raise the tax rate. Join me in supporting our schools. Let’s fix the infrastructure so that kids can learn and teachers can teach.

Christina McGhee

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Control

The issue is neither an economic issue nor an environmental issue. It is an issue of international corporations like Nestlé and Monsanto controlling the worldwide food and water supply. When you control the food and water, you control the people. Accomplished in seemingly benign steps, victims are unaware until it’s too late.

International corporations are replacing countries as controllers of both domestic and international policy. Contemplate that for a while.

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

No Choice

There is no choice. Mother Nature took away your “right to choose” when air and water became necessary for life. No person or corporation can or should own either necessity. Vote for 14-55.

Theresa North

Hood River



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