Letters to the Editor for Oct. 26

Respect legacy

I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be a politician in this vicious political climate. At what were overwhelmingly inspirational events our community created to honor Minoru Yasui’s legacy of “Justice for All,” the family experienced a hint of that negativity.

Note on Election Letters

Voting early, as our cartoon in this issue suggests, is the favored plan for many voters. Since voters have the chance to vote immediately, the Hood River News advises writers that no election-related letters that contain new claims or arguments against a candidate will be published after the upcoming Weekend Edition of the paper. This ensures that a candidate has an opportunity to respond while a reasonable number of votes have yet to be cast.

— Kirby Neumann-Rea, editor

We were saddened by a few incredibly rude remarks made in public and on social media concerning our elected officials. We were deeply honored to have Congressman Greg Walden, Representative Brian Clem, Representative Mark Johnson, Mayor Paul Blackburn and County Commissioner Maui Meyer present at many of the events held in celebration of a Hood River hometown hero. We did not ask from which political party they were affiliated. They came to honor the life work of a man who never gave up his belief in democracy, our constitution and bill of rights, despite substantial challenges to that belief.

Minoru Yasui was passionate about freedom of speech and asserted it was our obligation to tell our government when it was doing something wrong. But he believed that these actions were most effective when conducted in a peaceful and respectful manner as advocated by another great American hero, Rev. Martin Luther King. Yasui modeled respectful protest and action throughout his life.

It would be a fitting tribute to Yasui’s legacy if we simply treated one another in a more respectful manner, exemplifying the caring community in which we live and serving as a guide for our children and theirs.

Maija Yasui

Hood River

Offensive

It’s a moral dilemma when the prospect of creating affordable housing at a well-suited sight is deemed by some as proposing the creation of a “ghetto” tenement. A ghetto is created when housing is poorly designed, constructed and managed — not by the people who live there. Every person working in the service industry, teachers, laborers, social-workers, food service workers, produce processors, drivers, cashiers, etc., should take personal offense and speak up.

These are the people who are struggling to foresee how they can maintain housing in Hood River. I recently opened my small rented home to a family of five I met through our children. For two months, the family was unable to find a long-term rental home after relocating here for work, and school was starting for the children. Their employer? Insitu — not ghetto material I know. People who look at our affordable housing sites as ghettos have some real soul searching to do. What are their morals?

My daughter and I frequent the skate park and live within walking distance. Not once have we considered entering the open space used for Frisbee golf. We have plenty of better options within walking distance, and fortunately our small town is surrounded by open forest. We welcome well thought out affordable housing developments full of people like ourselves ... hard working and compassionate despite our earnings.

Erika Doring

Hood River

No on 97

Vote no on Measure 97 — not because it is an additional tax, but because it is poorly written, doesn’t guarantee more money for education and will tax the typical family over $600 extra per year. The government can spend this tax however it wishes; there is nothing binding in the measure that states it must be spent on education and other services that it claims in its advertising campaign.

Beyond that, Oregon is the number one tax-and-spend state in the west. Currently, the government spends $8,157 per capita where other states in the western region spend, on average, less than $5,000 per capita. Oregon outspends 39 other states! (Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, State Expenditures Report: 2013-2015, comparison of western continental U.S. states). Why is Oregon spending so much more than its surrounding states, and still asking for more money? Where is this extra money going? Why can’t Oregon provide the services that we, as voters, ask for and want within its current budget? It is time to ask the Oregon government to be fiscally responsible, like the rest of us, and stop being wasteful. It can no longer rely on just asking for more money to fix an inherent problem that won’t go away without a paradigm shift.

Fred Duckwall

Hood River

‘Rigged’

Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the election is “rigged” against him, blaming the media, the administration, Democrats and anyone else he can think of. If the election is rigged, Trump has only himself to blame. His complete lack of connection between his mouth and his brain is the true culprit.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Write-ins

Write-in Chris Keniston for president and Deacon Taylor for vice president! Are you tired of the same politics in Washington, D.C.? Want a president and vice president who lead using the U.S. Constitution instead of what corporations and lobbyists want? Chris Keniston and Deacon Taylor are those candidates. Both are veterans, having served this country. Both are constitutional centrists. Both are not career politicians or billionaires, they work for a living! So vote for a real change, vote Veterans Party of America; write-in Chris Keniston/Deacon Taylor.

James Fryckman

Lincoln City

Misleading

I know Greg Walden and believe he is a good man. The article about his plans to “restore balance” is full of inaccurate statements based on GOP voting records and stances.

Statement: The media is the foundation of democracy. Where is that idea found in our Constitution? Statement: Walden is focused on … improving safety of railroads ... Walden never demanded that a third-party review the Mosier oil train situation which occurred miles from his home? This is a clear example of the GOP’s support of big business at all cost to our environment.

Statement: Walden is also focused on delivering better care to the mentally ill, boosting medical research ... Donald Trump said that veterans with psychological challenges are merely weak individuals and do not need medical care. Stem cell research has proven to have an effective treatment for MS and other diseases. The GOP stance has never been supportive of stem cell research. In fact, conservatives have chosen to inappropriately malign Planned Parenthood, calling it a factory for baby parts.

Statement: Making sure veterans get access to the care and benefits they’ve earned tops his priority list. (Later) hold senior managers at the VA accountable and boost funding … It is widely known that a document called “The Pledge” exists in the GOP. It is a document created by Grover Norquist in which every signer promises not to raise any taxes for any reason. Signing “The Pledge” is considered mandatory for many GOP candidates if they want support from the party.

The GOP always has tax money for fighter jets and bombs and putting our children in harm’s way. Once stateside again, wounded veterans wait 16 months for a knee replacement or weeks for mental health appointments for their Trump-diagnosed “mental weakness.” Before POTUS took over, vets had no choice but to wait in line for surgery or treatment. Since that time, the VA has contracted with area hospitals so veterans get surgeries much sooner.

It seems likely Walden with be reelected based on the area he serves.

I just wish his words matched his actions.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Walden on Trump

In the course of my political life, I have voted for Democrats and I have voted for Republicans many times. I care about the issues, but I care more about foresight and character, especially when it really counts.

Last week I called Representative Greg Walden’s office in Washington, D.C., to inquire whether or not he stood by his endorsement of, and continued to support, Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States. The reply was an unequivocal yes.

We need a change in Washington, but a change for the worse is worse than no change at all. Trump has proven to be profoundly lacking in the character, the temperament, and the competence to campaign effectively, even against the person who would otherwise be the single most unpopular presidential candidate in modern history. The way he has conducted himself in his run for office has done significant damage to his own party and to what remains of respectful political dialogue in this country.

Does Walden fail to recognize that this deeply flawed candidate would be similarly disastrous as the leader of the free world, Commander in Chief of our armed forces, and head of the executive branch of our government? Is this the person he would hold up as the single most important representative of American values to the world, not to mention our own people, and especially our children? Or does he simply lack the courage to stand up for what he knows to be right, when it is politically inconvenient for him to do so, even when faced with as momentous a decision as we face in the current presidential election?

Either way, Walden has lost the support I once gave him. He has left me no reasonable choice this election but to vote for his opponent, Jim Crary. Crary has yet to be tested with a choice such as this. Perhaps he would do no better. But Walden has faced this choice, has now been tested, and he has failed that test.

Jack Lerner

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Letter to Reynolds

Thank you for expressing your opinion on Measure 97. The fact that you are making your case while running for office and your dedication to education is admirable.

How can we be assured that the revenue generated by Measure 97 will go to schools, seniors and health care? Are you concerned with the lack of specificity? It seems as if this money can be spent on whatever the powers that be choose to spend it on. Do we really want to give a blank check to those who have caused the fiscal mess the state is in?

If the money goes to schools, are we talking about funding pensions as part of it? How is Measure 97 going to help seniors? Are there programs designated for those funds? Do we know how much they will cost? Should we really expect the state to deal with healthcare issues? I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to do that and Oregon’s first attempt at healthcare reform was an unmitigated disaster — they couldn’t even get a website to work.

Until someone can convince me differently, Measure 97 is throwing good money after bad. Isn’t Measure 97 really about funding PERS? If taxes rise, we should be sure that the money is used in a way all citizens benefit and offset existing taxes.

Joe McCulloch

Hood River

Seconding idea

I would like to endorse the maintenance shed on Cascade, across from Safeway, to be the next place of development. It does appear to be not fully used. Why not move it to the other maintenance area behind the LDS church?

With any development, green space will be needed; where will this green space come from?

Linda Holloway

Hood River

‘Not children’

Everyone has felt resentful or angry about something or other. The difference between adults and children is that we have learned the consequences of unbridled wrath and indignation, or at least many of us have. The world is not a place where you get everything you want. It is full of compromises and frustrations, along with immeasurable joys and satisfactions. Those who give in to anger, who wallow in it and augment it, are toxic. Those who use positions of prominence or power to provoke it are dangerous.

Donald Trump has just informed the world he may not abide by our election results. He whines that everything is rigged against him, ironically projecting powerlessness when he seems to want to be powerful. His campaign has fomented not only violence, but also rancor and disaffection among friends, coworkers and relatives who may disagree about conservative or liberal policy. It is very hard for anyone to escape the byproducts of this election.

What matters now is what we do about our feelings. Maybe someday we can again learn to debate each other without hatred or vitriol. Without lies and petty tantrums, without blindly lining up behind one team or another. Maybe someday our leaders and our media will elevate good behavior, and informed dialog, instead of cashing in on bad actions and sensationalism. Maybe we ourselves can learn to discern credible sources of news from media sites and pundits that dissemble and provoke.

Maybe we can channel our anger toward betterment, instead of merely venting. We also have a responsibility to govern ourselves wisely. We are not children.

Jennifer Ouzounian

Hood River

Trump-Pence

I have really been thinking a lot about this election. I don’t like either presidential candidate. However, I am now looking at the vice-presidential candidates and believe that Pence is a much better candidate.

Also, we have to think about the U.S. Constitution. In a debate, Trump said that he would nominate members to the Supreme Court who would follow the Constitution. There will probably be several nominations in the next four years.

Congressman Greg Walden is also for the Constitution.

I also think we need to think about the illegal immigrants in this country. Trump says he wants to close the borders. Anyone wanting to come into the U.S. should apply for a visa. The illegals already here would be sent back to their country, according to each situation. Hillary wants open borders. That would really help our drug traffic, wouldn’t it?

Remember we are supporting the illegals. However, we don’t have the money to help our veterans and veterans’ widows? Or help support our schools?

Hillary said she wants to close the coal mines. I wouldn’t like to work in them either, but what about those people in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee?

So, even though Trump has a big mouth and thinks he is a lady’s man, we would be better off voting for the Trump-Pence ticket.

Bobbi Reisner

Hood River

Keep Johnson

After reading about Mark Reynold’s false Statement of Economic Interest, I thought I would look into the issue, since you can’t always believe what you read.

I found the facts to be accurate — Reynold’s didn’t list all sources of income at first (he didn’t include rental properties). He responded, “... Any oversight was due to dealing with the requirements of filing as a first-time candidate.” I find that answer to be a little disingenuous.

For one thing, he shrugs off the mistake and chalks it up to inexperience. Why would I choose someone who has never held public office, and can’t seem to take seriously the basic requirements for running, to represent me? I’m sure we’ve all had to fill out confusing forms. But our elected officials should be prepared to meet these basic challenges and have a better understanding of our government. With this mistake, Reynold’s doesn’t demonstrate that.

Plus, Reynolds has still not disclosed his earnings as a PERS recipient. PERS is the $1 billion question that legislators are going to have to answer in the next session. And for a potential legislator to not share that he receives PERS, when it is one of the main things potentially bankrupting the state, is disingenuous at best and a conflict of interest at worst. I’m supposed to vote for someone who doesn’t give me all the facts? Navigating the PERS crisis will be difficult enough. We need our elected officials to be honest about that, and by not sharing his conflict of interest, we can’t trust Reynolds to be honest about much of anything.

His response claims that he’s looking forward to talking about real issues of the district, but budget issues are real. And so are honesty and transparency. Let’s continue to elect Mark Johnson, who knows that the challenges facing our state will addressed head-on and with integrity.

Glenn Taylor

Hood River

Pro Trump, Greg?

Greg Walden cares more about his loyalty to the Republican Party than the people of his district. He supports a person like Donald Trump who spews hatred, racism, fear, and women bashing. Walden and Trump want to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped families get medical coverage, allowed parents to insure their kids, and helped those with medical conditions who, before the act, couldn’t get coverage. Does Walden know that there are children in his district that are crying because they are afraid that their parents may be sent back to Mexico? The children are afraid of what they hear Trump say he will do if he is elected. Yes, we need immigration reform, but Congress has failed to accomplish reform, so instead undocumented families live in fear.

Trump is more concerned about the right to have guns than the right a woman has to make decisions about her own body. It is very scary to think of a Trump handling our foreign affairs or having the authority to launch nuclear weapons. Often Trump says something people find offensive and then he says he was just kidding. Can we trust anything that Trump says?

So Walden would vote for a man who according to Walden said words that were “disrespectful and disgusting.” Hillary Clinton has worked hard for 30 years to better the lives of children and families, helped raise the minimum wage, served the country as Secretary of State and senator. What has Trump done? He has filed several bankruptcies, is being sued due to the actions of Trump University, lives in a “privileged world” and has not paid some of the workers who worked for him, nor taxes to the United States government.

Trump acts like a child who isn’t getting his way so he blames everybody else. Is this the kind of person we want to lead our country? We need a president that our children will look up to, who is a good role model. Our children are depending on us to make the right choices in this election.

Nancy Johanson Paul

Hood River

Follow the Plan

The city needs to reread their own Comprehensive Plan.

“The application shall not be approved unless the proposed zone or plan change would be in compliance with the Hood River Comprehensive Plan.”

Below are some areas where the rezone does not comply with the Hood River Comprehensive Plan:

Goal 1: Citizen Involvement — Morrison Park is a community asset, and the rezoning of it from open space to high density housing should have more input beyond the five or six property owners in the notification radius of 250 feet. While the 250-foot notification might meet the letter of the law, it clearly isn’t in the spirit of the law. Rezoning a city-owned park should have more input.

Goal 4: Forest Lands — The proposed rezone does not comply with Goal 4, to conserve forest lands. Goal 4 states that “there are few forested spots inside the city which are located in parks or open spaces. These limited sites will continue to be protected by the zoning applied to those lands.” ODF identified this park as forest land two years ago.

Goal 5: Open Spaces — The proposed rezone does not comply with Goal 5(II).The stated goal is to provide open space in the urban area for the benefit of existing and future residents. Rezoning Morrison Park to R-3 does not meet this goal.

Natural Resources — The proposed rezone does not comply with the Natural Resources goal number 3. “Lands zoned as Open Space will be preserved as open space.”

Goal 8: Recreational Needs — The proposed rezone does not comply with Goal 8 policies, which require protecting existing parks from incompatible uses, creating recreational opportunities and encouraging low-maintenance parks. Morrison Park is an existing park.

Goal 10: Housing — The number one Housing Implementation Strategy is to revise residential development policies. This is also the number one recommendation of the Hood River Housing Study, not rezoning open space.

Jim Klaas

Hood River



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