Letters to the Editor for April 1

Moral imperative

We often get caught up in the “he said, she said” of political news, but there are moral imperatives that transcend political squabbles: showing compassion, being honest, taking responsibility, and dealing fairly with others. These are things we learned in kindergarten.

These imperatives are absent from the Republican agenda and absent from President Trump’s executive orders and current budget proposal.

Threatened are meal programs for the elderly, clean air and water, the health of millions, public arts and media, scientific research, and public schools.

Congressman Walden has not scheduled a town hall in the central Columbia Gorge to hear from his constituents. Where is our Second District member of Congress, Greg Walden, on proposals that will impact us for generations to come?

We respectfully request that Greg Walden, our member of Congress, attend and meet with his Congressional District 2 constituents in Hood River.

A Constituent Town Hall is scheduled on April 8, at Hood River Middle School, 1602 May St., Hood River, from 4:30-6 p.m. (For more information, Facebook Indivisible Columbia Gorge.) District 2 constituents will share opinions, stories, and post questions for Congressman Walden.

Congressman Walden, please schedule time in the Gorge to hear from your constituents.

Mark Reynolds


Takes 10 seconds

I want you all to look into your microwave and tell Greg Walden — “Shame!”

Edward Gunderson

Hood River

Data for sale

On Tuesday, Greg Walden voted to give Internet Service Providers — CenturyLink, Verizon, Charter, AT&T, Sprint, etc. — the ability to collect and sell your browsing history to third parties. Once President Trump signs this into law, these companies will be able to know which apps you use on your phone, which websites you visit (whether or not you’re using your browser in “private mode”), the content of your emails, and your entire search history. They can then sell these to whoever pays them enough money.

Worse still, these companies have always been able to do this, but an Obama-era FCC rule was about to go into effect banning this collection of data unless you were to explicitly opt-in. House and Senate Republicans (yes, it really was ONLY Republicans) voted to allow these companies to continue to collect your information. They voted to continue to allow these companies to sell your browsing history to anyone with deep enough pockets. And they voted to prohibit any future rule that would prevent ISPs from collecting and selling your data.

Greg Walden, who accepted more than $155,000 from the telecom companies in the last election cycle, voted to sell your emails and search history to the highest bidder.

Christopher Rosevear

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Money to Walden

Why did Republicans in Congress vote to allow your Internet service provider to sell your browser history without your consent?


In the House, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon) is the favorite of the telecom industry, with over $155,000 in donations in the most recent election cycle.

John and Linda Sprague

Hood River

Climate change referendum needed

March 25, 8:30-9:30 p.m., local time, lights around the globe were turned off to mark “Earth Hour,” which focuses attention on solutions towards a sustainable future. The UN headquarters, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, and Acropolis all dimmed their lights. UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted, “Climate change continues to imperil lives and livelihoods around the world.”

However, the Trump administration — including the president and the EPA administrator — expresses skepticism towards climate change and its causes. National capabilities in climate change understanding and mitigation risk drastic budget cuts. Commitments to international collaboration, including the landmark 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, are in jeopardy.

And what do Americans think? In a 40-nation survey in 2016, the non-partisan Pew Research Center found us to be among the least concerned about climate change. Even so, 69 percent believe that climate change is harming people now (41 percent) or will do so soon (28 percent). Political divisions are striking: 68 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans think that global climate change is a very serious problem; 82 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 50 percent of Republicans support limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

As an oceanographer, I view fundamentals of climate change as non-partisan. The widely-vetted 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report reflects the evidence-based overwhelming-majority opinion of climate scientists: Global warming is happening now. Trends are unmistakable. We (humans) are the primary cause.

As a citizen, climate change beliefs split along partisan lines concern me. Climate scientists should further reduce uncertainties on extent and timing. But our focus as citizens should be on the legitimate societal choice of how much (and when) to mitigate climate change. Not on whether change is real.

The Paris Climate Agreement embodies a collective choice of nations. The framework can be further improved. The U.S. President and congress are entitled, in fact responsible, to refine the direction of our engagement. But they must be informed by science and represent the majority of Americans who believe climate change is concerning.

President Trump, Congressman Greg Walden: Is it time, and are there mechanisms, for a national dialogue and referendum on climate change?

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood

Support solar

As the political fight for solar energy continues, Hood River City Council has conveyed their support for the continuation of the Residential Energy Tax Credit in Oregon. There is an important state debate going on right now about the future of solar in Oregon in the current state legislative session in Salem, Ore. Are our state legislators going to encourage their residents to use solar energy, or will they remove the very incentives that make residential solar possible?

Solar energy is a step for cleaner air, healthier communities and higher paying jobs. However, powerful advocates who dominate coal and timber industries will fight hard to keep these green initiatives from seeing daylight. This is why collective powers, like Hood River City Council, need to stand up for solar.

Hood River City Council recognized their important role in Oregon’s ongoing consequential solar debate and took action. On Monday, March 13, Hood River City Council sent a letter to Rep. Mark Johnson in an effort to ensure the renewal of the Residential Energy Tax Credit, the solar tax credit that makes possible the goal of residential solar energy here in Oregon.

Hood River City Council’s call to action to Rep. Johnson for solar tax credits is a tremendous step for our environment, our health and our local economies. We hope Rep. Johnson listens to his constituents and supports solar in our state’s current legislative session.

Carlina Arango, Tyrus La Rocca, Environment Oregon


Reality check

It has been made clear that Rep. Greg Walden is seeking greener pastures, his main interest being the future he hopes for with his new best friend Donald Trump.

The verbal and written concerns submitted by hundreds of Oregonians have not been acknowledged, resulting in pleas for recognition and being even further denied. It is apparent Mr. Walden seeks only the approval of President Trump; backing proposed reforms leaving choices for women, an improved Health Care plan and the necessity of the EPA off his agenda.

The Walden staff now tells us there will be an appearance by Mr. Walden in Hood River, offering citizens the opportunity to verbally express their many concerns and frustration. Having made his positions clear and refusing to hear his constituents, Greg Walden must be removed from the list when citizens are seeking valid representation.

Karen Louiselle

Mt. Hood

Park future?

I am writing this letter with a mixture of shock, confusion, anger and sadness.

Shock: Because I had no idea the Children’s Park was in danger of being closed and yet according to the March 29, 2017, Hood River News, “Steve Wheeler (no relation) said the city will close the playground ... in about one week.”

Confusion: Is this a temporary closure? Are they planning on rebuilding?

There was no mention of replacing or repairing the park equipment. Had there been regular inspections? Did they know this was coming?

Anger: Because I remember when the park was built. It was a true community project. Designing and planning using drawings that children made, fundraising and trying to get a million pennies, food donations from stores and restaurants, parents, grandparents and even those of us with no children sawing, drilling, hammering. Even the smallest children helped by soaping nails and washing tires. But the community that built this park didn’t get a voice in the decision to close it.

Sadness: Because no more children will be able to play there, to experience the joy and imagination that is this park. This park that is “one of the community’s most popular destinations for families.”

So now what? Close the park and then start over? Is this a result of a lack of foresight by the city or simply an incomplete article by the Hood River News?

Amy Wheeler

Hood River

Editors Note: The article should have stated that Steve Wheeler informed the council that the city does plan to replace the playground, at an estimated $300,000 cost.

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