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Letters to the Editor for April 5

Children’s Park piggy bank pledge

I am upset that the city is going to tear down the wooden playground. This upsets me because it is one of the funnest playgrounds ever. It is sad that I will never get to play there again. I have memories of playing there with my mom and my grandma and my friends.

The city should ask people to help raise money to repair the playground.

I would be willing to give all the money in my piggy bank to help pay for the playground so that all kids and families can love playing there again.

Aaron Short, 7

Husum, Wash.

Keep the structure

Our family moved to The Dalles last year and we have found a treasure trove of parks here. This is the information I found on The Dalles Parks and Recreation website: “The District maintains nine community parks and a sports field complex totaling more than 200 acres. Included within these parks are multiple athletic fields, 18-hole disc golf course, tennis courts, shelters, restrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds and a 10-mile Riverfront Trail.”

I’m just trying to understand how they can maintain their parks and how the great City of Hood River can do the same. The Children’s Park-like structure at Sorosis Park seems to have been built within years of the Children’s Park and it’s still very much playable. I understand this has to do with funding and politics, blah blah but, come on, it’s for the kids! Just food for thought ...

Milo Prideaux

The Dalles

Trump’s waste

How many hungry children in the United States could be fed with the millions of dollars wasted on Trump’s weekly trips to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida to play golf and keeping Melania living in New York instead of the White House?

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

Goofy plans for the rich

Dear Congressman Walden: In this open letter, I would like to remind you that I previously urged you to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with affordable dental care for all Americans. This will improve American health in a massive way. I note you recently voiced a concern about people needing more than one ACA insurance choice for health care in many other states. This flaw in the ACA can easily be fixed by Congress simply allowing insurance companies to cover persons with similar plans across state lines. The recently failed, poorly thought out replacement attempt for the ACA would have given lower income retired persons over 60 and low income younger persons no choice but to cancel all insurance. That is not a choice when you make insurance not affordable. I hope that failure will prompt you to improve the ACA rather than trying to recreate the wheel. Tax credits and massive age-related rate hikes are not an affordable solution for anyone. Please work on real improvements and show the intestinal fortitude for leadership that Oregon expects of its Congressmen by standing up for the little people against poorly thought out goofy plans for the rich.

Richard McBee

Hood River

Walden priorities

Open letter to Rep. Greg Walden and his constituents of District 2:

A website called fivethirtyeight.com shows that Walden has so far voted 100 percent in line with Donald Trump’s positions. I find that extremely disturbing because Trump’s actions in his first few weeks of his presidency repeatedly indicate that he is far more concerned with protecting large national corporations and his billionaire friends (and possibly Russia) than he is with the majority of U.S. citizens. A case in point is Trump’s throwing out of rules designed to address climate change.

I have heard no objection from Greg Walden about this. Because he is a family man who was fortunate to grow up in one of the most beautiful places on Earth (the Columbia Gorge), I am perplexed. If we as a species continue to foul our nest, our children and future generations will live in a more limited and dangerous world. Scientists have repeatedly warned that if climate change goes unchecked, we will see an increase in plant and wildlife extinctions, water wars among nations, devastating storms, and intense disease outbreaks, to mention only a few of the anticipated results. (And I have confidence that Walden is smart enough to believe in scientific research.) The last thing this nation and this planet need right now is to stick our collective head in the sand.

The propaganda we’re hearing is that research on climate change is “wasting our money.” However, a recent report from the Worldwatch Institute noted that China is becoming the world leader in the renewable energy industry. Obviously, that nation is beginning to take climate change seriously and is profiting from ways to curb it. And perhaps they have figured out that it is far more costly to clean up a poisoned environment than to prevent it in the first place.

So since Greg Walden has been silent on climate change, an issue that will affect all earthlings including his family, my question to him is what is more important: your family and constituents, or your devotion to Trump?

Tracie Hornung

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Greg Walden’s second chance

The Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” gave health insurance to 129,200 additional people in Oregon House District 2, more than in any other Republican district in the U.S.

In spite of the success of Obamacare in providing health insurance for people in his district, Greg Walden joined with other Republicans to repeal it. After helping to write a replacement bill, he wrote an OpEd calling the new Republican American Health Care Act, “The Health Care Bill You’ve Waited For,” promising that the bill would “lower costs for patients” and “improve access to care.”

Once public, it was learned that rather than lowering costs, the Republican bill would have increased costs for the average enrollee by $3,174, or $8,329 for seniors.

Rather than improving access to health care, 14 million Americans would have lost their health insurance in the first year, 24 million within 10 years. In its final form, Walden’s bill removed insurance coverage for mental health, drug abuse, hospitalization, outpatient and maternity care, all of which are now required in all policies. The final bill did not fulfill Mr. Walden’s promises to Oregonians in District 2. He did a huge disservice to his constituents by championing a bill that would have raised their costs and lowered their quality of health care. Because the bill could not pass, Mr. Walden now has a second chance to actually make good on the promises in his recent OpEd article.

William White

Mosier

Medicare for all

I saw an interview on TV with a young woman who had lost most of her fingers and some toes because a strep infection got out of control. She didn’t have insurance and didn’t go to the doctor, and almost died from strep throat. I don’t want to live any more with the fear and anxiety that something terrible like that might happen to me or my family and friends just because people don’t have insurance, or going to the doctor means huge bills, so they don’t go when all they probably need is one appointment and a prescription.

I want Medicare for all: a basic insurance plan that everyone pays for and everyone benefits from. It won’t pay for everything — if you need specialized care you might need supplemental insurance — but it will mean most of us go to the doctor when we need to, take better care of our health, and find out about bad illnesses sooner so they are less difficult and less expensive to treat. It will help relieve the fear and anxiety around health care that our nation is overwhelmed by.

I am getting older. I’m self-employed. I think about this every day.

Greg Walden proposed a health care plan that would have meant throwing someone like me to the wolves and it really did scare me, that that terrible plan was what he thought was a good solution for my future.

There is a very straightforward way to reform our health care system, with a plan in place to build on. We don’t have to start from scratch, or cobble together some complex set of laws and rules no one can understand, so we can keep fighting about it for years, and that will still cost us a fortune. Please, let’s expand Medicare for all.

Serena Smith

The Dalles

Walden, bought; privacy, sold

House Republicans voted to roll back online privacy protections that were set to take effect this year, thus allowing internet service providers to sell customer data directly to companies that mine personal data. It also prevents the Federal Communications Commission from creating any additional protections in the future.

How do you feel about having your personal data sold to companies that do data mining? Probably much like I do, appalled. But should I be surprised that Rep. Walden voted to get rid of important online privacy protections of information that is desired by the telecom services industry when he also recently voted to remove important medical insurance support for many of his constituents?

I feel trumped when I read at opensecrects.com that in 2016, only 32 percent of Walden’s campaign contributions came from individual contributions, while PAC contributions amounted to 64 percent. Who is he representing?

Cecelia Goodnight

Hood River

Privacy for sale

Last week, Greg Walden voted to give away my privacy rights with cable companies and internet providers. Because of his actions, those companies can now sell my information to wherever. I had called his office and asked him not to do this. He did it anyway. I can’t help but wonder if it had anything to do with the contributions from AT&T, Comcast, and others of $156,100 in this last election. I think this stinks to high heaven. He sold your privacy too. Everyone’s. What I want to know now is, “Why did you think it was okay to give away my privacy?”

Patricia DeLozier

Bend

‘Delightful’

As a visitor from Vancouver, B.C., I would like to compliment Hood River drivers for their unfailing politeness to pedestrians.

We are staying in the 13th and Belmont area. Drivers go to great effort to stop when we are waiting to cross the street. I should also add that we are always treated well by residents of your delightful town. Thank you.

Ken and Diane Bryden

Vancouver, B.C.

Independent commission

I don’t know whether or not there is a connection, if any, between the Trump administration and the Russians, but I do know there is only one way to find out: through an independent bi-partisan 9/11-style commission.

My great fear is that we will have endless Benghazi-style hearings that never come to a firm conclusion, yes or no, that we can trust.

Yes, we need to investigate, but just as importantly we need to trust the results. The House Intelligence Committee, led by a clearly compromised Rep. Nunes, just won’t cut it.

I urge Rep. Greg Walden to support the formation of an independent commission to investigate any connection.

Tom Keffer

Hood River

‘Infestation of seedlings’

There is a prolific phenomenon happening in Hood River. After being buried in snow for two-plus months, the maple seed pods, also known as maple helicopters or whirlybirds, have germinated and are taking over the yards in close proximity to maple trees. I know — I have three maple trees on my lot located on Cascade Avenue in downtown Hood River.

I’ve lived here 10 years and have never dealt with the number of seedlings that now need to be pulled. As I walk my dogs on Cascade and Columbia, I see I’m not alone. There are tens of thousands starts popping up everywhere. I’ll be busy for at least several weeks pulling out the starts, as well as vacuuming the remaining seed pods that haven’t yet germinated. My concern is how many of the yards that are affected are secondary homes where the owners live out of state and know nothing about the infestation of the seedlings.

Lori Sobrero

Hood River

Brew for wisdom

I have a modest proposal (it does not involve eating children … Google it). A social activist group and an environmental activist group should form an alliance with a group of makers and sellers to ferment a special quarterly batch of beer, wine, cider et al. Someone (perhaps me) should write a narrative or “myth” about how the Hood River, or Gorge tribes, depending on the scope, came to know that the changing of the seasons (Solstice/Equinox) happens because we make a special beverage, and then drink it all. It fact, the change will not happen until we do (this part may take some fine tuning). It would be a win, win, win, win, win situation. The two activist groups would raise money. The makers and sellers would make money. More importantly (to me), we would raise awareness of how our ancient ancestors perceived their word, and their place in it. Whether or not the wisest among them believed they were actually causing the seasons to change, they knew it was good for the members if their tribe to believe they were invested in those changes, because they knew all of their lives were depended on them. We have replaced their wisdom with our hubris … our abysmal ignorance that we believe we are in control. Perhaps if we can reclaim some of their wisdom, we may have a chance.

David Warnock

Hood River

Tax time for Trump?

Have you ever been asked for your tax return? When you buy a house, refinance your home, or submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you submit a copy of your tax return. Do you refuse?

Why would we, the citizens the United States, want the candidate and ultimately now the President of the United States to turn in his tax returns? Do we want to know the who, how, and why of the financial interests of the person in the office of President of the United States?

Do we want to know who is part of the president’s financial universe such as dependents and his filing status? Do we want to know how much is earned and what is the largest source of income? Do we want to know what kind of deductions are taken, such as itemized deductions for home ownership, charitable donations, and medical expenses? Are there business ties that can create conflicts of interest?

Why would we, the citizens of the United States let him refuse to provide us with his tax returns?

Ray Sherrill

The Dalles



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