Letters to the Editor for April 29

Faux recycling

While the new waste management plan may have looked good on paper and was sold as such, I was shocked to see the huge mountain of new plastic cans down at the waterfront last week. Sure, these new cans were made from recycled plastic (which uses a lot of energy by the way). But why not instead reuse what we already have? I’m certain our great grandparents would be quite confused by today’s definition of recycling.

Their form of recycling was sending the glass milk jug back to the dairy that was a few miles down the road. I am curious as to how many plastic bags it would take to offset all our old garbage cans bound for the landfill? I imagine it is more bags than Hood River could possibly use in a couple of decades. Of course, the garbage company was on board with the idea. They were able to increase their fee by 50 percent while decreasing garbage pickup to every other week. We do our part to keep our neighborhood clean and we ask Hood River Garbage to do the same. Sure, on paper it sounds like this idea was best for the environment, but did anyone look at how it was going to affect the environment of our crowded community? I can certainly tell you that the environment of my neighborhood has been overrun by large beige cans. On that same note, I cannot wait for the smell of diapers that have been baking in the sun for two weeks!

Amy Nelson

Hood River

Why I’m running

I am writing today in the hopes that some of you may consider voting for me for Hood River County School Board Position 2.

I am a third-generation resident of Hood River County, and a product of our very school system.

I am running because I owe it to my teachers who, despite my best efforts, managed to teach me something. I am running because of Dottie Gilbertson, Lynn Annett, Dave Radley, Nan Noteboom, Rachel Harry and so many others.

We are lucky enough to have many brilliant educators in our district, but they are being hamstrung by over-administration, over-testing, under-funding, and class sizes that were already a problem 15 years ago.

Nevertheless, they persist, and thank goodness for that.

Education is extremely important to me. By the time this election is over, my son will be nearing 10 months old. My desire for him is to have the best education possible, whether that is public school, online school, or homeschooling. Is our public school system, as it exists right now, going to foster qualities of civic engagement, an understanding of history from the perspective of the abused, and an appreciation of the importance of preserving our biosphere? Is he going to be equipped to deal with the myriad problems our leaders are creating?

Children are not just “the” future, they are “our” future, and the choices that we make now are going to largely define “their” future.

As an aside, in reference to the behavior of attendees at the Walden town hall meeting, civil disobedience in the face of elected leaders who ignore their constituents is one of the best lessons we can teach them.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Sessions misinformed

I was astounded to read this news story today: Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he was “amazed” a judge in Hawaii could halt President Trump’s order blocking people from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S. “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Sessions said.

I too am truly amazed the Attorney General of the United States doesn’t understand the State of Hawaii is an integral part of this nation. This commentary is absolutely amazing and serves as evidence of the ethnic superiority displayed of members of the Trump hierarchy.

Bill Nix

Municipal Court Judge, Retired

Underwood, Wash.

Everitt for Port

I support John Everitt in his position of running for port commissioner. I believe in John’s strong interest in the future of the port and of our community. I’ve known John over 15 years, as a neighbor, friend, family man, and community member. We usually run into each other on walks on the Twin Tunnels and we always reflect on our love for the Gorge, our waterways, and this great place we call home. I know John will work hard as a commissioner as he is logical, fair and has a really good listening policy. He understands what it will take to weigh in on economic, social and recreational issues to contribute to the healthy vitality of our vibrant port.

Louise McCulloch

Hood River

Vote for Russo

I am endorsing David Russo for Precinct 2, Hood River County School Board.

I served on the board for many years. I understand the huge commitment it takes, the time, the temperament required, and the ability to listen to all sides of the positions. I also understand the learning curve from a new board member to someone with experience.

David Russo is thoughtful, respectful, and works with his fellow board members to make decisions that benefit the county’s students. He does his homework and comes prepared to meetings. He has served as chairman of the board, worked to bring the school-based health center to our high school, and currently serves on the finance committee.

David Russo deserves your vote for school board.

Jan Veldhuisen Virk

Hood River

Inspired Interlude

Of Lynda Dallman’s group: “Ordinary Grace”

inspired interlude —

“huzzah!” ordinary grace.

gratitude for learning’s labors.

Ted James

Hood River

Vote for Everitt

Please vote for John Everitt, Port Commissioner Position 2. John is a dedicated member of our community and a longtime volunteer. He is currently on the Port of Hood River Budget Committee and has also served six years on the Hood River Planning Commission, as well as six years on the Parks and Rec Budget Committee. He will hit the ground running if elected to the commissioner position.

I know John will represent us well by helping to steward the port in a responsible way that will strengthen our community and improve our economic and recreational opportunities. Working for the community and with people in a positive and collaborative way, John can make sure we all continue to treasure this wonderful place we call the Gorge.

My personal experience with John goes back 25 years. We have traveled together, raised families together and run many rivers together. Whether at the backyard barbecue or in some far off land, there is no better person to be with than John Everitt. I know he will work hard for our community as Port Commissioner — Position 2.

Dave Slover

Hood River

Not just Hood River

For those of you that think Greg Walden’s only contentious town hall meeting was in Hood River, think again. None of his meetings with his constituents was warm and fuzzy. He faced angry, disgusted constituents in The Dalles, Bend, Medford, Grants Pass and Prineville. His voting record is finally biting him in the rear end.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Amendments, with vengeance

Thought maybe we had dodged a bullet when the AHCA got squashed? Oh no, it’s back and worse than ever. The new and deadly MacArthur amendments are intended to be layered on top of the already unacceptable AHCA, representing a whole new level of callousness and non-coverage, while preserving the AHCA’s generous tax cuts for the wealthy.

The amendments claim to protect essential health benefits (EHBs) and coverage for pre-existing conditions, except that states can choose to eliminate them (and other important health benefits) by merely completing an application for a waiver.

The amendments also allow states, by waiver, to raise insurance rates for the chronically ill to the point of being completely unaffordable.

In requesting the waiver, states are not required to provide evidence of the state’s reasons or needs, and each completed waiver is to be automatically approved by DHHS.

The MacArthur amendments take an already bad policy, harmful to millions (but a cash cow for the rich), and make it even worse. What an outrageous insult to all Americans to add unaffordable coverage for the chronically ill and to add elimination of EHBs to the already disastrous AHCA.

Mr. Walden, this is an all-out assault on your constituents and all Americans. You just stood in front of us and told us in your town halls how much you care about your constituents having accessible and affordable medical care. We need you to stand up and protect us.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Wisdom first

Intelligence is hugely, narcissistically overrated. “Smart” people love patting each other on the back. We have collectively suffered egregiously from the myriad stupid decisions made by “smart” people, but from stupid decisions made by “stupid” people … not so much.

The deplorable Know Nothings know this. It makes them susceptible to alternative facts. The filthy rich have always been able to convince them that they cannot trust people who think too much and read a lot of books, because from their perspective, it seems to be true. We live in a capitalist society frantically devoted to profit, even unto the expense of life itself. This is not wise. Wisdom is compassion informed by experience. Compassion and profit are almost always mutually exclusive.

In this society, intelligence is “naturally” selected over wisdom. The profitable/intelligent thing to do for those who own, (toxic waste in our rivers, mountain top removal, more greenhouse gasses, slave wages, etc.) is rarely good for the rest of us. Nothing is going to change until we value wisdom over intelligence.

David Warnock

Hood River

Enlightened leadership

When I was a young man in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I had really strong negative feelings about labor unions. I would tell anyone within earshot that enlightened business leadership made unions obsolete. I may have actually been right, except, as I now realize, the leaders in U.S. boardrooms following World War II had been anything but enlightened. The same tycoons that got rich supplying winning tanks and planes for our war effort failed to reinvest to effectively compete with the rebuilt European and Japanese manufacturing plants. This is the origin of the Rust Belt and the first post-recession wave of job and career losses in our Midwest. Even then, obsolete production machinery was and is much more likely to be upgraded and recycled than the people who operate it.

Round two covers the five decades since as heavy industry struggles to straighten its bottom line — first with cost cutting and then with technology. Both approaches have been riddled with unanticipated consequences. Corporate America has managed to pull a robotic rabbit out of its hat to fatten its treasury and boost its stock value for the benefit of investors and top executives, but what about the generation of blue collar union families who built and became the Great American Middle Class?

To be healthy, our economy, our entire culture requires balance — what we take out of it must be covered by what we put into it. It seems that the wealthy think that the have-nots take out too much (entitlement).

My guess is that most of us feel that the wealthy are sucking entirely too much out (entitlement). Tilt! One solution: the on-the-books cost of replacing an experienced worker with a machine or computer must include the cost of retraining, relocating or annuitizing that person.

Big Labor once had the power to protect its membership. Now our small “L” labor force must load up the teeter totter to bring the “one-percenters” up to our level. “Liberty and justice for all.” Who among us is enlightened enough to arbitrate this?

Russ Hurlbert

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Truax for School Board

I endorse Rich Truax for re-election to the Hood River County School Board. I have known Rich since 2005, when we coached Dynamos kids’ soccer together. Rich has supported many kids’ organizations since that time, including sports and school activities.

I have watched Rich get progressively more involved and informed in school board activities for the last several years leading up to his selection to replace a retiring board member this past February. It is clear to me from our frequent conversations that Rich has become very well versed in school budgets, curriculum, and kids programming goals and challenges. When there are disagreements, I know Rich tries to understand all sides and find common ground to build consensus, and that he is committed to putting kids first.

Rich is a person of integrity who takes commitments seriously — I encourage you to join me in voting for him for our school board.

Tim Mixon

Hood River

Retain Russo

As a local educator, I am supporting the reelection of Dr. David Russo for Hood River County School District Board of Directors. He has shown incredible dedication to the children in our community, and he is a thoughtful and highly effective leader. I hope you will join me in reelecting Dr. David Russo.

Heather Laurance

Hood River

Keep the Meadowlark

Please do not remove the western meadowlark as Oregon’s official state bird. State Sen. Frank Girod, predictably from a west-side district (Stayton), introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 18 to replace the meadowlark with the osprey. The meadowlark, while found throughout Oregon, is primarily identified with well over half the state in the grasslands and pastures east of the Cascades. Once again, a west-side legislator has devised yet another ham-fisted grab giving short shrift to a bird that, for many, defines a way of life on the east side.

Anyone who has ever woken up on a sunshiny morning in the Baker Valley or along the base of the majestic Steens can never forget the time nor the place of hearing, according the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, its “buoyant, flutelike melody ringing out across a field.” After 90 years of Oregon history, for Sen. Girod, it’s all about the momentary whim of a “beauty pageant” maneuver to replace a bird special to Oregonians and increasingly rare with a common species.

Sen. Girod claims the choice of our state bird is “unoriginal.” This is false for, had he bothered to review history, the reality is exactly the opposite. Oregon and Wyoming were actually the first to designate the meadowlark as their respective state bird in 1927. Then, four other states, Nebraska, Montana, Kansas, and North Dakota, followed our pioneering designation by establishing the meadowlark as their state bird between 1929 and 1947, following the adage that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Keith Daellenbach


What about the children?

To Rep. Greg Walden and the community:

In these times of extraordinary fear and anxiety, imagine being a child.

For 36 years, I worked in the Mid-Columbia region in the social services at a mental health program, Head Start and child care centers, and in public schools; after retiring seven years ago, I have been volunteering in elementary schools in The Dalles.

Through the years, I have met countless families who emigrated from Mexico — loving, hard-working families who are an essential part of the economy, valued members of our community. Thirty-four percent of students in North Wasco County School District are Hispanic. That is a lot of lives.

I have heard stories of children crying, concerned that their families will be ripped apart or deported; they worry for their friends and future. They mention seeing white power signs; some are told to pack their bags. They hear about “the wall.”

I look into the innocent faces of the children, hug them, smile, help them with their schoolwork, play.

Rep. Walden, will you protect children from being separated from their parents?

Will you speak out against mass and random deportation of those without criminal records and work to fix our broken immigration system, giving people a path to citizenship?

Will you comfort the children?

Connie Krummrich

The Dalles

Insufficient punishment

Oregon Statutes, second-degree punishment for “... intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to an animal” is “imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.“ First-degree for same, including “cruelly killing an animal,“ is up to one year, a fine of $6,250 or both.

So what is proper punishment for someone who imprisoned eight horses this past winter on a hillside, knee-deep in mud and manure with flapping plastic tarps as “shelter” inside a fence made of rusty steel posts, barbed wire, bedsprings and tin? The grassless muck they lived in was littered with rolls of barbed wire, buried steel posts sticking out, pitchfork tines up, boards with nails, and the remains of a dead horse barely covered and two aborted foals? With no food, they were eating the bark off of the trees and were fed straw by the owner. They would likely have starved without the kindness of others, who brought them hay.

On rescue day, the count was seven until a sad little mini horse was discovered locked in a rusted old stock trailer stuck on the property.

All of the horses had ringworm, lice, rain rot, severe lacerations, serious hoof issues; the “frogs” (shock absorbers) had rotted off some of their feet; they had infections, parasites and more.

The owner would not and did not “surrender” the horses. They are alive and beginning to heal only because Silent Wave Horse Rescue paid him for them.

His punishment? A pathetic $100 fine, 32 hours’ community service, and he can have no horses for one year.

There are no words for the ridiculous legal outcome of such horrendous abuse and neglect. Shame on the Hood River District Attorney’s office for its apathy and abject failure to uphold the law and defend the defenseless.

Thank you to Lisa Neuburger, director of Silent Wave, and your great folks for ensuring that each of the horses is now in a safe environment receiving wonderful rehabilitative care and will one day have loving “forever” homes.

Betty Osborne

Hood River

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