Letters to the Editor for Aug. 2

Don’t rush bad bill

As I watch the debate in Congress, I am increasingly disheartened by the blind arguments that the “voters” want to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any deeper look at what the people of this country are asking for.

We want access to medical care, assurance that medical costs will not bankrupt us, affordable insurance and reasonably priced medicine. We want people to be able to visit a doctor for preventative care to avoid expensive, delayed treatment. The proposals by the Republicans do none of that!

The new “skinny repeal” will preserve financial benefits for the richest while removing insurance for 12 million people next year. The insurance industry, the medical profession, hospitals, churches and agencies that care for the poor and middle class are all against it. We don’t need a rush to pass a bad bill that will harm millions of people.

Debby Chenoweth

Hood River

We the people

Regardless of your party affiliation, I hope you take time to thank Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain for their principled standing on the health care votes. Because of their actions and words, important things have been accomplished.

First, bad legislation that would have hurt millions of Americans was not passed. Yes, we still need an improved health care system, and, until we have one, we still need to prevent the ACA from being hollowed via the executive powers of the president. But Senators McCain, Murkowski and Collins, together with 46 Democrats and two independents, stood by the principle that repealing the ACA without a better alternative plan is bad policy.

Also, legislation conceived without due process was not passed. Three Republicans and all Democrats and independents stood by the principle that creating essential legislation in an unnecessarily secretive and rushed manner is not acceptable in a democracy.

In addition, these 51 Senators have powerfully re-affirmed the independence of the Legislative branch of the government. This was so in spite of ethically unacceptable pressure from the executive branch, including indefensible presidential tweets and reported threats to withdraw federal funding to a state as punishment. Senators Murkowski, Collins and McCain showed particular courage and dignity.

Perhaps most importantly, the actions and words of Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski (and other senators on both sides of the aisle, in less visible but also important roles) give us hope for a return to bipartisanship in our politics. It is dim hope, for sure. But that some of our senators are doing a “mea culpa” on partisanship and vowing to do better is something to acknowledge, value and encourage.

Can “we the people” do the same? Deep inside, each American knows that we cannot succeed as a society if we keep treating “the other half” as enemies rather than as fellow citizens whom we should engage openly and constructively for the common good. The choice is ours.

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Sandbar open to all

While walking my dogs on the Sandbar yesterday, one of the kite school owners told me “the community” did not like dogs on the Sandbar.

I would like to remind all users of the Sandbar that kiters, dog walkers and beachgoers are all members of the community. We need to make space for each other and do our best not to hurt or inconvenience each other. Out of control kites are dangerous to people and animals.

Dogs can be distracting and can step on a kite or chase kiters. As far as I know, the kite schools don’t own the Sandbar. If my dog damages anyone’s property, I expect to pay for it. If an out of control kite damages me or my dog, the owner has to pay. Simple. So let’s not go there.

Being careful and respectful of others is always the best rule.

Laurie Balmuth

Hood River

‘Refuse to refer’

More needs to be said about the health clinic, One Community Health, at Hood River Valley High School. In my letter to the editor on July 25, I acknowledged the potential benefits of such a clinic, but raised some areas of concern: The issuing of birth control without parental (or guardian) approval; the willingness to refer for abortions (which has not occurred); and that Oregon law allows abortions to be done without parental (or guardian) approval.

These issues concern me from several perspectives:

  1. The surgery department at Hood River Providence Memorial Hospital tells me that a person has to be at least 18 years old to have a surgical procedure done without parental or guardian approval. Abortion is a surgical procedure. I doubt that many students at HRVHS are 18 years old.

  2. The clinic and the State of Oregon are willing to usurp the obligation and responsibility of parents and guardians for the health and welfare for their offspring and charges by allowing abortions without their approval.

  3. Physicians in Oregon have the option to either refer for abortions or not to do so.

  4. As a physician who has done abortions, I confirm that an abortion is the murder of an innocent human being. It is not medical care!

I think that the clinic can and should improve its integrity and credibility by refusing to refer for abortions.

Donald Rose, MD

Hood River

Higher ground

Well, since residents don’t want cell towers in their back yards, how about Verizon and AT&T talk to the owners of the land that has telecommunications on the hill located on the east side of town and put their cell towers in that location. Not only that, but it’s also higher in elevation and would allow the signals to reach better in places in the upper Hood River Valley, especially in the Dee area, where I live.

Ron Dunn


Pickleball needs

Thanks for publishing the informative article on the explosive growth of Pickleball (July 22). Here in the Gorge, new players seem to appear every week.

Unfortunately, there are no dedicated courts anywhere in the Gorge despite its popularity. The three planned courts at the new Golden Eagle park will barely fill the need for court time. Other communities throughout the country are adding Pickleball court lines to typically underutilized tennis courts to accommodate demand. Why not do this in Hood River?

Kent Heighton

Hood River

Road rave

To the Hood River County Road Crew — thank you, thank you, thank you! Your hard work in paving Country Club Road has made a very big difference to those of us who drive it every day.

Now one can enjoy the beautiful area we are driving through instead of watching for potholes and damaged road caused by the heavy trucks who get stuck on the hill every year. It’s amazing to drive on new pavement, but more amazing that you did it fairly quickly and without major disruption, and I thank you so very much!

Georgia Donnelly

Hood River

A good read

As I see it from where I sit and how you may stand on this Westside development dream may have much to do with our immigrants’ residency and their citizenship status.

I have been a citizen/resident of Hood River County for 81 years, enjoying its tranquility until calendar year 2000. Then the job market became very competitive for my kids. The following years, a minority status was declared favoring the immigrant, and such remains.

As I review a July 15 Hood River News “Another Voice” article, it draws on my sympathy and I find it to be colorful and poetic in nature, solely addressing the housing needs of the established immigrant, their future families and relatives.

The author relates to her 1980s immigration acceptance experiences. I applaud her for her concern for those yet to follow. As she states, “... And by that same token, do we not owe consideration and welcome to those who are still to come …”

I encourage you all to read the entirety of Tina Castañares article in support of Westside Development based on her foreseen expressed needs for her people.

Alan Winans

Hood River

New ‘modest proposal’

Our problem is simple. We have all the most important things in life completely backwards. Taking care of each other, and of all other life on our planet, should be at the very top of our collective to do list, not on the very bottom. I have another modest proposal (see my letter April 5, 2017; it still does not involve eating children … Google it). What if we keep capitalism intact but reverse the polarity? What if stockholders were the ones who decided how to distribute the money?

Better yet, what if we all saw profit as failure? What if the primary concern of employers was the well-being of their employees? What if capitalism was a system that made sure everyone had enough? Profit would not be illegal. It would be shameful. What if the only truly, pitifully ugly people were the rich ones? In short order, there would be very few rich people and everyone would have enough. Wouldn’t it be nice …

David Warnock

Hood River

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