Letters to the Editor for Aug. 5

Addicted Americas

At one time, it would be very likely have been termed an “un-American” or “un-patriotic” thing to lay a major share of the blame for hugely elevated levels of homicide in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador on our own nation’s well-nigh limitless consumption of a variety of hard drugs, but it’s definitely true.

U.S. drug consumption is by far the most important “engine” driving along this hemisphere’s homicide machine.

If places in Latin America like Veracruz, Rio de Janeiro and Tegucigalpa have descended into the most hellish sort of violence — and they have — then a preponderance of blame for their condition can reasonably be placed on the rampant substance abuse in Norteamericano urbanites like San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Seattle. Our indulgences are driving the butchery in Latin America. It is simply an acknowledgement of the material facts to mention these things.

Latin America’s brutal prison riots, its horrifically violent street gangs and its gigantic corps de ballet of vigilante-behaving police all own their macabre existence, in the final analysis, to the immense illicit drug industry that rages unchecked within our own borders. (The rightly-denounced “opioid epidemic” here in the U.S. is only part of the sad story.)

The drug-besotted and blood-stained Americas today are all in enormous trouble from substance abuse — from the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego — and prospects for any sort of decent future vitally depend on getting this brutal degeneracy under control.

Frank W. Goheen

Vancouver, Wash.

Helpful letter

Thank you, Donald Rose, for reminding us (Re: Clinic Checks July 26) what a great service the Hood River Valley High School Health Clinic provides to our students. I am so thankful that our young women and men have convenient, confidential, and legal access to health care. Providing open access to confidential health care to high school adolescents is essential because without it, some will forgo care rather than speak to their parents or guardian. When teens know that their relationship with a health care provider is confidential, they are more likely to share accurate information about sensitive topics such as sexuality, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, and mental health, which then allows the provider to offer the best possible care.

Teenage years can be a bit scary for parents as well as for teenagers, but I am grateful to know that my teens have access to professional health care providers who are also looking out for their health if needed.

Janene Sumerfield

Hood River


As the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Greg Walden had a key role in creating the House bills to destroy the Affordable Care Act. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined that the most recent bill put forward by Congress would have resulted in 15 million people in 2018 and 22 million in 2026 losing their health insurance.

Walden’s reaction to the collapse of the July vote? As reported July 28 by Talking Points Memo, he said, “People are frustrated. We did our job and we’re not able to move forward with the Senate as a partner at this time.”

Walden was basically saying he has no problem with taking health care away from millions of people, including about 400,000 Oregonians.

Frustrated? No kidding.

Tracie Hornung

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Wolves’ rights

A rancher in Wallowa County has recently requested that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife kill wolves due to predation on cattle. According to the film “The Profanity Pack: Set Up and Sold Out,” when cattle are introduced into national forest lands, they displace elk and deer, which are the preferred food sources for wolves.

National forests are not pastures. To the extent that ranchers wish to use and have the privilege to use such lands for grazing, some loss should be expected as part of the cost of doing business, much like it would be for a wheat farmer who loses part of their crop to a fire or a cherry farmer who loses part of their crop to too much rain. To prioritize cattle grazing in national forest lands at the expense of the lives of wolves and other sentient beings is unacceptable. Wolves are a signature species for all that is wild and pristine and it is critical to protect them. The trapping, snaring, aerial gunning, and use of “cyanide bombs” to supposedly manage this critical species is horrifically unethical and must end.

For those who care to learn more, visit www.predatordefense.org.

Nathan Smith

Hood River

Data mine

I received a call from a company called Matrix Medical. They want to do an assessment of my medical condition here in my home, according to the caller. They do work for PacificSource, who writes insurance in our area as they (PacificSource) are a Medicare advantage provider.

This is upsetting as PacificSource didn’t inform me of this incoming call before the receipt of the call. What are they going to do with this data, where will it be stored, is it protected and safe, will it be shared or sold possibly if or when PacificSource is acquired? This data can be used to decide what they won’t cover in their medical plans. You can refuse this service, and you can also drop Medicare advantage insurance as it does things like require pre-approvals before some services, doesn’t allow you to go where ever you want for medical services, and receives all your Medicare money while restricting your options. Medicare doesn’t do this, it’s the insurance companies that do.

I’m doing this (dropping insurance) because I’m healthy. It’s probably not a good idea for those with serious preexisting conditions.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

‘Worst intersection’

This last week, I was sitting in my large dump truck, fifth vehicle from the stop northbound on Wine Country and Cascade Street. There were countless vehicles going west trying to make left turns onto Wine Country. Three cars going north cut into the vacant lot to the east and made it down to Cascade and cut in going west. There were also two cars that went east through the vacant lot.

What is wrong with the state, county and city that this problem can’t be corrected? There needs to be a left turn lane, at the least, westbound, and a light system would greatly help the problem. Does a major accident have to happen to get the attention of the people in charge? This “new” system was to be a correction to the old problem at Country Club and Cascade, but instead, it is the worst intersection in Hood River County.

John M. Nesbitt

Hood River


It’s not often that I find language that offends me in the Hood River News, but the July 22 story on the new Golden Eagle Park (“Recreation: overhaul underway at Golden Eagle Park”) managed to do so in the first sentence by describing the lovely woods just destroyed as “an overgrown patch of land.” This is poor journalism, as it displays both bias and ignorance.

For nearly a decade I’ve walked my dog in this forest on winter days when the rain was hard. The canopy, as forest canopies do everywhere, sheltered us from the downpour. Over these years I’ve met countless other dog owners, joggers, cross-country team members, walkers, and kids just hanging out on this trail and its natural setting, now gone.

I’m offended in other ways as well, but not by the newspaper. I find it ironic that the new development is named “Golden Eagle,” a majestic bird that my late biologist friend, Carroll Davis, loved. The bulldozers have removed the trail, officially named after him. Sort of like naming a new subdivision “Whispering Pines” after removing all the pine trees.

I read that this “park” will cost the taxpayer (and we all are taxpayers at all levels) about a million bucks. Too much sacrifice for such faddish recreational tinsel as Pickleball. I love bocce and have played it for many decades. But not worth the loss of climate-friendly woods and the experience of walking on a gentle trail coursing through native woods.

As a human being and taxpayer, I am unhappy with the school district, the park district, and the county for building and trumpeting this environmental destruction.

David Hupp

Hood River

Editor’s Note: Golden Eagle construction was funded by a mix of system development charges, parks district general fund, and donations matched by a $496,000 state grant. The amount of local SDC funds being used is about $410,000.

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