Letters to the Editor, Aug. 16 edition

Condemn hatred

During the past week, the President of the United States has threatened military action against two foreign countries: North Korea and Venezuela. He has failed to fill numerous ambassador positions throughout the world and has “thanked” Russia for expelling over 700 embassy employees. He failed to condemn racism after violence broke out in Charlottesville, Va., and was publicly thanked by David Duke, leader of the KKK, and the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication. One can only assume that our president has no interest in diplomacy based on his words and actions.

To listen to our head of state threaten to show more “fury and flame than the world has ever seen” is reprehensible. Having visited Hiroshima, I can attest that the aftermath of the Aug. 6, 1945, nuclear event still lingers on. It is pure hypocrisy to condemn Kim Jong Un while using the same low level of language under the excuse of, “It’s language he would understand.”

I grew up in California during the hippie revolution, Watergate, the Watts and Oakland race riots and Vietnam. Not once did I consider protesting against my government and its leaders. Imagine my surprise to find myself at 65 attending my first protest rally in January 2017 shouting with nearly 100,000 others that the newly elected president did not represent me. Since then I have attended town halls, written letters, and posted on social media. I am not a paid protestor — simply a retired school teacher who cares passionately about all people in my community and beyond.

I am writing to ask that you support the following three actions:

  1. To publicly condemn the president’s lack of condemnation of domestic terrorists including all neo-Nazi organizations, white supremacists and the KKK.

  2. To publicly condemn the inflammatory language the president has used to inflame the North Korea nuclear arms issue.

  3. To vote for a resolution that condemns white supremacists and censures the president.

“If you are not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Kim Vogel

Hood River

Wants to help

In Hood River County, where the Latino population is approaching 40 percent, nearly all of the elected officials are white.

I know there are people and organizations working to change this.

Who/where are you? Can I be of assistance? I’m willing to stuff envelopes, fetch coffee, push brooms, but I need help finding you.

Christopher Rosevear

Mt. Hood/Parkdale

Indivisible acts

Let me cut to the chase. Constituents in Oregon District 2 are fully aware that Representative Greg Walden has sold out to corporate interests and the chaotic Trump administration as evidenced not only through his voting record and the corporate campaign donations he receives, but also because he was the chief architect of the failed, disastrous health care bill.

Therefore, in order to hold Rep. Greg Walden and members of Congress accountable, community groups in Oregon District 2 and all over the nation (there are 5,983 Indivisible groups nationwide with at least two in every Congressional District) are working at the grassroots level to use every available tool to make our voices heard. Attending town halls and local public events, visiting district offices, and making telephone calls to express our thoughts on matters that are important to Oregonians in Oregon, District 2 and everywhere nationwide. Here in Oregon District 2, the voices are local, grassroots constituents, not paid, not from Portland.

Yes, democracy requires citizen participation — it is not a spectator sport. Working together we can protect our values as well as our natural resources, provide health care, promote a healthy planet, provide quality education, protect voters’ rights, and support equal rights for all Americans. That means Rep. Walden cannot make decisions for ORD2 without our input. Nor should his decisions be based on corporate contributions or outdated ideology.

We’ve never seen times like these before. We the people need everyone to support our democracy and to make our voices heard. We can work together by asking questions and getting involved. It needs to happen like never before.

Thank you for your consideration because now is the time to be Indivisible.

Beverly Sherrill

Hood River

No ‘little boxes’

As the plan for increasing the housing density in Hood River’s Westside continues to take shape, these song lyrics keep running through my mind:

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes made of ticky tacky,

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one

And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same. *

Malvina Reynolds was singing about the San Francisco Bay Area. But under the smokescreen of “affordable housing,” a group of developers and landowners (several of whom are on the decision-making panels) are planning on changing Hood River from a livable community to a replica of an over-crowded California suburb.

If we are going to build affordable housing, let’s ensure that it’s livable housing. Are the streets going to be a square grid? Why not ask for roads that curve? What about pocket parks or community gardens? How about designated off-street parking? How about dedicated bike paths that meander through the development with green space on either side? How about preservation of the creeks and watersheds? How about a “green” requirement for all new buildings? What about mixed use development: tiny homes, town homes, and full-sized homes integrated with retail uses?

If we aren’t careful, we are going to be stuck with a bunch of little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky, punctuated by nondescript strip malls with stop lights every block. Might as well be living in just about any overbuilt suburb you could name.

C’mon, Hood River, you can do better than this! Bring some vision to the future of our town. Make the Westside Area Concept Plan something we can be proud of.

Nancy Houfek Brown

Hood River

Back renewables

Oregon is home to vast renewable resources, providing new and exciting opportunities to lead the way in the fight against climate change. We produce 13 percent of the nation’s hydroelectric power and our geothermal potential is rivaled only by Nevada and California. We are also home to some of the west coast’s premier biofuel facilities, producing cleaner liquid fuels from agricultural feedstocks, supporting nearly 16,000 Oregon jobs.

A lot of this progress has been driven by state and local efforts. But federal policies play an important role. That’s why we need our lawmakers in Congress to stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which ensures that renewable fuel can compete at the gas pump. Oil companies are looking for any opportunity to hold back competition, and biofuels are a top target. They displaced 500 million barrels of oil in 2016, cutting emissions and protecting consumers from price manipulation.

More importantly, thanks to the increasingly sustainable agricultural practices, those biofuels cut emissions by an average of 43 percent, according to federal reports. Conventional ethanol production also leaves behind processed grain that is re-purposed as low-cost animal feed. The next generation of ethanol, produced from material like wood waste and corn cobs is even more promising, with some varieties reducing the total carbon in the atmosphere over their full lifecycle.

Thanks to smart policies like the RFS, the future is bright for Oregon. Lawmakers like U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the energy committee, should take note, and protect that progress.

Bobby Levy


Rise above hate

The last two nights we’ve been witness to happenings in the Commonwealth of Virginia that should make our blood boil: An alt-right march complete with torches at night, guns, body armor, baseball bats and more, and a confrontation on the campus of UVA by the neo-Nazis, KKK and other white supremacists who marched on a church full of pastors praying at the university President Jefferson founded.

An automobile used as a weapon to kill at least one and wounding many, and a state police helicopter down with two dead.

Where were the Charlottesville police while all this was going on? Why was this group allowed to demonstrate while carrying weapons and wearing body armor? And why doesn’t our president and his aides denounce the groups who did this instead of trying to spread the blame amorphously? Has anyone heard from Steve Bannon or Miller? Don’t hold your breath. For that manner, have we heard anything from our own congressman in regard to these events?

If you think this is just something happening across the country, let’s take a little journey through time. Does anyone remember Hayden lake, Idaho, Ruby Ridge, Mr. Seraw who was beaten to death in Portland, two young girls attacked on the MAX line, and the men who tried to help having their throats slit? You might also remember The Order — many convicted of RICO violations and in jail, the founder who died on a Puget Sound island in a hail of fire. I’ve read that some interesting thoughts are expressed by a church on Belmont, and there have been at least two articles in the old Oregonian regarding hate speech yelled by students of Roseburg High at visiting football players from Jefferson and, I believe, Benson, when they played Roseburg in the past. No, we are not immune from hate, but we can rise above it.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Local heroes

I want to give a shout out to the local heroes of Hood River, the paramedics and firefighters of Wy’East and West Side. My wife collapsed in the shower of Tucker Road County Park, and was losing consciousness as I dialed 911. We woke up earlier that morning and she was complaining how her hand felt like rubber. Within five minutes there was at least six, if not a dozen firefighters and paramedics on scene. Their demeanor was calm and friendly, neutralizing the panicked hysteria. They quickly explained how they were going to take a picture of her vitals with a machine and determine whether to keep her local, or drive or fly her to Portland. They opted to fly.

Dwight (Moe) stayed with me at the park to inform me which hospital they were taking my wife, Cass. He asked for my phone number so I could start for Portland. Within three minutes upon my arrival in the ER, Providence initiated surgery. As they wheeled the very foundation of my whole world to the operating room, they explained to me that she had a clot in her artery that was blocking blood flow to her hand and there is a very small window of time before the removal of the hand would be imminent to save her life, if that was even possible. They went in blind with no pre-op research. Thanks to the quick response of the emergency crews of Hood River, my wife’s life was saved, and her hand. There is no way I could have raised our two grandsons on my own. After the whole ordeal, I reached out to thank the crews for their outstanding performance at their job, to discover it wasn’t their job. ALL BUT TWO WERE VOLUNTEERS! These very people are what makes America the best place on Earth. Their kind words, assertive actions, and loving spirits erased horrible from a situation and made it all good. Imagine if everyone was like these heroes. Thank you, Wy’East and West Side, for saving us.

Corbin McKenzie


Shooting pains

I wish someone who knows what to look for would review the differences in police procedural manuals between now and pre-9/11.

I believe entities like Blackwater got into the police terrorizing business at that time and persuaded departments that coming home safe was now the chief duty of law enforcement, not protecting and serving.

I think it was an easy sell, given that every oddball now just might be a terrorist and that most police who are shot are shot by their own guns.

It was a fact that many police, just like many of us who do well on the target range were unable to pull the trigger even when having the drop on the baddest guys.

The combination of a fresh general sense of terror (fear for personal safety) and the knowledge that hesitation sometimes leads to freezing resulted in the police training to shoot immediately at the slightest hint of risk to personal safety (with a feeling of fear taught as the indicator it is time to act).

And of course, not just to shoot but to shoot until the gun is too hot to hold.

The personal sense of terror that these fine boys are encouraged to allow to overtake their senses results in some otherwise hard to explain incidents.

Many policemen might not be retrainable to hesitate long enough to see if someone is really a danger, or even armed with more than their wallet. I think we should have half as many and pay them twice as much and that this might solve a problem that seems to grow worse and worse.

I wish some people in authority might convene a committee to examine whether or not I am correct in my recent history here and then recommend some improvements based on the huge need for them and for the underlying and fixable causes of this madness we seem to accept with only the mildest regret.

Bob Williams

Hood River

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