Letters to the Editor for Dec. 16

Watch speeds

I understand that the city of Hood River is growing and we have tourists from all over, but did everyone forget how to drive or follow the speed limit? It’s out of hand!

Posted speed limit is the speed you should be driving. Why is it that from Odell to the Heights, people insist on driving 25 miles per hour, then once on the Heights they slow to 15? Will the police please monitor and enforce the impeding traffic laws?

Cody Shoaf

Hood River

‘Shut up, Fido’

I grew up out in the country at the base of Gilhouley Mountain. We had a dog, as did most everyone else in the neighborhood.

Civet cats and porcupines were common night time visitors, but unwelcomed by our dog and announced with an awaking barking serenade.

To show support for our dog, the neighboring dogs would chime in with their barks, as do these Walden negative letter writers.

The “lead dog” may only be barking at a noise it heard, not knowing what created the noise, but something to “bark” about, being joined by the other “barkers.”

I liken these “barking dogs” to many Walden letter writers and this Tuesday’s Democratically organized protest session claiming that Greg Walden is reducing my abundantly supplied Medicare benefits, via the Congressional budgetary process.

Also, I have witnessed abuse of Medicaid by apparent doctor-supported Medicaid recipients during my volunteer 2004 state funded chauffeuring service for Medicaid recipients to doctor appointments.

Yes, Congressman Walden, I’m in agreeances with your health care budget’s conservative overhaul to save tax dollar waste.

Shut up, Fido! It’s 2 a.m.!

Alan Winans

Hood River

Rail safety ignored

RE: “Off the Rails: Protest oil train regulation rollback”:

The Hood River News’ recent editorial on a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation to rescind a mandate for railroads to install electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes ignores railroads’ impressive safety record.

The sector set records for accident and derailment rates in 2016, making it the safest year ever for rail. Federal data shows that 99.998 percent of all crude shipments by rail reach their destination safely. A mere 0.26 percent of all derailments involve crude oil.

Railroads have led the pack among shippers and government in requiring safer tank cars and continue to provide preparedness training to emergency responders and employees. The industry also shares critical information with stakeholders, including through an app called AskRail, which allows first responders to instantly access information on the contents of trains moving through their communities.

Underlying this are massive private investments — $26 billion annually in recent years — including in a host of innovative technologies. To rigidly concentrate on ECP brakes as a magic bullet, when testing proves them unreliable, is misleading. None other than the National Academies of Sciences opined that the safety case for ECP brakes has not been made. This key fact should guide future editorials for accuracy.

Edward R. Hamberger, president,

American Association of Railroads

Washington, D.C.

Tax bill realities

I’m still trying to figure out what Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley meant when he said that the new tax bill justifiably protects the rights of the investor class, because the other folks are just “spending every darn penny on booze, women and movies.”

Maybe he meant that if he besmirched the spending of people who don’t buy champagne, ladies and opera seats, he could distract most Americans from the $1 trillion extra this bill will add to the deficit.

It won’t add much to our pockets, that’s for sure.

According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, residents of Oregon’s Congressional Dist. 2 — the one represented by Greg Walden — will reap what my Grandpa called “diddly-squat” from the pending tax relief and jobs bill.

Based on numbers from the Census Bureau, the Tax Policy Center says about 75 percent of the district’s residents will save anywhere from $40 a year in taxes, to just upwards of $800.

The other 25 percent — those earning over $88,000 — will save an average of $1,560.

And the top 1 percent of earners — those earning more than $750,000 a year?

They can expect an average tax savings of $28,000.

Think about that. The top 1 percent of earners will save — SAVE, mind you — more than the bottom 20 percent of earners EARN each year.

Keep that in mind when Walden comes looking for your vote in 2018.

Stu Watson

Hood River

‘Golden Goose’

The Hood River bridge has provided the Port of Hood River with money to build parks, buy property, construct buildings, maintain the bridge and provide salaries and benefits for port employees. They have a surplus of funds from tolling and have had the luxury of spending it on projects in Hood River County.

The bridge has been the goose that lays the golden egg. Every year, she comes through and provides the funds for the port to be a powerhouse in our region.

It is no surprise to me that they are hesitant to give up this position.

By their own words, the bridge is rapidly deteriorating and needs more and more resources to keep it safe and usable. This is the justification for the upcoming toll increase.

Replacement has been long talked about and studied for a decade, and now a private company has stepped up with the offer to build a new bridge, for the same toll rates as are being proposed for the Jan. 1 increase.

Why would we want to patch tether an old bridge when we could have a shiny new one for the same tolls?

Oh yeah, because the port would have to give up its golden goose, and it would have to get by with less income.

Come on, port, for the greater good, it’s time to give up the golden goose.

Stephen J. Curley

Hood River

Editor’s Note: Port Executive Director Michael McElwee stated, in Monday’s City Council meeting, that the port plans to turn over principal authority over the bridge as part of any long-range bridge replacement plan.

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