Letters to the Editor for Jan. 7

Explore in reading

Now that 2016, gratefully, has come to a close, and as folks begin to think about how they’re going to spend their time this year, I’d like to offer a small suggestion: Perhaps this year we vary our reading. Perhaps this year we vary the kinds of books we read, and we vary the kinds of authors who write those books, in an attempt to gain experience and empathy in regards to our many neighbors (both locally and globally), to be mindful and intentional in our choices.

Regardless of one’s politics, it seems clear that we live in an increasingly divided country — a country struggling to understand its many different parts and peoples.

I ask that readers take a few authors out of their usual rotation, every now and again, and inject someone new. There is no end to the incredible, insightful and entertaining writing being produced each year by the wide array of people who make up our nation, let alone our world.

As a librarian, I see opportunities every day for folks to change their habits. One need not even leave the genre they love to find different perspectives, though I certainly encourage exploring new genres as well.

And I encourage people to talk with one another about what they’re reading: share what you’re learning and ask questions. Find out what others love and why.

I think we should take this year as an opportunity to seek the edges of our knowledge and push past them. Let us read, and let us read widely.

Here are a few books I would recommend for the new year:

“Homegoing,” by Yaa Gyasi; “Parable of the Sower,” by Octavia E. Butler; “Upstream,” by Mary Oliver; “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates; “Infomocracy,” by Malka; “Older Citizen,” by Claudia Rankine; and “Secondhand Time,” by Svetlana Alexievich.

Mo Burford

The Dalles

Broaden focus

Our local elected officials are contemplating naming our town a “sanctuary city” to protect our Hispanic neighbors. I have concern that this will only offer moral support while negatively impacting our community.

Oregon Revised Statute 180.850, already in place, prohibits many of the actions immigrants fear, such as cooperation between law enforcement and ICE, without leaving us vulnerable to losing federal funding, which the incoming administration has threatened sanctuary cities with.

These are our monies upon which we rely to help fund our police, schools, roads and other projects. For one example, we desperately need to address the issue of the 40 miles of cast iron water pipe and over 10,000 lead joints and an unknown amount of solid lead risers that affect the safety of the water we drink and businesses in town depend on. We can’t afford to shoulder this expense, among many, without the help of these federal funds.

I encourage people with concerns to visit our non-profit immigration law firm at 216 Columbia St. These people could use the support of the community and are more helpful to the cause than, in my opinion, a cosmetic designation with no teeth.

Let the council hear your voices.

Scott Skelton

Hood River

Remember treasures

Hood River City parks are important to all of us who are fortunate to live here.

For its size, Hood River has few parks, so they are especially desirable resources and should not be given away to solve a short-term need, including housing. Parks are precious resources to be preserved, cherished and enjoyed by all who own them, the citizens of Hood River.

Morrison Park consists of a series of naturally landscaped rooms with changing topography and gorgeous rock features which could compete with any designs produced by landscape architects. In its natural state, it is truly a special place right in front of us. While it has not been improved, it deserves to be discovered and saved.

It is very disappointing that the City of Hood River is proposing to rezone Morrison Park to a residential zone for a subsidized housing project of 50-100 housing units. What is most disturbing, other than giving away valuable public land, is that this area of our city is already heavily populated with low income housing units from Wasco to Cascade Streets and has no other parks except for Morrison Park.

If the city proposes a compromise, look at it carefully; it still virtually eliminates the park since the site is only about 5 acres.

What a treasure we have. To save it please urge the City Planning Commission to reject this rezone on Feb. 6.

Linda Maddox

Hood River

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