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Letters to the Editor for March 1

No calls back

Dear Congressman Greg Walden and Representative Mark Johnson,

Many weeks ago, I contacted each of you to ask about your position on a specific issue. I am still waiting for any type of response. In the months leading up to the election, I received lots and lots of mail from both of you, as well as a few phone calls — so I know you know how to reach me.

Cindy Yoshimura

Hood River

A Russia link

At the library today I was caught trying to use my expired library card. My first thought was I didn’t know the cards expired. Second thought was, “Is that grounds for deportation?” My grandparents came to this country fleeing the 1915(ish) Russian Revolution. I am not sure they were legal arrivals. Never really thought about it much before. Does that make me illegal? Third thought, “No, I am probably safe because this administration likes Russia.” Then I remembered this is a sanctuary city. I made it home safe for now with good books to read. And much to think about.

Ann Lameka

Mt. Hood

Controlled

Change is an agent of control.

Hunter-gatherer cultures were stable for millennia because the environment was obviously in control. (It still is. We ignore this fact at our great and immediate peril.) When we invented agriculture, everything seemed to change (though nothing did). We started to accept the delusion of our control. This delusion has been deepening ever since.

Hunter-gatherer cultures were totally dependent on group cohesion. Everyone’s survival depended on it. Individual survival was only possible in the group … banishment was death. Because of this, everyone knew everyone else’s business. Every child had multiple role models and authority figures. This all changed with the industrial revolution and the rapid expansion of wealth at the “top.” With the mechanization of farm jobs and the creation of urban factories, the nuclear family was hatched. It was a support group for factory workers (including children).

In the absence of multiple role models and authority figures, the father assumed dictatorial power over his children. This suited the controlling classes just fine. The nuclear family became a direct power conduit to our children for those with more power than their father. The children, groomed by the controlling classes, became parents … over and over and over again. The nuclear family is the engine of the mind bogglingly, breath taking change we have experienced that has lead mysteriously to the extreme wealth of the controlling classes … go figure!

I am still getting used to this.

David Warnock

Hood River

Memory loss

Dear Mr. President: Do you remember the Constitution you talked about during your campaign? I am hopeful that you do, and are still interested in honoring it as you said you would. It would really mean a lot to many of us.

P.S. Please star this document on your phone in case your tremendous intellect is sidetracked by the incredibly humorous musings of newly-elected Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

‘Buck up’

In response to the two-column article, “Resistance goes mainstream” by Patrick Hiller, Ph.D., on Feb. 18, I write:

Dr. Hiller was not specific what he meant about the “laundry-list of social inequity being spewed” by President Trump. Then Dr. Hiller lists various entities who have, are and will be resisting President Trump. He describes President Trump’s paths as being destructive, but does not explain how he will be destructive.

I happen to be part of the 29 percent of Hood River County residents who voted for Trump and did not vote for “hate and fear.” And I suspect that the others who voted for him didn’t vote for “hate and fear” either. The left seems to define any disagreement with them as “hate,” even when hate is not present or intended. But most of the destruction and overt hate is done by the left against those who disagree with the left.

President Trump is accomplishing and is trying to accomplish exactly what he said he would do. Most of the regular news media are indeed anti-Trump and are doing their best to derail his presidency, by spewing various degrees of lies. And ex-President Obama is now abetting this effort, too.

When President Obama was elected U.S. President, I was dismayed, but I lived with it. In my opinion, he was the worst president in my 83 years of life!

So my advice to you people on the left is this: Buck up, live with it and grow up!

Donald Rose, MD

Hood River

Lighten up

Stay calm.

Play nice.

Think through things.

Don’t over react.

Do your research.

Help someone else.

Compete with class.

All rules I used in 31 years of teaching Physical Education and 20 years in OSAA Athletics.

Americans could use some coaching right now.

Barb Hosford

Hood River

Keep maternity coverage

Prior to the ACA, maternity coverage was rare and costly in the individual insurance market. If Congress drops the requirement to cover maternity, we will likely return to those bad old days. Rep. Walden is a leader in reform efforts, and will have an important say in whether families continue to have access to affordable maternity coverage.

Having a baby is expensive today. Average costs are around $25,000. A premature baby’s hospital bill can easily run over $500,000. Insurers won’t offer maternity coverage without hefty premiums and will likely want long waiting periods before coverage kicks in.

Unlike the individual market, most pre-ACA employer plans included maternity coverage. If legislation to “repair” the ACA doesn’t include maternity as a covered benefit, Congress is likely to be confronted by an angry group of constituents — people working jobs without employer healthcare who make too much to qualify for Medicaid. These are often families working multiple part-time or lower paying jobs. Many of them live in Walden’s rural district. They will resent being left on their own to have babies without needed maternity coverage.

A healthcare system that fails to provide access to affordable prenatal and maternity coverage can hardly be called pro-life. Many couples will put off having children. An unplanned pregnancy will have individuals and families choosing between terminating a pregnancy and sliding into poverty.

Maternity coverage was a mess before! Don’t make it a mess again!

Voters should know where Walden stands on this issue.

Richard Davis

The Dalles

Paid but AWOL

Mr. Walden is on our payroll, but choosing not to come to work. In most businesses, this would get you fired.

Congress’ annual schedule shows his DC work time to be: five-day weeks, 6, four-day weeks, 27, three-day weeks, 2, and 10-day weeks (i.e., not in DC at all), 16.

Even leaving three weeks for vacation, plus a handful of federal holidays, this schedule leaves Mr. Walden a full 18 weeks to meet with his constituents. Seems like plenty of time for scheduling an awful lot of meetings, no? But Mr. Walden has still failed to schedule a town hall in the Gorge, is still refusing / ignoring all known invitations for both public and private meetings in the Gorge, and is apparently still instructing his staff members to not publish or tell his in-district schedule.

This is a turbulent time in this nation. People are scared and have many questions, our viability of our ag economy is threatened by immigration orders, and leadership and responsiveness are desperately needed.

Duck-and-cover for one’s own comfort is not appropriate for any of us at this time, and especially not for elected officials whose sole purpose is to represent (and therefore listen to) their constituents. Mr. Walden, you are needed here. You are on our payroll, and you need to come to work.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Too many elk fences

Last Friday, Feb. 17, one of the headlines in the HRN read: “Too many elk in the upper valley.” My opinion is, the miles of already existing agriculture / elk fences in the upper valley is the issue. This fencing prevents the elk from migrating to and from their normal grazing grounds. Due to the tall fencing, I’m not sure where between Baldwin Creek Drive and Toll Bridge Road they can now cross Hwy. 35? This stretch used to be one of their major crossing points. This fencing also hinders the movement of deer, bear, coyote, bobcat, cougar and ???

I also think the numbers mentioned are a bit exaggerated / inflated? I have the good fortune of having an elevated view of possibly one of the elk’s favorite grazing hay fields. From here it’s unusual counting a herd numbering in the 60s. Maybe this winter has brought higher numbers down from the hills? Some numbers not mentioned that I’d like to know more about are the number of legally permitted elk kills the farmers are allowed each year? Is this number in the 20s, 50s or ??? This number is in addition to what the archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunters take each year. I’m not a hunter and I have nothing against the conscientious hunter who is good at his sport. I just think there are already too many elk fences and there is too much killing going on!

Larry Larson

Mt. Hood

Supports letter

I support Dan Goldman’s advice to teachers and district staff on Feb. 16, 2017, not to penalize students who missed school for the Day Without Immigrants awareness event. I saw a copy of the letter a day or two after it was sent to teachers, and was inspired by Mr. Goldman’s commitment to high standards and respect for students. I am grateful to live in a community which understands that schools succeed when all students, regardless of personal characteristics including immigration status, gender, race, or income level, feel valued while at school.

As a social worker trained in trauma informed care, I know that students can’t learn when they fear for their safety. The letter Mr. Goldman sent to district staff indicates respect for these students and goes a long way toward helping them feel safe at school. Let’s ensure students feel safe to pursue academic excellence by continuing to encourage everyone in our district to express themselves through respectful political discourse, academic exploration, and basic human kindness.

Thank you, Mr. Goldman, for your hard work and dedication to all students.

Anna Williams

Hood River

Not a solution

State Sen. Chuck Thomsen mistakenly blames the “crippled” timber industry for Oregon’s school funding woes (“Elliot Forest should have followed Hood River Model, Feb. 22).

Thomsen urges us to “imagine ... class sizes back down to normal — and schools finally bringing back shop classes and music programs.” County timber receipts, as Sen. Thomsen writes, amount to $2 million a year.

The budget for Hood River schools for 2016-17 is roughly $130 million. Relying on this “extra” money — less than 3 percent of the annual school budget — to bring back school programs will certainly relegate any restoration of K-12 education to the realm of the imagination.

Scholars of Oregon’s tax structure, including retired OSU political science professor Bill Lunch, have tracked a variety of factors, including the passage of a property tax limitation measure more than 25 years ago, that have made school funding much more volatile. Counting on the vagaries of the timber market, and the attendant uncertainty around timber politics, will only add to that volatility.

More troublesome is Thomsen’s prognostication of “countless more privatization deals happening” if timber sales “get bogged down in courts.” Thomsen seems resigned to liquidating state lands if they don’t produce revenue. This is short-sighted.

Timber sales are litigated when they violate laws. This happens in Oregon despite the fact that the Oregon Forest Practices Act is weaker than similar laws in Idaho, Washington and California. Oregon law stipulates state timber lands should be managed for the greatest good of its citizens. Conservation, recreation and carbon sequestration are all pretty good things that, taken together, far outweigh the small economic gains from local and state timber receipts.

The “no tree left behind” formula for fixing school budgets won’t work.

Imagine trading healthier schools for less healthier forests. Don’t like how that looks? Now imagine the legislature actually coming up with a true solution to the state budget crisis. The latter is what we ought to expect from Sen. Thomsen.

Steven Hawley

Hood River

Hooray!

We’ve just discovered a neighboring star that’s sporting seven planets — three of which may be capable of supporting life. Before you pack your bags, it’s 39 light years away. That’s a huge wall between our neighbor and us. Even with the Roswell, N.M., “evidence” of visitors from outer space, we should recognize that it would require generational relays to make the trip. Even Methuselah would have died in route. To date, we’ve only dipped our toes in the ocean of space. That got us people to the moon and robots to Mars. It’ll take super human strokes to swim our way to settlement at either venue. At $20 billion per year that we are spending for NASA to just plan a manned Mars trip, let alone get there, can we really justify this investment?

Remember following our moon successes, when dreamers spoke of colonies, launch pads to deep space and even mining for minerals? Can you imagine the trucks that would haul the ore home? Perhaps we will smelter it there in that oxygen-free atmosphere. Successful businesses make investments based on need relative to goals, priorities and cost effectiveness, chosen after exploring all reasonable alternatives.

Wouldn’t it be prudent for our government to emulate this process as well?

My 16 years at NASA were some of the most fulfilling in my working life.

Amazing science and engineering discoveries abound (the Hubble Space Telescope being one example) and so do politics.

If we get humans to Mars, we will have spent hundreds of billions or more (even if we don’t get them back). Why is congress willing to spend so much to discover if Mars can sustain life when it is loath to invest to ensure that Earth can continue to do the same? Don‘t we have enough to keep our scientists, engineers and others busy working on infrastructure, health, education, energy, transportation, global warming, clean water and food production and a world economy that ensures that everyone receives a fair share of the produce, even if it is manufactured by robots?

Russ Hurlbert

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

A call to churches

I continue to watch the Trump administration’s rule of hatred with horror. For me, a touchpoint issue is happening now: the deportation of undocumented citizens. We fear the arrival of ICE any day, and wait, in terror, even those of us who seemingly have nothing to fear.

Trump lied — he is not targeting 2-3 million “criminal aliens;” he has told ICE that the restraints are gone. Immigrants of all statuses are avoiding going out in public. There is so much tension in my little community of Odell, and even among my students at the high school. Our local Rep. Greg Walden supports Trump’s immigration policies, I’m ashamed to report. It’s just a matter of time before ICE arrives to haul off those who didn’t have the good luck to be U.S.-born. There is so much fear.

A sanctuary is defined as a sacred place. In many communities, local churches are declaring themselves to be sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants seeking asylum. Church buildings have historically been places where the persecuted could find shelter. Today, I call on our local churches to publicly declare their properties to be sanctuaries for the undocumented residents of Hood River County, whose only crime is being undocumented; this doesn’t mean criminals will be sheltered (being undocumented is a civil offense, not a criminal offense). It just means that if someone feels unsafe, a church sanctuary is a place he might find shelter temporarily. Take a stand against hate; open the doors with love, please.

Nan Noteboom

Odell

A day off, why?

On Feb. 16, “Day without Immigrants,” 735 kids in Hood River skipped school. I applaud our superintendent for reminding that despite this cause, attendance is important.

It was reported the demonstration had 240 people in attendance. Seven hundred-plus kids missing from school, 240 at the rally; there’s a math problem here.

Where were these kids? And employees? Going to guess the real immigrant workers were working. They couldn’t afford to take the day off.

I’m concerned what this teaches our youth: that it is okay to not attend school for a protest? They’ve already missed 10 snow days. What kind of work ethic is this teaching? Most wouldn’t have a job the next day.

Freedom of speech is something to do on your own time, on a Saturday, not on a work day. With rights come responsibilities, and appropriate time and place to exercise those rights are important.

What did the “demonstration” accomplish? Imagine if all the protestors banded together to facilitate the application process?

A few stats, re “cost” of Illegal Immigration in Oregon (www.fairus.org): Oregon has approximately 170,000 illegal aliens. Illegal aliens cost taxpayers $108 billion, yet they only pay $76.5 million in collected taxes, leaving a burden of $1 billion for Oregon Taxpayers. We fund $734 million education, $114 million healthcare, $140 million justice and law enforcement, $12.8 million public assistance, and $80 million general government services. In 2010, cost of Illegal Immigration in Oregon: $1 billion.

As a conservative, I feel the law should simply be enforced. We support legal immigration, not illegal immigration. An immigrant should apply legally.

However, I am torn on this issue. As a local, I went to school with “illegals,” graduated and now productive members of society here in Hood River, yet never applied for citizenship. Why are they not getting in line?

Conversely, some don’t want citizenship, just work, and send money home.

Compare this to our ancestors coming through Ellis Island: they had to prove they were here to work hard, declare an allegiance for America.

We need a pathway to citizenship. However, if just here to work, get a permit.

Kris Wilhelm

Hood River



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