Letters to the Editor for March 8

Giving shelter

Rockford Grange wants to thank our regular and occasional users, our neighbors and members for accommodating the Hood River Warming Shelter at our grange.

This has been a difficult year for the Warming Shelter, and while the grange was not an ideal location or situation, we are glad we could help provide warm shelter for the un-sheltered of our community.

It takes a community to take care of itself.

Mark England

President, Rockford Grange

Hood River

‘Follow the money’

There has been a lot of discussion about how health insurance will change if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. To fully understand the plans, follow the money. Republican plans will repeal the taxes that pay for Medicaid expansion and subsidizes low-income people buying insurance on the exchanges.

Repealing the ACA’s 3.8 percent tax on investment income over $200,000 would create a huge windfall for a few people. Tax cuts for the 1 percent will average over $40,000 in 2025.

The 0.9 percent Medicare tax on income over $200,000 and other changes to Medicare payments extended the solvency of the Medicare trust fund from 2017 to 2028. Repealing these changes will cause the Medicare trust fund to run out of money much earlier and increase pressure to make cuts to Medicare.

Replacing the ACA’s income-based subsidies with tax credits not based on need will mean that those least able to afford health care see their help drastically reduced while people able to pay for care receive a tax credit that they don’t need.

Creating Health Care Spending Accounts will benefit upper income households able to shelter income from taxes, but will do nothing for people who pay no taxes and have nothing left to save after paying their health care premiums.

Republicans propose to fund their limited tax credits by reducing the tax exemptions for employer sponsored health care. Working families with employer sponsored health care will end up paying more to make up for reduced taxes on the wealthy.

The secret Republican plan will create a windfall for the wealthy, leave millions of working families unable to afford health care and increase the costs for people with employer-based health care. Follow the money.

Is the motivation to repeal the ACA about maximizing profits for a few, or taking care of people? We should be focused on improving, not repealing the ACA. Medicare for all is the most equitable solution. Where is Walden?

Beth Flake

Hood River

Waiting for Walden

Treason is defined as:

  1. A violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or to one’s state.

  2. The betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith.

I am outraged by this administration’s treasonous act, not by Flynn but by Trump. Only a fool would believe Flynn made the overtures to the Russian ambassador not to treat our diplomats in-kind after the sanctions placed on Russia for interfering in our elections without explicit direction from President Elect Trump. Nothing short of an independent investigation is warranted.

Why isn’t Walden joining our Senators Merkley and Wyden in demanding an independent investigation?

Perjury is defined as the act of swearing a false oath or of falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth. Federal law classifies perjury as a felony.

We now have a felon in Attorney General Sessions; he should resign and face charges.

Congress is supposed to be an equal branch. Why isn’t Walden demanding Sessions’ resignation?

David Michalek

Hood River

Lost humanity

In a span of less than two weeks, the United States of America: 1) Detained 70-year-old Australian award-winning children’s author Mem Fox for two hours, where she witnessed customs agents “screaming” in English at an 80-year-old Iranian woman in a wheelchair and many others among 20 individuals sequestered in a room without drinking water or bathroom facilities; 2) Detained Mohammed Ali’s son for two hours, during which time ICE agents demanded to know what religion he practiced; 3) Forbade Academy Award nominee Khalid Khateeb, whose film documented heroic efforts of the White Helmets volunteers to rescue civilians who’ve been bombed in their Syrian homeland, to enter the country in order to be at the ceremony; 4) Detained for 10 hours French Holocaust scholar Henry Rousso, who was visiting to attend an academic conference; 5) Raided a hospital to detain a 26-year-old Salvadoran mother of two who was suffering from a brain tumor, hauling her away in a wheelchair, both her hands and feet restrained, in order to deport her; 6) Imprisoned and slated for immediate deportation 22-year-old Daniela Vargas, a straight-A student, aspiring math teacher, and a “Dreamer” who has known no other nation except the U.S. since she was 7 years old, after she gave a speech to communicate her fears.

What kind of nation behaves this way? What are we doing to our international reputation? These events do not represent increased vigilance against potential terrorism or criminality. Rather, they reveal what surely must look to the rest of the world like a nation that has lost its humanity and soul.

Look to your hearts. Is this who we want to be? If it isn’t, write to our president and to your senators and representatives and demand a change.

Rick George

White Salmon, Wash.

Short stories

Story one: Walk on By. A homeless person moves into a neighborhood, parks on a county road and lives for three years next to a creek, dumping trash everywhere. Neighbors walk their dogs by, some offer help which is declined. Many people pass by on mountain bikes and motorcycles. One day, another homeless person moves to the neighborhood and another with a sex offender history who gets arrested for dealing drugs. People walk their dogs past the abandoned vehicles, the homeless person living in their car, the trash next to the creek on a county road in our town.

Story two: Smoke in the Room Study. Five people are in a room. Four of the people are part of a study and have been instructed what to do. The fifth person knows nothing and sits down with the others and agrees to fill out a questionnaire. Smoke begins to fill the room from the vents.

No one looks up. They fill out the questionnaire. The fifth person smells the smoke, looks at the others. No one notices the smoke. The smoke fills the room and the fifth person looks at the others. No one looks up. The fifth person says nothing, does nothing.

Both true stories.

When is walking by not an option? When is conformity dangerous? When is standing up an act of courage?

Erika Rench

Hood River

Ski bus success

The Hood River Middle School Ski bus as usual has been a great success. My sons, like many other sons and daughters over the years, love it. The activity is fun, active and enjoyed by all. It takes a lot of organization, time and effort. I know there are many to thank for it working smoothly, specifically Jennifer Wilson, Eric Cohn and Ann McDonald ... thank you. To all the others involved that are not mentioned, we also thank you.

Nigel Longland

Hood River

Arts are needed

Trump wants to reduce funding for or eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. I realize there are many programs which deserve funding more than the creative arts; however, throughout history, great civilizations have encouraged architecture, sculpture, literature, music, theater, dance, painting, etc., and there should be some funding available. To “make America great again,” we’ve got an uneducated, ill-tutored, uncultured, illiterate philistine; an ignorant cretin without cultural values who thinks the “tweet” is a literary art form and the Kennedy Center is a shopping mall.

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

Added stress

Today I shopped at Safeway for groceries. At the front check stand, I realized I would have to pay for grocery bags, which I refused, since bags are added in the overhead of groceries and all store bills. I was not offered a discount. I am not blaming Safeway — I am blaming the city council. They were not there (the people who voted the bag law in) to take the grief the poor checkers were getting. Neither was management. I think this needs to go back to city council to reconsider. Imagine the seniors who come in on buses trying to keep their groceries separate as they are rolling all over the van. Imagine me at 67 carrying groceries over snow and ice to get them into my house. I have only a sick husband at home to help. I had to make extra trips to bag and make sure no meats etc. got under the seat of the car.

Hmmm, I had no city council there to help me ... doing without bags is asking for more carry out people to transfer my items from the basket to the car at least a 10 to 15 minute for them. You want to save the planet, quit going skiing or driving your big SUVs and all your toys. We need our bags. I can’t imagine coming from out of town and finding no bags — even Costco furnishes boxes. Guess where I am going next — yes, Costco or WinCo. Thank you, city council, for adding one more stress to my life.

Connie Black

Trout Lake, Wash.

Cut a salary

So the school district wants the publics input about cuts in their budget. Well I know one thing that can be cut back, how about starting with the superintendent’s pay for starters. Don’t cut back the teaching staff, they have enough of a load as it is.

Ron Dunn


Can’t see benefit

Okay, help me out here. What possible benefit to the public comes from the recent Trump action regarding guns? Our new president has signed legislation revoking that rule that prohibits individuals with known mental illness from buying firearms — do we now feel safer knowing more unstable folks can procure firepower? Well, at least it keeps the NRA happy — and just don’t worry about future mass shootings.

Along the lines of keeping the NRA content, isn’t it great that hunters, thanks to Trump, will no longer be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can accidentally poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands? We need more lead in the environment, of course.

Strange things are happening, but it’s all to make us great again, right?

Barbara Miller

White Salmon, Wash.

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