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Letters to the Editor for March 18

Where’s Walden?

I belong to one of many local progressive groups in the Gorge and we are concerned about what is going on in Washington, D.C. We have questions about the new health care bill and how that will affect all of us; we have questions about immigration policies that affect our neighbors, friends and employees; we have questions about women’s continued access to safe and quality health care; we have questions about global warming and the future of our planet.

We have more questions. What we don’t have are answers from our congressional representative, Greg Walden. We have called, emailed, faxed our questions and we have not received anything back of substance. We have politely asked him to come to our community and speak to us directly on many occasions. His staff continues to tell us that he plans on doing one town hall in each county per year. That plan may have worked well in the past, but these are extraordinary times with so many of us in his district more engaged and concerned about what is going on in Washington, D.C.

He did hold a telephone town hall on Feb. 6, but with 4,000 callers on the line, only 10 were able to ask questions. On Feb. 3, nine groups representing thousands of Walden’s constituents sent him a letter via email, fax, his web site and certified letter to D.C. We politely asked for a town hall in Hood River during the next recess week beginning Feb. 19.

The letter received absolutely no response from Walden or anyone in his office. During the weeklong recess, he traveled only to Ontario, Ore. (with about 48 hours notice) for a town hall. In contrast, during the same recess, Senator Wyden conducted 11 town halls throughout the state to listen to constituents.

So, we ask the question, “Where’s Walden?” He is inaccessible and unresponsive thus far to his Gorge constituents. Is it because he is so closely aligned with the Trump agenda that he is not willing to listen to or act on the concerns of his constituents?

Kathy Schwartz

The Dalles

Trumpville 2018

Dirty water, dirty air.

The rich get richer, at the expense of the poor.

Fewer people get the health care they need.

Trump is a liar and a bully.

It’s that simple.

Jeanine Wehr Jones

Hood River

Power of TV

Thanks to Bill Davis for his letter of March 11, serving to remind us that television is an entertainment and sales medium intended to form and sway our cultural and consumptive patterns and opinions.

News comes from investigative journalism, and follows much higher standards. Kids in eastern Europe and Asia did not learn to “sag” their pants like LA gangbangers from newspapers, and American voters did not back the current president because of print news reporting.

These events happened because people confuse TV shows with news. Our country is populated by people who do what their TV tells them to do. That should make an intelligent person more nervous than any individual result, because it is ongoing.

Please be more responsible with television.

John Wood

Hood River

Bag law a positive

Give your store clerk a break! Each time I’m in Safeway, Rosauers or Walmart, I am appalled at customer’s rudeness to the cashiers because they have to pay a nickel for a bag.

You are complaining of the “inconvenience” to pay 5 cents because you haven’t learned to keep re-usable bags in your car. I’m happy to pay you 5 cents for you to be nice — it’s worth it.

I’m proud to live in a progressive town whose city council and mayor recognize the importance of reducing waste. This is such a small change we can make to have a positive, long-term impact on our environment.

Well done and thank you cashiers for your patience!

Julia Gonzales

Hood River

Fly the U.S. flag

Thanks to the Reagan-era amnesty program in 1985, Mom, Dad, my brother and I were able to get our green cards.

Since then, my parents have continued to work for a wonderful farming family, the Moores. Allen, June, Pat, Sue, Bruce, Lynn, Beth, Matt Peters, and their extended families have been nothing short of amazing and are now firmly embedded in our lives like family.

Our current political climate has elevated our senses to new heights.

Being that I am a Mexican-born son of Mexican parents, I thought I would relay my feelings on the subject of immigrants and immigration. It is everyone’s right to protest, absolutely. It’s protected under the constitution of the United States of America. I get it. I get everyone’s reason to protest. I get the need to relay frustrations, whether they are born from personal experience or through someone else’s misfortunes. We do not live in a perfect society and as such, we should always be mindful and careful. With that said, I have seen way too many immigration protests with a theme that I find a bit troubling.

Why is it that those whom wish to exercise their frustration regarding immigration always seem to visually show their frustration by waving around the flag of their natural born country while not promoting the American flag?

Being accepted means being willing to assimilate to the very ones you are trying to be accepted by. Seems pretty simple to me. America is not perfect, understood. But we are sure better off than from the country from whence we came.

Not showing the American flag is frankly the wrong way and the wrong message.

So, yes, lets protest. Let’s wave and respect where we came from by waving our native-born flags. I am simply asking that we also wave that other flag. You know, the red, white, and blue one, the one with the 50 stars and 13 stripes on it. The one that honors and represents the constitution that gives us the very rights we are all trying to acquire.

Pepe Rivera

Hood River

‘Critically flawed’

Obamacare (ACA)is in a “death spiral.” Premiums have gone up 29 percent; health insurers are fleeing a collapsing market. But there’s a dirty little truth that undermines Greg Walden’s claim. Only 1 percent of us in Oregon District 2 are paying higher premiums. Look at the numbers.

According to data from the Oregon Health Authority, 290,568 (36.4 percent) of us got health insurance through the ACA. A whopping 36 percent of our family, friends and neighbors depend on Obamacare to pay their health care bills.

Most (258,322) get health coverage paid through Medicaid, leaving 32,246 (4 percent) who buy their health insurance from the health care exchanges (where the premiums are rising). And most 24,305 (3 percent) get subsidies, which rise with inflation to help pay their premiums. This leaves 7,941 (less than 1 percent) of people in ORD2 who are paying for rising premiums. Walden’s fearmongering is based on problem that affects a small number of us in ORD2.

Walden could have focused his legislation on fixing the rising cost of premiums. But instead with his repeal and replace bill, tens of thousands of people in ORD2 will lose their health insurance. The AMA has called his bill “critically flawed.”

Consider that Walden’s seven years of threats to repeal the ACA stymied competition and prevented most health insurance companies from participating in the health care exchanges. Why would they invest in a product that was being threatened with repeal? Walden’s threats of repeal and replace has obstructed the real reforms that could have improved the ACA. He’s now proposing a bill that will insure less people, shift costs onto the poor and will have no effect on lowering the overall costs of health care. AARP states, “This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase healthcare costs for Americans aged 50-64 and put at risk the healthcare of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services.“

Guy Tauscher

Hood River

Kindness matters

Picking up groceries today at Safeway, I learned that in the 20 years the checker had been working there, she’s never had so many people call her names as she has since March 1, the beginning of the “plastic bag ban.” She joked about taking breaks at the liquor store to deal with it and then made the sobering point, “It’s pretty easy to take your anger out on a checker chick.”

Are we okay with this behavior in our community and if not, what are we willing to do about it? Do we have the moral courage to stand up to unkindness as it’s unfolding in front of us? Or should we say nothing, roll our eyes, raise our eyebrows, and then talk about what a jerk that person was after he has left the store? (Full disclosure — that’s exactly what I did two weeks ago, after watching an angry couple storm out, leaving their un-bagged groceries behind. Same store, different checker.) If I say nothing, am I minding my own business or am I being complicit? We have anti-bullying campaigns in our schools, but what about among the adults in our community? I’m hoping that by writing this letter, it’ll give me the courage to say something the next time I see an adult express her pain, frustration, or sense of helplessness in the form of hostility toward another, and that maybe it’ll inspire you to do the same.

Gwen Thomas

Hood River



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valleycat1 5 months ago

Kathy Schwartz - Walden is holding a town hall here in Hood River on April 8th, 4:30 pm at Hood River Middle School on May Street. I know he has a few others that day too but did not keep the complete list. Watch for announcements in the local paper, possibly just a few days beforehand as he does not always give a lot of notice. You can also follow him on FB to get notices.

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valleycat1 5 months ago

RE: people freaking out about paying a nickel for a bag - If I am in line and hear someone complaining, I will use the suggested ploy of handing them a bunch of nickels rather than directly calling them out on being rude. To date I have not seen that happen, though I have seen a few people headed out the door with a cart full of loose items - apparently preferring the inconvenience to paying maybe a quarter for bags.

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