Letters to the Editor for May 3

Musical excellence

In a recent article published in regards to the HRVHS Chamber Singers and Wind Ensemble attending the state choir and band championships, I gravely misspoke in regards to their history of qualifying for the event. I was quoted as saying, “To my knowledge, this is the first year that both groups have qualified in the same year.”

While this is the first year that the groups have qualified under my direction, both ensembles did indeed qualify for the event in the same year several times under the direction of Mark Steighner. For the past two years, it has been an honor and a privilege to be the director of music at HRVHS, specifically because of the culture of excellence and achievement that Mark cultivated in the 30-plus years he dedicated to this position. His wealth of knowledge and expertise has been an invaluable asset to me over the past two years in my role as the music director at HRV. I want to be sure that credit is given where credit is due, in recognizing that Mark took his music ensembles at HRV to the state music championships dozens of times, where they often were declared champions of their division or placed in the top five for the event. I aspire to continue this tradition of musical excellence in the coming years, and apologize for having misspoke in regards the long history of musical achievements that Mark and his ensembles attained during his tenure in this role.

Dan Kenealy

Hood River

Simplify blame

I am waiting for Mr. Trump and Sean Spicer to simplify all this blame on the Obama Administration. Wouldn’t it be better if they just said, “Obama Administration Blamed for Trump Presidency?”

Greg Shepherd

Hood River

Methane menace

Methane is a super-potent greenhouse gas, trapping more than 80 times as much heat as an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. Leaks from oil and gas wells and pipelines on public lands are so great that they wipe out any climate benefit from switching from coal to natural gas, not to mention hybrid cars. Because oil and gas companies do not pay royalties on most wasted gas, taxpayers in 2014 alone lost an estimated $56 million, and an estimated $444 million worth of natural gas disappeared into the air without producing any useful energy.

In 2016, the Bureau of Land Management adopted rules requiring oil and gas companies to reduce leaks and waste. In February, the House of Representatives voted to overturn the rules and prohibit BLM from ever limiting leaks in the future. (Greg Walden, who in his recent town hall spoke earnestly of his concern about climate change and likes to boast that he drives around in a hybrid car, voted for the House measure. His words and his vote don’t match.)

There is still a chance to defeat the House measure and crack down on waste. Within the next two weeks the measure will come before the Senate, where several senators, including Republicans, have expressed reservations or outright opposition. We need to make sure that our Senators Wyden (202-224-5244) and Merkley (202-224-3753) are aware of this measure, Senate Joint Resolution 11, and oppose it. Please call or email them right away.

Vawter (Buck) Parker



For the sake of jobs, corporate profits and greed. How about for the sake of clean air, fresh water and a safe food supply for our children and grandchildren. What kind of world will we leave them?

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

Not just HR

Many emotional letters have been written about Congressman Greg Walden, citing his “unresponsiveness” to the questions at his town hall, and saying “He doesn’t represent us.” I’m starting to think the term “unresponsiveness” means “He didn’t answer the way I wanted.” As far as representation, does anyone stop to think that Congressman Walden’s district, the seventh largest in the nation, covering 19 counties from here to Idaho, Nevada and California, that there might, just might, be citizens with a different matter of opinion than those expressed here in our local area? Doesn’t Congressman Walden get to represent their views too?

Fortunately, Walden got to correct Stephen Curley’s false accusation of having a different health care plan for congress (Letters, April 8) when he showed his payment stub for his ACA health plan. Former President Clinton stated, “So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.” My family has lost two insurance plans, and have seen our premium increase $4,900 over the last two years. A far cry from the lies Obama promised us. Doesn’t anyone care about fixing healthcare for all, not just the few who get a big government subsidy or Medicaid? Does no one care that over one-third of the counties in the U.S. (and rising) have only one choice for a health insurance provider?

And to those who were shouting “Merrick Garland” during the congressman’s town hall, Supreme Court Justices are selected by the Senate, not the House. Perhaps you should have paid more attention the last time you were in middle school.

I’m sorry Gary Fields (Letters, April 8) is getting an ulcer from this administration. I just wish people would realize there are intelligent opposing viewpoints to their own, and for many of us, our eight- year-old ulcers due to the Obama administration are finally beginning to heal.

Jon Laraway

Hood River

Consider experience

Many of you will have opened your ballots this weekend and begun the process of selecting candidates for the 2017 special districts election. As a candidate, I would like to thank the organizations that hosted the recent candidates’ forum and the Hood River News for Saturday’s Q and A that allowed me the opportunity to share my position as a candidate and current HRVPRD board member. One thing I noticed both at the forum and in the paper is that many of the parks candidates share the same goals: working with other agencies, creating a master plan, ensuring adequate open space and parks in the Westside plan, and addressing the aging aquatics center.

Interestingly enough, these are all goals that were adopted by the current board this fall and are ones being actively pursued.

Those of you who are small business owners, managers, or really, anyone that has held a job, realizes that there is a cost when someone new is brought in to fill a position. This cost is experience, working relationships, and institutional knowledge.

The current board president, Greg Davis, and I have a significant number of hours invested in Hood River County’s parks and recreation district.

We have built, or are building, connections with other agencies to support the district’s mission. We have been through multiple budget cycles and have been through the process of hiring a new district director — the first in 17 years. We are nearly through the process of evaluating options for the aquatics center and have approved a budget item and a resolution that allows the staff to pursue a grant for the adoption of our master plan. We have built relationships with the current board and staff and have demonstrated our commitment to the community. In short, we are actively working towards the goals set by the board for the district.

I’d ask you to consider this and the cost of change for change’s sake when casting your ballot for this special district election.

Matt Rutledge

Hood River

Truax for Port

I have known Svea Truax for many years now and I endorse her for election to the Hood River Port Commission Position 2. I have watched Svea start her own engineering business and carry it forward in a profitable and honest manner with integrity. Her education in chemistry and environmental engineering, along with a strong interest in the Hood River community, the Columbia River, and the greater Columbia Basin, makes her an extremely well qualified candidate for this position. I have listened to Svea in many conversations and am inspired by her enthusiasm for our community waterfront, job and education opportunities at the airport, as well as job and development opportunities in the port district, and opportunities to leverage regional and national resources to help us locally. I encourage you to vote for Svea Truax for Hood River Port Commission Position 2.

Lori Mazenko

Hood River

Truax for Port

Hood River County is very fortunate to have incredibly qualified candidates for all of the port commission positions. There is a combination of weathered politicians and passionate newcomers to the political arena.

One of the passionate newcomers that I urge people to vote for is Svea Truax for Port Commission Position 2.

Svea has a BS in chemistry, a MS in environmental engineering, and is a successful co-business owner of an engineering consulting company. She has a firm grasp of the intricacies of budgets, government agency requirements, long range planning, and financial accountability.

Equally important as her work credentials and her keen intellect is the fact that her personality is extremely well suited to the demands required of a port commissioner. She has the unique ability to listen to disparate opinions and is willing to hear and seriously consider the “other side” of any argument or proposal. Svea is a tenacious, roll-up-the sleeves, get down and actually work kind of person. She is interested in positive results and can accomplish anything she sets her attentions to. Svea would be an amazing asset to the Port Commission, and I heartily ask you to vote for her for Position 2

Ellen Wylde

Hood River

Truax for School Board

I have known Rich Truax since attending college together (that is now long ago) and I endorse him for re-election to the Hood River County School Board.

Rich has made a significant volunteer commitment the last several years to the schools and school board via his service on budget, bond, and campaign committees, and K-12 funding lobbying of Salem. I know (and you might too) as we’ve been the recipients of many encouragements from Rich to write letters to Salem, as well as local support of schools and kids programs. I encourage you to join me in re-electing him to the At-Large Position 7 of our school board.

John Elliott

Hood River

Everitt for Port

I endorse John Everitt for Port Commission Position 2. I have known John for many years — as a volunteer, entrepreneur, contractor, thinker, and parent — and have always been impressed by his thought-process, grasp of the issues, and opinions. He listens first and interacts with respect. His willingness to volunteer as a budget committee member for the port and parks, and time on the Hood River Planning Commission give him tools and insight that will prove immensely valuable (though might question his sanity). We are honored to have a large slate of qualified candidates running for all of our special district openings and now it is our responsibility to get out a strong vote count — please pass the word to your family, friends and contacts to send a strong message that Hood River cares. Thanks.

Mark Zanmiller

Hood River

Support Cavaleri, Kraemer

I was elected two years ago to serve on the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District Board. Many citizens do not know that the district is a separate entity from the county and city. The district manages the pool and has developed several parks in the county. The district also collects property taxes for the bond for pool improvements and for operation and maintenance of the pool and parks. The district also collects system development charges (SDC) on new dwellings built in the city and county. These are used to expand facilities to accommodate for growth.

I became interested in running for the parks board after I spent time studying costs for the purchase and failed development of Barrett Park. The district had not been accurately keeping records of costs for this property and I found that they did not have an accurate record of expenditure of city and county SDC funds. The new district executive director is working diligently to rectify this, but moving forward, the district is at a significant turning point and needs new talent on the board of directors. That is why I support Anna Cavaleri, an attorney, and Nick Kraemer, a land use planner.

The district must create a long term parks plan with the city, county, school district and port that will have adequate parks and ball fields on the growing west side and throughout the county. The plan needs to determine which entities are responsible for operation and maintenance costs of all parks and where the money will come from. Combining functions in one entity could save money. Also, the pool needs significant renovation as it is nearing its life expectancy. The cost of this will be significant and will require community involvement and a long-term commitment for an updated facility. There is much work to be done. That is why I support Anna Cavaleri and Nick Kraemer, who can bring their energy and talents to plan and develop facilities for city and county citizens in the coming years.

Mike McCarthy


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