Letters to the Editor for May 10

Our planet’s health is threatened

This is in response to the letter by Donald Rose, M.D. (May 6), claiming that climate change is a hoax. I visited the friendsofscience.org website he pointed to and did indeed find myself experiencing a healthy dose of skepticism as promised. However, it was not directed at climate science but rather at the website’s dated arguments, continuous pleas for donations, and the organization’s failure to disclose that its major funding source is the oil industry.

Contrary to Dr. Rose’s opinion, I believe the evidence overwhelmingly supports the fact that climate change is real and is caused mainly by human activity. As a hydrologist, and not a climate scientist, I have nothing to gain financially by perpetrating a climate hoax. My paycheck keeps coming no matter what the global thermometer reads.

I like the medical analogy that is often presented when discussing the consensus on climate change. If you are given a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness by 48 of 50 doctors, it’s likely that you would agree to treatment, even if the other two doctors gave you contradictory diagnoses. Here, we have a nearly unanimous group of professionals telling us that the planet’s health is threatened unless we make changes. Those changes don’t have to be major sacrifices if we all do a little bit. And in many cases, they will save money and create jobs.

Consider the benefits of lower fuel bills when you improve the energy efficiency of your home or purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider the health savings associated with lower rates of asthma or heatstroke, conditions exacerbated by warming temperatures. Consider that in the electric power industry, the U.S. Department of Energy says there are now twice as many people employed in solar as in traditional fossil fuel jobs.

I would like to see our government abandon its current anti-environmental agenda and work on bi-partisan solutions embracing some of these responses. The only hoax I see being perpetrated is the argument that we have to sacrifice environmental regulations, species, and protected areas to grow the economy. Let’s get busy and work together to address this challenge.

Tim Mayer, Ph.D.

Hood River

Re: ‘Complete Hoax’

I would like to respond to Donald Rose’s letter to the editor on May 6, the intention of which was clearly to sow doubt as to the severity of manmade climate change by attributing it to the sun.

I am not a scientist, climate or otherwise, but I decided to check Mr. Rose’s sources, “climatedepot.com” (misspelled) and “friendsofscience.org.”

The former is run by a conservative politician and noted climate change denier, and the latter is a Calgary based non-profit funded by oil interests.

This is by no means a complete refutation of Mr. Rose’s claims, but I wouldn’t trust his sources to give one a credible and accurate picture of the effects of manmade climate change.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Not serving people

I used to work amicably with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden on health care reform. I don’t understand what’s happened to him. I found it hard to look at his jubilant face (on video clips) when the GOP in D.C. celebrated House passage of the corrupt “health care bill.” By all credible predictions, this bill would greatly hurt the poor, the middle class, the elderly, the sick and many individual states, while rewarding chiefly the very wealthy, the fortunate, and the well.

The good news is that the Senate is unlikely to pass it or anything close to it. But we must all be vigilant. This is clearly a matter of the Congressman’s scoring a win for party politics rather than of serving the majority of the Second District’s constituents or of improving the health of the nation.

Dr. Tina Castañares



If you are on Medicare (socialized medicine), or have insurance through your employer (tax subsidized medicine), or are a congressman (taxpayer subsidized medicine), you may not care that our U.S. House of Representatives has passed Health Care legislation that will damage the lives of others. You should care and this is why. Between 1945 and 1980, this country had a long-sustained period of economic stability and growth. This unprecedented period came about because government took measures that benefited the American middle class. It wasn’t a fluke; all strong dynamic economies have a solid middle class.

Medical bankruptcies are destroying ours. It’s comic hypocrisy for those who have socialized and subsidized medical insurance to deny those benefits to others. It’s selfish and cruel, and it will lead us where all selfishness and cruelty always eventually does.

Ben Seagraves

White Salmon, Wash.

Support immigrants

The United States is a country of immigrants who all initially suffered prejudice and poor treatment. Can we not learn from the past and act more humanely towards our latest immigrants? Acts of injustice undermine all of us.

Mountain View Worship Group of the Society of Friends, the Quakers, supports our immigrant community. We as a country need to develop humane economic policies, protect labor rights, develop a clear path to citizenship, respect civil and human rights, demilitarize the border and make family reunification a priority. Our nation is one that is built on hope. Until there is a rational immigration policy, with a path towards citizenship, we will do what we can to protect all peoples living and working here. They who are our neighbors, work hard, abide by our laws and pay taxes.

We urge you to contact members of Congress, Oregon Dist. 2 Rep. Greg Walden and/or Washington Dist. 3 Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and demand a stop to current immigration (ICE) policy of “hunt and deport” and to work to pass a national immigration bill.

Jane Gibson, Bruce Lumper, Sher Schywartz, Lark Lennox, Marolyn Wilks, Bill Lennox, Byron Gibson, Clayton H. Evens, Donna Meengs, Jim Holston, Shannon Perry, Erin Day-Gennett, Jeff Hunter, and Tina Genoff

Mountain View Worship Group of the Society of Friends,

the Quakers


With Trump and the rest of the radical right Republicans practicing complete narcissism and caring only for the plights, health or monetary welfare of themselves, I think they should be called what they really are, Repugnacans. I would not be surprised if Abraham Lincoln is not just turning in his grave, but digging as deep into the earth as he can.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Trumpcare needs work

Greg Walden penned a note on Facebook, celebrating the House passage of the American Health Care Act (ACHA), aka Trumpcare. The legislation is a bit overwhelming, so I’d like to help by offering some edits in order to clarify this achievement.

For seven years, millions of patients and their families were able to access health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Now, because of the determined efforts of the GOP, we are proud to revoke insurance for an estimated 24 million in order to reward the wealthiest Americans, our constituents, with generous tax breaks.

But Trumpcare has an ambitious agenda and promises to offer much more.

The elderly will no longer be denied their share of higher costs, as states can readily raise their premiums to unaffordable levels.

Patients with pre-existing conditions will be able to enjoy the benefits of astronomical rate increases as well, no longer shielded by Obamacare’s mandated coverage. Medicaid will be severely curtailed, with 10 year cuts estimated at $880 billion.

It’s unclear how those who lose Medicaid coverage will obtain health care. We’ll try to work something out.

And thanks to the GOP determination, Trumpcare legislation was fast-tracked and passed out of the House without scoring by the Congressional Budget Office, so the actual impacts may be even more impressive than those outlined here.

There is so much more to celebrate with Trumpcare: higher deductibles and elimination of essential benefits, such as mental health coverage and maternity care.

But we recognize that more work needs to be done and we won’t be satisfied until the Senate validates our efforts and delivers a final bill to President Trump for his signature.

Larry Jacoby

Hood River

Shame on Walden

Greg Walden stood on the Hood River Middle School stage and lied to you and me! I was there, and so was the Hood River News. Quoting the Hood River News, “Walden pointed to popular health care concepts he supports, such as protections for pre-existing conditions.” Today Greg Walden voted for the American Health Care Act. Among the bill’s more contentious provisions is one that would allow states to let insurers return to their old practice of charging more to customers with preexisting medical problems — a practice that current law prohibits. Shame on you, Greg!

John and Linda Sprague

Hood River

Masters of war

I’ve been wondering how destroying all of Americas freedoms and rights, environmental protections and our compassion is making us stronger. Seems that money alone matters to “45” — and enriching his family’s business, of course.

Bob Dylan’s protest songs spoke truth to power. With our current government’s recent actions, this song keeps haunting me. (Look it up to see the full version): Come you masters of war/ You who build all the guns/ You who build the death planes, You who build all the bombs /You who hide behind walls /You who hide behind desks/ I just want you to know that I see through your masks/ You who never done nothing but build to destroy /You play with my world like it’s your little toy/ Like Judas of old you lie and deceive/ A world war can be won, you want me to believe/ But I see through your eyes and I see through your brain/ Like I see through the water that runs down my drain/ You fasten all the triggers for the others to fire/ Then you set back and watch when the death count gets higher/ You hide in your mansions as the young people’s blood/ Flows out of their bodies and is buried in the mud/ How much do I know to talk out of turn / You might say that I’m young, you might say I’m unlearned/ But there’s one thing I know, though I’m younger than you/ Even Jesus would never forgive what you do/ Let me ask you one question: Is your money that good?/ Will it buy you forgiveness? Did you think that it could? /I think you will find when your death takes its toll/ All the money you’ve made will never buy back your soul/ And I hope that you die and your death will come soon /I’ll follow your casket in the pale afternoon/ And I‘ll watch while you’re lowered down to your death bed/ And I’ll stand over your grave till I’m sure you’re dead.

Lori Hukari

Hood River

Character matters

I want to add my enthusiastic endorsement for the candidacy of Svea Truax, who is running for the second position for the Port of Hood River. I have known Truax for nearly 13 years, and have had considerable entrée into the workings of her personal and professional life. As such, I can attest that her professional accomplishments have equipped her exceedingly well for the responsibility and challenges of effective, collaborative port leadership. Her “value added” experience as a successful environmental engineer and small business owner would lend depth and an enhanced professional perspective to the port’s leadership team.

But it speaks volumes that Truax was recruited by fellow citizens to run for this position. That is because many of us have recognized the heart of integrity and open-mindedness that underlies her professional demeanor. She is intellectually astute, exceedingly practical, and collaborative in her intent to craft solutions that would truly bless and benefit the community. And I have witnessed her, even while experiencing intense personal trials, persist in faithfully, doggedly pursuing the greater good for all involved, even at personal cost to herself.

There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that in the crucible of public service, Svea Truax not only has the professional chops to tackle the job, but the tenacity and the integrity of heart to take the heat, and do the right thing for the benefit of the entire community. And that alone is worth its weight in gold in this self-serving, often cynical political era.

I urge you then to join me in casting your vote for her to represent you in Position 2 of the Port of Hood River.

Laura Starrett, MD

Hood River

Helfrich for Port

I’d like to recommend Jeff Helfrich to you for Positon 2 on the Hood River Port Commission. Jeff has spent his adult life serving the public in various capacities, he’s employed in Portland by Portland’s finest as a sergeant, and has donated his time serving as a city councilman in Cascade Locks before moving to Hood River, where he lives with his wife Shawna and their family.

Jeff has been a dedicated public servant. I’ve witnessed him going beyond the call of duty to help a homeless couple in distress. You might have seen him on Portland’s local TV channels as he’s appeared and spoken to reporters during critical situations. We’ve both served on the Cascade Locks Budget Committee so I know him to have an in-depth knowledge of the budgeting process. His lovely wife is a naturopathic doctor serving her patients in The Dalles.

Jeff has demonstrated to me his dedication and high moral and ethical standards in so many situations, please give him your consideration for Position 2 on the Port Commission.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Protect ACA

The United States is a charter member of the United Nations (UN). We catalyzed its creation in 1945. As one of five permanent members of its Security Council, we have veto power, i.e., we can block the adoption of any substantive UN resolution. We thus have a deep moral obligation to stand for and abide by the principles that the UN does adopt.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a UN agency, established in 1948 to address international public health. Its constitution declares “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health [as] one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” and states the principle that “governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.”

Universal health coverage is a means to fulfill this responsibility, but governments have leeway on their chosen approaches. For far too long, our country has struggled with this issue. As a consequence, people have died unnecessarily.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA or ‘Obamacare’) is the law of our land.

While not perfect, ACA brought us closer to universal health care than ever before. Repealing and replacing ACA should be considered only if it nudges us further towards a human rights-based approach to health. Our lives and well-being literally depend on it.

Health is nonpartisan: disease strikes without regard for party affiliation or lack thereof. Any elected officer who does not abide by WHO’s moral compass of health as a human right is not serving the best interests of our country. The repeal bill passed by the House on May 4 fails this elementary test. It is now up to the Senate to right an extremely serious wrong.

Dear Senators: Please stand for the right of every American to have access to effective, affordable and dignified health care. In doing so, you will be standing for health as a fundamental human right.

Antonio Batista

Mt. Hood

For Hankins Elliott

We have the privilege of being friends, colleagues and fellow parents of Corinda Hankins Elliott, and we write to encourage you to vote to renew her term on the school board. There is no one who is more dedicated to the children and parents of this community than Corinda, from her work as a local pediatrician to her volunteer activities in the schools and Community Ed to her tireless support of initiatives and policies that benefit students and educators in the Oregon public schools.

As a parent and a pediatrician, Corinda has spent years trying to ensure that kids in this community are happy, healthy, and receiving the educations they deserve. She has served on the school board for the last nine months after being appointed to that position and has an excellent understanding of the opportunities this community has as well as the challenges it faces with respect to the educational system. She is passionate about quality public education, but also pragmatic about budget and other resource issues and works to come up with creative solutions to problems that work for the whole community.

On a personal level, we have had the benefit of Corinda’s wisdom and warmth when it comes to her children and ours. She makes it a point to get to know kids individually, celebrating their strengths and victories, and helping them work through things that are troubling them.

She is an excellent listener and never fails to offer comforting, intelligent advice when it is asked for. We are lucky to be able to call her a friend. The school district greatly benefits from Corinda having a seat on the school board and we urge you to vote for her so that she can continue to work to improve our schools and ensure quality education for the children in this community.

Jen Hackett, Molly Fauth, Suzanne Cross,

Nicole Sibert-Faaborg, Katie Haynie, Jennifer Hart, Kathy Peterson and Justine VanHout

Hood River

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