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Letters to the Editor for May 24


We have heard stories of NORCOR renting space to ICE to house their undocumented detainees for huge amounts of money. ICE is fully funded, but NORCOR was overbuilt and at a loss to know how to fill the space and get money to run the jail.

Is it true ICE is using NORCOR guards to do the work for ICE prisoners also? Is it true that the guards are then required to tattle on people who have been sent to NORCOR from our communities, not yet proven guilty, yet perhaps unable to provide documents of residency?

I have heard many useful ideas of how to rent out the extra space: services for prisoners, mental health and drug use evaluations, jobs training. Dog shelters so the prisoners can do the work with rescued dogs, bond, heal themselves and the dogs (a proven program, though I cannot cite the source). Anything besides ICE, I say. We are a sanctuary city, and we don’t want a police state, entrapping and deporting our neighbors for “lack of papers.”

When the ballot asked if I wanted to support NORCOR with County funds to supports this necessary jail, I voted yes. I fear I should have gotten them to swear off ICE first.

Alison McDonald

Hood River

Great school music

Last night I was privileged to attend a concert put on by the Columbia Gorge Elementary Choir Festival in The Dalles. Six choirs from as far away as Hermiston participated, including three choirs from the Hood River area: May Street Elementary, Mid Valley and Westside.

The choirs had been in a day long workshop before presenting their concert. The choirs were wonderful and their directors very capable of bringing the best performances from their students. It is nice to see these schools present music to the students in our area. These children attend choir practices after school, as do the directors! I hope to see music as an integral part of Hood River schools for our future generations. Thank you, Hood River County School District. Keep up the good work for our children.

VIcki White


Wait by the fan

Recipe for the “Perfect Economic Storm”

  1. Increase already bloated “Defense” spending.

  2. Give the wealthiest Americans another undeserved tax break.

  3. Deregulate large financial institutions to encourage gambling.

  4. Appoint greedy but barely competent people to positions of power in governments.

  5. Instigate a trade war with our trading partners who are also our largest investors and creditors.

  6. Dismantle programs that shelter what is left of the middle class from extinction.

Season generously with patriotic nonsense, stir with hatred, and wait next to the fan.

Ben Seagraves

White Salmon, Wash.


Faith, by definition, supersedes reason and is therefore impervious to evidence. There is nothing inherently spiritual about it.

That is just religious marketing. Faith in science is no more reasonable than faith in anything else. Science brought us Thalidomide, DDT, asbestos and now GMOs, because scientists know what they are doing. We are manipulating life at the genetic level … what could possibly go wrong?

“Smart” people are using science to rob our planet of its ability to sustain life because it is profitable. Faith is ultimately inevitable. It is the ability to make up your mind. None of us can function without it. The question is, what is your faith in?

My faith is in equality. Evidence is irrelevant. How we treat each other does not change the fact we are equal. There is nothing less profitable than universal equality (there is no profit).

There is nothing more profitable than war. The rich make wars, sell the weapons and keep their sons out of wars. Their sons then make wars, sell weapons and keep their sons out of wars, right on down the line. They have an alliance with the “faith community.” As long as the righteous uphold the flagrantly transparent moral delusion that the rich foist on us — that the rich deserve to be rich because they work hard, and the poor deserve to be poor because they do not — they have a free hand. As long as this free hand is shackled to authority, nothing will change.

“Fundamentalist” is just another name for “authoritarian.” If your God is beyond your imagination and “It” (no gender limitation) loves us all, you have faith in equality, and in this culture, you are on the extreme fringe. If you know exactly what your God is like, and He hates the same people you hate, you have faith in patriarchal authority. Fox News tells you everything you believe, and for the moment, the Trump administration is doing its best to make everyone else tow your line. In my world, authority is a delusion because it rejects equality. We are all in this together.

David Warnock

Hood River

Consider U.S. finances

Dear fellow Americans,

Are you concerned about the financial affairs of this nation? I am. Please consider:

When the expenses of an individual or family are greater than their income or available assets, they fall into a huge loss of possessions and trustworthiness.

When the expenses of a company or corporation are greater than their income or available assets, they fall into a huge loss of possessions and trustworthiness.

When the expenses of a nation are greater than their income or available assets, they fall into a huge loss of an economy that thrives, and also their trustworthiness.

In recent years, the expenses of this nation have been much greater than the income … spiking our national debt to trillions of dollars. I am happy to pay taxes — I appreciate this country — but I don’t have the resources to pay this debt, nor does anyone else.

Please, Congress, stop spending money we don’t have. The results are inevitable! Please delete the luxuries added in recent years. Self-discipline, common sense, and clear-thinking accounting tell us this is not going to work. Figure out what is essential to continuing this nation and delete the giveaways to at least our enemies both inside and out of our land. Please help!

Please, people, don’t demand more costly giveaways for you and your friends. Almost half the people in this nation are dependent on the government. Let’s all pay taxes … let’s all work! Plus, the demand philosophy generates so much damage to store fronts which raises insurance which raises the commodity of that store, plus the police cost … and even lives. Please stop and think what you are doing!

I studied and practice accounting and the profit and loss statement tells the story. Is anyone thinking clearly?

Lois Smith


Poem for a park

The May 11 testimony before the City Council of Hood River on the rezoning of Morrison Park for development. I would like to write a poem for Morrison Park,

about the joyful life she has given us, for more than 80 years —

ancient trees, squirrels, birds, deer, a lively bubbling stream, and

About her anguish, and those who love her.

The bulldozers, asphalt pavers, and chainsaws are threatening.

How can that be? Trees more than 400 years old — we can imagine Lewis and Clark paddling by as they turned 200 years old?

Grass Widow wildflowers each spring — the only ones in the city — showering us with their lavender blooms celebrating, “New life is here!”?

How can that be? Children and adults laughing joyously, playing, picnicking, enjoying the park’s solitude and beauty?

Why is the city hiding and neglecting you?

And now wants to destroy you?

Don’t you think that deserves a little thought?

What if everyone walked along, not in haste but slowly, looking at everything —

the glowing ferns and mosses,

the rich tapestry of trees — ponderosa pines, big leaf maples, Oregon ash and white oaks, English walnut and chokecherry?

Hearing the woodpeckers, humming birds, thrushes, finches, towhees?

Seeing the many who come to walk, play, and meditate?

How would you live then? Think about the park. What you will pass on to future generations?

With thanks to poet Mary Oliver,

Larry Jones

Hood River

ACA ‘doomed’

It’s a mystery why some are trying to save the ACA. Ironic it’s called the Affordable Healthcare Act; there’s nothing “affordable” about it. Huge difference between having “health insurance” and “health care.” Many people aren’t getting care due to high deductibles and co-pays. The only ones getting affordable care are perhaps those who’d qualified for Medicaid anyway.

Who is the ACA working for? Curious, a personal poll revealed these responses:

A single mom’s premium, $130 per month with a $7,000 deductible. She needed counseling, PT, and MRI this year; however, she couldn’t afford that deductible.

A family of five pays $1,700 a month in premiums, with a $10,000 deductible.

At my workplace, I pay $300/family with a $3,000 deductible. A doctor visit costs $358; just forked out $1,800 for an MRI and still haven’t met my deductible.

My contractor opted out and paid the penalty; he says $400 per month is too high.

Insurance companies are leaving in droves: Humana, Aetna, Pacificsource have pulled out of the ACA. Tennessee and Iowa will have no carriers; some will have only one.

As far as those with pre-existing conditions, if you listen to the media, you’d think Republicans were intentionally trying to deny access. The truth is, for those with pre-existing conditions, there’s $8 billion set aside funding high-risk pools effecting only about 18 million people. Most have nothing to worry about, including those with employer-based insurance (155 million), and those with Medicaid and Medicare. The AHCA requires only that you have continuous coverage without a lapse of more than 63 days.

Sadly, the ACA was never designed for success. It was doomed to default to a single payer system like the VA or Medicare. The VA healthcare is clearly not working for some of the most deserving, our veterans. Most providers would go out of business if they only had Medicare patients, due to low reimbursements.

Obamacare and the ACA have always been a “poison pill.” It’s not working, nor worth salvaging. It’s time we work towards not just “health insurance,” but rather “health care,” affordably and fairly.

Kris Wilhelm

Hood River


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