Letters to the Editor for Nov. 15

‘Relief’ for the rich

Rep. Greg Walden and the House Republicans claim that their new tax bill will create “tax relief for the middle class.”

However, nonpartisan analysis of the measure demonstrates that it gives the vast majority of tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. And the share of benefits going to the richest citizens grows even larger over time.

The wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans, who make more than $730,000 per year, would get 31 percent of all tax breaks once the bill were to become law.

But after 10 years, their share would increase to 48 percent of all benefits, while the tax reductions going to middle class and low income families would decrease. In fact, one-quarter of all families would pay more in taxes by 2027.

Millionaires would enjoy the biggest tax cuts of all due to the corporate tax cuts, the elimination of the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, reduced tax rates on higher incomes, and the creation of a new special loophole on so-called “pass-through business income.”

One of the harshest ways that the House plan hurts middle-class families is by eliminating the medical expense deduction, which is used by millions of families each year. This means that in years when families receive high medical bills that are not covered by health insurance, many will face dramatic increases in their federal tax bill compared to current law.

Recent students would also be hurt, as taxpayers could no longer deduct student loan interest from their taxable income.

It is outrageous that Walden and the Republicans have talked for many years about lowering the federal debt, but now that they are in charge of all branches of government, the Congressional Budget Office determined that their proposed tax bill would increase the ballooning federal debt by an astounding $1.7 billion over 10 years!

William White


Real tax ‘reform’ needed

Republican mega-donors are threatening to cut funding to the party if it fails to pass tax “reform.” Republicans are responding with proposed tax cuts that will reward their wealthy donor’s campaign contributions with over a trillion dollars in added income over the next decade.

Pitched as a tax cut for all, anyone who looks at the cuts in corporate taxes, elimination of estate taxes and creation of lower tax rate for pass-through income knows that these cuts are aimed at benefiting the super wealthy.

The proposed cuts will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion during a decade that will see Medicare run out of money. For years, Republicans have been warning about Medicare spending, the deficit and balancing the budget. With no plans for dealing with deficits other than cutting Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, it is wildly irresponsible to propose a budget busting tax cut when we already have a growing economy and low unemployment.

Americans believe in a meritocracy that rewards hard work, innovation and entrepreneurship. The proposed tax cuts mainly benefit passive owners of stock and property and offspring whose main accomplishment is choosing the right parents.

Justice Louis Brandeis warned the nation that, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Passage of these tax cuts will move us from a “Plutocracy” that already threatens our democracy to an “Inheritocracy” where “the rich own everything and everyone else is on their own.”

Tell Representative Walden that we want real bipartisan tax reform!

Richard Davis

The Dalles

‘Time and times’

Re-Tired, ice ready.

Seasons’ memory:

snows, fires, alerts;

of autumn’s glimpses,

of time. And times.

Change is. Joy lives.

Ted James

Hood River

Pursue Latino news

Thank you for your headline story, “Hard work and dreams define the Latino experience,” in your Saturday, Nov. 11 issue. I was in the audience and applaud your timely in-depth reporting which helps to close the gap between invisibility for our Latino community and the marginalization of this group.

Thank you to the speakers Lisa Muñoz, Eduardo Bello, and Ubaldo Hernandez for so openly sharing their experiences, to Dr. Lynn Orr and the Hood River History Museum and OSU’s Natalia Maria Fernandez for organizing the event, and to Gorge Owned for providing the series Sense of Place as an active forum for issues such as this.

The theme suggested at the start of the program was “Invisibility Equals Marginalization.”

If a community is not recognized for its contributions to our own sense of place, then the group appears marginalized, reduced in importance.

Invisibility and the answers to it are in meetings such as these and Radio Tierra and the Columbia Riverkeeper.

The answer is also in opportunities within our existing public and commercial media.

Eagle Newspapers, publishers of the Hood River News, The Dalles Chronicle, the White Salmon Enterprise and 12 other publications, have a combined circulation in our area of over 35,000 copies each week. And each of our local papers has an internet site.

The New York Times ran an article recently reporting that only 13 percent of the U.S. received their daily ration of news through print media. The rest was the internet and social media.

It might be interesting for Eagle Newspapers to consider establishing an internship in our three-paper area for a multi-lingual journalist or journalism major to expand the content and reach of the three newspaper sites and to do this in Spanish and English.

New content and opportunities would be a part of the print editions as determined.

The results, directed to both Latino and Anglo readers, would have a measurable effect on visibility, understanding, and active participation among the communities.

Dick Swart

Hood River

Why the rush?

The Republican members of both the United State Senate and House of Representatives have released their versions of the “tax reform” that they are proposing. While the versions have some differences, two things can be assured: (1) Both versions are a tax cut for the wealthy that will significantly increase the deficit while doing little to benefit the middle class, and (2) The stated goal of tax simplification will not be achieved for many people. The Republicans appear to be in a rush to pass a bill, any bill, before an unnecessary, self-imposed deadline of before Christmas. I believe that the people in this country deserve to have their representatives in Congress perform a careful and thoughtful review of the final bill before they vote on it.

Another thing that can be assured is that, for many Oregonians, the final Republican “tax reform” bill will increase their Oregon Income Taxes. Oregon automatically connects its income-tax code to many federal provisions. Therefore, deductions that are repealed for federal income taxes will most likely be lost for your state income taxes too.

Greg Walden, our current House Representative, is the only Republican member of the U.S. Congress from Oregon. So, he is probably the only Congressperson from Oregon who would vote to pass the “tax reform” bill.

I believe that Mr. Walden should consider the ramifications that the final bill would have on both the Federal AND State income taxes of his constituents before casting his vote.

If you have concerns regarding “tax reform,” I urge you to contact Mr. Walden’s Washington, D.C., office (202-225-6730) in order to express your concerns.

Jessica Berty

Hood River


I can think of no more important institution in Mosier than the Mosier Fire District, especially in light of the 2009 wildfire that nearly entered the town and the 2016 oil train explosion.

However, the fire district is currently in a state of great transition: In the process of finding a permanent fire chief, a new recorder, and a $274,000, four-year FEMA grant written by the former chief set to kick in by the end of this month and which will fund the salary of an additional staff person, among other things. Moreover, the state of Oregon recently sent the district and the City of Mosier $500,000 toward the construction of a civic center, and Team Mosier, of which the district was a member, was awarded a large settlement from Union Pacific as a result of the train explosion.

As the district’s recorder until last month, I urge the citizens of Mosier to get involved with these big changes.

To learn more about the district, you can visit its website at mosierfire.com, call 541-478-3333 or email mosierfire@gmail.com. The fire district meets every second Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Mosier Senior Center. Lately there have also been frequent special meetings at other times as well. The district’s agendas and minutes are posted on its website, and you can ask to be included in its email list to receive meeting notices.

Taxing districts within Oregon are members of the Special Districts Association of Oregon which offers guidance to local districts and has been very active with the Mosier Fire District in recent months. If you have questions, you can contact them at www.sdao.com.

Tracie Hornung


Gun money vs. community

It is way past time for Rep. Greg Walden to stand up and protect us with real gun safety legislation. Every day brings a report of yet another gun tragedy. The U.S. has 25 times more gun deaths per year than other industrialized nations. An average of 168 people a day are killed by guns in this country, a public health emergency of significant proportions, and a preventable outrage.

Mr. Walden and most of his Republican colleagues in Congress are SILENT, while cashing their checks from the NRA. Walden is among the 20 Congresspeople most generously supported by the NRA (www.thenation.com/article/call-the-top-20-top-recipients-of-nra-cash-in-congress), and not surprisingly, has not raised his voice for any corrective response to these repeated massacres.

Mr. Walden, forget the “thoughts and prayers” bit and give us protective legislation. Start by reinstituting the previous federal ban on rapid-fire assault weapons and high capacity ammo magazines. People are scared to go out the door. People are scared to go to the movies. Now concerts. Now church. This is no way to live. Your check from the NRA is worth nothing to your constituents. Represent us and protect us.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Sports note

Thanks, Hood River News, for printing news about all ages of people in our community and their athletic endeavors (even when the hubs doesn’t want the attention).

I think it’s important to know that sports life continues beyond high school and college. We have so many great athletes in this town that accomplish super fun events (K. Robinson); it’s great to hear about our friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Numbers and dates are very important to communities: athletic, fundraisers, the arts, etc. and I need to make note.

The Ironman distances (to be completed in order and 17 hours or less) are:

• 2.4 Mile Swim

• 112 Mile Bike Ride

• 26.2 Mile Run (Marathon)

Loved having the article about Jeff in the paper, but the distances quoted in the article printed Nov. 11, 2017, were for a half, not a full, Ironman.

I gave up nine months to support the endeavor, many family and friends supported throughout the process, and we want to celebrate his accomplishment with accuracy.

Samantha Irwin

Hood River

Buckle up

Just a reminder to stress how important it is to buckle up the passengers in your vehicle before even thinking about pushing that start button or key switch. When traveling in the next month or two, during the last days of 2017, it is important to remain safe. If you don’t want to get pulled over for a simple click, buckle up Hood River!

Gustavo Cordova

Hood River

‘Pennies from heaven’

Let me see if I get this straight: The Nestlé Water Bottling Company has offered to build a $50 million plant in Cascade Locks, employing a yet to be determined number of contractors and supporting workers, to complete a major development projected to bring much needed employment and other revenue to the city.

The local water source, known as Oxbow Springs, would supply this precious, expensive water to the new bottling plant. They would employ a number of people to manage this resource, and put it into the hands of customers who have decided it’s cool to carry a bottle of expensive water around with them.

Now, this is where I scratch my head. This water source is really God’s work. “It” has been coming to us, free, for, well, simply eons. Now, opportunity presents itself! Our new good friends at Nestlé are willing to pay for this, and offer to employ local people to do it. Simply a God-send!

Oh wait, we now have an “Oregon Water Resources Commission” and “voters” who recently passed a “Water Protection Measure” in Hood River County, 85 percent of these living way outside the drainage area of Oxbow Springs, who simply don’t like the idea of big business, and or others, messing with what they perceived to be “their stuff.” Golly, even though the “resource” is simply not even close to being of benefit to them. I mean, what’s up with that?

Now, to this “valuable resource.” This water has been tumbling down from our local mountain-scape for eons, where it is nothing more than a drip in the greater Columbia River bucket. Also, it is my understanding that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was supportive of the proposed deal.

We must now corrupt this message with the words of a local community leader who called this money investment and jobs a “wrong-headed deal for the community.” Whose “community” might she be talking about? Surely not the community of Cascade Locks.

I, a lifelong, born here resident of Hood River, think these are “pennies from heaven” for our good neighbors to the west. God Bless.

Phil Jensen

Hood River

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