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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 25 edition

Make it happen

Open letter to John Sewell and Jim Patterson: Come on guys, how about a little transparency? The more information or strategy you keep quiet, the more those thousands of people and businesses affected by the fire can speculate on the details. Are the parents politically connected? Wealthy? What about the other people involved? Are there cases being prepared against them? Juvenile court proceedings are open to the public. Make it happen!

Hugh Amick

Hood River

And now, Niger

Here we go again: Four dead soldiers in a theater of war (Niger) we didn’t even know existed; allegedly, 600-800 troops stationed in the middle of the Sahara. We’re told there was a fire fight, our troops were ambushed — by whom? These were special forces. Why were they there, who is on the other side and why are they doing what they are doing? Is someone or some country buying our arms? What are we guarding, fighting or attempting to stop or destroy? Do you know? I don’t. The administration just says they were there attempting to visit some local leaders. Again, what for — do you believe it?

So here we go again with history repeating itself. Remember Hasenfaus? He was the CIA guy who inconveniently fell out of the skies of Nicaragua when we didn’t have anyone there. Then there was Francis Gary Powers — he fell out of the sky into Russia, and again, the administration at that time had no idea we were doing over flights of Russia. You could hear Ike say so on TV.

So where else do we have so called advisers? Are you aware of Yemen, Indonesia, The Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and several of the other “stans” and many other parts of Asia and Africa? it’s your tax dollars at work — do you know where they are being used and for what purpose?

Another way to look at this is we spend huge amounts of money to raise and educate our children in some very good schools — how many are going to die in wars that occur in places you didn’t even know existed?

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Pro-liferation

God is rolling over on his cloud. When they said in the old times, “Be fruitful and multiply,” there was a genuine concern for survival and building up the local populations. “He” didn’t mean for us to overwhelm the planet with 7.6 billion people and thereby threaten the very existence of all of us.

Pro-lifers are only compounding the problem: no, women can have neither birth control options easily available to them, nor may she abort an unplanned pregnancy that is about to capsize her life boat. Such forced pro-liferation is about to do us all in.

Oh, and after she gives birth and her boat capsizes, she will not have any help for the dire situation that her family is in.

WWJD?

P.S. And of course there needs to be sensible limits to abortions: first trimester only? IUD right afterwards? Free early pregnancy screenings?

P.P.S. Just as in gun control, sensible limits: no assault weapons, background checks in every instance. Surely we can work these issues out, folks. It is not just a yes or no question, just black or white.

Alison McDonald

Hood River

Walden’s effort

This letter is in response to those who’ve written letters to this paper with fear mongering claims that Congressman Walden is trying to rip health care away from people. These baseless arguments fly in the face of the fact that Obamacare is collapsing.

Let’s be clear: Under Obamacare, premiums will continue to rise, insurers will continue to flee Obamacare markets, and patients in Oregon and across the country will continue to be crushed by a healthcare market that is collapsing. In fact, according to a May 16, 2017, report from The Oregonian, insurance premiums in Oregon have increased 50 percent over just the last two years. No one is trying to destroy the “Affordable” Care Act — law is self-destructing and is doing a fine job imploding all by itself. Even President Obama agreed his law is flawed — he signed 20 bills into law that repealed, paused, or completely ended parts of his signature health care policy.

Greg Walden is trying to help save an insurance market that was failing under Obamacare long before he became chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. This work will continue because he cares about Oregonians and ensuring everyone has access to affordable and quality healthcare.

Kenneth Ebi

Hood River

WACP opportunity

Not everyone is against the Westside Plan.

The plan was funded by the state, requested by city and county elected officials, and completed by experienced independent professionals in city planning and land use. These aren’t profiteering developers.

I attended the plan’s recent public meeting. Most people there seemed to be homeowners, unlikely impacted by the shortage of affordable housing.

People with other backgrounds (waitresses, laborers, young people, Latinos …) also have important perspectives and needs. What would they say about the plan? About one-third of city residents don’t own homes.

At the meeting I observed a general tone of blanket opposition rather than open-minded problem solving.

To be against upzoning of any R-1 land means 185 acres designated for urban development on the west side will not have a single apartment, duplex, townhome, or shop. In the face of the housing problem and our limited land supply, I think we should make better use of that land. In Hood River, R-2 zoning is called “standard density.”

Some say affordability won’t accompany density. I don’t see how compact small-lot units with houses on both sides could ever sell for the same price as one house on 1-2 acres. Thoughtful zoning code changes could incentivize or mandate affordable housing.

A lot of area that looks like country living is actually in the city (with urban zoning and services). Sooner or later, more homes will be built there. Planning can improve outcomes. I am in favor of limited city land being efficiently used to serve a diversity of households.

What if no changes are made? To meet Housing Needs Analysis growth projections, existing available west side land is filled in with a patchwork of single-family homes. Private streets and cul-de-sacs where no connections are possible. Big houses on big lots. No way to go back once built.

Instead, why not work together now to plan it right? Put aside unwavering opinions. Let’s use this opportunity, informed (as a starting-point) by the substantial high-caliber research already completed, to make a city that can work for all of its citizens. Even those that don’t live here yet.

Zan Moore

Mosier

Meet CGWAN

The Columbia Gorge Women’s Action Network, a community organization we founded and continue to lead, is approaching its first anniversary. We’d like to take this opportunity to share some information about this organization.

CGWAN was founded in mid-November 2016, with a mission to bring women together to create positive change through action. CGWAN developed into a network of local women who are working to protect democracy, human rights for all, free and fair media, and the environment. Promoting these values is a mission that we consider to be fundamentally American.

While our values are progressive, we are not a partisan organization: We do not endorse candidates or political parties. We are Democrats, Republicans, and independents. We are newcomers and old-timers, rich and poor, young and old. We were brought together by a shared concern for our communities and our country, and among us we have found a great deal of common ground.

As we approach our first anniversary, we have more than 500 active members on both sides of the Gorge, and more than 2000 local residents taking part in the ongoing discussion on Facebook. We have donated time to and raised money for many local nonprofit organizations. We have participated in community projects and local events in White Salmon, Hood River and The Dalles. We have organized several educational programs open to all, including a “How the Washington State House Works”

training in White Salmon and a Bystander Intervention Training in Hood River. We have volunteered to help register voters of all parties, and created an online voters’ pamphlet that includes information provided to us by local candidates.

Last April, Gorge Owned honored CGWAN with the Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Champion Award, which recognizes innovative, creative work on the environmental, economic, and social issues facing the Gorge.

Working with and for our communities is at the heart of our organization. The Columbia Gorge Women’s Action Network will continue to work alongside our families, friends and neighbors in the Columbia Gorge, building a better future and channeling our collective energy into meaningful action.

Michelle Mayfield and

Kirsten Dennis

CGWAN co-founders

Walk in others’ shoes

After living my entire life of 64 years in the United States, I would not want anyone to tell me how to act during the playing of the national anthem. After all, we Americans greatly prize our individual liberties and freedom of speech. In the NFL football debate about some players kneeling during the anthem, Donald Trump has ordered the players to stand up during the anthem to show their respect to this country. Mr. Trump has no right even as a president to tell an American how to act.

Mr. Trump, please spend your time and effort earning the respect of the people of this country. With your critical, self-serving tweets, support of white supremacists, only concern for the richest 1 percent (not for low and middle-income families), constant criticism of President Obama and other disheartening actions, I have no respect for you as president. I believe you were elected because your supporters wanted to Make America White Again.

Try walking in the shoes of a person of color and then you would understand why the NFL players are kneeling. They are kneeling because this country treats people of color much different than people born into the world of White Privilege. Black Lives Matter movement is important because we all should be treated equally. A great book to read to understand better the life of a black person in this country is “Great Small Things” by Jodi Piccoult. Another helpful book to read is “In the Country We Love” by Diane Guerrero.

I understand and respect the kneeling NFL players. It is their right as an American to express their solidarity with people of color. They are acting with compassion and are asking others to treat people in this country in the same way regardless of the color of your skin. The football players hope that we together will make this country better and more compassionate for ALL Americans!

Nancy Johanson Paul

Hood River

Within rights?

Does Proverbs 14, written by the God of Creation, and Patrick Henry’s Bill of Rights speak a similar message?

Mr. Henry is accredited with the Bill of Rights being attached to our Constitution, which in part states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging our freedom of Speech or of the press; or the right of the people to ‘peaceably’ assemble; and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

But? Do the Democrats peaceably assembled at Republican Town Halls?

Or do the Democrats violate the Constitution of our United States at such events?

Alan Winans

Hood River

Take time with WACP

On Oct. 11, I attended the final West Area Concept Plan (WACP) Public Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting. A tremendous amount of effort and volunteer work has been put into this controversial plan and it is now fortunately, gaining exposure within our community.

This plan, if followed by our local government, could have major impacts on the shape and future of Hood River. In its current form, it’s hard to understand how this plan benefits anyone other than the land sellers and developers, which in some instances are one and the same.

Affordable housing has been a concern in our community since 2000.

I have not been able to identify anything in the WACP that guarantees affordable housing, and given the land values in the subject area, it may be difficult to accomplish. The WACP calls for up zoning to increase density to supposedly provide for affordability; however, there is nothing that guarantees developers will be bound by some type of long term affordable component. It is important to note that the Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) does not indicate a need for up zoning as proposed by the WACP. Furthermore, we already have in our city and county ordinances the ability to increase density using the Planned Unit Development approach. Increased density does not translate to long term affordability. The Institute For Policy Studies recommends Community Land Trusts, wage increases, energy efficient building codes, and stipulated affordable percentages for developers as tools to affordability.

In our public meeting it was clear that the community wants to see infrastructure first, i.e. parks, bike lanes and walking paths, sewer improvements, road improvements and fire and police protection long before any new large-scale development planning and implementation begins and taxes our already failing infrastructure. Without new schools, already oversized classes will become far worse. Finally, I’d like to say I felt some of the exchanges amongst a few of the project committee members were not appropriate for discussing a subject of such magnitude. A lot more discussion about the WACP will have to occur so let’s remain professional as we move this discussion forward.

Greg Shepherd

Hood River

Patriotism is noisy

Since when is it unpatriotic to question our government? When the government makes it unpopular to question what’s going on, that’s called Fascism.

Let me count the ways our U.S. government has lied to the people of the U.S.A.:

The Vietnam War

The Iraq War

The importing of cocaine by the CIA during the Reagan (“Just Say No”) years

And the destructive policy against our citizens — the war on drugs (over 2 million in jail in the land of the free), mandatory minimum sentences, three strikes you’re out sentences, the redlining of loans to black Americans ... the list goes on and on.

This blind patriotism fairytale is just a mask to hide the scandalous policies of this country; you’d have to be blind to not see the divide that the people of color have experienced in this country. Racism, lynchings, unarmed blacks being gunned down at an alarming rate compared to whites.

The U.S. kills thousands upon thousands in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan so we can retain military superiority via the military industrial complex (Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Boeing). We sell bombs and weapons to nasty regimes who in 10-15 years turn around and try and use them against us (Kadaffi, Noriega, Saddam). I’m just waiting for our buds the Saudis to get tired of us.

For the money we spent in Iraq (not to mention human lives in this so-called Christian nation), we could all have free healthcare in this rich country of ours, but we’d rather put a “Freedom isn’t free” bumper sticker on our pickup truck and go kill some brown skinned people half-way around the world — God would want it that way, right? What a bunch of hypocrites we are.

And we can’t kneel or lock arms to bring these issues to light? Baloney, we have a narcissist madman as our leader bringing us as close to a nuclear war as I’ve ever witnessed in my 59 years on this planet, and we’re not supposed to question what’s going on? Even the Republicans said it, Trump’s not fit to hold office. But we are supposed to roll over and play dead. A true patriot makes some noise during times like this.

Stephen J. Curley

Hood River



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