Letters to the Editor for April 18

Fruits of intolerance

I am not a Christian, you might say I’m militantly non-Christian. Growing up, Christianity was dangerous, “Their” religion.

Evangelicals who’d force me to throw away my history, culture, my people’s religion simply because we were “wrong.” I remember my father’s words, told by his father: “You can speak the white man’s language and wear the white man’s clothes, but don’t ever pray to the white man’s gods.”

When our children was born, my wife wanted to go to church. I was vehemently against it, but someone recommended Bethel Church in White Salmon. “There are even atheists there,” she said. I didn’t believe her, but we attended a few times. After four decades of fighting Christians for my right to exist, I had walked into a church that didn’t merely tolerate my existence, but cherished it. Several months later, I gave my first–decidedly non-Christian) reflection to the congregation and thought “That’s it, they’re kicking me out.” Far from it, they asked me to speak again!

Years later, I’m still not a Christian, but still a member of Bethel.

There, I can study the teachings of Jesus as I have those of Dr. King and Gandhi. I’ve especially enjoyed Jesus’ views on being a better

person, of family and of helping those less fortunate than we are. Both are values I try to instill in my children.

There are still things I still don’t understand about being Christian, such as how one could be comfortable with families of those less fortunate being broken apart. We are so quick to complain about the price of apples while we complain about the workers who make our apples cheap. If Jesus saw our agricultural system, based as it is on exploited laborer whom we then criminalize, I believe he would overturn the tables. If I can imprison a family’s father because he picked fruit, then surely I should be willing to pay more to buy the fruit picked by “real Americans.” By demanding cheap food, cheap cleaning, cheap anything, I’ve created this system. Who am I to throw the first stone?

John Metta

Hood River

Take CAT to Portland

Traveling to Portland? Let CAT do the driving for you.

As someone who tries to avoid driving on 84, I’m always looking for car free options to go from Hood River to Portland. Coming home from the airport last month, we had a great experience riding the Columbia Area

Transit (CAT) bus to Hood River. It’s an easy connection, even with luggage. The Max red line leaves from the baggage level at the airport, Gateway is the fourth stop. Look for the CAT sign at the bus stop. The bus was clean and comfortable with a friendly driver who was right on time. Total cost for MAX and CAT from PDX is $10.50 per person. Check out the schedule at www.catransit.org to see if CAT is an option for you and enjoy the scenery.

Beth Flake

Hood River

Election impressions

Candidates — Common sense, the sense that isn’t so common ...

Every election cycle, I read quotes from hopeful politicians and I’m sometimes amazed at how little sense the politician has of her/his legislative district; of the land, the history, and the people. I’ve made a comment a time or two, regarding that one of the details I use to weigh a candidate is how long the candidate has been invested in the area that she/he is running to represent, and each time the comment has gotten raised eye-brows. It’s not a “good-ol’ boy” comment, it’s a REALLY great way for me to feel confident with whom I cast a vote. A candidate having general common sense, doesn’t mean the said candidate has common sense for Oregon.

Voters — It’s easy for those of us in Hood River to assume that our districts are solely outlined around our beautiful town, people of Hood River have felt this way for years. We’re proud of Hood River and assume every other town within the county (as well as other towns within our districts) want to be like us. They REALLY don’t. Just because Hood River has a very strong opinion about something, doesn’t mean the rest of the Hood River County and/or other counties within our voting district share Hood River’s opinion.

Candidates and voters — Are you in tune with the social diversity among the people in our legislative districts or are you solely in tune with your neighbors and the familiar faces you see at your favorite coffee spot? Do you know the difference between Hood River Valley High School and Hood River High School (HRHS was retired nearly 50 years ago)?

Remember there are many more components to Congressional District 2, House District 52, and Senate District 26 than what happens north of Belmont.

Katie Haynie

Hood River

Continue investigation

It has been almost a year since Special Counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election. In that time, Mueller’s team has secured indictments against or gotten guilty pleas from at least 19 individuals and three companies, and the recent search of Michael Cohen’s offices suggests that the investigation is not only continuing, but getting ever closer to President Trump. With every development, President Trump appears more visibly frustrated with Mr. Mueller and the latest turn of events has escalated the not-so-veiled Twitter threats to end the investigation by firing Mueller, Rosenstein, or others involved. The personal discomfort and the wish to end that discomfort is understandable — almost certainly, anyone in President Trump’s position right now would be tempted to do everything in his or her power to deflect attention and end the investigation into conduct that appears negligent at best and criminal at worst. This investigation, however, is not just about President Trump. It is about our democracy and maintaining (or fixing) the principles of independence and freedom from hostile foreign influences that this country has held up since its beginning. It is therefore crucial for the president and our country to allow the investigation to run its course.

Forcing a premature end to Mueller’s investigation will serve neither the president nor the country’s interests. If there is nothing to hide, there should be no fear of disclosure. If there is something to hide, the country should know. To that end, I urge Congressman Walden to use his position as a Republican member of Congress to counsel the president to allow Mr. Mueller to continue his investigation. In addition, Senators Merkley and Wyden should make their opinions clear by supporting the bipartisan bill currently in the Senate to protect Robert Mueller, which is being sponsored by Republican Senators Lindsay Graham and Thom Tillis. It is not a witch hunt — it is a methodical and legal process that must be allowed to reach its conclusion or risk a very real threat to democracy as we know and cherish it.

Jennifer Hackett

Hood River

Neahring for District 2

Dr. Jenni Neahring for Congress District 2 is the most qualified candidate who can protect Oregonians medical coverage and also know how to improve and strengthen the Affordable Health Care Act. She also can beat Representative Greg Walden in the November 2018 election.

Dr. Neahring is dedicated to making healthcare affordable along with reducing the cost of prescription drugs. She also wants to invest in infrastructure, education, job training, and protect the environment and DACA immigrants. I am supporting Jenni Neahring because she has spent 20 years in Oregon serving the community, seeing firsthand the challenges that families face such as lack of housing, enough food, access to medical care, life-threatening illnesses, and so much more. Jenni Neahring is committed to making people’s lives better and cares about people not politics. She will work hard to represent the needs of her constituents, something Greg Walden has failed to do when he and his colleagues tried to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act even though about 100,000 Oregonians would have lost their health coverage.

I will be eligible for Medicare in September, for which I am VERY thankful. Currently I use half of my Social Security check to pay for my COBRA medical coverage, which costs $612/month. Dr. Jenni Neahring will protect Medicare and Social Security. She will also work towards making medical care insurance premiums affordable. She is concerned about the needs of all Oregonians, not just the rich, unlike Greg Walden, who passed a huge tax measure that mostly benefited businesses and the rich while increasing the United States projected deficit.

In the primary, it is crucial that we chose the person who can beat Greg Walden. I urge you to learn more about the seven Democratic candidates for District 2 by attending the Candidates Forum at The Dalles High School Saturday, April 21 at 6 p.m.

If you want to support Dr. Jenni Neahring for Congress please go to her web site, www.drjenniforcongress and volunteer your time or support her financially.

We need people working together to make Oregon the best it can be!

Nancy Johanson Paul

Hood River

‘Oops’

I apologize for the confusing letter I sent in about the Republican goal of delegitimizing government by making sure it fails, and about the real reason for Trump’s love for Putin being a half trillion dollar oil deal that would make those two and Rex Tillerson very, very rich.

My wife read it and asked me, “Are you all right?”

It was two drafts of the same thinking that I put in the paper’s web box, assuming it was too long for the paper’s website to allow without editing out a bunch of words. I went on to other things and absentmindedly came back to tidy up my screen by hitting “submit.”

Oops and oops.

Bob Williams

Hood River

Oates a strong leader

Hood River County faces some clear challenges in the coming months and years. It will require strong leaders with the ability to listen, create and follow through. It is my belief that Mike Oates is the leader we need to move our county forward. I have worked with Mike on a variety of boards and projects. He is thoughtful and creative, and follows through on his commitments. He can make difficult decisions, while respecting the views of many, and he brings both a business and community perspective to the position. Mike has an exceptional history of community service, and we will be well served by electing him as our next Hood River County Commission Chairperson.

Chuck Bugge

Hood River

Saddened

I read the April 14t article about Mark Johnson’s resignation from the school board with great sadness. Mark has served our community with honor and distinction for many years and in a variety of capacities. He will be missed.

But as saddened as I was by Mark’s premature departure, I was also saddened to read the vitriol-laced comments made at the last school board meeting by teacher union head Kelvin Calkins towards Mark. His statements, as reported in this paper, indicate that just a few hours after the news of Mark’s alleged comments and the fallout for him had been known, and Mark and his family were still away and unable to respond personally, Mr. Calkins knew enough to be both judge and jury and call for Mark’s immediate ouster. If we hear that someone may have said or done something questionable, do we automatically convict them and pronounce them guilty until proven innocent?

To his great credit Mark, announced that he would indeed resign from the board, after he had a chance to collect his thoughts and evaluate the situation. He said he would do so because it would be “best for the kids” of the school district. He chose to bow out with grace and dignity putting the interests of the school district first.

An investigation by the Oregon Business and Industry couldn’t substantiate any claims made against Mark. And the fired staffer who accused Mark of the racial statement only had two people who didn’t want to be identified to collaborate his accusation. With this information, I think it would be easy to trust the man that has been a public servant to this community for so many years.

Kenneth Ebi

Hood River



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