Letters to the Editor for April 25

Energy plan timely

The solar panels installed on our roof 16 months ago have now surpassed eight megawatt-hours of accumulated production. That equates to $560 of savings in our electric bill. Environmentally, it means suppressing the greenhouse emissions from 14,600 miles driven by an average car, or sequestering the same amount of carbon as 7 acres of U.S. forests in a year. In a recent opinion article in Ruralite (March 2018 issue), I make three main points: (1) our panels were a solid long-term money investment; (2) major environmental benefits of solar require critical mass; and (3) strategies for critical-mass solar energy are deserving of serious dialogue within rural power utilities and their communities.

In the process of writing the article, I learned about ongoing efforts towards a forward-thinking Hood River County Energy Plan. If adopted and implemented, the Energy Plan “could help the county save on energy costs, become more resilient to rising prices and natural disasters, and create significant environmental and public health benefits” (hrccd.co.hood-river.or.us/departments/planning-zoning).

Thanks are due to those who took the initiative. There are many complexities at play in energy planning, and thus much to learn and consider. But this is the type of local action that is timely and can make a real difference for our region and beyond. I have recently joined the team of volunteers working towards the Energy Plan, and anticipate writing occasionally on the topic.

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood-Parkdale


I agree with Kenneth Ebi’s letter to the editor concerning Mark Johnson (Our Readers Write, April 18). He is a very honest person and dedicated to the betterment of our county.

Wanda Taylor

Hood River

Vote McBride

A responsibility of an educated and enlightened voting public is to ensure that the best possible candidates for all offices become elected. To that end, I wish to discuss my reasons for casting my ballot for Rich McBride for Hood River County Commission Chair.

Currently, it seems that a “good old boys club” exists, one that has led the county to have a large monetary deficit. We can no longer do even the basic policing patrols necessary in the county and other areas are being looked at for cutting back resources. We do have a number of taxing bodies that we have approved of over the years, and I understand several are also in need of updated financial health. Each were at one time or another in the realm of being supported via county authority and now have been spun off with their own taxing authority, as the county did not want to spend necessary dollars on them.

Doing the same thing, year after year and only addressing the issue when it truly comes to crisis level is no way to govern. We need someone who can lead, who is not beholden to the past — either in a political or economic sense. Hood River is no longer fully an agrarian place — tourism has become a mainstay and an economic base. Our current Board of Commissioners is comprised mainly of good individuals with mostly an orchard outlook and background. Change must happen!

Rich McBride can ease us into that change. His experience as a current commissioner gives him the insight to what can be done. His experience with planning, with the Port of Hood River, his role on the current Hood River County Commission, and as a businessman allows him to see what is best for our great county. For these and other reasons, I urge everyone to look beyond the ads, to seek the best we have to offer and vote McBride for Hood River County Commission Chair.

Paul Zastrow

Hood River

Vote Oates

I would like to encourage residents of Hood River County to vote for Mike Oates as County Commission Chair. I have known Mike personally and professionally for more than 20 years. He served on the Hood River County School District board, as the president of the new Hood River County Library District board and on many fruit industry boards and commissions. He has also refereed sports for youth and volunteered for many civic causes, including the Education Foundation, the Lions Club and the Tsuruta Sister City project. Mike cares deeply about the community where he has lived, worked and raised his family.

He will never be the loudest voice in the room, but he is definitely the most thoughtful listener. Most importantly, Mike is a bipartisan candidate who will welcome all points of view and be fair and respectful in his decision-making. He understands the complex issues facing the county today and is ready to tackle these challenges with fresh ideas and an open mind.

Please take the time to vote on May 15 and help select Mike Oates as our next County Commission Chair.

Jean Sheppard

Hood River

McBride best choice

We residents of Hood River County deserve responsiveness and fiscal integrity from our Board of County Commissioners. I support Rich McBride for the chair position because of his experience as a current County Commissioner and because he knows and is willing to tackle the problems perpetuated by the current lackadaisical, good-ole-boy chumminess of much of the board.

The county is in chronic financial distress, with no articulated long-term approach to either funding or service delivery. Budget cycles come and go with no attention to development of additional revenue streams, and the consequent threat of curtailing services. A tax initiative is much needed, but when the board rolled one out recently, there was no long-term financial modeling to determine an appropriate tax rate, no seeking of public input, and no effort at public education.

The process was doomed from the outset.

Rich McBride is a good communicator and a team player. He has shown as a current County Commissioner both an understanding of the body’s governing process and a willingness to seek and consider input from county residents. Both are critical to the position of chair of the Board of County Commissioners, and make McBride our best choice.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Keep Local Option

We had the pleasure of going to our granddaughter’s music concert at May Street Elementary last night, a delightful concert of kindergarteners, first and second graders conducted by Michael Turley.

Thinking we were just fulfilling our grandparents’ duty, we were amazed at the wonderful performance. Mr. Turley had his students enthusiastically singing and enjoying themselves, which quickly spread to the audience. We are so lucky to have a music teacher like Mr. Turley! Let’s renew the local option so we can keep him!

John and Linda Sprague

Hood River

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