Letters to the Editor for August 1


Less than one year after President Trump imposed tariff changes to “make America win in trade,” we are seeing the profound negative effects of his actions. U.S. farmers are facing a $16 billion loss because they cannot sell their products in the markets damaged by a poor decision created by our short-sighted, petulant president. Fortunately for the farmers, every U.S. taxpayer will now help fix the problem POTUS created for them. So much for those “big, beautiful tax cuts.”

If private sector Mr. Trump had made a similar decision resulting in catastrophic loss, he would likely be forced to file bankruptcy. Oh wait. The internet says he has done that at least four times as well.

Alakazam! Still the most popular president ever.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Carnival complaint

I have a comment about the Hood River Fair. I’ve lived here off on and since 1984, I’ve seen Hood River change from a small town to the sports Mecca it is now. But for crying out loud, we are hiring the wrong sized carnival to meet the extraordinary numbers of people that go to the Hood River fair! It is the same size as it was in 1984! Minus food and drink, I spent $75 dollars to stand in line for almost two hours to ride the hammerheads. I rode the slide and the spaceship spinny thing and my night was over. That’s all I had time for.

This isn’t Disneyland. It was the Hammerheads. Not an amazing roller coaster.

The lines for everything were so long. It was very difficult to maneuver. I’m not complaining. My point is you’ve WAY outgrown the fair of 1984. Ten years ago, I could still park in regular parking. I parked in a field that was far away and proved the numbers expected.

It is time to pick a carnival that fits the numbers. It isn’t good enough to grow the parking. And if you can’t find a way, then it is wrong to sell bracelets at $25 a pop when it is literally impossible to get that many rides. I know my preference. Hire a carnival with better rides and give them space. Otherwise, I won’t be back. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe it is better for you to make a gob of money with no output.

Who cares if people leave wondering why they spent so much money? But I won’t be back. I’d rather spend a night at the coast. Hands down.

Mary Rowan

Hood River

Walden unresponsive

I am very troubled about reductions being made in local and state social services, and now being predicted for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security (most after the November elections, not coincidentally). These cuts hurt my neighbors and my community, and they’re expected to get worse. They are cruel and ill conceived (given the economic realities so many people face). Some elected officials endorse them merely to offset the huge tax cuts given to the wealthy by the Republican tax bill passed in late 2017.

Our congressman, Greg Walden, strongly supported that bill, which gives billions to the richest in our nation. This is the tax cut estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to increase our national debt by upwards of $1.4 trillion and to make it more difficult for healthy people to obtain health insurance, among other effects (www.cbo.gov/publication/53349).

Walden and his Republican colleagues now decry the projected deficit and find they must slash Medicare and Social Security and transform Medicaid into a block grant program (www.denverpost.com/2018/06/20/medicare-social-security-cuts-budget).

I’m a person who has advocated for years for elders, caregivers and others made vulnerable by health problems … and I’ve educated myself about healthcare policy since the 1980s. I can promise you that these “reforms” will result in real and sustained pain to individuals and families.

Walden’s support of the tax bill and of reductions in health and social services contradicts his claim that he acts in the interests of his working class constituents. Instead, his effort advances the process where the wealthy get wealthier and others get little to nothing.

I have written to Walden numerous times and received no reply in the past two years. He does not represent me. In November, I’ll be voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, his very capable challenger to represent our District 2.

Tina Castañares


Reduce plastics

Having visited the waterfront park on a recent morning, I couldn’t help but notice the collection of plastic water bottles and other plastic receptacles strewn about the beach swimming area. Picking them up and throwing them away gave me only a modest sense of satisfaction knowing that nothing is currently being recycled.

My challenge to our local residents and visitors, whether or not we have recycling in place, is to stop using single use plastic. At the height of our tourist season, it is most definitely the height of single use plastic season and this is a huge problem the world over. At the current rate, there will be more plastic weight in the ocean in 2050 than there will be fish weight. Both the consumer and the business owners of these plastics share responsibility.

Here are some suggestions for the consumer:

  1. Use reusable containers for your liquid of choice.

  2. If you are going to the store to pack for a picnic to take to the waterfront or anywhere else, opt to buy things that are not in plastic and put those purchases in a reusable bag. If you are visiting on a Saturday, stop by the local farmer’s market with that reusable bag!

  3. When you go to your favorite downtown business to get an ice-cold coffee or juice beverage, bring a reusable container to put it in since some businesses only have single use plastic available. Make sure you have your own reusable straw or spoon to use!

Some thoughts for business owners:

  1. What have you done do address the gravity of single use plastics?

  2. What incentives can you offer customers to bring in more reusable containers and increase awareness?

We must be responsible stewards of the places we love to play in and further serve as role models for the youngest among us who look to us as examples.

Nathan Smith

Hood River

Piper’s payment long overdue

What does $5.20 a day buy you?

For some it’s an expensive drink at Starbucks; for others, a gallon of milk and a small snack. And for the nation? A government swimming in red ink.

Rep. Greg Walden’s website boasts about the gallon-of-milk tax cut he got us, but don’t go spending it just yet. That $5.20 you might get on the front end (that is, if you’re one of the lucky few to get ANYTHING) is headed right out the back door. Why? Because the tax cut will increase the deficit from $665 billion to nearly $1 trillion this year alone, and increase the national debt from $16 trillion to $29 trillion over the next decade.

Here’s what Walden had to say about the debt back in 2010: “Our national debt is simply unsustainable ... it (is) immoral to keep passing along such debt to our children and our grandchildren.”

He’s right. Then he voted for the most massive debt increase since World War II.

Politicians yammer gobbledygook about the debt and deficit, thinking we’re too naïve to understand it. But any family who has to balance a budget knows the score: The debt is like our credit card. When our debt goes up, our interest and repayments go up. The deficit is like a pay cut. When you lose income, you have to cut your spending to make ends meet.

And who is going to pay the increased cost of debt, or fund the budget deficit of the Walden tax cut he’s so proud of? You and I. It may be sneaky, it may come in the guise of increased government costs, or privatization or cuts to Social Security and Medicare, but watch for it.

And remember, while you watch, that Walden has a zero percent rating on Social Security issues (www.ontheissues.org).

The day will come when we have to pay the piper. Shame on Walden for this Tax Scam debt.

Susan Bellinson

Hood River

Time for a change

Donald Trump shocked the nation by publicly siding with America’s adversary and attacker, Vladimir Putin, over the ample and irrefutable evidence provided to him by our own intelligence agencies with regard to Russia’s interference (in his favor) in the 2016 presidential election.

In response, Rep. Greg Walden’s surprised no one by issuing a weak and hollow statement saying he supports the intelligence findings. While Walden makes bold assertions that he’ll defend our democracy, he chooses to remain silent about Trump’s repeated claims that there was no Russian interference. No mention, no questions.

We the people want to know why. Why does the president refuse to support efforts to prevent election tampering? Why does he work so hard to obstruct and discredit the independent investigation into Russian interference?

The lack of guidance from the White House impedes our agencies’ ability to counteract Russia’s continued sabotage and hacking operations in our upcoming elections. Each time Trump fails to denounce Russia, and each time Walden and his fellow Helsinki Republicans in Congress decline to denounce Trump for this failure, they diminish U.S. interests and encourage further attacks.

We need a representative in Congress who’ll stand tall and demand answers to critical questions. Walden has had the chance, and hasn’t even asked. It appears he is too cowardly, or too complicit, to confront Trump.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner knows how to stand up to power — she risked her reputation to expose corruption in Phoenix, Ore. This is what we need in a representative: Someone who has the integrity and courage to dive in when things look fishy.

Walden has had plenty of opportunities to show his independence, and he’s failed. It’s time for a change. I’m tired of having a representative who doesn’t represent us or defend our interests. I’m voting McLeod-Skinner in November.

Lara Dunn

Hood River

Choose McLeod-Skinner

After hearing Jamie McLeod-Skinner speak in Hood River this past week, I was struck by her understanding of what I consider to be crucial, priority issues of our state and our country — roads, bridges, schools, an end to fossil fuels and global warming, along with employment training, nutrition, and decent shelter for those who need to get back on their feet. As far as I can see, she is the only candidate who realizes that our can flourish only when prosperity is within everyone’s grasp.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner is an experienced, well-informed candidate; she deserves well-informed voters. But voters can’t by fully informed without education, and that’s why Jamie places so much emphasis on support for schooling at all levels, from kindergarten through old age (life-long learning). She has seen the benefits of government playing a major role in sustaining public education. She sees that it can play an even bigger role in supporting excellence in teaching and learning environments for all.

Please join me in supporting Jamie McLeod-Skinner for U.S. Congress, District 2.

Tom Kaser

Hood River

Vote McLeod-Skinner for congress

It’s hot as Hades in and around Hood River at the moment. This is NOT normal and most people can readily identify this as a broad constellation of climate change.

Oregon’s farmers and ranchers are especially hard-hit these days. Witness last week’s devastating Substation Fire with “flames that looked like lava.” according to one eyewitness. This was just one disaster made worse by stifling heat and drought.

Unfortunately, our current representative in Congress, Greg Walden, ignores science and reality. Scientists in the U.S. and around the world overwhelmingly agree that climate change is caused by humanity’s use of fossil fuels and our destruction of forests that sequester carbon. Despite that, Walden voted against a ban on oil drilling off the Oregon and California coasts. He voted against funding research on clean energy technology. He voted against funding a Pentagon program to increase energy efficiency in the military. He’s actually supporting more wasteful and harmful fossil fuel use.

I have been following Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s run for Congress and have been happy to discover that she wants to develop clean energy — solar, wind, geothermal — to create good paying renewable energy, manufacturing and natural resource management jobs. She supports American technological and economic innovations that will make a stronger Oregon and America. It’s exactly this kind of creative thinking to tackle our 21st century problems that I look forward to seeing in my representative. Please do some homework into her campaign and then vote with me for Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Shannon Nelson-Deighan

Hood River

No longer for Walden

I’m proud to say that I have supported and voted for Greg Walden.

But over his 10 terms in Congress, the well-deserved basis for my support has eroded to the point now that I cannot in good conscience vote for Greg this coming November.

Greg’s record has gradually shifted from admirable and responsible representation of his constituents to one demonstrating greater concern for party loyalty and protecting wealthy special interests at the expense of just about everyone else in our Congressional District.

So far in this campaign season, Greg has been “mailing it in,” running a few canned radio and direct mail ads, while appearing to rely on incumbency, corporate campaign cash and avoiding bad publicity to ensure that his seat in Congress remains “safe”.

There have been few, if any, opportunities lately for us, his constituents, to hear Greg and ask questions about his silence and/or complicity regarding the horror show that is the Trump administration, and, worse, concerning the utter failure of our Republican Congress.

But one small example: The real story about Greg’s admirable sponsorship of a bill addressing the opioid crisis, despite Alan Winans’ recent criticism of Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley (Hood River News, “Two for One,” Our Readers Write, July 18), is that the Republican Senate, under Mitch McConnell, will not allow the bill to advance, in order to undermine vulnerable Democratic incumbent senators who might otherwise score political points.

Thankfully, I recently met a person who gives me hope that there is an antidote to the stagnant, swamp-dwelling form of misnamed “representation” into which Greg has apparently lowered himself.

That person is candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a true champion of our rural constituents, with a proven track record for non-partisan commitment to fair, essential policy solutions.

Jamie is working hard, right now, to hear all sides of every story in each of the 20 counties comprising Oregon’s Second District.

I urge my neighbors to give Jamie a listen, and to ask her campaign about issues of importance — the more local, the better.

I hope that, like me, enough of us come to a realization that Jamie is a much-needed and ideally suited choice for our representation in Congress.

Jim Appleton


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