Letters to the Editor, Aug. 18

Vote matters

Are you one who believes your vote doesn’t matter? I’m talking to you because this fall your vote matters “hugely!”

Do you want to tell Big Business and the 1 percent money can’t always buy public policies that favor them regardless of how it affects you?

Would you like decent health care for yourself, your family and neighbors?

How about someone who can represent your needs in Congress rather than someone who first owes allegiance to the pharmaceuticals, health insurance companies, broadcasters, oil and gas industries? Or maybe someone who is informed about the serious impacts of global warming on our rural economy?

Then cast your vote for change in November! Vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an enormously energetic and committed advocate. Don’t let this opportunity go by for a real representative in Congressional District 2. Your vote is critical!

Diane Bungum

The Dalles

Bravery in fire

House fires are confusing, emotional and chaotic. The one this past weekend off of Henderson Road was no exception. When it was finally ascertained there were still people inside, Hood River Police officers Erin Mason and Houston Webb and Sheriff’s Deputy Adam VandenBosch wasted no time. They went in without protection, came out coughing and spitting, but the people are okay. Thanks, men — I was impressed.

Paul Thompson

Hood River

‘Plain wrong’

I seriously question the editorial choice made to post a photograph, name and unwarranted sensational headline describing a barely of age young man. (Hood River News, Aug. 11 edition.)

In reading the article, the facts presented do not warrant the sensational use of this young man’s name and face as you did.

The last I heard a person under investigation for alleged criminal activity is innocent until proven guilty. This is a small town and smearing a person this way is criminal in and of itself.

An apology is in order. This boy is not a public figure and the Hood River News is not the National Inquirer. What you did is just plain wrong.

Laurie Balmuth

Hood River

Prohibit attack

I urge Rep. Greg Walden to support HR 669, which would prohibit the president from launching a nuclear first strike before Congress has declared war.

Currently, Trump holds the authority to launch nuclear strikes, including first strikes on countries that have not attacked the U.S. We must limit this impulsive, free-wheeling man. His out-of-control personal style and comprehensive belligerence on the world stage make him a danger to U.S. citizens and the rest of the world. Trump’s all-caps tweet-threats to Iran are not only “unimpressive” (Iran’s response), they are dangerous war-mongering.

I urge Mr. Walden to abandon his political instincts and endorse HR 669, in the interests of his constituents here in Congressional District 2 and for all Americans.

John Newton Hickox

Dufur

‘Bring on debates’

Recently in Joseph, Democratic congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner challenged Congressman Greg Walden to at least three debates. Walden said he looked forward to debating, but he seems to be having second thoughts. Since then Walden has said nothing about the proposal to debate McLeod-Skinner in Umatilla, Jackson and Deschutes counties. The first is scheduled for the end of August, but his spokesperson will only say that Walden is focused on other matters.

Walden should agree to the debates, so the voters of Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District can hear him answer some questions about how he’s been representing us:

Why, Rep. Walden, did you work so hard to craft a repeal of the Affordable Care Act that would strip coverage from over 64,000 residents of your district?

Why did you vote for the tax scam that mortgages our children’s future to provide giveaways to the 1 percent? Follow-up question: Does it have anything to do with the $2,000-a-person fundraiser you hosted for Speaker Paul Ryan in Wilsonville?

Why did you vote this summer for an appropriations bill that would hamper environmental protection of our public lands?

Jamie McLeod-Skinner is ready to talk about the future of our region, and she believes Walden will live up to his agreement to debate her. I urge voters to contact Walden’s campaign and let him know that we — not just his big-money donors — want a chance to hear what he has to say.

Rhonda Starling

Mosier

'Just sensible’

I’m disappointed that sometimes members of our Gorge community cannot discuss or write about politics without calling other people names, as Kristine Wilhelm, of Hood River, did on several occasions in her letter to the editor published in the Wednesday, Aug. 8 edition of the Hood River News.

It makes me wonder if those who must use labels are afraid that if they really consider and think about positions that are different than their own that they may actually adjust those positions.

Ms. Wilhelm does not seem to understand that many, many of us locals, maybe even a majority, don’t consider 2nd District Congressman Greg Walden “our guy” anymore. Contrary to Ms. Wilhelm’s assertions, I am a reasonable citizen who is working to protect our democracy. I believe that phrases designed to devalue others do not address the core concerns I have regarding the needs of the 2nd District.

It is true that Mr. Walden is originally from The Dalles and Hood River. But Mr. Walden’s voting record, particularly over the past 19 months, and his refusal to meet with his 2nd District constituents over the past 15 months, make it seem to many of us that he has forgotten his Oregon roots and us. He seems, instead, to now be “of, by and for” Washington, D.C., and the wielding of its levers of power.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, on the other hand, is forthright and holds balanced views. She’s not about the party line. She meets with and talks to people, whatever their affiliation. She’s a rural Democrat who appreciates all people, like her own in-laws who farm and ranch for a living in the Jordan Valley area.

She loves eastern Oregon and wants to put decency back into public policy. We could use some of that in Congress! I would hope that Ms. Wilhelm can appreciate that supporting these principles doesn’t make a person partisan, just sensible.

Please join me in supporting Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Congress.

Bruce Lumper

The Dalles

Need a new voice

Included in the horrors bestowed upon immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at U.S. borders and put into ICE detention centers is potential sexual abuse.

Using state public records laws, ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team, obtained police reports and call logs concerning more than 70 of the approximately 100 immigrant youth shelters in the U.S. The reports reveal hundreds of allegations of sexual offenses, fights and missing children.

Psychologists who’ve worked with immigrant youth say the records likely undercount the problems because many kids might not report abuse for fear of affecting their immigration cases. And in many cases, the children don’t understand English nor have any conception of U.S. laws.

Lisa Fortuna, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Medical Center, was quoted as saying, “If you’re a predator, it’s a gold mine.” And Arthur Evans, CEO of the American Psychological Association, said the problems revealed in the police and court records are to be expected given the “very significant needs” of the children and the staff’s lack of specialized training. With such a mismatch in needs and capacity, he said, “You’re more likely to have incidents of sexual and physical abuse.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Department of Justice has proposed a rule that excludes immigration detention facilities from coverage under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Congress enacted PREA to protect all persons in custody by setting standards for preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual abuse. But without PREA’s protection, immigrants in detention remain vulnerable to such abuse.

The upshot? The political party that enabled Trump to create such a dangerous environment for children does not deserve to remain in power.

We need a new voice in Washington. That’s why in November I’m voting for the woman who has the values and courage to stand up against such injustice: Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Tracie Hornung

Parkdale

Walden keen on ICE

It has been heartbreaking watching immigrant families suffer because of Trump’s inhumane family separation policy. And knowing something of the adverse effect of childhood trauma, I ache thinking of the permanent damage being done to children separated from their parents.

The whole situation is worsened by the federal government’s bungled record-keeping that now has hundreds of children who can’t be identified/reunited with their parents.

What response has Congressmen Greg Walden made to ICE (US Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement) separating families at the border? No censure, no concern, no protest. In fact, he voted July 18 on H337 to express his support for ICE.

I believe we need to have secure borders, and due process for determining who truly qualifies for asylum from brutal conditions in their home countries. But we cannot punish and torture our way out of a broken immigration system. The fact is that our industries rely on people who come to America seeking a better life. They are the bedrock of our agricultural community, even if they have not succeeded in navigating our complex system for getting a green card.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Walden’s opponent, wants an immigration system that provides a path to citizenship for those who have grown up in the U.S. and to those who have paid taxes and contributed to our economy, our communities, and our national defense. That’s good for our agricultural sector and creates safer communities by encouraging positive engagement with community law enforcement.

It is not acceptable to tear families apart. It’s time we elected leaders like Jamie who are willing to hammer out a common-sense solution that works for our region’s industries and communities, for mothers, fathers and children.

Nikki Paulson

Hood River

‘Poop Trail’ 2

Michael Stroud’s Aug. 11 “Dog Poop Trail” letter was informative and persuasive.

I have both the time and the inclination to pick up after my dog. I have observed a variety of people who are in a different mode when on the trail with their dogs. Some are jogging, some walking with their cell phone to their ear, some with one or more friends or family members with whom they are engrossed in conversation. For those who are fitting a walk into their hectic schedule, possibly combining it with the opportunity to catch up with friends either in person or by phone, it’s easy to lose track of exactly where their dog is and what he is doing.

But good for them for keeping their dog exercised and for keeping in touch with family and friends.

This is not to excuse any of us from cleaning up our dog messes. Mr. Stroud gave us nine strong arguments to the contrary. Being busy doesn’t remove our responsibility as dog owners to look out for our dogs, our fellow humans, and our planet.

So, while I encourage all who walk their dogs on public property to clean up after them, each time I walk my dog I make it a point to grab a couple extra poop bags (provided by the county) and to pick up as many “messes” as I can during my leisurely walk. I’m sure during my lifetime I’ve inadvertently left a mess behind on occasion, not necessarily of the dog poop variety, and that somebody has taken the time to pick up after me.

This is one way of saying thanks.

Doug Roof

Hood River

Cowardice

While driving north on Tucker Road on Aug. 13, I was greeted by the sight of approximately five or six dead kittens that appeared to have been tossed from a moving vehicle over about a mile. These kittens were too small to have “accidentally” ended up in the road.

If you are responsible for this, please note: You are the worst kind of coward. You won’t take responsibility for the animal by spaying or neutering. Maybe the mother was a stray you started feeding and — surprise — had kittens. That’s what happens to animals that are NOT spayed/neutered.

There are people in the area that trap, neuter and release strays for free so this kind of thing is prevented. All it takes is a phone call.

I seriously hope karma pays you a visit 10 times over for each kitten I saw dead on the road.

Peggy Packer

Parkdale



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