Letters to the Editor for August 22

Vote important

So, standing trees in California have the moisture content of kiln-dried lumber. From lack of fluids to combat the Western Pine Beetle, the forests from the Pacific Northewest into Montana are dying. You fly over and it’s all yellow.

We will have accelerating increases in these fires and risk “The Big One” being one big combined fire before it is ever an earthquake. We are burning home! One party “denies” it — for money!

Young people who have the most to lose have to get out and register, and register younger voters. It is all we have, especially vital in the face of voter suppression and probable vote “manipulation” now going into desperate overdrive. They can’t expand their appeal so choose to diminish our vote.

And we have to help them, our kids and grandkids, whether or not we are blood parents. The combination of factors, like blatantly unjustifiable suppression disguised as “security” and algorithmic pinpointed “discouragement,” is making chumps of us right in front of our own eyes.

Getting high more often has been fun, but I feel like waking up now.

Any ideas?

How about getting people of means to help pay for the new poll tax, costs of birth certificates and picture IDs? And “Grampa and Grandma Brigades” to help get them? And persuading celebrities to hit the bricks and be visible in making the next voting days Festivals of cascading, growing joy?

Then we can overturn the voter suppression laws and move Presidents Day to Election Day, take off work not just as a “call in sick day,” but a paid holiday — a dancing in the streets day with people we grow close to doing the holiest of work, saving our planet.

Bob Williams

Hood River


I moved to Oregon a year ago after spending most of my adult life in Pennsylvania and Maine. Over the years, my Representatives and Senators in the U.S. Congress included Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. While I sometimes disagreed with them about specific issues, I almost always appreciated their willingness to hear my opinions and those of their other constituents and to respond promptly and honestly explaining their positions. They were visible and accessible in their districts and made it clear that they wanted to know what the voters were thinking. They seemed to understand that they worked for the residents of the states they represented.

So I am puzzled and disappointed by the invisibility and non-responsiveness of my current Congressional Reprentative, Greg Walden. I’ve called his office about issues. No response. I’ve been eager to attend town hall meetings to hear his point of view — but he apparently doesn’t have time for us. How can he represent us if he won’t take the time to hear us?

I’ve been appalled by his support of measures trying to strip health care coverage from many Oregonians, and for a tax bill that disadvantages most of us who he supposedly represents. When the Trump administration callously separates children from their parents, he stands idly by. When the president picks fights with our oldest and best allies and tells lie after lie, he is silent. Honestly, what is the story here? Is he in a coma? Is he burned out? I know that if he worked for me, I would give him his walking papers. Oh wait, he DOES work for me — and the rest of us. Or at least he’s supposed to. I think it’s pretty obvious that we need new blood, new energy, and a new point of view representing us in Congress. I’m going to vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Peyton R. Helm

Hood River

Thanks, Walden

I write this in response to the letter dated Aug. 15, titled “Who gets Walden’s attention?” The statement was made that Congressman Walden was appreciated for his attention to our air quality, forest reform, and the farmers and ranchers. There is no argument that all these statements are true. Congressman Walden has been an advocate for these causes and has been instrumental in reform and bringing attention to important issues.

What I want to address is the real story behind the Hammonds. They were wrongfully convicted by an over-reaching governmental agency called Bureau of Land Management. The Hammonds never denied starting those fires. Those fires were started as back burns in a desperate attempt to save their buildings, livestock and grasslands. The Hammonds did what the BLM should have, but were refusing to do. There is video of the BLM just standing there, literally leaning on shovels, watching the fire burn towards the Hammonds and other properties. Why the BLM refused to help is an entirely different topic that won’t be discussed here due to length of letter.

The Hammonds, realizing that the BLM was of no use, went onto BLM property (which belongs to the taxpayer and not the government) and started back burns to create a perimeter for the fire to burn into and then burn out. They were successful in preventing the fire from burning into their property. Many other ranchers were not so fortunate.

While there is no denying that they were convicted, it was not lawfully.

They were convicted as arsonists. That was not the truth. I applaud Congressman Walden for understanding the over reach the BLM has been participating in and for being involved in getting the convictions overturned. It was the right thing to do.

Mainly the point I’m trying to make, is that the “plight” of the Hammonds is not personal. The BLM has been persecuting ranchers and farmers for years. My father was a rancher in Eastern Oregon his whole life. He would have been proud to see what his Congressman was able to do. Thank you again, Congressman Walden, for all your hard work.

Kathy Mussi

Hood River

Vote McLeod-Skinner

If I take the battery out of the car and the car won’t start, I don’t throw up my hands and say that the car is broken and can’t be fixed!

Congressman Greg Walden and the Republicans have worked relentlessly to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and then they throw up their hands and say it’s broken and can’t be fixed. We need someone who is going to put the battery back in. I support Jamie McLeod-Skinner because she wants to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and stands for universally accessible and universally affordable healthcare. Vote for McLeod-Skinner for U.S. Congress.

Debby Chenoweth

Hood River

Walk the talk

Supporters of Congressman Walden keep writing about his great efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. I would love to support the Congressman, but no one has provided answers to any of the relevant issues below.

Is the Congressman going to keep taking large contributions from Big Pharma? They want to sell more opioids, not less.

Where is the big, beautiful new healthcare plan we were promised by the majority Republicans and POTUS when they “repealed and replaced Obamacare on Day 1?”

Why is the Congressman working so hard to take away healthcare from his own constituents who cannot afford it without the ACA? Lower income people are much more susceptible to opioid abuse for multiple reasons.

What legislation has he written to increase support for the DEA which has been told to stand down during investigations of small, rural pharmacies who consistently order Portland pharmacy-sized quantities of opioids? (60 Minutes coverage.) When has he spoken out and pushed for realistic penalties for Big Pharma when they falsifying documents to purposely hide excessive purchases and sales? (60 Minutes coverage again.)

As a healthcare provider concerned about area residents, I am eager to hear reasonable answers to these questions. I do not feel comfortable voting for another false campaign slogan, especially when “Repeal and Replace on Day 1” still has not happened.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Walden votes anti-environment

In April, Rep. Greg Walden voted in favor of HR 3144, the “Salmon Extinction Act.” The entire goal of the bill was to circumvent the law and the courts. Mr. Walden ignored once again both the rule of law and the needs of his constituents.

HR 3144 was designed to overturn multiple federal court decisions to protect endangered salmon and steelhead. It undermines bedrock environmental laws and forbids spilling more water over dams in the spring to help endangered fish migrate if there might possibly be a reduction in power generation at Columbia or Snake River dams.

If this bill becomes law, it will have many detrimental effects on our communities. It will lock us in an expensive, inadequate salmon plan that protects the status quo and pushes salmon closer to extinction. It will require dam operators to reduce spill which can be a critical action to protect young salmon migrating through federal dams and reservoirs. It will even prevent the study of lower Snake River dam removal and other actions necessary to restore wild salmon and honor treaties with Native American tribes.

HR 3144 is contrary to established science and will decimate the ecologic balance of the entire Pacific Northwest. Mr. Walden’s vote in favor will hopefully be negated by Senators who have greater knowledge of and respect for the natural world, and for the livelihoods and needs of Congressional District 2 residents. Repealing and replacing Mr. Walden’s ongoing toxic influence on our environment can’t happen soon enough.

Beth Flake

Hood River

Opioids and cash

At a roundtable meeting recently, Rep. Greg Walden told local health experts he’s working to help solve the opioid epidemic ravaging our state. He said, “We’re now focused on those who made the drugs. Did they know they were addictive? How did they market them? So we’re delving very deeply into that effort.”

Sadly for those suffering from addiction — and those who could be at risk in the future — Walden’s willingness to address the guilty parties will be hamstrung by the enormous campaign contributions he’s taken from them. Pharmaceutical companies and their employees have donated over $350,000 to Greg. Three companies under investigation by Walden’s committee — Insys Therapeutics, Purdue Pharma, and Mallinckrodt — gave $48,000 of that total.

We can’t solve our opioid crisis until we have representatives who are working for us instead of their Big Pharma donors. Jamie McLeod-Skinner is committed to campaign finance reform. She believes in eliminating the undue influence of big business on our elections. In November, let’s send Jamie to Washington and send Greg Walden to retirement.

Daniel Fritz


Distant Walden

Republicans make up the majority of voters in the Second District. It isn’t surprising that Rep. Greg Walden has been re-elected several times to represent the district. It is also unsurprising that after many years in Washington, Walden has become more distant from his constituents. While he returns to the state often, he avoids meeting in places, including his home town, where his constituents have questions about his representation and the actions of the current administration. I have written many times to Walden asking questions and raising concerns. The few responses I received back have typically failed to address my questions.

Walden has risen to an important leadership position in the Republican Party. In recent years, he seems more interested in serving the party and administration than using his position to benefit the people of the Second District. His work on health care would have cut off coverage to over 100,000 Medicaid recipients. His support for the administration’s attempts to undermine the ACA will leave thousands with the choice of buying “junk” insurance or going without insurance they can no longer afford. He has favored tax cuts and budgets that enrich the wealthiest and undercut the neediest while driving up the deficit. He has failed to restrain executive tariffs that hurt farmers and orchardists. He has failed to challenge immigration policies based of cruelty.

More importantly, he has failed to use his position and voice to speak out against the rising tide of incivility undermining our democracy.

The Second District deserves better. I encourage Republicans to consider whether it is time for a change. If you’re reluctant to vote for a Democrat, write in the name of a Republican you admire. There was a time when Oregon had a proud history of independent Republican leaders.

Richard Davis

The Dalles

Wish list

The house is proposing huge cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. They would like to balance the budget over the next nine years by making large cuts to entitlement programs (those you’ve already paid for), including Medicare that the president vowed not to touch.

So how did we get to this point? Just ask U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.

He’s in bed with all this nonsense. Eventually they would like to make Medicare a program that would issue you vouchers, cut money for the most vulnerable — those on Medicaid — and they’re also looking at Supplementary Security Income (SSI), which they continue to borrow from and then claim it’s going broke. If they changed to a contributory tax for SSI that wasn’t regressive to one that’s progressive, Social Security would be good to go for as far as the eye can see.

Much of this should be viewed as a wish list by the Republicans. Is it your wish list?

In the meantime, we continue to spend more and more on the military. Did you know we have 1.2 million troops in 150 different countries? Is this necessary? How do they protect the U.S. when they aren’t here? This is the real reason for the proposed cuts to the social safety net. Are you spending half of your disposable income on security for your home? I don’t.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

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