Oppose wall funding
I strongly urge Congressman Walden and Senators Wyden and Merkley to oppose funding of the GOP’s proposed border wall in the upcoming budget negotiations.
The wall will create environmental devastation in the Southwest deserts at an enormous financial cost to this country and with little indication that it will substantially reduce illegal immigration.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 89 endangered or threatened species and 108 migratory bird species could be affected by a wall, including the Mexican gray wolf, jaguar, ocelot and Peninsular big horn sheep.
The consequences of border walls on wild animals include death, reduced populations, blockage of migration routes, habitat fragmentation, exacerbation of flooding, loss of food, water and shelter, and harming the recovery of threatened and endangered species. In this time of global climate change and an increasing rate of plant and animal extinctions, the last thing Earth needs is another ecological wasteland.
In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act, which gave the Department of Homeland Security the authority to waive all laws when constructing a border wall. The agency has already used its authority four times in the past decade to waive 40 laws and federal safeguards to build more than 650 miles of barrier already at the border. Those laws include the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Clean Air Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Trump has used this waiver in the past and certainly will have no compunction about using it again.
And where will the funding come from? The Congressional Budget Office estimates the GOP’s tax plan will increase the nation’s deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Trump wants $25 billion for the wall.
How much bang for the buck will we get? The Migration Policy Institute, a highly regarded, nonpartisan think tank, has found that walls simply induce people to find other ways to cross borders — and more die in the process.
Clearly, the environmental, human and financial costs of this project would make it a dangerous and foolish national investment.
Care for all
Why do people turn to fundraisers and Go Fund Me accounts when disaster hits and they are faced with a sudden healthcare crisis? Has it happened to you?
The recent horrific example happened in Pilot Rock when a young boy died from a flesh-eating bacteria. Emergency room, life flight to Portland, two different hospitals. A horrifying account of all the measures that were taken and yet the boy died. At the end of the story were the details of the to be expected Go Fund Me account and fundraising activities planned to help pay for medical and funeral expenses. A grieving family faced with exorbitant medical bills, possible bankruptcy, and the community now trying to help. It has happened and can happen to anyone.
This is one reason (of the many) why we need healthcare for all.
However, a recent report of “legislative victory” for our Representative Greg Walden (R-OR2) with passage of the CHIP program says that he is most concerned with health care and gives “thanks to all who called and wrote in support of funding this critically important health insurance program that provides coverage for at least 122,000 Oregon kids and pregnant women.”
Yes, the CHIP program is critically important and Greg Walden is all for the CHIP program, but why not health care for all? Last spring at town hall meetings in Hood River and The Dalles, Congressman Greg Walden asked the audiences, “Who supports health care for all?” Both crowds roared with approval.
Quit teasing us with these attempts at caring about healthcare. Now is the time, Greg Walden, to look at healthcare for all as a comprehensive, equitable, publicly funded and high-quality system to serve everyone — men, women and children. Healthcare for all, universal healthcare, Medicare for all. It is the right thing to do because not only will healthcare for all change lives (no more grief-stricken fundraisers), it will save lives too.
No sales tax
Hood River (County) wants to be the first in Oregon to have its own sales tax. A sales tax public comment meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 5, at the County Administration Building, 601 State St., Hood River.
Oregonians statewide have rejected a sales tax nine times.
The County is proposing a whooping 2 percent sales tax on goods sold in the county. They promise not to touch groceries, gas and medicine, but this would only last as long as they keep their promise. Such a tax is bad and should be rejected for the following reasons:
Sales taxes hit the poor the hardest. This includes seniors, too.
Government has enough money. Oregon ranks the sixth biggest government spending state (state, county, city combined) per capita in the United States.
Tourists and residents are taxed enough. Hotel taxes increased 80 percent in 2016. A 10-cent gas tax was passed in 2017, making it the nation’s fifth most expensive.
Sales tax creep. Sales taxes tend to increase and balloon over time. People try to avoid the tax by shopping elsewhere and politicians react by increasing the rate even higher. Customers pay more taxes and businesses lose customers.
Donald Rose, MD
Editor’s note: As reported in the Feb. 3 Hood River News, a second hearing is set at the same time on Feb. 20.
No war: let all children dream
My son is 4 years old and loves preschool and his friends.
Owen, Jack, Lucas, Sadie, Mary, Calvin, Maliah and his other friends are always on his mind. They give him joy, and it gives us joy. What a wonderful part of being human. We don’t know anyone in North Korea, but I am sure there are little boys just like Oliver who love playing with their friends. I am also sure that their parents love them just as much as we love ours. Why would we go to war with North Korea? It makes no sense.
Unfortunately, the drums of war are loud in D.C. I happen to know that, because I professionally work to prevent wars and build peace. A diplomatic approach with North Korea is the only realistic option. If you think that North Korean children have dreams too and that their parents love them just like we love ours, there are many small and big ways to make yourself heard at www.peaceaction.org. It’s not too late to prevent war with North Korea. It’s never too late to involved!
Pick up poop
I love dogs and have one of my own. My dog is confined to my fenced backyard when he is out and always walked with a leash and “ poop” bag. However, I would like the person/persons who allow their dog to “poop” in my front yard and my neighbor’s yard also, to carry a “poop” bag with them and clean up the dog’s mess.
Even when confronted about the dog pooping in the yard, the walker seems oblivious to the request. I guess for some reason they think it is funny. If you are a responsible dog owner/walker, take heed. Excuse the “P” word, but I thought that might get more dog owner’s/walker’s attention than the word “defecate.“
Thanks for letting me rant.
Tax this letter
I found this in my great-grandmother’s items she left to the family and felt it appropriate to share. I don’t know the author, but I’d like to shake his hand.
Tax his cow, Tax his goat,
Tax his pants, Tax his coat,
Tax his crop, Tax his work,
Tax his chew, Tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke;
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes are a rule,
Tax his oil,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash;
Tax him good and let him know —
After Taxes he has no dough.
If he hollers, Tax him more,
Tax him ‘til he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb;
“Taxes drove me to my doom”
And after he’s gone he can’t relax;
They’ll still be after Inheritance Tax!
No to Mitchell Ridge
I was shocked by Andy von Flotow’s proposal advocating establishment of Mitchell Ridge, a city spanning Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area land between Mitchell Ridge and the City of Hood River’s urban growth boundary. I was even more shocked by his statement that “the motivation is that people who live in that area are not happy with their restricted property rights.” As a property owner who lives in that area, I am happy with present zoning, land use and urban development, as are my neighbors.
As a retired registered Oregon mechanical engineer, I truly admire and respect the von Flotow family’s role in establishing Insitu, which provides many good paying jobs in our area and supports lots of community projects. I just wish Andy would use his considerable talents other than to develop Mitchell Ridge City. We don’t want Hood River to become a “Lincoln City on the Columbia.”
Back to drawing board
The Hood River Valley has maintained its natural beauty and rural character in large part due to the Oregon statewide land use system without which subdivisions, destination resorts and condominiums would dominate the landscape. Statewide rules have worked as they prevent local special interests or big money from dominating county land use decisions.
Why, then, is Hood River County so intent on not following land use rules?
In recent court rulings by the Land Use Board of Appeals, it was determined that the county failed to grant citizens a right to appeal as well as improperly processing Short Term Rental applications. In their decision the court said, “We simply do not understand the County’s arguments.” The three-judge panel also questioned the county’s argument that a person living in a house for only 30 days per year is a legal resident.
So it’s back to the drawing board for the county to create new County Zoning Codes that this time comply with state law and as well protect citizens rights to participate and preserve farms and forests in Hood River County.
Q. When is a photo contest not a photo “contest”?
A. After the photo has been manipulated.
An image can be composed of and represent anything!
A photo is group of reflected light rays from a substance that have passed through a median and recorded onto a light sensitive substance, forming a chosen composition and perspective of light and shadow. (Alan Winans)
Therefore, when the elements of a photo are manipulated, it then becomes an image, re the Hood River News Jan. 6 page A5, “Idyllic View” of Elowah Falls, photo by Matt Meisenheimer, grand prize winner of the Friends of the Gorge third annual contest, chosen by judge Vince Ready of Lasting Light Photography. For the rules of more established contest, go to www.World Press Photo.org.
Editor’s note: Vince Ready replies: “There was a panel of judges who selected the winning photo in each category for the contest. I was not the sole decision-maker as you suggested. Also, if you refer to the contest rules, they do not prohibit post-processing or compositing, which is common practice in modern landscape photography. I believe the winning image of Elowah Falls is a beautiful and faithful representation of the scenic beauty of that spot.”