Letters to the Editor for Feb. 17 edition

What cost to safety?

There have been at least 12 school shootings so far this year, depending on how you count them — maybe more — with one in Florida Feb. 14. So far it appears 17 are dead and maybe 13 were wounded in the Florida school. A few days ago in Kentucky, there were multiple wounded and two dead in a shooting. It seemed to all start in Columbine in 1999; now, they come much faster with shorter intervals. Sandy Hook Elementary was another — there are actually people out there who believe this was a hoax. I rate that with Hillary abusing children in a pizza parlor in D.C. that had shots fired over that rumor.

Who is doing these shootings? Columbine was two boys, Sandy Hook was another boy, today’s shooting in Florida was a boy. As far as I can tell, virtually all the shootings have been done by white males. Are these kids our new terrorists? If you’re a student in one of these schools, you’d probably believe they are terrorists as you’ve probably been terrorized. So why are we trying to keep dark skinned people out of our country? I’m not hearing of them shooting up our schools. Wasn’t it a white male that shot up the Las Vegas concert? Isn’t it time to bring it to an end? Growing up in the 1950s, I don’t remember a school shooting. None before Columbine to my memory. Why is this happening now and didn’t happen before?

Has any legislative body put up funds to investigate the causes and how to mitigate them? Shouldn’t we do so, or should we just let this insanity happen serendipitously? Can anyone even name a legislator who has suggested anything other than arm teachers? We have some of the best universities in the world — surely either a legislature or Congress could appropriate a few bucks to look at the causes and ways to mitigate or eliminate this problem. Our kids are worth it.

We spend more than any other country on the planet to protect ourselves from perceived and real enemies around the world, but don’t seem to want to spend a dime to keep our kids safe at school.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

‘Bubble’ wrapped

I was amazed to read about a county resident who has “no need for any government” (Our

Readers Write, Feb. 10).

I guess he will never need: a fire engine or an emergency vehicle and its crew, public schools, our county court system, to have to drive around a pot hole, use a snow plowed road, a building permit, the library, definitely not any mail-in ballot, etc., etc., etc. After all, everybody working any of these jobs are “inept bunglers” anyway. It must be wonderful to live in such an isolation bubble. I’m glad I do not.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Prioritize locals

I get it that Hood River County relies on tourism, and that short-term rentals (STRs) both serve the tourist trade and offer nonresidents a way of affording a vacation home here — a win-win situation on the face of it. But when locals who work two or three jobs to keep this place humming can’t find a decent place to live in because available places are increasingly being purchased for use as STRs, it’s a problem.

The county’s relaxed policies toward STRs need tightening. Policies defining “residents” as people who drop in to the area for as few as 31 days a year and calling commercial use of a property “residential” are marking Hood River as a first-rate location for a second home, and outsiders who can afford to take advantage of the opportunity are buying our homes fast. The percentage of homes in Hood River that are used seasonally by nonresidents and/or rented out to vacationing tourists doubled between 2011 and 2016 and currently stands at about 9 percent!

Obviously, STRs take housing stock away from full-time residents, and since STRs are closely tied to elevation of real estate prices, their impact on working people’s ability to find affordable housing is doubly negative. Local businesses are affected, too. Leila Coe of Apple Valley BBQ told me today, “Do you know how hard it is to get people to work here? They can do the work, but can’t find anywhere to live!”

If its priorities don’t change, Hood River County risks becoming a place where the people who clean it up, pump the gas, teach the kids, and maintain the orchards are hidden — living far away, with friends, or in substandard housing — while the outsiders have fun here.

Out of sight, out of mind, is not my idea of an attractive community.

The county needs to implement STR policies that prioritize us — we who commit full time to making this beautiful area our home.

Jana Castañares


Hello, memory

I loved reading the action-packed Saturday, Feb. 10 paper, but readers should know that the Lionel Ritchie song “Hello” was released in 1984, not 1990. Not too long after that, I remember hearing the news that Ritchie had guest guitar player Eric Clapton join him onstage for his hit “Dancing on the Ceiling,” probably at Madison Square Garden. And I remember thinking to myself: wow, a major figure in classic rock had crossed over some kind of (imaginary) genre boundary. That event gave me a gut feeling music was changing, but looking back I realize it was probably just the wall-less entity of music that caused those relationships to evolve and grow, in so many ways. Thanks for triggering that memory.

Jim Drake

Hood River

Welcome appeal

I’m glad to see that the decision to rezone Morrison Park to R-3 high density housing is being appealed. The Hood River City Council’s decision to rezone this parcel was shortsighted and unlawful. Once park space is lost to development, it is difficult and expensive to undo the damage. Hopefully the LUBA court of appeals will force the city to stop the destruction of Morrison Park (and force the city to follow its own comprehensive plan).

Brian Carlstrom

Hood River

Support the RFS

We are continually bombarded with news about new oil drilling and fracking, but that’s not the only solution for domestic fuel production or the only path toward loosening OPEC and Russia’s grip on energy supplies — homegrown biofuels also play an integral role.

Domestic energy security is no longer a far-fetched goal. It is finally within reach. But it can’t happen without the continued steadfast support from President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of homegrown biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

American-made ethanol already replaces over 500 million gallons of oil each year and comprises 10 percent of domestic fuel consumption. It provides a cleaner-burning alternative to toxic additives, reducing carbon emissions by 43 percent when compared to traditional gasoline. As a bonus, it holds down prices for American consumers.

The benefits from wonderful policies like the RFS aren’t just seen nationally, but locally as well. Biofuel production supports 16,000 Oregon jobs and provides a clear path towards domestic energy security.

To support this progress, I hope Congressman Greg Walden will stand in support of the RFS and other green policies just like it that help to continue to provide jobs and innovation opportunities for Oregonians.

Christiana Mayer

Forest Grove

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