Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20 edition

Part of place

When my wife and I got married, her parents treated us to a short honeymoon in Hawaii. While I was there, I was amazed at the social cohesion of the locals. We had friends who lived there at the time, and learned that there was a stronger sense of “Locals“ than is evident to most visitors.

Part of that sense of community is embedded in the context of belonging to the place and they have a local ID card that they call the kama’aina card. Kama’aina is Hawaiian for “Child of the land.” Hawaii is a place people like me travel to for a short time.

As we in the Gorge know, that can sometimes change a place for those who live there. In Hawaii, there is a deep and almost spiritual sense that if you really live there, if you are a truly invested part of that community, that you are “a child of that land.” This often comes with special discounts from businesses such as mine, but more important than that, it helps promote a sense of social cohesion.

I think there is a social value in knowing that you are not one who comes only when the wind is right or the snow is deep, in knowing that you are here — to help or be helped — when the fires rage or the ice covers the ground.

As a business owner here, I support this idea, and would like to incorporate local ID into normal business. But I support it not only as a business owner, but as a part of this community, because I, like my brothers and sisters here, am a child of this land.

John Metta

Hood River

The moon is not a hole

The moon is not a hole in the sky,

but fun to think of it this way.

But it is not, just that we agree,

that this is not the way we see.

A poem is not a message or a feeling,

it is just a bunch of letters that we’re seeing.

We link the letters to make a passage,

filling in feeling, producing a message.

A painting of a tree is not a tree,

nor a tree a painting, whatever that may be, but something different on its own.

Warm weather, spring thoughts, winter flown?

Ted James

Hood River

Yes on 101

We Oregonians are especially lucky to have ballots show up in our mailbox. We can vote at home and put the ballot in the mail or box at the County building.

On this ballot we have Measure 101. It’s important to vote yes on 101 — a yes vote helps assure continued health care coverage for an estimated 350,000 Oregonians including grandparents, parents, and kids, and continued federal matching funds, an estimated $1.87 billion matching from the federal government for the 2017-19 biennium.

A no-vote means a $673 million cut to our current state budget. This cut will most likely be redistributed by the legislature as they will certainly want to avoid throwing 350,000 Oregonians off health care coverage. If evenly distributed, every facet of state government and services, ranging from schools to environment to law enforcement to roads and local government services from the state, will be cut.

A local perspective — our Hood River School District could lose $875,000 from our 2018-19 budget. This threatens teaching, support services, coaching, and every area of our school district that we’ve managed to start rebuilding from the past decade of cuts.

Vote YES on 101! Past turnouts of 30 percent are embarrassing. It is so easy to vote in Oregon, and the outcome of Measure 101 on real people and real programs will be significant. How can we not have voter turnouts well in excess of 50 percent and more?

Thank you.

Rich Truax

Hood River

Vote! Vote! Vote!

As a former NICU nurse and a mom of two children, I’ve seen firsthand just how critical healthcare is for kids and families. No matter if you’re 8 or 80 years old, you deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare. That’s why I hope each of you will cast your ballot in favor of Measure 101 by Jan. 23.

Passage of Measure 101 will ensure Oregonians have access to healthcare by protecting the Oregon Health Plan, our state’s Medicaid program, allowing hospitals, insurance companies, and coordinated care organizations to pay an assessment, or fee, which then is matched by the federal government. By law, these funds go directly to the state’s Health Services Fund to pay for healthcare programs.

Conversely, if Measure 101 fails, not only could 350,000 people, including children, lose their access to healthcare, the state legislature will need to cut the budget in other critical areas. With school budgets making up 39 percent of the state budget, this would significantly affect school funding here in Hood River County. The Hood River County School District stands to lose as much as $875,000 from our 2018-2019 budget if Measure 101 fails. A loss that would be felt in classrooms across the district.

Please join me in voting yes for Measure 101 by mailing or dropping off your ballot at the county building on State Street in Hood River.

Everyone deserves access to healthcare. And every vote matters on Jan. 23.

Chrissy Reitz

Hood River

Unkindest cuts

A tax cut for private jets — that’s according to MSNBC. I don’t know why we need a tax cut on jets. President Trump’s cabinet seem to have access to their own fleet of publicly owned (think military maintained), corporate jets free gratis. You don’t remember Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin’s trip on one to see the eclipse?

Meanwhile, with healthcare cuts, the middle and working class continue to struggle with low wages. States don’t have enough for Medicaid programs — think Measure 101. We’re in need of infrastructure and we’re told there is no money. I’d suggest people look at how the discretionary money in the budget is being spent. Well over half is for a military that’s still bogged down in Afghanistan, still heavily involved in the Middle East. And don’t forget Yemen, north and central Africa, the Philippines, and possibly a war between Egypt and Sudan over who gets the water in the Nile. Sudan wants to build a dam as does Ethiopia. Why does it concern us? The Suez Canal, which runs parallel, carries huge amounts of Middle East oil, tourism and other commerce.

Just one program that affects our state would be cuts to the Commerce Department, particularly NOAA, which headquarters in Newport — $250 million from coastal research programs, and $73 million from Sea Grant programs, which works with universities (think Oregon State), eliminates the economic development administration and cuts federal funding to the manufacturing Extension Partnership. This amounts to $1.4 billion in the Commerce Department alone.

The cuts to the Education Department amount to $9.2 billion. That’s a decrease of 14 percent and includes $3.7 billion in grants for teacher training, increases to charters by $168 million and other programs to fund private and charter schools, which generally don’t have to deal with special needs programs.

Health and Human Services get a huge cut, 18 percent, and 18 percent to National Institute of Health. HUD takes a 13 percent hit — by now you get the idea.

There are various sites you can Google for this information. Some will vary slightly on amounts, but all point in the same general direction.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

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