Letters to the Editor for March 3 edition

Happiness belongs to you

I need you to be the hero because you are one.

As a mother of beloved American children, I say that you are brave. It is your nature, you are intelligent, balanced and responsible, and you own a gun too. This message is for you, because there has been a mistake and I know you owning a gun is NOT the problem, you are not a murderer, or an insane individual; you are the solution, the one that can turn this whole tragedy around.

Great power comes great responsibility, you know that, and you have done all the right things, gone to classes, you know and understand what it involves to have a gun, to keep a gun and you do — you keep loved ones safe ...

Why would anyone in any country of the world allow people who are NOT capable, or responsible, or emotionally/mentally sound to buy a gun?

Why is there no regulation, no rules protecting?

You have done all the work, you need to make the authorities to make it official, you are the only one who can stop the individuals who are not fit to buy a gun. We are strong enough to look at other countries that have put rules and regulations and succeeded, and following that example the U.S.A. can do BETTER than any country. You know they are not toys or an object to use when you are enraged, you know the power you wield.

Some people say protecting gun owners and non-gun owners by regulation won’t change a thing because there are other weapons, but I believe we agree that guns are fascinating objects of power and beauty. Mass murderers were fascinated by guns like most people; the guns they got were easy to get, easy to use at a maximum capacity of killing power, access and ease to get the weapons made the opportunity for them to accomplish their sick crimes and vendettas.

You are the hero. Spread the word to all your friends whom you know are heroes at heart that will end this horrific crisis. You are the solution. I believe in you.

Johanna Siskar

Hood River

Guns are threats

According to one letter writer, there was a threat made toward our high school.

To say this is caused by a lack of mental health is only partially correct. There’s 1,700 homeless people on the streets of Portland, and one-third have mental problems; they’re not responsible for school shootings. School shootings are primarily caused by students.

For two centuries, we’ve run schools in our country without mass shootings. What’s changed? The allowance of military weapons on the streets. Children with mental problems that are not being addressed properly and some of them or their parents have guns at home that are readily accessible. Does everyone lock up their guns with ammo locked up separately? If we want to ensure our and our children’s safety at school, we need to do a better job at restricting access to weapons by our children and ourselves during times of crises. Our schools are not designed to be fortresses. They are designed to provide children with a learning experience.

In 2014 in Idaho, a college professor shot himself in the foot. He had a concealed carry permit. The same week, a teacher in Utah shot herself in the leg while in the school bathroom, blowing up a toilet and wounded by shrapnel from said toilet. There are myriad incidents listed online.

I’m in our local school often to help with reading. Worrying about who might be armed, and whether I’m recognized as belonging, is not something I want to do. How many deliveries go on at schools daily, sometimes by a replacement worker? How often do you as a parent need to enter a school? Will you be recognized as belonging?

We need to secure guns of all types to ensure the safety of everyone. If you want to store guns at home, maybe there should be inspections by local law enforcement.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

‘Emotionless tools’

Assault weapons as emotionless tools are no worse than other semi-automatic rifles. BUT we add the emotion.

There is obviously something very different about hefting one, feeling plugged in to the images we carry of them being sprayed on those who “deserve” it (are worse than we are — far worse).

The feel is as different as between a new iPhone and a clunker brick satellite phone from early days.

So, deal with what really is the case and not “what any reasonable person” should just ignore about the style, the careful design of new generations of tool/toys.

Only a Constitutional Convention that has one issue will solve this problem.

We place effective limitations on guns. Or we can teach every good citizen to carry and use.

Bob Williams

Hood River

Fact v. fiction

I have some questions about Mr. Alan Winan’s letter to the editor of Feb. 21. First, why, one year after the election, are you still trying to figure out what went wrong? I agree it is very painful to accept that Trump is the president, but I think we need to move on.

Secondly, why are you looking in the Bible for answers as to why Clinton lost? There is a lot of information available on election rules, procedures and laws — wouldn’t that have been more helpful? You also would have been able to access demographic information on who voted for her rather than make assumptions. I mean, isn’t looking in the Bible for election information akin to looking in a cookbook to learn how to change a tire?

I think that with all the misinformation that is being touted as truth, it is important to be extra vigilant in determining fact from fiction.

Amy Wheeler

Hood River

Study finances

The citizens of Hood River County have a special opportunity to come together as a community and avoid going broke. We must participate in creating a stable, fair, and efficient foundation for local government to thrive in the coming decades. Now that the county commissioners have delayed the idea of a sales tax, we can move ahead to understand the scope of the county’s fiscal crisis, as well as what to do about it.

First we need — yes — a study that will present credible, comprehensive information about both sides of the county’s budget: the cost of delivering services as well as the actual and potential new revenue sources. Highly qualified consultants are available in the Pacific Northwest to produce useful, affordable information. In recent years, Hood River city commissioned their housing needs study, then used the information to develop policy.

Without this information, we citizens are reduced to throwing money at fiscal problems without really knowing if it will succeed. We will put forth our pet ideas about taxes and expenditures, supporting our favorite programs and taking potshots at “government” without knowing what we are doing.

Second, once the study is finished, county commissioners, in pairs with staff, must conduct listening sessions throughout the county to present the findings of the study and hear what citizens have to say about it.

These sessions will work if they are widely publicized and held when people are available to attend. I’m guessing we’d need six of these to do the job.

Hood River County is one of 36 in the state, and all face future deficits. Public safety is a primary service of any county. According to the Secretary of State’s “Oregon’s Counties: 2016 Financial Condition Review,” Hood River County spends ninth-lowest per capita on public safety, yet we are quite affluent, with the eighth-highest per capita income in the state.

We can do better than let the county go broke and suffer divided among ourselves.

Call your commissioner and tell them you want to be heard.

David Hupp

Hood River


Mr. Walden,

What is your position on gun control? What is your position on how to do something, or not, with regard to the mass shootings in and out of schools in the U.S. and in Oregon? Do you support President Trump’s position that teachers should be armed?

I have searched your website and the web for answers and was not able to find any. I called your Medford office and your representative there was not aware of any public statement you have made on the subject, or what your position is, in the last few years. I searched to learn what your feelings or position was relative to the Umpqua Community College shooting in 2015 right here in Oregon, or the Las Vegas shooting in 2016, or the most recent shootings in Florida, and could not find any. How should your constituents interpret your silence on this issue?

You have an “A” rating from the NRA. Should we just consider their position to be yours and you are allowing them to be your voice? Your voting record suggests that. My guess is that your voters would like to have a clear understanding where you, their representative, stands on this issue. Your voters elected you to be their voice, not the NRA.

Could you please make a public statement, clarifying to your constituents, what you position is and what, if anything, you plan to do about it?

Douglas Van Zandt

White Salmon, Wash.

Measuring down

Between Bob Williams and Arthur Chenoweth (Our Readers Write, Feb. 24), I’m reminded of what I often find so utterly exhausting about masculinity.

Arthur, since you want a measuring contest, my family is also from Cornwall and lives there to this day. They built their own house as your family did. So what? What are we to glean about personal responsibility from your story?

And Bob, what are you talking about? Abortions always make you sad?

Democrats have to make room for what exactly? Why are you espousing an opinion on abortion in the newspaper? And just because you can, should you? Did you consult a single woman about your plan?

I understand you have valid points to make, but consider — just consider — taking more time to understand the opinions of others on matters you find important.

Christopher Rosevear

Hood River

Renew levy

The purpose of this communication is to express a tremendous thank you to the voters of Hood River County who approved the local school bond. It is because of this bond that schools and facilities in the district are receiving important updates in addition to the fact that the community will benefit from a new school for May Street for the 2019/20 school year. From every corner of the county, the students who attend our schools are the greatest beneficiaries of these improvements in addition to giving teachers enhanced tools and spaces for educating students.

It is also important to note that this May, voters of the county will get an opportunity to vote for the renewal of the local option levy. It should be noted that this is not an increase on anyone’s taxes, but rather a vote to sustain the current rate currently paid. This levy has been in place since voters first approved it in 2004. Unlike the construction updates afforded by the bond, the levy goes toward the maintenance of classroom instruction services such as ensuring that class sizes don’t get bigger, maintaining a full school year, athletics programs, music, arts, electives such as band, choir, agriculture, engineering and robotics, and community education. The consequences for students and teachers in our local community would be significant if this support disappeared. Every family, with or without children, benefits from living in a community where students and teachers have access to all the benefits and programs afforded by the local option levy. This is not the norm across Oregon, and the students, families, and community members of Hood River County have much to be thankful for by living in a region of the state that gets behind education and supports it with their tax dollars. When students succeed, the community succeeds. So, put May 15 on the calendar as the date to renew the local option levy for the benefit of all the students and the educators that serve them in Hood River County.

Nathan Smith

Hood River

Rethink tax

I wanted to thank the county commissioners for their decision to consider alternatives to a county sales tax. I understand the nature of the decision to propose a tax that would generate revenue for our county. I studied the adopted budget and prior fiscal year financial audit report and found areas to consider for other revenue and various opportunities to become more efficient with expenses. I went through payroll records and noted we pay up to 27 percent PERS per wage for some county personnel. Average PERS expense appeared to be closer to 20 percent of labor costs overall (i.e. a PERS rate of 27 percent can be translated; for every $1 of compensation, we pay 27 cents to PERS expense; therefore, if you make $100K, we pay $27K in PERS alone, on top of other appropriate but costly health and related benefits).

I researched other Oregon counties with a similar reliance on timber revenue. Although this research noted various anomalies, I concluded (gut conclusion, nothing formal) there was comfort in that other timber producing counties had similar revenue and expenses patterns. For example, Douglas County is also in a similar position with rising operating expenses and searching for solutions to their loss of timber revenues. This statement from a Douglas County Commissioner was a good way to grease the skids to the conversation: www.co.douglas.or.us/Boice042016.mp4.

Hood River County Commissioners did the right thing to hear directly from the community and involve us in the process. I commend the process and their efforts.

As a community member, I will generally support local tax that provides community support, health and greater access for those who need the help. However, I will oppose a tax that is proven to be regressive to those with less resources who will ultimately carry the majority of the burden. The propaganda to a proposed tax should not mislead as “tourism” tax when the majority of the burden will fall on county residents.

I hope the alternative solutions are approached with a diverse representation of our county by culture, economic status, location and vocation.

Jake Bolland

Hood River

‘In-house force’

While I agree with Ron Wyden that it was slaughter of 17 people at Stonewood Douglas High School last in Florida last week, I disagree that arming teachers would be a mistake. I think that any adults (teachers, janitors, principal, superintendent, maintenance people) at school who wish to do so should have a background check and receive careful training. Then they would do concealed carrying at the school. Some schools are doing this already and some plan to do so soon.

The shortest time to allow a murderer to kill people in a school (or anywhere else), the fewer innocent people will be slaughtered. So an in-house protective force would be best. I would like to see such a program in effect in Hood River, in Oregon and throughout the United States.

The absolute worst thing that could be done would be to declare a school a “gun-free” zone. This is an open invitation to murderers to murder defenseless people.

Donald Rose

Hood River

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