Letters to the Editor for March 7 edition

HELOC shock

We want to extend our appreciation to those of you that were concerned for us as they had seen our home listing for sale. We were taken for a ride by a Big Bank through an 18-month process of renegotiating better terms for our second mortgage and we wish to share our learnings with other owners of a home equity lines of credit (HELOC).

With promises of excellent rates by re-negotiating terms with the Big Bank, we found the process disheartening: We were transferred between six representatives, unresponsive communication, and then they justified delays by asking us to provide the same documents, over and over. When we explicitly stated that we were feeling discriminated against, it was escalated to an executive team that accelerated the final underwriting of the new terms and initiated a sale process. It is hellishly stressful to be re-assured that the new note will be completed, with the simultaneous threat of foreclosure, and the continued promise of sub-prime rates. We completed the process and did receive an extraordinary rate, but I assure you the stress wasn’t worth the process, nor is the embarrassment of having our home listed on the internet (thanks internet).

Big Banks often are not focused on good lending, but have internal strategies that pray on consumers; when that enters your personal life, it may be worth paying the higher rates.

For now, we just prefer to bank local.

So, we want you to know that all is good at the Woods. Swing by and say hi. You don’t get to buy our home, but we will happily share it with you on its centennial, 1918-2018.

Holly and Tom Wood

Hood River

Starts with a drink

One of my most vivid high school memories is a quotation of my Wy’east High School sophomore Health/PE teacher, Harold Oaks: “First, the man takes a drink, next, the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man!”

As kids, we, with cap and stick guns, played cops and robbers, cowboys and horse thieves for an outdoor activity. (“Bang! Bang! You’re dead.”)

Next, the Hollywood movies with real “make-believe killings.” Then came the arcades with their “road rage” and killing games with realistic gun noises and three dimensional figurines supplied with duel controls for the “empty-headed” mentally-ill-thrill-seeking paying customers.

Today, Google et al via the internet provide various mind-altering programs (including porn), available in your home and on the phone in your pocket at your fingertips ready to feed a thrill-seeker’s hunger up until that hunger is met!

I liken “the drink takes the man” to the ”thrill seeking man-killer.”

P.S. What are the answers?

Alan Winans

Hood River

Free up gun violence research

I have always worked in libraries. I loved seeing information — fiction, nonfiction, magazines, the Internet — come into libraries and then go out, increasing the knowledge and the pleasure of those using it. Information and the research that organizes it are also crucial to good governance. An example is the need to research an issue before making laws about it.

I am disappointed to learn there are lawmakers in the U. S. Congress that do not believe research is crucial to governance. In 1996, Republican Representative Jay Dickey of Arkansas, now deceased, added an amendment to that year’s spending bill mandating that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Congress then removed the money from the CDC’s budgets that would have gone to study gun use. Clearly, the federal government would not support research on this topic. (Atlantic online, Feb. 15, 2018, “Why can’t the U.S. ...”)

Congressman Jay Dickey on NPR’s Morning Edition, Oct. 9, 2015, voiced his regret about the research lost due to his amendment. Advocacy and promotion of gun control, not research, had been his concern. He believed in gun research, “All this time that we have had, we would’ve found a solution, in my opinion. And I think it’s a shame we haven’t.”

We are in the terrible aftermath of yet another shooting. Each year, approximately 33,000 citizens lose their lives to guns. For nearly 22 years, U. S. lawmakers have prevented the federal research needed to

resolve this issue. Do they think ignorance, not information, is vital to governance? I don’t know. What I do know is that the Dickey amendment is wrong. We urgently need research making possible good laws about gun use and ownership.

I hope Congressman Walden will support Florida’s Representative Stephanie Murphy in her efforts to repeal the Dickey amendment and that Senators Wyden and Merkley will support similar efforts in the Senate.

I urge everyone who reads this to ask them to do so.

Mary Ethel Foley

Hood River

Applause needed

My niece attends the Florida school whose name even I did not know until a few weeks ago. Most days she has classes on the floor of the same building the shooting occurred. I guess that makes me a sensitive Snowflake as it pertains to the current controversy.

Since the tragic event, expert opinions abound. POTUS himself had a few gems. First, he made the ridiculous statement that “most” teachers are retired military with extensive experience with guns. As such, all teachers should pack heat in the classroom as a deterrent to stop the “maniacs.”

Perhaps even better, POTUS told the world that he and his infamous bone spur would have run into the building unarmed had he been there at the time. I hope his thoughts are not based on remorse from missing his opportunity to serve in the military so he could play tennis in college instead.

The Wy’East Fire Dept had been raffling an AR-15 assault rifle to raise money. More recently they decided to switch the prize to a hunting rifle. I cannot claim to have adequate knowledge to say why this decision was made, but I believe respectful acknowledgment is due. We should all acknowledge this must have been a big decision which took a lot of courage, and will likely have personal ramifications for the people who made this change.

It takes a lot of fortitude to consider the values and ideals of others, particularly when they conflict with your own. The dialogue surrounding guns since this tragedy has been quite divisive and almost exclusively based on name-calling, anger, and narrow-minded posturing.

I cannot recall the childhood memory exactly, but I think it goes:

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but assault weapons massacre handfuls.” Or something like that. The Wy’East Fire Dept should be applauded for their courageous decision made out of respect for those who died and those who love them in every senseless tragedy. Some things are bigger than us.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

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