Letters to the Editor, March 21 edition

We must do more

Kids these days.

Gun violence spreads like a virus and our civil servants cannot agree if this is even a real problem. Our country is drowning in stress and anxiety; let’s call it trickle down. Everyone is soaking this in and everyone is affected, especially our kids. So, the kids have stepped up.

I’m an art educator who has worked with thousands of kids over the years; I know kids today, and let me tell you, if you think they don’t have it together, you are very wrong. Many kids in this generation have had to parent themselves — one of the many results of a mad system wherein people are not provided with a livable wage and time to spend with their families. We have a Secretary of Education who openly disdains public schools, and who, to put it mildly, does not serve our students. We also have elected officials who favor a gun lobby over public safety. These Parkland students who are pushing the envelope, forcing the hand of “adults” regarding gun control? We OWE them.

As adults, we should be ashamed, but frankly, I’m immensely humbled and proud that kids are pushing these conversations. They are role models for us all. And yes, I must do more. We all must.

Kids know what’s happening in the world. They have been victimized their whole lives by an uncaring system that puts profit over progress, corporations over individuals. How did we become a country where kids have to remind adults what their primary job is? What kind of a country allows their children to live in such a toxic environment? What has happened to us? And specifically, who do these uncaring, NRA-funded legislators serve?

Not us or our kids.

March for Our Lives, a Parkland, Fla., student-organized national action happens on Saturday, March 24, with events in Portland, Vancouver and elsewhere. You can find an event at marchforourlives.com.

I urge adults to get out that day and stand with our kids. Spread the word. It’s the least we can do.

Rene’ Westbrook

White Salmon, Wash.

Sinfonietta soars

I’ve got to change the way I talk about our local Sinfonietta (little symphony orchestra). For the past several years, I’ve attended their performances regularly, and usually I drive my friends crazy by constantly leaning over and saying, “Can you believe this? Music of this quality here in li’l old Hood River county? How does this happen?”

Well, no more talking that way. After being blown away this past weekend by hearing them do soaring, involved musical pieces by Grieg and by Beethoven (Beethoven!), plus a new piece by their own conductor, Mark Steighner, I’m changing my tune. No more “Can you believe this?” From now on, it’ll just be, “Isn’t this wonderful?” Just like wind in the summer and the goodness of Tina Castañares, I’m going to take the quality of their music for granted from now on.

Thanks to Mark, Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association, their many sponsors, and especially the 40-plus talented musicians for being the jewel that you have become.

Mike Hendricks

Hood River


“I used to run a very profitable family insurance company. Our business plan was based on our keen understanding of what drives human behavior: greed, fear and our reputation of keeping our word. We collected premiums and our ‘customers’ continued to enjoy life and grow their businesses, in a manner of speaking. Of course, we had a lot of overhead due to certain demands from people in high places that could interfere with our rights to free enterprise. I’m retired now, living in a gated community up the river. Some of those people in high places disappointed me by doing their jobs. They accused me of racketeering after all I did for them. Go figure.”

Now THINK. Replace the above character with “NRA” or any other lobbyist or corporation or wealthy individual who uses money, position, and power to buy, threaten, and control the decision makers whose actions (or lack of actions) rob average Americans of equal opportunities in so many ways that are supposedly protected by our Constitution. This is by definition racketeering. Why have our political leaders been afraid to act to protect us? Why has no one of standing taken any of these characters to court and charged them as racketeers? Why has our Supreme Court defined their actions as “Freedom of Speech” protected by the First Amendment? These crooks are simply that, feeding off the fear, greed, stupidity and spinelessness of many of those we elect to represent us. Perhaps we are the ones who are ultimately at fault.

Russell Hurlbert

Mt. Hood-Parkdale


I have some thank yous to offer to some people I don’t know:

To the Hispanic couple that helped my elderly father and I when he fell on the ground and broke his hip. Sir, you picked my father up off the ground and held him up until the caring customers and employees at Walgreens brought him a chair. He is a big man. I could not have done it. Thank you to Walgreens too, and to the lady who waited because she could not get out until the ambulance left. I am so grateful for the community in which I live.

Jennifer Ouzounian

Hood River

Subscription drive thanks

If you are reading this today because you told a young man and sometimes his little brother yes at some point during the last month to his famous question, “Would you like to subscribe to the Hood River News?” I want to say, “Thank you.”

To the ladies that sent me out the door with some chocolate for the ride, “Thank you.” To the couple that had just taken dinner out of the oven and offered us to stay for some, “Thank you.” To everyone who called all their friends and family to help get me some more sales, “Thank you.” To everyone that I didn’t make it out to and still sent in a subscription in my name, “Thank you.”

I also wanted to take the time to thank Hood River News for giving me this opportunity. The ladies that counted my subscriptions at turn in, and spent many hours figuring out all our totals and getting your papers to you, you are awesome! Thank you for rooting me on the whole time.

I’m excited I was able to win money for my school library and I think that’s really cool of the Hood River News to do that!

Also, a big thank you to my mom and brother for helping me out and taking their time to help me win.

Overall, I really enjoyed this opportunity and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you all for the help and support I needed.

Trenton Whitecotton


People kill people

While I understand the fear and concern by students for their own safety in schools, I think that they are being manipulated and mislead into thinking that a solution to the problem of mass murders is “gun control.”

Guns don’t have an innate ability to fire. Someone has to do so. They can, and are, used for evil purposes. They can, and are, used for good purposes, such as killing bad people who want to kill innocent people. The same can be said about hammers and knives.

Thus, trying to prohibit guns is senseless as law-breakers pay no attention to laws and are able to get many different firearms they want.

Law-abiding people expose themselves to the mercy of murders by not being armed. So arming teachers and other personnel in schools, who want to do so, after background checks and careful training, would be the best option, I think. So, yes, having more guns in schools IS a valid solution.

In the case of the murder of 17 people in Florida, there were some important factors: 1. The murderer was Nikolas Cruz. It was not the NRA or any of its law-abiding citizens. 2. Law enforcement failed at many levels multiple calls in this case (lack of effective action, etc.).

Donald Rose

Hood River

The meaning of freedom

Concerning “Price of Freedom?” letter of March 17:

This is NOT about the second amendment. It is about freedom. However, there must be an understanding to what freedom really means. We are free to live within the laws. Living outside the laws brings chaos, which is always pain, suffering and death. Freedom brings happiness, prosperity and safety. The problem is that we are no longer teaching children about freedom, laws, or responsibility.

What we have done is allowed morals, prayer, the Bible, history and proper etiquette to be erased from the schools and then we wonder why our kids are bullying, fighting, killing, hooking-up and snubbing each other on Facebook.

Our children do not have the tools they need to know how to live in a free society. When all things are accessible, they do not know how to control themselves in what they choose to do and how it will affect others. As long as we reject what made this nation great in the first place, which was the recognizing of God and His ways (as it says in our Declaration), we will continue to get pain and suffering from our school age kids.

At 16, George Washington wrote 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation, in which he shows his complete understanding of how to live in a free society. Could a 16-year-old today be able to explain how important it is to live within laws or have they been allowed to just follow their feelings and do all manner of things contrary to a free society? For us today, we need to reinstall the truth of how to live in a free society and how to stop being so self-absorbed. Then no one will be worried about guns as the problem; they will once again be tools instead. Anything can kill, but train the person how to value life and that will no longer be a problem.

G.W. Cliver

Hood River

Walkout thoughts

To be honest, I can understand students in the county remembering the kids who lost their lives in the shooting in Florida, but this did not merit a walk-out during school hours. They could have been done it in an assembly in the gym and had their moment of silence for 17 minutes to remember the students, then talk about gun violence. But on the other side of this, I am a law-abiding supporter of gun rights as I use shotguns for hunting purposes and don’t want those kinds of guns tied in with what has happened at the schools.

Ron Dunn

Hood River

Solar changes

Klickitat PUD-pending changes to net metering policy will end solar power in our county!

Everyone who believes in renewable energy should pay particular attention to the PUD meeting coming up Tuesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. at the Goldendale office (www.klickitatpud.com/conservation/netMetering.aspx).

The new policy will not give us any credit for our excess power and in addition charge us when we receive that power back later. Not only are they stealing our power and making money on it, but then they are giving us a surcharge in addition to that. This is unfair to the solar produces who bear the entire burden of the costs for the solar system (our personal infrastructure cost, if you will), but it is also unfair to charge other customers full retail for power the PUD did not buy from the solar users. The sum total of infrastructure costs includes getting the power from the BPA hydroelectric system to the end user (substations, etc.), but excess power generated in our neighborhood goes directly into our neighbors’ homes and businesses, so the infrastructure cost impact is minimal.

Their argument is that the non-solar users bear the burden of the infrastructure costs that solar is not using, but they fully recover those costs when they sell our excess power to someone else at retail. All we want is for them to credit us back the full retail value for using our excess power when it is returned to us. What’s next, charging us extra when we use less power because of energy efficiency measures?

Let the PUD know what you think before they close down our solar future for our communities. Let’s put the public back in the PUD! If at all possible please attend the meeting on March 27 and /or send letters to the PUD prior to the meeting!

Bill Hoffer

White Salmon, Wash.

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