Letters to the Editor for May 5

Vote McBride

Several years ago, I approached Rich McBride with concerns about the extent of development at the waterfront. Being on the Hood River Port Commission, he was the one member I knew best. Rich actually invited me to lunch to discuss the matter, taking a good hour out of his day. I found him to be a good listener and he was genuinely concerned with helping to guide us into a well thought out future.

I believe Rich has a wide range of experiences to bring to the table, having been involved in numerous businesses and diverse life experiences. Forward thinking, thoughtful, and a good listener would be my description of Rich.

I believe the county would be lucky to have such a person as County Commission Chair.

Mike Kitts

Hood River

HRCSD stewardship

As a Hood River County School District Board member and tax payer, I’m continually encouraged by our district’s vigilance to financial excellence. For example, we recently learned of our third Seismic Retro-fit Grant Award from the State of Oregon — approximately $2 million aimed at the Mid Valley gym / library structure. We are one of only 12 school districts across the state to win this competitive round of awards. HRCSD was the recipient of two prior seismic grants, bringing our total to approximately $7 million in seismic retrofitting (Hood River Middle School gym, Wy’east gym, and now Mid Valley).

Successful pursuit of grant funds such as these provide us, the taxpayer, higher quality facilities at a lower tax burden. HRCSD’s A-plus grades from independent auditors have resulted in a premium return on our construction bond sales — again benefiting us, the local taxpayer, with significant additional facilities projects beyond what our base construction bond could otherwise afford (including things like new turf and track at Hood River Valley High).

Now we have the Local Option Levy renewal on the ballot, which goes 100 percent to school staffing and programming (the Construction Bond cannot be used for these purposes). The Local Option Levy could be viewed as an even more direct benefit to kids. The district’s proven financial stewardship excellence gives us, the taxpayer, confidence in the careful spending of our dollars by the district, resulting in excellence for kids. I hope you will join me in confidently voting YES for our Local Option Levy renewal, which provides absolutely critical financial support for staffing and programs for all kids, and does not change our current tax rate.

Thank you, Hood River County, for your continued support to our kids!

Rich Truax

HRCSD Board Member

Chain history

The term chain migration is being used by politicians in a manner which always feels demeaning and disrespectful when I hear it in context.

Since when were we given poetic license to change the meaning of words to meet our own belief systems?

I understand chain migration to mean that a person or small family unit moves to another place to better their fortunes in places like the U.S., aka The Land of Opportunity. Some readers may have heard of a man named Moses from the Bible who started the world’s first chain migration.

Several thousand years later, the president’s own family chain migrated to the U.S. from Europe, along with many readers’ families, including my own.

Most middle school students can figure out that if their aunt and uncle move somewhere and become successful, it will not be long before their own parents consider making the same move. Common sense and human nature suggest that is the best course of action given the situation.

I would be grateful if politicians used words appropriately so I could understand what they meant when they spoke. Miscommunication can lead to division, resignations, and a disruption of our entire society.

Let’s all help to Make America Great Again.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Israeli nuclear culpability

We would be wise to remember, as we hear the cries from Netanyahu about how the Iranians “are cheating” on the Iran deal, that Israel is believed to have over 200 nuclear warheads, in flagrant of violation of international law.

But wait, how can we “remember” this at all if we’re not allowed to speak of it or even really “know” about it? I doubt you will hear Rachel Maddow, Morning Joe or the New York Times mention this stunning fact.

Hundreds of hours of babbling talking heads on CNN and MSNBC debating the coming actions of the Trump wrecking ball will curiously never find time to mention this exceedingly relevant fact.

We live under a self-imposed propaganda regime which deprives us of context. We can’t see the elephant in the room, so to speak. Sadly, this is why we will most likely be led deeper into senseless war in the Middle East. Our chicken-hawk leaders like John Bolton and Donald Trump love war, as long as someone else does the fighting. They will be eagerly aided and abetted by the media, war profiteers and congress. SAD.

Rod Krehbiel

Hood River

Vote McBride

We have known Rich McBride for more than 15 years, and we’ve watched him grow into a leader who is capable, wise, and willing to listen to all sides. He is also a person of action, who enjoys tackling our challenges and finding equitable solutions.

Now, after serving on the Port of Hood River, and as a member of the County Commission, he is running as County Commission Chair. Our county has significant challenges right now, including an inadequate budget and no long-term budget planning, an affordable housing shortage, and roads, bridges and other infrastructure that need improvement. There is one other issue that is long-term on the county board that also concerns us: that somehow, we are not one county, but two — the upper valley and everybody else. We believe Rich will be able to bridge that divide and seek for solutions that satisfy both our urban and rural needs.

We cannot be a successful community without adequate housing, a secure county budget, infrastructure and public safety investments. Rich is an excellent choice as chair, a person who will seek to protect and enhance both our urban and rural environments.

Stu and Kathy Watson

Hood River

County’s opportunity

Hood River County leaders and the City of Hood River have a unique opportunity to get a new county courthouse and at the same time create affordable housing. The existing courthouse sits on the most desirable land in all of the city and could be sold for $5-$8 million. Conditions can be placed upon the sale requiring a mixed occupancy housing project.

The revenue for the development would come from dedicating the city’s portion of property tax rate from the resulting $100 million-plus of development. You would be looking at a net gain of $50-plus million of assessed tax value and at the city’s millage rate of $3.07 per thousand, the county would be dedicating about $150,000 in the first year and watching that figure grow 3 percent annually.

But where would we build a new courthouse? The old sand pit, where the county maintenance yard and some city and county offices are located, is already off the tax rolls and occupied by obsolete structures. (Proceeds) from selling the current courthouse would pay for consolidation and replacement of these maintenance facilities with money left to spare.

Because the “pit” is 32 feet below grade on the south wall, constructing a multi-level parking structure with space for the Sheriff’s Department and courtrooms above would be very cost efficient compared to the digging out (at downtown site).

The new structure and reconfiguration of the maintenance yard would likely produce excess land (for) affordable rental housing, with the excess funds from the sale of the prime downtown land, again without taking property off tax rolls or selling park land.

The opportunity also exists for the city to sell City Hall and relocate to the same location creating a “Public Administration Campus,” again putting more property on the tax rolls. The County Building is newer and adequately sized (but) some consideration should be given to putting this building back on the tax rolls and moving these offices into a seismically sound structure.

So as our county leaders look to replace the courthouse I hope they can see the extraordinary opportunity and look to better utilize the value of assets they control.

Lucky Moller

Hood River

Ballot secrecy ‘sleeve’

Have you noticed that this year’s ballot secrecy envelope is different?

I stopped by the Election Office on Monday and asked if there was a mistake with the “Ballot Secrecy Envelope.”

The instructions say, “Place only YOUR voted ballot in this ballot secrecy envelope and seal the envelope.” It doesn’t fit and cannot be sealed.

I found out that the “Ballot Secrecy Envelope” is now a sleeve. After completing your ballot, we are to place it in the sleeve, then place it in the addressed envelope.

Debbie Medina

Hood River

Rolling for Oates

I prepare rolled oats for a healthy breakfast.

I vote for Mike Oates to Chair a healthy County government!

Alan Winans

Hood River

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