The Hood River News’ Letters to the Editor section has lately been filled with political endorsements and appeals to support candidates for federal, state and local offices with your vote.
So, I’d like to do the same. Here are my endorsements and my appeal to you.
On or before Nov. 6, I endorse the candidates who, through their words and deeds, demonstrate that they value:
Public service, not self-enrichment
Community over commerce
Unity v. division
Kindness v. cruelty
Inclusiveness v. exclusivity
Insight over ignorance
Equality over advantage
Education and experience over pride and prejudice
Leadership and influence over dominance and dictatorship
Wisdom, maturity and understanding over unsophisticated and childish stubbornness
Patriotism, not nationalism
Consensus over victory
Sincerity and truth, over deceitfulness and lies
Respect v. loyalty
Trust over fear
Peace v. war
Love v. hate
My appeal to you is that you closely examine and vote for the candidates who, through their words and deeds, demonstrate to you that they value these matters FIRST. The rest is small stuff.
Has anyone noticed that fuel prices have been going up? Why should this be happening when we are pumping so much oil at home that we are hardly importing any? The answer is that Greg Walden and the Republicans in Washington are letting multinational oil companies export U.S. oil to keep our domestic supply of oil artificially low. This not only hurts the pocketbooks of Americans, but also is very apt to have a major negative effect on our nation’s economy as economic growth is closely tied to oil prices.
For the last two decades, the oil companies have been planning and building pipelines with the intention of exporting the oil and gas they carry while claiming the pipelines were necessary to either bring in more oil and gas or to get more oil and gas to the refineries to increase our domestic supply, when what they really wanted to do is use the pipelines to export our energy products. I blame Walden and his cronies for much of what is going on — they have nodded their approval to building a natural gas export terminal on the Oregon coast, moving continuous trains of explosive oil by rail through the Columbia River Gorge and building pipelines like the Dakota Access Pipeline to get oil from America’s interior oil fields towards the coast for export.
Oil and gas are finite resources and when they are gone, they are gone.
We may have a surplus supply of oil and gas at present, but after a few decades, our production will very likely drop and we will once again be having to pay more and more for foreign oil imports. It seems that Walden and his supporters have never seen a project by a multinational oil giant that they didn’t like. It is time we changed who is representing the Second District of Oregon in Congress.
To all of you sending out daily political stuff to my mail box, please stop it. It goes directly into my recycle. It serves no purpose. It makes a lot of work for the mailperson and the garbageman. And just think of all the trees you are wasting. Please!
In order for negative political ads to have any effectiveness, there must be a least a smidgen of truth to the accusation. That’s what’s so disappointing about the negative ads that Chrissy Reitz and Anna Williams have been spreading about their opponents during this campaign. They don’t just stretch the truth — they are completely false.
Chrissy has made the claim that Chuck Thomsen hasn’t supported victims of sexual abuse. False. Chuck has supported expanding services for victims throughout his time in the legislature and is strongly supported by Helping Hands against Violence in Hood River.
Anna is claiming that Jeff Helfrich supports criminals having access to firearms. False. Jeff is a retired law enforcement officer. He in no way supports known dangerous individuals having access to guns.
Both Chrissy and Anna have spent well over half a million dollars in their campaigns this election. It’s clear that the big money consultants they have hired to run their campaigns play by one set of rules: It’s okay to say anything in order to get elected. At a time when our country seems more divided than ever, it’s disappointing to see these two campaigns bringing such divisive politics to the Gorge.
We can do something about it. Join me in saying no to dishonest campaigns by voting for Chuck Thomsen for State Senate and Jeff Helfrich for State Representative. Each has a sound record of service to our district and deserve to be sent back to Salem so they can continue to represent us.
Does Walden care?
Some low income seniors are starting to notice that our Medicare contribution is beginning to seriously erode our social security income because our Medicare premium simply eats up the recent inadequate cost of living increase in our social security.
Does Greg Walden care? Does he even know as he does whatever he can to avoid meeting with people in his district other than the hand-chosen ones? He is chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which also oversees the health sector. Although half of congressional District 2 residents have income at or below the poverty level, Walden appears focused only on his wealthy corporate sponsors.
Walden’s campaign leads the House in contributions from health products and pharmaceutical companies at $513,000, per recent Federal Election Committee data. Walden has no interest in combating the monopoly-power that the medical-industrial industry has developed, much less looking for ways to make healthcare delivery more effective or efficient. In fact he votes consistently to take it away altogether.
We need new representation in our district. I voted for Jamie McLeod-Skinner and I hope you do too!
This last week has been a week of horror. First, two African Americans were shot at a grocery store by a man who couldn’t break into an African American church and potentially commit a slaughter of parishioners, followed by bombs being sent to many of those on your president’s personal hate list by a Floridian living in a van and being a DJ in a gentleman’s club (think strip joint). Look at the pictures on his van if you’re not already convinced he’s got mental problems. Fortunately, his attempt to assassinate two of our living ex-presidents and many others failed as he apparently failed bomb-making 101, thank the Lord.
Last was the chilling attack on elderly worshipers attending Sabbath and a naming ceremony (Bris) for a Jewish baby. The man who did this was another Trump sycophant.
In Charlottesville, there weren’t good people on both sides anymore than there were good people on both sides of these three horrors. As if this wasn’t enough, Trump insists on going to Pittsburgh when they are attempting to bury the dead from their tragedy. Many don’t want him there, and the mayor has said he doesn’t have the resources to keep everyone safe. Let the blue wave build.
I’m appalled that Congressional Republicans like our own Greg Walden are still failing to push back against Donald Trump’s fear-mongering around immigration, targeting of minorities and his continual stoking of political violence. Last week’s pipe bombs and the massacre in Pittsburgh provide tragic evidence that Trump’s demeaning threats and taunts have real, human consequences.
Further, when the president declares himself a Nationalist, I believe he is fully aware of the historical baggage associated with this word — that of fascism and authoritarianism. To boot, consider Trump’s distain for facts and reputable news sources that only try to hold him accountable to them. His frequent refrain that the free press is “the enemy of the people” is nothing new in history, either — that phrase became well-known in the last century when it was adopted by Soviet, Maoist and Nazi propagandists and dictators. This isn’t by accident, and isn’t just for the sake of trolling his critics. When he uses this language, while praising strongmen and dictators around the world, he is sending not-so-coded messages that empower white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, and invite their doctrines into mainstream politics.
Is this really what we want for America in 2018? Most Americans do not, but all but a few Congressional Republicans have either channeled Trump’s menacing behavior or, like Greg Walden, ducked tough questions and kept silent, hoping not to alienate their Red Hat supporters. These cowards are as much threat to our safety, security, and the institutions of our Democracy as Trump himself. In hitching their wagons to Trump, the Republican party has abandoned its principles and the common values of our society.
Nov. 6 is our chance to put a check on the dangerous demagogue in the White House. Please vote, make calls to get Democrats elected across the country, and get everyone you know to the polls.
The November race for governor is going to be very close. Every vote will count. Even if you don’t like everything about Kate Brown, if you have progressive values, vote for her.
Here’s one of many reasons: A vote for Knute Buehler could bring Republican-style gerrymandering to Oregon and give Republicans additional seats in the U.S. Congress. After the 2020 census, Oregon will probably get an additional U.S. House seat because of population growth.
The state legislature will then be tasked with redrawing district maps and the governor will have veto power. In 2017, Republican Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced a complicated plan to circumvent the legislature and the courts in drawing legislative districts.
Jeanne Atkins, former Secretary of State and now leader of the Democratic Party of Oregon, called his plan “a new kind of election gerrymandering.”
There are also implications for state legislative districts if our top two elected officials in Oregon are Republicans.
Kate Brown has a proven record of valuing the votes of all eligible Oregonians. Her leadership in establishing Automatic Voter Registration demonstrates that. We need Gov. Kate Brown to prevent Republicans from gerrymandering our district maps and unfairly taking control of Oregon’s Congressional districts. To learn more about Kate’s plans for Oregon’s future, visit www.actionplanfororegon.com.
Independents for Jamie
Greg Walden is like a 20-year-old car: All the great qualities it once had are gone. It now barely gets by and clearly doesn’t provide the same satisfaction it once did. It’s time for an upgrade to a new model.
Walden once HAD an impressive record of “working across the aisle,” but like on an old car, that feature ceased operating. He once sought to address the needs of his constituents. But this 20-year-old model had no navigation system, so Walden lost his way and his connection to us. Walden has found new bosses — the corporations and the Republican Party leaders in Congress.
Money talks and it has spoken loudly and often to Walden during the past 10 years. Who do we really hear when listening to his TV and radio ads? Are we hearing Walden or his corporate sponsors?
It’s time for last-minute deciders to leave the sidelines and enter the game. Help choose the new model. Non-voters, infrequent voters, registered Independents and non-affiliated voters must realize what tremendous collective power they possess. Together, these people will ultimately decide who will represent us in Congress. Collectively, these people control over 100,000 votes — tremendous voting power, but only if used!
Choosing not to vote is choosing the status quo. It is a choice that accepts the Congressional bickering we have endured during the past 10 years. Not voting condones a corrupt and morally bankrupt political system, paid for by corporations and wealthy donors. Not voting is a slap in the face of all previous generations who sacrificed so much to build a stronger, safer, and better America.
The Independent Party has endorsed Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Their candidate for governor has withdrawn and they’ve endorsed Kate Brown. Registered Independent voters should follow that lead and vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Doing so gives them great influence in the election and greatly increases the likelihood of achieving their political goals.
Let’s all come together in trading in our outdated model. Jamie McLeod-Skinner will be a fantastic replacement.
Greg Walden represents the Second District.
It has become very increasingly clear that the editor of the Hood River News seems to have a personal vendetta against Rep. Greg Walden. I saw the Hood River News recent propaganda piece for his opponent and have to question if the paper has a commitment to fair reporting.
I would like to point out that Rep. Walden has accomplished so much for the people of the Second District of Oregon. He has worked to clean up a Hanford site to prevent water contamination for the people in the northern part of the district; he has brought funding for the people suffering from the drought in the southern part of the district; for Central Oregon, he has worked to pass a crooked River Ranch fire protection act to protect people and homes from fires; on the far east side of the district, he has worked to get the Hammond’s pardoned and has been a voice for rural families.
District wide, he has worked to increase access to healthcare lower prescription drug prices, connect us through rural broadband, end the opioid crisis, provide funding for the Secure Rural School Program, fight for CTE education and restore proper forest management. This is a large district, and Greg Walden effectively represents the whole of the Second district of Oregon. He has my vote.
When comparing political candidates, we can look at what the incumbent has done (or tried to do) for us, with what the challenger might do.
At a public meeting in Arlington in early 2017, I told Rep. Greg Walden that the Affordable Care Act had saved my life. By adding coverage for costly diagnostic colonoscopies, it let me get the test that identified what would have become cancer had it not been surgically removed. So, Obamacare is the main reason I can now write this letter.
Even though I now have Medicare coverage, I was dismayed that our representative and his Republican colleagues wanted to kill the ACA without any replacement plan. District 2 is a poor place. U.S. Census figures show that its median ($51,813) and average ($68,305) incomes are the second lowest of Oregon’s five congressional districts (bit.ly/2O6Wfpt).
But no Oregon congressional district saw as many people (88,979) added to the Oregon Health Plan under Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. It wasn’t perfect legislation, but it has helped huge numbers of people in Rep. Walden’s district (bit.ly/2PUGofx).
His challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, supports healthcare that is “universally accessible, and universally affordable” (bit.ly/2Pp1kyb). That’s why I’m voting for her, and you should, too.
I am proud of our city’s efforts to take a fresh look and modernize building codes in relation to the west side of Hood River. It has taken decades of planning and our past councils have been unwilling to tackle this difficult land use project.
The ideas and policies being developed in the plan will result in a framework for development that will ensure a well thought-out transportation and parks plan.
This two-year planning process will result in a neighborhood that is a model of responsible development.
The west side will grow into a neighborhood with schools and parks and connective pathways, efficient vehicular access and a mix of homes, townhomes and apartments. Without these new guidelines the city will have very little ability to require parks, bikeways and street locations. It will become a cookie cutter neighborhood without the amenities that we have come to expect. Please support the westside plan and the candidates that support it. Please vote; it is a small price to pay for democracy.
Prepare for an onslaught of negative ads from our current Congressional representative. I’d so much rather hear about his accomplishments, but since he has little to show for his 20 years in Congress, just the few good things for which his committee can take credit, negativity is his fall back.
It’s upsetting when he takes on family members; not everyone in my family agrees with me. How about yours? It’s upsetting when he thinks longevity in Oregon has some kind of merit as a qualification. How many of us migrated to this beautiful state? Have you ever disagreed with your boss? I was fired because I wouldn’t lie to a customer.
What matters more are ideas, experience, accomplishments and showing up! I know that Jamie McLeod-Skinner fits that bill and will work for us, her small, local resident donors and voters. Please join me in casting your positive vote for real representation for District 2, for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a person of integrity who will stay true to our values.
If I’m tone-deaf, then Ben Mitchell is factually blind.
Fact: If you look at any Oregon town with the same desirability and size of Hood River, our housing prices are almost exactly inline.
Fact: Our wage data is lower than similar cities and not inline.
Fact: City government has two main functions: Infrastructure and Public Safety. The city’s job is to build the infrastructure for housing but not the housing.
Fact: Our infrastructure is failing, several intersections have been failing for more than a decade, parking is a disaster, and our schools are overcrowded.
Fact: Oregon continually ranks close to the bottom of every K-12 study? Is it any wonder, when we have 42 kids in an eighth grade math class or kids sitting on benches in the back of the room because there aren’t enough desks?
Ben, the fact is, by the time a student enters the eighth grade, 57 percent are behind in math and 42 percent are behind in reading.
Like Ben, the city needs to face the facts and it is time the city gets back to basics. It is fiscally irresponsible for the city to give away a public asset worth millions of dollars for $1to a property tax-free developer. The fact is, Morrison Park is just the first park to go, and Jackson Park might be next; there are no protected parks. Morrison Park is a critical link in a greenbelt that would offset many of the negative impacts of growth and density while maintaining the look and feel of a small town. At this stage of our growth, a greenbelt should be considered critical infrastructure.
Realistically, Morrison Park is a poor choice for families: There are no other parks on the north side of Cascade and schools are far away. The fact is there are far better locations for housing that make more sense for the targeted market, more sense for Hood River and more sense to our future.
You are more than welcome to continue the conversation, Ben. You will find my hearing is excellent and my facts are correct.
I support the Second Amendment. Most of my family members and many of my friends own guns. That’s how I grew up and that’s the way I like it. However, when I was in college, a classmate of mine was killed by her boyfriend, who had a history of being abusive and had a gun. During my sophomore year, a few days after she broke up with him, he shot her in the back of the head. This happened two blocks from my apartment. When I learned that Mr. Helfrich voted against the boyfriend loophole, I became quite distrustful when I also received mail from Helfrich‘s campaign purporting that he cares about keeping communities safe.
Allowing people with a proven history of violence, particularly domestic violence, to hold onto their guns is shortsighted and illogical. I judge people primarily by their character and by their actions, not by what they say and certainly not by what they promulgate with very expensive political messaging.
Help curve domestic violence! In 2014, 33,499 Americans were killed by guns. When it comes to gun violence against women, the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world. Domestic violence affects millions of women across the country, and guns in the hands of domestic abusers can turn abuse into murder. Indeed, the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed.
Helfrich voted against the boyfriend loophole, which was later ratified. Voting for Anna Williams is a vote for safety, community and logic.
It’s difficult to write this letter. As a student of politics, an incidental activist, decorated disabled Veteran, and a proud and patriotic citizen, it is with shame and a heavy heart that I must respond to our current administration’s immigration policy. It’s bad enough that we have been separating children from their parents at the border and placing them in detention centers; that current political rhetoric demonizes people seeking legal asylum in our country as drug dealers, rapists, disease vectors and terrorists, etc.; bad enough that sanctuary laws in this state, established over three decades ago to combat racial profiling, are now under threat of re-peal. Over the past few days, our president ordered active duty troops to our border in anticipation of the most recent migrant caravan, or what he calls an “invasion.” Within hours, that proposal is up from around 5,000 to 15,000.
It’s tempting to write this off as boasts meant to rile up individuals who consider immigration to be the single greatest threat facing our nation. Maybe when the midterms are over, the rhetoric will die down and another potential human rights disaster will be averted. Maybe then our direct representatives in Congress will find the breathing room and cooperation required to address desperately needed policy changes. Deploying active duty troops to “protect” our borders is rife with danger. Our troops are being sent to “assist” with border patrol, but are not allowed to engage in interdiction. So what is it they are doing? Looking scary and intimidating by a show of force they are not “supposed” to act on? Deploying fences and barriers between ports of entry? Is this how President Trump is finally going to build his wall, by using our military budget to turn our troops into his personal contractors?
I feel sadness and concern for our troops and their commanders who are sworn to follow the orders of this Commander-in-Chief, even as those orders press the boundaries of all that is decent and moral and lawful in this land.
As General McChrystal (Ret.) said, “If we handle this poorly, anything that America stands for is at stake.”
Amy K. W. Heil
In Oregon’s Second Congressional District, Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner is within single digits of incumbent Greg Walden (R-District 2).
Here are the top 10 reasons why, as a non-affiliated voter, I strongly support McLeod-Skinner:
- Jamie is a moderate, who will bring a bipartisan approach to a Congress divided along unproductive partisan lines.
- Jamie is a listener and a consensus builder who will seek common-sense, people-oriented solutions for issues that divide our district.
- Jamie will be committed and objective in fulfilling the responsibility of Congress to provide checks and balances to presidential powers.
- Jamie recognizes and respects the wisdom and established treaty rights of the Pacific Northwest tribes.
- Jamie will make policy decisions informed by facts and science, and by what is right and ethical.
- Jamie will advocate for sensible health care solutions, affordably available to all members of our community.
- Jamie will address the opioid crisis with the best interests of our communities in mind, without divided loyalties.
- Jamie recognizes the U.S. armed forces as essential for geopolitical balance and national security, and will advocate for veterans being honored through actions comprehensively responsive to their needs.
- Jamie recognizes that climate change is real, largely man-caused, and in dire need for immediate and forward-thinking strategies for mitigation and adaptation.
- Jamie recognizes that adaptive water management and renewable energy technologies are strategic opportunities for Oregon’s economy, and keys to environmental sustainability.
I hope you join me in voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Congress.
In a recent column, School District Superintendent Dan Goldman wrote about the difficulty teachers face helping students learn about civics due to the rampant divisiveness in politics today. I agree with him and I’m sure this is a challenging time in the classroom. Our teachers should be commended for how they serve our children. But perhaps he should first have a conversation with his school board chair about her tactics in her race for state senate and how it is contributing to the growing divisiveness in our community.
Chrissy Rietz’s campaign has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars making false accusations about Chuck Thomsen and his record as our state senator. She has accused him of not supporting veterans, wanting violent criminals to possess firearms, and her latest charge is that Chuck doesn’t support providing resources for women who are victims of domestic violence. The last accusation is strongly rejected by Lee Montavan, former director of Helping Hands Against Violence in Hood River. She knows Chuck and she knows his record and she strongly supports Chuck.
It’s clear that Chrissy has turned her campaign over to high-priced political consultants who will say anything to try to win a campaign. They don’t care about the lasting divisiveness that will linger in this community long after the ballots are counted.
Please join me in rejecting these negative political tactics.
If you have not yet voted, please join me in voting for Chuck Thomsen for state senate. We and our children can be proud of his character as he represents us in Salem.
No on 105
Measure 105 can seem complicated. To be clear: Passage of 105 is about sanctioning racial profiling and discrimination.
Passage of 105 would be a cruel setback to efforts to defend civil rights in Oregon, a state which passed an anti-profiling law over 30 years ago with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans. That 1987 law says that local police cannot use “agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the U.S. in violation of federal immigration law” (i.e. that they are undocumented).
So to claim that we must pass Measure 105 to ensure public safety is not true.
Vote no on 105. That will help protect local police resources which are already stretched thin.
A no vote will help protect immigrant families from being unfairly targeted. It will encourage people to report crimes without fear of being arrested due to lack of documentation. It will help keep local police focused on enforcing local laws rather than doing the job of federal immigration officers.
Decades of research on crime rates show that there is no evidence that immigration ,including the undocumented, increases crime in the U.S.
Vote no on 105. Protect Oregon families. Keep our economy strong. Resist racism, fear and divisiveness.
Trump is making it clear — he is about destroying world relationships, creating trade wars, not telling the truth when he doesn’t want to, sending armed troops to “protect our country” from the poorest of poor, people with children in tow fleeing violence (this is our response as the leader of the free world?). Consider “to whom much is given much is asked ... protect these the littlest ones ...love thy neighbor like yourself ... the first are last and last are first ...” — hello? If the hate-spew of Trump is what you agree with, then vote for Walden, who supports Trump every step, accepts big-pharma dollars, including opium makers while they price-gouge us, and is rarely seen actually listening to our interests here in District 2 (but does attend $25K/plate dinners in Wilsonville).
If you care for our democracy, the well-being of others, the common interests and needs of our Congressional District 2 (true access to healthcare, not just over priced catastrophic insurance, educational opportunities, and a true economy, not a trade-war-subsidy, tax-cut fake one), then it’s critical you vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, our chance to bring a piece of civility back. And while you’re at it, if you care for education funding for our kids K-12 and college, if you care for taking guns away from convicted domestic violence offenders, basic common sense and not just a political party mantra, a commitment for the full length of the elected term, vote for Chrissy Reitz as well. We only make a difference “If We All Vote”.