Letters to the Editor for October 20

No on 1639

Please vote no on Initiative 1639. If you are a law-abiding gun owner — collector, sportsman, hunter, or in need of self-defense, I-1639 will make it nearly impossible to own a firearm. The Initiative is 30 pages of massive restrictions, vague phrases that are open to broad interpretation, and higher and higher fees with no oversight.

For example, in addition to a $25 per gun tax (that can be raised at any time), I-1639 will require annual background checks for life (paid by the gun owner), expensive training and a lifetime waiver of Health Records Privacy (HIPA violation). It defines a small .22 training rifle as an “assault weapon” and criminalizes self-defense for anyone under the age of 21.

This is just the beginning of reducing our Second Amendment rights to the point that they are non-existent or too expensive. The summary of the Initiative in the Voters’ Pamphlet tries to sell this initiative as a “common sense reform” that reduces gun violence. Common sense tells me that this initiative protects the criminals while attacking the average law-abiding gun owner and his or her right to self-defense. Please vote no on I-1639.

Laura Cheney

White Salmon

Walden-speak

When Greg Walden speaks, what he wants us to hear him say is not what he’s saying. Here are two examples.

In Walden’s debate with Jamie McLeod-Skinner, he told us the internet-fix for rural Oregon will come with 5G cellular. It won’t. 5G is the next generation of service that cellular telephone companies will introduce. It’s supposed to allow us to send and receive more data, especially video for our phones and tablets.

Here’s what Walden isn’t telling us. Companies like AT&T and Verizon can’t yet buy equipment. Equipment suppliers are still researching, engineering and designing the equipment. 5G phones or tablets don’t exist.

The cellular companies have already announced they will not offer service in Oregon, Washington or Idaho any time soon. The technology is for densely populated cities like New York and Los Angeles. Portland and Seattle aren’t large enough, let alone any communities in Congressional District 2.

Cellar telephone companies are nevertheless hyping 5G; it’s the latest buzzword. All Walden is doing is adding his voice to the public relations campaigns of his communications industry donors. He wants us to believe he’s found the solution to our Internet issues. He hasn’t.

His talk about his record in healthcare is equally deceitful. He says he has improved healthcare for all of us, especially children. He voted for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But his bill modifying the Affordable Care Act was not helpful. His hype line was, “We’re going to fix healthcare by introducing market forces.” A market is simply a group of people, organizations and institutions that want to buy goods and services they need at a price they can afford.

Walden gamed the market with his new regulated pricing scheme that thousands of his constituents can’t afford. The real beneficiaries are the health care insurers and providers — his contributors. His bill lowered providers’ financial risk and increased profits. Again, Walden is blowing smoke. This smoke is deadly.

Enough Walden speak! Vote for clear talk, credibility and integrity. Vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Victor Pavlenko

Hood River

Need balance

President Trump has reached a low no other president has gone. At a recent rally, President Trump mocked sexual assault survivor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford while his supporters clapped and laughed at Dr. Ford. I find this behavior of Trump and his supporters at the rally disgusting. The Trump supporters at his rallies remind me of sheep who will do anything their leader says, even if the behavior is cruel and disrespectful. Trump is not a moral leader for this country. He rather promotes hate, racism, divisiveness and disrespect, especially of women, people of color and children.

Trump Republicans have too much power in Washington, D.C. Mitch McConnell refused to hold a Senate hearing to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland 14 months before Obama was going to leave office. This Senate move by McConnell violated our democratic governmental process.

Now the Republicans control the House, Senate, presidency and the Supreme Court. President Trump is a leader for less than half of the people of this country. He continuously condemns Democrats and blames them for all of the problems of this country. He does nothing to heal this country and would rather spend time at a Trump rally where everyone cheers for him than meet with a diverse group of people to discuss how to build bridges between people who think differently about how to make this country better.

President Obama nominated Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court over his eight years as president. President Trump has nominated two Supreme Court Justices in less than two years as a president. This president is under investigation for possible collusion with the Russians and obstruction of justice. President Trump should not be nominating Supreme Court justices while his mental state and leadership are so destructive. Unfortunately, the Republicans will do anything to get their agenda through. They even are willing to ignore Trump’s immoral and hateful behaviors that are hurting our country.

We need a better balance of power in Washington, D.C. Please vote for Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Congress. Every vote will be important in November’s election. Please vote!

Nancy Johanson Paul

Hood River

Vote for Brown

As a small-town Oregonian who values family wage jobs, healthy communities and safety, Kate Brown has my vote for governor.

The choice is clear: With bi-partisan support, Governor Brown passed the transportation infrastructure bill that will create an estimated 16,000 jobs and will repair failing bridges and roads and provide alternative transportation.

Also with bi-partisan support, she passed Cover All Kids, so 100 percent of Oregon’s children have access to healthcare.

This is in stark contrast to Republican Knute Buehler, who voted against both of these bills. Brown’s voting records demonstrates loud and clear her commitment to working families, stimulating the economy and maintaining safe roads. Buehler’s voting record shows these issues are on his agenda.

Mimi Maduro

Mosier

Vote Reitz

Chrissy Reitz is our only Oregon Senate candidate who has put the time and commitment into working on education boards and committees, including chairing the Hood River School Board, working on the successful bond and levy campaigns, facility planning, bond oversight, budget and financial advisory committees — I know this because I too have put the time into these boards and committees. Chrissy’s commitment goes further — she founded the Gorge Kids Triathlon, an annual event that brings 300 kids to the waterfront and raises funds for kid’s physical education classes.

I respect Chuck Thomsen’s Senate service — an often thankless job, including people writing editorials about you (respectfully!) — but I’ve never seen Chuck attend any of these board and committee meetings to gain that readily available knowledge of what’s working locally to meet the challenges for kids’ education in Oregon.

It goes farther — the Oregon Legislature formed a bi-partisan House and Senate Joint Interim Committee on Student Success (JICSS), assigned with the goal of developing a plan for improving Oregon’s education system. When the JICSS visited Hood River last month, Chrissy volunteered more time and attended, but Chuck was absent. We need attendance to help improve Oregon’s education system. Chrissy has committed extensive time to develop this first-hand expertise of school finance, navigating state funding challenges, staff pay and retention, PERS calculations and impacts and, most importantly, the needs of our children’s education, including pre-K, K-12 and onward to post-secondary.

We in Hood River have worked and invested together to create a school district that is exceeding Oregon State’s woeful performance, and we’re doing it in a fiscally responsible manner.

Chrissy’s massive time commitment has helped that success. We and our kids can benefit further from Chrissy’s commitment and experience by sending her to Oregon’s Senate to help develop workable solutions to improve our state’s education system, develop PERS solutions and offer more opportunities for our kid’s success.

Please join me in voting for Chrissy Reitz as our Senator in Salem.

Rich Truax

Hood River

Time to retire

I’ve been trying to get in touch with my old HRVHS ’74 classmate, Greg Walden. I imagine he’s busy with his Congressman duties and his campaign, and my attempts just get lost in all his regular emails, letters and phone calls. I’ve heard that there’s so many that his staff can’t handle the volume, that they have to use form letters and some people never get called back. And that Greg is so popular that many companies around the country are eager to contribute to his re-election, not ones here in District 2 ... isn’t that something? Maybe someone will help me, and pass this along?

Dear Greg,

I spent last Saturday at Autzen Stadium, where our Oregon Ducks defeated the Washington Huskies in overtime, a game that will surely become a classic. Perhaps you remember my invitation from our 40th HRVHS class reunion? I’ve had season tickets for several years, right on the aisle next to the student section, row 21. That’s my choice, the energy level is much higher, including the atmosphere, which sometimes reminds me of high school. Not actually in the high school, but during high school or maybe it was a graduation party. I’m sure I was there, but remembering everything is hard.

That 2014 season was special. Last time I saw you, at your Prineville town hall in 2016, I wanted to renew the offer, but you didn’t call on me and avoided me afterwards. I get it, the Ducks weren’t very good and you didn’t want to hurt me by refusing.

How about coming with me to every game? It’ll be like when we were equipment managers for the junior high football team. But you might want to retire from Congress first.

I could invite your replacement too, Jamie McLeod-Skinner. She too has a degree from Oregon. She’s younger, energetic and seems smart as a whip. I’ve had conversations with her, she listens. All three of us could go together, and I bet she’d even listen to you. I’m really looking forward to it!

Scott McDonald

Mt. Vernon

Walden is best choice

As someone who has known Congressman Greg Walden for 40 years, I am pleased the Bend Bulletin and the East Oregonian newspapers gave him the green light to continue as our eastern Oregon congressman. The papers said his opponent and other Democrats are simply wrong when they say that Greg doesn’t pay attention to his constituents.

I agree with the newspapers that if there’s one thing that Greg gives attention to, it’s the people and issues of his 2nd Congressional District. While his opponent would have us believe otherwise, she is wrong. His record should persuade Hood River voters to return him to Congress next month.

Greg visits each of the CD2 counties, all 20 of them, at least once a year. Also, he conducts telephone town halls. About two weeks ago, I participated in one of them.

Did you know that Greg was a driver behind the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, and more recently has made significant progress in the push to end the practice of fire borrowing, which requires federal land agencies to spend down their budgets to fight catastrophic fires instead of using that money to improve wildland health?

As for healthcare for Oregonians, his opponent favors a single-provider system, which would cost, according to a variety of estimates, between $1.3 trillion and $2.8 trillion annually. No matter how you slice it, that’s a huge chunk of the federal government’s $3.3 trillion in expected revenues this year, and it would require a major tax increase on everyone to finance, according to PolitiFact. Walden believes a better approach would be to drive down costs by requiring increased transparency and disclosure.

I agree with the final summary of the Bend Bulletin: Greg is not a flashy politician. He works hard at his job representing the people of the 2nd Congressional District. He chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has passed nearly 200 bills under his guidance, mostly with bipartisan support. He reflects the views of this district well and will continue to do so. He should be re-elected.

Tom Yates

Hood River

Jamie and Goliath

Not until my work with Service Member’s Legal Defense Network (as its Pacific Northwest leader) did conversations in my college classrooms transform into civic actions. In 2008-09, I began lobbying senators and congress members in the capitol to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). What an eye opener! Representative Walden refused to see me and instead substituted a staffer.

The following year, I again asked to speak with Walden, this time in Medford. He declined my request. A senior staffer informed me, “He is uncomfortable with the subject.” The 2010 final House vote to repeal DADT (HR 2965) was 250-175, with 160 Republicans voting “No,” including Walden.

Incumbent Representative Walden’s modus operandi is not to speak to constituents who disagree with his positions; he has held very few Town Halls, preferring the D.C. watch and small groups.

Our Democratic candidate, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an energetic, savvy and moderate politician, has, in her campaign across the district, exhibited only willingness to listen to all constituents. An experienced politician, Jamie has shown us how to conduct a first-class campaign.

Jamie is campaigning against tough odds. The 2018 Oregon District 2 registered voter data looks like this: 354,327 Coalition vs. 188,755 Republicans. However, 19 of its 20 counties went for Trump in 2016 (Portland Monthly, Aug. 14, 2018). A Jamie and Goliath match if ever there was one.

Walden in the Trump era has voted 98.9 percent in line with the president. In 2017, he was chief architect of a GOP plan to kill the current Affordable Health Plan gutting both Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan. One in five adults and one in two children in Oregon rely on Medicaid for healthcare coverage.

For the above, and for his lack of support for policies to (1) alleviate the effects of climate change, (2) achieve reasonable gun laws for public safety and (3) challenge wrong-headed decision-making in the Department of Veterans Affairs, the best way to hold Greg Walden accountable is to vote him out.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner will be an outstanding Oregon District 2 Representative.

Commander Beth F. Coye, U.S. Navy (ret.)

Ashland

Vote for Dems

Greg Walden had one main job: To write a healthcare law that would improve Obamacare and provide us with medical care that, e.g. would not penalize for pre-existing conditions. There is no evidence he has advanced one inch. What exactly has he done except support, to the hilt, the worst president in history or in imagination?

Vote for McLeod-Skinner and get your friends to. Also, please do not be fooled into voting for any Repug such as Thomson, Helfrich or Buehler. If any of these guys have not said loudly and explicitly that they reject the maniac at the head of their party, do not then dilute what could be a super majority of Democrats in our legislature.

Nice guys? No doubt they are. That matters not.

And Kavanaugh? Don’t be too discouraged. Think of it as saving that Supreme Court seat for when the evidence comes in (and it will) and we can impeach both him and Thomas (after, of course, those three Anita Hill-corroborating women Biden rejected in ‘92 finally get to testify).

If anybody listened, Kavie proved himself a bold and arrogant liar, about things big and tiny, and I have no doubt the Bush-era papers that were kept hidden will reveal far, far worse.

And Cliff Mansfield makes me sad, so disturbed. He shouldn’t make fun of Justice Ginsburg being old and closer to dying. He and she must be of similar age, but she is a loving person and would be well treated by a loving God. Sorry, Cliff.

Bob Williams

Hood River

For Helfrich

Veterans: Support Jeff Helfrich for State Representative. We have the chance to elect Helfrich as our State Representative for House District 52. If we work together, we can make it happen, just as we made every mission happen. We accomplished those missions because we worked together, as a team.

Now we have a new critical mission to accomplish. That mission is to shape the future of Oregon into a future that we as veterans envision, a secure future, a future that respects our values, a future that respects our sacrifices. We can do that by reelecting Jeff Helfrich as our Representative to Salem. Jeff possesses the personal attributes and the values need to steer our state government towards a future that we want for ourselves and our families.

Veterans, active duty and retired military personnel comprise 8 percent of the Oregon population. If we stand together and focus our military brotherhood, shared background and values on the mission of electing Jeff Helfrich, we can be the deciding factor in shaping the election in House district 52 and the future of Oregon. Together we can make a difference.

Jeff Helfrich has shouldered the burden of responsibility as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 52. He has worked hard to build a better Oregon. He is ready, willing and able to continue representing our district. Elect him.

Now we veterans, active duty and retired personnel must shoulder the load of getting out and talking to Oregonians and encouraging them to join our efforts. I challenge each and every one of you to fall in. Get in step. Re-elect Jeff Helfrich as State Representative for House District 52 in November. May GOD bless you, your families, our deployed military personnel and The State of Oregon.

Mark K. Shull,

Lt. Colonel (ret)

Sandy

Mayor must go

I have been extremely disappointed by the mayor and some of the city council in regard to:

Action against sexual harassment at city council meetings

Financial and budget – Lack of forward planning

Infrastructure planning (Lack of)

Affordable housing plans e.g. Morrison Park

Downtown Parking – Approval of new housing with no parking

Attitude towards parks

Short Term Rental “regulations” and treatment of the advisory committee

Avi Cohn

Hood River

Need center

Thanks to all who are urging affordable housing at the ODOT property on Cascade, thus saving the disc golf/Morrison Park, which is one of Hood River City’s oldest parks. The park contains more than five acres of Oregon white oak and Ponderosa pine, with open meadows, a brook and trails that lead under the freeway down to the Columbia River. It’s a sanctuary for birds and wildlife in the middle of our city and serves as a corridor for deer down to the bank of the river. Many swim from there to sanctuary on Wells Island, where they often raise their young. Perhaps this is an opportunity to finally build a youth center at the five-acre Morrison site.

I remember such a place in my youth, called Live Oak Park. We had lots of open space, trees, many play opportunities, plus evening “Drop In” dances and after school homework clubs. Tutors and volunteers coordinated play, snacks and homework help, then more play until a parent came by to pick them up after work.

Patricia Cooper is working for the school district to help all kids do better in school, graduate and get further education afterwards. I know schools will work hard to improve outcomes for our Latino youth. Many parents of all ethnic groups do not have an education themselves and are unable to offer much help and encouragement to their kids at home, outside of school hours. A youth center could help the kids to play and get their homework done, with help as needed. If the offer were extended to the parents to come in at pick-up time and see what the kids have worked on, the parents could get ideas and modeling of how they can encourage academics in their children on a daily basis at home, even if parents don’t know the subjects such as algebra or English grammar.

Surely the schools, Parks and Rec, and various granting agencies and volunteer groups could work together to finally get a proper youth center and get community volunteers to help make this work once it is built. I know I would.

Alison McDonald, bilingual counselor

Hood River

Yes on 102

Across our region and state, there are people who experience health challenges and disabilities who are struggling to find safe, accessible and affordable housing. Unfortunately, we don’t have any place in our state where someone with a limited income can afford a market rate apartment without other help: Seniors, people earning minimum wage, people who experience disabilities, and others need access to affordable housing. As a community, we can do more to ensure our neighbors have safe and stable housing.

As a board member for our local housing authority, Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, I know that we have strong partners in our region who have decades of expertise in building affordable housing.

While our community isn’t considering an affordable housing bond this November, there is an important measure on the ballot that could enable us or other communities to help people with low incomes in the future.

Measure 102 will make a small change in our state’s law to allow communities to stretch affordable housing bond funds. Cities will be able to partner with local affordable housing developers, like the experts at our housing authority, to build more affordable housing.

Right now, when communities consider local bonds for affordable housing, governments have to be completely responsible to own and operate any housing projects built with bond dollars. That means Oregon is losing out on decades of experience, plus the ability to pair bonds with other local, state, or federal dollars to stretch the bonds further.

Measure 102 solves a problem for communities in Oregon. It is a common sense, and narrowly crafted solution that doesn’t cost voters anything.

Measure 102 will strengthen the efforts of communities across the state trying to address housing needs in their community. Measure 102 is a tool we need to build safe, stable, and affordable housing for seniors, for people who experience a disability, for families, and for our communities.

I urge you to join me in voting yes this November on Measure 102.

Barbara Seatter

Hood River

For Brown

Assaults on healthcare, especially access and cost, at the federal level have been so consistent and outrageous that it’s possible to overlook the large role that state government plays in these areas. But the role IS large, and our candidates for governor in Oregon have radically different records and deserve our very close attention.

Kate Brown has a solid record as governor in promoting healthcare for all in Oregon, including leading a coalition to pass Measure 101; passing “Cover All Kids” law (SB558); signing an executive order declaring addiction a public health crisis in Oregon and legislation to address its treatment; convening Oregon’s Opioid Epidemic Task Force; and promoting and signing the Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017, guaranteeing women’s access to no-cost contraception and safe abortions, and codifying for the first time the legal right to abortion in Oregon. In addition, Brown is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.

Her opponent, Knute Buehler, has an equally consistent (but wholly negative) record on healthcare issues, including voting against Measure 101; voting against “Cover All Kids” law; voting against funding a study on options for financing healthcare in Oregon, including a single payer system; opposing the Reproductive Health Equity Act; siding with Oregon Right to Life, opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest; voting against pharma price controls; and voting against giving Oregonians’ access to a 90-day supply of prescription meds for certain chronic conditions. A lot happens on healthcare at the state level, and the governor sets the tone. Brown is my choice.

Nikkita Paulson

Hood River



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