Letters to the Editor for October 24

'We are here’

The residents at Hood River Care Center need you. Come share your talents with us. Artists, crafters, travelers, gardeners, scrapbookers, wood workers, computer, etc. We need you. Call 541-386-2688 and ask for Ashley.

Invisible.

If you live in a nursing home (aka a care enter), one can feel invisible. Busy lives, legitimately busy lives. Work, it necessarily commands the major part of our attention.

There are distractions to help you forget you are invisible: Learning a new skill (how to crochet, knit, needlepoint, stringing beads, etc.), reading.

But the fact of the matter is we are invisible to the outside world. So, send up a prayer when you pass by a care center/nursing home. We are many in need of prayer, for the battle is on. A battle against illness, disability, injury and loneliness. A battle to maintain our sense of perspective (the first thing that goes).

This is not a pity party. Just a reminder to quote the people of Whoville: “We are here. We are here. We are here.”

Margaret Combs

Hood River Care Center

Will protect

If you’re concerned about the news that the U.S. budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020, you will probably be even more concerned if you are among the 160,000 seniors in our congressional district. That’s because, as expected, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just stated that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit is to cut programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

This is false, of course. What he fails to mention is that it is impossible to reduce the deficit given the huge corporate tax cuts recently enacted by the Republican Congress, in combination with their refusal to increase taxes on the super-wealthy (i.e., their donors). Is there no end to the Republicans’ desire to transfer money from the working class to the wealthy? This rapid escalation of the deficit comes from the political party that keeps telling us how financially responsible it is. Congressman Greg Walden belongs to this party. He has repeatedly voted for Republican budgets that would gut Medicare. In 2011, he voted against protecting both Social Security and Medicare benefits from privatization. Would any of us feel safe knowing that private industry was in control of our financial and medical future?

Greg Walden is clearly not representing our best interests. Even if you believe he tries, he doesn’t dare oppose the Republican party line. A vote for Walden is a vote against your security. If you believe as I do, that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are essential to our retirement, vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner to represent us in Congress. She believes in protecting her constituents and our futures.

Allan Rodrick

Hood River

Short memory

During the debate earlier this month between Congressman Greg Walden and his Democratic challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Walden claimed he has not tried to remove protections for pre-existing medical conditions.

This is simply untrue, and he must think we’re stupid or afflicted with very short memories to buy that. Greg Walden was the principal architect of the American Health Care Act, which would have taken away healthcare coverage entirely for hundreds of thousands in Congressional District 2 and also would have removed protections for pre-existing conditions for everyone. Walden has voted over 50 times to repeal, defund, and/or shred the Affordable Care Act, which is the source of the protections in question. Walden tried to defend himself by saying that pre-existing conditions continue to be protected at this time. Right — but only because his attempts to eliminate those protections have failed (so far).

Linda Densmore

Hood River

103 is ‘junk’

I was amazed at the justifications for Ballot Measure 103 in Loran Ayles’ letter of Oct. 17. Since when do we need a constitutional amendment to prevent taxation that doesn’t exist? Something’s fishy when I read that Measure 103 is retroactive and our attorney general says everything from farm to consumer, including restaurants, would be exempted from taxation by this measure. Why a constitutional amendment when sales taxes often exempt groceries anyway? A sledgehammer to knock the fly off the chandelier?

Constitutions don’t need to have junk in them. If there needs to be a law, let’s have our legislature write a law protecting dietary-nourishing foods from taxes, not everything under the sun that could be eaten. Would this amendment protect marijuana brownies from taxation? Think about it. We are about to get “Dry Gulched!” Vote no on 103.

Rick McBee

Hood River

Vote Williams

I am writing to urge you to vote for Anna Williams.

When we vote, we decide who speaks for us in Salem. Anna is the person I want speaking for me and my neighbors in District 52.

She is honest, smart, hard-working, has standout, top-notched integrity and cares deeply about family, community, education, preserving Oregon‘s natural resources and the growth of our economy.

I have known Anna for many years and I know her as someone who has great leadership qualities. I trust that as our representative, she will engage in open-minded, good-willed dialogue to understand and incorporate conflicting views when representing our diverse residents. Anna is a bridge builder who will do the best job in representing our large diverse communities which circle the base of Mount Hood.

Anna is approachable and reasonable. With her as our representative, many positive things will be achieved.

Robert Wellenstein

Hood River

‘Low ball’

When a political newcomer runs for office against an incumbent candidate, the newcomer has two choices: Work hard to communicate with voters about your qualifications and vision and try to have your positives exceed that of the incumbent, or take the low road and bombard the incumbent with negative hit pieces to try to drive down their positive ratings so that you can be competitive. It appears that Chrissy Reitz has chosen option two.

This week, her campaign has mailed two outrageous hit pieces about Chuck Thomsen. One says that Chuck has “spent his career working to take health care away from Oregonians.” In actuality, Chuck was committed to passing a budget that funded health care. He supported HB 5026, which protected funding for 350,000 low-income Oregonians. He also opposed HB 2391, a sales tax on health care premiums which would increase the cost of healthcare.

Another negative piece made the absurd claim that Chuck doesn’t support veterans because he voted “no” on a funding bill for the Veterans Administration in the last session. In reality, Chuck was not present for that vote. Senate President Peter Courtney asked him to attend an emergency Education Committee meeting and gave him an excused absence. Chuck believes the veterans budget is underfunded and has pushed for the level of funding that the voters have already voted for and approved.

Rather than working to tell us about her plans and vision, Reitz tries to malign Chuck with these bogus claims. We know Chuck Thomsen and appreciate his years of public service ranging from the county commission to the legislature.

Please join us in rejecting these low-ball tactics and supporting someone we know and trust, Chuck Thomsen for State Senate.

Jon and Debra Laraway

Pine Grove

For Williams

Voters sometimes don’t realize how important our state representatives are or what they can do for us. Anna Williams is a doer who follows her words with detailed proposals for action to benefit the common good.

I am impressed with her record of service to her community while a working mother. She has partnered with environmental organizations, farmers and tourism groups to protect our very wonderful natural resources and beautiful forests and streams, both in Montana and here in Oregon. The Oregon League of Conservation Voters has given her their strong endorsement.

She advocates for reasonable gun regulation that closes dangerous loopholes that allow domestic abusers to keep their firearms, which is important for abuse victims, as well as local police. As a social worker, she’s worked extensively with local police and sheriff’s departments and the Oregon State Police to improve reporting of domestic violence.

There was some misinformation recently about her tax proposals: She is in favor of large, multi-national corporations paying their fair share of taxes in Oregon (which they currently do not) while protecting family farmers and other small businesses from excessive taxation.

She is currently working to support our veterans’ education opportunities and has helped older veterans get to medical appointments and other needed services in her past employment.

Her proposals to improve education include more technical training in high schools and support for community colleges that expand employment opportunities for local residents.

I hope you’ll join me in voting for Anna Williams for House District 52 representative.

Julie Anderson

Sandy

Brown strong

I am a community health worker and health equity advocate in rural Oregon — born and raised in the Gorge. I am committed to ensuring that my neighbors can access the health care and health resources we need, regardless of our race, income, age, ability or ZIP code.

This is why I’m voting for candidates who believe Oregonians should be able to make their own healthcare decisions, including safe, legal abortion, without interference from the federal or state government.

I’m voting for candidates who believe women deserve access to affordable birth control and who believe young people deserve access to medically-accurate sex education.

State House candidate Anna Williams and State Senate candidate Chrissy Reitz have committed to these fundamental values, so they have my support.

I’m also voting to re-elect Gov. Kate Brown, who has stood up to Donald Trump at a critical time for reproductive freedom. Under her bold leadership, Roe vs. Wade is now safeguarded in Oregon, no matter what happens at the Supreme Court.

Her opponent, Knute Buehler, voted against this urgently needed protection. Meanwhile, he’s running flagrantly misleading ads claiming to be “100 percent pro-choice.”

I find it concerning that Buehler’s record doesn’t back up his claims. He says he’s “going outside of his party lines” to protect the environment, but he’s sitting at a failing lifetime score from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Even though he says he supports commonsense gun reform, he voted against background checks in Oregon.

Buehler’s record tells a different story from his empty campaign promises, and it doesn’t match up with my values. Actions speak far louder than words, and we can’t trust Buehler to stand up for Oregon values.

I’m proud to live in a state led by a Governor who has made strides to be inclusive and supportive of our most vulnerable communities. Kate Brown knows that when people are stronger, Oregon is stronger.

Leticia Valle

Parkdale

No reality here

Greg Walden seemed quite out of touch with the reality of financial struggles in this district during his debate with Jamie McLeod-Skinner earlier this month.

Jamie stated (correctly) that “close to 50 percent of people in this district are below or just above the poverty level,” but Walden countered by stating how well the national economy is doing, saying it was the strongest in many years and implying that rural Oregon was sitting pretty.

The economy is definitely looking good for the wealthy, for stockholders, and for his corporate donors. Stock prices are high, and corporations just got gigantic tax cuts.

The picture in most of rural Oregon is quite different. Current figures from the Oregon Employment Department show that 10 of the 15 Oregon counties with the highest poverty rates are right here in Walden’s district. Now the trade war started by Trump’s poorly conceived tariffs is ruining many markets for Oregon agricultural products, hurting farmers and their communities. And Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders have confirmed that they’ll pay for that $1.7 trillion tax package for the top 1 percent of the country with cuts to Medicare, under 65 health coverage and Social Security for the rest of us.

Walden’s claim of an economic boom is just not true for most of his constituents, and he doesn’t seem to have a clue (or maybe just doesn’t care).

Jamie McLeod-Skinner has driven over 40,000 miles through this district, listening to the stories of Oregonians, not millionaire CEOs. She knows what’s really happening and will work for our communities, not corporations. She is speaking for our district, so I know how I will vote.

Fran Finney

Hood River

Roll call votes

Everyone who thinks Greg Walden puts his constituents first in Oregon’s Second District needs to do some serious research — not just believe what he says, but look at his votes in the House of Representatives. This is not hard to do. Every roll call vote is recorded and placed in permanent records. Two of the easiest sites to find these votes are congress.gov/roll-call-votes and govtrack.us/congress/votes. Or you can just type in “congressional votes” in any search engine. Before you blindly mark your ballot for Mr. Walden, look up and see how he voted on things like equal pay for equal work, or his votes on 2017 House Resolutions 21, 26, 38 and HJ 38 to name a few. I have recorded Walden’s votes since 2007. Greg Walden, in fact, rarely votes in his constituents’ interest.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Jamie will protect care

One would think that from his powerful post as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Greg Walden would be in prime position to help bring rapidly rising drug costs under control. But no, he did his best to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have cost healthcare coverage to thousands of his constituents.

He has voted 14 times to reopen the Medicare “donut hole,” costing seniors thousands more in out-of-pocket prescription costs. And pharma companies were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, enacted by Walden’s party last December. Could his protection of big drug companies, at the expense of the needs of his constituents, have anything to do with the fact that Walden is the number one recipient of money from Big Pharma, having received over $1 million over the course of his career?

So next time you see one of Greg Walden’s big billboards around town, remember that Big Pharma helped to pay for it. And if this doesn’t sit right with you, join me in voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, whose grassroots campaign is focused on the needs of the ordinary people of the Second District, not powerful Washington power brokers and greedy drug companies. Jamie will work for us!

Elaine Castles

Mosier

Democrat or Republican?

When we vote on Nov. 6, here are some of the choices we will be making: Will we vote for liberal no-sense policies or conservative common-sense policies? Will we advocate tearing down more dams to help salmon while the Californian sea lions gorge on our salmon and cormorants and other birds pick off the small salmon going to the ocean?

Will we vote for more bike lanes and light rail or more automobile lanes in our roads; more homelessness with their problems or using tough love to deal with them; less logging and more fires or good forest management including logging; tolls on our roads or no tolls; protesters harassing innocent citizens on our city streets or cracking down on them; closing fish hatcheries or operating them; more business-destroying regulations and taxes or less of them; fixing Oregon’s $22 billion public pension fund deficit or let it get worse; having more wolves, cougars, and even grizzly bears in our woods killing and eating deer, elk and cattle, and now starting to attack people, or controlling their populations; be against every job and prosperity, bringing new industry, or support them; letting our nice cities be taken over and deteriorate to the point that people and businesses are no longer safe and move away, or control the problems? Do yourself and all of us a favor and vote conservative (Republican). Thank you.

Bob Mattila

Brush Prairie, Wash.

Sordid ties

A journalist named Khashoggi from Saudi Arabia was apparently murdered by a Saudi 15-member hit team who arrived in Turkey with a surgical saw. It happened when he went to the Saudi embassy in Turkey to get some paper work.

Our president, after a call to the head of the Saudi government (Mohammad Bin Salman), says they claim to have nothing to do with it. According to our president, it was rogue killers — apparently, the Saudi embassy is home to rogue killers.

There are interesting ties between MBS and our president’s family, Jerrod Kushner. His son-in-law got a bailout from one of the Arab countries which kept him from possibly going bankrupt on the 666 building in Manhattan.

According to journalists in Turkey and the U.K., this murder was recorded on Mr. Khashoggi’s Apple Watch and possibly transmitted to an iPhone being held by his fiancée at the entrance to the embassy. What we know for sure is there is footage of him entering the embassy and none of him leaving. The Turks want access to the embassy, including the sewer. It’s gross that a president of the U.S. would court world leaders like Kim, Xi, MBS, Duterte, all known for murdering their citizens and sometimes, family members.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

False claims

I think we all expect that during a political season we will see a variety of ads for candidates, both pro and con, and that some may stretch the truth a bit to promote their candidate. What strikes me about this election is the actual false statements that are being told to promote a certain candidate. Recently, I’ve seen two mailers from Chrissy Reitz making accusations about Chuck Thomsen’s record that are completely false. She accuses Chuck of actively working to take health care from Oregon families and of intentionally voting to underfund services to veterans. There is no truth in either accusation. Chrissy has apparently turned her campaign over to high-priced political consultants who will do and say anything to help her get elected. What they don’t understand is that Chuck Thomsen is someone we know very well. We have respected his service from his many years on the county commission to the state senate and we know who he is. He is certainly not the person that Reitz’s political hit men say he is. I might expect these kind of tactics from other candidates. But Chrissy Reitz wants to use her position on the Hood River School Board to gain credibility for her candidacy. These type of “ends justify the means” actions have no place in politics or education. I would hope that her fellow board members and school district administration would tell her that these kind of over the top tactics reflect badly on the school board and, if continued, will harm the image of the district. Like many others, I know Chuck Thomsen and respect his service and character. I urge you to join me in voting for him for State Senate.

Sandi Burgess

Hood River

Deserve better

In my book, children are our future. But in Oregon, as in the rest of the country, they are getting the short end of the stick. Our society will be greatly diminished and less able to compete as a result.

Congressman Greg Walden’s lack of understanding of this fundamental value is clear in his voting record. He voted to drastically cut both the free school lunch program and SNAP, which helps more than 20 percent of families in our Congressional District 2 put food on their tables.

Even worse is his record on healthcare. With one exception, he has voted against funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), jeopardizing healthcare for 8.9 million children, including 120,000 in Oregon. Walden held CHIP and Community Health Center funding hostage last year, trying to bargain for other cuts to healthcare. Even for children, when funding is interrupted, so is medical care.

What is Walden doing about our children’s education? Education isn’t even listed as a priority issue on his website.

And what about the separation of immigrant children from their families and putting kids in cages? Instead of taking a stand against this outrage, Walden incomprehensibly blamed Trump’s appalling decisions on President Obama. And Walden’s committee in charge of reuniting these children with their families has now missed the court-ordered deadline to do so. Rep. Walden has become the consummate Washington, D.C., insider: Ignoring the level of attention and support our children need while he attends to his corporate sponsors. Again, our children are our future; we need leadership that will be on their side in Congress. This November, I’ll be voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Our kids deserve a lot better than they’re getting.

Daniel Fritz

Mosier

McLeod-Skinner

I had the opportunity to hear Jamie McLeod Skinner speak and I was very impressed. At a time when politics are polarized, she does not speak for only one political party. She was endorsed by The Independent Party of Oregon. Jamie understands what Oregonians need.

She cares about education and healthcare. She understands that we need to protect our land, water and air for agriculture, our communities and our future. She cares about veterans. She cares about immigrants, and I am the daughter of an immigrant. This election I am voting for McLeod-Skinner.

Pamela Larsen

Hood River

Vote Sheahan

I, like many other Hood Riverites, have watched in horror as housing and home rental prices have skyrocketed in the city the past several years. I have read callous comments from those who seem to feel their right to own second and third homes trump that of a family trying to rent just one, or that not everyone should have the ability to live where they work, and seen a general sense of “screw you, I got mine” mentality in terms of home affordability in this town. I have lived in constant apprehension of not being able to find an affordable home to live in and/or getting priced out of my current home. Meanwhile, I see houses on my street renting for $600 a night to tourists in the summer, then sitting dark in the winter.

I want someone on council who knows firsthand the struggle of trying to find housing in this town, who will fight for working families and make sure the council works for the people who live and work in this community. That person is Joe Sheahan. Joe has worked in the service industry for years in Hood River, is an active volunteer and cares deeply about issues that affect our community. We certainly have some qualified people running for council, but none quite like Joe.

Vote Joe Sheahan for Hood River City Council this November.

Ben Mitchell

Hood River

Size of prizes

When will we learn? “If it is too good to be true, do not do it.” Sunday from 12 ‘til 1 with lots of sun, we shot pics on the old highway, grabbed McDonald’s No. 10, and went home. Nice? Sure, but from 1 ‘til 5 — spirits high — I’d start a long quiz from a “good name” store, for a “good size prize,” but find out it was not their rule to have the last name in two parts, such as name dash name. I heard that you have to watch rules with care in such a case if you want their prize and I’d picked a good-sized prize, so I went back and changed my name.

Now I was Donna GrayDavis and took care to do all of it right: One ‘til 5 is a long time, but I thought I could do this for this size prize. Went from start to end more than once and would go back and share with care for a new “rule.” Three o’clock, 4 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 5:10. Still — no soap, let alone my huge prize.

Do you wish to be warned? Will a nice size prize motivate you too beyond reason? If it’s too good to be true ... you may just get a lot of phone calls! Humph.

Donna J. Gray-Davis

Hood River

Vote Reitz

I have had the good fortune to know Chrissy Reitz as a close friend for more than 10 years. I have always been impressed and inspired by Chrissy’s endless passion for community involvement and action. I had the opportunity to participate with Chrissy as a SMART reading program volunteer at Westside Elementary School several years ago, where she regularly showed up with a big smile following an early morning shift at the Hood River Warming Shelter. Chrissy has continued as a dedicated volunteer with both of these programs, in addition to active participation as a member of the Hood River Education Foundation, Providence Children’s Health Foundation Board, HRCSD Finance and Bond Advisory Committee and Hood River County School Board. In 2011, Chrissy envisioned and founded the Gorge Kids Triathlon, an event that has quickly become a fall tradition for many of our local kids, and raises awareness and money to fund health-related opportunities in our schools. Further demonstrating her dedication and leadership abilities, Chrissy currently chairs the Hood River County School Board.

Chrissy has devoted her time and energy to these causes because she truly believes that our children, education and healthcare are the keys to our community’s continued success. In order for children and families to thrive, she believes there must be access to affordable healthcare and housing, and quality education. Through her years of community service, Chrissy knows our local population, young and old, rich and poor, locally-born and newcomer, and hopes to serve them all in Salem. Please join me in voting for Chrissy Reitz for State Senate this November.

Laurel Roof

Hood River

Vote Blackburn

I have had the honor of working with Mayor Paul Blackburn and City Councilor Susan Johnson over the past four years. With great confidence, I am voting for Paul Blackburn.

Paul is sensible, down-to-earth and realistic about what we as city councilors have the power to change, about what the approved budget allows and about what we can ask of our city staff. Paul has proven over the last four years that he knows how to study an issue and bring forward solutions that have teeth. One example is the city’s policy to no longer allow properties outside the city to hook up to city sewer and water services unless they go through the formal annexation process. While this was not popular with everyone, it was a sensible and realistic way to bring properties within the Urban Growth Boundary into the city and collect property taxes from homeowners who use city services. Paul shows up. When it comes down to it, the job of mayor and city councilor requires as much or as little time as you want to give. Paul treats the job of mayor (which pays $100/month) as a full-time job. He regularly meets with city staff, rarely passes up the opportunity to have coffee with constituents, regularly accepts speaking engagements and invitations to conferences, and serves on numerous committees. He is often the first to raise his hand when there is gap that needs to be filled. Susan Johnson, on the other hand, has not been nearly as engaged, missing about 40 percent of city council meetings over the last two years and rarely volunteering to invest time in committees or projects outside of regular meetings. Paul actively engages a disconnected segment of our community. Soon after being elected in 2014, he formed a Latino Advisory Council with a mission to “inform, empower, and listen.” For his efforts, the city received the 2017 Good Governance Award from the League of Oregon Cities. The award honors city programs that connect citizens within a community. I’ve never heard Paul say this is an end-all solution; rather it is a step in the right direction.

Becky Brun

Hood River City Councilor



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