Letters to the Editor for October 31

Time for a change

Susan Johnson has been a city council member for four years and in that time has been proven to be non-partisan, inclusive and open minded. In Blackburn’s two terms as mayor, he has proven to be the exact opposite, as noted below.

Susan Johnson opposed the rezoning and corresponding sale of Morrison Park to a developer for $1. Blackburn supported the rezoning and sale of Morrison Park, which resulted in expensive litigation paid for by your taxpayer dollars. The Oregon Court of Appeals recently reversed and remanded the Land Use Board of Appeals affirmation of the city’s rezone.

Susan Johnson heeded a commissioned study, statistical evidence and sound legal and economic analysis, and opposed overreaching STR regulations. Conversely, Blackburn ignored sound reasoning and conflated STRs with a lack of affordable housing to justify support for overreaching STR regulations, which violate private property rights and will likely drag the city into more expensive litigation paid for by your tax dollars.

Susan Johnson has been inclusive and transparent, and invited divergent view points while on the city council. Blackburn has pursued a rigid partisan agenda, obfuscated or ignored evidence-based facts and derided people that don’t agree his opinions. To wit, Blackburn used his position as bully pulpit to publicly shame a 70-year-old pastor for posting a message on the church’s reader board that Blackburn found disagreeable.

On balance, Blackburn has proven to be a divisive figure in the Hood River community, while Susan Johnson has sought to be inclusive and build consensus. I encourage you to join me in voting for Susan Johnson for mayor, and Erick Haynie, Brian Towey and Jim Klaas for city council. These candidates all support transparency and will represent all citizens of Hood River, not just a small, select group of insiders. It’s time for a change.

Drew Weerts

Hood River

No to Klaas

We have seven people running for Hood River City Council this fall. Six of them I feel would be viable for council, even though there are some I do not agree with.

But there is one person who I feel should not be on council and I would encourage you to vote for someone else. That is Jim Klaas. I read his candidate interview that was published in the Oct. 20 edition with astonishment. When asked about affordable housing issues, Klaas responded: “Are housing prices too high, or are wages too low? Our current unemployment rate is at historic lows, this is a [sic] largely a wage issue.” Putting the sole blame on wages instead of home prices is absurd. According to an April story in the Oregonian, Hood River County has the fourth-highest median home price in the state. A story in July on CNBC ranked Oregon the sixth-most expensive state to live in. Seems like prices are a huge part of the problem. Ignoring that is irresponsible.

But it doesn’t surprise me that Klaas is tone-deaf on affordable housing. Notice he didn’t list it as priority in his interview. When he’s not busy advocating for everyone’s favorite poison oak arboretum (Morrison Park) over housing for working families, Klaas is a manager and content poster for the Hood River Parks Facebook page (not affiliated with our local park district) — a site that found it appropriate to take a photo of Mid-Columbia Housing Authority Director Joel Madsen and draw devil horns and a tail on him. This was because of a city plan to put affordable housing at Morrison Park (and still keep part of it as green space) that the page disagreed with. Cool. Very adult. Is that the kind of temperament we want on city council? I don’t think so. We need someone who can work with community partners, not insult them. Say no to Klaas.

Ben Mitchell

Hood River

Thomsen out

Chuck Thomsen is running for Oregon State Senate and is misleading voters on where he stands when it comes to protecting survivors of domestic violence, or fighting for policies that mothers need.

It’s one thing to claim support for an issue during a campaign and quite another to vote against those claims once elected. That’s why we support Chrissy Reitz in her campaign for Oregon State Senate. She’s the best candidate for women and families.

As a reminder, here’s where Chuck Thomsen stands regarding mothers and survivors of domestic violence:

In 2015, Oregon passed a law guaranteeing workers the right to earn and take paid sick time. This is essential for working families, and is especially helpful for moms, because they can stay home when they or their kids are sick and still be able to pay their bills. And because it includes “safe time,” which can be used for filing a protective order, moving to a safer environment or seeking medical care, it’s invaluable for victims of domestic violence.

Not only did Chuck Thomsen vote against paid sick and safe time, but he mocked the bill in a committee hearing, showing blatant disregard for the working families and victims of domestic violence the bill is designed to protect.

Earlier this year, he revealed his true values once again.

When given the opportunity to expand needed protections for victims of domestic violence, Chuck sided against survivors and with the Oregon Firearms Federation. Instead of voting to prevent convicted stalkers and domestic abusers, including boyfriends, from getting guns, he voted in favor of allowing abusive partners and stalkers to continue accessing these deadly weapons.

This is not the kind of leadership this district deserves.

These are just a few of the reasons that we, moms and leaders with organizations that advocate for moms, urge a vote for Chrissy Reitz — a mom, former neonatal intensive care unit nurse and the chair of the Hood River County School Board. What women, families and victims of domestic violence need is a qualified, committed and respectful leader — not four more years of Chuck Thomsen.

Melani Rosales

Hood River

Towey for council

I live in the county, not the city, but if I could vote in the city election, I would vote Brian Towey for City Council. Brian is a thoughtful, no-nonsense person who is interested in transparency and fairness. In all the years I have known him, he has always researched topics thoroughly before expressing opinions. In this day and age, people who investigate issues before forming opinions are in short supply. Hood River would be lucky to have him as a city council person.

Jon Davies

Hood River

Reitz for Senate

Chrissy Rietz is running for the Senate in District 26 against incumbent Chuck Thomsen. I support Chrissy Reitz because she has the experience and the attitude to work successfully in Salem for District 26.

Chrissy is a neonatal nurse and chair of the Hood River County School Board. She is a dedicated advocate for families and a progressive who can help lead us forward in difficult times.

We need new leadership to improve the lives of families and to address our social and infrastructure needs. Chrissy Reitz will provide leadership to fund our schools without cutting social services to kids.

Chrissy will protect hard-working families and their right to effective and affordable health and education services, while working productively to resolve Oregon’s revenue problems.

Mark Reynolds


Change needed

There is good news on the climate change front — (last week) Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will adopt a national price on carbon pollution starting in January 2019. Canada will implement a carbon fee and dividend, with revenue from the fee going directly to Canadians. The tax starts at $20 per ton and rises each year.

Individuals and businesses will receive annual rebate checks; all carbon pricing revenue will be returned to them, every nickel. It is a simple, practical, revenue-neutral policy that works.

The province of British Columbia, for example, has had this policy for 10 years, and it is widely considered a success — reduced fuel usage by at least 16 percent, emissions have fallen 3.5 times faster per capita than the rest of the country and it has had negligible impact on the economy. The BC parliament recently voted to strengthen it further.

We can do this in our country. The adoption of the Canadian policy was largely the result of seven years of relentless efforts by the Citizens‘ Climate Lobby of Canada. It shows what a nonpartisan, organized citizen lobby can do. The CCL lobby in our own country is strong and making progress.

There are now 45 congressional Republicans and 45 Democrats in CCL’s Climate Solutions Caucus; and the number of CCL chapters in towns and cities across the nation and in Oregon is increasing. Let’s have one in Hood River. To learn more, go to tinyurl.com/ybqwc3at or Google, Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

We are hopeful. The overall direction of Republicans in Congress on climate change is shifting. How could it be otherwise? We see the negative effects of human-caused climate change all around us. The science is solid; and recent reports show that it could become catastrophic. The need for action is urgent. The lives of our children and the natural world are at stake. The Canadians made the change, and so can we.

Vote. Choose a candidate for Congress who will make a difference.

Lawrence Jones

Hood River

Poor decision

I am not one to voice my disgust publicly, but I can’t sit back and not say something! Chrissy Reitz, I now don’t care how much you volunteer in our community, how dedicated you are to our schools and our children, you lost my respect when you chose to stoop so low and attack your opponent! If you can’t win on your own attributes, then you don’t belong in Salem representing us! Very poor decision indeed!

Kathy Nishimoto


Blackburn out

Paul Blackburn has been relentlessly attacking the ability of residents of Hood River to supplement their income since he became mayor. His attempt to provide affordable housing has been a failed ruse that only resulted in blocking the ability of citizens to rent out their property and drive all the profit to large corporate hotel chains. His policies, which are at odds with most local citizens, are clearly backed by the hotel industry and have led to zero progress in lowering housing costs, providing lower cost housing and, in the end, can only hurt residents of this area.

The unsubstantiated falsity he chronically pushes is that we can lower the price of housing in the area; of course, after four years, he admits he has made no progress and blames “small groups” of citizens fighting his policies. Of course all the large national hotel chains love his policies! I hope that citizens of Hood River take back their city and change the course of this futile policy that will never produce results, will only hurt our tourism, snub the many visitors we have that want more options and impede us to create our own local economy resulting in money going directly into the bank accounts of local citizens. We should have the freedom to use our housing to provide income directly to the citizens instead of the large hotel chains and providing more income to the city in licensing and income taxes. Paul Blackburn destructively ignores the reality that there is no way to lower housing costs in Hood River at this point in history. His policies want to lower pricing by destroying Hood River.

The best way to fight this issue would be to allow residents to supplement their income with their current housing and properties. If we can develop a more robust, tourist-based income spread out amongst the population, it will provide much better income, improved quality of life for citizens of Hood River and many more possibilities in the end for more housing options.

Please save Hood River and vote Paul Blackburn out.

Ken Earle

Hood River

Johnson, Haynie, Klaas and Towey

We’re blessed to have so many bright people willing to serve our city in these divisive times. We have a chance to put some really sharp people in charge of our best interests and improve this amazing community.

I hope you’ll join me in voting for Susan Johnson for mayor and Erick Haynie, Jim Klaas and Brian Towey for city council. What a great opportunity to make a difference. These people are very smart and talented. So refreshing. Please vote!

Mike Caldwell

Hood River

Retain Blackburn

I am grateful that Paul Blackburn has served as mayor of Hood River these past four years. Because of his leadership, Hood River has become a more inclusive community. He meets-and-greets every person with dignity and respect, and he makes time for and creates opportunities to meet with people and hear their concerns and perspectives.

How people — including the most vulnerable among us — are treated matters to me, and so I am voting for Paul to continue as the mayor of Hood River. I hope you will consider voting for him even if you have not yet decided.

In community,

Ruth Tsu

Hood River

A civil voice

When calling for national unity, in the wake of bombs targeting political rivals, the U.S. President could have said:

“Fellow Americans:

“Recent events are a wake-up call. We cannot settle political differences through violence. We must return to dialogue and civility, as we face severe challenges that can only be addressed collaboratively. Such return, I realize, starts with me.

“The bombs are an extreme, but not isolated, unintended consequence of a divisive and dangerous rhetoric that I must take responsibility for normalizing. I let ego and ambition mislead me. For that, I am sorry. I must now help correct our course. Therefore:

“1. Starting now, I will act as the President of all Americans, regardless of race, color, gender, ethnicity, buying power, sexual orientation, national origin and religious and political preference.

“2. I will not seek re-election. In the remaining of my term, I will promote transformative political reform informed by the American citizenry and consistent with the “government by and for the people” concept.

“3. I ask Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation that facilitates political reform, starting with term limits for House and Senate members and with electoral mechanisms that favor a plural representation of political views in Congress.

“4. Until such reform is accomplished, I will not sign into law legislation passed along partisan lines. Legislation must result from consensus across the aisle, and must stand the test of changing majorities.

“5. I ask the press to support this national effort of reconciliation, while remaining free and objective as required in a democracy.

“6, To those who have seen in my example a license for acting with intolerance and hatred: Stop! Nothing justifies your behavior, not now, not ever.

“To those whom I have insulted or denigrated as candidate or president, I apologize. I will seek redemption at your eyes, and the eyes of the world. Together, we will become a stronger and more caring nation.”

Sadly, but true to form, the president instead (and once again) deflected responsibility. Political reform and national reconciliation thus remain up to us, the voters.

Please vote!

Antonio Baptista


Voting Jamie this time

The Federal Election Committee’s recent third quarter report says it all. Rep. Greg Walden’s massive campaign treasure chest is financed 92 percent by corporations and corporate PACs — including Big Pharma and healthcare; oil, gas and mining; and telecom and electronics.

What it says is that these corporate interests recognize and are paying to access the power Mr. Walden holds in the House, especially by virtue of his chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. And his voting record says that it works.

Walden votes against allowing drug price negotiations in Medicare Part D (e.g., H.R. 4). Walden votes to weaken air pollution standards (e.g., H.R. 1119, H.R. 806). Walden votes to allow additional oil and gas drilling, even in highly sensitive areas (e.g., H.R. 4606). Walden votes to kill net neutrality and online privacy protections (e.g., H.R. 5252).

See how it works?

We desperately need a representative who will work for the residents of Congressional District 2 and NOT for corporate and outside interests.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s campaign has raised more than $1 million through individual donations — actual people, actual voters — and has accepted $0 from corporate PACs. That says what I need to know. I voted for Greg in the past, but not this year! Jamie has my vote.

Debby Chenoweth

Hood River

Johnson for solutions

It’s no secret to local residents that the City of Hood River is at a critical crossroads in our history. Traffic congestion, affordable housing and land use, infrastructure investment and community affordability are all issues that need serious attention and solutions.

In order to make the kind of progress that’s needed to find solutions to these issues, the city will need the right type of leadership.

That’s why I’m supporting Susan Johnson for mayor. Susan will bring a personable and inclusive style to the office. As a nurse, Susan has strong relationship building skills; and is used to identifying problems and designing an appropriate response. She understands, as many of us do, that if we are going to truly make progress on our core issues, the city must actively collaborate with Hood River County and the port. From the mountain to the river, we are all one community and its time we work together for the benefit of all.

Please join me in voting Susan Johnson for Mayor.

Amy McIlvenna

Hood River

No on 105

Measure 105 will not make any of us safer. I run a free college program at David Douglas High School, where 72 languages are spoken by students and their families. I’m writing to urge my community members to take a stand against hate and to vote No on Measure 105.

As a white woman with two young children, I feel safe reporting a crime or calling the police. It pains me to know that many of my students and their families do not feel this same sense of safety and that Measure 105 will only make this situation worse.

Communities are safer when people feel they can work with law enforcement to report crimes. Measure 105 would give the police an impossible task by asking them to take on the role of federal immigration agents. To keep us all safe, the police and people in our communities need to build trust. Measure 105 will only create suspicion and mistrust.

We need comprehensive immigration reform. What we don’t need are more reasons for people in our community to feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods and schools. Vote no on 105 to reject this divisive measure.

Jennifer Schuberth,

executive director, Alder College


Helfrich ‘awesome’

Here’s why I’m voting for my husband, Jeff Helfrich, for State Representative of House District 52.

He’s awesome. Jeff was unanimously appointed to serve as your State Representative last November, but has an extensive record of serving his community. He’s a U.S. Air Force veteran and served in the First Gulf War.

Jeff dedicated over 25 years of his life working in local law enforcement-putting his life on the line. He received a Lifesaving Medal for saving a woman’s life in a near-fatal domestic gun violence situation. He charged in, wondering if he kissed me goodbye that morning. To many, including me, Jeff is a hero. As our state representative, Jeff is committed to defending and improving the lives of those around him.

To our children Mazzy and Conrad, Jeff is a loving father, patient teacher and protector. As a State Representative, our children are his motivation. Jeff is committed to fighting for more school funding, effective use of current funding, access to quality education, more focus on career and technical education programs, and improving Oregon’s low graduation rate. He already has proposed legislation to prove it.

Just ask him...

False claims annoy me. I am especially proud of Jeff for his commitment to defending the rights of others. He believes Roe v. Wade is the law of the land; and the “boyfriend loophole” is simply redundant — there are already laws to protect intimate partners from gun violence. My husband truly cares about women, gun violence and sexual assault victims. He even sponsored a new law enabling rape survivors to track their rape kits and address the processing backlog. He is proposing legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes using DNA.

He seeks justice.

As a woman, naturopathic physician and lifelong resident of the Gorge, I know Jeff is the kind of leader who will represent us well. He will always put the needs of our community, and what’s right, above all else.

That’s the kind of leadership our community deserves in Salem. Please join me in voting for Jeff Helfrich for State Representative.

Shawna Hasel-Helfrich

Hood River

Helfrich for House

Jeff Helfrich is currently serving as our representative in the Oregon Legislature. He has proven his effectiveness and his sincere concern for the people of this district, rich and poor, young and old. Jeff gets results. We need him, and we must reelect him in November to ensure that level of professionalism and devotion to duty continues to protect our interests. Your vote for Jeff is of vital importance.

I do not recall a time in our history when the results of a general election were more important than the one this November. What happens in this election will have a critical effect on the future of our families, our communities and the path our state will take into the future. We need action in Salem, positive action, now. Jeff is the man with the ability to take that action and deliver the results we need.

Jeff has shown throughout his life that he has consistently displayed those conservative values of God, country and family that are important to you and me as well. Not just sometimes, but all the time. Military service, a career in law enforcement and service as a city councilman, among other achievements, indicate his energy and commitment. He is a devoted family man and he is devoted to working to ensure the future environment that your family needs as well. That says a lot.

The most pressing issues in our district are on Helfrich’s radar.

Education, economic development, environmental stewardship and emergency preparedness are some of the most critical to our future. Helfrich is working on those important issues, and others, to ensure our tomorrow will be one of a stronger district and a more prosperous state. If you have other issues of concern, contact Jeff. He will listen and then act!

I urge each and every citizen in House District 52 to support Jeff. Talk to your neighbors and family about the importance of their vote in November and the importance of voting for Jeff Helfrich as our Representative. A bountiful future depends on it!

May GOD bless you, your family and our State of Oregon.

Mark K. Shull


Yes on 102

It used to be that if you worked hard, you could afford to keep a roof over your head. But nowadays, that’s not the case for too many people in our community. There are students in our district who have experienced houselessness or housing instability. There are seniors and people with disabilities on fixed incomes worried about losing their homes. As a community, we need to push harder for more affordable housing.

Wasco County hasn’t put forward an affordable housing bond on this ballot, so there’s not much we can do right now, but there is an important measure on the ballot that will enable us to make a difference in the future.

Small cities like Hood River would have difficulty implementing an affordable housing bond if voters passed one, because the government would have to build, own and operate the units entirely themselves. If Measure 102 passes, our local government would be able to partner with local private and nonprofit groups to implement affordable housing projects with bond funds — meaning we’d finally have access to the resources we need to effectively execute a bond program.

Measure 102 will make a small change in our state’s law to allow communities to stretch affordable housing bond funds by accessing additional funding sources. These sources — like federal tax credits — are off the table unless we pass Measure 102. That means Oregon is losing out on millions of federal matching dollars for these projects.

Measure 102 doesn’t cost voters, is bipartisan and will strengthen the efforts of communities across the state trying to address the affordable housing crisis. Let’s pass Measure 102, for the future of Hood River and Wasco County.

John Olmsted

The Dalles

Disbelieves Beutler

Re: The ODFW and WDFW Salmon Fishing Closure on the Columbia, and southwest Washington U.S. Rep. Jaime Beutler:

Wild salmon and steelhead are in bad shape, as evidenced by the fishing ban by ODFW and WDFW. As background, see “King of Fish” by UW’s David Montgomery, Jim Lichatowich’s two books, “Recovering a Lost River” by Steve Hawley (a Gorge neighbor) and, more recently, “Wild Pacific Salmon: A Threatened Legacy,” by eight salmon scientists, including Jim and David. See also theconservationangler.com, wildsalmon.org, nativefishsociety.org, wildsteelheadcoalition.org, etc.

As many as 16 million wild fish returned annually to the Columbia system for thousands of years, through the early 1800s. Only 842,000 salmonids (a fraction were wild) passed Bonneville in 2017, and 2018 is worse. That 2017 return was about 5 percent of the historical numbers. Five percent!

I received a letter from Rep. Beutler on May 9, 2018, regarding my concerns about salmon and a bill, HR 3144. She was a co-sponsor of this bill, widely criticized as harmful to fish. She wrote that current management “has helped to produce record fish returns.” Really? Then why is the river closed? She also incorrectly claimed that 97 percent of salmon survive all of the dams.

Unfortunately, Jaime is ill-informed about salmon, is misrepresenting the facts, or both. On Nov. 6, don’t help Rep. Beutler make that measly 5 percent a smaller number.

Felton Jenkins

White Salmon

‘Same community’

It’s the final week of one of the longest election cycles that most of us have probably experienced. Most of us are exhausted and are already looking forward to a mailbox void of nasty political leaflets, empty lawns without polarizing political flare, and being able to enjoy a Saturday without the interruption of a neighborhood canvasser. While the daily reminders of the election will be gone, what happens on Nov. 6 is something that we will all have to live with for the next several years. Most importantly, we will all have to live with it as friends, neighbors, and residents of the same community.

For those of you that have already filled out your ballots and participated in the one privilege that truly makes this country great — good for you! For those of you that have put it off because you are politically exhausted (like me), aren’t sure which candidate is the best (or least bad), or just don’t want to be to blame shall the wrong candidate be elected — you can do it! Vote based on the issues that you know about and those candidates that support those issues. Vote for who has shown up at every community event and has always been engaged with the community, not for those who just show up when it is convenient for them. Vote with your heart on who truly wants to make our community a better place. Most importantly remember that on Nov. 7, we are all going to have to wake up and accept what happens as neighbors and members of the same community.

Jon Kelter Gehrig

Hood River

Dining on raw slugs

Of all the reasons not to vote for Greg Walden, none can be more consequential than his support for the worst tendencies of the Trump-led radical Republican agenda.

Greg’s constituents are harmed by the policy priorities of this agenda.

Twenty percent or more of us will lose affordable healthcare if Walden has his way. Ill-conceived tariffs hurt farmers and tumble the economy toward recession. A huge, permanent tax cut for people who don’t need or deserve it explodes the national debt, and the budget-busters want to fix their mess by destroying Medicare and Social Security.

Many of us, on all sides, are offended by the corruption, reckless incompetence, belligerence, pathological lying and toxic self-regard of the Culture-Warrior-In-Chief.

Yet, there stood Greg in the Oval Office a few days ago, on camera, behind the vice president while Mr. Pence tried hard not to defend Mr. Trump’s lies that terrorists are infiltrating a “caravan” of asylum-seekers. These non-violent refugees are months away from reaching our southern border, on foot, and yet Trump insists falsely and shamelessly that the “caravan” is a dire immediate threat to national security. He does so to scare his base in the final weeks of the 2018 election.

To his credit, Greg looked like he just ate a raw slug.

He clearly knew Trump was lying, and he knew why Trump was lying.

And he stood there, applauding support, despite having considerable means and opportunity to hold Trump even remotely accountable.

That Oval Office media scrum is sadly representative of Greg as a 10-term Republican Revolutionary. He was once a moderate advocate for sanity in government. Today, he is a staunch enabler of an extremist party well on its way to consolidating power permanently and undemocratically.

If you have not decided how to vote in Oregon’s Second, please either vote for Greg’s moderate and independent-minded opponent, Jamie McCleod-Skinner. Or, if you can’t bear to do that, consider not voting and let those of us who are fired up make this decision.

Jim Appleton


Jamie for our health

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that if Republicans keep the House and Senate, they will cut Social Security and Medicare, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Our Congressman Greg Walden is right there with him.

Though the Republicans want to cut costs, they plan to take it out of our backs. They show no interest in cutting expenses on the medical supply side.

This country has good anti-monopoly laws. They are a century old and go back to the robber baron era. But recent administrations have had no inclination to limit monopoly power with any industry, including Big Pharma.

Walden has offered us a couple of so-called solutions: The “Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act” and the “Know the Lowest Price Act.” They will ban the use of “gag clauses,” which restrict a pharmacist’s ability to inform a patient that their drug would be cheaper if they paid out-of-pocket than if they paid through their insurance. That may save us a few dollars, but will do nothing to solve the real problem. Walden still opposes drug price negotiations in Medicare Part D, and he consistently votes against allowing prescription drug re-importation from countries that sell medicines for less.

Although Walden is clearly not on our side, Jamie McLeod-Skinner is.

She will fight for care that is universally accessible and affordable.

She will oppose the monopolistic restraints that push prices even higher and prevent us from receiving quality, affordable health care.

If you care about your health and that of your family, vote for Jamie!

Dave Michalek

Hood River


A madman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday reportedly shouting, “All Jews must die!” and proceeded to open fire, killing and wounding many, including four highly-trained police officers who were carrying firearms.

As expected, the liberal media questioned the president about gun control given the incident. Also as expected, President Trump’s response was, “If they had protection inside (the synagogue), the results could have been much better.”

I know I heard President Trump say he was a nationalist on the news last week. It is unclear to me based on his policies and statements whether he was speaking about OUR nation, or the Aryan nation. I do know I have never heard him suggest that churches with predominantly white Christians need armed guards.

I have come to accept the rhetoric and decisions of President Trump, even though it makes my skin crawl almost daily. What saddens me the most is how many Americans still support what is happening under this administration.

In a few weeks, millions will have a small say in whether or not we want to stay on the same path. Please vote.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

For Thomsen

In a letter to members of Oregon’s Independent Party, its leadership explains why Chuck Thomsen of Hood River should continue to be our Dist. 26 Senator. The letter says that Chuck’s opponent has “engaged in a vicious and false negative campaign.”

Independent Party Secretary Sal Peralta wrote, “… Our party stands by Chuck Thomsen. We ask that you not reward these false negative attacks (from Chrissy Reitz) with your vote.”

Peralta continued to write, “Chuck Thomsen is exactly the kind of legislator Oregon needs … As the Party in Oregon that favors reasonable and balance candidates, we ask you to join us in supporting and voting for Chuck Thomsen for State Senate.”

For me, who has known Chuck for years as a former Hood River County Commissioner, I agree with the Independent Party and have voted for Chuck.

I know that Chuck, as a legislator, always has two major goals: Balance Oregon’s budget without raising taxes, and promote economic growth through a better job economy. Chuck’s voting record in the Senate reflects that. I encourage Democrats, Independents and Republicans to give Chuck your vote.

Tom Yates

Hood River

See ‘Addams Family’

The Hood River Valley High School Theater and Music departments have once again created a fantastic show. “The Addams Family” is a funny show, a weird show, and a deeply rich and meaningful show. I think it speaks to the talent of the actors that they were able to be funny, weird, emotional and ridiculously talented all at the same time. The Bowe Theater received some upgrades over the summer, but the heart of the theater remains the same thanks to the hard work of Rachel Harry, Dan Kenealy, the actors, musicians,and techies who have poured their lives into this show.

A perk of living in a small community is we get to see the growth of high school performers. The upperclassmen in “The Addams Family” were absolutely phenomenal, and the underclassmen were fantastic as well. It’s exciting to see what heights these actors can reach, and to see the potential in the next generation.

The show was amazing, from the energy and talent the actors gave out to the audience, to everything happening behind the scenes. The orchestra for The Addams Family was incredible, playing through quick tempo and style changes, supporting the singers’ ballads, and providing the foundation to the musical. The newer technical aspects of the Bowe Theatre (such as incorporating projected images and stars onto the backdrop) were beautiful additions to “The Addams Family.” All of the technical aspects of this show were carried out seamlessly, thanks to a great techie team.

“The Addams Family” runs for the next two weekends — Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 9-10 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. in the Hood River Valley High School Bowe Theater. I highly recommend it.

Emily Spezia-Schwiff

Hood River

For Williams

Something Democratic State Representative candidate Anna Williams said, the first time I heard her talk, really impressed me.

Someone asked her about working with the other side of the aisle or with people of differing views.

Anna indicated how, as a social worker, she would go to the homes of all kinds of people from every part of the political spectrum. She would talk with them, listen to whatever their problems or struggles were, and help them navigate the system to try and get healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, or whatever they needed.

She found that oftentimes the roadblocks she encountered while trying to help people were policies that needed to be changed at the state level and that was a big part of why she decided to run.

Her clearly-stated intention and personal history is to listen to and help every Oregonian, regardless of political affiliation. This is one reason why I wholeheartedly support Anna Williams for State Representative, House District 52.

Tracy Triplett


Walden not helping

According to the Center for Disease Control, 72,000 Americans died of drug-overdose deaths in 2017 — up nearly 7 percent from 2016. That’s more deaths than the entire Vietnam War! Opioids contributed to more than 49,000 of those deaths. 500 Oregonians die of opioid overdose every year. That’s a lot of suffering families.

New legislation addressing the opioid crisis has taken over a year and, while it is a small step in the right direction, it brings very little new funding to the table. At the same time that Greg Walden was voting for this bill in the House, he was voting against funding for it. The new law isn’t going to do much good if people don’t have access to affordable healthcare.

His persistent and repeated efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have a direct impact on opioid treatment options and thwarts the little progress made on the chronic healthcare crisis in this country.

While the rich can afford treatment for whatever ails them, Congress has granted themselves the best healthcare plan available and then threw in the drug and insurance industries generous contributions to re-election coffers; this doesn’t leave much room for the motivation and diligence that’s required to represent us and our healthcare needs.

It’s time to step up and make a change. Vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner for U.S. Congress. She understands that access to affordable healthcare is necessary to overcome the opioid crisis and improve the healthcare system for us all. Jamie knows how to listen to people and has the problem-solving skills and integrity necessary to move this country forward.

Paul Crouch

Hood River

CHIP history important

I was dismayed to hear Greg Walden’s “spin” on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the televised debate between him and Jamie McLeod-Skinner earlier this month. Walden stated, as he has before, “I have consistently supported children’s health insurance programs and, in fact, I led the way in Congress, as chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to hear from all sides as to how we can expand and improve children’s health insurance.” But that self-congratulatory history is not accurate.

The facts show that Walden voted against reauthorizing CHIP funding during 2007-2017 all but one time, each time putting at risk the healthcare of 8.9 million kids in the U.S. and 120,000 in Oregon. In 2017, he held CHIP funding hostage while trying to bargain for cuts to Medicare and dilution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), causing interruption of medical services for children and pregnant women covered by CHIP.

A few months later, Walden voted in favor of Trump’s rescission bill to cut $7 billion from CHIP. Fortunately, the bill didn’t pass, but Walden’s vote was a clear statement.

I want a representative who will be a champion for healthcare and for children. It’s not Walden. I’ll be voting for Jamie.

Vicki Nunenkamp

The Dalles

Walden for forest management

The west coast of the United States is blessed with abundant forests, which play an important role in keeping our air clean and providing critical habitat to an amazing variety of fish and wildlife.

However, these forests are becoming increasingly threatened by larger and more numerous fires across the entire west coast. These fires are burning in forests that are unnaturally crowded with excess trees and brush that have grown up because of fire suppression activities that have occurred over the past 100-plus years. These overstocked conditions, together with the hot and dry summers we have been experiencing lately, provide an excellent opportunity for large, high-severity fires to get started and burn up these important natural resources. These fires have been burning much hotter than would be expected under historical conditions when there were fewer trees and brush available to burn.

The result of these high-severity fires is lost wildlife habitat, degraded water quality, unstable slopes and soils that have become sterilized by the heat. None of this is good for the environment.

What can we do to reduce the size and number of these large, high-severity forest fires? The answer is relatively simple: We need to increase the pace, scale and cost-effectiveness of our forest management activities designed to reduce the fuels buildup that has been happening over the past 100-plus years. These active forest management projects need to be designed with fuels reduction and adequate fire breaks that allow fires to be controlled once they do start.

Thanks to our Congressional Rep. Greg Walden, we have the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (H.R. 2936) designed to make sure this active forest management happens. Congressman Walden cosponsored this bill and has worked in a bipartisan fashion to assure this bill would get passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, we need to encourage the two U.S. Senators from Oregon to support this bill in order for it to move forward and become law. Please vote for Greg Walden to keep our forest management activities on track.

Rick Larson

Hood River

For Reitz, Williams

Vote and make a difference for our planet.

I know so many of you are concerned, like I am, about the rapid pace of climate change. It is imperative that we do all we can to stop the current administration’s assaults against the environment and rollbacks of safeguards against pollution. Your vote is so important on the national level — please vote McLeod-Skinner for Congress — to make a difference. Also, at the state level, this spring we will get yet another chance to pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill here in Oregon (It has been very close to passing in the past — and we need just a few more votes).

This bill would affect only the worst offenders in the state — it would not affect small businesses. It would cap and price climate pollution and invest the proceeds into our communities to promote clean energy jobs and infrastructure. Learn more at reneworegon.org.

Please support Chrissy Reitz and Anna Williams to make a difference here in Oregon for climate change.

Leslie Kerr

Hood River

If only I could

While at Hood River’s recent Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration, I was struck again by the powerful message of community our Mayor Paul Blackburn generates. Not just paying lip service to the concept of inclusiveness, Paul leads the way with conviction and strength of character. And how satisfying to see a mix of people there to participate, acknowledging the realities of the past and all hoping for a better, collective future.

A recent arrival in Oregon (and a Californian to boot — AKA an outsider), I have been on the receiving end of Paul’s welcome. Early on in my tenure as museum director, I invited myself to a meeting of the mayor’s Latino Advisory Committee. I introduced myself to Paul and asked if I could sit in. He said, “Yes, of course.” But as I moved to take a seat in the audience, he said “No, pull up a chair and sit here at the table with us.” A bit embarrassed, I confessed that I do not speak Spanish. And he said, “No matter, you are welcome to join the discussion.” A small gesture perhaps, but indicative of a generosity of spirit. In fact even the idea of having a Mayor’s Latino Advisory Committee demonstrates Paul’s commitment to making this a real community — not simply a collection of separate neighborhoods or groups bound together by geography alone.

That impulse to make all feel included and welcome is sorely lacking in today’s vitriolic public dialogue. How small people must feel to believe that the only way for them to move forward is to denigrate others and take from the next guy and his family.

How lucky Hood River is to have Mayor Paul Blackburn at this particular political moment. He truly and actively supports the entire community, encouraging all to extend a hand of friendship and respect. My bad luck is that I live two blocks beyond the city limits. If only I could vote for mayor, I would vote for Paul!

Lynn Orr

Hood River

No to ‘Mitchell Ridge’

Dear Andy VonFlotow and the “Cityofmitchellridge@gmail.com,”

We do not want to be incorporated into “The City of Mitchell Ridge.” We like the way our land is zoned, because it protects us from the indiscriminate building occurring elsewhere in Hood River.

Incorporating the west side of Hood River is not about us or our interests, it is only about you and your frustration at not being able to exploit it for your own economic gain. My family lives here, outside the city limits, with the rules and regulations that protect us, on purpose. We do not want to live in a “city” or neighborhood. We do not want increased traffic and strip malls on Country Club. We like being able to access places like Mitchell Point and Post Canyon.

We like it that the neighbors cannot subdivide the parcels of property they own any further. We do not want our area to have higher density housing. We like trees, and open fields, and agriculture. We do not want the extra burden of taxes and fees associated with incorporating into a city.

I know that my family is not alone in our opposition to your attempts at incorporating the west side of Hood River. We will work with our neighbors to resist your efforts. We like where we live and are willing to put up with the minor frustrations you allude to in your letter to keep it.

Glen Patrizio

Hood River

Addams and ice cream

To the Yelp reviewer complaining of abbreviated hours at Mike’s Ice Cream: I lived the Addams Family Musical at Mike’s this fall. Weekdays, the schedule could not be filled.

Charlie Bickford worked the most as he was only in the orchestra (alto sax and flute), but had to learn the piccolo, which he says is really hard even though fingering is the same as the flute — you have to focus in a very delicate way blowing into a smaller entry. Charlie’s mom plays violin in the orchestra.

Skyler Beard came down from Parkdale and worked about twice while becoming Lurch. Kelsey Stewart worked every weekend while perfecting her role as the other female lead. Though her time on stage is brief compared to Morticia (whose performance is superb), Kelsey’s solo in the game Full Disclosure (“Waiting”) as a woman downing a silver chalice of Acrimonium potion is reason enough to see the musical.

Ayva Levin also scooped every weekend, but her head was in the fabulous dance numbers by the dead ancestors whose make-up and costumes are Broadway-professional. Quinn Fetkenhour covered everyone’s hours until he went off to University of Oregon. Quinn’s twin sisters’ performances as identical necro nurses lent pattern to the scariest crew of deceased dancers ever assembled on stage.

It didn’t help that Sarah Wang was speech-and-debating while Eva Jones was setting cross country records and Barrett Ihde defended goal.

We simply had no one to work weekdays. You may have been served by our 11-year-old granddaughter.

I was so sore about the silly play until I actually saw the musical itself. Is it something in the drinking water that has produced so many talented singers and dancers in a valley so small it has but one blinking red traffic light downtown on its main street?

Get there early and try to sit in the front row. Honestly, you don’t want to miss it.

Tassie Mack

Hood River

Vote them out

It seems so obvious to me that Trump is immoral, a despicable liar and dangerous to the world. Republicans should cry outrage at his lies and insults of allies while conspiring with enemies to steal the democracy that all Americans should cherish! It’s time to vote them out!

Why would anyone support a leader who has cheated by hundreds of millions on his taxes, hiding his returns, while the Republican party push tax breaks for the wealthy that put our children trillions of dollars in debt?

Why would anyone vote for the party that is destroying the EPA and any chance of climate change reform by pulling out of the Paris Accord and obliterating environmental protections to line their pockets and those of multi-billion dollar corporations?

Why would any woman vote for the party that endorses and turns a blind eye to Trump’s insults towards them and not be outraged at his obvious lies about his (paid off) affairs and demeaning comments about their body parts. Why does the religious right support this?

Why would anyone who cares about the bond between mother and child support a party that still, to this day separates forever traumatized children from their mothers with no regard to human rights?

Why would any minority vote for a party that supports a president who demeans them and calls them and their countries disgusting names with a sneer and racial slurs on his lips?

My parents were Republicans who supported fiscal responsibility and decency while being in favor of strong social fabric and world-wide respect of all peoples. They would be disgusted by the party that is in lock-step with this monster and vote them out!

I feel this is the most important election of our lives. You must vote if you want to vote them out!

Mike Rockwell


Buehler bad for women

Republican Knute Buehler, running against Kate Brown for governor, has claimed to be pro-choice, but his record says otherwise. Voting 101: Voters should follow what a candidate does, not what he says.

See if this sounds pro-choice to you:

In 2014, Buehler met with and accepted the “recommendation” of Oregon Right to Life, a radical organization determined to restrict birth control and to outlaw all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

In 2015, Buehler voted against the Patient Privacy Protection Act, which ensures confidentiality in insurance communications. Without these protections, some women cannot seek the healthcare they need for fear of someone else receiving their medical information.

In 2017, Buehler voted against the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which safeguards no-cost contraception and the right to safe, legal abortion in Oregon.

In 2017, Buehler refused to defend Planned Parenthood in the face of attacks from federal Republicans — including the health center in his own legislative district.

Make no mistake. This is NOT pro-choice. This is NOT pro-woman. This is NOT pro-gender-equity. In addition, this is another politician who is willing to lie to get votes.

Women need and deserve better. Kate Brown, who has earned a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon for her entire career, is better.

Re-elect Kate Brown.

Lani Roberts

Hood River

Walden works for veterans

Military is a family occupation. When someone serves their nation, it impacts their family as well. Through watching my loved ones serve, I have seen the importance of caring for our nation’s military and their families. That is why I am so thankful that Greg Walden is our representative — because he fights for veterans and our servicemen and women.

Individually he has helped over 600 veterans this year alone. On a broader scale, he has improved the quality and timeliness of veterans’ health care, voted to allow Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans to receive the same care and treatment as their land-based counterparts, and voted to raise the pay that our troops receive.

Greg fights for veterans, and that is why he will continue to have my vote.

Bobbi Reisner

Hood River

Healthcare questions

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!

John Hlavac

Hood River

Economics of immigration

As a lawyer living in Hood River, I spend a fair amount of time with ICE detainees at NORCOR Detention Center in The Dalles. These are not children, although often young. They are not mothers, although almost all are fathers. They are not DACA. They did not generally come here to escape horrific conditions in their home countries, although most came as children for a better life. Some of them have minor criminal records, although none that I have seen have been convicted of anything approaching a violent crime.

They could be the very example of people that people point to when saying that we should close our borders, or at the very least, “make them come here legally.” So no heartstrings tugging today — today, maybe because I am an antitrust lawyer, I write about the economics of immigration.

Almost without exception, these men, when detained, were working full time: Mechanics, landscapers, house painters and builders, fruit pickers. They have tried to “be here legally,” but have been thwarted by expenses, delays, and an impenetrable legal system. Almost all have spouses and kids who are U.S. citizens — who, without the income of their husbands and fathers, will now be eligible for public assistance. In other words, our tax dollars, which until recently had nothing to do with any of these men, are now going toward housing them and perhaps caring for their families while they wind their way through a broken immigration system. Do you know how much it costs this country to detain immigrants? In 2017, $8.43 million/day — $208/day per detainee, and getting more expensive every day. There are alternatives to detention — these men are not running from the authorities. They want to be home with their families, going to work, showing up for their court appearances while the government determines whether they can legally stay. They were detained by ICE at their houses, parks, their workplaces. We are now footing the bill.

There are better ways, but we have to get past the rhetoric of fear and hate to even consider them.

Jennifer Hackett

Hood River

Vote for change

Returning to Hood River, after a weekend in Boardman, I was glad to see the coverage in the Hood River News on the McLeod-Skinner versus Walden race. I had been in Morrow County, with a group of people from Hood River and The Dalles, canvassing on behalf of Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The frequent refrain we heard there was, “Walden doesn’t listen to us and doesn’t respond to our concerns.” Several years ago, I met Greg in his DC office — back when he and his staff were still responding to emails and calls. We had a cordial conversation, but even then, he misled me on how he would vote on an issue. Now he doesn’t even respond to calls and messages or show up for meetings, unless you can pay top dollar for a meal or are a lobbyist with campaign funds. That’s not what I was taught were the principles of our representative democracy or what I tried to advocate for in over 20 years of representing our country overseas in the Foreign Service. But only we, the voters, can make a change happen. This is our chance. VOTE!

Leanne Hogie

Hood River

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