Letters to the Editor for September 8

For Williams

Taxes are complicated. No one likes them, but we all recognize that there needs to be a balance. Taxes pay for things that we need, and that we agree need to be funded together (collaboratively) as a civilized community. These things include schools, some form of health care, some form of housing, roads and infrastructure, and other things. Simple slogans do not address these complex issues.

Ms. Anna Williams, the Democratic candidate for State Representative in District 52, supports a common-sense review of Measures 5 and 50 to see if they have had their intended impact — and if not, how our policies could be adjusted to increase flexibility and more properly meet local needs (such as better support for our schools).

Rational problem-solving, not slogans. A refreshing change.

Dr. Stephen Heppe

Hood River

Better with Williams

Normally, local politics is about the issues. This year, however, the coarseness of national politics (and the new freedom to lob truth-free attacks) seems to have infected our local community.

We recently noticed some attack ads targeting Anna Williams — the Democratic candidate for State Representative in District 52. Ms. Williams is an educator who stands for stronger schools, sustainable high-paying jobs for rural communities, health care for all, and support for seniors, veterans and DREAMers.

A discussion of the issues would be nice — but the attack ads focus on slogans and rely on a false premise (a hidden lie) to attack and smear Ms. Williams’ character. Both ads we’ve seen rely on her attendance at the Community Advisory Council (CAC), where she was an Extended Member (this is different from the core membership). Both ads complain that she only attended 25 percent of the meetings, conveniently ignoring the fact that, as an Extended Member working with a partner (“Subject Matter Experts”), her joint role with her partner was limited to meetings covering aging, transportation and housing, and all of these were covered except for one missed due to illness. Furthermore, after her formal commitment was over, she continued to attend as a volunteer on behalf of the aging and the Gorge Alliance. This is just the opposite of the impression left by the attack ads.

Ms. Williams is a person who shows up, and she cares deeply about people who are struggling.

We may not all agree on every issue, but let’s all agree to focus on the issues and the truth, and resist the temptation to use falsehoods (overt or hidden) in our political discourse.

The Washington Post’s new motto is based on an opinion written by Judge Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit:

“Democracy dies in darkness.” Truer words have rarely been written.

Let’s all try to be honest with ourselves, and each other, and try to live in the light. We’ll all be better for it.

Mary Jane Heppe

Hood River

Vote Williams

I am a supporter of Anna Williams for the House District 52 seat. She is the right choice and at the right time. Education and caring for our children are at the top of Anna’s priorities. She will support asking very large corporations to pay just a little more in taxes, so they pay their fair share just like the rest of us. Anna Williams stands for affordable housing for hard working Oregon families. She supports common sense gun control laws that will help keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence perpetrators. She supports a woman’s right to choose.

Anna Williams has a grassroots campaign that is mostly funded by the people she will serve.

Her opponent does not inspire me. He is timid on gun control, seemingly lacking a concern for the public safety. He appears to favor subsidizing large corporations at the expense of hard-working Oregon families.

Women’s health issues do not seem to be important to him. He appears to be very well funded by out-of-state money interests that likely are not in line with the values shared by regular Oregonians.

Please join me in voting for Anna Williams because she is our voice, the voice of regular Oregon folks just like you and me.

Cal Bertram


Vote out Helfrich, Thomsen

Wake up, voters. It’s time to get rid of Chuck Thomsen, Senator for SD 26, and the newly, appointed Jeff Helfrich, House Representative for HD 52.

Here’s just one example of why from their recent voting record:

Both these legislators voted against a piece of common sense gun safety legislation that relates to domestic violence. It is called the “Boyfriend Loophole” (HB 4145) and it simply means that not only married partners, but also unmarried partners, will be prohibited from owning or purchasing a firearm if they have a court-ordered restraining order against them. This is not a radical idea. It is pretty basic common sense — yet these two legislators voted against it.

I think individuals who have shown aggressive behavior toward their spouse or unmarried partner to the point of having a restraining order issued against them should not have access to a gun that they could use when their emotions or aggressions flare up again.

Both legislators were asked at the Candidates Forum on May 5 at The Mount Hood Resort why they did not support HB 4145. Chuck Thomsen stated that he voted against the bill because he didn’t like the name “Boyfriend Loophole.” Jeff Helfrich said he voted against it because it was an unfunded mandate — yet he supported other bills that were unfunded.

The good news is that two outstanding individuals, Chrissy Reitz, candidate for State Senate District 26, and Anna Williams, candidate for State House District 52, have stated their strong support for closing the “Boyfriend Loophole.” This is just one more common sense reason to vote for Chrissy Reitz and Anna Williams this November.

Dennis Ghelfi


Where’s Walden?

In late August, concerned citizens from across Oregon’s Congressional District 2 went looking for their elusive congressman, Greg Walden, who hasn’t held a town hall meeting in 500 days. The “Where’s Walden?” car caravan held rallies in Grants Pass, Ashland, Medford, Klamath Falls, Bend and The Dalles, picking up carloads of citizens along the way. The two-day, 400-mile journey ended with a town hall meeting in front of Walden’s office in the DMV building here in Hood River.

Congressman Walden, who was here on recess, did not meet with caravan members in Hood River, or at any of their stops across Oregon, although he was invited.

Greg Walden used to brag about holding town hall meetings every year in every county in his district. But now, instead, he holds small, invitation-only, unannounced meetings; and his constituents don’t even know he’s visited their towns until they see press coverage the next day. We’re fed up and that’s why we decided to bring the town hall meeting to him. Too bad he couldn’t bother to attend.

However, Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner did attend the Hood River rally. Addressing the crowd of more than 100 concerned citizens, she discussed what she has learned by listening to constituents around the district this year, traveling over 45,000 miles by car. One key point was that bipartisan cooperation is needed to solve issues of great concern to the people in District 2, such as healthcare and jobs.

Stephen Castles


Campaign ills

I saw a nasty Jeff Helfrich campaign mailing last week calling candidate Anna Williams “absent Anna” and accusing her falsely of missing “75 percent of the workdays” of her “job” at the Columbia Gorge Health Council’s CAC (Community Advisory Council). I saw another Helfrich mailing yesterday accusing her falsely of wanting to raise property taxes, working against affordable housing, and wanting to “not sweat the small stuff.”

I’m writing to set the facts straight, and to plug both respectfulness and respectability among our campaigners.

Fact 1: The CAC invites “extended members” who are community volunteers to offer content expertise at meetings where relevant content is on the agenda. Ms. Williams’ employer asked her to attend the CAC in this role when items related to aging, transportation and affordable housing were on the agenda. She did that, and consistently. Her participation was sufficiently valued by the CAC and CGHC that she was later asked to chair the CAC.

Fact 2: When Ms. Williams changed employment, she continued to attend the CAC as a volunteer on behalf of the Aging in the Gorge Alliance, contributing in the same areas. This is exactly the opposite of “not showing up” or “not sweating the small stuff.”

Fact 3: Ms. Williams is not pushing to raise taxes. Her concern with Measures 5 and 50, referred to in the mailing, is in empowering local rather than state control when local voters want to implement local bond measures, such as our recent school bond.

Fact 4: Ms. Williams has long been an advocate for affordable housing in the Gorge. She and I have worked together for several years advocating for affordable housing at the city, county and state levels.

Mr. Helfrich responded to Facebook inquiries about his nasty campaign mailings by saying he didn’t send them, the Republic Party of Oregon sent them. How childish. We’re all big boys and girls, and need to take responsibility for things we do or that we have others do.

If campaigning can’t be done with honesty and integrity, neither the campaign nor the candidate deserves support.

Bonnie New

Hood River

‘Play ball’ at ACT

The new Adult Center Theater (ACT) at the Hood River Valley Adult Center has been well received by our community and will be presenting its third production this year: “Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie” at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7-8 and 14-15 and at 2 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Three one act plays will be performed: “Brick and Bertha” is a true story which tells how Stratton Park came to be; “Adam and Eve and the Chicago Cubs” is from our local playwright Gary Young. This play was a selection of the “Last Frontier Theater Conference” in Valdez, Alaska. The third play is a reprise of “Judgment Call” which was a CAST production seven years ago. This play is about three baseball umpires getting ready for the new season.

Baseball is a theme in this production so hot dogs, brats and apple pie will be available for purchase, as well as your favorite beverages. Come early and enjoy the show. Ticket are $10 at the door and proceeds go to Meals on Wheels.

Kenneth McCarty

Hood River

Williams for 52

One signal coming through loud and clear this election year is the importance to voters of transparency and integrity in the political process. Voters are supporting candidates who demonstrate integrity and honesty in their methods and message.

Fortunately, we have someone who possesses those qualities. Anna Williams is running to represent Hood River, Sandy, East Gresham, Corbett and the Mountain in the Oregon legislature. With Anna, we have the opportunity to elect someone whose priorities are honesty, integrity and improving lives in House District 52.

In a time when our politics is often about campaign contributions rather than policy, and when lying is an accepted “pivot” to avoid taking a position, Anna will put children, our future, and making Oregon a better reflection of our values as policy priorities.

Anna knows the difficulty that Oregonians are having in an economy that favors corporate profits over schools and the privileged over the struggling. She understands how hard it is to pay rent and how buying a house in this legislative district is a fading dream. Anna will work in Salem to close the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Anna cares about the increasing vulnerability of seniors, youth and veterans, and has worked proactively to support housing, transportation and care initiatives. She has been active in schools and in promoting quality education for all.

It’s time for House District 52 to have someone to represent us who cares for us, the people, and who is committed to serving us, the public. We need Anna Williams in the Oregon Legislature. Please vote Anna Williams, Democrat, for House Dist. 52 representative.

Mark Reynolds

Hood River

Walden on 3-D guns?

Where is Walden on downloadable guns?

We have recently had another deadly shooting, this time again in Florida.

And the Trump Administration has allowed a private company to distribute online the computer code permitting anyone with a 3D printer to automatically print their own untraceable guns. Despite a temporary court order currently blocking the distribution of these downloadable guns, the founder of Defense Distributed announced this week he has resumed distributing blueprints for them.

This is an incredibly dangerous move that enables people who are legally prohibited from having guns, like terrorists, felons and domestic abusers, to easily print them at home. According to a recent Axios poll, more than 80 percent of Americans — both Democrats and Republicans alike — oppose the online distribution of these blueprints, precisely because of the very real threat these undetectable and untraceable guns pose to law enforcement and public safety.

However, we have not heard what our federal representative, Greg Walden, feels about this issue. But considering he has been awarded an A rating by the NRA on pro-gun rights policies, we shouldn’t be surprised.

However, if he cares about his constituents, I urge him to co-sponsor and pass H.R. 6649, which would prohibit the distribution of these dangerous downloadable gun blueprints.

Tresa l. Kowats

Hood River

Questions for McLeod-Skinner

I have a few questions that I’d like to hear Jamie McLeod Skinner answer. First, you and your wife registered to vote in the 2nd Congressional District in 2017. Do you really think you can pass off as an east Oregonian? Second, your only residence in the 2nd Congressional District is owned by your mother, an address you just took on in 2017. Do you really think you can pass off as an east Oregonian? You do not own a home and the only home owned by your wife is in Eugene. Do you really think you can pass off as an east Oregonian? Over the past 20 years, you have been registered to vote in either California or Eugene. Do you really think you can pass off as an east Oregonian?

Last question — why aren’t more people asking these questions?

Kenneth Ebi

Hood River

‘Shining moment’

I and about 150 others attended the Dollar General community meeting at the Mt. Hood Town Hall. After the presentation, discussion, questions and answers, it was easy to conclude that the proposed Dollar General store does not belong at Mt. Hood Corner. It’s far too big for the Highway 35/Cooper Spur Road intersection, the routes for traffic in and out of the store couldn’t be worse, the impact to the residents living adjacent to the store would be awful, and the threat to the future of McIsaacs and the hardware store/gas station in Parkdale is real.

However, for me, the most important takeaway from the meeting was that so many folks came out to say they care about the community. Much of the talk was about why we live here and how we appreciate and support our small local businesses. It was about how important it is to know our business owners and have them live among us. And it was about friends and neighbors, what our community is, and what we want it to be. Overall, it was a shining moment for those who live in the upper Hood River Valley.

Bob Danko


Reform PERS

PERS and a dysfunctional tax system are two of the biggest drivers of Oregon’s problems. PERS will continue to be a problem for all agencies that use it as a retirement vehicle.

Can the state’s agencies go to federal court to ask for relief from what the 12-man PERS board did years ago, which was an unfair benefit for Tier 1? Why settle for what the state Supreme Court says on such a big matter?

Open PERS as an defined contribution plan to all citizens of our state. A defined contribution plan places no responsibility on the state as Tier 1 does. Oregon’s OIC, (Oregon Investment Council) which chooses the investments, and the treasury, which does the actual investments and oversees them, have done an excellent job over the last 10 or more years keeping Oregon in the top 10 states in terms of its investment costs and the returns it’s provided, think Governors Kitzhaber and Brown. It would certainly be fairer to those who don’t have the experience to invest, they wouldn’t have to go to a brokerage or rely on the choices of their employer to choose. Another benefit would be having most citizens in the same plan, all citizens watching out for their own interest is preferable to the current three versions of PERS and the rest of us that having to invest on our own; this has caused rifts between members of the different plans and the public, it would also give the OIC and treasury more leverage in terms of costs. There are other small measures that can be taken by the state, one should be either having the universities take care of their high priced coaches and doctors retirements and not leaving the horrible optics of having doctors and coaches getting half million per year when everyone else is getting by.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Selfless strength

Engineers have been unable to develop a meter that can survive the strength of character, principle, moral courage and selfless dedication that radiated from the life of Senator Captain John McCain. But this die-hard left-wing progressive socialist can measure it by the tears I’ve shed every day since his passing.

Jeff Zipfel


News and information from our partners


Comments are subject to moderator review and may not appear immediately on the site. A user's first several comments must be manually approved by a moderator.

Please read our commenting policy before posting.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment


Information from the News and our advertisers (Want to add your business to this to this feed?)