Letters to the Editor for September 12

No smoking

On June 26, 2018, the Port of Hood River adopted Ordinance 24-2018, Section 21, which reads: “Tobacco use. No person shall use tobacco products of any kind, including cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pens, snuff or chewing tobacco while on Port Property or within Port buildings or facilities.”

Adoption of this policy strongly reflects the Port’s mission, which is “to promote and maintain quality of life and a healthy economy.” A tobacco-free policy promotes a community that embraces healthy living, a clean environment, protections for children and pets, and an inviting destination for tourists and businesses.

Additionally, this policy reflects a community already leading the State of Oregon with the highest number of adult non-smokers per capita per county. Over 91 percent of adults in Hood River County do not smoke cigarettes, according to the 2018 Oregon Tobacco Facts published by the Oregon Health Authority. The number of non-smokers continues to grow nationally and this new policy shows that the Port of Hood River supports this health movement.

The Hood River County Prevention Department applauds the Port of Hood River Commissioners in their strong stance towards protecting the health of the community, environment, and especially our children and pets. Signs are up to remind those who enjoy our beautiful beach front to keep it tobacco and smoke-free for everyone!

If you smoke or use tobacco and would like to quit, you can call the quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or call the Hood River County Prevention Department at 541-386-2500 for more information.

Ilea Bouse

Prevention and education specialist, Hood River

Tackle climate change now

Even if you’re a climate skeptic or choose not to believe in gravity, the climate bullet fired straight up will return to earth and wreak havoc if we don’t move out of the way in time. The moment to discuss adaptation measures to tomorrow’s climate is now.

That fact is, if we stopped emitting all greenhouse gases (GHG) tomorrow, we would still experience human-induced climate change for the foreseeable future. The earth is a big place that functions on millennia timescales; just like rolling a massive bowling ball down a hill, it takes a while for the ball to stop once it reaches level ground.

Let’s face it, global GHG emissions are not going to stop tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, or next week. Climate change, like gravity, is here to stay. It’s time to implement adaptation and resiliency strategies to pre-empt tomorrow’s climate catastrophes.

Today’s crops will not survive even hotter, drier, summers than 2018. By looking to the distant past however (around 56 million years ago both global temperatures and GHG concentrations were some of the highest in ‘recent’ geologic time), we can understand how plants survived more extreme climates and produce crops that utilize these adaptations.

City planners will also need to redesign our towns and cities to exist in the summers of 2050. Hot air rises and cold air sinks. What does this mean for major cities like Portland? As the cityscape warms, hot air will move upwards allowing cooler (denser) air to flow into the city from the neighboring forests and hills. City planners will have to exploit these cooling corridors in order to keep Portland livable.

I am not advocating for the abandonment of environmentally friendly practices. Instead, I urge all of us to understand that the opportunity to completely combat climate change has passed. We missed that train. We must shift from the mentality of strictly combating climate change to one that emphasizes both prevention and adaptation. It is now time to start mitigating the severity of climate change while also adapting to the climates of tomorrow.

Jackson Dougan

Hood River

What binds us

Our democracy is more fragile than we like to believe. The building blocks of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and related political institutions rely of a deeper foundation — our respect and affection for one another.

The tribalism infecting our attitudes towards one another is corrosive to the values and feelings that bind us together. It’s small wonder that foreign powers are using social media to divide us.

This past week’s celebration of the life of Sen. John McCain has been a pointed reminder of what we have lost both in Congress and in our discourse with one another.

My hope and prayer is that we use this moment to remember that our differences are less important than the things that bind us together, and that our love for one another can yet solve the problems of freedom.

Richard Davis

The Dalles

Vote Williams

I’ve known Anna Williams since I moved to Hood River three years ago. We worked together with several people to launch the Aging in the Gorge Alliance, as well as begin to offer educational/support programs for family caregivers and people with disabilities. Anna’s enthusiasm and energy in service to the people we served was contagious — always ensuring diverse populations were served.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that Anna joined the race for the State House of Representatives. After all, Anna takes on big challenges! She is running not for selfish reasons, but because she believes the only way to create change is to become part of the change you want to see. We all know politics have gotten very nasty, and most of us are tired of it. Anna is focused on the issues and is getting out to meet the people of our district. She will listen. Competitors attempt to divert the attention away from the issues. I admire Anna for jumping in the race and giving it all she has, while at the same time working full time and caring for her young family. She is a conscientious, hard-working individual who will be a voice for everyone in our district. Let’s take a good look at Anna the candidate, and the person. I think you’ll agree that she is our best choice for District 52. Thank you.

Claire Culbertson

Hood River

‘Jamie shares my concerns’

Our Second Congressional District is easy to get lost in. After all, it takes up more than half of the state. This might explain why we hardly ever see Congressman Greg Walden in Oregon these days. He’s lost himself in the power and politics of Congress in Washington, D.C.

In contrast, Jamie McLeod-Skinner is driving throughout the district to meet as many Oregonians as she can. She wants to know what’s on our minds, what we value, and what we expect her to do when we elect her as our U.S. representative on Nov. 6.

Jamie shares my concerns, which might be yours, too. She wants healthcare insurance that covers my family and I despite our pre-existing conditions. Choices about planning for more children.

Tackling the impacts of wildfires and climate change on the air and water and life in our communities. Opposing the tariff wars started by this administration that are hurting all of us — especially our farmers and local economies.

What’s on your mind? Check out Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s website, www.jamiefororegon.com. Talk with her when she comes to your town. You can even flag her down when you see her tooling around the district in her pickup and trailer.

I think you’ll want her as your representative in Congress. Please vote for Jamie for U.S. House District 2 on Nov. 6.

Sheila A. Gallagher

Mosier

Not virtuous

A thought or two on the White House senior official op-ed controversy:

I agree with hardly anything President Trump is, says, or does. I don’t like the man. But he is our president. It is the de facto job description of anyone serving on his staff to help the boss succeed.

That is true of any one serving on any boss’s staff anywhere. The reason? Because someday you might be the boss. You will have your own vision and values concerning the direction you want to take your organization. You will need the support of your staff, your advisors, your teammates in helping you get there. Just as your boss cannot succeed without you, you will not be able to succeed without your staff’s support.

So, your job is simple: Help the boss succeed. But suppose you disagree with the boss — what then? One of two things. Tell him/her so, and why. If your arguments are sound, you may sway him or her and will have done him or her and the organization a service. If your arguments aren’t persuasive or the boss is pig-headed and will not change, then ask to be reassigned, or resign. Your integrity is on the line. It appears to me that the White House senior official who went to the New York Times with a “story” wants to appear to be virtuous when he/she is, in fact, not.

Dan Armstrong

Hood River

Vote Reitz

We moved to Hood River and the beautiful Columbia Gorge from Wisconsin two years ago to be close to family. I write to express my deep concern about the world our grandson will inherit from us.

Our climate is changing, and not for the better: Glaciers are melting on Mount Hood, wildfires are devastating forests and grasslands, fish and wildlife are threatened. The science suggests that we may have already gone over the cliff.

Unfortunately, too many people — including our current state senator — are busy arguing over whether we fell over the climate cliff or we were pushed — what we need to do is open our parachute … before it is too late. Our children and grandchildren deserve action now.

But State Senator Thomsen has repeatedly voted to do nothing. All, I might add, in lockstep with Republican “leaders” in Salem and in lockstep with corporate big money donors.

Thomsen voted against “Clean Fuels” twice (2013 and 2015), dodged the vote entirely in 2017 and voted against “Coal to Clean” in 2016, the latter despite strong bipartisan support in the House.

By contrast, Senator Thomsen’s opponent in November, Chrissy Reitz, supports clean energy proposals and is a proponent of Clean Energy Jobs initiatives.

Even if we cannot agree on all of the causes for a changing climate, we can agree that it’s happening. And we know that by taking strong action now, we can slow the progress of a warming climate and prevent or reverse some of the harms that we are already beginning to experience.

When we moved to our new Oregon home two years ago, we were excited and proud to learn about the state’s history of leadership in preserving and restoring our natural environment. We hope that this legacy will continue.

Chrissy Reitz is the right choice for Senate, and for building a livable, sustainable and beautiful future for our children and grandchildren.

Richard L. Withers

Hood River

Public lands assault

As someone who appreciates and uses our public lands in Oregon, I am very unhappy about Congressman Greg Walden’s bill to remove protection from the Deschutes and Whychus Creek canyons in Central Oregon, and wish he’d lay off destructive, industry-friendly efforts to diminish our public lands.

Walden’s bill, H.R. 2075, is called the “Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act.” This sounds very positive in title, but all this bill does is remove protection from public lands in the Whychus-Deschutes area. It will not actually reduce fire risk at Crooked River Ranch.

The Whychus-Deschutes has some of the most fascinating and treasured places in all of Central Oregon, including Alder Springs and Steelhead Falls. This area is home to a diverse array of wildlife species and offers lots of recreation activities for both residents and visitors.

It would have been possible to make the Crooked River Ranch community safer from wildfire while also permanently protecting the most important public lands in Whychus-Deschutes. H.R. 2075 didn’t do that, and is just the most recent version of Walden’s disregard for stewardship of public lands in our district.

We need a representative who knows and values rural Oregon and intends to protect our public lands. Jamie McLeod-Skinner is by far the better choice for Congressional District 2.

Debby Zoe Kelly

Hood River

See ACT plays

I feel so fortunate to live in an area that has so much to offer in concerts, plays, events, cultural celebrations and community activities. This last weekend was an example of so many choices of activities. I was curious about the new venue for plays and entertainment at the adult center. We went to see the three plays that were presented by the new Adult Center Theater. They were very well done and it was an enjoyable evening. I would recommend that you consider going next weekend.

Mary Hobbs

Hood River

Extend fund for 9/11 victims

Shortly after 9/11, my poem was published in The Washington Post:

FOCUS

Our own little fears are eliminated

When terror strikes.

Focusing on

Freedom alone obliterates all other fears.

Unity enhanced.

Inner conflicts temporarily resolved When pouring out our souls

To all those suffering, in pain.

A blessed time of national fellowship.

Why is it that when the initial terror subsides

Our little fears then become compounded?

Maybe we need to keep on giving,

Comforting the grieving,

Focusing on freedom,

Alleviating those fears.

That was 17 years ago.

Two days ago, former host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, urged Congress to renew the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) before money runs out by 2020. If money runs out, people won’t get compensated for their illnesses.

“Every state was represented at Ground Zero during cleanup and recovery. Many of these men and women, close to 100,000, are now in the World Trade Center Health Program across the country. Forty percent have more than two illnesses … the struggles are real.”

We need to get this bill extended and add more money to the Victim Compensation Fund.

Please watch this nine-minute video at video.foxnews.com/Jon Stewart. Ask your congressman or senator to extend this VCF bill!

Maybe we need to keep on giving, comforting the grieving.

Mary Jane Heppe

Hood River

Be proactive

Hood River County is in crisis! Secure Rural Schools, a federal program to replace lost timber monies, has not been reauthorized. The county has struggled with a negative budget for the past seven years, kicking the can forwards in hopes of a windfall solution. This past June, the county determined to fly a two percent sales tax to offset the critical $1.6 million budget shortfall. This would have produced an estimated $3.5 million.

Since 2006, timber revenue is down 36 percent. Property taxes cannot be raised above three percent due to state law – the county’s current rate is $1.41 per assessed $1,000, ninth lowest of Oregon’s counties.

The director of Community Development, John Roberts, and the director/treasurer/tax collector, Sandra Bowery, have resigned. The director of the health department has retired. The sheriff’s department is seeking a public safety district to separate themselves from continued restraints on their budget. The extension service has been informed they will no longer be funded. The county library was forced into a similar situation when the county stated they could not fund it.

Where did the monies allocated for the library go? Where will property tax money allocated for the sheriff’s office go? No refunds will be mailed.

Is Hood River County going bankrupt? Consultants have been hired to pontificate on potential solutions. More money spent!

The City of Hood River suffered similar woes some years back. Discussions to combine county and city services never got past a mild interest. Do our 23,000 residents warrant both a police force and a sheriff’s department? Two maintenance departments?

When a family is faced with financial crisis, what is done? Reduce to a one-car household, eat at home, buy cheaper clothes, and more. But the county continues to spend as if the revenue will support it.

The county needs to take a hard look at basic obligations. How many programs no longer serve a purpose? Which funds are expended without results to the people of Hood River?

It’s time the county commissioners step up to reduce the budget within the means available. Become proactive and cease waiting on a windfall solution — reactive.

Larry Cramblett

Cascade Locks

Reitz for D-26

Chrissy Reitz is running for state senator in District 26.

Chrissy is a former neonatal nurse — she understands how important it is for people to be able to have health care. She will stand up to drug companies and demand better access to quality, affordable health care.

Her opponent, Chuck Thomsen, voted against Measure 101. However, because it passed, it ended up protecting health care access for hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. Chrissy will always protect a woman’s right to choose and get access to reproductive healthcare, while Chuck Thomsen voted against a woman’s right to choose and have access to birth control. Really? Birth control? In 2018?

Chrissy also supports shifting away from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy. Chuck Thomsen voted no on bills to transition our energy from dirty coal power to clean energy and to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases from car emissions.

Chrissy supports common sense gun safety laws. Chuck Thomsen voted no on a common sense bill to require background checks on gun sales. Chrissy doesn’t want to prevent people from having guns, she just wants to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have access to them.

I enthusiastically support Chrissy Reitz as our candidate for State Senator in District 26.

Jan Tommaso

Sandy



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