Letters to the Editor for Sept. 15

Parking problems

This weekend I drove downtown to do some shopping with my daughter. We had a great time and ended up buying more than we thought and staying a little longer too. I realized that we were running late and made our way back to our car and saw that we had gotten a $27 parking ticket.

Wow! Really? The City of Hood River is really making it hard for me to support local businesses! I could have stayed home, found something similar on Amazon Prime, gotten it in two days and free shipping! Maybe next time I will think twice or maybe the city should make some changes to encourage people to shop locally!

Leslie Lamer

Hood River

Hacking? What hacking?

The election security bill being crafted in Congress, until last week, was bipartisan, and was intended to ensure that states could protect their elections against hacking and/or interference such as what happened with the 2016 campaign.

The election’s only two months away, and now Congress has abandoned the effort and Trump (surprise!) has determined the bill “violates states’ rights.” Which comes across much like saying, “Don’t bother my Russian friends.”

Our nation’s top intelligence and cybersecurity officials have been warning repeatedly that the mid-term elections are in danger of Russian interference, but Republicans continue to endorse Trump’s utter indifference to these threats to American democracy.

Many states are cash-strapped and need more funding from the federal government to accomplish the necessary changes in election processes and oversight. But Republicans say that funding is not available, presumably because of the massive tax cuts implemented for the benefit of the nation’s wealthy last year.

Other than stating on his website that he voted for sanctions against Russia, Rep. Greg Walden has not proposed or endorsed any meaningful solution to Trump’s refusal to address Russian interference in our elections. This is the most basic of assaults on our democracy, and our representative is sitting on his hands. Jamie McLeod-Skinner has a sense of integrity and willingness to work in a bipartisan way to defend our democracy, both of which are sorely needed in our district. Walden has lost my vote. Jamie has gained it.

Rhonda Starling

Hood River

Knows Dist. 2

Jamie McLeod-Skinner came to campaign in Odell last week. I was impressed! Jamie demonstrated knowledge of the issues affecting the second congressional district: Health care, education and agriculture. She talked knowledgeably about how trade, water policy, climate and immigration affect the viability of the farm and orchard economy that is so significant to the history and character of this vast district.

I was impressed by the number and variety of people who came out to meet her, including orchardists and doctors, retirees and young entrepreneurs. She knows the district; she has traveled and met people everywhere from Malheur to Madras. She is genuine and charming. Jamie’s campaign is low key and it is viable. It’s time to elect a representative who connects with the people who live here. Its time to elect Jamie McLeod-Skinner to represent us in Congress.

Christine Knowles

Hood River

More than just a market

Farmers’ markets are not just a place to buy produce and crafts. Farmers’ markets are community builders. Our markets provide literal sustenance, but also emotional and spiritual sustenance. We get the opportunity to meet our neighbors, see friends, register to vote, hear music, watch kids who have met each other moments earlier dance and play like they have known each other their whole lives. Twenty-five thousand people visited the Hood River farmers’ market last year. In a time of such national division, we should revel in every opportunity to interact with our neighbors, especially if they are not in our normal social circles.

Get to know your farmers, artists and crafts people. I love the opportunity to talk to vendors, asking the farmers what produce is best right now, what is coming into season or how they like to prepare a cut of meat or a certain vegetable. In our age of convenience, it is so easy to forget how much work and love goes into growing food. We walk through the supermarket looking at boxes of commercially manufactured food, vegetables completely free of dirt, meat that is neatly cut into ready to cook portions.

I like to talk with the farmers and hear about how much effort goes into growing a vegetable or raising an animal. It makes the food that much sweeter. You give it barely a second thought if that store bought broccoli crown or pork chop goes bad, but your heart will break if have to throw away a single cherry when you bought it from the person who pruned and watered the trees.

The farmers’ market also provides powerful financial building blocks for the community as well. It is so good to be able to hand a farmer a $10 and know that $6.20 is going into the pockets of our community.

The market doesn’t just provide a place for people to sell things. It brings people in to shop at the stores near the market or buy lunch at downtown restaurant. It’s a trickle-down economics that actually trickles down.

Support the farmers’ market and support the community.

Jon Moch

Mosier

Are we ready?

Last year, Hurricane Maria caused huge damage to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nearly 3,000 died in Puerto Rico. There’s been little said about the U.S. Virgins or that the islands aren’t rebuilt and not everyone has power. According to our president, “Incredibly successful, it was an incredible unsung success.” His statement, made and repeated today on the response that occurred a year ago. I believe we let both places down because of the color of their citizens.

Hurricane Florence will be coming ashore in the Carolinas or Virginia Thursday or Friday. It will be interesting and existential for those living there how FEMA and the U.S. government prepares for what’s forecast to be the worst hurricane in the area in 30 or more years.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Equal justice?

Reality Winner, NSA contractor, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison. She was convicted of stealing one classified document and giving that to the press.

Ex-FBI Director James Comey also took a classified document and gave it to the press. No indictment, on a book tour and making big bucks. An example of our “two-tiered” justice system. Where is our “equal justice” under the law? Anybody see any hypocrisy?

Steve Nybroten

White Salmon

Helfrich for 52

I met Jeff Helfrich when he was running to replace Mark Johnson as our State Representative for House District 52. Since then, I have had the opportunity to talk with Jeff and meet his family at numerous community activities around the town of Hood River. I have been very impressed by Jeff’s high energy level and interest in participating with community groups. Jeff was appointed last November to fill the remaining time of Mark Johnson’s term as state representative for House District 52 when Mark resigned from his seat to take another position. I found Jeff to be very personable, a great listener and well informed on local and state issues. I was quite impressed with his record of public service in a variety of capacities, from military service, to a career as a police officer, to serving on the Cascade Locks City Council.

I believe all these experiences have prepared him well to be an effective State Representative. Please join me in supporting Jeff Helfrich this November for House District 52.

Jeff Larson

Hood River

One year later

One year after the Eagle Creek fire, let’s recall the response of our Representative, Greg Walden. With the ground still warm, Mr. Walden proclaimed that he had submitted a bill to Congress to address the damage. His “Scenic Columbia Gorge Restoration Act of 2017” provided categorical exclusions designed to expedite timber harvesting, and mandated reforestation across 75 percent of the burn. While timber salvage and tree planting are appropriate responses for areas of National Forest designated for timber management, this is not the case for the Eagle Creek burn, which occurred within the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area where timber production is not a priority.

Moreover, the majority of the burn is in a congressionally-designated wilderness area, which is clearly off-limits to logging and where natural reforestation is favored. His bill did not address the extensive damage to cultural resources and infrastructure or the hazards created across the Scenic Area.

Why did Walden’s response to the Eagle Creek fire miss the mark? Perhaps he has only a few blunt tools, like categorical exclusions, in his toolbox. Maybe he isn’t that familiar with the Gorge, the place he calls home. Or, perhaps he just wanted to appear responsive while the issue was hot. In any case, his was a clumsy and unhelpful effort.

We need a representative who is interested in understanding the nature of problems rather than simply reaching for quick ideological solutions.

Fortunately, we now have such a person in Jamie McLeod-Skinner, candidate for Representative of the Second District. McLeod-Skinner clearly has the capacity and perspective to work with local communities to craft thoughtful responses to the challenges facing our diverse and expansive district.

And whatever happened to Walden’s bill? It was referred to a House subcommittee on Sept. 15, 2017, and hasn’t been seen since.

Sam Doak

Hood River



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