Letters to the Editor for September 26

Helfrich should stop negativity

Dear Jeff Helfrich, please stop the negative campaign behavior. If you can’t stop the negative post cards from “the Republican Party of Oregon (RPO),” then who are we voting for? You or the RPO?

We are non-affiliated, non-partisan voters who are looking for facts, ideas and solutions from our candidates. We have not received any other negative, twisted-fact mailers from any other local candidates. In addition to respect for we the electorate, positive campaigns are an excellent example to our kids regarding how to respectfully treat others, how to have respectful public discourse, and the ability of citizens to run for office in our great democracy. Your negative campaign ads from the RPO fly in the face of extensive efforts by schools and parents to teach our kids to avoid bullying behavior and respect others — please stop it.

Thank you.

Richard and Svea Truax

Hood River

Hurting farmers

Why is Greg Walden silent while Congressional District 2 farmers are hurting?

The tariffs that are part of Trump’s current ego-based trade war are devastating to our district, especially our agricultural communities.

Our farmers, ranchers and orchardists have spent years, even decades, building up their markets — and now the administration is systematically dismantling them.

Over 85 percent of the wheat grown in Oregon is exported. Once these markets are lost — once China begins to buy their wheat from Australia or Russia or Ukraine — they’ll be extremely hard to recover. Our cherries and pears and apples are perishable and, when they become too expensive to the countries that buy them, they end up rotting in the fields or packing houses.

When that happens, communities already struggling with low-paying jobs and high poverty rates will face even greater challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that $950 million of exports are at risk, including over $98 million of wheat and 498,400 jobs in Oregon that are supported by trade.

What’s Greg Walden doing about this? Not much.

I would expect a representative interested in helping his largely agricultural district to be ALL OVER this problem — speaking out that tariffs are hurting our farmers, proposing ways to protect and support them, meeting in-district with the long chain of people affected and explaining what he’ll do to help.

I’ve heard Walden congratulating himself on getting farmers a $12 billion bail out from his buddy Sonny Purdue at the Department of Agriculture.

But the problem is that farmers, at least the farmers that I’ve talked to, don’t want a bail out — they want to work and sell their crops and grow their markets. Walden is allowing farmers to become collateral damage in an ill-advised trade war because he won’t stand up to Trump to help the folks at home.

It’s time that we had a representative who will represent the people of our district. That’s why I’ll be voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner in November.

Steve Kowats

Hood River


The “Me Too” movement has brought to light, through the courage of many victims (a disproportionate number of them women), the pervasiveness of sexual abuse (most often by men).

In the early days of the movement, I asked, “Shouldn’t it be self-evident that ‘no’ means ‘no’? That sex should be consensual? That consent requires adults in full possession of their faculties? That a position of power adds to (rather than waives) the responsibility of not imposing one’s sexual desires on others? That no gender should have special sexual rights or privileges? That everyone should be safe from unwanted sexual attention, innuendo or contact?”

Today, I have to ask: Shouldn’t it also be self-evident that no one (much less the U.S. president) should feel entitled to re-victimize the victims?

Mr. Trump recently tweeted, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

Let’s set aside the particulars of this politically-charged case. A broad and profoundly disturbing implication of the president’s tweet is that victims of sexual assault lose credibility if they don’t promptly report the abuse. Is this truly the message that we want to send to the many people who struggle with the trauma of sexual abuse? Isn’t this re-victimizing the victims?

There is no excuse for what Mr. Trump did. Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Yes, the passing of time often makes it more difficult to prove accusations. And, yes, there are legal statutes of limitation. But human dignity and healing have no expiration date.

I can only imagine the pain and anguish involved in a victim stepping forward. The least we can do is to allow victims the time they need and to accept that specific events can be honest triggers of revelations.

Anyone fit to be president should understand this.

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood

Rethinking fundraising

I was not surprised to see this piece of information in the La Grande Observer recently: “Walden Outraises McLeod-Skinner 10:1.” I absolutely believe it’s true, and I do think it’s worthy of publication — but not because it indicates in any way that Walden is the better candidate, or that his fundraising abilities are something to be admired or applauded.

What I think is noteworthy about this statistic is where the money for each candidate comes from. Rep. Walden is funded 90 percent by outsider dollars — not just outside his district, but in large part outside the state of Oregon. These are almost exclusively corporate donors, and as such they represent a quid pro quo (“something for something”) arrangement that has nothing to do with representing constituents. In fact, one could make the case that they are more payments than donations. The “somethings” are reflected in Mr. Walden’s voting records on issues from climate change and gun safety to pharmaceuticals.

By contrast, Jamie McLeod-Skinner is funded largely by Congressional District 2 people. People and individuals living here. OpenSecrets.org points out that McLeod-Skinner has raised DOUBLE the amount from small donors that Walden has. To me, that says that people — actual individual people — are investing in the idea of a representative who cares about constituents more than corporate objectives. With your vote, Jamie McLeod–Skinner will be that representative that shows up and puts us first.

Paul Crouch

Hood River

Shame on the editor

My heart goes out to the family and friends of James Tickner.

Eleven years ago (Sept. 8, 2007), my boyfriend, Drew Pearce, was also tragically killed on a road in Hood River. Thinking back to that sad, heartbreaking time in my life, I can’t imagine I would need or want to see a photo of Drew’s wreck published in our small, local newspaper.

Shame on Kirby Neumann-Rea for publishing the horrific image of James’ truck. You could have completely done without the second half of your report. Let’s remember James for his handsome photo on the front page and for his “kind heart,” which was in the title of your news article.

Keely Kopetz

Hood River

Sacrifices Oregonians

Congressman Walden and his Republican colleagues this summer passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R.2), which endangers public health from pesticide exposure and will further decimate protections for public lands and farmlands.

I am continually outraged that the Republican Party dismantles policies that protect Americans’ clean water and clean air. It seems to be the Red Line that they, as a party, hold near and dear. The GOP routinely denies climate changes, even in the face of credible science, because their donors represent dirty energy.

Two examples are that he voted to get rid of the requirement that U.S. Fish & Wildlife assess a pesticide’s impact on endangered species before approval by the EPA, and sthat he voted to relax the Clean Water Act’s provision that anyone releasing pesticides into waterways obtain a permit.

Walden is willing to also sacrifice our public land heritage by allowing logging and mining in Alaskan forests, including the Tongass. He also “axed” the Conservation Stewardship Program, which funds farmers who engage in conservation on their land.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner has a common sense approach to environmental issues. She does not take money from corporate pacs, which takes the motive out of pushing dirty energy bills like what Walden voted for on H.R.2. Skinner has said, “We should not be investing in, nor supporting, the use of fossil fuels by the United States or any other country … I do not support our state being used as a conduit for fossil fuels — whether it’s through the Columbia Gorge or southern Oregon. It puts our water and natural resources in these areas at risk from spills, fires and contamination — in short, it endangers our home, which we love so much. We should be investing in partnerships and technologies that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions instead.”

Sheila Shearer

Hood River

Change needed

I am a fiscal conservative and am very distressed by the actions of our congress in Washington, D.C.

I think it is a great idea to support our business community. I also believe that this year’s tax legislation is totally irresponsible.

We were promised that the reduced taxes would pay for themselves with increased business. That is not so and has never been so. It slashes taxes and increases spending so much that our deficit is soaring and, by all serious projections, will continue to dramatically increase in the coming years.

That is a disaster for our country and for our businesses. The resulting interest rate increases will require future tax increases to handle this mounting debt.

It seems like the “conservatives” in congress have lost their minds. I will not be voting for Greg Walden this time. He was all in for this tax disaster, helping his corporate sponsors and throwing his constituents under the bus. This time, I will vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner as our representative in congress and help bring much needed change to Washington.

Al Miller


Walden’s attack

Good health is the foundation of a productive society. Last summer, Greg Walden led the attack against health care. Under Walden’s ACA repeal plan, 2,650 people in our Hood River community would have lost their healthcare coverage. Hood River Valley High School’s school-based health center would have been at risk for funding cuts. Walden’s plan would have decimated the health care sector, one of the most significant sources of employment in Hood River County. Please keep this in mind when you vote in November.

We deserve better. We need someone in congress like Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who will work for affordable and accessible healthcare for all. Let’s send Jamie to Washington. We need a representative who understands that health and well-being are for everyone.

Beth Flake

Hood River

Illegal dumping?

Has anybody else noticed the obvious streaks on the pavement of our area roadways? I believe we have someone dumping toxic material (liquid) from a tanker or, at the very least, some kind of liquid that the individual doesn’t want to dispose of properly (or pay for). Over the years, I have noticed this many times. I don’t believe these are accidental leaks — it is too obvious and seemingly in a volume that would be hard not to notice. It would be interesting to take a sample from the streaks to see just what is getting dumped on our roadways.

Yesterday, I noticed a white substance streaking the southbound lane of Highway 35 up and over the mountain. It continued past Bennett Pass. I also noticed a darker substance streaking the north bound lane of Highway 35, where the vehicle turned and went through Odell. I suspect there is a serial polluter using our nighttime roadways while the weigh stations are closed to dump their unwanted material on a blind public. It wouldn’t surprise me to find this happening throughout our nation’s highways. Talk about “chemtrails” in the skies, we’ve got chemtrails on the roadways!

Marty Johnson

Hood River


Have you sat at the corner of A Street trying to get onto 13th lately? I would say that is the most dangerous spot on the Heights.

Cars are parked on the east side of the road, completely blocking the view. Entering traffic is a guessing game. With fingers crossed, I creep out or make a dash hoping my little Fit won’t get bashed.

PLEASE, somebody in charge of roads, do away with at least two parking spots closest to A Street on the east side of the road to allow for a safe turn.

Maria Kollas

Hood River

‘Beasty’ DeVos

Betsy DeVos is one sick woman. I think there is no worse person in all of the United States to head the Department of Education than her. She has not attended any public school in all her years of formal schooling.

She has not visited a public classroom since becoming education secretary. She has made up a description of what happens in a public school classroom out of thin air with no clue to what a public classroom really is really like. It gets much worse.

One year ago, she stupidly rolled back federal guidelines that made it easier to discipline campus rapists. Under “Beasty” DeVos, it is back to the old policies of going easy on the perpetrators and victims dropping out of school. What kind of sick mind, especially a female one, would do such an ugly thing?

I guess we all know one such mind and we taxpayers are paying her salary. Too bad we can’t fire her.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Before voting

From what I have read in the Hood River paper on the opinion page, I haven’t seen anything but great comments about Jamie McLeod-Skinner. After looking at her “to do” list on her “Now is the time” webpage, I thought it was time to compare her platform to Greg Walden’s track record in Congress.

She wants health care for everyone. Walden, along with the Republican party, saw this as an economic impossibility to have quality health care, Obama style, and provide it to everyone. It has not been replaced, but at least people are no longer forced to buy insurance or face a penalty. This does not mean that Greg is insensitive to health care in rural areas. He led the fight to expand health care opportunities and got passed into law the 10-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that 123,000 Oregon children and pregnant women rely on.

He also got increased funding for Community Health Centers in underserved rural areas.

She wants to rebuild the middle class. Sorry, you’re a little late.

By reducing taxes and government regulations (no Democrats voted for this), business has begun to rebound to the point there are now more jobs available than people to fill them. Following the law of supply and demand, wages have begun to come up, regenerating the middle class.

McLeod-Skinner wants to bring common sense and decency to politics and stand up to bullies. A good starter for this would be to tell Democrats to heed that advice when Walden tries to have a town hall.

She wants immigration reform to help the farmers. Greg has been working on and supporting legislation that ensures our guest worker program is strong while ensuring that we are following immigration laws.

Retiring lifelong politicians. I have to agree on this one, only if the politician is not doing a good job. Greg has a good track record, and his ceaseless endeavor to do what is right for Oregon and for the rest of our country would be hard to replace.

Walden has also been very active in improving the Veterans Health Program and restoring the health of our national forests.

Joe Kochis

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

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