Tech issues

I would like to respond to the Jan. 19 letter concerning Papa Murphy’s Pizza accepting EBT/SNAP benefits. About four weeks ago, we were one of the businesses affected by the Century Link outage. It affected all electronic transactions in our store. When the service interruption was restored, we realized our EBT transactions were not being accepted.

We contacted our technology consultants and our credit card and EBT processor and were told everything is fine on their end and that we would have to call the SNAP Retail Service Center. The SNAP Retailer Service Center has a recording that states they are “not operational due to the lapse in appropriations which has resulted in the shutdown of many government agencies.”

I have called every day hoping that a few of the furloughed employees will be in one day to be able to assist me with this small technical glitch, but so far no luck.

Not being able to take care of our EBT/SNAP customers has been very discouraging and frustrating for us. We value these customers and have been offering a discount on their pizzas, but that does not help when they were looking forward to having pizza and cannot afford to pay cash.

Our store in The Dalles is still able to process EBT/SNAP payments, but a 40 minute drive over and back is a lot to expect our customers to take. I guess all we can do is hope that our leaders will choose to work together to get our government up and running again.

Debbie Lingel

Mosier

‘Touching’

The compassion and care that Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo have for the Venezuelan people is touching. How deeply they care! Yes, “America First,” but in this case, their deep compassion is more important.

What could be more democratic than a coup supported by our good-hearted leaders?

And if Venezuela happens to have a lot of oil (our third largest supplier I’ve heard), let’s just make sure we keep that oil safe for them.

Some say we are causing a lot of the unrest by our sanctions (not allowing Venezuela to refinance it’s debt and preventing it from repatriating it’s money from Citgo, it’s state owned oil company), but that doesn’t make sense. Why would we cause pain to people we’re so hell bent on helping?

Let’s make sure that democracy reigns (and this time make sure the elect the “right” person). Viva la Washington consensus!

Rod Krehbiel

Hood River

Low bar

Citizens and members of Congress have applauded members who willingly gave up their salaries during the recent government shutdown, aka temper tantrum, by POTUS. Is the bar for excellence really being set that low?

The average member of Congress makes $174,000 a year, which is $83 an hour. Members also receive free healthcare and a pension. A few cities in the U.S. have mandated $15 an hour, but the federal minimum wage remains $7.25. I wonder who had more difficulty buying food and paying their bills while going without a paycheck for a month?

If people are going to set the bar so low for praise-worthy behavior, I may run in 2020. I know I meet the minimum requirements. I am still breathing and still go to work every week.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

‘Driving force’

We just learned of Jim Bull’s passing. Jim died at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Jan. 25, in Portland, with Polly and his daughter, Carol, by his side.

A memorial service is being planned for February, the date is not set, but will be around the 12th and take place at the Trout Lake School.

We were very fortunate to have Jim as a founding member of Adult Community Theater (ACT). He was our driving force and it was his passionate commitment to all Gorge-area theater and ACT that brought a vibrance of life to our arts community — one that we will always remember and cherish.

Please take a few moment to reflect on Jim’s life and how to best honor him and be strengthened by his commitment. Life is precious — and so was our time with Jim.

Lynda Dallman, Irene Fields, Harold McBain, Ken McCarty, Dick Withers and Gary Young

ACT Committee

Control

Will our government never cease meddling in other countries affairs? Both political parties are equally to blame for this. Trump and Co. want to increase sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Venezuela that hurt the populace far more than the leaders. And they recently threw their support behind a potential coup in Venezuela, where the political opponent of the president declared himself the new president. No election, no majority support, he just said, “I’m the president now!” and Trump said okay.

If you think Nancy Pelosi might be against this sort of thing, think again. She wants us to believe Trump is doing this to support human rights and freedom rather than trying to gain control of oil riches or to further upset the three countries’ economies. In other words, she’s cheering him on.

If they truly were interested in freedom, they’d set their sights on Saudi Arabia, which has one of the worst human rights records. But countries like that are okay as long as they play the game the way our government wants them to.

Will we ever see an end to America’s long history of intervening in foreign countries that don’t meet the approval of our nation’s leaders?

Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are just a recent sampling of our ongoing meddling. And is it any surprise that almost all of these countries have some sort of resources or other economic interests that those in charge of our system want to alter or control?

Michael Hustman

White Salmon

Plan for 2020

Election season is behind us, and it’s time to think about what we’ve accomplished and where we want to go from here. With less than two years until the 2020 election, it is good to begin planning now.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner has changed the landscape of Oregon’s 2nd congressional district in a number of ways. She won Hood River County 2:1 and took Deschutes County, the first time for a Democrat in decades. Her election closed the gap between Walden and his 2016 opponent by a huge 27 percent. He was forced to spend over $4 million of his $5 million war chest in Oregon instead of close races around the country. That means the work we did here helped candidates around the country. And Jamie won more votes in our district than Gov. Kate Brown, showing how successful she was in bringing people together.

Now, with name recognition across the state and a solid foundation of support, she has solidified her chances for future success. As many had predicted, it will take two cycles to beat a 20 year-plus incumbent.

While we applauded Greg’s recent vote with the Democrats to end the absurd and damaging shut down, one can only wonder if Jamie’s threat to his Congressional seat is helping to knock some sense into him.

Still, his consistent votes to support Trump’s faltering policies will weaken his position with unaffiliated voters and will likely help close the gap with those voters who gave him one last chance. 2020 will be a very different election. We in Hood River gave a resounding YES to Jamie, and we are ready to help with her path forward from here.

We are hosting a “Path Forward” potluck gathering with Jamie on Thursday March 7, 2019 at 6 p.m. at the Rockford Grange, 4262 Barrett Drive in Hood River. There, Jamie will share her new ideas about holding the present government accountable as well as brainstorming how we can help to “plan in 2019 to win in 2020.” All are welcome!

Please mark your calendars and RSVP to vote.jms@gmail.com. For more information, call 646-644-2109.

Susan Bellinson

Hood River

Congrats to Thomsen

John Laraway’s letter from Jan. 24 makes the valid point about the newsworthiness of Chuck Thomsen’s swearing in as our state senator in Salem for another term. Chucks position as the state senator for District 26 is significant for several reasons.

He will be the longest serving state senator for Senate District 26 since the redistricting in the early 2000s. This is no minor accomplishment, as this senate district has a significant Democratic voter registration edge. The fact that Chuck has been able to be elected three times to this position demonstrates his ability to connect with voters on both sides of the aisle. With the chronic dysfunction happening in D.C., don’t we all wish for more bipartisanship that leads to real solutions?

Secondly, Chuck Thomsen is extremely well placed with committee assignments for this session to be of real value to our region. Chuck is the only member of the senate to sit on both the Education Policy Committee as well as the Ways and Means Sub-committee. This means that he can have a hand in crafting important education policy as well as the budgets needed to support better outcomes for our public schools. He has also been appointed to the Joint Committee on Student Success, which is taking a comprehensive look at our entire public education system in Oregon and will be recommending significant changes to how we teach our students across the state.

Lastly, Chuck has been given a coveted seat on the Capital Construction Sub-Committee this session. This means that he will be at the table and have a significant voice in infrastructure investments that the state will make in this biennium.

In a region that clearly needs significant investment in our roads and bridges to improve our transportation infrastructure this is a really positive and significant development for all of us in the Gorge.

So congratulations Senator Thomsen on your re-election. We look forward to having you serve Senate District 26 and the Gorge for the next four years.

Mark Johnson

Hood River

Questions

Hi, I’m an 8th grade student at Hood River Middle School. At Hood River Middle School, we learn to accept everyone. On a more national level, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which criminalized racism based on religion, race, color, and natural origin. So why is our current government not respecting this?

Well, I don’t actually know. I understand that some people in every country are likely criminals, but only a very small portion. In fact, specifically concerning Central American migrants, it’s more likely that a white citizen is a criminal than them. Our president’s promised wall also doesn’t make sense strategically; China tried that tactic with the Great Wall 2,000 years ago, and it didn’t work then. It certainly wouldn’t work now in the age of flight.

I just plead to our current administration: If you are going to be biased and racist, do it in a smart way. Invest in personnel and better equipment, or, best case scenario, invest in a simpler, more effective immigration court system and an easier road to citizenship.

Sam Fauth

Hood River

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