Inspired

Kathy Watson’s Another Voice column (“Planning like all our kids live here,” Dec. 12 issue) said so beautifully what so needed to be said. Indeed, how do we want to live in this community, together?

And I will add: How do we welcome the presence and contributions of children who grow up here, as well as the inevitable newcomers — people coming here from other cities, towns, states and countries — and be inclusive of all the people who “draw my blood, gas my car, sack my groceries, and fill my water glass,” as Kathy put it?

Good people are doing very hard volunteer work on the elements needed to plan well. I am disappointed when I hear cynical remarks about these efforts, or harsh criticism about solutions not yet found to the many tough challenges presented by change and growth.

Thank you, Kathy Watson, for inspiring and motivating the best in us.

Tina Castañares

Odell

Suggestions for Walden

I extend my congratulations to Congressman Walden. He faced a determined, strategic and compelling opponent, yet won re-election. I did not vote for Mr. Walden, and his victory does not erase my deep concerns about him, his party, and the president he serves. But he was democratically and fairly elected.

Coming January, Mr. Walden’s power and influence will be diminished.

With Republicans in the minority, Mr. Walden will lose the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he has yielded since 2017.

I encourage Mr. Walden to take reduced power as an opportunity to listen to a broader cross-section of his constituents and charter a more inclusive and productive path forward around issues essential to our district.

I offer three suggestions:

Recognize climate change as a man-made, serious global threat with major local impacts, and become a leader in creating political consensus towards effective climate mitigation and adaptation solutions.

Only thus would Mr. Walden be mitigating our forest fires, as well as making our economy more resilient across ranching, farming, tourism and renewable energies.

Recognize that access to healthcare is a basic human right and work to create a fiscally responsible system that delivers such care to all.

Only thus would Mr. Walden be seriously contributing to solve the opioid and veterans health crises, while ensuring the health and well-being of our communities.

Recognize that migrant work is at the core of our agricultural enterprise, and work towards holistic solutions to the complex problem of immigration. Those solutions require immigration reform, not just enforcement. Reform should be humane and empathetic, as well as strategic and realistic. It must address sources of mass migration and cure root causes of discrimination towards migrants. And it should incentivize migratory currents when they strengthen the U.S. or are our moral imperative.

Each of these issues will determine the future of our district and country. Voices of reason are needed in Congress to break the partisan silos that impede effective solutions.

Mr. Walden must choose whether to become part of the solution, or remain part of the problem.

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood

Morrison Park concerns

The Rule of Law, which most of us reasonably believe is rooted in our common values, is again being circumvented in Hood River.

Depending on who you are, or who your friends are, you too can have the law tweaked to serve your purposes.

For example, the rules regarding new development and parking in Hood River were purposely crafted to mitigate negative impacts. In fact, downtown parking has been an issue for so long that we are now amid our third study of the issue. This study was triggered by outrage over parking rules changed to specifically benefit a well-connected developer.

Our values (and the law) are under threat again. According to The Oregon Court of Appeals, Morrison Park was illegally rezoned and given to a private entity (Mid-Columbia Housing Authority). The mayor has expressed his intent to pursue an administrative work-around to the legal decision.

Even though we the taxpayers are paying for a large portion of the project, it doesn’t provide “workforce housing,” it isn’t for the elderly and it isn’t for long-time Hood River residents hoping to stay connected to their community. Morrison Park is being sacrificed to benefit whoever the private corporation decides. Even if this particular project was our only option, and it is not, this is unconscionable.

That isn’t the biggest concern, however. Historically, as any city grows, opportunities for open space are lost while those decrying a lack of affordable housing persist in claiming an even greater need for more of it; in our case, in place of parks. If this precedent to allow the use of public parks to develop housing is allowed, we will be precariously upon the slippery slope of destroying the codification of our shared values that were once a defining characteristic of this community.

We can do better than destroying our parks and open spaces. There are other opportunities to improve housing availability. We are not Seattle, Portland or Gresham; and we should abide by the laws that we, in Hood River, have previously and thoughtfully agreed upon.

Resist the urge to take the easy, lawless path.

Brian Towey

Hood River

Take stock

As a coach of entrepreneurs and small business owners, I have for many years encouraged my clients to create a “Letter to Stakeholders” at the end of each year. The letter consists of three short paragraphs: Highlights of accomplishments during the year; comments on the disappointments or shortfalls for the year; and significant objectives for next year.

In recent years, I’ve broadened my recommendation to include additional lenses through which to view the past 12 months. One of those is the Gratitude Recap.

I define the Gratitude Recap as a list of those experiences that lifted the spirits, or made a difficult day/week/month more bearable, or evoked an involuntary emotional response of thankfulness.

My own Gratitude Recap for 2018 experiences includes (but is not limited to):

If you’re a business owner, try creating your Letter to Stakeholders.

Whether or not you’re a business owner, experience the joy of conceiving your own 2018 Gratitude Recap. It’s more fun than committing to New Year’s resolutions, and probably a better motivator too.

Doug Roof

Hood River

Community support?

Every Labor Day for the past seven years, I have been on-hand to swim across the Columbia River, one of 500 participants. My first effort was in 1980, when my family drove over from our home south of Portland. Now, I drive or fly from Minnesota.

Seven years ago, I was delighted to stay at the charming Hood River Hotel, room 309, for $100 plus a coupon for breakfast. This year the cost of “my room” (which can only be requested, not guaranteed) is $440, since a two night stay is demanded.

I will not be there. I have loved feeling part of your community; scared, too, when the fires approached. I have stayed young by being the oldest female or oldest swimmer for these past years. Meeting the wonderful volunteers and staff made my addition to your community fundraiser easy to bear and a great deal of fun.

No longer. The community support is not evident when hotels are greedy. Marina land offers no campground area. Sleeping there six hours overnight in my car is forbidden. I’ll probably drive over from Portland next year and spend even less time with you all.

But I do love that swim!

Kristin D. Anderson

Roseville, Minn.

Healthcare for all

I am not clear at all as to how Universal Healthcare became a partisan issue?

Democrats, Republicans, Independents — we all have kidneys, and lungs, and limbs. All of us have needed, are currently in need of, or will need some repairs done. In short, there are those who have a pre-existing condition, and those who will have a pre-existing condition.

What does it mean to be a citizen? What is our governing philosophy?

Are we simply a physical/geo-political boundary around a body of land, or do we also encompass a body of ideals, goals and mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone who resides within?

The fundamental concept behind insurance, the mathematics behind insurance and, in the end, the feasibility of insurance is simply, “The good fortune of the many help fund the misfortune of the few.”

I am not a Communist. I believe in the right to have self-direction and the ability to make a living that is, to a large extent, governed by my willingness to work and work hard. That said, I believe all of us in the United States, as U.S. citizens, should be able to stand upon the foundation of universal healthcare. I believe all of us, as U.S. citizens, have the right to, and obligation to, support this foundational necessity.

We all seem to understand that we cannot get a home loan, or operate a car, without insurance. Yet, when it comes to the most valuable home we own, our body, we seem, as a society, to become confused.

Eric Cohn

Hood River

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