Remember driving rules
To the driver of the dark grey Toyota Tacoma pickup with the camper shell: Late Sunday afternoon, you passed us on Highway 35. We could tell that you were in a hurry because we were driving the speed limit, and you crossed the double yellow lines in order to pass, arriving at the four-way intersection at China Gorge just seconds before we did. It’s too bad that you had to slow down because of the six cars ahead of you waiting to turn left, but you made up for lost time by running the stop sign at Front and State. We hope you made it to your destination safely and on time. We are happy that you didn’t cause any accidents that day. However, we would like to remind you that a double yellow line means “Do not pass” and a red octagon sign means “Stop.” These road markings and signs are not just suggestions; they are the law.
Lou and Anne Gehrig
‘Clean energy economy’
As our dread over climate change worsens, I’ve been looking forward to seeing movement on HR 5221, the 100 percent Clean Economy Act. Haven’t seen much yet. The bill was introduced in Congress last November and is now (stuck?) in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill has 167 co-sponsors, but Rep. Greg Walden is not one of them. Walden is the ranking Republican on the committee, and we need him to exert his leadership position to support the bill.
We’re in a climate crisis, and we’re dealing with the effects already on a daily basis. We desperately need to begin transforming our economy to reduce CO2 emissions, and we need decisive action in Congress. It isn’t just the science that is compelling on the subject of responding to the climate crisis. Clean energy has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the American economy, and by going all in on this energy transition, we will create new jobs, new industries, and a cleaner, healthier environment for all Americans.
By supporting the 100 percent Clean Economy Act of 2019, Rep. Walden could accelerate our transition to a safe, clean economy and help grow clean energy jobs in Oregon.
Got it! My new “brainstorm” solution to State’s Street Library crossing: Consider installing a three foot square mirrored sign of shatter proof material with flashing red and yellow lights mounted on its corners, located on the south side of State Street, mounted five feet high and sat at a 45 degree angle, to be activated when State Street’s north side crossing switch is pressed.
Two weeks ago, on Saturday the 25th, my partner and I walked into Whiskey Tango trying to get an Instagram-famous photo booth photo. As soon as we walked in, a man jumped up from his seat and started yelling, “Oh my god, oh my god-midgets;” he then tried to touch us. As we tried to ignore him and walk to the bar he kept following us, asking to take pictures, yelling at us, touching us and trying to pick us up. We had to leave the photo booth because he came in with us because he wanted a photo with us. My partner asked two bartenders to get him away from us. Finally, one of the bartenders that I knew from high school asked him to leave as I was so fed up, I was about to call the police.
The bar was crowded with people and only one bartender helped us as we were visibly being harassed. During my first term as a graduate student in Seattle, I worked with Seattle police department in their hate crimes, harassment, and bystander intervention department. This event should’ve been handled differently. If you see someone being harassed, say something.
My partner and I have dwarfism, which makes us smaller than average height people — we are both around 4 feet. The term “midget” is dated back to the freak show days and was used to describe people of short stature. It is not a medical term, and it is not a term that people with dwarfism should be referred to as. The term “midget” is hate speech.
The Hood River I nostalgically remember was a community — a family. When I was a kid, I would walk down May street and five-plus parents would stop and ask if I was okay and if I needed a ride. That’s the Hood River I remember. I’m not blaming Hood River for the one jerk who didn’t know how to act around two people different than him. I am upset that only one person said something. If someone is being harassed, say something.
The Hood River News must be scraping the bottom of the barrel for their Trump bashing cartoons now! (Saturday, Feb. 8 edition.) I saw that the political cartoon were quotes from 2016. So, with that being said, I’m hoping they move on to someone else for a change of pace, maybe try Pelosi? She’s fodder for so many different cartoons that it would only take the paper 5 minutes to do one and then they could take the rest of the day off.
With Bernie Sanders winning primaries and surging in the national polls, the political establishment of both major parties and the corporate media will try harder than ever to undermine his success. They see him as a threat to their power and influence and the biggest tool they have to undermine him is to make us afraid of his “socialist” policies. But, rather than seeing those policies as something to fear, we should view them as a very likely unifying factor. A large reason for Bernie’s popularity is that his platform appeals to a vast and diverse array of Americans. Nearly 80 percent recognize an urgent need to deal with climate change and 90 percent want to end the rampant corruption in our political system. Medicare for all has almost 70 percent favorability as does significantly raising the minimum wage. Free public college and eliminating student debt are each polling close to 60 percent and ending the endless wars is almost unanimous. Most Americans agree that we need to reform our broken criminal justice system and who doesn’t want the ultra-rich to start paying their fair share of taxes?
These policies are not radical, they are what a large majority of Americans are hoping for, whether they are Democrat, Republican or Independent. Let’s ignore the fear-mongering and recognize that most of what Bernie is for is no more socialistic than Franklin Roosevelt’s policies were thought to be when they were introduced. One ongoing argument against Sanders’ most ambitious proposals is that they aren’t affordable. But, America is the richest nation on the planet and if we can afford to spend trillions on wars and the military and give hundreds of billions in tax breaks and subsidies to the wealthiest companies and individuals, we can certainly change our priorities to help improve the lives of our people and the planet.
Current policy isn’t working
From 1902 until 1951, Ellis Island in New York harbor had a hospital for checking the health of immigrants coming to the U.S. For years, the political class in Washington has talked about overhauling the immigration process. Instead, we’ve attempted to close our southern border with a beautiful wall the “Mexicans” are going to pay for. Now there are camps of potential immigrants on the Mexican side of the border, many are families or women with children trying to escape the problems of Central America. Many decide to sneak in as the current process isn’t working for anyone.
Currently in China, the Coronavirus appears to have jumped from some unknown species to humans, shutting down the Wuhan Province due to quarantine. Entire cruise ships are under quarantine, at least one of three in Asian harbors. There are 13 confirmed cases in the U.S., many more people are being quarantined, and some are self-quarantining, (200) from a cruise ship, they are in Georgia.
How long before someone with this disease arrives at our southern border and unknowingly sneaks across our border with this disease? It doesn’t have to be this disease; it could be Ebola or other hemorrhagic or contagious disease. My point is, we’ve had half a century to create a process at the border that works for everyone; because our politicians insist on fighting amongst themselves, they leave us open to disease and drugs coming across our border. Is it that hard to develop a policy for immigration? It’s certainly easier than stopping a plague.
With regards to airplane noise near Hood River airport, some additional information may be of interest to your readers. Airplanes generate the most noise while taking off. General aviation airplanes need full power to affect a safe take off. To take off, the airplane must start from runway elevation, 630 feet above sea level and climb to the traffic pattern altitude — for Hood River airport the traffic pattern is at an altitude of 1,507 feet above mean sea level. This means the airplanes in the traffic pattern are about 900 ft. above the airport. If you are on ground higher than the airport, an airplane at pattern altitude will be lower than 900 feet above the ground.
What are the options to reduce noise? I can think of only two practical methods.
1. Modify the airplane to produce less noise.
2. Reduce the number of take offs.
Modifying airplanes turns out to be a difficult endeavor. Most airplanes operating from Hood River are what are termed “Certificated Airplanes.” These are airplanes that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified as airworthy as long as they maintain the configuration that the factory submitted to the FAA for certification of the airplane. Consequently, requesting any change is technically difficult and may not result in any significant noise reduction. Reducing the number of take offs gets into a fairness issue: If Joe can take off, why can’t I?
Teaching people how to fly is a common activity at an airport. One of the most difficult aspects of learning to fly is learning to land — this requires lots of practice. In order to practice landing, you must take off. It would seem that some would like to close the airport. The airport has used federal funding for projects and as a consequence must remain as an airport for some time. I certainly hope that the airport neighbors can find a way to live with the Hood River airport as it currently exists.
‘Safe Gun Storage Bill’
We see news daily about injuries and deaths from firearms — far, far in excess of what other nations experience. There have been good efforts both in Oregon and in the country to reduce the carnage, but most have been thwarted by the NRA and its supporters.
So, we still have children shooting each other while “playing,” and other preventable horrors. This legislative session, Oregon lawmakers are considering HB 4005, a secure storage bill — one that would require firearms to be stored safely. Safe storage measures are proven to reduce accidental injuries and deaths by firearm, and the number of firearm suicides. Responsible gun owners understand that safe storage doesn’t impinge on their rights to gun ownership, and that saving children’s lives might be worth the slight inconvenience of locking a trigger or a gun case.
Our legislators need to lead the way in supporting the safe storage bill. Rep. Anna Williams is very clear in her support. Rep. Chuck Thomsen has a consistent history of opposing gun safety measures, but I’m hoping he too will support this bill, on behalf of our kids. The carnage has got to stop.