‘Congress’ duty on war’
I’m horrified and irate that Trump ordered the assassination of Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. This would be equivalent to a foreign government assassinating our vice president outside the Toronto airport.
This was not a defensive action, and comes at a time of escalating tension with Iran. We need skilled diplomacy with Iran, not an isolated, erratic nut with a trigger. The U.S. Constitution specifically tasks Congress with decisions on war, so where are they?
In recent years, and despite Trump’s thorough incompetence and dangerousness as a leader, Congress has ceded authority over the military to the Executive Branch.
Congress is a co-equal branch of government that holds tremendous power to check Trump’s recklessness. Congress must step in immediately to rein in Trump’s catastrophic escalation to war with Iran. Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Greg Walden, we need you to clearly and unequivocally state that you condemn this strike and are opposed to war with Iran.
Trump has positioned us on the precipice of war, and Congress may be our only hope of stopping it.
Bonnie New
Hood River
 
Only making things worse
The killing of Iran’s top general might have longterm strategic value if he is hard to replace, immediate value if he has not yet revealed his claimed to be imminent plan to do us harm. But I have an idea his replacement was his top student and that he put his immediate plans into writing or made them clear otherwise.
So killing him doesn’t decrease the dangers and arguably actually increases them.
So, what was the real purpose for doing something so drastic that even the Israelis never did?
Well, revenge feels sweet. So I guess that feeling is one motivation.
And Trump’s need to show he is not Obama and the storming of our embassy will not be Benghazi is also big here, the main thing says my son, Cody. (It’s all about the base.)
And the need to distract us from the recent exposure of further proof that withholding of vital aid from Ukraine was known to be illegal and ordered directly by Trump is there in the mix.
Unless Iran cannot adequately replace their guy, unless we got him before he shared his latest fiendish plan with his staff, this was a pop-off impulse that has no value and will certainly make things worse in every respect.
Bob Williams
Hood River

City Work Plan Session Jan. 11
Jan. 11 is the city council’s annual Work Plan Session. The city has received over 60 responses to their request for input regarding the 2020 Work Plan. This confirms that we do have an engaged citizenry, which is great. This was also demonstrated by the massive volunteer support recently for Measure 14-67.
Last year, the city’s first goal was “Create opportunities for an inclusive and diverse housing inventory.” I think this is a worthy goal and I’m not alone. Housing has been a top priority for many years now, and the recent Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) update reveals how policy choices of the last 5 years have fared, and it’s a bit of a mess.
The city’s 2015 HNA called for nearly 100 new housing units per year. The update states that since 2015, only 207 units were permitted. And, rather than multi-family (missing middle) housing that the city claims we favor, almost all of it was single family.
How could this happen? Here are some possibilities.
Past leadership did not follow the recommendations of their HNA.
They aggressively prioritized unproductive policies (STR regulations and housing on parks).
City was slow to address user (builder) requests for a more efficient permitting process.
Reliance on planning models meant for large urban areas that are unlike Hood River.
Maybe Hood River isn’t Portland and we should stop trying to be?
Hopefully the city will share results of the 2020 Work Plan survey and make a good-faith effort to consider the input provided. The voters who spoke loudly last November are expecting the council and administration to value well intended public engagement as they chart the future course.
We now know one thing for sure — the city has continually failed their top goal. What we don’t know for certain is what has been neglected as they focused so intently on other time-consuming projects.
My desire is for the city to prioritize infrastructure and public safety. Those are two things that will facilitate development of needed housing, protect the safety of citizens and the integrity of our neighborhoods as Hood River grows. 
Brian Towey 
Hood River

Bag ban not enough
Thank god for the Single-Use Bag Ban. Oregon has finally stepped up to the plate and is taking climate change seriously. We Oregonians can swell with righteous pride as we pack our recycled, natural fiber or some other eco-friendly reusable bag with groceries wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam, placed in plastic produce bags, packaged in plastic containers with the additional plastic security seal wrap. And since we are so eco-conscious, we can reward ourselves with an all-natural treat wrapped in plastic from the natural food section and wash it down with a 100 percent local organic beverage in a plastic bottle.
And why stop at groceries. Almost everything we consume is in some way touched by plastic. We even use plastic bags to pick up dog feces. You are thinking, “But the bags are biodegradable.” They are, but only if the landfill has the appropriate bacteria and conditions.
Currently it is impossible to live a plastic free existence in our community. However, it is not impossible to do. There are grocery chains in the UK that have reduced plastic by roughly 80 percent. In a years’ time, they were able to get rid of over 2,000 plastic items. Do we have the will to do something similar here, or are we too complacent to change?
The Oregon Legislature can pretend it did something to fight climate change, but they really didn’t. The gesture is so insignificant that it is meaningless, if not harmful. One can ignore the floods, the droughts, the wildly raging fires, the loss of viable agricultural land, until the crisis hits and it’s too late.
So, go grab a bottled water and sit outside in the 50-degree winter weather, and think about how progressive we are for banning single use bags.
Glen Patrizio
Hood River

‘Sick feeling’
Mr. Earle’s Jan. 1 letter “Christian Oppression” triggered very powerful emotions for me. There are a small number of people in the U.S. who justify suppression of equal rights for women and those with non-traditional sexual orientations based on their interpretation of Christian doctrine. However, these practices exist all around the world and are not unique to Christianity. I become deeply concerned with any claims that 100 percent of any group deserves complete blame for the shortcomings in a society.
I was raised in the Jewish faith and learned when I was 10 that some of my relatives were murdered by Nazis, who convinced millions of Germans that every Jewish person had to be exterminated. The world looked away from this for years. At age 54, it is still hard to believe so many people could be convinced of this idea based solely on religious beliefs.
Currently in Myanmar, the Buddhist government leaders have encouraged the rape, torture, detention and murder of its Rohingya citizens merely for being Muslim. This was an unprovoked assault on a religious group who had been living peacefully in their society. The world is currently looking away.
President Trump wants to ban every citizen of certain countries from entering the U.S. because a tiny percentage are terrorists. He characterized several countries as sh#%holes to create tiers of human value. We have also been told that only the “worst” citizens from neighboring Mexico come across the border illegally into the U.S.
The president’s words create the same “us versus them” scenarios we saw in Germany and see in Myanmar today. I feel Mr. Earle’s letter, albeit well-intentioned, may have inadvertently entered the same type of group blame and fear that is all too common in our world. All this blanket condemnation makes me feel a little sick.
Steve Kaplan
Hood River

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