Lost wallet, safe

Last week, I was late to a meeting downtown. I found parking and fed my meter and by the time I arrived, I’d lost my wallet. I checked with all of the offices on the street on my way home and received lots of sympathy, but no one had turned in my wallet.

My wallet got home before I did. It had been delivered by a kindly Hood River policeman. Thank you, Hood River Police! What a lovely community we live in!

Christine Knowles

Hood River

Tobacco action

Thank you, Rep. Greg Smith, for standing up to Big Tobacco. In the final hours of this year’s legislative session, Oregon lawmakers approved an initiative to raise the state’s tobacco taxes and send it to the November 2020 ballot for voters to decide. It would raise the price of cigarettes by $2 per pack and tax electronic cigarettes for the first time, both of which are critical to curb tobacco use in our state and save lives.

I hate to see former or current tobacco users suffer from COPD, emphysema or cancer due to years of tobacco use. That’s why I support this lifesaving measure, and I support Rep. Smith’s support.

Thank you, Rep. Smith, for standing up to Big Tobacco and supporting Oregon’s kids. Using tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death. This year about 5,500 Oregonians will die from smoking. And 2,100 Oregon’s kids will become new daily smokers this year. That needs to change. As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer advocate, I know that raising the price of cigarettes and all other tobacco products like e-cigarettes will help people quit. It will also keep kids from starting.

Again, thank you to Rep. Smith for your strong stance. I urge all Oregonians to support this issue next year on the November ballot.

You can learn more and get involved at fightcancer.org/Oregon.

Marilyn Wong

The Dalles

Appalling behavior

Just when I thought Mr. Trump was further incapable of denigrating the office of the president, his self-satisfying smug and complacent reaction to his supporters chanting, “Send her back” at his recent GOP rally demonstrates a complete lack of character, decency and moral fiber. He is not alone. Across the entire political system those of any particular allegiance who fail to call out inappropriate conduct, who turn a blind eye to ignorance, incompetence and self-aggrandizement of those in leadership positions irreparably weaken the democratic process and the cornerstone of any hope for our species on this remote spec of rock insignificantly hurtling through the cosmos.

As the dominant species on a planet increasingly stressed by our demands on its resources the focus of humanity should be understanding, tolerance and inclusion. We are a bigger version of a finite and critical environment moving through space in the same sense the Apollo 11 astronauts were dependents of their modules to sustain life on the journey to the moon. If those we elect to leadership positions base their decisions on ignorance and self-serving denial of data we deserve the fate of the myriad of species who have proceeded us in extinction.

Anytime a child or a person of any ethnicity of any socioeconomic background is denied the ability to flourish because of a lack of access to health care, education, sanitation, clean water or any other basic necessities simply because of willful ignorance and any manner of prejudice, society has made a conscious choice to reduce the pool of candidates whose future contributions may have held the key to our survival. We know the key is not willful ignorance. We should realize the key is not a return to tribalism. If we are to survive on this “pale blue dot” the goal of humanity must be a rejection of dysfunctional tribalism. While we no longer dwell in caves and dress in animal skins, we still allow ignorant old men with clubs to decide the fate of children and grandchildren.

Paul Harshbarger

Hood River

Snail mail

I enjoyed Kirby’s article praising snail mail. It does have all kinds of advantages. For instance, you get to twist your wrist in a cursive manner as you set sail on the U.S.S. Penmanship. Or, if you prefer dry-land correspondence — it’s an absolute joy to strap your mail to that traveling snail, then get plenty of exercise waving farewell until, at long last, it eventually disappears from view. There is a caveat … if your snail forgets to put on proper attire, simply take it to the Shell’s station.

Bill Davis

Hood River 

Erased crosswalks

I own a small business, Daniel’s Health & Nutrition, on 12th Street on the Heights in Hood River. It’s been so exciting to see how this once neglected part of town has been renewing and growing over the last years. Unfortunately, several weeks ago, ODOT crews erased many of the crosswalks across 12th and 13th streets, as they had been put in by the city and were not ODOT approved. This has left very large gaps between painted “official” sidewalks on the Heights. The crosswalk near our store is often used by elderly folk crossing from our store to The Farm Stand or by parents with strollers coming across from The Farm Stand to our store or to Lake Taco behind us. Another crucial crosswalk erased is the one on 13th right before Belmont by 10 Speed Coffee. Theoretically the “erased” crosswalks are still legal places to cross; unfortunately, many drivers are now completely ignoring anyone trying to cross as it looks like walkers are trying to “jaywalk.” Walking a full two blocks or more to cross a street on a marked crosswalk is just not going to happen when the place you need to get to is right across the street from you. I have both called ODOT and written them a letter about this. I’m very concerned that one of our beloved citizens, or even worse, one of their children, is going to be seriously injured or killed by these crosswalks being erased.

Ruth Maletz

Hood River

Anarchy

In response to “Thanks, Sen. Thomson” by Alan Bailey (Letters to the Editor, July 20): I am one of Chuck Thomson’s constituents too, and he certainly wasn’t representing me by walking out of the Capitol and hiding out in a neighboring state. In a democracy, you vote your vote, and Chuck Thomson had every right to vote “no” on the Cap and Trade Bill. The fact that there is a super majority of Democrats in Salem means that a majority of the people of the State of Oregon voted for Democratic Senators in the last two elections. It does not mean that is okay for the opposition party to run and hide when a vote is coming up that they don’t like. You vote your vote and the majority rules, that is how a democracy works.

In this case, there wasn’t even a good reason to leave Salem because the vote was not going to get passed anyway, so leaving and hiding out just set a dangerous precedent that will lead to future chaos in our state government. This year the minority party took it upon themselves to run to a different state twice during the legislative session. What is next? We have a high speed train waiting in Salem for the party that is the minority to exit the state every time a vote is coming up that they oppose? Then we will no longer have a democracy, but instead, it will be anarchy.

Darrell Roberts

Parkdale

Conscience, Congressman?

Dear Congressman Walden,

We had the briefest one-on-one conversation at one of your Town Halls. When I prefaced a legislative question with my concern with the unfitness of this president, you rolled your eyes. As you quickly answered my question — while being ushered away by an aid to your next meeting — I couldn’t ask what your eye roll meant. Was it “Oh, no! Another president-opposer,” or “Yes, he is unfit, but what can I do”?

Your July 16 press release on “President Trump’s Recent Comments” gives me the same sense of ambiguity. What do you mean, sir?

I wholeheartedly agree with (and applaud!) the beginning of your statement: “America is a nation of immigrants and I do not, and will never, condone discrimination. The president’s recent tweets do not reflect the values that we hold dear in America and they are comments that should not be made about any American citizen regardless of who they are or where they work.”

But then you quickly put his tweets in a basket with arguable statements by others, and chastise the entire set as “distractions”— thus diluting the unique responsibilities of a U.S. president.

You close with an indefensible “(…) Congress needs to stop wasting time bickering over mean tweets and get back to tackling the real problems facing our nation.” Worse, you went on to vote against the House resolution condemning this president’s bigotry. Was that resolution a waste of time, sir? Really? Since when is preserving core American values a waste of time?

You are experienced and savvy, sir. You know that this president’s tweets were not merely mean. Yes, they violated our anti-discrimination laws, and were unethical, xenophobic and racist. But, above and beyond that, they served a political purpose, by testing how effective “Send her back to her country” was as a campaign message.

Is your conscience at peace, sir? Troubled times call for clarity. If chants of “Send her back” don’t send a chill down your spine — much like the foreboding of impending doom — you are ignoring the lessons of World War II, and shouldn’t serve in Congress.

Antonio Baptista

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

 

Time to ice ICE

It is time to tell ICE to “go back where you came from.” This rogue agency has no business in our community, and it is time to stand up and tell them so.

As reported in Gary Young’s letter and the Hood River News (July 17), the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) invaded our fair valley and, acting like Gestapo, took one of our neighbors, who worked at one of Hood River’s most prominent employers.

It is our responsibility as a democratic community to say “no” to this unconstitutional action, to say to this collection of jackboots, “you are not welcome here, you do not provide public safety, you do not help secure our homeland, go back to whatever hole you came out of.”

Some will claim the power of the federal government leaves us helpless. Nonsense, there are things we can do: We can shed light on this criminality. We can be vigilant, use our smartphone cameras to document any time an unmarked black van assaults our neighborhoods, get pictures of faces and license plates and arrests, and post them on social media, if nothing else. We can organize against this, we can come together as a community, share our outrage, then act as a community. We can cooperate with other communities facing this threat.

They have taken one of us. Let’s stop playing nice. We must ice ICE.

David Hupp

Hood River

Climate crisis

Our climate crisis requires action in Oregon now! Standing around with our hands in our pockets is not an option, despite the pitiful example set by our Republican State Senators. Their recent walkout was arrogant and irresponsible. I’m completely ashamed that elected representatives, Sen. Cliff Bentz and Sen. Chuck Thomsen, think so little of their responsibilities and their constituents that they fled the state with their colleagues to derail the HR 2020 vote.

Bentz, Thomsen and their colleagues should be ashamed! They ignored the pleas of the young activists in Salem, on behalf of their generation, to not be left with an untenable future — worsening wildfires and smoke, food scarcity and drought, dying forests, more violent storms, shortage of water for drinking and agriculture, fish die-offs, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and human morbidity and mortality related to weather extremes. The youth were pleading for help. Mr. Bentz and Mr. Thomsen and their colleagues had a reply for them: We don’t care.

Gov. Kate Brown has vowed to use the powers available to her to address the unfinished business of achieving climate protection for us in 2019. She has the support of voters, and I hope she’ll stay strong and committed.

It’s time to hold large polluters in this state accountable for their emissions, and to invest in our communities to transition to a clean energy economy. And it’s time for all of our legislators to take responsibility for helping solve our climate crisis or get out of the way.

Rhonda Starling

Mosier

‘Gobsmacked’

I just received this letter from a good friend in England, following Trump’s outrageous tweets on Sunday. The letter speaks for itself:

“Hi Wendy.

“I have to say I am utterly gobsmacked that someone in this day and age feels free to stir up such repellent racist nonsense. After all that the world has been through to get past such disgusting views. The trouble is that such xenophobic fascist opinions are contagious and the political debate here (in the UK) has already been coarsened by having to ‘accommodate’ such ideas simply because of the craven need to keep ‘in’ with an important country at a time when we are chopping away our ability to respond in a collective European way. Honestly, the world is looking more and more like it did prior to the second world war — febrile and full of strutting, mean-minded bravado and intolerance! Really worrying! Here endeth the lesson ... on an otherwise very nice day! Adrian x”

Wendy Best

Parkdale

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