Public Safety Power Shutoff

When Pacific Gas & Electric was forced into bankruptcy following last year’s California wildfires, it changed the financial risks utilities face in serving rural customers. It was inevitable that utilities would take steps to avoid the risk of severe financial losses following utility caused wildfires.

Pacific Power recently announced the steps they are taking to protect their customers and, while unstated, their shareholders. On the positive side, Pacific Power is taking proactive steps, like increased line inspections and vegetative management, to reduce the risk of wildfires. More problematic is their new Public Safety Power Shutdown (PSPS) program that would cut power during extreme dry windy conditions. Red Flag days are a frequent occurrence in the Gorge, while utility caused fires are rare and unpredictable. It is hard to see how the benefits of shutting down the grid outweigh the costs and risks being shifted to customers.

Does Pacific Power expect customers to install backup generators or vacate whenever power is cut? Does Pacific Power belief that emergency providers can protect those on life-saving medical equipment? Does Pacific Power believe that residents cut off from emergency notifications when they lose phone and internet are safer? Does Pacific Power believe they can predict, days in advance, what the fire risks will be? Does Pacific Power believe that the risks on Red Flag days are significantly different from other dry windy days?

Pacific Power’s PSPS should be seen for what it really is. Less a program to protect people than a program to protect shareholders. Public reaction to PSPS outages will be overwhelming negative. One has to ask if PSPS isn’t a gambit by the utility to force regulatory or legislative action to rebalance the risks of providing power in rural areas like the Gorge.

Richard Davis

The Dalles

Editor’s note: This letter, erroneously attributed to another writer, initially appeared in the July 3 edition.

Advocate for parks

On behalf of the many people who helped gather more than 1,200 signatures in a few weeks to place the Parks Protection measure on the November ballot, thank you! And a big thank you also to our local community. All of us who gathered signatures for the initiative were struck by the civil and positive discussions we had with people as we went door-to-door. We appreciated hearing from the people we met at Saturday Market, along the waterfront, and at First Friday. People were overwhelmingly polite and engaged.

Ruth Guppy, a local writer, newspaperwoman, and historian wrote this about our town in July 1959: “Local headlines would give the impression that every soul in Hood River is endlessly embroiled in bitter controversy over schools, community development, roads, electricity, city and county business. This is merely America in action. Better we should have expressions of opposition than no opinions at all. The time for Hood River to worry will be when no one objects to anything!” Sixty years later, we still debate those same issues! As we continue to advocate for our city parks, we remain grateful and enthusiastic about the active participation and engagement of so many people within the community.

Tracey Tomashpol

Hood River

Faith in love

I grew up in the south, the Bible belt (as some call it), raised by southern Christian parents, in a Baptist church. I attended a Lutheran elementary school, weekly Baptist church activities, (often three times a week), Methodist & Baptist vacation bible schools, Christian summer camps, Sunday school, Sunday services at various denomination’s places of worship, and so on.

As I reflect on this upbringing, I remember the message that I received from all these Christian organizations that shaped my life, and that message was love. Straight up, just one message … love. Love for my neighbor, my brother, my enemies, the poor, the lonely, the people across the world that I don’t even know. It’s simple, just love. The teachings and life of Jesus embodied that. He demonstrated love by taking in the outcasts, the downtrodden, the sick, the forgotten, the people that have been shunned from society, and he showed them love. I don’t quite recall being taught the part where Jesus said, “pick a group of people, put up rude signs about them, don’t let them in the church and they don’t matter to our community.”

I think he taught quite the opposite. It is concerning to watch hate being spewed in the name of Christianity. If God said that He is the ultimate judge, doesn’t that let the rest of us off the hook? No need to judge, just need to love, and God will take care of the rest. I believe the scripture says, “for God so loved the world.” The world is a mighty big place and encompasses everyone.

The words of my favorite songwriter sums it up best:

It’s a sad, sad story

When a mother will teach her daughter

That she ought to hate a perfect stranger.

I am grateful to my parents for exposing me (“forcing” sometimes in those adolescent years!) to this religion that gives me faith. I have faith when I see hate on the news every day, and watch hate going on all around me. So, I will choose to put faith in unconditional love, and believe that love will conquer all.

Susan Sorensen

Hood River

‘Red badges’

Hats off to Sen. Chuck Thomsen, who, along with his other 10 colleague senators, maneuvered within the law in the same manner as did our former Democratic senate president (now Gov.) Brown, to shut down government.

Considering the mismanagement of our monies under Gov. Brown’s Democratic leadership and Oregon’s ongoing growing runaway debt, brings to mind my dad’s, “figuratively speaking,” quote, “They don’t have sense enough to pour sand down a rat hole.”

(Think about it.)

Compare the outcomes: The rat can’t side cast the sand, can he? Neither can Gov. Brown side cast Oregon’s bottomless indebtedness. I likened these events to a political civil war. Let’s give each of our eleven Republican senators the Red Badge of Courage!

Alan Winans

Hood River

Politicians lie

Sometimes, I think my drive home is too long. I sometimes think about the things I have read. Of course, maybe there are other folks whose drive should be longer. I was thinking about the June 19 letter (“Lies, Lies, Lies”) regarding President Trump’s numerous lies and misrepresentations. Is the implication that previous presidents and current politicians don’t lie?

President Obama lied when he said, “If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan.” So that is one lie, but if he told it four times or four different versions, does that count as four additional lies? Just wondering how they keep track of that sort of thing? Is there a difference in the size of the lie, or just who said it?

There must be a government study that says a politician has a number of lie credits; use those up and then it is a bad thing? Is there a different amount for Democrats and Republicans? Just who is in office?

It is delusional to think that previous presidents and politicians did not lie, stretch the truth or misrepresent. But suddenly, having the media trying to discredit President Trump will make the public trust the federal government more and make it great again is just silly.

Steve Nybroten 

White Salmon

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