Write a prisoner

Dearest readers,

In this Letter to the Editor, I am bringing forth an opportunity that has transformed my life and that I feel is extremely necessary to share.

I’m a normal stay-at-home mom from Hood River but, about two years ago, I began writing to incarcerated men and women. In this time, I’ve gotten to know about 100 individuals. I’ve received letters describing childhoods destroyed by negative association, the suicide of a parent, and absent fathers. Because I write so many people, most of my pen pals only hear from me about every two to three months, but still they are immensely grateful for the connection. I receive gifts and drawings and so much love and appreciation through their words. It would probably shock most people how sharp and determined so many of these men are. Most of them are doing their best to learn from their mistakes and are very grateful that they are incarcerated for a period of time to regroup and transform their lives. They read every self-development and business finance book they can get their hands on. Many are interested in the teachings of Tony Robbins and Robert Kiyosaki and want much more for their life. I’ve found so many similarities between these brothers, sons, and fathers and my own family.

In the last two years, I have received so many letters from people desperately searching for a pen pal. They need someone to connect with who can share a positive mindset when they’re in the strange bubble of prison walls, and I have to turn them down. I’m already writing 100 people! If you have it in your heart to write an occasional letter or postcard, it could transform someone’s life. Go to the free website to get the address of a young man or woman who needs an opportunity for connection. Not only will it change their life but yours as well. Trust me. I pray that you’ll take the initiative and look at the website to find the address of your future pen pal.

Much love, friends.

Website: Writeaprisoner.com.

Bailey McManus

Hood River

Walden’s record

During the current session of congress, Greg Walden voted no on the following:

  • Feb. 27, HR 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act
  • Feb. 28, HR 1112, Enhanced Background Checks Act
  • March 8, HR 1, For the People Act
  • March 27, HR 7, Paycheck Fairness Act
  • April 3, Condemning Trump Administration for trying to kill the ACA
  • April 10, HR 1644, Save the Internet Act
  • May 2, HR 9, Climate Action Now Act
  • May 9, HR 986, Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act
  • May 22, HR 1500, Consumers First Act
  • June 4, HR6, American Dream and Promise Act

All votes of Greg Walden, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and what the bills cover, can be found at VoteSmart.org. This is the easiest and most complete review of congressional action I have found.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Memory loss

As time goes by, one forgets to remember that memory loss takes place more often, especially short term recollection. For instance, you walk into another room with a specific purpose but, when you get there, instead of knowing why you made the short journey, you’re confused by a giant question mark that asks: Why am I here? Then there’s big time memory loss, like when my wife and I began our vacation trip. As we headed down the ramp to the freeway I asked, “Did we forget anything, dear?” She replied, “I don’t believe so, honey. I have my purse and you remembered the suitcase.” Suddenly, we erupted into hysterical laughter; we forgot the car.

Bill Davis

Hood River

Stop the rumors

I have read with growing astonishment and dismay the recent letters attacking Mayor Paul Blackburn for his stance on the Morrison Park re-zoning issue. I have known Paul Blackburn for close to 20 years, and while our paths do not often meet these days, I know Paul to be a fair, honest and ethical man who is committed to making this community a better place. When looking for a solution to a difficult problem, he would make every effort to come down on the side of the greatest good for the greatest number. To suggest, as some have in this publication, that he is secretly in league with developers, or that he somehow stands to profit from a housing project on the Morrison Park property, is ludicrous.

Unless those floating these scurrilous, unsubstantiated rumors have clear, documented proof to the contrary, I would invite them to ponder this: In the Jewish religion, gossip is a sin. When one day a man asked the Rabbi why this should be, the Rabbi replied, “Son, before I answer your question, I want you to take a sack full of feathers to the top of a hill on a windy day and throw the feathers into the wind.  When you have retrieved each of the feathers that were scattered by the wind — then come and ask me again, why gossip is a sin.”

I know Paul Blackburn to be an honorable man. Can the people behind these slanderous, mean-spirited innuendos say the same about themselves?

Jo Ann Harris

Hood River

Vote YES on HB 2005

I was so pleased to learn that our legislature is working to pass universal paid family and medical leave in the state of Oregon. If this bill passes, working Oregonians will be able to maintain financial stability while they take time off to welcome a new baby, recover from illness, or provide needed care a loved one. Current state and federal laws allow workers to take unpaid family leave for 12 weeks per year, and still be assured they will be able to return to their jobs. However, small businesses are exempt, so many workers are not eligible for this benefit. Many more workers cannot afford to take unpaid leave, so the current law does nothing for the people who earn the least.

HB 2005 doesn’t just mandate that employers provide this benefit; it also provides a way to pay for it: Family and medical leave would be paid for by insurance. Workers and business would contribute a 1 percent of wages toward a state-run insurance fund, and state grants will also be available to help small business cover costs. The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave. Here in Oregon, we can join a handful of other states that have found a way to do better.

Hardworking families should not have to face financial struggle or risk job loss in order to provide needed care for a loved one. Our state representatives need to know how important this issue is. Please ask them to stand up for our families and vote YES on HB 2005.

Lara Dunn

Hood River

An ‘out’ for Republicans

I love baseball.

In the days when the Madison High School Senators were a regional powerhouse, I gushed pride upon looking out onto a field of green peopled by young men in patriotically colored uniforms, three of whom, one at short stop, one at second base and one on the pitching mound, were my sons. The downside to parental pride occurred whenever a ball was hit up the middle and the game stopped while my boys attempted to fix blame.

George Will loves baseball. Indeed, some consider him an authority on the subject. I thought of that this morning while listening to him speak on national television. He’s written a book about conservatism. When asked about his most recent accomplishment, I was surprised to learn that there is not a single mention of Donald Trump in the book, this from an author who, in many respects, is heir to the mantle of a tradition once worn by William F. Buckley. When questioned about it, Mr. Will replied, “... This is a book about ideas ... to reestablish the dignity and momentum of the conservative persuasion in the United States going back through Lincoln and all the way to Madison. The current president isn’t involved in the American tradition of ideas in politics.”

It seems to me, as a former Republican, that like-minded conservatives may be searching for an out. Perhaps baseball is the answer. Remember the movie, “Field of Dreams”? The speech that sunny day by actor James Earl Jones? “The one constant through all the years has been baseball ... this field, this game ... it reminds us of all that once was good and could be again. People will come.”

Baseball. The tradition. The balance. The rules. The elegance. We conservatives, come 2020, will need to choose an out. A political sacrifice. We will need it, in the words of another wonderful film about baseball ... “For the Love of the Game.”

Robert White

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

‘Reptile brain’

The Nazis wielded the exact same power our orange buffoon does with consummate skill. He knows the reptile brain backwards and forwards. Our mission, should we decide to accept it, is to collectively transcend our reptile brain to become mammalian at the very least, and human at the very most.

David Warnock

Hood River

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