‘Shocking vote’
 
At the Hood River City Council meeting on Monday (council chambers were packed), the question was whether high-density housing (almost 70 apartments) is a compatible use on land zoned for a park (Morrison Park). Some 25 Hood River residents spoke against this ludicrous idea. Three people spoke in favor of it (including a lawyer from Portland). One lawyer tried (and perhaps succeeded) in having much of the heartfelt testimony scratched from the record.
 
After listening to hours of testimony, a councilor put forth a motion to reject the proposal and failed to get a second.  Then, an alternative motion was hastily written up during city council deliberations: to approve a rezoning of park land (with details of percentages of development: 55 percent for development as affordable housing, and maximum of 45 percent set aside for park, recreation, and recreational facilities, etc.). As an afterthought, the councilors decided to add “contiguous” to the wording. They didn’t want fragmented development within the parcel. This is ironic, because the whole meeting was supposed to be about the word that previous council included and is now being misinterpreted: “Compatible.”
 
  By hastily throwing together this motion, they didn’t clearly state their intention. “Contiguous” could be long and skinny, or in a clump. The fact is that the developer will cherry-pick the most buildable (cheapest to build) and leave the least desirable land (maximum 45 percent) undeveloped (or “set aside,” as the motion states).  Basically, the council set the precedent that high-density apartment buildings can be built on park land, if the developer leaves a few scraps for the public.
 
Three council members, plus the mayor, voted in favor of apartment buildings being a compatible use on park land. Two council members rejected this proposal. By redefining “compatible use,” other parks could soon be the next location for new “affordable” housing.  I can see it now ... Morrison Haven Apartments, Jackson Heights Apartments, Waterfront Park Apartments.
Most folks who watched the proceedings were shocked at the vote.
 
Brian Carlstron
Hood River
 
‘Thank you’
 
Every year, Hood River Valley High School puts on an event called the Lock-In. Depending on the year, 500-800 students stay all night at the school participating in different activities from movies, Wii games and laser tag to sporting tournaments, etc. Food from local restaurants is also provided. This is an amazing event and it cannot be done without the help of the community. Thank you to all of our awesome volunteers that stay up late, or get up early, and make sure that our students are safe and having a good time. A special thank you to the local businesses that donate food for students to eat throughout the night or prizes for our different tournaments.
 
Thank you Rosauers, Divots, Subway, Paco’s Tacos, Thai House, Sweet Lila’s Coffee Shop, Papa Murphy’s, Twin Peaks, Dominos and Doug’s.
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 
Lindsy Weseman
Hood River
 
Illegal coup
 
Our country is currently perpetrating an illegal coup in Venezuela. If you do not see this, you are willfully ignorant. Elliot Abrams, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are all avowed regime change zealots and dirty tricksters. Why do we have the right to apply crippling sanctions that kill people and openly threaten the elected leaders of a country with invasion? This is immoral and patently illegal under international law. Please contact our representatives in congress and call for an immediate oversight investigation of what the convicted war criminal Elliot Abrams is fomenting in Venezuela.
 
If we don’t stop these criminals now, they will be emboldened, and the next event will be war with Iran, which they have been pushing for years. Please stand up and stop this!
 
Rod Krehbiel
Hood River
 
Electoral votes
 
Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election with 304 electoral votes, as a writer previously announced last week in the “Our Readers Write” segment of The Hood River News. Nice catch! This fact has been known since Nov. 8, 2016. The Electoral College was devised with specific purpose in mind: To allow every U.S. citizen from every corner of the country to have a say in the election of the president of the United States.
 
The U.S. has a land mass of 3,614,089 square miles. If the country changed the election format, as suggested by the same writer, our presidential election could be decided by a handful of large cities, primarily in the far east U.S. encompassing only 320 square miles. Who in their right mind would consider this a viable option? It would lead to a single party system as espoused by the likes of Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and few other left-wingers. It would eliminate one of the most important safeguards built into American politics to provide a balance of power and voice to every working man and woman across this country.
 
I believe both Republicans and Democrats should tone down their rhetoric of division and work together for the betterment of our country. I also believe the Democrats missed a golden opportunity for significant immigration reform and resolution of the DACA dilemma prior to the recent government shutdown. I believe President Trump was willing to negotiate a deal that would have benefited all American citizens, and future American citizens.
 
Roger Neufeldt
Mt. Hood-Parkdale
 
Colorblind
 
I would like to take a moment to respond to Bill Davis’ March 16 letter, and his specific claim that Trump wants a colorblind America, and that is something to be desired.
 
It isn’t.
 
A colorblind society is one that calcifies the racial hierarchy of the day; it does nothing to address inequities in our society, whether that be economic, educational or otherwise, along racial lines.
 
In our own community, for instance, there is a very real achievement gap between students of color and white students. A colorblind society says, let them pull themselves up by their own boot straps, even though they might be immigrant students who don’t even yet know the language, for instance.
 
To contrast, the kind of racism Donald Trump traffics in attributes one’s motivation to one’s race, which is like saying that there is an achievement gap because of the fundamental failing of brown skinned people. Sounds pretty racist, right?
 
I would highly suggest that Bill get his hands on a copy of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s masterwork, ‘Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,’ which is available for free at your local socialist book store.
 
(I am not associated with Sheppard’s Farm and Winery Equipment in any way other than name.)
 
Benjamin Sheppard
Hood River
 
Healthcare
 
Dear Representative Walden,
 
Thank you for coming to Hood River for the town hall meeting. I enjoyed your presentation, though I was disappointed not to have a chance to discuss healthcare.
 
As a family physician, an economist and a board member of the Gorge Health Council, I wanted to let you know that the Affordable Care Act made a significant difference for patients: It improved access to care, it removed fear of discussion or treatment of so-called preexisting conditions, and it removed financial barriers for evidence based preventive medical care for those with coverage.
 
However, as you know, there is much to do. I want to ask you to see the Affordable Care Act as a stepping stone toward ensuring that affordable health care is available to all citizens, not just those with a certain job at a certain time. We need to build on this small effort at reform, and not discard it before another program is in place.
 
Efforts in Oregon to improve care for Medicaid members (25 percent of covered lives in Oregon) are award-winning and effective at delivering the right care at the right cost in Hood River and Wasco County. I would be happy to discuss these efforts with you at any time.
 
Our current health system is inefficient, expensive and persists as the number one cause of individual bankruptcy in our country. We need to use this moment to have deep discussions across the aisle on meaningful improvement and health care reform.
 
I am asking you to represent the need to get everyone covered, and to simplify this overly complex inefficient system. We need bold leadership.
 
Elizabeth Foster, M.D.
Hood River
 
Climate Strike
 
While I am all for students that want to help stand up against pollution and climate change, walking out during school time to do this is not acceptable. They could have waited until Saturday to do their protest.
 
Ron Dunn
Dee
 
Unfavorable
 
I admire your integrity for publishing unfavorable opinions. But with letters which go beyond opinion to purposeful deception, such as Donald Rose’s recent letter, that’s different. Since my letter of Dec. 8, he knows about SOHO, yet he pretends he does not and falsely implies that current global warming is influenced by increased solar activity.
 
Additionally: Studies have been done with plants in high CO2 enclosures. Some plants grow faster, others don’t. Growing faster does not mean more nutrition. “We know unequivocally that when you grow food at elevated CO2 levels in fields, it becomes less nutritious,” www.scientificamerican.com/article/ask-the-experts-does-rising-co2-benefit-plants1.
 
Indeed, a couple decades ago, I read an article in the Science News that caterpillars feeding on some high-CO2 grown plants ate twice as much and still starved to death. There is no excuse for someone interested in the subject not to know this. It is called willful ignorance — the information is there, but not read.
 
When Pat Moore uses the phrase, “minor warming of the Earth’s Atmosphere over the past 100 years,” he is shown to be either ignorant, or (what I think) lying. Calling it minor is like sticking a thermometer in your mouth, reading 104 degrees, and saying “I don’t have a bad fever.” (I appreciate the HR News’ journalistic effort in finding and publishing information on Mr. Moore.)
 
Adrian Fields
Hood River
 
 
Editor’s note: This letter references Donald Rose’s March 6 Letter to the Editor, ‘Useless fuss.’

Not Eden

President Trump’s behavior leaves me quite pessimistic about his ability to “save the soul” of our country. In fact, it seems blasphemous that he would sign Bibles given his obvious difficulty honoring the Ten Commandments.
 
I accept that people support the president in spite of his marital infidelity, narcissism, petulance, dishonesty, and racial biases. I just cannot see how the president, God, and the soul can realistically be used in a meaningful conversation. I could probably get there in a discussion about the infamous serpent.
 
Steve Kaplan
Hood River
 
Editor’s note: This letter references Pastor Mike Harrington’s March 9 Letter to the Editor, ‘Save its soul.’
 
St. Urho’s Day

I miss the St. Urho’s Day (March 16) celebration we used to have in Hood River. There was a queen, a parade, and other festivities, fun and laughter. Long live the Finns!
 
Ruth Turner
Hood River
 
 
Editor’s note: St. Urho’s Day, the celebration of the fictional Finnish saint who chased grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, was instituted in Hood River in 1981. Hood River held annual celebrations, including a parade, a Royal Court and changing of the guard, until the early 2000s.
 

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