Sales tax

I would hope that Hood River County would rethink the idea of a 2 percent or 2.5 percent sales tax. A sales tax is regressive and hits the working poor and retirees the hardest. Make no mistake, those will be the ones who have the most to lose with this proposal. How many residents will try to make purchases out of the county, if possible? Commissioner Rivers said that tourists get a free ride, yet they still won’t bear the heaviest burden. Frankly, most tourists are only here from April to October and will not pay any tax for half the year. If the commissioner’s goal is to get tourists, then have the tax payable during the summer months when it might affect the tourists. Even Commissioner Rivers stated that agriculture is the largest industry in the county. It makes sense then that the agricultural community will pay the most under this proposal. Since those major agricultural-related businesses serve residents, will this help them? I don’t see how.

David Phelps

Hood River

A good bill

Thanks and congratulations are owed to Rep. Greg Walden for co-sponsoring the RAISE Family Care Giver Act. This legislation was sent to the president’s desk for signature earlier in January.

The RAISE Act represents a bipartisan effort to address the need to recognize and assist family caregivers and to include, support and engage them in the health and well-being of families and communities.

This legislation is an important first step. Once signed into law, the bill (HR3759, S1028) will create an advisory committee to assist the Secretary of Health and Human Services in developing a national family caregiving strategy for federal, state and local governments together with local communities, health care providers, and long-term services and supports providers.

Before sunsetting in three years, the law requires reporting an initial strategy with recommendations to Congress and the public within 18 months. Rural and aging communities like those in the Gorge may be profoundly affected by policy choices made in the next several years as a result of the information and recommendations provided under this legislation.

Thanks also to Oregon’s other RAISE Act co-sponsors: Representatives Bonamici, DeFazio and Senator Merkley.

Rep. Walden was not a co-sponsor when this legislation was introduced in the previous Congress. I believe he has been listening to constituent concerns over the last year.

The real test for his legislative leadership will be whether he participates in a meaningful response to the RAISE Act strategy and recommendations. The RAISE act appropriates no new resources. It is up to all of us to assure that The RAISE Act is not an empty gesture.

Richard Withers

Hood River

Editor’s Note: The ending of this letter was inadvertently cut off in the Jan. 17 issue of the Hood River News.


Did you know Representatives and Senators get paid even when they shut down the government? Their aides do not. Their aides should not be allowed to do any work during any shutdown. I wonder how long it would take for these august bodies to get off their duffs and compromise long before any shutdown ever occurs?

Of all the things that need changing in Washington, how Congress works needs to be at the top of the list.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Walden does harm

Rep. Greg Walden has done constructive work. But when considering the great issues of our time — affordable health coverage, income inequity, comprehensive immigration legislation, military spending, burgeoning national debt, profusion of gun violence and species extinction — he has done us far more harm.

He has failed to educate himself on climate change and instead has cast doubt and blocked every legislative effort to prepare for what is now on the tracks heading our way. His disservice is not just to us but to our children and future generations to follow. Now he has hit a new low in his continuing coziness with the current Trump administration with only the mildest of criticism. What American values that truly make this country great are represented by Trump and his crowd?

Rep. Walden, by aligning yourself with such people, you diminish all of us and even more, you diminish yourself. Pull yourself together and start representing and protecting your entire district or claim your golden parachute and take the next lobbyist offer.

Jeff Hunter

Hood River

Yes on 101

Regarding Greg Walden’s shameless political posturing as a champion of children’s health care:

How can the voters of District 2 continue to support a man whose actions in Congress clearly diverge from his public statements that are designed to reinforce his image as a plaid shirted Eagle Scout?

The reality is much different. As chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, he has written legislation that would throw thousands and thousands of children off the Oregon Health Plan and seniors out of nursing homes, all to reward the super wealthy with more tax cuts.

The popular CHIP program that Walden now references has become a political football that has put millions of families at risk while he grandstands before the cameras.

Greg Walden personally saddled the reauthorization of CHIP with ridiculous offsets that would pay for this popular program by taking subsidies away from ACA enrollees who were late making monthly payments.

A “clean” bill would have easily passed both houses and would now be in place.

It is exactly these sorts of mean-spirited political stunts that forced Oregon to look elsewhere for funding for the Oregon Health Plan.

Please join me in voting yes on 101 and no on Greg Walden.

Michael Byrne


In it together

If only I could get this message to Mr. Trump, I certainly would.

Knowledge must be exercised by use, to become wisdom … common sense.

Our color is like the flowers, God’s choice, but we all have red blood. There is one God and no color in battle; we are all in it together. If you cannot find the truth where you are, where do you expect to find it?

Erma Blackwell

Hood River

Dreaming with dignity

Dreamers were brought here as babies, infants and young children. They didn’t come here by choice — they were too young to be making choices. Their parents brought them here in search of a better life for their families, the same way my father was brought here at the age of 7 by his parents in search of a safe life, and probably the same for many who brought their children here from all over the world.

These children, the Dreamers, in spite of the odds, thrived in our culture, excelled in our schools, and many have participated helping their communities through community service. Many have gone on to college and done well. They are amongst the best and brightest, and never caused trouble. This is something to celebrate. Young people growing up to assume leadership in their communities, our children or our neighbors who strive and are successful should be celebrated, feted and encouraged, not treated as bargaining chips and threatened in some grand game by federal politicians.

Many of their parents came here and worked in the fields and harvested crops to get ahead. Have their children broken any laws? I’d say hardly — they came here in the care of their parents. If laws were broken, it was by the parents, not the children.

Many of those who came here before the 1880s faced zero entry requirements. There were none until the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was an obvious attempt to keep people from China out. Many of the laws regarding immigration were just that, bigoted and racist, much like what’s happening today. Let’s not let the federal government kick out these people who came here innocently and want nothing more than to live here in dignity and to make a contribution to our society.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Columbia Gorge CASA

Dear Readers:

We are writing regarding our support for Columbia Gorge CASA and a request that community members volunteer to advocate for a child.

Columbia Gorge CASA serves Sherman, Wasco and Hood River counties. CASA trains and supports volunteers who advocate for children in our foster care system. Once trained, the volunteers become the court appointed special advocate for a specific child or family of children.

As your local circuit court judges, we are all very appreciative of the impact Columbia Gorge CASA has on children in foster care in our counties. The advocates in all three of these counties regularly meet with the children, parents, agencies, and schools. The CASA provides information to the courts about what is really going on with the particular child. CASAs provide the judges with further insight as to the current well-being of the children as well as the child’s needs and desires.

Columbia Gorge CASA is hoping to expand the program locally in Sherman, Wasco and Hood River counties. Although Columbia Gorge CASA is currently serving about 70 percent of children in foster care, there are many more children who would benefit from having a CASA volunteer. The next CASA volunteer training begins on Feb. 22. The training will be one night a week for six weeks and involves on-line and in-person sessions.

Please contact CASA at 541-386-3468 or go to to find out more about volunteering.

Very truly yours,

John Olson, Karen Ostrye,

Janet Stauffer and John Wolf

Circuit Court Judges,

Seventh Judicial District

Hood River

ID card bad idea

I am disturbed by the attitude of so many in our community who support the “County vets ID card proposal;” see the Jan. 20 Hood River News front page article by Patrick Mulvihill.

The Oregon DMV currently issues a photo ID card which costs $44.50 and is good for eight years. It is specifically for those individuals who are lawfully entitled to be here. Issue requirements intentionally oppose those who have no legal right to be here and support the citizens and other governmental agencies such as immigration, income tax, etc., who desire to control our exploding undocumented immigration problem.

When we oppose the efforts of our own governmental agencies by circumventing them, we are in rebellion against those who as citizens we are pledged to support, and any nation divided against itself cannot stand. My dictionary says, “In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” This new ID card, in my opinion, is certainly an attempt by some to give aid and comfort to an unlawfully assembled people and is in opposition to the desires of our governmental laws and statutes. Some might even consider it treasonous.

I am all for controlled immigration; I am all for temporary visas for work or for other valid reasons. But there are many, many other people outside our borders who would rather live here than where they are. We simply cannot afford to provide all of the world with the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. If we are foolish enough to try, we will go bankrupt, giving up our affluence and living in their poverty.

Let’s not rebel against our established authority which protects us, but as a nation encourage others to oppose those who are breaking our laws and to whole-heartedly support those who are enforcing them.

Gary Simpson

Hood River

Vote Byrne

Are you as appalled as I am at the state of turmoil coming out of Washington, D.C.? Are you as disappointed in your congressman from District 2 — Greg Walden — for his unilateral support of Donald Trump’s agenda, as I am? Are you tired of seeing your congressman get rich from plying the backrooms of political action committees? Are you tired of voting for the status quo because you feel there has been no viable option?

If you feel as I do, you are ready for change! Change starts with your vote! Come Nov. 6, 2018, change comes with the election of Michael Byrne as Congressman for District 2 in Oregon.

I have known Mike Byrne (MB) for over 35 years as a co-worker and friend. Never have I met a man as grounded and level headed as MB. Mike is running as a Democrat, but that doesn’t mean he will vote his party line. MB has the integrity to transcend the party and place his vote where his constituency prefers, unlike our current congressman, who has chosen to step in line with his party, right or wrong.

MB is not afraid to stand up for his and our beliefs and will fight to repair the wrongs foisted upon us from this corrupt and immoral republican administration.

If you are ready for a congressman who will listen and truly work for his constituency on the issues that are important to you and me — health care, schools and education, term limits, political reform, controls on the gerrymandering of congressional districts, common sense legislation on gun ownership, the future of our democracy and our environment — and if you are as fed up as I am with not being listened to, then I urge you to join me in voting for Michael Byrne Congress District 2 Oregon. I do not believe we will be disappointed!

Marty Johnson

Hood River


In my opinion, some significant items are under-mentioned in the current political discussions. Here is my list:

In the matter of gun ownership, the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution specifies that the right to own a gun is provided so citizens may be called up to constitute a militia. The so called “original intent” majority on the Supreme Court went beyond that reasoning.

As for current discussions of Trump’s presidency, more attention to these things would help. Promises to reveal his tax returns and discuss tragic mass shootings later, etc., are not being kept. Insults to foreign leaders and nations have reduced the influence of the United States in the world. They have not served to “make America great.”

Trump is the President of the United States due to our current presidential election system. He is correct in saying the election was “rigged.“ The rigging is the Electoral College that gave the election to him although he did not have a majority, or even a plurality, of the votes. If there had not been a third candidate in the election, he might well have lost it.

Our president frequently confuses his own thoughts and wishes with “the truth.” For example, compare the photos of the crowds at the most recent swearing in of the new president and the one just previous. And his descriptions of immigrants often don’t fit the facts. He is entitled to his own thoughts and wishes, but not to his own facts. Neither are we entitled to ignore evidence we find disagreeable.

Those of us who are working at following Jesus have no choice except to welcome the immigrant and help the poor. Just take a look at Matthew, chapter 25 in the Bible. It won’t do to shift that kindness off to individuals only in a democracy where individuals act through choosing representatives to govern.

Finally, Shirley and I continue to follow The Hood River News although we moved to Snohomish, Wash., two years ago. We miss the community of Hood River and our many friends in the Gorge. Thank you for the “Letters to the Editor” forum.

John Ihle

Snohomish, Wash.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.