Trump’s racism
Mitch McConnell doesn’t think Trump is a racist.
 
However, in the 1970s, the Trumps were sued by the U.S. Department of justice for engaging in discriminatory housing practices against black people.
In the ‘80s, a former employee at a Trump casino accused Trump of ordering all the black people, customers and employees alike, off the casino floor when he was present.
 
In 1989, he famously took out an ad calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, and even though they were exonerated after 13 years in jail, Donald Trump still believes, as of 2016, that the teenagers were guilty, and has yet to apologize for his mistake. On the contrary, he doubled down on his position.
 
In 1991, Trump said that he hates it when black people count his money, that he wants Jewish people to count his money, and that black people are lazy by nature. Yikes. Sure looks racist, but let’s continue.
 
In ‘92, Trump was fined $200,000 for moving black and female dealers off tables to accommodate the prejudices of his patrons.
 
In 1993, he opposed the opening of a casino on native land because, “They don’t look like Indians to me.”
 
Donald Trump tried to pitch a season of the apprentice which pitted white businesspeople against black businesspeople. My goodness.
 
Then there’s birtherism.
 
He called Mexicans rapists who are bringing drugs and crime.
 
He said that a judge should recuse himself in a Trump University lawsuit because of his Mexican heritage.
 
He proposed a ban on all Muslim immigration.
 
He won’t condemn white nationalism. “Fine people on both sides.”
 
He said that people from Haiti all have AIDS, and the people from Nigeria would never go back to their huts after they saw America.
 
He called African countries “s-tholes.”
 
He calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”
 
He joked about the trail of tears and has called Andrew Jackson his favorite president.
 
One day, he disavows chants of “send her back,” but the next, he’s proud of them.
 
He is a racist; not just in his heart, but in action.
 
Benjamin Sheppard
Hood River
 
Editor’s Note: Benjamin Sheppard works as a social worker.
 
Iranians grow cherries too
Earlier this year, I was part of a citizen-diplomacy delegation to Iran. Since our current leaders are not doing their part of diplomacy, I wanted to talk directly to Iranians and tell them that they were not my enemies. In the meantime, our leaders are threatening a country with 80 million people with war while imposing harsh sanctions that are only affecting regular citizens.
 
I learned a lot in Iran. First, Iranians are indeed not our enemies and were the most welcoming people I have ever met. They love Americans but they are critical of our government. They are proud Iranians but are also critical of their own government. They don’t want the U.S. to “give them back their freedom.”
 
Without outside pressure and threats of war, they can and will work on their own societal transformation. Iranians are not faceless enemies that need to be destroyed. They too like to share pictures of their children on a phone, they too like to show visitors some of their beautiful mountains. They too grow cherries. Next time you drive by a cherry orchard in the Hood River Valley, consider that Iran is the third largest cherry producer in the world. Do you think the Iranian orchardists deserve to live under sanctions or the threat of (unconstitutional) war or should they be able to plant and prune trees and harvest their fruit? We need diplomacy and peace with Iran and our elected officials need to know that their constituents will not tolerate another senseless war.
 
Patrick Hiller
Hood River
 
Money isn’t happiness
If money made people happy, rich people wouldn’t need so much of it and they’d be a lot nicer. Most anyone who has done a lot of traveling will tell you, poor people are far more generous than rich people. Poor people know sharing what little they have makes them happier. Rich people only know they don’t have enough money yet.
 
David Warnock
Hood River
 
‘Sickened’
I am writing in repose to the letter by Mike Farmer titled, “No more news” (July 20). I realize that if you are canceling your subscription you will never look at the responses, but I felt the need to write nevertheless.
 
You talked about feeling sickened by the editorial cartoons and letters about Trump, even to the point of making you want to vomit. I too am sickened, but for me, it’s by the horrible tweets and bullying behavior of our president. I am so disgusted at times that I too just can’t read the paper or watch the news because of him. What makes me even sadder, though, are his supporters — and I assume by your letter you are one — who do not seem to be bothered at all by his behavior, but rather are deeply offended by an editorial cartoon instead. That is so hard for me to believe that I feel, at times, I too could vomit.
 
Kathy Sauer-Bishop
Hood River
 
Support HB 2020
We can all see that, sadly, we are a very divided nation but when it comes to our planet; together we need to err on the side of caution. This is not what happened when our republican senators in Salem walked out on their jobs rather than vote for HB 2020, the Clean Energy Bill. The purple signs popping up around town thanking Chuck Thomsen for leaving the state, rather than do the difficult work of moving forward on climate change, highlight the division between us. While we all care about the condition of our bank accounts, we only have one planet on which to raise our children. The long term cost of climate change will be far greater than the short term pain we might endure to build a more climate friendly economy with the many new jobs outlined in the bill. The idea of change is always difficult for people and there are times when those on the front lines of change suffer the most; but like good parents, we sometimes must suffer to help our children have better lives. In reality, those most likely to feel the effects of HR 2020 are those large corporations responsible for high carbon emissions that are also more likely responsible for large donations to republican legislator’s campaigns. Public funding of elections with caps on contributions will help end this problem of payback and make it easier for our elected officials to do the right thing. Until then, a small rise in fossil fuel prices for all of us and a cap on carbon emissions can go a long way toward progress and with this bill, put Oregon at the forefront of action on climate change. We have to start somewhere and HB 2020 (the perfect vision bill) seems like a good place to start. Let’s pull together and get this bill passed.
 
Susan Bellinson
Hood River
 
Confidence in council?
I attended last night’s (July 22) council meeting where the Hood River City Council had the opportunity to support or object to the current charter initiative to protect city parks in Hood River. This initiative would require a vote of the people to dispose or change any current city parks. Cheers to Councilor Haynie, who has consistently questioned the city attorney’s interpretation of the 1983 Comprehensive Plan, Goal 8-1, which clearly states existing park protection. With the initiative, Haynie also pointed out that 1,200 residents signed the petition, and that these residents had spoken. He needed to listen and represent them. Haynie and Tim Counihan were the only councilors who voiced support for the initiative.
 
This scene last night was reminiscent of the city council in 2003, when the Waterfront Park was being deleted. And yet, the Hood River city and county residents voted 66 percent in favor of parks at the waterfront. Overwhelming response — don’t mess with our few parks. We like them! Today, we see so many people enjoying the Waterfront Park. People value parks for a variety of reasons — physical health, emotional health and relaxation, exercise, or just breathing clean air! As parks are public, no one has to pay to enter and enjoy them. At least, not yet. Not only do parks provide free contact with nature, they provide so much more. In fact, with current climate challenges, the one simple thing that we can do to offset them, is to plant and maintain trees. I think that parks do a pretty good job of that.
 
We do need affordable housing, but not on the backs of taking park land. Perhaps this is an area where the City of Hood River and the County of Hood River could work together to find joint solutions to the problem of affordable housing. Parks and housing are separate issues and should be recognized as such. Once a park is gone, it is gone forever.
 
Please protect our parks and vote Yes on the November ballot.
 
Susan Froehlich
Mosier
 
Listen to the public
During the July 22 Hood River City Council meeting, the council discussed whether they will support the initiative that will be on the November ballot, which will require a vote of the people before any city park can be sold.
It became apparent to me at the meeting that the city council does not want the citizens of Hood River giving them any direction on what to do. Multiple councilors stated that they want to have the power to sell park land regardless of what their constituents might say.
 
This attitude has been on display in previous meetings and became obvious once again as they discussed the ballot measure. In fact, this refusal to listen to their constituents is the very reason that so many citizens worked so hard to put it on the ballot. 
 
At least one council member stated that if people don’t like their decisions, then they can vote for someone else. While this is true, public input is part of the democratic process, and decisions like disposing of irreplaceable park space can’t wait until their terms are over.
 
A majority finally voted to take no position with regard to the initiative. Only Councilor Erick Haynie spoke up strongly in favor of parks and supporting the initiative.
 
The parks in Hood River are owned by the public, not by the temporary members of the council. They should not have the power to dispose of them at will without first getting the approval of Hood River’s citizens.
 
Brian Carlstrom
Chief petitioner, Measure 14-67
 
Not helping
Let me add to the letter Ruth Maletz wrote re the “improvements” on 12th and 13th streets (“Erased crosswalks,” July 24).

How is taking away the crosswalk on 13th and Belmont making anyone safer? And what about the death trap I have written about once before — that is the intersection at A Street and 13th, coming from 12th Street. All the cars parked on the east side of 13th prevent one from seeing who is coming from the north. This is a terrible spot. A little more yellow paint, taking away a couple of parking places, would make a big difference. I thought of this whole exercise as Much Ado About Not Much.
 
On the positive side, it’s easier to get to the Pine Street Bakery.
 
Maria Kollas
Hood River

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