Celebration of music
We are deeply grateful to you, our neighbors, for the many ways that you care for the wellbeing of one another and this precious place that we call home.  
As a sign of our gratitude, we would like to invite you to “Simple Gifts: A Community Celebration of Music” on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The evening will include a rich diversity of music, including jazz, bagpipes, piano, gospel, vocalists, and a brass ensemble. No tickets are needed. The concert is our gift to you. 

If you would like to attend a pre-concert dinner by Chef Kathy Watson, please call 541-386-1412 for more information. 
 
The events will take place at Riverside Church, Fourth and State streets in downtown Hood River. 
 
It is a great blessing to be a part of this community. Thank you.
 
Rev. Vicky Stifter
Riverside Community Church, United Church of Christ
Hood River
 
‘Guess What’
Guess what, Donald Trump has his own “s*hole” right here in Florida and it is his Doral resort. A Daily Mail reporter visited it where Trump wanted to hold the G7 conference. The reporter found mold in the lobby air conditioning vent and on every chase-lounge by the pools, lingering jet fumes from jets approaching the Miami airport and good views of two garbage dumps. Prices at the Doral are $300 a night. Can anyone be surprised?
 
Gary Fields
Hood River
 
‘Measure of fear’
Kristyn Fox wrote a very eloquent “People Over Parks” piece (Nov. 6) and I absolutely agree with her. There was an unpleasant undercurrent of selfishness and entitlement in some of the impassioned letters and the Measure 14-67 rhetoric which I found very distasteful. The Save Our Parks sign silhouette of a happy skipping family was ominously disturbing; what would happen to the happy family if you voted no?  Both Susan and Paul Crowley have stated their contention that the city council’s decision to sell a portion of the Morrison tract (to develop for low cost housing) happened behind closed doors and was therefore inappropriate.

So, why was Measure 14-67 framed with the alleged threat of losing parks when the stated concern was resolving issues with the city council? I think most of us believe city management is uninteresting, that council meetings are boring and the processes are dull and tedious. I’m amazed and impressed that anyone is willing to do it. So how do you get the citizenry invested in a dull topic? 
 
Tell them that someone is stealing from them, that’s how. Fear is a powerful and punitive motivating tool. Flip the issue to appeal to our primal protective instincts, instead of the finer and nobler qualities of human nature, such as empathy and sharing, qualities which ideally would be nurtured and modeled by the pillars and leaders of our community.

Sadly, this is primarily not what happened. There were some compassionate and reasoned voices encouraging no votes and I applaud them. I believe many of the spin tactics employed in this measure were not honorable and have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many.
 
Eileen K. Utroske
Hood River
 
Making a difference
Happy to say that constituents requesting members of Congress support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria resulted in an increase to America’s pledge. (“Support HR 517 and SR 318” in the Hood River News, Oct. 2, and previously). Other donors followed America’s lead, and now over the next three years, 16 million lives will be saved, over 200 million new infections prevented, and we will continue on the path to controlling these pandemics.

So, thanks to constituents for asking, a bipartisan group of representatives for responding, and papers like the Hood River News for informing the public. Together we can make a difference!
 
Willie Dickerson
Snohomish, Wash.
 
‘Let’s move on’
The Protect Our Parks initiative election, Measure 14-67, was hard fought. I know the principal players on both sides of the argument.  They’re good, well-meaning people, with very different perspectives on this issue.

It’s unfortunate that the campaign became unnecessarily personal and that some disinformation soiled the process. About the only thing both sides agreed on was that the pro side had some pretty neat lawn signs. 
Now that the election is over, it’s time to move forward, to work together toward reconciliation and to jointly focus on this jewel of a community we call home.
 
The city council can help start that process by rezoning Morrison Park back to open space. Here’s why that’s in the public interest. 
 
First, the rezoning of the park from open space to the most dense level of residential use was done to allow for a development by Mid-Columbia Housing Authority. The Housing Authority has publicly announced that it has no plans to proceed with the development. Its option to buy the park for $1 expires on Dec. 31, 2019.
 
Second, the people have resoundingly spoken about how they value parks: 72 percent supported passing the Protect Our Parks initiative. Our voter turnout was close to 50 percent. The statewide average was under 31 percent. If one truly wants to represent the public one should listen to the public, especially when it makes such an unequivocal statement.
 
Third, the current rezone is being legally challenged. In reversing an earlier rezoning, the Court of Appeals found that the council’s interpretation of the city’s own ordinances was “implausible.”
 
The council’s current interpretation, that a park site can be “protected” by allowing only one-half of it to be covered with concrete and pavement, is also implausible. 
 
The council should not waste a lot more public money only to be told that it’s wrong again. It’s time to abandon focus on this one site and move on to other properties where the council can promote construction without sacrificing a park.  
 
Paul Crowley
Hood River
 
‘Holy smoke!’
According to the National Weather Service forecast I am looking at, Hood River County is under an Air Stagnation Advisory. These advisories come with, as the name implies, advice.
 
Quoting the advisory notice:
“PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

“State air quality agencies highly recommend that no outdoor burning occur and that residential wood burning devices be limited as much as possible. According to state air quality agencies, prolonged periods of stagnant air can hold pollutants close to the ground where people live and breathe. Check with your local burn agency for any current restrictions in your area.”
 
As I drove in from Odell this morning (Nov. 8) through the smoky haze that has blanketed the valley for the last week or more, I could see large fires burning all around. Most of these are piles of branches from the fall orchard pruning. I assume the landowners have permits to burn, but applying a little common sense would seem prudent. Likewise, why are local fire authorities not communicating that burning during the current conditions is discouraged, if not prohibited?
 
The terrible air quality in Delhi, India, due to unnecessary agricultural burning is in the headlines, but we can look out the window and see the same problem.
 
Burning all of this trimmed wood is not urgent; it can wait until the weather changes and the winds pick up. Even better, don’t burn it at all and stop contributing to climate change for the sake of convenience.
 
We’re going to harm the abundance of this beautiful valley through complacence and willful ignorance.
 
Tony Sims
Odell 
 

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