‘Unfair’
 
I find Mr. Davis’ Oct. 9 letter, “RINO disgust,” to be very unfair to Republicans throughout our country. The GOP is responsible for doing many important things over the past decade.
 
Republicans have done a wonderful job keeping healthcare and medication very expensive. They complained about Obamacare, promised huge changes, and did nothing that they promised to fix anything or lower costs.
 
Republicans have worked extremely hard to keep wages down. They trick people into feeling fortunate to work two low-paying jobs instead of one good-paying job. That keeps unemployment way down.
 
The GOP has worked tremendously hard to block every attempt to change gun laws. Hundreds of innocent people are gunned down every year where they live, work, shop, and pray. That keeps the NRA and their constituents happy.
 
Republicans deserve huge thanks for their blind support of President Trump’s poor decisions regarding national security, military operations, and geopolitics. President Reagan identified Russia as a security threat decades ago. Trump told the world he trusts the word of Putin more than all the U.S. security agencies combined.
 
Last week, the president used his great and unmatched wisdom to abandon our Kurdish allies in Syria. Turkey started killing Kurdish forces within days of that brilliant decision.
 
No one should be surprised by Trump’s decision to leave Syria on a moment’s notice. He is famous for leaving his obligated debts and women behind when he has no further use for them.
 
Mr. Davis seems to believe that party comes before country and national security. Some prominent Republicans and most Democrats believe this is dangerous and unwise. That does not make them RINOs or traitors, just patriots doing their jobs while honoring the U.S. Constitution.
 
If Republicans truly want to do something worthwhile for their constituents, they can use their 53-vote senate majority to create term limits.
 
That way none of them will be forced to work in the “deep state swamp” any longer than necessary.
 
Steve Kaplan
Hood River
 
‘Incredulous’
 
Since Donald Trump’s grandfather immigrated to this country, four generations of men and women in the president’s linage have been of age to serve their country in the U.S. military, but not a single one has volunteered for service and when Donald was facing the draft during Vietnam, Donald’s father notoriously paid a doctor to make the claim that Donald had bone spurs. Bone spurs that had never kept Donald from playing college sports and have pained him so little in life that he doesn’t know which foot they are in.
 
In his birth country, Trump’s grandfather was actually classified as a draft dodger and forced to immigrate, while Donald’s father was of age to have served in World War II and didn’t see fit to serve in the military. Trump’s many kids are even now of the age to have served in the War on Terror and not a one thinks enough of their country to bother serving in its military.
 
I find it incredulous that Trump has made the claim that the Kurds have been well paid for the help they gave our country over the last 20 years and that they do not deserve our protection now because they didn’t help us 70 years ago at a time when no Trump got sand in their shoes on the beaches of Normandy. To say that Trump is a pot calling the kettle black would be way too kind.
 
James Denton
Hood River
 
A natural solution
 
Before Sacagawea led the Corps of Discovery over the Continental Divide to her Lemhi Tribe, the rivers ran free. Salmon were plentiful.  No cities, highways, farms, ranches, commerce, just unproductive Sagebrush Steppes, forests and nothing along the river as the spring runoff flooded and washed everything away.
 
Not the case today, right? Today all of the above exist, but the rivers are now controlled from flooding and the salmon have all but disappeared. A lot of the salmon loss can be contributed to dams, but as of 2016, even the free flowing rivers on the west coast of North America, i.e. British Columbia, the Fraser and Skeena are being closed to salmon fishing due to the lack of salmon.  The organizations making money off salmon recovery, tribes, conservation groups, etc., have not solved the problem at $1 billion per year now.
 
There is a natural solution to allow salmon access to all of their historic ranges: Recreate the rivers through and around the dams. A canal-like structure with continuous flowing water with removable gill nets at reentry to the river for predatory fish that eat the smolts.  This could be accomplished on the four lower dams for one year of the present remediation and the same flow of water needed could be utilized to circumvent every dam on the Columbia and Snake, ending the blockage. The allocation Idaho alone is required to spill for salmon recovery would be enough water for the entire Columbia watershed.
 
Of course, it will end the near $1 billion yearly largess for these organizations, but it won/t return the historical runs as that problem is in the ocean. It will protect the livelihoods of all the agriculture, barging, recreation, sport fishing and provide flood prevention.
 
Ronald Harriman
Nampa, Idaho
 
Conflict of interest
 
If you, like me, find yourself wondering why our “stable genius” president would abandon our Kurd allies in the fight against ISIS, with almost no notice after a phone call with the Turkish dictator, this just might be the reason.
 
Trump and other family members have numerous business ties in Turkey. A lawsuit filed by over 200 members of Congress alleges that the Trump family has at least 119 business ventures there. The most visible of these ventures is the Trump Towers in Istanbul. That’s towers, as in two of them. In 2015, Trump himself acknowledged that “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It is a tremendously successful job, two towers instead of one.” It also happens to be his only Trump Tower in Europe.
 
With most presidents of the U.S., this would not be an issue because they would have put their business interests in a blind trust, but not this one. Trump put his in a trust that is run, at least partially, by his sons, which, unless you believe that he never talks about how things are going with his sons, is hardly a blind anything.
 
So, I can imagine the phone call with Recep Erdogan on the day before Trump abandoned the Kurds went something like this: “Hello Donald. You know, we have been very good to you here in Turkey over the years and you have a lot of business interests here so I would like a little favor from you ...”
 
Darrell Roberts
Parkdale
 
NO on Measure 14-67 
 
The ballot measure and pretty yard-signs make one think that this is a vote for or against city parks. It is not. Those of us that oppose the measure also love parks — we are against the ballot measure because of its impact on how the city is governed and potential to hurt our ability to add new parks.
 
Please consider:
 
You elect us as councilors to spend long hours discussing challenging topics and finding sometimes difficult compromises. It does not mean you will always agree.
 
Possible creative solutions for future parks may involve buying, trading, or selling parcels. The city and partner agencies are naturally risk-averse and a requirement to add new elections to the mix will, I am afraid, kill the types of bold actions we all want the city to make.
 
Adding complexity to the City Charter is rarely a good idea. It is the foundational document of our city government and we should only make permanent changes after very careful deliberation. This is why the framers of the U.S. Constitution wisely made that document so difficult to amend.
 
I have no doubt that most initiative supporters have nothing but the best intentions. There is, however, one real stinker in their flyer — that “the city decided in a closed-door meeting to sell a 5-acre park for $1.” This is not true.
 
The council held a large number of open meetings to collect public input and debate the difficult decision to split Morrison park so that half could be used for badly needed affordable housing — where the city’s investment was to provide the land. This decision would have left a park as big as Jackson Park.
 
In short, measure 14-67 is the wrong way to achieve a parks-positive goal. Please vote NO.
 
Mark Zanmiller
Hood River
 
Editor’s note: Mark Zanmiller is a member of Hood River City Council.
 
Benefits of Community ID
 
I am writing to share information and express support for the Hood River County ID program. As a resident of Hood River County, I recognize the importance of a strong sense of community for all who live here. The ID card is a valuable way for each and every resident to be seen, heard and recognized as a member of our community.
 
The Hood River County ID is a government issued ID for Hood River County residents and is administered jointly by Hood River County, The Next Door, and Gorge Ecumenical Ministries. The Hood River County ID is available and accessible to all who live in Hood River County.
 
A recent Hood River News article stated that the Hood River County ID three year pilot program is funded by grants. And to clarify, no Hood River County funds and no taxpayer dollars go toward the ID card program. There are currently six foundations funding the ID program, and fees paid by community members to obtain a card also help to cover the costs of the program. These funding details are very important for our community to understand, especially in light of the current budget crisis our county is experiencing.
 
The Hood River County ID cannot be used to drive, travel by air, or for programs and services outside of Hood River County. To obtain the ID, a person must present original documents to prove identity and residence in Hood River County. The document checklist is more rigorous than that used by the Oregon DMV.
 
This form of identification is valid locally here in Hood River County and can be used to promote a sense of community and belonging, participate in local Hood River County and City of Hood River programs, receive “locals discounts” from area businesses, and prove identity to local law enforcement. I have my ID and am glad to have received some of these benefits!
 
I encourage you to find out more about the program and even to attend the next public enrollment event by contacting hrcid@nextdoorinc.org.
 
Sarah Kellems
Hood River
 
Laws
 
Pharaoh and Caesar made the laws. The law-abiding people followed them. The only possible way they are the heroes of the Bible is if they are running your religion. How can we possibly call a religion run by Pharaoh and Caesar Christianity?
 
David Warnock
Hood River
 
NO on 14-67
 
Megan Saunders is right to oppose measure 14-67. As I’m no longer an elected official, I can be more blunt: 14-67 is a good way to give our city council the middle finger if you’re angry about Morrison Park, but we will live to regret that gesture.
 
The major impediment to growth of parks is funding.  This measure doesn’t provide a penny for parks. Instead,  it embeds in our city charter a permanent rule which will make developing parks more difficult.
 
This isn’t hypothetical, it’s already happened. The city has some unused land at the wastewater treatment plant which was proposed for a dog park. Here’s the catch — they know we’ll eventually need this land for expansion of the plant.  If they allow this land to be used for a park “temporarily” and this ballot measure passes, the path to eventually expanding the plant becomes legally murky. You can be pretty sure someone will mount a campaign to save their beloved dog park. Should the city council allow this “temporary” use knowing it is creating trouble for a future council? They’ve held back on this decision.  Obviously, that’s not the intent of 14-67, but it is the real effect.
 
There are several funding mechanisms being examined to fund neighborhood parks as the west side is developed (including trails). The city will need to be limber to wind up with trails that actually go from point A to B. It may be acquiring parcels, and later selling some land to purchase part of another parcel. But 14-67 requires a vote, even if a land sale helps acquire more and better park land. After spending $5-$10,000 to put a measure on the ballot, then spending several months explaining the transaction to the voters, there’s a good chance the property will no longer be available.
 
One final point: If you really don’t trust your council to make good decisions about park land, why do you trust them to make good decisions about utility rates, public safety and zoning code? Instead of us all spending our valuable time second guessing council on certain real estate transactions, how about we spend our time carefully choosing city councilors we trust to make important decisions on other issues?
 
Arthur Babitz
Hood River
 
‘Not proud, not served’
 
In searching repeatedly for news about Rep. Greg Walden’s opinion and actions regarding Trump’s dangerous dealings with Ukraine and the ongoing impeachment inquiry, I keep running into his tagline, “Proudly serving the people of Oregon’s Second Congressional District.”
 
I’ve got to say I’m not feeling too proud of it, nor am I feeling served.
Walden addressed the subjects of Trump-Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry only to minimize them. He opined that Trump’s call with Zelensky “wasn’t President Trump’s finest moment,” but was not grounds for impeachment. Since that spineless offering, nothing. And for someone who claims to be “proudly serving” us, he’s been missing in action at this critical, perilous time in our political lives.
 
The Congressional calendar shows “District Work Period” during all of August, the first week of September, and the first two weeks of October. These periods are called “recess” because Congresspeople leave D.C. and return to their districts to work — you know, that part where the Congressman makes himself available and has meaningful contact with as many and as varied constituents as possible. Even if a legislator doesn’t want to face his constituents (theoretically speaking, of course), such District Work is part of the salaried position.
 
Despite nearly two of the past three months being District Work Period, it’s been hard to find traces of Walden in CD2. He had three days of town halls at the end of August. He met with two vet groups in Redmond and in LaPine, and christened a submarine.
 
This record doesn’t qualify as “serving the people of Oregon’s Second Congressional District,” and is thoroughly inadequate given the grave matters we’re facing. We need a Congressman who’s on the job at home, facing tough questions and giving honest answers. We need someone willing and able to govern, uphold the Constitution, and represent his constituents with a commitment to the rule of law. Hold the “proudly serving” till then.
 
Lara Dunn
Hood River
 
‘Overreaction’
 
Since 1983, when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted, the city has not rezoned any lands designated as Open Space/Public Facility. However, since 1990, the city rezoned The Hook, Waterfront Park, The Spit, and about 20 acres on the east side of town down to the Hood River for open space use. Those lands had been zoned for development.
 
The City of Hood River is doing its job and attempting to balance open space and housing for underserved citizens in Morrison, but that application has been withdrawn. This referendum is an overreaction to a government that is doing its job. The job of trying to represent all its citizens.
 
Cindy Walbridge
Hood River
 
‘Karmic payback’
 
Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon’s lone Republican congressman, said Friday that he stands firm with President Trump, and that the Impeachment inquiry is little more than “a partisan investigation.” From the front page, Grants Pass Daily Courier, dated Oct. 13, 2019.
 
Walden has finally quit equivocating and come out fully in favor of the felon (self-admitted) occupying the White House and making the United States the laughingstock of the entire globe.
 
He chooses to ignore the fact that negotiating with foreign countries for interference is not only unconstitutional, but against numerous federal statutes, among them 18 U.S. Code para 610, Coercion of Political Activity, 2 U.S. Code Para 192 Refusal of Witnesses to testify and withholding papers. These are a direct result of the AG and administrations stated intent to refuse to cooperate with the House of Representatives as it carries out its Constitutional Mandate of Oversight of the Executive and Judicial branches of government.
 
Walden’s argument that the Speaker is wrong in the way she is handling the impeachment inquiry is smoke and mirrors, taking a lesson from Trump in deflecting and dodging the issue. From Article One, Section Two of the Constitution: “The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole power of Impeachment.” Walden is learning that running roughshod over his colleagues in the minority while he was a powerful Committee Chairman has its own unique form of karmic payback.
 
Ed Cooper
Gold Hill
 
Nothing wrong with 14-67
 
Councilor Saunders offers a lecture on American democracy in her op ed, “Vote no on Measure 14-67” (Oct. 12). It’s what we learned in fifth-grade civics. Unfortunately, it tells only half the story. And, with political corruption growing at all levels, it does not describe how the world works.
 
There are two kinds of democracy in America: The representative Saunders describes, and direct, which is manifested by ballot measures such as 14-67. We did not learn in fifth grade that Oregon pioneered the citizens’ initiative measure in 1902, responding to government corruption. The initiative is available to voters who feel their representatives are not doing the job.
 
Measure 14-67 is a response to a city that broke state land use law in an effort to pave over Morrison Park.
 
The ideal world of American democracy that Saunders describes only works that way on paper. Many local, statewide and national electoral processes do not serve most citizens, as campaign finance corruption favors the 1 percent.
 
I am not accusing our local government of being bought; I have no evidence to show that. But the oil and gas barons have bought key local officials in Columbia and Coos counties, as they promote export facilities to handle the crude oil carried on the huge trains running through our Columbia Gorge. A recent report by Portland’s Center for Sustainable Economy, “Crude Bailout,” shows the oil industry corruption in Oregon quite clearly. And Oregonian reporter Rob Davis published a multi-part investigative report showing corruption at the state level. This growing corruption, even if it isn’t happening in our fair valley, is feeding a general mistrust of elected officials at all levels.
 
You may not agree with direct democracy, with changing the city charter, or with the need for parks, and that is your right. But please understand that the initiative is a legal and moral tool available to citizens, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.
 
Obviously, the city charter is not “forever,” as Saunders claims. It can be changed again by another initiative, but it is the citizens who change it, not politicians.
 
David Hupp
Hood River
 
Yes on 14-67
 
In her Another Voice opinion of Oct.12, Hood River City Councilor Megan Saunders wants readers to believe that changes to city charters are rare; they are not. In fact, the standard for putting an initiative like 14-67 on the ballot ensures that a charter change is possible, albeit difficult. In the case of 14-67, many citizens of Hood River determined, after careful consideration and participation in the process prescribed by law, that this is an appropriate time to pose this question to voters. The constitution she invokes allows this. The large number of signatures required were quickly gathered. It turns out that this simple, democratic process is popular.
 
She acknowledges that decisions should be made through “open public process” — that’s what supporters of 14-67 thought, too. At a hearing related to an issue that helped to inspire Initiative 14-67, 27 constituents appeared to testify in opposition to an ordinance that Ms. Saunders then voted for. Only one citizen, and two financial beneficiaries of the ordinance, appeared to speak in favor. The choice of city council to ignore this large majority is contributing to the widespread lack of confidence in council that exists among many Hood River citizens.
 
Ms. Saunders is also concerned about the cost and time of making decisions, if the public is consulted. Yet, as she has helped to demonstrate, an activist city council can cause the process to slow, inspire lawsuits, prevent the consideration of other solutions, and greatly increase the cost of doing public business. The process has been followed, appeals made, and her own decisions have been determined by the Oregon Court of Appeals to be “implausible.” Still, she persists.
 
We, the public, are not stupid. Voting to change the city charter does not change our democratic system. In fact, just the opposite is true; it is a critical part of it.
 
Brian Towey
Hood River

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(3) comments

oskie94

Voting yes on 14-67 protect parks for future generations and sends our elected officials a powerful message that voters want accountability. Until the accountability issue explicitly addressed, current and future city council members can expected citizen initiatives that put guard rails on the kinds of decisions that can be made by them. Hood River thirsts for real engagement, real accountability, and real change.

truthdetector

I find it a bit ironic that a former mayor, city planner and long-term councilor all align to oppose a ballot measure that simply gives voters direct input into land use decisions on the use of public spaces. Maybe the next city charter revision should say that former employees or elected officials may not serve on appointed committees that influence city governance. No more collusion.

tntgal2

How can Arthur Babbitz blame worry about Measure 14-67 for the lack of a dog park, when the first discussions of a dog "park" came in at least 2014 (see HR News: https://www.hoodrivernews.com/gorge-life/parks-and-rec-to-hold-public-meeting-on-possible-dog/article_385d6746-fbf4-507a-bfc2-cd1334ce69ae.html). The ballot measure was approved for ballot in June 2019. The dog park has been discussed for five years now.



It's odd how present and former councilors are resorting only to fearmongering instead of facts, isn't it? Who's afraid of democracy?

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