Wednesday, October 9, 2002
Yes to Measure 27
In a month, Oregon voters will have the chance to vote for Measure 27, requiring labelling of genetically engineered foods. Whatever one’s position on the use of genetic engineering, the idea that the public has the right to know what they are buying has a long tradition in the U.S. and is the bedrock upon which capitalism rests. The Tractor Coalition, begun by local orchardists, demanded the same right when pushing for national origin stickers on produce.
The European Union, Japan and many other countries require genetically engineered food to be labelled. Although some huge corporations here have been threatening a cost increase to add the information to the label, that increase never materialised in other countries. Currently we label food going to those other countries with labelling requirements, yet American consumers remain in the dark and unable to make informed choices. Oregon voters can set another national precedent by voting for labelling of GE foods. Vote yes on Measure 27!
Tax me when ...
Yes, I will happily vote for a state income tax increase when:
1. The state makes PERS realistic by making the maximum retirement pay no more than 75 percent of working income averaged over the best three years and then only if the retiree has 30 years’ service and is age 60. Also, like the military, retiree must have at least 20 years of service for any benefits.
2. Corporate income tax is the same rate as for individuals.
3. There is an across-the-board reduction in all state bureaucracies until the ratio of employees to population is at the national average or below.
4. Taxes on wine and beer are increased.
5. “Historic Properties” tax breaks are eliminated if the property is used for business (McMenamin’s operated over 40 such properties with reduced taxes which is unfair to competing businesses).
6. Snow tire sales are taxed at a rate commensurate with the damage they do to highways.
But, come to think about it, if the legislature had the guts to do these things we probably wouldn’t need to increase individual (family) income taxes.
Over the past few years, I have watched many men and women come and go in Oregon politics. I have had the pleasure to meet many of whom I am very proud to endorse. One such man who has always been a steadfast public servant is Bob Montgomery. His 30 years as a public servant have taught him the value of keeping in touch with his constituents, and in his latest bid for the Oregon State Senate, nothing has changed.
Bob understands that we are facing tough economic times. He understands that heavy tax burdens and excessive government regulations are threatening to keep our state locked in recession. We need to elect a senator who will fight for the interests of family farmers, businesses, families and residents of Hood River County. We need Bob Montgomery in Salem fighting for all of us. Please join me in voting for Bob Montgomery this Nov. 5.
Cease all smoking
As I read Maria Czarnecki’s letter (Sept. 14) I appreciated her sincerity. She wrote with hope that passing Measure 20 will make cigarette smoking less feasible. I don’t carry that same hope. Measure 20 will definitely raise revenue for medical expenses and help fund the cost of prescriptions.
If that is the major concern, then perhaps it is worth it. But we need to make sure our objectives are clear and we are not just salving our consciences.
Shouldn’t our objective be to stop people from ever smoking in the first place and end the power of the enslaver to enslave? The truth of the matter is that few, if any, people begin smoking when they are adults. No, it is as vulnerable, struggling teens that people begin smoking. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be consequences for choices made at that age, but to punish people for decisions made during their teens when we as a nation are still allowing the tobacco industry to operate legally is unconscionable. Yes, I am aware that smoking is illegal for those under the age of 18 — that was another conscience salve — but if the tobacco industry is targeting teens they know teens can easily get cigarettes.
We have slapped the tobacco industry’s hands and now we are going to slap the cigarette smokers’ hands. Of course, the addicted will suffer more than the addicter, but that is life. We will have made little if any impression on the rebellious, and, often, poverty stricken youth that is trying to make sense in a very confusing world. It will be another case of them and us.
So legislate and litigate, and casually throw your magazines laden with cigarette advertising on the coffee table, and watch your movies and TV shows where smoking is glamorized and rest in the assurance that you voted your conscience. Or we could take responsibility as a nation for allowing big business, including tobacco, to seduce our youth.
Oh, and by the way, what about those Budweiser billboards in the middle of our town?
War is wrong
Our dear president has three excellent reason for commencing a war with Iraq at this time:
1. To redeem the tarnished reputation of his father, who otherwise would go down in history as a man who lacked the will to achieve his goals;
2. To gain control of Iraq’s oil deposits — second largest in the Gulf region — so they can be divvied up among Bush’s oil cronies, who supported him for years in high style while they waited for him to gain political office and be in position to pay him back a thousand fold;
3. To rally America behind the President just before elections, and thus improve the election chances of Republicans running at all levels.
Then there is also the never-justified national yearning for revenge. Some foreigners killed thousands of our people, therefore we have the unchallengeable right to kill thousands of foreigners ... doesn’t make any difference what nationality, or whether they had any direct connection to our loss (as the Afghan wedding party attacked by our planes could testify, were they not now mostly dead).
War is just a euphemism for mass slaughter of human beings. However, the Biblical injunction “Thou shalt not kill” was almost certainly never intended to apply to killing foreigners.
I have been reading many letters in your paper both pro and con about the proposed Wal-Mart. Most contain only opinions and few facts either for or against this proposal by the world’s largest corporation.
While on a recent trip through Washington state I stopped in the small community of Othello, Wash., and noticed the headlines of the local paper regarding the adverse effect a new Wal-Mart “super-center” has had on their town’s small business community. It is very clear what will happen here in Hood River if this retail monster is allowed to grow larger than it already is.
Thank you for your attention to this.
Tell the truth
With regard to your article “Cooper Spur Coalition Spars With Mt. Hood Meadows,” it appears that Dave Riley targets his remarks to the Hood River Valley Residents Committee (HRVRC). Mr. Riley knows that HRVRC is only part of the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition. Mr. Riley’s public relations representative came to Portland to meet with leaders of the Oregon Chapter and Columbia Group of the Sierra Club and attempted the exact same maneuver. First, the representative tried to marginalize the HRVRC; then, quite contradictorily, he talked in broad terms about a “collaborative effort.” We patiently sat through the presentation but when we requested specifics on Meadows’ plans for the mountain, the representative, Stu Watson, stated that the Sierra Club would need to agree to a blanket confidentiality provision before details could be provided. We pointed out that this kind of request is simply contrary to the goals and mission of our organization, not to mention to any real “collaborative” effort.
The Sierra Club has over 24,000 members in Oregon. Similarly, the Coalition’s member groups have far reaching membership and cannot agree to participate in closed-door confidential mediation. The Coalition is an affiliation of groups that advocates for the historic backcountry recreation area. It has taken the difficult and time-consuming step of putting together a position statement and now is eagerly awaiting Meadows’ position statement on what it intends to do.
About a year ago, Meadows began circulating its plans for the Cooper Spur Area to certain members of the public in an attempt to secure early buy-in. Those massive and out-of-touch plans seriously threaten the north side of Mt. Hood. Recently Meadows has retrenched from this position in its public statements. The Coalition awaits the truth from Mt. Hood Meadows. Without the truth, how can the Coalition or any of its member groups be expected to mediate in good faith with Meadows?
Loss of signal
I find the article on the “new” radio station KMSW 92.7 FM very interesting. General manager of Columbia Gorge Broadcasting Gary Grossman (KMSW, KIHR, KCGB, and KACI AM and KACI FM) states, “We are looking forward to having fun and continuing our tradition of serving the community.”
I’m sure Mr. Grossman along with Greg Walden, who owns Columbia Gorge Broadcasting, are very aware of the radio station that they are replacing on 92.7, KBOO, a non-profit community station out of Portland. KBOO had been on the air at the 92.7 frequency for 5 or so years. Talk about community radio — KBOO aired shows for everyone: reggae, rock, jazz, blues, veterans, Indians, gay/trans-gender, Latino, salsa, folk, cajun, hip-hop and the list goes on and on. It’s so sad that this true community radio station gets bumped for another “classic rock” station; we need another classic rock station like we need a bigger better Wal-Mart — thanks but no thanks — we already have one! It’s interesting how the folks on the right constantly point the finger at the “liberal media” when in fact five or six corporations own 90 percent of the media (TV and radio). We get Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura jammed down our throats everywhere we go, whether we want ’em or not. Heck, that left-winger Greg Walden owns five stations himself — oh, yeah, he happens to be our Republican U.S. Congressman.
You can still catch KBOO on 91.9 FM although the signal is not nearly as strong as it was on 92.7 — rock on — play “Freebird,” dude!
Stephen J. Curley
Abortion and life
When the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus said, “You must love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment, and the second is like unto the first. You must love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole law.”
Do we love our tiny neighbors who live in their mother’s womb?
Abortion — Man’s law. Life —- God’s law.
Vote —- Life.
Left in disgust
I was shocked but not surprised after reading your article on the Hood River School District. I worked for the high school for two years before being transferred to Parkdale and saw the waste of tax payers’ dollars there at the high school and at Parkdale before leaving with disgust. I entered the County school district with great respect for the school administrators but left with not wanting to be a part of a dysfunctional system.
Monica E. Halici
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Planet Fly at Pfriem
The band Planet Fly plays at Pfriem in an outdoor concert. Enlarge