Monday, October 28, 2002
Don’t start war
Surely, Saddam Hussein knows that if he were to use his alleged weapons, he and his people would face the full retaliatory power of not only the U.S.A., but the entire world. That certainty may be all that keeps him in check. If U.S. forces invade, however, he would almost certainly strike against any target he can reach. National security is not a factor in Bush’s plans. The alleged weapons in Iraq can’t reach the U.S. Bush is, however, condoning the slaughter of thousands of innocent lives in the Middle East plus the plausible increase in retaliatory terrorist strikes world-wide.
We oppose a first strike by U.S. forces against any sovereign nation. Such action is reminiscent of the tactics of the defunct U.S.S.R. Is the U.S.A. to become the new evil empire? We believe the proposed U.S. aggression is meant to maintain control over the oil producing nations in the Middle East to ensure the continued wealth and power of the U.S.A. to the detriment of all other nations.
If Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, they represent a danger to world peace as do the weapons in India, North Korea, China and Russia — and conceivably those in the U.S.A. Hopefully all these weapons will eventually be dismantled. The U.S. must be willing to be a partner in this effort.
“Naturally the common people don’t want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or parliament or a communist dictatorship. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
—- Hermann Goering (1893-1945) Nazi Reichsmarschall
Irene and Gary Fields
Yes on Measure 27
Farmers in 37 countries worldwide have successfully fought for laws that now require labeling GMO foods. Why? Perhaps, they know what’s in “Frankenfoods,” and you don’t.
Protect your right to know what you’re eating, even if the federal government won’t.
Will you swallow whole the inaccurate, out-of-state, multimillion-dollar media blitz? Please visit www.voteyeson27.com and vote yes on Ballot Measure 27!
Let’s work together
Responsibility and accountability are words that describe the missing elements of the recent special Oregon Legislative session. It is the responsibility of legislators who have been elected by the people of Oregon to determine a plan for balancing the budget that does not compromise the future of Oregon. Passing the decision to the citizens of Oregon or borrowing against the future is shirking the responsibility for which legislators are elected.
Since I decided to run for the State House of Representatives, I have personally knocked on thousands of doors and spoken with thousands of voters. This should be required for all politicians. It has given me a broader understanding of the issues affecting the communities in our district. I am truly grateful for the wonderful and gracious reception received at your doorstep when you shared your thoughts on how I can help you in Salem.
The voters I spoke with told me time after time how important education for Oregon’s children should be and that we need adequate and stable funding. We need to put children first. Oregon’s voters tell me that children need their teachers and supporting staff, they need up-to-date textbooks, and they need the materials to acquire the skills needed to be competitive and productive in the job market and to make Oregon a better place to live. This takes adequate money. We need to fund schools at a proper level and use a fair, equitable and stable funding system.
I have made education my top priority after retiring from a 28-year teaching career. We need to remove education from the general budget and create a fund of its own, dedicated only to education.
The idea of a house with the foundation being the children of Oregon and the roof being the senior citizens of Oregon has been an example I have used while walking. The problem with the “house” is that both the foundation and the roof are crumbling. Prescription medication costs and the fixed incomes of our elders come to mind when I think about our Oregon senior citizens. Some seniors have to make inappropriate choices when deciding to pay for basic needs like medicine, food, rent or taxes. Should people in their “Golden Years” have to make these types of decisions? The answer is a definite No! It’s time to move forward from the discussions and put the ideas into action. Seniors need a tax break.
Legislators need to prioritize Oregon’s needs. If they find that no cuts are desired, elected legislators will have to allocate the funds available based on the greatest needs. If tax cuts are a possibility, then my priority will be to give them to our senior citizens. Oregon’s children also deserve the best foundations we adults can make for them as they are our future and we have that obligation that legislatures have too long ignored or left unattended. If, elected, I will help put responsibility and accountability back into Salem.
Madness of war
9/ll ... al-Qaida ... anthrax ... terrorist cells ... stock market plunges ... the Axis of Evil ... suicide bombings ... Iraq ... weapons of mass destruction ... sniper killings ... bombings in Bali ... Homeland Security ...
Death, fear, confusion, sadness, and change abound.
We learn that North Korea admits it has a well-developed nuclear weapons program. Secretary of State Colin Powell responds: The North Korean leadership has a choice — to put its resources into developing weapons of mass destruction or into meeting the needs of its people.
Couldn’t the same be said of the U.S. leadership and so many other governments of the world’s nations? More than 50 percent of every U.S. tax dollar goes into the military/defense. Meanwhile health care, housing, education, economic development, hunger, care for the elderly, drug abuse, mental illness, infrastructure of our cities, environmental issues — all cry for attention.
As long as the vast majority of the world’s resources — physical, mental, and spiritual — is directed to the use of violence as the solution to human conflict, we can only expect an upward spiral of retribution, fear, more violence — and immense sorrow. Violence begets violence. History teaches us that. And now, in this age of nuclear and biological weapons, the stakes are so incredibly higher. As the years go by, are you feeling more secure — or less?
A.J. Muste, founder of the international peace group Fellowship of Reconciliation, put forth this challenge in 1950:
“The world waits for a great nation that has the common sense, the imagination, and the faith to devote to the science and practice of non-violence so much as a tenth of the money, brains, skill, and devotion which it now devotes to the madness of war preparation. What is that nation waiting for before it undertakes its mission?”
You can call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Join us.
Braking the law
As I sift through my mail, I find my Hood River property taxes are due. Property taxes are used to operate our police and fire departments, our school system, city government and many other important services.
We live in a beautiful area with beautiful views of Mount Adams, Mount Hood and the Columbia River. These views, and our quiet town living, are all too frequently interrupted by trucks on either I-84 or Highway 35 using what are commonly called “jake brakes.” A few months ago, after checking Oregon State’s noise limitation laws, I was shocked to learn that not only were the majority of the trucks over the noise limit but many were three and sometimes four times over the legally permitted limit.
A good rule of thumb would be, if you can hear a truck braking on I-84 or Highway 35 then it is probably exceeding Oregon State noise limits. The Oregon Department of Transportation sign on I-84 clearly states a maximum fine of $500 for trucks exceeding the noise limit.
At $500 per ticket (of which the city receives roughly $450) you would think the city would be actively pursuing this. Currently, many trucks an house exceed the legal limit, ticketing only four trucks each week would net $1,800, doing this every week for one year would net the city $93,600. Seems like a good return on time invested especially for a city currently scrambling for every dollar.
If I leave out the extra tens of thousands of dollars and the increased peace and quiet, the bottom line is really that the trucks are breaking the law and our property taxes pay for the police to enforce the law. If you have ever been disturbed by noise created by trucks on I-84 or Highway 35, I urge you to call both city hall and the police department.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge