Letters - Dec. 14

Writer was wrong

I read, with interest, Mark Reynolds’ letter that was published in the Dec. 1 edition of The Dalles Chronicle. While I respect his right to write, and The Chronicle’s to publish, his opinion of Congressman Walden, it would be helpful if he would be truthful.

Mr. Reynolds stated “He was never elected in the first place. He was appointed by the Republican leadership to replace arch-conservative Bob Smith.” This opening statement is blatantly false, and therefore causes the rest of his diatribe to be questioned.

The facts are that Congressman Wes Cooley resigned from the 1996 race after questions about voter pamphlet statements. He was replaced in the 1996 general election, by Bob Smith. Smith won handily, but chose to retire, again, at the end of one term. Walden and Perry Atkinson dominated the primary in 1998, with Walden coming out the winner. He was elected to Congress in 1998, and has not had a serious challenge, since.

We each have our own opinions about tax cuts, social programs, etc. Mr. Reynolds appears to favor taxing the rich and redistributing their earnings to everybody else. It seems to me that if the government takes away the incentive to make money, there will be no rich to create the jobs, but that’s my opinion.

Mr. Reynolds goes on to state “If Greg wants to represent us, then he needs to find his moral compass.” While Greg and I have often disagreed, I have always found him to be truthful and responsive. As far as a “moral compass” is concerned, I think that the overwhelming majority of the district’s voters know that he never lost it in the first place. Mr. Reynolds could take a lesson from Mr. Walden.

Mike Courtney

The Dalles

Judges uphold law

Rita Swyers (Our Readers Write, Dec. 7) just doesn’t get it.

Oregon has a constitution to guide and regulate our citizens, appointed and elected officials. The constitution is there to ensure all citizens are equal under the laws of the state.

It makes no difference if a law is passed in the legislature or at the ballot box via initiative petition, it must be constitutional, it must.

Judges in Oregon are sworn to uphold and interpret the constitutionality of our laws. Judge Mary Merten James could not “be sensitive to the issue.” She had no choice but to determine the constitutional validity of the Measure 37 law.

Even if the vote had been 91 percent, Measure 37 would still be unconstitutional. Ms. Swyers is apparently willing to have “justice” her way irrespective of what it costs others or the Oregon constitution. This is not “simply a battle for freedom” but the striving for anarchy.

Gary J. Fields

Hood River

Respect tribes’ rights

The current actions by various organizations to attack casino plans by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, and attack the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act are a bit self-centered.

The land upon which Hood River County sits is just one of the many benefits we receive from a treaty signed under U.S. Army coercion in 1855 between the U.S. government and the many tribal governments in this region.

The terms of the treaty guaranteed the tribes’ well-being in exchange for millions of acres of ceded land. We still have a responsibility to meet the terms of that treaty.

Yet, many of those treaty terms have not been met, such as the right to take healthy fish for subsistence. We are now contaminating fish in the Columbia River Gorge with over 92 toxins including DDT, PCBs and dioxins, according to the EPA 2002 study.

Tribes managed salmon-based economies in this area for 10,000 years, but since signing the treaty we have nearly eliminated that economy and increased risk to the health of tribal members who consume large amounts of fish. Now some of us want to prevent the tribes’ new, non-polluting economic development activities. Our hypocrisy is on display for all of us to consider. Before we speak self-righteously about preserving what remains of the Gorge’s visual quality, as we admire it from our thousands of polluting cars commuting to our thousands of new homes with Gorge views, we could first offer to dismantle our local Bonneville and The Dalles dams, help restore healthy salmon runs, and clean up the toxins we have been discharging. Why haven’t we proposed that?

Long-standing federal policy is to promote tribal economic development and self-sufficiency, and most of us want those goals for ourselves. Perhaps we do not want to stop “our” kind of economic development, but we want to stop “theirs.” Perhaps we want the benefits of previous generations’ decisions to invade, occupy, and exploit the resources of another nation, but we don’t want to pay any costs today.

What kind of people are we?

Michael LaFlamme

Hood River

Jesus was no fool

If you are one of those people who has become fearful that the ACLU wants to take Christ out of Christmas, I urge you to ask yourself, “What would Christ do?” Jesus was kind, generous, giving, and least of all a fool.

Jesus saw through the political smokescreens of his time and was certainly not fooled when a political movement tried to divert attention from atrocities. The ACLU has posted evidence from autopsies performed by the United States government documenting 44 deaths of prisoners in U.S. custody — 21 of them classified as homicides — on their Web site. Yet our misguided leaders have created a smokescreen, telling people that the ACLU wants to initiate a lawsuit to take Christ out of Christmas. Wouldn’t Christ want you to see through this political smokescreen and question your government’s actions as you remember his birth and gift to the world? Doesn’t Jesus’ example demand eradication of state-sponsored torture? One thing is for sure, Jesus would not have been fooled by this political smokescreen or allowed some justification of torture — of which he was a victim.

Bill Norris

Hood River

Trees aren’t forever

This is a response to Samantha Irwin’s letter, “History lost,” in the Dec. 10 edition of the Hood River News.

I had a hand in removing the trees north of the airport, south of Good News Gardening, and I know the tree she’s talking about next to Heights Sub Shop 15. All these trees had a number of things in common. None were over 100 years of age. It wasn’t all that long ago they weren’t “magnificent.” All were way too large for the space they occupied. All conflicted with the landowners’ desire to use his or her property. The ponderosa pines and Douglas firs went to a saw mill; in fact, two log truck loads.

Ms. Irwin talks about “shading, cooling, habitat, and the value they added…” Shading is 365 days a year with conifers, which makes them very hard to live with for anyone who gets depressed in the winter. I like my light, my lawn, flowers, and shrubs which I would have if I still had the 100-plus trees that were growing around my house. Conifers are a salad bar for pine beetle, California ips, and only a dozen other beetles that love Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.

Small, appropriate trees can add value but large trees add headaches.

Folks, there’s a world of difference between a 30-foot tree and an 80-foot-plus tree. Think about where an 80-plus tree will lay down; it probably won’t stay on your lot. No tree lives forever.

Brian Steeves

Hood River

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