Letters - May 18

More than 2 percent

I just learned about the proposed 2 percent tax to be imposed on restaurants by the City of Hood River. Are you nuts?

Most restaurants in this town are operated by individuals who are already subject to dozens of regulations from the Federal liquor laws down to the county health department. Each of these regulations can be considered a kind of tax, as they rob the owners of time to do what they are in business for — serving tasty food and drink in a pleasant, safe atmosphere.

Restaurants employ lots of people, but there is no one at “corporate headquarters” to hassle with this additional bookkeeping nightmare. This is more than “just 2 percent.” And the City will probably have to hire someone just to enforce compliance! None of these self-employed owners is entitled to step increases in their wages or cost of living adjustments, retirement plans, or any kind of health insurance they can’t scramble for themselves.

Local restaurant owners have been unfailingly generous in their support of local charities.

Much of the character and charm of Hood River is derived from the variety of healthy owner-operated business. Don’t penalize them for their rare success in an increasingly corporate dominated business landscape.

Christie Reed

Hood River

A fluoride win-win

This would be a win-win solution: bottled water with fluoride.

It is available.

Linda Holloway

Hood River

Minding the media

This country’s mainstream media influences world events by how it chooses to inform or not inform us every day. Perhaps the selection of what we view daily really is “market-driven,” and we are being shown only what we want to see. Perhaps it is true that as citizens we would rather follow the news of pop-stars allegedly gone astray, or runaway brides, than how the world oil shortage will affect us and what we can do to prepare, or the real news about what is going on in Iraq and Darfur. Our own soldiers dying in Iraq receive barely a mention next to the tabloid content that fills the short interval between the corporate commercials.

Is it possible we are a population being manipulated by the big money corporations who pay for those commercials? Could it be that our news, and possibly all other programming is filtered for us in order to promote a certain agenda? This Friday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hood River Hotel Jeff Cohen, author, media specialist, former news pundit with Fox news and MSNBC, and former producer of the Phil Donahue show will be speaking about fairness and accuracy in the media and the importance of independent media sources from which we can all get the accurate information we need to live our lives. Please try to attend.

Mark England

Hood River

Bring Pasquale home

I have known Pasquale Barone and his wife, Jacquie, for over 15 years. I am honored and privileged to consider them friends.

Recent events lead me to recall July 3, 2001. That evening, Jacquie was at our house for the purpose of adorning my wife’s bicycle with red, white and blue crepe paper and American flags for the next day’s parade.

Given the integrity, humanity and community spirit of the Barones, it is easy to offer this proposition: if Pasquale is not good enough for America, something is wrong with America.

We need to bring Pasquale home.

Paul Crowley

Hood River

‘Bitten at home’

Dick and I were absolutely horrified by the Pasquale Barone story! Hitler Germany here we come. Greg Walden has quite a nerve appearing anywhere NEAR this story! He signed the Homeland Security bill which is now causing needless suffering and stress to upstanding community members like Pasquale.

Maybe Mr. Walden has found out that when you deal with the Devil, you get bitten where it hurts — right in your own hometown. I hope he will join those Republicans who feel fervently that George Bush is a very bad man surrounded by very bad people. Unfortunately they have attached themselves to a very old and formerly respected political party. Back away from them, Greg! Be a Republican by all means, but fight the disaster in your own party. We sincerely hope that Pasquale may soon rejoin his family here in Hood River. This is a fiasco!

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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

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