Letters - August 17

Paths for People

Thanks so much for the support of our grassroots campaign, Paths for People — you have been great!

Our big public event will take place at Families in the Park on Thursday Aug. 18, while the Beatniks play for us all. We will have maps and petitions to both inform Hood River residents and to gather input.

We envision a network of paths for safe and healthy biking, walking, stroller pushing, etc. The county commissioners are agreed on the goal of connecting schools, and we want to start creating a mandate and a master plan that promotes these paths as part of the basic infrastructure as our community grows. At times the task of retro-fitting paths in our existing roads and by-ways is a challenge, but surely we can be creative and work together to improve our quality of life.

As Orhan Beckman said in a recent letter to the editor, burn calories, not petrol!

If interested in more information, go to:

pathsforpeople@yahoogroups.com

Alison Bryan

Hood River

Don’t leave trash

We are the Hood River Lions Club. We are not Hood River Garbage. We only recycle newspapers, we do not recycle cardboard or your trash. The dumpsters at our recycle sites at Rosauers and Safeway are for use by Hood River Lions Club members only, they are not for use by the general public.

We do all we can to support our community. We would ask that the community do the same for us.

John Codino

Hood River

Fiscal ‘roller-coaster’

In a guest opinion piece in the July 16, 2005, Hood River News, school superintendent Pat Evenson-Brady claimed that “... The Oregonian reported that many school districts had a 2003-04 ending balance of more than 15 percent (of their general fund) due to the uncertainty about the increase in PERS rates ...” and State school funding levels. Now let’s learn “the rest of the story.”

That April 8 Oregonian article was based on a news release by Susan Castillo, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Ms. Castillo noted that such a large 2003-04 ending fund balance might be justified so that some of that money could be spent in the following year “to even out spending and avoid program cuts and further increases in class sizes.”

The Hood River County School District had a $3.3 million (11 percent) carry-over balance at the end of 2003-04, BUT that was NOT used to maintain staff levels in 2004-05, as Ms. Castillo suggested. In fact, further staff cuts were made in 2004-05 and those cuts were a significant part of the reason the carry-over balance at the end of this past school year went all the way up to about $5 million. That means that the school district is now around the 17 percent level AND levying an extra $800,000 tax on us to refill those positions cut just a year ago.

I repeat: our school district did not need to put our kids — or teachers — through this roller coaster ride of staffing levels. And it did not need to impose that extra tax on top of such a large carry-over balance.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Support Roberts

President Bush has tapped a qualified man of solid character to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court: Judge John Roberts has the intellect and experience required to fill such an important position in our government.

Judge Roberts has succeeded in both the public and private sectors — from his time as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, to a brilliant career as a private-practice attorney, to his current position as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Appeals Court. Most impressively, as deputy U.S. solicitor general, he argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court.

But not everyone equates his kind of professional excellence and personal integrity with suitability for the federal bench. Liberals have already begun their war of inflammatory words, accusing Roberts of being too radical to serve. That’s just code for their disappointment that his judicial philosophy leads him to interpret the Constitution, not use it as a springboard to create law.

Judge Roberts deserves better than to have his nomination derailed by these politically motivated attacks. More to the point, he is entitled to better under the Constitution.

It’s high time we begin the process of putting to an end the current trend of misusing the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Supreme Court floor.

Supporting the confirmation of John Roberts is a giant step toward that end. And the beginning of the return of Constitutional Justice to this land, replacing the current “chaotic” legislation coming from the bench of our nation’s high courts. A place where law is absolutely to be interpreted and applied.

Gordon Hansen

Hood River

Police for trails

More trails, are you kidding?

Letting neighbors traverse your property is nothing compared to being required to allow the trespass of the general public. This includes meth addicts, gangs, burglars scouting for vacant homes and just plain vandals to do as they wish.

If the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation insist on going ahead with this plan they had better be prepared to pay for a police force to safeguard their new trails.

Richard Kenward

Hood River

Spur compromise

The Hood River News’ Aug. 3 article on a possible compromise over development near the scenic Cooper Spur area on Mount Hood was welcome news to Oregonians who value our state’s wild lands, wildlife, and waters. However, while the Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC) strongly supports the protection of Cooper Spur, the article mischaracterized our position on the agreement.

ONRC has sent a letter to the Hood River Valley Residents Committee thanking the Committee for its hard work in establishing a process for resolving conflicts with Mt. Hood Meadows over their proposed development. But we have not endorsed Meadows’ proposal to trade their land near Cooper Spur for taxpayer-owned forest land on the south side of Mount Hood, or their plans to convert that forest land into a 480-unit housing development. Any agreement needs to balance out economically, and protect the environment.

ONRC’s 6,000 members and volunteers want to see Cooper Spur protected. But they also want other special places on the mountain, like Still Creek, Mirror Lake, Bonney Butte, Salmon River Meadows, and Lost Lake Butte preserved as well. We hope to see a compromise on Cooper Spur move forward as part of a comprehensive plan to protect all of the remaining wild lands on Mount Hood as a legacy for future generations.

Regna Merritt

Executive Director, ONRC

‘Reassuring’ news

It was reassuring seeing Peggy Lalor’s name together with a well thought-out proposal on the front page of the Hood River News Saturday (Aug. 13).

“Reassuring” because she’s been so quiet lately. I was afraid our community had lost a person whose personal dedication to the Gorge Games she originated, created a level of national awareness for Hood River and the Gorge from which we benefit every day.

It seems she has spent two years developing qualified operating partners and financing for an adventure resort well-described in the headline story.

As one who subscribes to her strategy of drawing people and business to our area by building on our deserved reputation as a recreational center, I’m very glad to see that she has spent the past “quiet” two years so productively. I hope the necessary community support is as enthusiastic as her input.

Two niggles with the story:

1. A Canadian/English system degree isn’t quite the same as the U.S. standard.

The brouhaha over the question of credits for the economics course and her subsequent conviction for fraud, seems, in retrospect, out of proportion.

2. To refer to Peggy as “at the helm during its demise in 2004” seems to put her in a class with Scott Sullivan (a 5-year sentence) who was “at the helm” of Worldcom during its $11 billion accounting scandal. Peggy brought the Gorge Games back from Boston and had them up and running for one last year.

The demise of the Gorge Games was not because of lack of participation by competitors and volunteers. It was because of lack of local financial support.

Let’s hope that this proposal falls on fallow ground ready for new growth.

Dick Swart

Hood River

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