Letters to the Editor for March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011

Class war

Our president and our representatives in Washington are talking about cutting essential programs in order to balance the budget. The Republicans lead the way by talking about really draconian cuts and the Democrats follow suit, but suggest smaller cuts.

The problem, they all agree, is the deficit. Suddenly they are concerned about the deficit! Where was their concern when two unfunded wars were started? And where were they when they let Wall Street and the big banks bankrupt the country? And where are they when the banks are sitting on tons of money (that they stole from the people) which they refuse to lend to help kick start the economy?

A really healthy economy would do the most to pare down the deficit. Working people bring in taxes. So, for the sake of argument, let us concede that our biggest problem is the deficit.

So, what is their solution? The Republicans want to cut vital services; rob Social Security and Medicare, give lip service to education, and gut the EPA, and let roads highways and bridges rot. But they won't cut subsidies to big oil companies.

Recently 236 House Republicans joined 13 Democrats to vote down a motion to end taxpayer-funded subsidies for Big Oil, which would have saved the American people tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. And they won't even consider raising taxes on big corporations, who never pay their fair share; and they would make only token cuts to the Pentagon.

They want to start bringing down the deficit by cutting Social Security and other vital services. The Republicans want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare entirely. Big businesses can save billions by not contributing their share of FICA taxes and they want to force the middle class to fund their own retirement by putting money in the stock market. We all know what can happen in the stock market! And they don't care that low wage earners will just be out of luck when they retire.

Folks, we are in a war right here in our own country. It's a class war. People in the top 1 percent own most of the wealth and some of them mean to keep it and get even more.

Will we sit passively by and let this continue? Or will we open our eyes, keep informed and be careful whom we vote for?

And we should demand accountability from our law makers. They are still our representatives, whether we voted for them or not. Will we use common sense; learn the facts and defeat big money?

We can do this by ignoring the sound bites and the outright lies that the big guys have the money to put out there to influence the unwary. Or will more than half of us continue to vote against our own best interests?

It's our taxes, our lives, and our fight. Be there!

Anne Vance

Hood River

Casino alternative

Attention Cascade Locks residents and City Council, Gorge residents, Friends of the Gorge, Warm Springs tribal members and anyone else who has any interest in the casino debate:

I have a wonderful alternative to a casino which can make the Warm Springs Tribe very wealthy as well as create an equal number of jobs with similar pay scales. The best part is that we can eliminate the potential for gambling and alcohol abuse along with the corresponding need for more law enforcement to offset these unfortunate side effects of a casino in our community.

I suggest that the opposing parties begin to discuss the possibility of building a Great Wolf Lodge in the town of Cascade Locks. The motif of the buildings currently employed at the Great Wolf Lodge just north of Chehalis would fit in perfectly in the Gorge.

The Great Wolf Lodge in Washington appears to be making a killing on everything from magic wands to food and the cost of its rooms among other things. Alcohol is sold in both the restaurant and the pool area for people who just need a beer with their meals, but this is certainly not a priority of the establishment. Its property is located on Chehalis tribal land, so precedent is already in place for this type of structure and business.

We have other options besides a casino. The Warm Springs Tribe can make a lot of money with this proposal. Jobs can be created in other ways without creating situations which can increase crime, gambling or alcohol addictions.

I hope someone in power can look at this suggestion and find a way to implement it or something of a similar nature. It would be great to end this debate and help our community and a lot of people.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Keep rules

Dear Mr. Bob Francis: I understand that the city council recently changed the Waterfront Park rules to allow dogs to run off leash in the swim area between Labor and Memorial Day and to also allow smoking. I wanted to express my concern over the safety of our children if this change goes into effect.

I have two kid-friendly dogs. I walk them through Waterfront Park most seasons of the year and they swim in the water. I do not take them down there in the summer where other people's kids are playing. It is too unpredictable.

The kids are unpredictable with how they might interact with dogs, and dogs - even the sweetest ones - have a natural instinct to protect themselves if threatened even if that threat is a giggling kid only trying to "play."

Unfortunately, I have seen too many times at the Families in the Park series people who bring their dogs with the them assuming that everyone wants to "deal" with their dog's behavior. One person's definition of "keeping your dog under control at all times" may be very different than what is safe and responsible. There are simply too many variables to make this a good idea for the visitors and residents who use the park.

And as for the smoking - really? Haven't we already crossed that threshold of having to share somebody's cigarette with them on the beach?

Waterfront Park is an extension of our town and it is becoming a point of destination for the travelers who help keep Hood River "green" when they spend their time and money here. I have met many of them and their kids down at that beach.

Don't taint our reputation of being a great place to bring families. No smoking at a family-friendly beach - period.

Erika Rench

Hood River

Party for waterfront

Want to come to a great party for a good cause? This Saturday, April 2, is the annual Spring Splash party to benefit the Hood River Waterfront Park. The party is from 7-10 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar and features hearty appetizers from Nora's Kitchen and delicious desserts. Live music will be provided by the Bigfoot.

A variety of "theme" picnic baskets (ski basket, windsurfing basket, bike basket, etc.) will be auctioned off to raise money for new picnic tables, shade trees and other things our park needs. Tickets are $25 and available at Waucoma Bookstore, Waterfront Community Park Association board members or at the door - if the event is not sold out.

See you there!

Peter Cornelison

WCPA board member

Concern for neighbors

As we read daily reports from Japan about the tragic events there it is possible to become numb with horror and disbelief.

I hope that all those of Japanese heritage know that many of your neighbors and townspeople wish to convey our deepest concern and sympathy to you.

Kokoro yori okuyami moushiagemasu. From the heart I give you my condolences.

Cristy Barsky

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Latest video:

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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