Letters to the Editor for April 2, 2011

April 2, 2011

Class war? Really?

Corporations are owned by stockholders. Corporations have their stockholders in mind when decisions are made. If we would lower our taxes from the 35 percent to the world normal of 15 percent, there would be billions coming back home. As it is, it stays overseas to save stockholders 20 percent.

In turn, other countries are getting our best talent, so now not only do we not get their income tax, we don't get the new buildings that go with growth, either.

The greed of everyone wanting the "rich" to take care of us is draining the money and talent from this country.

So said CBS "60 Minutes."

Sean M. Palmieri

Hood River

Keep mind

on road

According to the National Safety Council, at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes are caused by drivers who are using cellphones or texting while behind the wheel, which is 1.6 million accidents per year.

Nationwide, emergency departments have observed an increase in the number of patients admitted because of accident-related injuries caused by drivers who were distracted while using mobile devices, a disturbing trend that is surfacing in EDs and trauma centers throughout the country.

Oregon law states if you are over the age of 18, you may use a wireless device if you are using a hands-free accessory that allows you to keep both hands on the wheel while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 may not use a wireless device in any case except specific situations such as an emergency or agricultural operation.

Consider turning off your cellphone when you drive, or placing it in an inaccessible location where you will not be tempted to reach for it.

If you choose to use your cellphone while driving, consider the following precautions:

Familiarize yourself with your phone features for easy dialing.

Place your phone in an accessible location; preferably in a fixed holder in front of you.

Avoid using the phone in hazardous driving conditions or on unfamiliar roads.

Keep your conversations short.

Inform the person on the phone that you are speaking from the car.

Thinking can blind you to objective events: Avoid conversations that involve concentration, especially calculations with numbers or spatial relationships. If you must engage in a conversation that demands your concentration, pull safely to the side of the road and stop your vehicle completely.

Be prepared to end a conversation abruptly if a hazardous condition develops.

I hope we can raise awareness amongst ourselves about the dangers of driving while texting or hand-held cellphone use. I think all of us wouldn't want a bright light in anyone's life to be snuffed out because it was more important to send a message or take a call.

Charlie Christensen

Hood River

Elect carefully

I am uncertain whether to support Obama's decision to bomb Libya, starting our third Middle Eastern war.

Gaddafi is killing his people. Can I allow another Rwanda? But bombing to protect protesters kills other Libyans. Can I judiciously kill one Libyan to help another? Can I support a fourth war in Bahrain, Yemen or Syria?

Going forward, are there no options between bombing and watching? We spent $400 million in Libya in four days. Since invading Iraq eight years ago, we spent $1.1 trillion on two wars. In the previous 25 years, we spent less than one-third that amount on foreign aid, economic and military combined.

I am undecided about our new war. We claim to use war to increase our security, spread democracy and bring peace. But is our world more secure, more democratic, more peaceful?

Politicians start wars. Can we all agree to elect representatives committed to using more effective, more affordable, more humane tools than war?

Paul Pennington

White Salmon, Wash.

Find more parking

Parking in downtown Hood River is a nightmare. Why can't we work with the Mount Hood Railroad and develop parking in all that unused space? It really would improve the entire area and with a couple of stairs would provide excellent access to downtown.

Stop wasting money on antique parking meters and annoying visitors to our area. "Happy buttons" and "cash keys" - are you kidding? We can't even keep up with maintenance on our pre-existing meters.

Stop wasting time and money on bad ideas. It appears that we are more concerned with picking up small change and not addressing the bigger problem - more parking.

Scott Monier

Hood River

Keep focus

on driving

My name is Megan Thomson, and I am a senior at Hood River Valley High. I strongly believe that, as a community, we need to enforce the law of not using communication devices while operating motor vehicles. This will make a safer environment for all drivers on the road.

This law was passed in January 2010, and I constantly see people, old and young, using their phones when driving. Teenagers are often targeted for using phones while driving. I feel responsible to let my friends know how important it is to put down their phone and put both hands on the wheel.

I have started offering changing the music on iPods or finishing text messages because I know of the harsh consequences of driving with a phone in hand. It is so easy to get distracted by a simple phone call or text message, but putting yourself or anyone else on the road in danger is not worth it.

Some simple ways around answering important phone calls are having a passenger answer or pull over until you finish your conversation. Putting your cellphone on silent or turning it off while driving are two of the best solutions, because then you aren't distracted by the ring of your mobile device.

There is no such thing as an expected car accident, so being focused on the road at all times is crucial.

We need to inform people how dangerous using a cellphone while driving can be. We need to help remind our family and friends that it is against the law. Is any text or phone call worth dying for?

Megan Thomson

Hood River

One limited view

I want to thank Denise Endow for drawing to our attention that the April 2 2011 Women's Expo: Celebrating Women of the Gorge event has a $10 admission that will go toward the Columbia Gorge Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Having worked for some years in adoption reform, I am well aware of those pregnancy "crisis centers" and help-lines that basically function to convince women to carry their fetuses to babyhood and then to give up the resultant babies to unknown parents for adoption.

This is an enterprise insistent upon one limited view of fetal life and of womanhood, not to mention of parenthood (such centers tend to convince women that only a married couple can raise a baby to fine maturity).

I am displeased that any of us Gorge women might, without Ms. Endow's letter, have been led unknowingly to pay support for this enterprise.

Paula Friedman

Parkdale

Scary debt

We better get our heads out of the sand. According to the Department of the Treasury, China holds $1.154 trillion, or 12.1 percent, of our nation's public debt. The interest payments total $616.4 million per day.

China's share is $73.9 million every 24 hours and $517 million per week.

Could you just imagine what would take place if this debt were called in tomorrow? Think about it!

Jerry Petricko

Hood River

City budget

all better?

While attending Monday's city council meeting, I was surprised to hear the mayor and his city council enthusiastically discussing ways to donate $10,000 to the library board.

Only two years removed from having to make draconian cuts in the police and public works departments and furloughing their non-union employees one day a week to bring the city budget out of a deficit, they now feel that we are in a position to give money to a government agency with its own tax base.

I am assuming that the loan from Hood River Parks and Recreation that the city used to help build the Waterfront Park has been retired, a reserve account has been established and funded and the money needed for long-overdue care and maintenance of our roads has been identified and secured. We won't know until the budget is presented but I feel confident that they mayor and his city council will have adequately addressed these concerns.

Personally, I feel that the financial discipline combined with the generosity of spirit exhibited by the mayor and his city council is inspiring.

Ross A. Brown

Hood River

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