Letters to the Editor for April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011

Many to thank

A huge thank you to our neighbors!

Many people have noticed that The Next Door staff and programs have moved into our new building at 965 Tucker Road. It's been an incredible 10 months since we bought the building: Planning, designing, deciding, renovating - there was a lot to do.

We've had invaluable community support in the form of volunteers, a local contractor and subcontractors and generous donors.

We could not have undertaken this project without the support of Hood River County. Thank you, commissioners, David Meriwether and the planning and building departments. A special thank you is due to three of our neighbors:

River of Life Assembly has provided us with parking spaces and the use of land for our students to exercise. Without them we could not have purchased the building. Thank you Rev. Terry Abbott, Cynthia Phelps and the church council and congregation.

We are grateful to Jean Harmon and Paul Randall of Hood River Public Storage for generously letting us use some land for recreation, as well as giving us a storage unit.

The Tire Factory helped with the expenses of the new septic system, and they have been very patient with all the noise and commotion of renovations.

There are so many others to thank! We invite everyone to come to our grand opening from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.

The Next Door is a community organization -as our mission states, we open doors to new possibilities by strengthening children and families and improving communities. We could never do this alone - you, our good neighbors, make it all possible!

Janet Hamada

The Next Door Inc.

Hood River

SB 742 not the answer

As a fairly liberal person, one thing I strongly disagree with is Julie Raefield-Gobbo's article supporting SB 742, which gives illegal immigrants in-state tuition in Oregon.

So an American from another state has to pay out-of-state tuition, yet a non-American here illegally from another country can pay in-state? I'm all for social justice but not if it ignores the Rule of Law.

SB 742 simply rewards law breakers, and at the expense of my taxes. I'd rather see that money go toward Native American Oregonians who seek help in tuition.

Finally, if a degree is obtained, it's still a federal crime for illegal aliens to get a job. Now what?

Ben Parsons

Hood River

Give CL its

own district

Redistricting occurs once every 10 years; districts are created and/or changed to get the maximum effect by those who are doing the redistricting to maintain their power base. That time has come here in Oregon and elsewhere. It's time for Cascade Locks to be given its own district.

Cascade Locks is one of two incorporated cities in Hood River County; we've been included in the West Hood River district for years now so as to deny us the ability to have elected representation on the school board and on the Hood River County Commission. By doing this the county gets the use of our tax monies without giving us the ability to have input into the way our money is spent.

There are commissioners and school board members from outside the incorporated City of Hood River; why doesn't the only other city in the county have a say in how the county is run and the way our taxes are spent?

It's time to end the good-old-boy network that's been operating in Hood River County for so long and quit treating Cascade Locks as its cash cow.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Rewriting history

According to Rita Swyers (Our Readers Write, April 9), "We sacrificed our library to save the spotted owl." Now that's an interesting twist on local/national history.

Our library opened in 1913 but by the turn of the century it was really showing its age. So as the 21st century got under way, enthusiasm for renovating the old building and expanding the building via a new addition brought in sufficient local funds from residents plus grant money from a number of forward-thinking foundations to do just that. Result: We dedicated our expanded facility in 2003.

Then the G.W. Bush recession came along and both the library staff and the hours open were cut. The library and its patrons hung in there until, faced by a substantial loss of revenue, the county was forced to close the library on July 1, 2010.

The first attempt at establishing a library district with a tax specifically earmarked for all facets of library operation failed. That woke up enough people that a second vote, with an adjusted tax rate, passed. We are now hoping to reopen on July 1, 2011, and have a bit over 50 percent of the funds needed to do so.

Gee … I forgot the owls. In June 1990, the northern spotted owl, after years of lobbying by scientists and supporters who had been tracking its decline, was placed on the Endangered Species List. The signature on the legislation so designating the spotted owl was that of President George H.W. Bush (January 1989 to January 1993).

I don't know a single economist who has blamed either the squandering of the big surplus left by the Clinton Administration or the subsequent worldwide recession presided over by President George W. Bush, on the northern spotted owl.

Ms. Swyers concluded her letter by wondering " … what we will have to sacrifice for global warming?" From where I sit, it is not "what" but "who," and the answer, I fear, is all of us; but especially the largely impoverished peoples of the Third World.

Over to you, Ms. Swyers.

George W. Earley

Mount Hood

Real Estate reality

Julie Raefield-Gobbo is a wonderful writer, and I greatly enjoy reading her pieces in your paper. In particular, I loved her recent piece on the youth trip to Europe.

With that in mind, I would like to offer both a constructive comment and a request. First, my constructive comment is that there is an unfortunate error in her recent article "Spring brings seasonal changes for real estate."

Raefield-Gobbo reports that the median sales price for a home in Hood River County fell only 0.95 percent from 2009-10. Mathematically, however, the reported $14,000 drop from $289,000 to $275,000 represents a 4.8 percent drop, or about five times the percentage reported.

Why is this important? For the past few years, some Hood River buyers and sellers have been hearing from local realtors that "Hood River is different" and is somehow immune to the forces affecting the rest of the country. Reporting the true situation could help everyone involved in the local housing market to be better informed, which was in fact the stated purpose of the article.

Second, my request is that Raefield-Gobbo might reconfirm all her figures and provide a corrected article in your next edition. Given the error in the median sales price, one wonders whether the average sales price truly did experience "just a 0.3 percent decline in the 12-month period," as reported. If so, this would indeed be good news; if not, it would be helpful to know the true figure. Thank you very much.

Mike Hendricks

Hood River

Editor's note: See correction on page A2.

CGCC inequity

I was getting ready to suggest that the school district sacrifice the net cost of Community Ed for the basic education of children when, lo and behold, it no longer uses any tax money - the program is self-supporting! We all owe a "hats off" and "three cheers" to whomever.

Now, we need "whoever" at the Columbia Gorge Community College, where we pay half the taxes but two-thirds of the continuing education classes are held in The Dalles. Why? Probably because The Dalles public school system offers no continuing ed. classes. Just call us generous!

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Sack lunch

I appreciate Zach Olmstead's argument (Our Readers Write, April 9) for an open campus, but I noticed immediately a significant missing option: the sack lunch. It was never once mentioned, and maybe it's time for a renewed effort toward the most nutritious and economical option.

It's been my life habit, since I started packing my lunch in middle school, to prepare my own meals for the day. I pack my lunch with fresh ingredients, or leftovers from previous healthy meals, and with this small effort I can enjoy what I made for myself; I do not use any fossil fuels in driving on my lunch hour, and do not spend any money outside my grocery budget. When the weather permits, I can enjoy this portable feast out-of-doors at a picnic table, and follow it with a quick walk.

I think our times call for an enthusiastic embracing of the basics of caring well for ourselves, and good nutrition tops the list. Our lives may feel too busy; but the truth is, slowing to care for ourselves for a few minutes will provide the energy and good thinking we need to live our rich lives. Learning to do this at a young age, as I, and my sons have done, provides the skills needed for the rest of our lives.

Bon appétit!

Beth Hartwell

Hood River

PRC offers support

After having read Paula Friedman's letter of Saturday, April 2, I felt compelled to respond to her negative and unfounded assertions regarding the Columbia Gorge Pregnancy Resource Center.

In my 14 years of experience as a medical practitioner in our community, I have never encountered a woman in our area who was unable to obtain an abortion if she wanted one (as if any woman really wants an invasive medical procedure).

On the other hand, I have encountered many women who really wanted to bring their child to term but felt that their choice was really "no choice" because of financial/relationship/life circumstances. And that's where the Pregnancy Resource Center comes in.

Lack of support and/or finances often coerce women into abortion. A woman who is pregnant needs to know that her community will care for her, even if the people she counts on the most have let her down.

Over the years the PRC has provided baby care and parenting classes, programs for young women to earn baby clothing and supplies on their own initiative; even emergency housing for women in crisis because of physical or emotional abuse from partners or families.

If a woman ultimately chooses to release her baby for adoption, she is provided with names of multiple reputable agencies that the woman contacts on her own, while the organization provides her with emotional support. To imply that our local Pregnancy Resource Center is simply a tool or a front for an adoption agency is biased and ill-informed.

For all of us who are "pro-woman" it is here that we can find common ground. I think we can all agree that anything that decreases the demand for abortions is beneficial for women. And in the worst economic downturn since the Depression, I can tell you that many women in our area are feeling the heat. Any organization that enhances women's options is a good thing in these times, and that goes for the Columbia Gorge Pregnancy Resource Center.

Laura Starrett, M.D.

Hood River

First things first

I applaud and admire this young man "Benjamin" whose desire is to further his education and improve his life. His goal is to go to college and learn to teach Spanish at colleges and universities and then further, enter the applied linguistics master's program. This is quite a goal for an obviously bright and intelligent young man.

Unfortunately, someone somewhere has done him an injustice. Was it the school he attended? The teachers and guidance counselors surely must have realized that he had the potential to have a great future and should have helped him to understand that unless he is a citizen of the United Sates, he would not be eligible for financial aid or student loans.

Was it the responsibility of his parents? After all, they must have known the roadblocks he would encounter that would impede his success. Their own experiences have told them so.

Could they have started the wheels long ago and began preparing him by encouraging him to begin to study for the test that would lead to American citizenship and therefore eliminate these problems? Yes, they could have and they should have.

Did Benjamin himself know that there would be these steps toward his goal that could have made the process easier for him when the time came? And if he did know, why didn't he prepare for it himself or at least ask for guidance?

Benjamin did not ask for it, but my advice to his is to study for his American citizenship and the rest is gravy.

Lynnda Iles

Hood River

Brown-bag it

Here is a radical idea for Zach Olmstead, to fight the system: Bring a sack lunch to school instead of buying a lunch. Then you can have what you want.

When Hood River Valley High School was new, it was an open campus. Some used it and others abused it, ruining it for everyone and the campus had to be closed.

Paul Nevin

Hood River

Parking fix

still elusive

Parking in downtown is awful. I just bought what I thought was the minimum $1 ticket from an electronic dispenser, only to find out I had been "given" two hours and charged $2.

I thought "I can solve this" and I walked over to city hall - only to find out they have no way of returning someone's money when the electronic meters don't work right.

In fact, I was told "This has never happened before." I was also told "The dispenser worked fine. It gave you the correct amount of time." The dispenser didn't work. They can add my voice to the growing litany of voices decrying these contraptions.

I know parking is a problem in downtown. I know the city means well in trying to fix it with meters and tickets, etc. But it's ruining downtown. My wife and I used to be regulars at the restaurants and stores all up and down Oak. Now we rarely go down there. The loss to downtown far outweighs any money the city has made on our parking.

When will our city officials wake up and solve some of the problems: like adding a parking garage or two; or by offering a shuttle service for people who work in downtown so they don't have to park in downtown?

I know: Everyone in city government should have to park on the street, use the meters, pay the dispensers and suffer the consequences. Then, and only then, would they understand that parking in downtown Hood River is awful.

Gary Rains

Mount Hood

Do the right thing

To whomever robbed the Encore Video store Friday night: Did you know you were robbing a business that was already on a downward spiral into debt? Did you know you robbed a child of God?

These are some excerpts from Encore Video's Facebook page before you decided to be a coward and rob them:

"Well, here is the gist of it: We are in the midst of having DVD Blu-ray and games seized to satisfy a debt to Rentrak (one of our old suppliers). We will still have VHS and audio books and after tomorrow any returned DVD/Blu-rays for rent.

"Prayers and assistance with paying of l/c's and debit accounts will be very greatly appreciated or this one: movies and games checked out at this time are NOT subject to the seizure - but DO need to be returned on their due date. We need them to increase the inventory again :)

"I so appreciate your support in this very difficult time. Please say your prayers for us!"

I hope you know that God sees everything and you will be caught. Maybe not right now, but someday you will have to answer to almighty God for what you did. Do the mature and right thing-return the DVDs and the cash.

Kim Dunn

Hood River

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