Letters to the Editor for August 13, 2011

August 13, 2011

Looking for answers

My husband and I recently moved to Hood River to pursue our dream of owning our own mountain bike tour business. We chose the Hood River because it was close to our family in Bend and Portland and we had fallen in love with it on our many trips to the area.

We have always felt welcomed and at home in Hood River and truly appreciate the community that we have had the pleasure of being a part of as cyclists and yoga instructors here. However, that has been recently overshadowed by some apparent lack of regard for our property.

As a start-up business we work very hard and every dollar counts, especially in these times, which is why it was frustrating when we started having people steal our brochures and brochure holders from local area businesses.

At first we thought it was someone just being mischievous but after five holders and almost 100 brochures had been stolen, we realized that someone was intentionally trying to make a point.

More important than the time and money lost as a result of this theft we would like to understand why someone would feel so compelled to do this. We don't want to make assumptions about who or why; so if you or someone you know is responsible for this theft, please stop; if someone is trying to make a point please just give us a call or write us an email and let us know what the issue is so that we can resolve it; we are always open to feedback.

Our intention is to be a positive addition to the community with both our family and our business and we would like to have healthy and harmonious working relationships with everyone here. There is no need for this sort of thing to take place and we are hopeful that we can find a solution.

If anyone has any feedback regarding this letter please contact me at 541-771-8144 or epicmtbtours@gmail.com. Thank you so much for your consideration; we truly appreciate it.

Mary Beckert

Owner, Epic MTB Tours

Hood River

Put politics aside

The radical Tea Party Republicans have really punched the country in the belly. Their pledge to never raise taxes (Really? Not even crazy loopholes?) has resulted in the stock market dropping by about $2 trillion in value on Monday (Aug. 8) alone. That is money that we have all lost in retirement funds and savings.

Is that patriotic? Does unwillingness to compromise show backbone or an irresponsible death hold on our country's economy?

It is important to keep in mind that Congress passes all funding measures. No president can spend a penny without authorization from Congress. So, the country's debt is due to decades of "spend now, don't tax now" congressmen and women.

Throw in a couple of wars which went on the credit card, an expensive drug benefit for older people also on the credit card and a tax cut for upper income people - also on credit card.

We need people in Congress who can compromise, get the work of the people actually done and put politics aside. Government is not a game. We are all getting hurt by these Tea Party radicals.

Darlene Daggett

Hood River

Blame spending

Hmmm, where are the principles and common sense? Government is over-obligated. I do believe if the stimulus bill and Obamacare had not passed we wouldn't have the people digging their heels in the sand to put some brakes on.

Have you seen the chart that shows how our debt has increased since 2008? One view of that is all it takes to see the S&P judgment was bound to happen. I finally figured out the mystery of why Democrats say the Tea Party is to blame for our woes. It is because they won't allow more taxes so now we "can't pay our bills." Those darn short-sighted Republicans - don't they know there is really no end to the money; we just need to squeeze more out of the public; it's there somewhere, isn't it?

"The top 10 percent of earners in our country paid 70 percent of federal income taxes (read that again to let it sink in). The top 1 percent of income earners paid 38 percent of all federal income taxes in 2008, while the bottom 50 percent paid only 3 percent. Forty-nine percent of U.S. households paid no federal income tax at all" (from Heritage.org).

So no, I'm not for taxing the "rich" more, period. That is not based on good "principles." Half the people paid NO income tax. How is that "fair" when we all receive infrastructure, defense from enemies, the blessing of living in liberty?

Federal spending is growing faster than federal revenue (and with the unemployment rate unstable, how can people pay more taxes?) Defense spending has declined while entitlement spending has increased.

Runaway spending, not inadequate tax revenue, is responsible for future deficits. When the producers (taxpayers) are outnumbered by the non-producers (the lower income who pay no taxes), austerity programs must come. When that happens, WE may be facing what is happening in London.

John and Marilyn Brennan

Hood River

A modest proposal

Shall library patrons pay $1 per hour to park?

At Tuesday night's meeting of the Hood River Library Board, the discussion item concerned Hood River City Council's proposal to raise the cost of parking meters in front of the library and across the street to $1 per hour in exchange for $10,000 to maintain the park between the library and Oak Street.

As I understood the presentation of the proposal:

1. If the library takes the money, meter prices will be raised.

2. If the library doesn't take the money, the meters will remain as they are.

This proposal removes responsibility from the city council, who was elected to make such decisions and places a ransom for park maintenance on the library board.

City policy should be the responsibility of the elected council. Personally, I would very much appreciate it if the council would step up and do their job rather than as Jonathan Swift suggested in his "A Modest Proposal" that the poor (the library) sell (for $10,000) their children to feed the rich (the council's attempt to augment city revenues by increasing costs at approximately 30 parking meters).

These meters get minimum use when the library is not open. Projected future library hours are less than 40 hours per week. This proposed meter increase would increase competition for less-costly meters in the retail corridor impacting merchant trade.

Suzanne Giovannoni

Hood River

Missed opportunity

Fire departments, like police departments, aren't meant to make money; they are part of the commons that we all finance for the common good. EMS, on the other hand, can run in the black, and often does; it's sometimes turned over to private enterprise as has been done in Portland.

Here in Cascade Locks, our city council lumps them together. This leads to misunderstandings of the financial condition of both. The council believes that limiting the EMS to response only in the city as they would like to do will cut costs and save money; unfortunately it will lead to lack of revenue to operate either department.

Our department has been responsible for safety on the I-84 corridor between Wyeth and Multnomah Falls, providing first response during intense winter storms and being first responders to wildland fires along with trail rescue. By limiting the hours of our chief and paramedic they limit the ability to bring in revenue, limit the ability to deliver aid on the highway and slowly choke the department's ability to remain in the black.

Highway response has been the department's main revenue generator. A study was commissioned by the council several years ago which called for the hiring of a second paramedic; this would have increased hours of coverage, spread the work load and brought in additional needed revenue.

Unfortunately, the members of the current council refuse to adhere to its recommendations and consequently the department can't operate efficiently. In addition, they lowered the chief's salary to the point that he couldn't function on it, in effect, telling him to quit.

He did resign and we lost a chief and paramedic who brought in approximately $2 million in grants at just pennies on the dollar. Any other council would be pinning medals on him; unfortunately, this council will no longer have that opportunity.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

CL recalls

We the three chief petitioners for the recall of Mayor George Fischer and councilors Kevin Benson, Tiffany Pruit and Don Haight are not the same new recall effort recently started in Cascade Locks for councilor Lance Masters.

We would like to inform the citizens of Cascade Locks we are not affiliated in any way with the Lance Masters recall effort, nor do we support it.

Councilors Lance Masters and Eva Zerfing have continuously and diligently opposed and voted against all the recent budget cuts and policy decisions made by the majority of this current council that resulted in the current crisis our city is now faced with, including the dismantling of our Fire and Emergency Services Department.

Therefore we support Lance Masters continued office.


Chief petitioner Arni Kononen for the recall of councilor Kevin Benson

Chief petitioner Ralph Hesgard for the recall of councilor Tiffany Pruit

Chief petitioner Shawna Hasel for the recall of Mayor George Fischer and councilor Don Haight

Cascade Locks

Who needs guns?

During the recent riots in England, only one person has been shot, aside from the original police shooting that began the violence last week. Three have been killed as a result of vehicular homicide.

In the infamous Watts riots 34 were killed. In Los Angeles in 1992, 53 died in riots. In the Detroit riots of 1967, 43 were killed. Many of the deaths and lots of the many injuries were from gunshots.

England has very strong gun control laws. Could this be why the fatalities in the recent riots there have been so much lower in number? The riots themselves have been just as violent as any spawned in the United States in terms of property destruction.

Food for thought. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. But having guns makes it so very much easier! Ask Congresswoman Giffords. Ask the eight people recently shot in an Ohio rampage.

All societies have insane people and angry people. One slipped through the gun control cracks in Norway. That doesn't mean that gun control in itself is wrong. It could save a lot of lives. Who needs guns anyway?

Wendy Best


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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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