Letters to the editor for August 20, 2011

August 20, 2011

Fund peace,

not war

Politicians can raise the debt ceiling but they cannot raise the dead. Currently, 59 percent of our U.S. government expenses are military and our nation is discouraged because we are borrowing money for war.

Most of us would willingly pay taxes if we were given evidence the money promoted peace and helped prevent poverty, disease and death. War does not prevent war.

Larry Gohl

Snowden, WA

Common sense

Hmmmm… Did someone mention common sense? Let's discuss common sense. Common sense would be one flat tax for all. This way the rich, poor, private citizen or corporation all pays the same. It is fair for all! For every dollar brought in there is a flat tax rate percentage applied. Simple, we get rid of deductions, nonprofits and loopholes.

As a business owner, I am good with it. I file my quarterly estimated taxes based on gross income and reconcile at the end of the year. As a citizen, it is the same; they take out the percentage based on my projected income and reconcile during tax time. Nobody can complain they pay more than anyone else.

There would be no reason for the fiasco we had recently. The government would know based off of projected income how much it had to spend and can budget accordingly. Instead of borrowing, they could raise the tax rate if needed.

What Tea Partiers and Republicans need to understand is we need to fund certain programs. Social Security needs funded. Health care for everyone, needs funded. Equal Education for all needs funded. Democrats have to understand there are limits to how much we can spend on entitlements.

What we need to stop is the blank check we give presidents to go bomb other countries. Let's face it; we had a balanced budget up until we started bombing other countries.

We also need to stop paying other countries to be our friend. This idea that we need to keep sending billions of dollars to other countries for nothing is insane.

How about more common sense? If we need to raise money, let's bring back tariffs on the goods being imported from other countries. Let's make it equal for companies who want to employ hard working, and fairly treated Americans to compete. Just a thought?

It is about time we start using common sense and tell the partisan, donor-influenced politicians to start doing what is right for all people!

Paul Hickman

Hood River


I was disappointed that in Bob Danko's opinion piece on "rehiring the retired" he failed to mention that by rehiring the three retiring administrators the district saved about $72,000 in benefit payments. I was equally disappointed that the article by the Hood River News staff also failed to mention this.

Rehiring the retired is a win-win opportunity unless you have a resentment toward public employees. The district and the children win by getting the best administrators possible while saving $72,000.

We should be grateful to the administrators for their 30-plus years of public service, and for saving Hood River School District much-needed funds during these times of budget shortfall.

Jack Sprague

Hood River

Horse is out

Let me get this straight: Hood River School District eliminates jobs and closes a well-performing school (Dos Mundos) and a treasured historic school (Pine Grove) but manages to take advantage of a loophole in a state law to coddle three top administrators who are making near or above six-figure incomes?

Exploiting a policy created by the district itself that critically restricts the applicant pool to internal candidates doesn't come close to passing the smell test. This move was well-thought, well-plotted and dishonorable.

While I commend Supt. Beck's desire to revise the policy, the horse is out of the barn. This action shamefully degrades the integrity of the school district and board.

Roger Koppy


Short on facts

I liked W.H. Davis' recent letter (Aug. 17) because it was short. Unfortunately, it was also way short on facts and reason.

The recent economic collapse started in the fall of 2008 under Bush. That's when Bush and the Republicans had to give their Wall Street buddies the bailout.

Facts are that during Bush's eight years, the national debt more than doubled from $4 trillion to $9 trillion; we lost 50,000 manufacturing plants and by the time Obama took office the U.S. was losing 700,000 jobs per month.

Now you could blame Obama for saving the U.S. auto industry, for making it illegal for insurance companies to drop coverage when people get sick or for actually killing Osama bin Laden.

One more thing, Mr. Davis: The next presidential election is not this November; you'll have to wait until 2012.

Guy Tauscher

Hood River

Sorely disappointed

Thank you Mr. Danko and Mr. Johnson! To those of you on the school board who cast a NO! vote to "allow a retiree to collect both a retirement check and a paycheck for the same time period - in this case, the whole school year" (Re: "Split school board approves 'retire rehire,'" Aug. 13) I say thank you. At least you represent those with sound budget skills and leadership of ethical practices.

To those that "felt that since the practice is allowed by the state it really was not the board's place to disallow it" - you have got to be kidding me? With no respect to political leaders or party much has been "allowed," but do you seriously believe that makes something moral, upright, ethical, or in the best interest of taxpayers and students?

And to the yes voter who "found the retire/rehire practice troubling" why did you vote yes, then?

And might I point out an even more troubling fact, they stated that they could not fill the positions with viable applicants, and so were forced to rehire a retiree - give me a break! My husband is looking for a job, has a teaching degree, and with a chance and some administrative training could have filled that position for one-third of what you are paying now (not even to mention the double-dipping portion of their fat deal!).

Oh, but that's right; you did not even give him a chance because the position was only available internally! What did you expect for applicants?

I am sorely disappointed in a community board that makes choices of this nature! In a society that lives in an abyss of financial deficit, why should Hood River County School board be any different?

Jennifer D. Johnson

Hood River

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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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