Friday, December 23, 2011
Vote them out
I just don't get it. Why do the Republicans in Congress insist that we as a nation cannot afford to impose a tax on the supremely rich and the most wealthy among us in order to:
1. Keep our economy afloat; and
2. Relieve stress among those most devastatingly impacted by our recent foray into economic dismay and disarray?
I can understand that such people would choose to justify their disinclination by characterizing this esteemed and munificent 1 percent as those who might or could be the very saviors and rescuers of our economic distress because they command the resources which could create new jobs and which, theoretically, would get our ball rolling again.
The veracity of such fond daydreams can be measured in the number of jobs created these many months as we, the 99 percent, have been slogging along in the soggy and sodden depths of underemployment, unemployment and/or overwork, since some of us were kept on the job to take up the inevitable slack that incurred when companion workers were fired or "let go."
There is a word for this mental anomaly exhibited by such representatives to our government in Washington, D.C. It's called baloney on the brain. Not only is this condition a contagious affliction, but it is apparently incurable. There is, however, a remedy: Throw the bums out!
P.S. Be sure you are registered to vote so you can do your part as this little drama unfolds:
On the airwaves.
On billboards and lawn signs.
In our mailboxes, currently being re-purposed as sole receptacles for unsolicited and unwanted advertising.
Gloria Krantz of Dee
Need real communication
The Hood River City Council meeting on the proposed Walmart expansion was a demonstration of civil dialog between parties with differing viewpoints on an issue affecting our community.
Without a hint of irony, I commend Mayor Arthur Babitz for opening a space and facilitating dialog in an exemplary manner between those of us who believed Walmart's expansion was legal, those of us who believed it was illegal and those of us who acted in their roles as council members or support staff to make a decision. We all were able to sit and stand next to each other, speak without being shouted down for having different opinions and reflect on what we heard.
When I teach students in the field of conflict resolution, I emphasize the importance of those principles. Communication, however, is more than merely engaging in dialog. And dialog is more than talking and listening to each other.
Unfortunately the city council's deliberation process painted a grimmer picture of constructive communication.
For reasons that I have not yet come to comprehend, comments by representatives of the opponents and the majority of the public almost entirely vanished from the subsequent actual decision-making process.
Council members Frodel and Picard embodied a genuine desire for constructive conflict resolution through continued curious questioning and repeated opposition to opinions stated as facts or distinguishing between wants and realities.
It is disheartening to see that the majority of those we chose to represent Hood River's community had made up their minds before the meeting. They came to listen to the citizens - to listen only.
In conflict resolution, listening is following thoughts and feelings of another and understanding what the other is saying and meaning from his or her frame of reference of point of view. Constructive communication and citizen representation, however, is actually acting on what is being communicated unless there is a reason for not doing so.
One of those reasons is bullying and we all know the horrendous impact it has on individuals - or on a community bullied by the world's largest retailer. This we can avoid if we look beyond the money and the force behind Walmart and mutually create a space for real communication in the entire Hood River community and beyond.
To the person who found my wallet: Thank-you! I dropped it in the Walgreen's parking lot on Saturday, Dec. 10. I wasn't sure, but knowing that the store was my last stop, I returned and asked if it had been turned in - and it had been!
I had multiple debit, credit, and ID cards for home and business, and would have had to replace them all. A real bother was avoided. I was so happy that when my wife and I drove up the valley the next day to cut a tree and I forgot the saw, it didn't bother me at all.
May you have an excellent holiday season and new year.
David M. Braun
About the Walmart expansion: I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't sat through the last few meetings and given testimony at two. The approval document in 1991 states: 72,000 square feet and excluded groceries. This information is public. I encourage you to look it over yourself.
The planning commission turned down the 30,000-square-foot expansion. Mayor Babitz, first appealed the planning commission's ruling (saying if they left it up to Walmart and Walmart appealed the PC's ruling, it might interfere with the holidays).
Believing the mayor to be a fair guy, I took it at face value, until I attended the actual review. Mayor Babitz had an agenda, and a carefully scripted defense for Walmart. Walmart needn't have even showed up.
The onus is and has always been on the party in question to appeal and prove their case. There were a couple of bases that were not covered. I'll keep these under my hat for the appeal.
Hey, bottom line folks: Hood River has plenty of big grocery stores. The demographics don't support another. This was the case then (1991); this is the case now. Walmart is after a monopoly. They want to take over and trump all markets. They will take the choice out of what you buy in town and bankrupt anyone who gets in their way.
I come away from this experience deflated. Mayor Babitz is in the driver's seat. I'd wager the record would show this. Harsh words, maybe. He is an elected official and represents us, not big business. This is not about jobs in a distressed economy. It's about principals and law.
Spend your money here. Keep your money here.
To my fellow citizens in Hood River:
It is with regret that I will be resigning from the Hood River City Council effective the end of December. Our family will be moving from the city limits and I will no longer be able to serve in this position.
I have enjoyed my role tremendously and this will not be an easy transition for me. I have found the past seven years to be extremely rewarding and educational.
Working with our City Manager Bob Francis and his staff, as well as my fellow councilors and the mayor have been inspiring. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated team guiding our community forward.
Thank you for the wonderful opportunities you have provided and the successes we have experienced since my term began seven years ago. I will continue to be involved in Hood River's Waterfront Park and play an active role on the Waterfront Community Park Association Board.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity and I wish the entire Hood River City staff and council all the best.
John Fine's thanks to the community (Our Readers Write, Dec. 10) for assistance finding his dog was gracious. A good approach. Obviously, the reader does not know all of the details.
My wife and I visit the Event Site and adjacent waterfront areas several times a year. We stroll around (sometimes with a grandchild or two) and enjoy the amenities/beauty.
We are repeatedly frustrated by the number of pet owners that do not notice or ignore the "Pets on Leash" signs. Could this have been part of the reason that "Mo" became lost?
A few dog piles and/or a lost dog are simple matters. Easy fixes. A bitten child (or perhaps an adult) will be a whole different situation/problem.
Perhaps the city and port should spend a little more time (manpower) bringing the posted rules/regulations to attention of those utilizing the facilities.
Steve G. Berntsen
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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