Monday, February 14, 2011
Go to the source
I am responding to attacks on Greg Walden in recent letters.
In order to make sense of a voting on a bill you need to know why someone voted the way s/he did. Have you asked him? It would surely shed some light on the situation.
I have initiated correspondence with Congressman Walden's office to address the questions of why he voted the way he did on certain bills and I can tell you what I find out.
Just because he voted against money for first responders does not mean he was against giving money to them. I heard the week of the vote some Congressmen were concerned that there was not enough clarity in the use of those funds, meaning they wanted more specific direction regarding something in the bill because they could see some ambiguity as problematic.
If a bill is brought up for vote before some concerns such as these are able to be resolved, a Congressman may choose to vote no and hope it can be restructured again, very soon. I do not know the specifics of this bill or why he voted the way he did (gee, maybe one could ask him …) but it is not impossible to find out the answer to this question.
It IS possible he felt there was a better way to enable the victims to get better access of these funds they wanted to authorize. Why is there only one possible reason he voted the way he did? "I can only assume" or "I can only guess" is all right as long as you don't malign his name by assuming what you assume in a scathing letter to the editor.
Conversely, I see that I can only assume he knew something about the bill of the Preventing Child Marriage Act of which I am unaware that compelled him to think, "There's got to be a better way to accomplish this." Or can I?
Your arguments hold no more water than mine unless we go to the source.
Put in perspective
Over its first 90 years, the Condit Dam has generated electricity in sufficient quantity to enable avoidance of combustion of about 4 million tons of coal. This dam is soon to be destroyed, to provide for future fish migration. We will then burn more fuel.
In a letter to this paper November 2010, I noted that if the future White Salmon River hosts as many migratory fish as have been migrating up the Hood River in recent years, then each of these White Salmon fish will "cost" our planet the equivalent of the combustion of about 60 tons of coal. Several acquaintances have asked me to put into perspective this number: 60 tons of coal per migrating fish.
Carbon footprint, a recently popular measure of global environmental impact, can provide a comparison: Enabled by destruction of the dam, each annual future fish migration up the White Salmon River will have the same carbon footprint as the lifetime carbon footprint of 600 typical people living today in the poorer parts of Africa.
Andy von Flotow
Having been out of town for a few weeks, we returned to find that the Hood River News had chosen to headline our statement about gun control in our letter about the Giffords shooting.
It was very good to see two thoughtful and well-written responses by Mike Farmer and Ralph Lane Jr. When people of differing opinions begin communicating with each other, then we're getting somewhere in this great country of America.
We should clarify our rather sweeping declaration to "bring on the gun control." By that we never meant that guns should be banned entirely. Some of our best friends hunt and have done for years. Mike Farmer's mother, Betty, was a dear friend at Down Manor.
We're all on the same page here. We just want to try to prevent more tragedies like the Giffords one, in which almost 30 bullets met their targets in less than one minute.
We think that semiautomatic assault weapons belong in the hands of soldiers - not civilians. Thorough background checks should be conducted on all who seek gun ownership.
If those two precautions had been in place in Arizona, the whole Giffords episode could have been averted. At the very least, fewer people would have suffered from the attack of a madman, and Cristina might be heading off for a nice day at school.
Mike Farmer refers to his freedom. It is indeed precious, but we need to remember that no one is really free here in America. We have to wear seat belts. We are required to educate our kids. We can't buy liquor until we are 21. Car insurance is mandatory. There are child-proof caps on cleaning products that are hard for arthritic hands to open.
All these things are true in an effort to exchange a small amount of personal freedom to preserve the greater good. Let's add limited gun control to those precautions and others like them!
Wendy and Dick Best
As a lifelong resident of Hood River County and a current student at Columbia Gorge Community College, I want to thank everyone who supported measure 14-39 to reopen our library.
I understand that times are tough and that we all need to pinch every penny that we work so hard for. What I don't understand though, is why we were willing to sacrifice an asset to our community.
The library offers so many free resources that we cannot all afford to have in our homes, such as: hundreds of books of every type, answers to reference questions, help for students, story time for children, computers, Internet.
Did you know that only one in four homes have Internet access? Why would we choose to shut down a facility that could lessen the burden of a recession, and provide so many services that are already lost around us? Is it so that we can save approximately $.17 a day?
I understand that this adds up and at tax time we may have to scrape by, but knowing that we have such a great library that provides so much to everyone regardless of age or income, is something that we as a community can be proud of.
Please continue to support our library and our future.
Do we not believe in the Bill of Rights anymore?
Last week the lady who wanted to suspend the First Amendment (free speech) because someone's opinion offended her (it offended me also) Hood River News' First Amendment (freedom of the press) for printing it, all the private and government advocates wanting to destroy the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) and now the lady who wants to put to death the Tucson Killer before due process or a fair trial (Fifth and Sixth Amendments).
What's next, unreasonable search and seizures (Fourth Amendment)? Why not all of them, which brings me back to the Second Amendment. So why not let the Constitution work before we judge these people, or God. Oh sorry; separation of church and state.
Let's all get together and demand a Congressional Reform Act of 2011: Our Congressmen and Senators are so out of touch with reality, they need a wake-up call. Here is what I propose:
1. Term limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
A. Two six-year Senate terms
B. Six two-year House terms
C. One six-year Senate term and three two-year House terms
2. No tenure/no pension: A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when out of office.
3. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security: All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3 percent.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective NOW.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
Joy von Buschow
'If guns are outlawed'
I've read both arguments of pro-gun and anti-gun. But the simple fact is that laws made to protect us from guns, or even keep guns out of the hands of bad people will only be acknowledged by law-abiding citizens. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
This quote gives light on the fact that "the bad guys" have no care for the law and will break the law regardless. And I'm sure that if somebody was going to kill another, the fact that the type of gun they were using might be illegal wouldn't even factor into their brain.
So don't punish the law-abiding citizens by taking away our right to defend ourselves with equal or more force.
White Salmon, Wash.
Yes, HR has transit
In response to the letter "Share your ride" of Jan. 29, I would like to let Ms. Mont-Elton know that there is in fact public transit in Hood River County. It is true, that we are not a "big city" public transit, but nevertheless there are public transit services that may be used by anyone in the county.
Our primary service is a dial-a-ride service throughout the county Monday-Friday. A person who needs a ride can call us up several days in advance and we will try to schedule the ride for them.
This is a door-to-door service where we will pick the rider up at their home and take them where they need to go in Hood River County. We also have a fixed route between Hood River and The Dalles that operates three times a day, three days a week and a fixed route to Portland on Thursdays.
To obtain more information about public transit in Hood River please call us at 541-386-4202 or find more information at http://community.gor-ge.net/hrctd or for regional transportation information at http://www.gorge-translink.org.
In addition, we encourage carpooling through Carpool Match Northwest (www.carpoolmatchnw.org) and we hope to build Hood River's first formal Park and Ride lot this year.
Columbia Area Transit
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A live hive
A tree containing a live colony of bees blew down in a local family's front yard. Find out what happened next by reading the story here: bit.ly/1MJKdu2. Enlarge