Letters to the Editor for June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

All should be taxed

Why is it so hard to accept that it is necessary to raise taxes if we are to get out of this hole (several-trillion-dollar deficit) that we are in? And not just the wealthy, but all of us who can afford it, should pay our fair share.

This certainly should include the large corporations who last year paid no taxes. We are all in this together.

The alternative is to just abandon the old, the disabled, the poor and the sick, and/or raise the debt ceiling; which would only push the problem ahead. Defaulting on our debts should not even be considered.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are afraid to raise taxes; Democrats would spare the middle class; the Republicans the wealthy. To do this the Democrats would push the debt forward and the Republicans would take a cleaver to our safety net that funds services for the old and disabled.

And the Republicans are trying to get their way by threatening to default on the debt unless their draconian cuts are allowed. They want to keep the tax cuts that benefit mainly the corporations and the wealthy.

Stuart Vance (Our Readers Write, July 6) said it best, and I paraphrase: We are not going to put together a rational tax policy in these United States until we acknowledge that taxes are good for our country, good for our society and good for all of us, as long as we all pay our fair share; it's how we (pay) for civilization.

Anne Vance

Hood River

Yes, we can!

Rev. John Boonstra got it right: "Sí se puede!" Yes, we can! (Faith Frames, June 22)

We can live harmoniously as a whole community: immigrants and native-born, Latino and non-Latino, Spanish-speakers and English-speakers - and all other language-speakers and origins. We are one human family.

We have far more in common - from our DNA to our love of family and friends to our human yearnings - than anything that pretends to separate us.

I am the offspring of a Mexican immigrant father and a California gringa mother, so my own existence proves how love and mutual interest can blend cultures.

Hats off to Gorge Ecumenical Ministries and its partners for creating more occasions to foster intercultural sharing and trust.

Tina Castañares

Odell

Water assumptions

The State of Oregon spent $90,000 on bottled water and Phil Jensen concludes it was purchased for employees? No bias there - but it makes for a better story, since public employees are overpaid and have too many benefits.

If you need to blame public employees to try and make a point, then maybe your point isn't worth making.

Dallas Fridley

Hood River

Facts lacking

My name is George Ponte and I am the district forester for the Central Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry. This is in response to the recent articles in the Hood River News regarding proposed forestland classifications.

I think it is important to provide some context and to correct some misinformation that has been published.

A review of forestland classifications in Hood River and Wasco counties began in February of 2010. The review is being conducted by a committee that was jointly appointed by the Hood River County and the Wasco County Boards of Commissioners at the request of ODF.

A news release was issued regarding the kick-off meeting and it and all subsequent meetings have been advertised and open to the public.

The task for the classification committee is to review all lands with the two counties that meet the statutory definition of forestland, and to further classify those lands as to their suitability for various uses. The committee has been meeting almost every other week to get this work accomplished and this included two field tours to assess conditions on the ground.

This work is actually more accurately described as a review of the classifications as there have been classified forestlands within the city for over 40 years and some lots have been assessed for forest patrol during that time.

The fire chief for the city of Hood River participated in one of these tours where classifying private lands within the city limits was discussed. He provided some input and was generally supportive of ODF continuing to provide fire protection for certain lands within the city.

It now appears that the mayor and city manager do not support this option.

While ODF does not direct the work of the forestland classification committee, we do provide sideboards and guidance on statutes and policies. One of these is that lands within city limits should not be classified unless there is support from the city fire department and/or government.

Given the apparent lack of support from City of Hood River officials, the classification committee will be revisiting the issue of classifying lands within the city at its meeting tomorrow.

ODF has no strong desire to protect lands within the City of Hood River. The amount possibly assessed to landowners within the city which you identify in your most recent article ($16,500) is probably about right. While this is a significant amount of money, it is less than a drop in the bucket in terms of total assessments.

I do not know where you got the information about an additional $150K to $200K going ODF but I believe that figure is wrong.

Finally, as the district forester for ODF's Central Oregon District, I oversee ODF operations in 12 eastern Oregon counties. In my work I deal with the media on a regular basis in regards to controversial issues. While an editor or reporter may not agree with ODF's policies, most have been professional enough to contact ODF to get a comment or additional perspective for an upcoming story. To my knowledge none of your staff have done this and the accuracy of the reporting has suffered.

George Ponte

District forester,

Central Oregon District

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