Letters to the editor for October 12, 2011

No to coal transports, Walden must show loyalty, more...

No to coal transports

I strongly oppose exporting coal to Asia through the Columbia River Gorge. 286,000 acres of the Gorge are federally protected through the National Scenic Act and that includes the natural resources. The fine quality of life in the Gorge attracts caring residents, entrepreneurs and tourists.

We can't have a good quality of life without clean air and water, so why would we put ourselves, our natural resources and more sustainable economies like tourism in harm's way by allowing a drastically increased amount of pollution from coal trains through the Gorge? These trains are typically uncovered and are a major source of coal dust pollution in the Columbia River Gorge.

Looking at the big picture, once this coal does reach Asia - we get it back. Air disposition from coal burning in Asia is the major source of highly toxic mercury in the Columbia River Basin. Why would we want more? Coal fired power plants in China are not subject to modern pollution controls. And we know how challenging that can be to enforce locally. It's simply the dirtiest version of a dirty version of energy and it's up-wind of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Additionally, why trade priceless resources like clean air and water for economic gain that largely goes elsewhere - to Ambre Energy, an Australian Corporation who is proposing these exports? The Columbia Gorge and the region shouldn't host outside industries that track a dirty mess through our federally protected National Scenic Area and beyond.

Here's a final thought. Look how many people have a "shoeless household" policy these days. They don't want to live with excess dirt or spend extra time and resources cleaning it up. Street dust is one thing. Airborne coal dust in our larger Gorge home is quite another.

If writing your name in the coal dust on your floors with your stocking feet disturbs you, please write or call Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber or Washington Commissioner Goldmark.

Polly Wood

Hood River

Where loyalty should be

Legislation to be introduced in the Senate authorizing payments to counties five more years may not enjoy bipartisan support (see editorial 10-8-11). Known as the Secure Rural Schools Act program, Federal payments to Oregon's timber Counties expires in December.

It may seem encouraging that Rep. Greg Walden, Republican, may be motivated to marshal this legislation through the legislative process, however he has been a member of the committee to work on a long term solution and three years have passed and still no solution.

Although the content of this legislation is non-partisan the legislature that must pass it is not. Since it will affect the budget, Republican Representatives are certain to question and probably oppose it.

This is a time when Rep. Greg Walden must show his loyalty either to his constituents or to his party's leaders. Obviously he can't do both.

It would be advisable for Rep. Greg Walden's constituents to notify him his loyalty should be with the counties that are desperately in need of the financing.

Betty Foxley

Hood River

Why the hold up?

Regarding the Sept. 28 letter of Anne Vance. Our president could do something about the NLRB action against Boeing, if he wanted to. You brought up the retaliation theory, not me. There is a national minimum wage law. Jobs are being lost in South Carolina because of the NLRB action. I wonder why our President's "Job Bill" has been held up in the Senate by Harry Reid? Hmmm.

To answer your question, I have no strong interest in either big business or unions. I do have strong interest in personal responsibility and personal freedom. There is no need to ask you the same question as it is perfectly clear where your interest lies. I will also correct you on my name. My name is Howard, not Harold as you stated in your Sept. 28 letter.

Howard Marquis

Hood River

Fair wages

and work, now

An open letter to Congressman Greg Walden

I am prompted to write you with regard to President Obama's proposal to jump-start our economy with stimulus to our nation's workforce in the guise of repairs to our debilitated infrastructure and stimulus to education in the guise of getting more teachers in classrooms. I hope you can find a way to take up his offer: 1) get on board; or 2) suggest a better vehicle which will put people to work for a fair wage NOW.

We don't need to get sucked in on another spiral into the depths of physical and mental depression right now. China and India aren't going to give us a hand up and out, and Europe is in a political stalemate worse than ours.

Besides, we have the resources and the fortitude to do it our ownselves once we ditch the fantasy of each and every one of us becoming a millionaire. I can guarantee it that once I become one of that esteemed group we'll be wheeling our money around in wheelbarrows. Spare me incantations of that daydream.

As for those oil companies, they need to demonstrate the same personal dedication expected of all our worker bees and wanna bees: 1) put in more hours at less pay; AND 2) forgo the government handouts offered to prompt more appropriate behavior. They have consistently recorded increased income during recent economic declines. It is way past the time for them and their shareholders to "man up", for the good of all of us. Else we all are plunged into the chaos of hand-to-hand combat. I am reassured knowing that those fat cats haven't got the muscle to handle much more than a table fork.

P.S. You have my sympathy, required as you are to deal with those Tea-Party folks in your daily work environment. How is it that folks get elected to a job for which they've no skill nor inclination to accomplish? By definition, our representative democracy requires that those chosen negotiate compromises to thorny, divisive issues. Hopefully both parties to such negotiations can ultimately see a way to live with them so that critical work in our society can proceed.

Gloria Krantz of Dee

Hood River

Locks Mess Monster

Hope in the community of Cascade Locks is constantly being devoured by a mysterious and sinister beast. Economic progress is suppressed. A dark force has eaten the casino. Support for a bottled water plant is drying up. Schools have closed and children deported to other cities for education. The fire chief and and volunteer fire fighters are burnt out. One mayor and three city councilors were swallowed by recall. Mutual aid agreements are cancelled at the height of fire season. Could there be a leviathan lurking deep within the political waters of the Columbia River Gorge? Is there an entity cited in the newspapers but not yet photographed called the Locks Mess Monster?

Larry Gohl

White Salmon, Wash.

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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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