Letters to the Editor for December 15, 2012

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Christmas joy for cats

Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue is an amazing organization. They take in homeless cats and kittens and house them in foster homes (two or three at each home). This way they receive medical care, spay or neuter and, most importantly, one-on-one love and pets until a kitty is ready to go to his/her forever home. These foster homes are just wonderful!

Each year at this time I give CGCR as much money as I can because of the service they provide for our community. They fixed 745 cats in 2011, found homes for 230 and cared for hundreds more.

You can send your holiday donation to www.gorgecat.org or www.gorge.petfind.org; P.O. Box 231, Hood River, OR 97031.

Cindy Walbridge

Hood River

Scenic area cell tower

The Hood River County Planning department has posted notice that the American Tower Corporation has submitted an application to put a 160-foot “monofir” cell tower on the Fairview Drive property owned by Jeff Blackman and Erin Burnham. Along with the tower comes a non-attractive equipment building and an emergency generator of unknown size, all enclosed by a 6-foot fence with barbed wire.

This 160-foot tower, topped with an 8-foot lightning rod, will dominate the skyline of the west side of town. Who wants this in their back yard? Do we truly require a cell tower such as this to be placed within property designated as National Scenic Area?

The property owners themselves do not live on or near the Fairview property. They will, however, receive income from the leased parcel.

This visual obstruction will be a constant, no matter how they might try to disguise it. A tree is a tree. A cell phone tower trying to look like a tree is still a 160-foot cell tower. In fact, the closest tree to the proposed site is only 58.3 feet tall.

If this cell tower is allowed, it sets the precedent for more to go up, maybe even in your backyard!

If you have any objections to this proposal, please join me in opposing the 160-foot tower installation in our neighborhood. Send your comments to the County Planning Dept. at 601 State St., Hood River, OR 97031 or email: comdev.dept@co.hood-river.or.us. Refer to application (p-12-0194).

The deadline for giving any response is Dec. 21.

Melanie Finstad

Hood River

Fiscal cliffhanger

Sounds to me like we are down to the old, old story of whose child is it really? Where is the real mother in this debt mess entitled “The Fiscal Cliff Saga?” Who is willing to give up their “rights” and “ownership” so that the child will not be hacked into halves and given to each of the “mothers” claiming her?

Yet the trauma-drama of the debt cliff lacks a legal judge, one who pronounces the sentence and then does not execute it. One woman gives up her rights, gives up her claim to the child. And then, the judge supersedes his own ruling, and gives the whole child to the one who gave up the child, figuring only the real mom would be so caring.

These old story sagas stay in the stewpot of folks’ awareness for a reason. It’s worthwhile to see myself and each of “those guys” being each of the characters in the story. Perhaps this fiscal cliff is just the warm-up act for the real show: “The Health of Our Home Planet Cliffhanger.”

Robbie Lapp

Hood River

Please don’t dump animals

Please do not dump off helpless animals! My husband found two kittens at the Little League baseball fields huddled together in the bleachers on Tuesday. He went back up there on three different occasions to check on them. And yes, they were still there on his last visit right before dark. All cuddled up together.

So someone probably dumped them off right there. Really? There are options, folks! There are some wonderful people and fabulous organizations here in the Gorge that can help you. They have hearts of gold and are willing to help.

Simply Google cat rescue or dog rescue to see what pops up: Great, caring, kind people and organizations that are willing to help these animals. Make that phone call or email them for help. It was that easy. We contacted Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue (541-386-2743) and these beautiful kittens are now in good hands with this organization. (What a great organization to make a donation to this holiday season or consider being a foster home!) No dumping necessary!

Please know you have options.

Chris and Melanie Nickelsen

Hood River

What about workers?

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, on the Viewpoint page, Rep. Greg Walden reports about the Department of Labor’s use of “Hot Goods” orders to enforce labor laws. These orders have delayed shipment of produce on some farms or orchards here in the Northwest.

The story made a good case for the farmers; but I would like to see a follow-up from the workers’ point of view. Surely the Department of Labor doesn’t just issue these orders without some basis. A delegation of Oregon State Representatives led by Walden is asking for clarification of rules allowing these “Hot Goods” sanctions. But we need to know the other side of the story also.

Delaying shipments of perishable goods is serious. But, I believe delaying or withholding wages is even more serious, if that is happening.

Anne Vance

Hood River

Hope for common ground

For only the second time that I can remember, I agree with an opinion expressed by Gary Fields (Our readers write, Dec. 12). It is time to restore the traditional interpretation of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

I do not know when this rule was changed to the current process of simply declaring a filibuster, without the accompanying occupation of the Senate floor to defend one’s position. I will contact Senators Merkley and Wyden to voice my support for Merkley’s bill.

My other agreement with Mr. Fields is that the proposed “pork chop” forcing a right turn only from eastbound Cascade to southbound Second Street is a ludicrous idea which would cause more traffic problems than it would solve.

I find it heartening that Gary and I, so polar opposite politically, can find some common ground. Perhaps there is some hope for the deadlock in Washington, as well.

John F. Brennan

Hood River

Happy with Walmart vote

The Hood River Citizens for a Local Economy and our attorney, Ken Helm, are pleased with the outcome of Monday night’s remand hearing regarding Walmart’s application to expand its store by 30,000 square feet.

After nearly two years of raising concerns to city staff over Walmart’s 20-year lapse in its expansion efforts, we’re pleased that the council unanimously decided that the city’s non-conforming use provision applies to vested rights. The terms of that provision are very clear, as clearly laid out by Mr. Helm and community member Maryellen Barilotti, who submitted legal arguments on her own behalf.

We are glad that council members Picard, Nichols, McNamara and McBride voted to uphold our land-use laws and support small, local businesses over large, outside corporations. They had overwhelming support from the community.

The outcome is aligned with our current land-use code — which restricts big-box stores to footprints of 50,000 square feet — and the long-term planning vision for our community and our economy. I respect the entire city council for their due diligence throughout all of the hearings and I thank all community members who participated in the public process arguing for either outcome.

Becky Brun

Chair, Hood River Citizens for a Local Economy

How ironic

Wednesday’s paper headlined the refusal of the Hood River council to allow the Walmart expansion into the grocery business.

On the same page there was an article regarding police taking six individuals to Walmart to shop for Christmas presents. These presents were paid for by a Walmart General Mills grant. This grant was granted because of selling large amount of General Mills products.

General Mills is primarily a grocery products manufacturer. In effect, this grant was awarded because Walmart sold a lot of the products that our city council decided they should not sell.

I do not think that a person who has already made up her mind previous to any new testimony should be allowed to make the deciding vote. In fact, I think that the city council should have the public decide, by voting. This should not be limited to the city. This is a decision that affects the entire county.

What will be the reaction if Walmart decides to install a Marketplace? This is Walmart’s grocery-only store. There are a few prime locations available. In fact, one location has, in the past, been used as a grocery store. What will be the rationale for not allowing this?

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

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