Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Even though I own a business in downtown Hood River, I don’t live inside the city limits, so I haven’t paid as much attention to Hood River city government as I would if I actually got to vote in city elections.
I don’t know Arthur Babitz or Bob Francis very well, other than to know that I think they are both good citizens and I enjoy serving them at my restaurant.
But here’s what I do know from years of working in city and state government, before my restaurant career: It is very hard to run a city, especially one that is deeply in debt, as ours was in 2007 when Arthur Babitz first took office. And I know the city is now out of debt, in large part due to his efforts.
When every government in America is struggling to balance its budget without raising taxes and fees, on the heels of a deep recession, Hood River’s story is remarkable. And much of that credit goes to an active mayor who has spent a tremendous amount of volunteer time righting our town’s fiscal ship.
I don’t really know the truth behind all the rumors and innuendos of Mayor Babitz’ communication and management “style.” Do you? Probably not firsthand.
So before I’d support asking him to resign, I’d say, take a look at some empirical evidence: Ask to see the city’s budget. That’s the single biggest piece of evidence that should make us all think twice before we rashly support asking him to resign.
Chef Kathy Watson
and Gorge Catering
Lionesses also serve
In his letter to the editor published in the Aug. 3 edition, Russ Paddock, charter president of the Hood River EyeOpeners Lions, reminded all of us about the work they do to support Lions Clubs charities and projects around the area. Great work!
In listing all the Lions Club-affiliated groups he neglected to mention one such club that has been in existence for many years and raises and contributes funds to many groups in the Gorge and statewide: Odell Lioness Club. We are small but mighty, and we contribute funds to such causes as the fireworks and of course Lions Sight and Hearing, but also to HRVHS Project Graduation, and much more.
Throughout the year we focus on our traditional fundraisers: caroling bake sale at holiday time, springtime Blossom Gift Basket Raffle, and our annual yard sale, coming up Aug. 17.
We also help each year with parking at the Hood River County Fair, and sell tickets for the Lions Follies as well.
Our members assist with vision screenings at schools, and award a scholarship to one or more deserving senior girl graduates of Hood River Valley High School.
We just want to be recognized as a part of the great tradition of Lions activity in this area. We also serve.
Odell Lioness Club
Let mayor do his job
I’m confused about the demands that Arthur Babitz resign.
He’s been elected four times. Elected with big majority votes, no less.
His financial plan saved Hood River from financial disaster. Yet he gets paid less than the price of a daily latte or fast food meal.
And a small, vocal group of people wants him to resign?
We’re lucky to have a smart, financially savvy, workaholic mayor who is more than a figurehead. Think we’re going to find someone more competent? No way. Leave Mayor Babitz alone. Stop wasting his time, and stop wasting the City Council’s time.
Sure, many of us loved Bob Francis, myself included, but he has a new job. He likes his new job.
Let’s stop the divisive talk and move on. Let the City Council and Mayor Babitz continue doing good work, and let them find a new city manager.
Now that our town is on solid financial footing with great city staff, we’ll be able to attract great candidates — if we stop creating chaos with these unreasonable demands for the mayor’s resignation.
Thank you, Arthur Babitz, for all your hard work. Please don’t resign.
Three crucial tasks
The three following issues are human, environmental and significant economic problems that should be addressed for Hood River and the Gorge to survive and prosper.
First, Hood River city and county must see that property owners remove their diseased and dying pine trees.
Second, Gorge residents need to stop the proposed toxic polluting coal trains and barges from traveling through the Gorge.
And finally, we must focus on the casual attitude our government has taken on the cleanup at Hanford with its now projected finish date of 2050, a full century since creating this toxic nuclear mess. In the meantime if the deadly mix leaks into the Columbia River before then, we’re toast!
Liberty and safety
To Leonard Mays (re: his letter Aug. 3): Mr. Mays, the NSA surveillance program has been in place for years. The NSA has all of the Tsarnaev phone records. It did not stop them. It will tie the conviction up for Dzhokhar with a bow but they still accomplished their bombing.
Please take this quote, circa 1775, from Benjamin Franklin to heart, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
You cannot compromise freedom. Make a single concession and the rest of your freedoms will disappear bit by bit until you have none.
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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