Letters to the Editor for May 10

Disaster waiting

For those who are enamored of Congressman Greg Walden and the Republican Congress, please ask Walden what he and his colleagues are doing to protect us from the single-greatest imminent threat to our lives and homes, the explosive Bakken oil trains.

Is he working with his Republican colleagues to pass emergency legislation to require the immediate replacement of the grossly inadequate and unsafe rail cars now being used? Or more likely, is he working with his Republican colleagues to prevent that replacement because his railroad and oil company friends and contributors do not want to spend the money to safely transport this incredibly dangerous and explosive material?

At a minimum, ask Walden to pass legislation to immediately purchase every town and city in the Gorge at least one piece of fire equipment adequate to the task of responding to the inevitable and to provide the personal protection and training for all first responders in the Gorge. Even Portland does not have one piece of equipment up to the task.

It does not take much imagination to envision the result if one of these Bakken oil trains derails in The Dalles or Hood River and explodes on a high-wind day this July or August. It will be an inextinguishable blow torch lasting for days which will wipe out not only all buildings in the vicinity but all buildings and vegetation up the sides of the Gorge and everything on the Heights.

This is no joke. We send our representatives to Congress to protect us regardless of what political party we belong to. All Republicans need to contact Walden because he and his Republican colleagues do not respond to those of us on the other side of the aisle.

The State of Virginia got its wake-up last week when one of the Bakken oil trains derailed and blew up in the middle of one of its cities and is now leaking oil into the James River, from which a great majority of Virginians obtain their drinking water, and which flows into Chesapeake Bay.

Are Walden and his Republican colleagues going to allow this to happen to the Columbia River and the Gorge, and most importantly, to us?

Lance S. Stryker

White Salmon, Wash.

Bailey will serve Mosier

Dear Mosier residents: I served 10 years as a Wasco County Commissioner, retiring December 2012. I understand what it takes to work hard to represent all citizens of the county with their many different and varied views. I believe Bridget Bailey is the best person to do that for Wasco County and its citizens.

She recognizes Wasco County’s economy is ag-based and she has the education and experience to work toward keeping our renewable industries viable and growing.

Bridget will bring a much-needed balance to the Wasco County Commission. She is ready to help solve problems and build partnerships. I believe she will do a great job.

Please join me in voting for Bridget Bailey for Wasco County Commissioner.

Sherry Holliday

Maupin

About those big signs

Those giant political signs we have been seeing out there boldly endorsing Chuck Thomsen, Greg Walden, and Mark Johnson raise questions in my mind, like: Who is paying for this? Why are they so big? (Appealing to nearsighted or ADD voters perhaps?) Not sure.

And last, but definitely not least, did Chuck, Greg, and Mark obtain permits for these signs? Temporary signs are only legal for 90 days, guys.

Laurie Balmuth

Hood River

Richardson for governor

State Rep. Dennis Richardson, Oregon gubernatorial candidate, is not a politician but a statesman exemplifying principled leadership in behalf of Oregon. Having a bedrock of principle resting firm in the ideals of freedom, Rep. Richardson serves with a moral compass rather than following opinion polls. He speaks to what is best in the heart of each Oregonian. He believes what he says — the power of his words emanating from deep and abiding truths.

Rep. Richardson has a clear vision of what is needed for Oregon to be free and prosperous, with an understanding of what must happen to accomplish his vision while at the same time building a consensus among those he works with in government as well as those constituents for whom he serves in order to institute the necessary change.

His 11-year record of government service in the Oregon House of Representatives testifies that he is true to defending and securing our Founders’ vision of democratic liberty and individual freedom for all.

As you ponder your vote this year, I invite you to study Dennis Richardson’s service and consider casting your vote for him, for our future — for Oregon.

Katherine Arbon

The Dalles

School budgets

The Hood River County School District budget likely to be passed this Tuesday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. at the HRVHS library, is another $1 million reduction in school teachers, sports, supplies, and support services. That’s more than $8 million reduction in just the past five years; a whopping 20 percent of the general fund (teaching, sports, supplies and services budget).

This dire situation includes the local option levy. That levy equates to about 20 teaching positions, which is comparable to May Street.

Oregon K-12 schools are now nationally ranked in the very bottom tier of dollar-per-pupil funding and the bottom tier of high school graduation rate (thanks to great HRVSD teachers, we are not yet part of that!).

Poor K-12 funding is not what I want from my legislators. If you want to talk about “job killing this or that” — try keeping or recruiting families to good jobs and they ask you “What about the poorly ranked schools?”

In the early 1990s, pre-Measures 5, 47, and 50 — Oregon was in the top tier of dollar-per-pupil funding and national K-12 ranking. All of our incumbent legislators have authority and responsibility for where the dollars in Salem have gone to date and where they go in the future.

Unfortunately, K-12 education is low on the list of receiving more funding. One hundred million was added but that only gets $350,000 to HRVSD, which isn’t even basic increases of worker’s comp, PERS, utilities, etc (hence this $1 million services cut).

That indicates we need about $2 billion put back into the K-12 budget by Salem (3 percent of $60 billion state budget) for HRVSD to maybe approach the $8 million lost the past five years. This only happens if YOU write all legislators, local, state, and federal; can you give K-12 just 5 minutes?

Go to oregonlegislature.gov, or oregonlive.com, find and write your legislators: “I demand more $ to K-12 education, I demand $2 billion increase to K-12 education.” If you don’t, it will go somewhere else.

To avoid further significant HRVSD cuts next year, do this now, and do this often!

Rich Truax

Hood River

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