Letters to the Editor for May 21

Party shifts

How times have changed! From 1960 until 1980 I voted for several Republicans, including Richard Nixon against Jack Kennedy in my first presidential vote, and Washington Gov. Dan Evans three times.

On some issues, such as the corrupting influence of big money, the Republican Party then was left of the Democratic Party now; e.g., President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex and maintained the 90-percent income tax rate on the richest.

Today’s Republicans seem intent on turning government into an oligarchy run by the rich, if they haven’t already.

The Reagan administration initiated rampant deregulation, starting both parties’ moves to the right — Republicans extremely so, Democrats less so. Now I have difficulty voting for any Republican.

But President Clinton also promoted deregulation by signing the Republican-introduced repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. That Act had served the country well since 1933 by separating investment banks from commercial banks. Its repeal was a key to almost 30 years of Republican-led deregulation responsible for the 2008 economic collapse.

Only under President Obama and the Democrats have needed regulations been partially restored.

Quoting a friend who voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964, “I never left the Republican Party; the Republican Party left me.”

Norm Luther

Spokane, Wash.

Many hands

Dear Hood River Community: Due to unfortunate events that occurred the morning of May 10, we and the administration had to make a difficult decision. While making this decision, the safety of our fellow classmates and community came first.

When we arrived at the high school seven hours before prom, we had a small decorating crew of 10 people. An hour later our size had doubled, and by the end of the day we had at least 40 people helping. Parents, friends, and community members who had heard the news cleared their day to volunteer.

Throughout the day, we had many donations from local businesses, as well. Although we were all very upset by the change of location, seeing our community come together in such a way was heartwarming. Without the selfless help from community members, our prom would never have been possible. Thank you all so much.

Olivia Brink,

Taylor Simonds,

Avery Holyoak,

Rebecca Wolf,

Ibete Sanchez,

and Lulu Rodriguez

HRVHS 2014 Prom committee

Hood River Double standards

Yes, it’s true, as Darryl Lloyd pointed out in his May 17 letter “Ignoring oil trains in Gorge,” Rob Davis of the Oregonian has been writing plenty on the topic of the oil trains coming through the Gorge, while the Hood River News itself hasn’t written anything about it. There has been, however, plenty said about the issue in “Our Readers Write” column of the News.

Peter Cornelison from Friends of Not in My Backyard opposes any and all transport of coal and oil through the Gorge. He told us so in his April 30 letter, “Charting a course.”

That’s not surprising coming from a nonprofit group who fought fervently against a wind power generation plant being placed across the river in Washington, and who doesn’t seem very concerned about Cascade Locks giving their water away to Nestlé. If they’re not for green energy, what are they for?

I guess anything goes unless it’s in Friends’ neighborhood and they have to bear some kind of burden. That’s where they draw the line.

Gov. Kitzhaber has the same double standard. He likes the idea of natural gas in his state as long as the hydraulic fracturing process, which can be devastating to the local water supply, takes place in another state.

I have an idea. Why not require trains to travel at lower levels of speed coupled with an increase in rail inspections which could help reduce the risk of an accident, while at the same time leveling fines against the railroads if they fail to adhere to these requirements, which then could result in financial support for a better comprehensive response plan in the event of a spill?

Newspaper reporting on this issue does more than shed light on a potential environmental disaster. They also help terrorists to exploit a very vulnerable target. Derailing a train would not be very difficult.

Congratulations on supplying our enemies with the idea to do what it is that you and your articles were seeking to prevent.

Kevin Herman

White Salmon, Wash.

Stretch of logic

Alan Winans’ May 14 letter “Pride of Hood River” makes some claims which clearly defy history and draw similarities which are simply preposterous.

The President Lincoln I learned about went against popular opinion when he rightfully opposed slavery and ended it for good. In doing so, however, he severely damaged the economy and caused more Americans to die than any other war to date. He also made decisions for the betterment of the country. Few would understand that at the time.

I have personally met Mark, Chuck, and Greg and like all of them as men. I doubt any of them would claim a comparison to Lincoln merely because they represent the Republican Party. By Winans’ logic I must be a rich, bigoted, slumlord simply because I was raised Jewish, as was Donald Sterling.

Men of faith who call themselves Jews, Christians and Muslims have all gone to war, stolen, committed adultery, and destroyed the lives of others while claiming righteousness for their actions. What would Republicans do today if our 16th president had righteously supported slavery? How would he have wanted devout, God-fearing Americans to treat their slaves?

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

A reminder

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

— Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

See for yourself

David Hupp’s letter of May 3 railing against the John Birch Society made me flash back to the 1960s all over again. His use of terms “divisive” and “fear mongering” hearken back to tired old comments we have heard against the Birch Society 50 years ago. Of course he had to throw in “McCarthyism” for good measure.

Rather than listen to those who engage in name calling, I urge my fellow Hood River residents to come to a John Birch Society open house meeting and find out for themselves. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22, 930 Makena Lane, Hood River.

Jim Bell

Hood River

Re-elect Walden

With Obama’s highly enforced controlled media you would think common sense has received a knockout punch. Not so fast. Here in the Gorge there are Republicans, Independents and Democrats who have not turned their backs on reality. Instead they have embraced it.

Result? Common-sense voters continue to re-elect Congressman Greg Walden. I’ve known him since he was 10. Later on as an Eagle Scout he applied the principle of “leaving your campsite better than you found it.”

Today Greg works diligently to protect our farm and ranch economy and has passed legislation to improve management of our forests and create new high-tech jobs by expanding broadband to rural areas.

Greg Walden: always honest, honorable, scrupulous and faithful to his constituents. Words to remember come November.

Bill Davis

Hood River

Big signs disrespectful

We live in one of the most scenic areas in the world. I am appalled at the lack of respect Greg Walden, Chuck Thompson, et al, show for the people and place they represent.

I am talking about the billboard-sized campaign posters the citizens of this county and visitors to our area are forced to endure for the next several months. Every campaign season, these egregious blights to our area are becoming more and more numerous.

Are there no county regulations concerning the size of campaign posters? If not, there should be.

Each sign represents one person’s opinion and are an important part of the local political process. The small, respectful signs, accomplish that purpose.

Please take those billboard-sized signs down and replace them with smaller signs and show some respect for this amazing place in which we live.

Ed Fix

Hood River

Obama’s vision

Henry Ford was a visionary. So is Barack Obama.

Henry Ford is well-known for developing the production line using standardized parts which greatly improved the quality and efficiency of manufacturing.

But: What makes him a visionary, rather than just an inventor, is that he faced down his peers who chastised him for paying his worker “too much.” He famously said that if he didn’t pay them a living wage, who would buy his cars?

He understood that fair pay was good for business and, as it turned out, an idea that helped turn the USA into a powerhouse during and following World War II.

Barack Obama, based on his own life, understands some very important things about people. Most of us, regardless of our roots, status and the number of rooms in our houses, work hard for a chance to fulfill our dreams of better lives for ourselves and our families.

Obama’s visions of affordable quality education and health care, infrastructure preservation and improvement, and sane immigration and environmental strategies all lead to opportunities for all of us to be more productive and fulfilled.

Many other visionaries have, over the intervening years, also shined their lights on the American landscape exposing missed opportunities caused by ignorance, self-indulgence, and short-sighted leadership.

Their examples inform us of what it takes to secure a future with all Americans sharing in the benefits of our collective productivity. They haven’t, nor have we, expected a uniform pay scale, but all who labor deserve to see light ahead and a ladder with access to a better future.

Visionaries see opportunities for investment in people. Others see only dollars leaking from the holes in their pockets as they play the “zero sum gain” game. We clearly need more visionaries and fewer speculators.

Russ Hurlbert

Parkdale

The ‘96-hour rule’

If you received Greg Walden’s e-message of May 7 about the 96-hour rule for Critical Access Hospitals, or CAHs, like Providence Hood River Memorial, know this: As so often with politicians, half-truths and sound bites sound better than the full truth, particularly in an election year.

The 96-hour rule applies to government payments for Medicare patients. Each and every CAH must be certified by the state they are in and belong to a rural health network. They are designated as such by the state. They must have a MAXIMUM of 15 acute care beds, 25 if 10 are “swing beds.” Those 15 beds are for emergency care. They are there so all emergency care patients can be treated fast and locally.

What the rule really says is this: A CAH must meet six critical medical treatment areas or transfer the patient to one that can or to beds not designated for acute care. It is an evaluation period that basically says, can the patient survive at the CAH for 96 hours or be transferred sooner — or later if circumstances, medical or weather, would endanger the patient.

A CAH receives a higher government reimbursement during that 96-hour period for Medicare patients. The purpose of the CAH designation is to improve the financial viability of rural hospitals.

A House bill would lengthen the time a CAH has to make that critical decision to transfer a patient — also increasing government spending by paying that higher rate for a longer time.

What an incentive for a CAH to hang on to a patient longer than they should or keep him/her in an acute care bed longer just for more dollars. To me, the rule looks pretty sound as is.

Gary Fields

Hood River

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