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Letters to the Editor for Oct. 25

Politics and promises

In this season of politics and promises — lots of talk, ideas and ideals — I got to thinking as I mowed my lawn … when will it happen?

When will the CEO, the president, the Chairman of the Board — and the whole board itself of a major corporation — reach the point where they get it? Profit and corporate health will always be at the root of it — if you don’t have that, the company dies, but there will come a time, when to achieve those goals, good must be done.

When will some major player in the world finally make the decision that the best way to get there in this changing, aware marketplace, is for a company to consider sustainability, organic cleanliness, equality in the workplace, proper validation and consideration of working mothers, and probably a few other hot points that I couldn’t quite think of.

Of course the PR department will pump this, and they might even invite outside “watchdogs” to make sure they “walk the walk,” but the end result is that the tide will start to turn.

I’m not silly enough to think that utopia is just around the corner, but if the major corporations in the world (which truly have awesome power over the consuming population) can reach the point where they compete on issues that are actually meaningful and good for us consuming humans, it will be a start — and life enhancing.

Paul Thompson

Hood River

Pot perils

Local history often repeats itself. My cousin Eino Annala wrote little snippets and poetic comments for the Hood River News, as well as the Oregonian, in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, signed simply E.E.A. They were always short and pithy, somewhat like himself. I too have been writing for the Hood River News for over a decade, but unlike Eino, I tend to wax on at length. I could learn a little from Eino’s approach. Recently I was rereading a small tome of his writings, “ANNALA. . . GEES,” published in 1972, and came across one of his political pundits I found particularly pertinent today.


So pot is not much worse than booze?

But you can’t win which ere you choose.

That booze is legal of course is true,

But need we marijuana too?

For if you have one broken arm,

To break the other would compound harm.

— Eino E. Annala

Eino was one smart cookie, and not the edible intoxicating kind.

Maija (Annala) Yasui



Who has heard of the legalization of marijuana in many states? Everyone? Good! If you have not, then crawl out from the rock you live under. The legalization of marijuana is a big controversy right now. I was watching a documentary where an advocate for the legalization of marijuana stated that there has been no reported car accidents involving marijuana. However, there are flaws in this statement. Data from the Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory toxicology reports indicated that there were 4,645 completed toxicology requests analyzed for drugs. Fifty percent of these came out positive for marijuana. According to research conducted by the Columbia University School of Public Health, the risk of a motor vehicle crash is approximately 2.7 times higher among marijuana users than non-users.

Mattie Back

Hood River


“Marijuana is safer than tobacco,” and, “Marijuana increases your health.” These are some of the things people say that want marijuana to be legalized. I disagree with these statements.

“Marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.” It is not only associated with adverse physical effects, but also mental, emotional, and behavioral changes. Also, there is no medical proof that smoking marijuana can improve your health.

Nathan Daniel

Cascade Locks


DUIIs in Oregon are at a dangerously high rate. “Oregon averages 22,000 DUII arrests annually, which is 60 a day, seven days a week, and four a day are drug DUIIs.”

I think this is not how Oregon should be. 22,000 DUIIs is insane!

People should know that this isn’t right; many innocent people can be killed by impaired driving. I don’t think innocent human beings should die just because a person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving. I just hope someday people will learn and not risk their own lives and those of others.

Crystal Flores



Some of you might think that marijuana isn’t addictive.

Well, research has found that approximately one in 10 marijuana users become dependent. Research has also found that if a person starts before the age of 18, one in six become dependent. I believe that when teens transition from middle to high school, it’s when they are pressured to try drugs, which is a cause for concern. The Hood River County Marijuana Educational Forum said that the younger a person is when they start, the more likely they are to become dependent on it.

America Flores


Colt for Mayor

Greg Colt has been a friend for a long time. Throughout that time, he’s always been involved with and supported projects that have contributed to a sustainable community.

Greg understands that the art of politics is the art of compromise. He knows that a well-negotiated agreement is one that leaves all involved happy with the results.

A good example is Greg’s views on the parking challenges that we face in town. He is willing to consider and try fixed bus routes to help alleviate some of the parking pressures in downtown Hood River.

Over the last six years, he’s seen city staff cuts to deal with a depressed economy. Fortunately, Hood River is coming back from the last economic downturn. This means more work for an already burdened staff.

Greg has many ideas to streamline the regulatory process to achieve better efficiency.

This is thinking outside the box, this is Greg Colt.

Pasquale Barone

Hood River


I’m very happy to endorse Greg Colt for Mayor. For many years, I have seen Greg work side by side with local business owners and residents.

Whether it was with the Hood River Downtown Business Association or when he formed the Economic Development Working Group, he has always worked hard to do what is in the best interest of the community. He is an effective leader. I do not live inside the city limits, but if I did, I would vote for Greg Colt.

Jon Davies

Hood River


The support that this community gave to encourage Bob Francis to stay with the city as our City Manager was incredible. I can still see the crowded City Hall meeting. The newspaper told us that about 125 people showed up June 24, 2013, to support a man whose wisdom and guidance delivered the city out of a deep deficit, among other things. Remember this event? Since I was not familiar with both Mayoral candidates, I drove by Mr. Francis’ home and noticed a clear and unmistakable decision he has made to help the City of Hood River. What was the unmistakable sign for all of Hood River to see?

It is who Bob feels is the best Mayoral candidate: Greg Colt. Success leaves clues. Thanks again for the guidance, Bob.

Scott Haanstad

Hood River

Yes on 92

Over 90 percent of the GMOs planted in the US are engineered to withstand massive doses of glyphosate (Roundup) and other toxic herbicides, which numerous studies are now showing cause cancers and developmental disorders. These toxins contaminate not only our food, but our ground water as well, pose a risk to farm workers and encourage resistance in weeds, resulting in the need for ever stronger toxic applications.

Who conducts tests to show that GMOs are harmless? No US government agency responsible for public safety. We have to trust Monsanto and other corporate producers when they assure us their tests show no danger, the same companies who are making millions on GMOs. Monsanto, Dow and the junk food producers are pouring money into this campaign with television ads, glossy flyers and misleading information in favor of GMOs. Don’t be fooled.

Yes on 92 is a first step toward improving our food supply and consequently our health. Stand up to Monsanto.

Vote YES on 92.

Virginia Lindley Bock

Hood River


Why has Coca Cola spent so much money opposing Measure 92? Because they know that if Oregon follows Maine and Connecticut in passing GMO labeling legislation, we have the power to influence the nation.

Disregard those who cite the FDA saying GMOs are safe. As a practicing physician, I respect the FDA, but I also know there are zero long term safety data (I am talking 20 years and longer) on GMOs and human health. The FDA has been known to change their decisions in the past when additional data becomes available — remember Vioxx? And Hormone Replacement Therapy?

As the owner of a family farm with my husband, Brian McCormick, we have recently taken on the “voluntary” economic burden of complying with the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) measures, like many farmers in Oregon.

We will gladly adopt requirements associated with passage of Measure 92 and we anticipate it will be a fraction of the cost associated with GAP compliance. We do not want to share ownership of our seeds with Monsanto, a corporation that has spent millions trying to convince you that farmers oppose Measure 92.

Perhaps the millions of pounds of extra pesticides and herbicides sprayed since genetically engineered crops have become more prevalent will have no long term effects on our environment and health over the next several decades, but I do not want my children to be guinea pigs in our country’s experiment. Let’s lead the nation to join the 64 other countries that label GMOs. Your vote counts and Measure 92 needs it.

Please cast your ballot and vote YES on 92.

Maria Czarnecki


Blackburn for mayor

After reading the Hood River News article “Getting to know your Hood River mayor candidates,“ my reaction was: Paul Blackburn sounds like a mayor! His priorities are in tune with the needs of Hood River. He specifically stated actions to deal with current issues. His responses to the questions demonstrated his applicable past experience, and leadership style, that mesh well with our town’s community leaders. I would vote for Paul Blackburn for mayor (if I could, unfortunately being just outside the city limit...).

Lori Golze

Hood River


I’ve gotten to know Paul Blackburn over the last decade as a generous giver, and as an effective and patient leader. He really listens. He cares about the struggles of working class and poor people. Paul doesn’t have any reason to benefit from being mayor, just the opportunity to be of service to a community we love. I’m voting for Paul Blackburn.

Heidi Venture

Hood River


I made my living running a sole proprietorship for 20 years. Running such a business has nothing to do with running a city, which is an entirely different organization.

Mayoral candidate Colt says, “If you haven’t owned your own business, you aren’t qualified to be mayor ... If you haven’t had to implement a sales blitz just to make that month’s rent, you’re not qualified to be mayor.” (Hood River News, Oct. 21).

But this fellow isn’t qualified to be mayor, as he has disrespected the entire honorable field of public administration and dismissed the battered concepts of the public good and public service. Worse, he is disrespecting the citizens of Hood River: We are not “customers,” Mr. Colt, we are your potential bosses.

I’m voting for Paul Blackburn for mayor.

David Hupp

Hood River


We have a real race for Mayor! It’s a great chance for all of us to sit up, pay attention and think about what we want and who can lead us there.

Paul Blackburn reached out to me when our family moved to Hood River to see what a hospital chaplain might offer to his church’s care team of laypeople who support folks during times of crisis. It was clear to me from that first meeting years ago that Paul collaborates to find the best solutions and that he is unafraid to lead a team through challenges and opportunities. My respect for him has since grown, as I’ve seen Paul’s leadership on City Council, Library District Board, HR Education Foundation, United Way, and Teacup Nordic and more. The finances and services of each of these have significantly improved with Paul’s leadership, and that is no accident. Paul is bright, caring, collaborative and for all these reasons, effective.

Paul always has his finger on the local pulse. He understands the issues and how to get things done. He seeks people with different perspectives and he’s interested in being Mayor for all of us—especially those whose quiet voices might be missed.

In a town this size, our choice for Mayor should be based on real knowledge of, and relationships with the candidates and those who know their contributions first-hand. Let’s keep reading the paper, but also attend the forums, talk with neighbors and the candidates. See for yourself the opportunity we have to elect Paul Blackburn as our Mayor.

Mark Thomas

Hood River

No on 92

Claims that GMO foods are dangerous are false. No one has ever been injured by GMO foods. Objective publications such as Scientific American have taken a stand against GMO labeling initiatives because they convey the false impression that GMOs are harmful.

As pointed out in the SA editorial, GM rice (golden rice) has the potential of saving 500,000 children from blindness each year. Golden rice may never be available to save these children because of the fierce opposition of anti-GMO activists. It would be sad if so many children are blinded because of non-scientific hysteria.

Bill Mellow

Hood River

Something wicked this way comes

A scary prospect approaches this Halloween voting season. A trio of environmental trolls (with big hearts) is lurking the shadows of democracy, attempting to slither onto the City Council like a three-headed-hydra. Do not allow this power grab; power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

Join me in voting for Dave Bick (very experienced), Susan Johnson (smart, practical thinker and very capable) and Bob Palmer (a great public servant). The unintended collateral damage, both financial and historical, of a coalition must not be allowed no matter how well-intentioned by the candidates. No offense, real or imagined, was intended. Forgive my Halloween meme, but I couldn’t resist. I have to keep it snarky.

Mike Caldwell

Hood River

Seat the trio

Becky Brun, Tim Counihan and Peter Cornelison running together for City Council is not concerning for me —quite the opposite. In the nine years I have called Hood River my home (full-time year round), I have not felt that my concerns and hopes for Hood River have had a seat at the table for the City of Hood River or the county; now they do. For the first time, with the help of us who vote and get involved, I have hope that a forward thinking team can shift from being a town that reacts to the ebbs and flows of tourists, economy and growth to one that defines who we are and shows it through our actions. This is our town, we get to decide what we want our future to look like — not the visitors, not the corporations, not the developers. Us. Tim, Becky and Peter, thank you for loving this town. Check out this video or go to: and vote!

Erika Rench

Hood River

Thinking on Dist. 2

If you think your congressman should be bought and paid for by out of state money — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think your congressman should put his personal religious beliefs and political party agenda before his constituents and Oregon — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think the hugely profitable fossil fuel industry needs billions in tax payer subsidies and tax breaks — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think for-profit health care companies should fully control the cost of health care insurance — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think women should not be paid equally with men for the doing the same work — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think women’s health care choices and pregnancies should be controlled by government regulation — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think the top 5 percent of the wealthiest Americans should get big permanent tax breaks at your expense — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think the full time worker hours should be raised so big businesses don’t have to provide employee health care insurance — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think your congressman should meet in secret with big businesses to write bills favorable to those businesses, at the expense of workers, consumers and the environment — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think Social Security should be privatized and run by for-profit businesses — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think no one should have access to and the choice of affordable health care providers — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think 25 percent of all federal eligible land should be made available for gas and oil exploration, including off shore areas — vote for Greg Walden.

If you think… vote for Alea Christofferson.

Gary Fields

Hood River


Don’t vote Republican if you care about skiing on Mt. Hood or the water supply in the valley. According to the scientists, the snowpack is likely to decline 37 to 44 percent on average by the 2040s. It’s happening now. Why? In a nutshell — it’s climate change caused by us.

Jobs, agriculture, salmon, the forests, our health — all are at risk. Climate deniers and their ilk have control of the Republican Party, and Greg Walden is chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Do you want him and his party to call climate change a hoax? To stall and delay action? That’s what you will get if you vote Republican.

And the same thing goes at the state level. Do you want to vote for “nice guys” — people who act as if they are more interested in power than our water, our children, or grandchildren? Decisions at the state level affect our water, our future.

When will real Republicans take back their party?

Vote. You can make a difference.

Lawrence Jones

Hood River

Question the trio

I don’t live in Oregon, but I pay Oregon income tax and have an opinion.

Understand this that “the Oregon forms of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies are arrived at openly. [1973 c.172 §1]”

This is a law that is meant to keep aggregates of elected officials from deciding their votes behind closed doors. Albeit the Oregon Revised Statute does not apply to someone before they’re elected to office, it sounds like the intent of this statute is neatly being circumvented by Becky Brun, Peter Cornelison and Tim Counihan if they indeed have come together and to a consensus on ideas or plans which they want to implement if elected to the Hood River City Council. Creating a voting bloc seems to detract from the ideals of diversity and individual creativity. There’s good news though. At least their main agenda centers on… climate change? That’s good to know being as that a lot of the air pollution in the Gorge comes from vehicular traffic created by Hood River’s tourism.

Kevin Herman

White Salmon, Wash.

Keep Thomsen, Johnson

Predictably, the Hood River Education Association (HREA) has supported Democrats Stephanie Nystrom and Robert Bruce for Oregon House and Senate. (HREA for Nystrom, Bruce, letters Oct. 22.) President Kelvin Calkins goes on to complain about the “red tape” in Salem, and poor funding. Hmmm... the democrats have majority in the Oregon House, the democrats have a majority in the Oregon Senate, and our Governor is a democrat. And the HREA’s answer is... more Democrats?

Sen. Chuck Thomsen and Rep. Mark Johnson have represented our district well, both supporting more school funding than what was passed last session. Sen. Thomsen has 16 years’ experience as a county commissioner, and Johnson serving on our local school board. Let‘s keep both of these local legislators in office, instead of two out-of-towners.

Debra Laraway

Hood River


As part of the local wine industry, we wholeheartedly support Rep. Mark Johnson. Through his work in the legislature, Mark has helped remove barriers to increase our success and growth by passing responsible and balanced legislation. Making some of these needed changes has allowed us to increase tourism and given us more opportunities to host events to showcase our views and drive our economic growth in the region and statewide.

The wine industry in the Gorge is an important component of our diversified economy. The region is perfect for growing multiple varietals of grapes and producing world-class wines. We are confident that Mark Johnson will continue to be a strong voice for business and wine industry growth in his district and as he serves in Salem. We appreciate his hard work and commitment to increasing economic opportunities throughout our community.

Dick and Christie Reed, Wy’East Vineyards;

Robb Bell, Cathedral Ridge;

Franco and Sandy Marchesi, Marchesi Vineyards;

Scott & Gail Hagee, Pheasant Valley;

Lonnie Wright, The Pines;

Steve Bickford, Mt. Hood Winery


Vote Mark Johnson for State Representative. He is a strong bipartisan voice for all of us in Salem, working to solve problems and get things done. He works to make State Government efficient, fair, and cost effective. He understands that Oregon’s future is dependent on a strong education system that is globally competitive.

Mark is determined to improve education in Oregon by reducing class size, implementing education reforms and creating better long term funding for K-12 and higher education.

Mike McCarthy


Siding with Nystrom

There’s a famous labor song, “Which Side Are You On?” that asks an important question to consider when we vote.

Does a candidate support workers, families, and public schools, or industry groups and money interests?

In the race between Stephanie Nystrom and Mark Johnson for State Representative in our district, I have to use the evidence that’s available: How has the incumbent, Mark Johnson, voted, and who has contributed to his campaign? The challenger, Stephanie Nystrom, hasn’t a public record of votes, but I can see who supports her, and through her community activity, what she values.

Here’s what I found:

Stephanie is a business owner, a mother, and a community volunteer. She has served on her neighborhood association, as a volunteer in the local schools, and as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in the legal system. She visited classrooms in Hood River, and talked to teachers about issues of class size, lack of funding, and over-testing of students.

Mark is also a business owner, a father, and currently serves on the Hood River County School Board.

Mark’s funding comes from dozens of industry groups, insurance companies, for-profit education companies, and political heavyweights like the Koch Brothers, Right to Life, Stand for Children, and Nike.

Stephanie, on the other hand, is supported and funded by workers associations, unions, and human rights groups, including Basic Rights Oregon, the Oregon Education Association, the Hood River Education Association, and Planned Parenthood of Oregon.

Mark voted against HB 2112, a bill increasing the fines employers pay when convicted of wage theft. He also voted against HB 2672, a bill to protect domestic workers from verbal, physical and sexual abuse in the work place. He voted against HB 4104, a bill to strengthen workers compensation claims.

I have to conclude that Stephanie is on the side of workers, children, women, and teachers. Mark is on the side of industry and money interests.

For me, it’s a clear choice. I encourage you to join me in voting for Stephanie Nystrom for State Representative in Dist. 52.

Mark S. Reynolds


Leash dogs

Just thought I’d let people know that there is a leash law in Hood River County that requires owners to keep their dog(s) on a leash, even when walking in the rural areas outside of the city limits. Just because you are in a rural area doesn’t mean that an altercation won’t arise.

I have a summer home on the West side of Hood River and recently my husband was almost attacked by a dog that was off leash. Thankfully, the owner was able to finally call his dog back. The dog had run at least 100 yards from the main road onto our property to menace my husband, who had no warning that the dog (not barking or growling) was running at him.

So please, dog owners, let’s keep everyone safe and leash your dogs.

Linda Pyles

The Dalles

Accidents waiting to happen...

The Community of Mount Hood, a wide-spot in the road with a 45 mile per hour speed zone that is NEVER enforced! I live in the Upper Valley and spend a fair amount of time, as a walking pedestrian, in the above mentioned zone. In 37 plus years, I’ve yet to see a vehicle pulled over for exceeding the speed limit in that area. I can only guess a vehicle’s speed and that guess would be an average of 60 miles per hour going through the community. I’m sure that some are topping out at over 70 miles per hour. So few are the law abiding drivers that they stand out in the crowd. There’re the ones with the driver behind, riding their bumper. Now, Mount Hood Meadows, wishing to put in a huge parking lot, smack dap in the middle of this unenforced speed zone. It’s not rocket science, figuring out what is going to happen. Looks like the dollar sign will be winning again.

P.S. Paved or not, where is the runoff from this acres of parking lot going to end up?

Larry Larson

Mount Hood

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