Letters to the Editor, Sept. 16 edition

History Lesson

Many social media posts have portrayed the local fires as events of catastrophic proportion. Some experts, along with a recent look at the history of forest fires, suggest a much different perspective.

Forest fires, regardless of cause, perform an essential role in management of the ecosystem by removing the natural, dead underbrush which often serves as the catalyst for the intensity and size of the fires we have seen around the west for many years.

The 1998 Yellowstone fires destroyed 500,000 acres. At that time, scientists and forest management experts were devastated and convinced the ecosystems were destroyed forever. Within a decade, nature demonstrated massive resilience and the land was thriving again. A retrospective study of the Yellowstone fire revealed that fires serve a natural and healthy part of the life cycle within a forest.

Given these facts, I am grateful for the amazing work done by those managing the fires as well as the fact that no residents’ lives have been lost. This is a stressful time for those displaced as well as those working the fire lines. Eliminating forest fires may alleviate human suffering, but it seems an unlikely way to manage nature.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

9-11-01

All around town I see signs in yards, mostly declaring love and caring for ALL people: races, creeds, sexual orientation, etc. These are heartwarming and I believe that part of their intent is to let all citizens of this area know they are welcome and safe.

One household in my neighborhood has put up another sign: against a background of red stripes, there is the silhouette of the New York skyline, and the words “Never Forget.” As if anyone old enough to remember Sept. 11, 2001, would ever forget what happened that day.

Maybe the sign commemorates the upcoming anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed before it could reach the U.S Capitol. A day of agony for so many!

But it also might be meant to create or renew the feelings of hatred and enmity towards Muslims. I hope not. We don’t need any more hatred and religious prejudice. There is plenty to go around, these days.

Pennie Burns

Hood River

Get it right

Now that Trump has given Congress six months to either legalize DACA or kill it, the clock is ticking to get support for saving the situation for 800,000 Dreamers. How can we not? They have worked hard, have squeaky clean records, and trusted Obama with all their documentation as Childhood Arrivals: residences, work permit numbers, etc. Even though they are studying in college and/or working, they are sitting ducks if deportation were ordered. No wonder they are scared and angry!

Although some Republicans, including Paul Ryan, have shown their support for legislation protecting the Dreamers, many Democrats know we must refuse to allow the DACA kids to be bargaining chips to fund the wall. Mixing two issues in one piece of legislation is a disgusting habit of Congress: just lazy expediency or manipulation?

People have also stopped thinking about the fact that the “wall” would devastate many animals that live near the Mexico/U.S. border that depend on a large territory to hunt and breed.

Get it right this time, Greg Walden — please.

Alison McDonald

Hood River

Limit fireworks

The Eagle Creek fire is approaching 50 square miles in size. Its start has been attributed to a 15-year-old tossing some type of firework into a tinderbox of a forest. It will undoubtedly be some time before the entire story comes to light.

One hopes that the current allegations will lead to a broader discussion about why fireworks are legal in the first place. People get hurt, dogs are terrified, the noise can be obnoxious, and now we truly know how damaging they can be.

We should change state law to limit the use and possession of fireworks to certified persons for public celebrations like the Fourth of July and Chinese New Year. The downside of the use of fireworks by the general public substantially outweighs the upside.

Paul Crowley

Hood River

‘Quiet achievements’

While the Left keeps highlighting their outrage with Congressman Walden, Greg and the president have been quietly achieving successful legislation with the House approving more than 300 Bills in just the first six months of 2017. For instance, thanks to the landmark VA reform package, the head of the agency can now (at last) fire, demote or suspend VA employees who fail to give their utmost attention to our injured and ailing men and women in uniform. Regarding compulsory payments to our Uncle Sam, Congressman Walden made sure to increase the standard deduction so the clear majority of taxpayers don’t have to deal with all that aggravating itemizing. Did you know Greg was instrumental in slaying the death tax? This means family owned farms, orchards and businesses can be passed down to the next generation without facing a devastating and hideous tax bill. Well, that’s three out of 300 bills Greg and the president have put through. I could go on, but I’m not a “paragraphs galore, forevermore” person.

Bill Davis

Hood River

‘Un-making great America’

Why is Donald Trump trying so hard to destroy the livability of the United States? He keeps saying he is “Making America Great Again” when in fact he is doing the opposite. He is rescinding or canceling proactive measures and regulations for our environment and working conditions. He has appointed (and senate Republicans have approved) eco terrorist Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA. If any foreign government agent were to dump arsenic, lead, mercury or cadmium into our lakes, rivers or streams, the FBI would be on them in a flash. But Scott Pruitt has scrapped EPA rules prohibiting power plants from doing just that. Shouldn’t the FBI investigate Pruitt for enabling such acts of terrorism? The current Labor Department is postponing rules to limit construction workers exposure to carcinogenic silica dust. The Department of Education’s Betsy DeVos wants to eliminate measures now in place to protect students from for-profit college’s predatory loan practices.

The list goes on and on. If you care at all about the downward spiral this country is in under the Trump administration, get a copy of the Sept. 15 issue of The Week Magazine, or look it up in the library, and read the article “The Great Deconstruction” on page 11.

Gary Fields

Hood River

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