Census is vital
I commend Graciella Gomez’s effort to encourage people to participate in the U.S. Census (“In Cascade Locks, a family fruit stand and social forum,” Sept. 2).
It’s really important that we get a decent count this year since the Census Bureau said it will end population counting by the end of September, a month earlier than previously scheduled, and an action that is being challenged in court.
There is no immigration question on the form, as Trump unsuccessfully tried to include. And the results of the census count helps local communities: It determines the number of congressional districts in each state for the next decade, and census data are used to distribute to communities hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid each year.
I was surprised when I filled out my census form how few questions it contained. It was a piece of cake. If you haven’t filled out your form you may do so by going to wecountoregon.com. The form is available in a variety of languages, including Spanish.
‘Better than that’
Election season is here and candidate signs are coming out. I have loved election signs since my parents put a Kennedy/Johnson sign in our front yard in 1960 when I was 4. To me, signs show that people are actively participating in our democracy. I even love the signs for candidates and causes I don’t support because I believe that American strength comes from listening to and learning from people on all sides of issues.
There is a Biden/Harris sign at the intersection of Eugene and Serpentine. Someone wrote “Dicks and Hoes” on it — I don’t know who, because they didn’t sign it. I wasn’t sure what that meant and so I googled it. UGH — that is a profane, racist and just plain ugly phrase.
We in Hood River are better than that.
And to the person who wrote that ugly phrase on the sign, YOU are better than that.
Indulge me for just one moment. Who remembers the song “Feelin’ Groovy” by Simon and Garfunkel? “Slow down you move too fast/You got to make the morning last”? Perhaps next time you go speeding down May Street with a limit of 25 mph, start singing this song and simply slow down. Thank you. Stay safe and be well.
Opinion, not news
I had been planning to subscribe to the new Columbia Gorge News until I read “50 acres forever” and saw it was not on an editorial page. This is not a news article, but an editorial against a decision by the Gorge Commission, which the author is on. It is also not an official opinion of the Gorge Commission as might be implied, but rather the author’s opinion. Starting with the first sentence, “Towns ... won’t be getting bigger any time soon,” the article is factually wrong, because towns like The Dalles and White Salmon back on non-Scenic Area land and can expand into that. He totally misses the point that the Gorge is not just for the economic benefit of Gorge residents, but was made a National Scenic Area to preserve its incredible beauty for the nation and the world. The protected Scenic Area land is just a narrow strip on each side if the river and a 50 acre addition to every urban growth area is a significant decrease in the protected area of the Gorge. The huge 6,427 acre Urban Growth Area in Dallesport can already be developed without any restrictions. That is enough to meet the development needs of the entire Gorge and zero acreage should be added to any other area. Alternatively, if 50 acres is added to an urban growth area, 50 acres of good quality wetlands or dune habitat should be subtracted from Dallesport so the protected acreage of the Scenic Area remains the same. Since you have published Rodger Nichols’ opinion piece as news, I ask that you also reprint the recent news article from Columbia Insight, a Gorge environmental paper, on the same topic: “Shocking Development: Gorge Commission Doubles Allowable Urban Expansion in National Scenic Area.”
Last week New York Times reporter Peter Baker asked Trump what he would do in a second term. Trump’s verbatim response:
“But so I think, I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done, and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done.”
Does this response speak to your hopes? Your fears? Your needs? Your most pressing concerns for you family, your community, your country?
Your economy, your vote
People who voted for Donald Trump had their reasons. We each have friends who did. But now we all have 2020 vision and, as the saying goes, the years make one older and wiser.
A lot of my Republican friends believed Trump, despite questionable business practices, would help their investments and America. So here’s what I learned, take a look. A series of articles by Forbes magazine compared Trump’s record with that of his predecessor. Not good.
Forbes found that, “On average, Obama created 43,000 more jobs per month than Trump.” (There’s more at bit.ly/3gCWsyW.)
Trump inherited a stock market that was growing, after Obama took over the disaster created via George W. Bush’s administration. According to Forbes, “For the first three plus years since Trump’s inauguration the S&P 500 has risen 21 percent while under Obama it increased 69 percent.” (There’s more at bit.ly/2EnfBll.)
What about growth in Gross Domestic Product? Comparing Obama’s last three years with Trump’s first three, the GDP grew by 3.06 percent v 2.49 percent, 3.05 percent v 2.83 percent, and 2.17 percent v 1.99 percent.
As for this year? GDP dropped 5 percent in the first quarter, and 32.9 percent in the second quarter, as Mr. Trump bungles the COVID-19 response. From the start, he acted as if it was no big deal. “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” he said on Feb. 27 when there were 60 confirmed cases. A month later, we had 168,000 confirmed cases. (Track the yack at cbsn.ws/34K8k01.)
And as for taxes, 60 percent of the tax savings went to people in the top 20 percent of the income ladder according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The corporate tax rate was cut by 40 percent and Trump’s promises that the tax plan would pay for itself — no, they haven’t come close.
The Obama-Biden administration kept us on a strong upward trajectory. If you voted for Trump based on how he would handle the economy, do the numbers and the clear calculation is no more Trump.
Guns and racial injustice
A few days ago, a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back, inches away from his children, in Kenosha, Wisc. He wasn’t tried by a jury of his peers, nor did a judge sentence him for a crime he committed. But the police officers who shot him attempted to kill him.
Not long after, a young white boy was safely taken into custody without harm after confirmation that he shot and killed multiple people. This is yet another example of the difference between how Black people are treated and how white people are treated by police in America. These are only two examples out of thousands upon thousands of examples of this unequal treatment of American citizens by police forces across the country.
There have been only 12 days in 2020 when police did not kill someone in America. The police in the U.S. killed 751 people in 235 days this year. Keep in mind that 158 of these days have been during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many citizens are sheltering in place. We’ve got to reckon with the astounding statistic that Black Americans are shot by police at three times the rate as white Americans. Very few police officers are ever held accountable for brutality, injury or the deaths of the people they kill.
As a community and as a nation, we need to face the continued escalating violence, the need for police accountability, and the unjust treatment of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx by police forces and others across the nation. I’m both brokenhearted and disgusted with the power imbalance and the political divisions that are fueling these situations. Hearts and minds at every table need to change policies, police union contracts, gun safety laws — at the local, state, and federal level — to stop gun violence and racial injustice.
Trump time’s up
“I alone can fix it!”, (DJT July 27, 2016) and “fix it” he has! He has exceeded Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold as traitors in inviting and aiding Russian and Ukrainian election intrusion. He has guided pathetically anemic responses to multiple natural disasters, and beyond that he has withdrawn from the Paris Accords, thus exacerbating our exposure to future disasters. He has severely diminished our position as world leader, laughed at in the United Nations General Assembly and scorned by NATO. His small intellect cannot understand the coronavirus, he has neutralized our superior public health institutions, by his own personal actions has exacerbated an epidemic which will surely reach 300,000 deaths and uncounted disabling injuries. He alone is impotent against the viral invasion and the respective ramifications of the largest decline in our Gross Domestic Product and the largest rise in unemployment since the great depression. His abysmal ignorance of public health is solely responsible for the deaths of mainly poor, sick, old, and minority populations. His racist, misogynist and white supremacist philosophy has created the present rioting and civil unrest.
Trump's strategy is to cover up every pathetic adventure with an even more grievous quest. His traitorous escapade with Ukraine slides under the feeble COVID response, which in turn slides below the assault on Black lives such as George Floyd, Elijah McCain, et al. His twisted thinking is, “Only he can resolve this present debacle.” Re-electing the Republicans establishes an ever-greater cascade of fiascos.
The Biden-Obama-Eric Holder administration made good progress on the structural racism through out our country by performing 23 investigations into policing agencies resulting in 13 consent decrees requiring cities to make significant changes. The Trump– Sessions– Barr Administration vacated all 13 decrees. They arbitrarily and capriciously halted the progress of “forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, and ensuring domestic tranquility.” Trump’s personal tweets encourages gun toting militiamen like Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha and Alex Fields in Charlottesville to murder. The present murder and mayhem environment is Trump’s “fix.”
Trump would be an ignorant blow-hard if it were not for 198 Representatives and 53 Senators who are political cowards in exercising their responsibility to check the abuse of this Putin wanna-be. Among the 251 invertebrates is our own Greg Walden. Replace this mollusk with a representative who will defend our Constitution’s separation of powers. Vote for Biden, Harris, and Alex Spenser!
Rushing for Dist. 14
As an Independent voter, I seek political candidates who are willing to lead by offering a vision for our region and then develop solutions based on compassion and opportunity. Tracy Rushing, who is running for Representative District 14, has a clear vision for our District that is rooted in the well-being of all of our residents as well as our environment. I have grown weary of political partisanship and politicians who cater only to their party’s agenda and the needs of the wealthy that support them.
Our district needs a representative who recognizes the needs of all of its citizens. Tracy’s priorities include increasing educational access and vocational training, supporting sustainable economic opportunities, and improving mental health services. As a physician, Tracy understands the important role that physical and mental wellness plays in developing a strong local economy. I urge you to consider the future of our district and vote for solutions that will benefit all who live in District 14. Vote for Tracy Rushing for State Representative, District 14.
Coming home from Hood River, I noticed a man with a large sack picking up garbage dumped along freeway. Here was someone who took the time to do something he wasn’t paid or probably asked to do but observing the need fulfilled it! I know from observation he is probably is one of our ”wandering" citizens, but he had pride where obviously those that have cars and drive the beautiful Gorge do not.
What has happened? We used to be taught not to litter. I guess it's just another thing we leave for someone else to do. I keep our ditches clean in our area. It takes just a small effort but the results — priceless!
Thank you for being someone who cares! If you are one who reads this paper and maybe know whom I am talking about, please let them know I appreciate them. On another note, the paper writes about the crime but not the name of the person who does the crime. Where is the sense? Please bring back comics. It would only add not take away from the paper.
‘Makes us look bad’
Last week the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued new guidelines stating that asymptomatic individuals who’ve come in close contact with a COVID-19 patient should not be tested to determine whether they’re carrying the virus. The new guidelines represent an abrupt reversal of course, and they disregard virtually all credible scientific information about how to reduce the spread of COVID-19. So why the surprising change by the CDC? The answer is simple. Dr. Robert Redfield, who heads the CDC, is a political appointee of Donald Trump, and Redfield acknowledged that he received “recommendations” from the White House to issue the new testing guidelines. Trump, in a Tweet he made on June 15, stated that COVID-19 “testing makes us look bad.”
At a campaign rally in Tulsa a few days later, he said that he had asked his staff to “slow the testing down, please.” Now that the presidential campaign is heating up, Trump’s call for reduced testing is taking effect. With reduced testing we can expect the rate of new COVID-19 diagnoses to decrease, and for Trump to proclaim his “success” against the virus. We can also expect more Americans to contract COVID-19 than would be the case with a comprehensive testing program in place. Some of those needlessly infected with COVID-19 will remain asymptomatic, but some will suffer, and some will die. Could there be any clearer evidence that Trump puts his personal interests ahead of those of the American people?
Hatch Act is important
Who cares about the Hatch Act?
This week, the chief of staff for the president mused, when referring to the Hatch Act, that no one outside the Beltway cares that the administration has been accused of using taxpayer money to conduct a partisan campaign at the White House.
I beg to differ. Ask anyone who works for a federal, state or local government what he/she thinks. Ask anyone working for a non profit that receives federal funding. In my experience, working in the public sector, public servants care a great deal and they opine that the act be applied evenly and fairly, regardless of power or wealth.
Based on the provisions of the act, public servants are restricted from engaging in an array of partisan political activities while at the workplace and, for many, on their own time (see, for example, 5 CFR 151.121).
During election cycles, public employees throughout the country are consistently advised of the requirements of the act with respect to participating in partisan politics. Federal employees face termination from employment if they run for a partisan position since the act prohibits them from holding such an office while employed by the federal government. Not long ago, a postal worker at a processing center in Pennsylvania ran for, and won, a local election precinct position. She did so on her own time without using any federal re-sources. She was fired. A U.S. Special Council presented the government’s case wherein the court held that “there are real repercussions when someone brazenly violates the Hatch Act” (Special Council letter, Aug. 2, 2018).
Now, the message sent to all our civil servants is that the Act has no meaning for high level officials even when they use federal resources and tax-paid workers to promote a partisan campaign in a place reserved for the peoples business, not the Republican party’s business.
Shame on those who say the act is toothless with respect to their activities but nonetheless require strict adherence with its provisions where ordinary public workers are required to disenfranchise themselves or face disciplinary termination.
Mary Ellen Barilloti
Balance of money
So these various angry groups bashing on each other, The Proud Antifa Dorks, The Boy Patriot Whiners, The Heavily Armed Fat Thugs and so forth, what’s the money situation? Follow the money, follow the money.
NPR has mentioned the Russians are heavily involved in trashing the upcoming election, but using different tactics than previously, the details of which presently are not available to, uh, us actual citizens, just the intelligence people and a scattering of slightly informed Congress people.
So one cannot help but wonder if there is Russian money behind these various violent groups.
NPR also has mentioned that the Chinese want Biden to win, and the Russians want Trump to win. Maybe it will balance out.
Cause of fire?
There were two articles about the Mosier fire in last week’s paper with nothing about the investigation of the cause. This week there is still no update. The fire was very destructive and was reported to be human caused. I would think determining the source and cause would be very important under the circumstances.
On the first day I heard that the fire started in a slash pile. It shouldn’t be that difficult for investigators to discover the truth of that and maybe if anyone or any vehicles were seen in the area. I’m sure many readers besides myself would appreciate any new information regarding this.
Editor's note: The specific cause of the fire remains under investigation. No new details have been released.
Soles 4 Souls Update
Hi everyone. I just wanted to inform you all that the Leos Club will no longer be collecting shoes for Soles 4 Souls at Footwise, but we do have a new collection location at the front of Rosauers. (In addition to Shortt Supply, Doug’s, and Gorge Athletic Club).
Can’t make it to one of these locations but still want to donate? Email us about contact free pickup at email@example.com.
Thank you all for your help in making this project possible!
Did you know Jaime Herrera Beutler voted to end Medicare and replace it with a private voucher system? She also voted multiple times to end the Affordable Care Act (which covers pre-existing conditions) and replace it. Replace it with what? No one knows.
I’d like to hear Jaime’s response. I’d like to ask her questions face-to-face and get an immediate answer. In her 10 years in office, I’ve never seen her. She’s never held an in-person town hall in our area and many citizens in Clark, Pacific, Skamania and Klickitat counties are asking the same thing — where is she? Why is she hiding? People who hide from questions do so because they don’t have the answers or are disinterested. She cannot represent her voters by being indifferent to their concerns. It’s time for change!
I’ve personally met with Carolyn Long. In one year she held 40 in-person town halls. She listens. She’s informed. She’s focused and ready to work for all of us. VOTE.
Longview Healthcare Options
Our representative has voted time and time again to strip access to affordable health insurance and provided no replacement. Several million people have already lost health care and more on the way due to the dire economic situation.
Carolyn Long supports a private option, which allows people to purchase insurance from the government if they’d like. Otherwise, they can keep their employer provided insurance.
Carolyn is ready to fight for southwest Washington in Congress. Now more than ever, we need her vision for our district: Access to affordable health care and infrastructure investment to create jobs and expand broad-band access.
I strongly encourage your vote to put Carolyn Long in Congress.