Incredible

It is my understanding that a good many of our ancestors fled their home countries and migrated to America in order to escape their feudal life of poverty, serfdom, servitude and oppression under an "Elite Superior Class."

It is utterly INCREDIBLE to me that any American would vote for 'The Biden," thereby choosing to accept a feudal life of poverty, serfdom, servitude and oppression under a "Global Elite Superior Class." Never Surrender to "The Biden!"

Gary R. VanOrman

The Dalles

Pave paradise?

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!

As a four-year staff/volunteer at the Hood River Warming Shelter, a life long environmental activist and lover of both people and nature, I understand on many levels the complexity of zoning and density issues. The need for human habitation, a manageable town size, recreation and the needs of nature, will present conflict as they are often in opposition. What we decide as a community once it’s done will be difficult to reverse, so we must take this slowly and carefully, not giving in to the pressure to develop and grow quickly.

The small-town flavor of Hood River and the beautiful old homes here are what make this place so special. Having space around homes for gardens and open view corridors as well as habitat for the local flora and fauna are important parts of life in Hood River. Having permeable land to absorb rainwater runoff is vital for preventing flooding. Increasing density and paving over nature can have a negative impact on many levels.

Affordable housing is needed here in Hood River. Well placed, decent apartment buildings that are on public transit lines are a good way to use land, help reduce homelessness and increase diversity in our town. Easing setback rules making it easier for home owners to create more housing on their property but with enough regulation to prevent over use of a property, is another possibility. Giving tax deductions for local homeowners who build rental property for long term rather than vacation housing could create incentives to increase affordable housing.

We are a small, wonderful town — where many people want to live. The sad reality is that they can’t all live here.

Putting 4-12 cottages on one small city lot seems excessive. Tearing down historic, beautiful housing seems tragic. It is what will happen if the proposed zoning changes go through our city council and we turn our town over to developers.

We can be creative but this is extreme and I believe it will hurt Hood River. The next council meeting March 29.

Sarah Bellinson

Hood River

Rush to judgment

On March 29, the Hood River City Council will likely approve a “middle housing” proposal allowing an increased number of housing units on all residential lots in the city. The proposal would effectively eliminate single-family R-1 zoning. Up to 4 to 12 times more housing units would be allowed on a lot than are presently permitted, depending on lot size and zone.

Although some will welcome any new housing at any cost, councilors acknowledged there is no way at all to assure these units would be “affordable” to the local workforce. These will be market-rate units, and their cost will inevitably rise with demand. There is no way to avoid second-home buyers with deep pockets snapping them up.

What do we get in return? We don’t really know. “Middle housing” concepts were originally designed for big cities and not small resort towns. Articles in the city’s informational publications mentioned only positive aspects, with no hint of potential downsides. Most residents have no idea there could be significant impacts.

Red flags exist, however:

Only one on-site parking space per unit would be required, although a majority of local adults own at least two vehicles. No consideration is given to impacts that increased street parking and traffic will have on many streets that are narrow, without sidewalks or bike lanes, and are in poor repair.

More of each lot can be covered with impermeable surfaces. Developers receive automatic approval once criteria on paper are met, with no public hearing. They have incentive to scrape away existing homes and start from scratch under friendlier new rules.

The Council clearly plans a rush to judgment without the delay of taking additional residents’ input. The city admitted that its notice of the initial public hearing was legally inadequate, but refused to re-issue notice. On March 15, the mayor cut off additional public comment, although final decision won’t occur until March 29.

One councilor’s reasonable suggestion to periodically check for unexpected problems was met with indifference. When unintended consequences surface in the near future — as they inevitably will — remember this unfortunate rush to judgment.

Susan Crowley

Hood River

The rich, the righteous

The rich are free to determine which behavior is profitable, and the righteous are free to determine which behavior is acceptable, as long as it is acceptable for the rich to impoverish the poor. See how that works ... for over 10,000 years.

David Warnock

Hood River

Yes on HB 2510

House Bill 2510 codifies for gun owners their responsibilities for the storage, reporting the loss or theft of firearms, and the supervision of minors using firearms. Gun violence is a public health crisis.

In Oregon, gun sales in 2020 increased by 43 percent, and 40 percent of those purchases were by first-time buyers, according to retailer reports. Approximately 50,000 Oregon children and teens live in homes with loaded guns, and about half of those are neither secured with trigger locks nor are they stored in locked containers, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Obviously, two major risks to children and teens come with improper firearm storage: Accidental shootings and suicide.

In Oregon firearms were the leading cause of death among these groups in 2018, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers. In 2020, the suicide rate was 20 percent above the national average, tragically affecting 16 per 100,000 teens. A loaded unsecured firearm increases potential suicide due to easy and immediate access. HB 2510 does not conflict with Second Amendment rights, nor does it restrict personal freedoms.

Most gun owners are responsible, but the assumption cannot be made that all gun owners properly secure their weapons. Due to the lethal potential of firearms, the reasonable standards for gun ownership as outlined in HB 2510 make it a crucial public health measure.

Our children are our future. They deserve our protection. Let’s make Oregon a safer place for children and teenagers, and for us all.

Debra Dobbs

Hood River

Ain’t easy

Millions of intelligent, educated Americans found out over the last 12 months just how difficult it is to be a teacher. Many found themselves unprepared to help their own children learn “simple” things like algebra, science, or writing skills.

I have interacted with many local teachers over the past 15 years. Every one of them uses their own money to purchase things for the classroom, works on their days off, and takes time to communicate with parents long after they are off the clock.

Many children come to school exhausted because their social media time is not regulated by parents. Other children come to school abused, neglected, or hungry because of difficult situations or poor parenting. Some show up high or get high during the day. Still others sleep and vape in class, disrupt the teacher, or simply do not care.

The outcome of every one of these children falls back on the “abilities” of their teacher. Today’s teacher is obligated to play the role of social worker, parent, big sister/brother, and instructor in social etiquette and manners. If no child in a classroom has a need for any of those duties, the teacher just MIGHT be able to act as an educator for that period.

I believe it is rather short-sighted to say any teacher works a simple 7-8 hour work day like most of us. It is also quite incorrect and under-informed to suggest that teachers are well paid for the totality of their duties and obligations given our culture.

Perhaps those who envy a teacher’s contract and easy job should consider paying for a bachelor’s and master’s degree to live that easy life. From my perspective, it ain’t easy.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

All Democrat

Proud to be a Democrat today.

Not one single Republican voted for:

• Direct payments to American families

• Child tax credits for parents to dramatically reduce poverty rate

• Public schools to re-open in person learning

• Vaccine production and distribution

• Childcare centers to stay open so parents can get back to work

• Direct relief for restaurants and other hospitality businesses

• Significantly lower ACA health premiums

• Extension of unemployment benefits and supple-mental payment

• Subsidies to cover health care premiums for people who lost employer coverage

• Saving thousands of airline and transportation jobs

• Pension protection for union workers

• And so much more.

The most significant legislation to help American families in a generation was 100 percent passed by Democrats.

Kirsten Dennis

White Salmon

Liberal coercion

Due to its lack of logical coherency, modern liberalism exists mainly in the shallow realm of emotionalism animated by propaganda. Absent objective moral substance and authority outside that of the individual and group, it fails to serve as a functional worldview so it must resort to coercion and finally violence in the attempt to attain and implement its aims.

This mindset is overly abundant in Democrats but is also evident in far too many Republicans whose members often remind me of the joke about the retired French soldier who advertised his old service rifle for sale in the newspaper which read: “Never been fired and dropped only once.”

Excepting increasingly rare individuals, most people commonly confuse political fixes for spiritual problems and accept the deadly premise that unfiltered politics can remedy all the human shortcomings which task all of us.

Mike Goodpaster

Goldendale

Educate officers

I have come to the conclusion that applicants for employment as police officers should be required to have a bachelor’s degree. They should be educated enough to be well familiar with the sociological term, “The Social Contract.”

I am told that troopers in the Washington State Highway Patrol must have a bachelor’s degree. (Kudos to the Washington State Legislature!) Furthermore, I believe that in order to run for County Sheriff, one should be required to have a master’s degree. A person in the position of such authority and power should be very well educated. Certainly, the generous salary of a Sheriff warrants a very high standard of education.

Sallie Skakel

Goldendale

Enforce speeding

Dear Sheriff Matt English,

Now that the Hood River County police department has its voter-initiated funding, where are you? Drivers are still doing 60 mph in 25- and 35-mph zones all over the county all the time.

You pushed 14-69 through by fear-mongering for more officers, more public safety, and my property taxes now pay for it, but nothing has changed.

Lots of children running around and pedestrian traffic everywhere. Sure wish there was more law enforcement, like you advertised.

You asked for funding, and you got it. Now, what are you doing? Are you planning on delivering on your promises any time soon?

Concerned citizens who pay your salary would like to know.

Raw deal. Get on top of it, sir.

Brooke Melee

Hood River

Invest in teachers

A recent letter to the editor made some strong claims about the greediness of teachers. I would like to add some clarity to the claims:

“The rest of us work 12 months a year” and teachers do not. False. I have had one out of 30 summers off. In Hood River County, more than two-thirds of our teachers work a second job. Both my husband, a high school teacher, and I teach summer school, coach two sports, advise one activity, and I am a licensed, working Realtor. That’s six jobs for two people, all year-round.

My union worked to protect my rights and my life? True. Thanks, union. Though, I am guessing that the pressure to re-open schools may have contributed to this decision made, incidentally, by politicians, not teachers.

Blaming teachers for PERS is doubly wrong: 1) Politicians created PERS, not teachers (or police, or firefighters), and 2) teachers are not the big money makers off PERS. That honor goes to pages and pages of retired college professors, coaches, and scientists (oregon.gov).

Teachers get $8 million upon retirement? False. A person who gets $32,000 a year for a pension probably needs to use that to buy food, pay rent, and just live.

(The writer) loves teachers? I can read. That is false.

Lastly, he calls teachers greedy. The district has offered us a 1 percent raise per year. It’s not even close to the rate of inflation; I have not had an experience-based wage increase in years. Even working SIX jobs between the two of us, my husband-teacher and I live in a manufactured home in Odell; our children must all use school loans to attend college.

Teachers are not greedy.

The writer, who does not have children, has not had the opportunity to see what teachers do. Please don’t believe his characterization of us. We are not lazy, greedy, politically-driven, self-serving people. We are teachers. We love your children. We are the school district’s best resources. Please invest in us.

Nan Noteboom

Odell

Police reform ideas

Have you seen the Kentucky bill proposing to make it illegal to “insult or taunt a law enforcement officer to the point where it could provoke a violent response.”

I sure did. I have to wonder, who is getting to set the standard for what provokes a violent reaction? Is it the protester? Or, more likely, the police officer? Does anyone actually believe that giving police officers the ability to arrest people for yelling at them is going to prevent riots?

Let’s talk about some actual reforms that would improve the relationship between law enforcement and the people they work for:

Police unions must be abolished. They are not a legitimate labor union, as it has historically been the police who have been deployed to break up labor strikes. Next, white supremacist ideology needs to be investigated and expelled from the ranks of law enforcement. Then, there needs to be a moratorium on independent, third-party training, such as Dave Grossman‘s “killology.”

If you are unfamiliar with Grossman’s work, he is considered in law-enforcement circles to be a rockstar, a god. His training methodology involves teaching officers how to negotiate away the psychological trauma of taking a human life, together with a philosophy that says, these people you are policing, they hate you, and danger is around every corner. This philosophy, taken together with the methodology he preaches, has contributed to an uptick in violence against the civilian population by police officers nationwide, especially in communities of color.

Finally, officers should be mandated to carry their own insurance, and pay rates based on their own actions. No more taxpayer money going to legal fees for officers on trial for killing people. Consider that, according to The Oregonian, one Portland PD officer, Leo Besner, has cost taxpayers $852,000. I’m sure he was fired though. No? He’s actually lieutenant of the sex crimes and human trafficking unit? That seems sketchy.

I see Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer’s name coming up a lot in these letters. You are on my radar, my dude.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.

Statehood for DC

712,000 people call Washington, D.C., home, and they are much like other Americans. They’re teachers and nurses and firefighters and custodians. They raise families, pay taxes, and serve in America’s armed services. They do differ in one important way, however. They do not have full representation in Congress because D.C. is a district, not a state.

A solution is at hand, and it is high time to act. Congress can and should make the District of Columbia a state.

As a state, D.C. would be guided by will of its people and could enact policies that reflect the wants and needs of its residents. D.C. residents would, like Oregonians, have equal voting representation in Congress, and would have control over their own laws and budgets.

All Americans have the right to full representation and the right to have their voices heard. Residents of Washington, D.C. deserve to be treated fairly and equally as U.S. citizens. Statehood for D.C. is long overdue.

Lara Dunn

Hood River

Where is common sense?

Saul Alinsky in the 1960's said, "Don't aim for issues but for power in politics." Nemesis (one who imposes retribution ) to Hillary Rodham (Clinton).

Rahm Emanuel said "Never let a crisis go to waste." Emanuel another nemesis of "demagoguery" (push your bias down the citizens throat until you get your way.) per BLM—Antipha. Where is Antifa now? (March 12, 2021).

18 of 19 bellwether states voted for Trump. Need I say more?

Isaiah 3:12 states, "As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of their paths."

Larry Bakken

Wishram

Thanks, Kirby

I'd like to thank Kirby Neumann-Rea for his contribution to the Hood River community over the years. Kirby's journalism always shows that people are more the same than they are different, and shines a light on the wonderful things we all share. The consistency of that message has made this valley kinder, more empathetic, and a lot nicer place to live than it would be otherwise.

The best example of this has been in coverage of young people. Modern media often teaches us teens are bad news and should be feared. Kirby, The Hood River News and the Columbia Gorge News have diligently covered the best of our community's kids, from academics to sports to the arts and more. Kirby highlights the best things about our community, and that in turn has helped bring out the best in all of us. Kirby, thank you. You'll be missed!

Dave Case

Hood River