Hospital concerns

As a citizen of The Dalles for 45 years, I’m extremely concerned about the apparent lack of good leadership by the hospital executive leadership team.

Over the last two years, there has been a mass exodus of physicians leaving the community, both specialists and primary care. Why?

I’m personally distraught at the recent resignation of Dr. Anslinger, who has practiced in the community for 14 years. The same week, we lost a family practice provider as well as two behavioral health providers.

This doesn’t even address the loss of Dr. Judy Richardson.

As a former loyal employee of MCMC, I still have many friends at the hospital and I’m not hearing anything positive about working there. What is going on ?

I feel the board should be very concerned and involved with this crisis, more than they have been. I suggest they sit in on the exit interviews with these physicians, if there are any! They would get an unfiltered reason for their departure.

By the way … who is going to support the new hospital if we don’t have enough providers?

Darcy Hamilton

The Dalles

Bipartisan Infrastructure

For years and years, America’s infrastructure has been crumbling. Now, thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, we’re going to do something about it.

In Washington State, 416 bridges and more than 5,400 miles of highway are in poor condition. On average, each driver pays $659 per year due to driving on roads in need of repair. Washington can expect to receive $4.7 billion for federal-aid highway programs and $605 million for bridge replacement and repair over the next five years. The Hood River-White Salmon Bridge could certainly benefit.

It’s no surprise to Klickitat County residents that 8.5% of Washingtonians live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure. Under this new funding, our state will receive a minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, which would provide access to at least 241,000 Washingtonians who currently lack it. Moreover, 19% of Washingtonians will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help lower-income families afford internet access.

In addition, the Infrastructure Act will provide our state $71 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network and $1.79 billion over five years to improve public transportation options, including our railroad infrastructure.

Funding exists to replace lead pipes so that every child and American can enjoy clean drinking water.

It will upgrade our airport and our harbor ports to help eliminate supply chain backlogs. It will upgrade our power infrastructure, by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy, while lowering costs.

This legislation will support hundreds of thousands of jobs and grow our economy.

Sadly, even though the infrastructure bill attracted the votes of many Republican senators and representatives, none of Washington State’s Republican representatives supported it. That includes Dan Newhouse, who’s likely to be Klickitat County’s representative in Congressional District 4 after redistricting.

Let’s hope he doesn’t show up at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies, trying to claim credit even though his vote could have sabotaged the effort.

Rick George

White Salmon

Principle concern

It’s the principle.

There’s a point when it becomes too much, where something has to be done. Someone has to stand up for what’s right. Someone has to call a spade a spade.

You know the drill. You saw the signs. Of course you did. But enough is enough. Someone has to stand up because this is stupid.

Why is it okay over there but not okay here? It’s 10 feet away. It’s stupid. Someone has to fight this.

It’s the principle.

And if there’s one thing a real man will do, it’s fight for his principals. Of course, you can’t fight the feds about it. You can’t fight the state about it. But you are gonna fight someone.

So you decide to walk in without a mask and fight the minimum wage employee.

“No,” you say, daring her. “I don’t have a mask.”

You chose to fight the woman who has no choice. You chose to fight the woman who just doesn’t want to lose her job.

Because it’s the principle.

And you’re a real man.

John Metta

Hood River

Live and death

Today, I would like to address the letter in last week’s paper entitled “human respect.” Should we disregard political differences in our interpersonal relationships?

In the abstract, I would say yes. Certainly, it is difficult to bring people over to one’s point of view by avoiding them, but anyone who is familiar with the paradox of tolerance will understand that there is a limit. I, for one, have no issue being friendly with centrists, liberals, and leftists, though we might differ on policy positions, because we exist in the same reality. That is, a reality that values human dignity.

Republicans, on the other hand, cannot and do not want to be reached. They don’t care about the harm they do or the suffering they cause. They have mired themselves in a reality of conspiracy theories, stolen elections, horse de-wormer, insurrection and xenophobic immigration policy; many refuse to believe that the current public health crisis is real, and those that do can’t be bothered to get a vaccine to protect those they care about; they have moved so far to the right that to be friendly with them is a tacit endorsement of the very real harm that their actions have caused.

The only group of people afforded the luxury of ignoring political differences are those who are insulated from that harm.

Consider a hypothetical scenario where I am a gay, trans woman of color. My very existence, and the existence of people like me, is threatened by the beliefs of a plurality of Republicans who see me as a deviant predator with mental problems. Do you honestly expect that I, in this scenario, should treat Republicans with anything but disdain and fear?

For the author of last week’s letter this may be an exercise in personal growth, but for vulnerable populations it is a very real matter of life and death.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Editor’s note: Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.

Constituents first

Did anyone else find it interesting that Cliff Bentz was the only Oregonian representative who voted against the Federal Infrastructure bill?

Did anyone wonder why he wouldn’t want his constituents to get funding to repair roads, bridges, public transportation and broadband?

Did anyone wonder why he and his communications staff wouldn’t answer any of these questions?

The answer is that he wants to see you and me and every American suffer so that his party can regain control in the next election. Power is more important than you and me and the condition of this country’s infrastructure.

Isn’t it time to stop voting for a party and start voting for people who want us to succeed? Look at the records of the candidates, not just the letter next to their names.

I wonder how it would be if the people who live in a district whose congress members voted against the bill were ineligible for any of the funds?

Unfortunately this isn’t the way it works but it might be a way to get legislators to start working for their voters rather than their party. Mr. Bentz would have to answer to the people then and not run from his decisions.

Susan Lannak

Hood River

Local journalism

I fully support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act because I’ve become alarmed at the demise of a great number of small — and large — newspapers in this country. As noted in last week’s Columbia Gorge News, local newspapers are the glue that holds communities together.

Recent studies have shown that a community without a newspaper is at risk for political corruption (when local governments know they’re not being watched), lower voting levels, and succumbing to misinformation promoted on social media — contributing to community polarization, as we’ve seen with many pandemic-related posts.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is part of the Build Back Better Reconciliation Bill. It would give local papers a chance to turn around the devastation caused by the internet and social media in the last 20 years.

I know from experience how hard local reporters work, generally at a salary far below what they deserve. But I’m very grateful that there are people who want to do it. Their work is necessary and makes communities stronger.

Some of the best and easiest ways to make sure we continue to have the wonderful resource of a community newspaper is to subscribe to it, buy ads, write letters to the editor or offer news tips. Also contact your representatives expressing your support for the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.

Tracie Hornung