Kate Brown’s Folly

On Friday the 13th, not my governor Brown issued a proclamation that places 4,280,000 citizens of Oregon into involuntary lockdown for two weeks. (Longer in Portlandia.)

Brown, by whose authority are you violating the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment, the right of the people to assemble/gather peacefully? Restaurants and bars will be shuttered. Stores will be limited to 75 percent capacity. Tens of thousands of people will be unemployed.

While we were watching this unfold on TV at the Last Stop Saloon, the staff had tears in their eyes. Some are single parents, wondering how they will pay bills and put food on their tables. Where is your economic impact study, Brown? Or did you shoot from the hip?

Statistically in Oregon, 759 (788 as of Nov. 18) people in Oregon have died from COVID-19. That’s .000177 percent of the state’s population. That’s sad, of course. But how many Oregonians have died from the common flu? Brown, are you going to mandate vaccinations for all Oregonians? And how many die from traffic accidents? Brown, are you shuttering gas stations and mandating we park our vehicles?

And Oregon State Troopers are going to enforce this?

Your priorities are skewed, Brown. Why didn’t you deploy troopers to quell the rioting, looting, the destruction of businesses, people injured, even killed, for seven months in Portlandia?

Seems not my governor Brown is paving her path to become Sleepy Joe’s basement attendant in D.C. and Delaware. Brown, for shame! You don’t give a darn about Oregonians, alive or dead. Just about yourself.

Paul R. Munsell

The Dalles

Editor’s note: There have been 405 traffic fatalities in Oregon so far in 2020, as compared to 788 deaths from COVID-19. According to national data from the Center for Disease Control, last year’s flu season killed 34,000 Americans, as compared to 250,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global conditions

Many Americans are uneducated when it comes to the environment, job creation and wage inequality.

We live in one of the cleanest, if not the cleanest, nation in the world. Our environment regulations are such that a lot of products that we want to buy cannot be built in the U.S.

So, while we clammer for more regulations to make the U.S. cleaner yet, and run into the law of diminishing returns, we continue to buy products from overseas from countries who are the worst for pollution and labor abuses. It’s the old “not in my backyard syndrome.” We feel so good about ourselves, and yet we are still contributing to the problem by purchasing “cheap” products.

There is no free lunch. There isn’t an invisible line or wall to keep other countries’ pollution from flowing through the air and water sources to the rest of the world! Just think what wages would be in the U.S.A. if we produced our own products in our own clean factories, and we bought and sold at fair market prices!

Do some research on how products are recycled and produced in other countries. You will see pollution and carbon emissions on a massive scale, but yet we need to clean our pristine yard (country) more? And speaking of our beautiful nation, remember the billboard removal act of 1965, to clean up our highways?

Well, how beautiful will it look covered with bird-killing windmills, and heat trapping solar panels, that still won’t produce enough energy for our needs?

Bob Wolfe

The Dalles

Skyline thank you

On behalf of Skyline Foundation, I want to thank the voters within our hospital district for their vote of confidence in passing the levy. Our hospital commissioners deserve congratulations for putting this levy request on the November ballot and it is gratifying to know the levy passed by a substantial margin.

Our community is fortunate to have such a wonderful hospital with caring and competent medical personnel and supporting staff. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic it is reassuring to know Skyline Hospital is here for us.

Thank you again for your continuing support and confidence in Skyline Hospital.

Robert D. Weisfield, Skyline Foundation President

White Salmon

Ill health

Health insurance company executives have become the new Evil Bad Guys.

Well, I’d like to see a little more sympathy for these poor health insurance company executives.

Sure, those 40,000 square foot homes and 225-foot yachts seem nice, but the expenses are just amazing! Why, the diesel fuel for the yacht alone amounts to several hundred peasant droid salaries.

And the illegals down there in the engine room, doing whatever it is they do? Hey, they don’t cost as much as legals, but they are still spendy!

And the bill for the catered meals when the Rolling Stones play for the daughter’s wedding on the afore-mentioned yacht? Do you have any idea? You know they bill those little munchie things with the salami and cheese at $8.40 each?! Times thousands and thousands and thousands of the little suckers.

And then the Senator shows up for the party, and of course he wants his little briefcase of $20 dollar bills. It just adds up and adds up.

And don’t get me started on the helicopter.

Jerrold Richards


This will end

As we move into this new phase of raging COVID-19 cases, more stringent restrictions, and an understanding that the long run is a further distance down the road than we originally anticipated, we might focus on these three positives:

There is an end in sight. When that end comes, we can look back and find solace in the fact that we endured and life got better. In the meantime, we now have time to tend to all of those projects we wanted to address during the original lockdown.

Be safe and be well. This will come to an end.

Paul Crowley

Hood River

Endowment for future

Last week’s (Nov. 11) edition of the Columbia Gorge News included an article about two Trout Lake students conducting an online auction to raise funds for scholarships. They plan to deliver auction proceeds to the Trout Lake Community Foundation, which manages and awards scholarships for graduates of Trout Lake High School, and graduates of TLHS who are in college or pursuing other post-secondary education.

The effort of these students is commendable, but there is one big error in the article. It mentions that the Community Foundation was not able to conduct its usual fundraising activities in 2020, which is true. It then notes that there will thus be little or no money for scholarships next year. That is incorrect.

The Trout Lake Community Foundation has been in existence since 1999. We raise funds for scholarships, but also put some of that aside, and have built an endowment to help us weather times such as we have now. Our vision has been to build something sustainable over time.

Our hard work, plus the generosity of our community, has enabled us to build our endowment, in addition to providing scholarships annually. We have safely invested these funds and they generate a modest return that also contributes to yearly scholar-ship awards.

We thus anticipate that in 2021 we will be able to award an amount similar to that we have done in the previous few years. Trout Lake High School has a big class this year, and funds the students bring in with their effort are welcome. However, it is important to understand that the Trout Lake Community Foundation has been built not just for now, but also for the future.

Jim White, Trout Lake Community Foundation Board Member


I read the Nov. 18 letter “Emotional Election” with curiosity and confusion. It read to me like part Qanon recruitment ad, part indictment of the incompetence of Senate leader Mitch McConnell and judicial system leader Attorney General Barr.

President Donald Trump has destroyed our economy by failing to address the pandemic, threatened the First Amendment and existing U.S. civil liberties, and created as much social divide as we saw in Civil War times. It was Trump who said our 14 coronavirus cases would soon be zero. It was Trump who blocked citizens of Muslim-dominant countries from entering the U.S. It was Trump who threatened to revoke broadcasting rights for news agencies which broadcast negative things about him. It was Trump who had law-abiding, peaceful protesters tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets so he could stand in front of a generic church with a generic Bible to show his “faith.”

Separation of power was created in the U.S. Constitution. It means that the legislative branch run by Sen. McConnell and the judicial branch run by AG General Barr have both authority and an obligation to block illegal acts by a president. These great patriots have acted as puppets as our president repeatedly misused his office in illegal, unethical, and certainly non-Christian ways.

Conspiracy theories like the legalization of pedophilia or rolling power blackouts have no place in rational discussions about our future. Most Americans agree we want a happy, healthy, future with freedom and prosperity. It cannot happen when landslide elections are challenged and fear-based rhetoric oozes through the internet and other forms of media.

Our country’s leadership needs to speak up to help us all move forward and get back to being the greatest and most free country in the world. Sen. McConnell, not President-elect Biden, has this Constitutionally-sworn obligation.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Failure’s consequences

More than five million people said NO to Trump than people said YES in this year’s election. The highest popular vote difference in our history of presidential elections. It is sad to have to read, listen and see the pathetic clamoring espoused by the losers. It is hard to imagine what holds so many to Trumpism. The U.S. COVID-19 death toll (now over 250,000) should be enough to make Trumpites run away as fast as they can from the disgraceful and fatal consequences of Trump’s abject failure, along with his disgraceful COVID-19 task-force headed by incompetent Pence. Thank heaven enough people decided to get rid of him and his failure of an administration.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Planning gone wrong

Deadlines and timeliness — our local city and county governments hold the rest of us to strict standards for many things. The buzzer sounds at three minutes when someone addresses the city council. The parking meter runs out, and a ticket appears. County property taxes are due Nov. 15. The city’s website has dozens of forms with deadlines.

Unfortunately, Hood River City doesn’t always pay attention to its own rules and deadlines. Case in point — the City’s Planning Commission.

The Planning Commissioners’ terms begin in October. The application for the position says, “Terms of office are for four years with each term beginning in October.” The city’s municipal code calls for the Chair’s election at the first meeting in October and a report to the city council of the prior year’s activities on Oct. 1. The city’s website shows each planning commissioner’s term of office ending in October. See cityofhoodriver.gov/planning-commission.

Unfortunately, no one pays attention to the municipal code or the deadline. Arthur Babitz and Sue Powers both ended their terms as of October. Yet both continued to participate in meetings in October and November.

The Oct. 5 meeting was particularly problematic. Two commissioners were absent. Two commissioners with expired terms incorrectly participated. That left only three active commissioners present to discuss and rule on the rezoning hearing for the Nature’s Way subdivision. Three commissioners do not constitute a quorum according to the City’s municipal code.

Speaking of deadlines, in the Nov. 2 planning commission meeting, commissioners finally approved minutes from July to December 2019 — 16 months past the oldest session. That meeting at least had a quorum of commissioners whose terms were still active. However, the motion to approve those long-overdue minutes was seconded by someone whose term had expired.

I appreciate the public service that Arthur Babitz and Sue Powers have performed over the past four years (planning decisions are complicated). Still, their participation should have ended with the Sept. 21 planning commission meeting.

Does it look like rules, timeliness, and deadlines don’t apply to local government, but only to private citizens?

Tracey Tamashpol

Hood River

Editor’s Note: City Manager Rachael Fuller responded: “We are aware of the term expiration for the two planning commissioners and are in the recruitment process for the open seats. Since we do not anticipate any final actions to be taken by the commission prior to the upcoming appointments, nor is the commission scheduled to decide or hear any quasi-judicial subdivision or development requests, and the fact that the actions of the body have been approval of previous meeting minutes and non-binding recommendations to council, we have no reason to believe that the commission is acting out of order with all members participating in discussions.”

Muster the will

Looking around the world, there are a number of countries that are past the pandemic. Their businesses have reopened, people are not wearing masks, and large scale sporting events attract tens of thousands of people. What did they do? They had deep restrictions very early on. They adopted measures to make businesses and employees whole so that they didn’t go bankrupt or get evicted. And now they are getting on with their lives.

Here in the U.S., we didn’t do that. Some other countries didn’t either — we aren’t alone in not responding. But our per capita statistics are in the bottom 10 percent globally, along with a few European nations.

We whined about the restrictions. We failed to adopt programs to help people deal with the restrictions we did have, our government stuck in gridlock. And now we have hundreds of thousands dead, and plenty more to come in the months ahead, before vaccines are available, health care workers [will work] beyond exhaustion in some places.

What ever happened to sucking it up and dealing with hardship to get past a difficult spot? Why couldn’t we pass laws to help the country do what we needed to do?

One health care pro in a country that is past it all commented that the U.S. invented the procedures they followed. The person said the U.S. taught them how to deal with the plague, so why didn’t we do what we taught them to do?

Apparently we just couldn’t muster the will as a country.

Dean Myerson

The Dalles

Governors must lead

Washington and Oregon governors should set an example instead of just implementing restrictions. Our “leaders”, Jay Inslee and Kate Brown, have failed to set examples they want all of us to follow.

Both have talked about the importance of being a leader but have failed in setting the most basic example most of us have had to endure. Many of us have had to take pay cuts and endure layoffs due to shut down. Many of us have had to cut back and make due during the pandemic.

If they wanted to show they were truly leading by example, why haven’t Governor Brown or Governor Inslee taken a pay cut. They (and their staff) should announce they’re voluntary taking a 20 or 30 percent pay cut for six months like many of us have.

This small gesture would go a long way to show they’re sympathetic and understand what we are all enduring. Unfortunately, politicians continue to “do as I say, but don’t do as I do” mentality they make us distrust them.

Mike Billets

Hood River

Alzheimer’s caregivers

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. The Alzheimer’s Association marks these events by recognizing the more than 16 million family members and friends across the U.S. — including 188,000 in Oregon — who currently care for a person living with Alzheimer’s.

According to the 2020 Alzheimer’s Association’s facts and figures, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 18.6 billion hours of unpaid assistance, a national contribution valued at $244 billion. If Alzheimer’s caregivers were a state, they would be the fifth largest in the country. And nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers report their stress level as high or very high.

For 10 years on an Alzheimer’s journey, I was my mother’s caregiver, representative, and advocate until she died in 2013. With limited resources while working full-time, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Without a cure or treatment, I watched my loving, accomplished, and creative mom fade away. This is why I now support other dementia caregivers.

In recent years, Congress has made funding Alzheimer’s and dementia research a priority and it must continue. It is my hope that Sens. Wyden and Merkley and Rep. Walden will continue to support an increase in Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health.

During these challenging times — and always — the Alzheimer’s Association offers help and support for care-givers and the general public online and on the phone. For more information, please visit alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.

William Cohen


Editor’s Note: Sens. Merkley and Wyden will continue in office in 2021; Rep. Walden’s term expires Dec. 31, and he will be succeeded by Republican Cliff Bentz of Ontario.

Gaming our democracy

Despite my continued angst about our country, I have learned some very important lessons about the presidency, our democracy and our Constitution during the past four years. None are infallibly perfect. Our system can be “gamed” internally by using old school propaganda and modern technology.

Basically, we know that humans can have their brains “hacked” and “malignant viruses” inserted by “Tweeting” enough lies so that we forget simple truths and believe the most outrageous lies. I call it “gaming” because psychology tells us that “name calling,” “scapegoating” and “loaded words” are like “computer viruses” in that they “manipulate” the normal programming of our brains and thus our behaviors.

In adults, this types of gaming is a lot more serious than middle school bullying, which we work hard to eliminate. Adult games can end up with split societies, increased violence and major bad consequences for a nation. We only need to look at many countries we used to call “Banana Republics” to see how badly it can end.

Our nation has just concluded the most secure election in history, according to our government’s NSA and most national leaders. Unfortunately, the results are being “gamed” at a time when a major transition in government in needed. Consequently, we see a continuation of the breakdown in our national civil discourse and social contract relationships. As a nation of varied values, races, traditions and religions we need to get back on track.

There is no conspiracy, it is not a battle between “Liberals and Conservatives,” (whatever those two words now stand for) or “Guns - No Guns,” it’s about living and working together. To quote Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.” Americans, we all have a lot of repair work to do to fix the “US” whether used as a pronoun or as U.S.

Richard McBee

Hood River

Just go away

The electorate has spoken. Trump, you’re fired.

What goes around, comes around. Just deal with it and quietly go away!

Mike Nichols

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Thank you, CGN

This letter is to thank you, the Columbia Gorge News, for the wonderful special edition, Salute to The Veterans.

In it, you featured a very special friend of mine, Dennis Leonard. Denny and I go back more than 40 years together.

When he came home from Vietnam, he had some real problems adjusting to his new life. I met him when he was training to be a log scaler for the Columbia River Log Scaling Bureau.

We both worked there about 40 years. Denny has, in all the time I have known him, tried to be the best, and learning to scale logs was no different for him.

He was good at his job and had the ability to get along with others. Later he got involved with our union and eventually became the union president.

Over the years, both of us being officers in the union, we spent a lot of time ridding in the car going back and forth to many meetings.

When it came to contract negations, that is where Denny really shined. He was a walking encyclopedia. It was never about what was good for Denny, it was always what was good for the union members. (Too bad it doesn’t work that way with politics.)

He has been a part of the backbone of Post 22 forever.

I am very proud to call him my friend and the community should be very proud to have people like him living here.

Thank you, Denny, for all you have given for all of us.

Jim Anderson

White Salmon

‘True colors’ shown

River’s Edge Towing’s refusal to tow a car because the driver disagreed with a bumper sticker is another example of the damage done by the outgoing administration’s strategy of division.

The statement by the company’s owner is unacceptable: “Words exchanged on both sides” is a cowardly stance. Either your company seeks customers, regardless of the bumper sticker on their car, the color of their skin, or any other form of discrimination or it wishes to only serve those who think, look and act like them.

Now that I know the true colors of River’s Edge Towing, I will be sure to not use a company that engages in discriminatory practices.

Sue Kusch

White Salmon

The Sturmabteilung

In the 1920s through the 1930s, The Sturmabteilung (aka Brown Shirts or Storm Troopers) were used by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels (Reich Minister of Propaganda) for the benefit of the Nazi (National Socialist Germans Workers’ Party) agenda.

The Sturmabteilung were used to help instigate riots against the bigger party at the time and was able to make the party look like victims; this helped the party gain sympathy as well as attention. Inciting violence was Goebbels’ go-to tool in order to gain attention. Goebbels made the Sturmabteilung into heroes and martyrs.

The Sturmabteilung were also used for confrontations with authorities to boost the party image and arrests and trials really put a spot light on them. Goebbels speeches at the time claimed that the Nazis were struggling against powerful enemies: The communists, Jews, and the bourgeois or the rich and upper middle class. Goebbels used The Sturmabteilung to hang out in Jewish businesses and bully the customers and owners.

What came in 1938 was the Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), where The Sturmabteilung and civilians burned down Jewish businesses and broke all their windows while the government stood aside. The party started boycotts against Jewish businesses and other business owners who disagreed with them. Goebbels loved using violence and arson to get what he wanted. The party was all about National Socialism and even called for the destruction of the government to create anew. Is this all sounding too familiar?

“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to defy error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.” — Gustav Le Bon

Doug Geary

Hood River

My understanding

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

Misguided logic

Tonight on the news, Joe Biden came out and said President Trump should help in the transition and share the information he has to help save lives. Biden’s campaign rested on the fact that President Trump wasn’t doing anything right to fight the virus; thousands were getting sick and dying and many more would die because of his sloppy job. Vote for Biden and he’ll do a better job! Isn’t he contradicting himself?

If Biden is right, what information could the president have that could help in any way? Biden wants to ride the shirttail of President Trump’s accomplishment with the vaccine for COVID-19. They spent four years shooting at him and trying to take him down and now they want him to cooperate with them? Interesting, but seems like pretty convoluted and misguided logic to me.

Jeri Rector


Editor’s Note: A presidential transition involves giving the incoming president access to presidential briefings and national security/ intelligence information, as opposed to access to the sitting president’s actions or plans.

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