Support for commissioners

A recent Letter to the Editor published in the Skamania County Pioneer (Oct. 7 issue) cited a previous county commissioner as pointing out “the financial pitfalls facing Skamania County” are not new.

He is correct in this writer’s opinion. The more significant budgetary problems came into existence while under the leadership of previous commissions.

It has been my observation that the current board works well together and has made significant progress toward fixing many of the problems that they inherited as a result of poor decisions by their predecessors.

I very much appreciate the time and energy invested by current Commissioner Tom Lannen in working toward repairing the damage that was put in place by those who led Skamania County before Tom and the current board.

I remember well Tom’s “painted stick” that he carried and spoke to concerning what was recognized as poor management of Skamania County’s premier crop, i.e. forest products, or trees.

I think he called that effort “Saving Skamania County.” I suspect it was this visibility during that period before he was a commissioner that very likely influenced many to support him in the previous election.

Tom and the other current commissioners have, in my opinion, made significant progress toward “righting the Skamania County budgetary ship.” They have all learned a lot during their tenure on the board and have figured out where most of the obstacles and problems are.

While there is always more to be done, it seems to me it would be unwise to change the crew when the ship is, finally, making progress and is headed in the right direction. Let’s take advantage of the knowledge they have accumulated and retain the current board.

I guess it’s obvious by now I support Tom Lannen, and indeed, the rest of the current Skamania County Board of Commissioners.

Sam Haun

Stevenson

Burns over Bonham

Since Daniel Bonham’s appointment to become Representative in District 59, we have gradually been given insights into his priorities. Initially, he was perceived as a moderate. He appeared ready and willing to work across the aisle. But then reality set in — he began to show his true priorities. He stuck with the Republican walkout, which ended the 2020 legislative session. That was strike one! He chose to run and hide rather than work to solve problems.

Now it has been revealed that Bonham mailed a purported “legislative update” to voters, which cost taxpayers almost $15,000. Because of the timing, this mailing should have been funded by his campaign fund, not the taxpayers. The timing of the mailing, barely a month before the election and more than six months after the conclusion of the legislative session reveals his true intent. He clearly saw an opportunity to get himself free publicity. Once again, his priorities were revealed. His priorities surpassed the needs of his constituents. This was strike two!

We are so fortunate to have Arlene Burns ready to step up to the plate. Arlene has clearly shown her priorities. As mayor of Mosier, she stepped up during a time of great strife.

Following the oil train derailment, she responded with resoluteness. She demanded fairness for her constituents. She demonstrated her intelligence, experience, empathy, dedication and persistence. These are the very qualities of leadership which are needed at all levels of government during these troubled times.

Arlene is keenly aware of the complexity of the issues we face. She will not shy away from the challenges. Arlene clearly possesses the demeanor, education, tenacity and experience to address these issues.

Check out Arlene’s web page at arleneburns.com. As you learn more about Arlene Burns, you will discover a dedicated problem solver, a fellow citizen who understands and empathizes with the our concerns and problems. You will learn that she is one of us, that she cares.

Vote for Arlene Burns! Years from now you can look back and proudly proclaim, “I voted for Arlene.”

Robert Haechrel

The Dalles

Sizemore for County

I am not a big letter writer to our local newspaper, but feel it is important to express my support for Jim Sizemore for District 3 Commissioner.

In my 16 years as a commissioner, I learned although you may not always agree with the other commissioners, you need to work together in order to reach consensus. Friction does not and will not get the work done, nor will it serve the best interest of the county and its’ citizens.

I feel this is where we are headed if Jim is not re-elected. I have always been impressed when a candidate shows community involvement with serving in organizations and giving back to the community. Jim has volunteered with 4-H, FFA, Klickitat County Fair Board member/volunteer, Klickitat County Livestock Growers, volunteer fireman and past president of the Washington State Cattlemen’s Association, just to name a few.

With timber and agriculture being such huge industries in Klickitat County, we need a commissioner with experience and knowledge in these areas. Jim’s knowledge and background is extensive in each of these areas. Honesty, integrity and truthfulness are all important qualities all of which Jim brings to the office of commissioner. It will truly be a loss for Klickitat County and its’ citizens if Jim is not re-elected.

Ray Thayer

Goldendale

Strange times

We have a president who has increased the national debt over $5 trillion, abandoned allies on the battlefield, is the antithesis of family values, sides with Putin over U.S. intelligence, fails to provide leadership during a pandemic where more than 212,000 citizens have died and businesses, schools and the economy have been devastated, allowed children to be separated from their parents and put into cages, works to undermine fair elections and enjoys demeaning, bullying, lying and dividing people.

Rep. Herrera Beutler, who chose not to vote for him in 2016, says he has now earned her vote in 2020. The Party of Lincoln has sadly transformed into the Party of Trump. To return to a time where integrity, honesty, decency, honor, courage, and trust have meaning, are valued and striven toward, we need to remove from office those who enable and support Trump.

I encourage all eligible voters, especially Independents, discouraged Republicans and new voters, to exercise your right to vote and to vote for Joe Biden for President and Carolyn Long for the House of Representatives.

John Melink

Longview

Vote for Burns

In the words of Susan B. Anthony, “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it!”

And, I might add, use it wisely. Arlene Burns is a wise choice for voters in Oregon’s House District 59.

Arlene has demonstrated her leadership as the Mayor of Mosier under some very big challenges for such a small community — devastating wildfires and an oil train derailment.

Locals will remember that train crash in 2017, which spilled 47,000 gallons of volatile crude oil, igniting a dangerous fire and contaminating groundwater. Arlene has worked directly with residents, firefighters, a host of railroad officials and their lawyers, and the Oregon State Legislature, to improve the safety and security of her constituents.

Lucky for us, she now wants to go to bat for all the residents of our district and is running to be our next State Representative. Arlene’s priorities include access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Oregonians; economic stimulus to help recover from the COVID-19 crisis; redesigning our energy infrastructure with climate recovery at the forefront; and working for equity and justice for all, especially those who have been underserved in the past, and that includes the Tribes in our district.

If you know Arlene, she’s already earned your vote. If you don’t know her, take time to get to know her via her website VoteForArlene.com.

This November, vote wisely! Vote for Arlene Burns for State Representative District 59.

Carol Miller

The Dalles

Vote for Beutler

One of the great pastimes in the Pacific Northwest is fishing. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, sea lions have been flooding our rivers and destroying salmon and steelhead runs. It is great that Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has been working tirelessly to preserve these runs by spearheading legislation to remove these predatory sea lions, and boost hatchery production.

Fishing is a great piece of our regional economy and it offers enjoyment to countless residents. If Jaime Herrera Beutler wasn’t our congresswoman, I fear that we’d see our runs disappear, which is why I’m happy to stand behind her in her efforts.

Kent Stevenson

Woodland, Wash.

A nonpartisan gesture

Several weeks ago, I decided to begin flying the American flag every day rather than just on national holidays. As soon as I made that decision, I sent an email messages to our neighbors. I explained that my flying the flag was in no way intended as a political statement, but merely a patriotic statement.

Following that, I began to think there might be something wrong with me. What sane citizen would feel the need to defend their decision to fly our flag?

So, in defending my action to myself, I concluded that I was reacting to a degree of chaos surrounding our national symbol. I concluded that my act was one of hope. I’m hopeful that those who wave our flag more or less as a weapon in the face of others will eventually get beyond that. I’m also hopeful that those who have lost faith in our achieving the noblest American ideals and, therefore, reject the flag as a uniting symbol, will eventually get beyond that.

We really have no excuse for allowing the American flag to become a divisive symbol. It represents a country still striving to achieve the ideals of individual freedom, opportunity, and equality. It’s everybody’s flag. Maybe we can agree that Old Glory represents our noblest aims as a country. Maybe we can come to agree that this experiment in freedom, an experiment that continues to attract so many others to our shores, has accomplished great things and still has a long way to go.

Doug Roof

Hood River

No GOP

With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, our country is facing perilous times. Our access to healthcare and reproductive healthcare is being threatened by the newest nominee to the Supreme Court.

With the pandemic, many have already lost health care and their access to contraceptive coverage. This Republican administration has further impeded women’s access to reproductive healthcare by allowing employers to cherry pick which coverage they will provide to their female employees. We will soon see a surge in unintended pregnancies. Women will find themselves transported back to the ‘60s, unable to prevent a pregnancy, unable to obtain prenatal care, with increased risk to their lives and the lives of their infants. A vote for a Republican is a vote to suppress a woman’s ability to determine her family size and her health. It’s important to vote Democratic this election. Your life and the life of your children may depend on it.

Sandy Montag

White Salmon

Support Tracy Rushing

As a physician in the Gorge, I stand in solidarity with farmworkers across the Northwest who are an important part of our community and are particularly at risk during this global pandemic.

Migrant and local seasonal farmworkers are essential workers who, due to the nature of their jobs and lack of resources and safe housing, are contracting COVID-19 at a rate up to three times that of the rest of the communities in which they work. This is unacceptable.

It is important to support farmworkers during this time and to keep them from being stigmatized. I support and encourage other community members to support the #Esencial campaign in the Gorge as well as Trabajadores Unidos por la Justicia in Yakima.

We need to make sure farmworkers have access to PPE and healthcare as well as a living wage, safe housing, and job security.

I also encourage anyone in Washington District 14 who agrees with this sentiment to consider voting for Dr. Tracy Rushing, who is running for State Representative and fighting for the rights and safety of farmworkers in Washington.

Kate McKenna

Hood River

Richardson for city

Dan Richardson has earned my vote for The Dalles City Council, position 4. If you’ve met him, he has probably earned yours as well. If you haven’t met him, please permit me to tell you a little about him and why we should elect him.

Dan is a native of The Dalles, and it’s clear from talking to him that he loves this community.

It’s also clear that he’s not just willing, but anxious to get to the hard work of making it the best city it can be for all of us, with priorities like building the Mill Creek Greenway Trail and a downtown pedestrian plaza.

Restoring the vitality of our downtown is also at the top of his list, and he has some solid ideas for how to do it, making it easier for small businesses to be successful.

Less visible but equally important to Dan is upgrading infrastructure in our community, such as our aging water system.

One of the things that most impressed me about Dan’s plans for city council is his promise to engage us citizens much more, so that our city council is really working for us, for the things that matter most to us, the things that will transform our city into the flourishing and vital community that we all know it can be.

I know Dan sincerely wants to be our city councilor, because he wants The Dalles to be the best it can be. If that’s what you want, too, please join me in voting for Dan Richardson for city council.

Deborah Ferrer

The Dalles

Business concerns

A couple of weeks ago, you ran a piece about the new Thunder Island brewery/restaurant that has opened in a new large building in Cascade Locks. To the best of my knowledge, no one in the adjacent neighborhoods were asked their thoughts. The brewery was allowed to be built without adequate parking and is already creating parking bottlenecks in our little town. I fear they’re really going to screw over adjacent small businesses.

One of the proprietors runs a Facebook page for Cascade Locks Neighborhood Watch and if anybody complains about the situation they either get a snarky response or their comment is immediately deleted.

A common response is “why didn’t you go to the city council meetings and bring this up?” It appears they feel they had no responsibility for assessing the number of vehicles the business would bring in nor the impact on the adjacent businesses or neighborhoods. I suspect they really don’t care.

There’s a new brewery (Gorges Beer Co.) coming in and I hope they look beyond their profit and consider the impact their customers cars and required parking will have on the city and its neighborhoods.

There’s a rumor that Thunder Island has bought a property next door, where currently a real estate business sits, for a parking lot. I hope this is true but I’m not optimistic. Somebody really dropped the ball on this; either the city, the proprietors of Thunder Island, or both.

Good luck finding parking in the small downtown area of Cascade Locks when Thunder Island is open and crowded. I feel for the adjacent neighborhoods. If they have guests or other visitors there may not be any parking for them.

But hey, Thunder Island will be doing well and tough luck to the residents.

Chuck Jines

Cascade Locks

Editor’s note: Thunder Island’s Caroline Lipps noted that the site plan review was done in public process and the 17 off-street parking spaces is more than many other restaurants in the community. Lipps acknowledged she is one of the Neighborhood Watch group administrators and as posted her own comments but has never deleted a comment that was critical about the business. The brewery has a shared parking easement with the property next door, and the Lipps have since purchased the lot.

Vote Bonham out

On Feb. 24, the Oregon Legislative session ended when Republicans refused to come to work. More than 100 legislative bills just died.

Daniel Bonham, Republican candidate for Oregon House District 59, refused to show up for the job he was elected to do. Six months later, on Sept. 21, his 57,000 constituents received a “Legislative Update” in the mail, mostly photos including some generalized “accomplishments.”

This four-page color glossy mailer was explicitly titled “Legislative Update,” not campaign literature to re-elect him on Nov. 3. Why did we get a “Legislative Update” six months late, arriving in our mailbox 43 days before the election? Legislative updates cannot be sent during this 60-day election season. And certainly not 24 days before voters receive their ballots in the mail.

So, what’s the big deal here? Why does this matter? The big deal is Legislative Updates are paid for with taxpayer dollars, that’s the big deal. Campaign literature is paid for with funds the candidate raises for his/her campaign. We, the taxpayers, paid for this “legislative update.”

It was not paid for by the Committee to Re-Elect Daniel Bonham. Sending legislative update mailers during campaign season is prohibited in Oregon campaign regulations.

Taxpayers are paying $14,000 for Bonham’s glossy mailer during a year when thousands of Oregonians are unemployed, struggling, ill and experiencing devastating losses due to wildfires is downright sneaky.

It shows a blatant disregard for Oregonians. How did Bonham get around the Oregon campaign rules? He says he delivered the product to the printers 61 days before the election. A technicality, if I ever heard one. Why did this come to his constituents six months late? Bonham stated that it has been a hectic year, though the updates usually come out earlier, the “timing got away from us.”

This lack of accountability is straight from the Republican-Trump playbook. I’m calling “foul.” It’s time to vote him out of office. He got away with it, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. We have a choice in this election. I’m voting for the Democrat in this race, Arlene Burns.

Mimi Maduro

Mosier

Anna Williams protects

While the fires raging across our state have covered our skies in a thick, hazardous fog, the fires have made other things very clear. The time for half measures, delay, and walkouts regarding climate action is over.

Science knows. And science is telling us that with each successive wildfire season our forests get dryer, creating the perfect conditions for even more powerful, long-lasting, and disastrous fires. Anna Williams also knows. She is endorsed by trusted environmental organizations like Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club because she’s continuing her commitment to take action immediately.

Her Republican opponent, Jeff Helfich, on the other hand, is backed by Timber Unity, a far-right group that designed and funded the Republican walkouts last legislative session. There is little doubt that if Helfrich had been in the Oregon Legislature last session, he too would have walked out on us.

Hood River and Sandy got lucky this time, but next season it could be our forests in the headlines, our neighbors displaced and our local communities devastated.

House District 52 needs Rep. Anna Williams in Salem to take care of this critical unfinished business for our climate.

Please join us — let’s send her back.

Toby and Jan Tommaso

Sandy

For three women

I was speaking with a therapist friend the other day, and her conclusion was that “the world is in decay.” Sadly, that dank decay seems to be driven by a social media guided polarization that is tearing apart the fabric of our great unity.

We were unconsciously driven to choose sides and become enemies without even knowing we were no longer good friends. We’ve taken to fighting in the streets, we can’t agree if the world is burning up, let alone come up with a plan to prevent further disaster, we’re continually racist and sexist and classist, we decline to adequately fund mental health and other social programs because we can’t agree if they’re worth it, and we’ve somehow managed to politicize a viral pandemic. Not even science can speak for itself anymore.

But despite our differences and our universal willingness to be manipulated by a beast we didn’t even know existed, most days I feel optimistic that prior generations conquered their demons, and we too will conquer ours.

I hope we are balancing the same line between darkness and light, violence and peace, science and theology, technology and simplicity, and right and wrong that humans have balanced since the dawn of time.

This past month, we saw the passing of one of our greatest leaders, a woman who said that “if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside of yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you.”

There are three women in our immediate community who are taking this truth to heart: Tracy Rushing (D-District 14), Gina Mosbrucker (R-District 14), and Joanna Turner (D-County Commissioner).

These women are all smart, morally sound women from diverse professional backgrounds who want to represent our great community, respect the cultures found here, and protect our beautiful land. I am proud of these Klickitat women and will cast my vote for them this November.

There are no sides, we’re all Americans, and these Americans would do a great job of representing all of us.

Kate Cousineau

Trout Lake

Reckless joyride

During a critical point in his hospitalization for COVID-19, President Trump ordered his Secret Service to drive him around so he could reenact a scene from Driving Miss Daisy. His decision was foolish, selfish and reckless and is a great example to summarize why so many Americans are angered and embarrassed by how poorly he represents us.

I hope the president enjoyed his joyride. Thankfully those days appear to be nearly over, according to Fox News polls.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Vote for Anderson

For the past eight years, I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Jake Anderson as an active members of the South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative. We have also worked together on common legislative issues with the DNR in Olympia.

I have always found Jake to be articulate, very well informed, and highly engaged. He is a credit to Klickitat County. His family has deep roots in the county, having been engaged in farming, ranching and timber. As a first term Commissioner in Skamania County, I can appreciate the benefits of having a commissioner who already has a current working knowledge of county government. The learning curve is steep for the uninitiated and the job is more complex than most could imagine.

Having a commissioner with Jake’s skill sets, and knowledge of the county and its government sets him apart. I believe that he would be a huge benefit to the citizens of Klickitat County.

T.W. Lannen, Skamania County Commissioner

Stevenson

Retain Lannen

I’m writing to encourage voters to support Commissioner Tom Lannen for a second term. He has long been engaged in understanding the county’s financial condition and the importance of forest management for both county revenue and family wage jobs.

Over the 10 years I have known him, he has built a network of connections with the USFS, State DNR, Industry Associations and many county officials statewide who benefit from active, responsible forest management. His ability to carry the message to Washington D.C., lobby for Secure Rural Schools funding for both the county’s government and schools, and increased responsible forest management is a unique benefit to the county.

He has a good grasp of the complex issues that State and Federal agencies bring to our county. I have engaged with him over the past 10 years as he created a bi-partisan group to support better forest management, participate in the GP forest collaborative, support our DNR Timber Trust lands management, and wade into the complexities of county government.

Keep Skamania County on track to sound financial health. Return Tom as County Commissioner.

Jon Paul Anderson

Stevenson

Prince for City Council

I am writing to express my sincere belief that a vote for Tiffany Prince in the upcoming city council election is the right one. I have known Tiffany for several years, and she has impressed me with her maturity, understanding and work ethic.

In my experience, Tiffany is thoughtful and fair. She makes decisions based on facts and information even when those decisions are not easy or popular.

Tiffany is level-headed and does a great job listening to the needs and concerns of others. She has a great deal of experience working with all ages, income levels, and backgrounds and works to meet people where they are in their lives. She is active in community driven committees like the Beautification Committee and has participated in Distinguished Young Women program for a number of years.

This community is important to her and she works to be involved with those who live here.

Finally, one of Tiffany’s greatest strengths is her reliability. I’m not talking about being able to count on her to be punctual and prepared (although she is both of those things). I’m talking about the fact that if she says she will do something, you can believe her words will hold the weight of future action. I also know that if I present an idea she doesn’t agree with, she won’t equivocate. She will tell me what she believes, even when it means disagreeing.

As a person born and raised in this community, it is important to me that my representative does their best to represent not only my best interests but the best interests of my family and my community. I know without a doubt that representative is Tiffany Prince.

Courtney Judah

The Dalles

Vote Tom Lannen

They say that “all politics are local” and that couldn’t be more true than in Skamania County. The national and state campaigns get all the coverage by the media, but please take a few moments to learn about local candidates and what they bring to the table. One of those local races is for District 2 County Commissioner. Our pick is Tom Lannen and here’s why:

Tom puts countless hours of thought and research into every decision he makes on behalf of the citizens of Skamania County. He has worked tirelessly to re-build the “cash reserves” and has added over $3.5 million to that account. With economic uncertainty seemingly always on the horizon, it’s good to know that we have a reserve to fall back on if needed.

Tom was also appointed by his fellow peers as chairperson of the Timber Counties Caucus for the Washington State Association of County Commissioners. In this leadership role, Tom is working to increase the voice of the 32 participating counties who have Federal and State forests. Tom has also been a strong advocate of re-authorizing the Secure Rural Schools payments which help support our schools along with our county budgets. He is working with the “National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition” to find a long term predictable and sustainable replacement so we don’t have to go begging every year or two. Tom has developed strong working relationships with State and Federal agencies, State legislators and Congressional personnel and influence issues that impact Skamania County (see, all politics are local).

We could go on and on but bottom line is that Tom has done an impressive job in four years. He brings integrity, dedication, confidence and cooperation to the District 2 County Commissioner seat.

Please join us in voting for experience that counts.

Vote Tom Lannen for County Commissioner.

Dave and Kathy McKenzie

Stevenson

Accessible healthcare

Our community is suffering, not only a public health crisis, but an economic one. Our small businesses and working families are hurting. And at a time where the need for healthcare is as important as ever, Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler voted to support the lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

We need leadership that will fight hard for every single one of us. In the past 10 years, our representative has chosen party over us, the people, time and time again. What has she done for us? Our community is hurting too much from her lack of leadership to let it keep happening. I’m supporting Carolyn Long because I know she will fight hard for our access to affordable healthcare, the wellbeing of our small businesses, and to expand opportunities that will lift us out of this economic crisis

Carolyn Phillips

Longview

Spenser for Dist. 2

For the first time in more than 20 years, voters in Oregon’s U.S. Congressional Dist. 2 may select from an open field. No incumbent, since Greg Walden decided not to seek another term.

But what do you know about the candidates, Republican Cliff Bentz and Democrat Alex Spenser (that’s Alex as in “she”)?

You may not have had time to research, so I did.

Bentz says “under President Trump’s leadership, the possibilities for our country’s future have expanded quickly and dramatically.” Pretty vague. “Possibilities” could include total collapse and a scandal-plagued second term, or a shot at a new president in Joe Biden, in response to the chaotic and boorish and immoral leadership failures of the Trump era.

Bentz doesn’t say which he thinks will happen, but by citing Trump’s “leadership,” we can get a good idea. More of the Walden sycophancy.

Bentz is proud of having led two GOP walkouts from the Legislature, over cap-and-trade policy to slow climate change. And he says he “strongly oppose(s) government run healthcare.” In short, hold on to your Medicare and Medicaid if he gets a change to unwind Obamacare as Walden and the Republicans tried (and failed to do, thanks to a noble defection by the late Sen.John McCain).

Spenser believes health care is a right, and proposes strengthening the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid), which, for example, provides health insurance to single adults between 19 and 64 who earn up to $1,468. Other income limits apply to families, children and pregnant women.

The heart of her platform, though, is passionate support for equitable funding of education “for everyone,” including free college education, and forgiveness of existing education loan debts.

She also favors expanded infrastructure investment (high-speed rail, broadband, highway upgrades) and support for alternative energy infrastructure to harness the energy of the sun, water and wind. She supports technologies that can “help us heal the planet.”

Nowhere on her web site does she mention support for walking off the job.

There’s your choice. Register to vote by Oct. 13, or you won’t be able to vote for either.

Debra Dobbs

Hood River

Vote for Prince

Tiffany Prince has been personally involved in the growth and success of our community, both physically and emotionally, especially through her service on the City of The Dalles Beautification Committee. Within the city-appointed Beautification Committee, which I’m a volunteer member of and Tiffany is the volunteer chair of, she is working towards establishing and fostering pride in our town for residents and tourists.

I would love to see our town rally around being proud to live in beautiful The Dalles, and Tiffany can make that happen. With more pride our town can become a more united team, as we truly only need each other to accomplish what we want and need.

From experience working with her on the Beautification Committee, she can bring more forward thinking and sustainable paths and a better future for our city. We need to bring more people together and involved in caring about the betterment of our city.

Judy Merrill

The Dalles

Helfrich for House

Recently I received a mail piece from Oregon House of Representatives candidate Anna Williams, paid for by the Democratic Party of Oregon. It contained predictable, run-of-the-mill charges against her Republican opponent, Jeff Helfrich. The mailer made the same tired allegations that Democrats frequently make about Republicans; that they are beholden to big business, disrespect women, etc. Anna Williams’ and other Democrats have successfully used these tired arguments as they have quietly taken over every corner of Oregon politics. But are things any better? How can they claim that we need improvements in schools and health care when they’ve run Oregon’s government for decades?

Independent-minded non-affiliated registered voters make up over a third of the voters in Hood River County. We will make the decisions this year and I’m hoping that independent minded voters will ask themselves one key question: Are things getting better or worse for us?

Are you satisfied that the Oregon Department of Employment completely failed thousands of Oregonians six months after they lost their jobs due to COVID-19? Are you happy with the new tax on Oregon sales that local business owners still must pay during COVID-19? And is anybody happy that we have to pay higher fees to use our stand-up paddle boards and kayaks? All of these problems were brought to us by failed leadership and State Representative Anna Williams.

Independent-minded voters can help bring change and make progress for our state. Join me in supporting Jeff Helfrich for State Representative. Jeff is a highly respected former public safety officer with a wonderful family in Hood River. Electing Jeff will help restore the balance that our state government badly needs. And he would never support a SUP tax!

Bree Barnes

Mt. Hood

Vote Miller, Burns

We have seen a disturbing pattern developing among some of our political office holders: Resigning their office before their term is due for less than unavoidable reasons. For state legislators, this allows replacements to be appointed — chosen by county commissioners — and thus the first time they run for office, they are already incumbents, with all those advantages.

In fact, both state legislators that represent The Dalles got into their current position that way, and one of them, Sen. Findley, got his previous position that way too. That’s not a coincidence, it’s a strategy to stack the deck. Rep. Bonham used that incumbency to further advantage when he sent out — at taxpayer expense — his newsletter recently. Rules require it be done early before the election, and of course he squeezed it in just before the deadline.

Fortunately, we have two excellent and experienced challengers running for these two offices: Carina Miller running for State Senate District 30 and Arlene Burns running for State House District 59. Both are running the way they are supposed to, as challengers, asking the voters to elect them. Both have experience in positions of authority: Miller on the Warm Springs Tribal Council and currently on the Gorge Commission, and Burns is in her third term as Mayor of Mosier. And neither of them will walk out and shut down the legislature if they don’t get everything they want.

They will be excellent reps for our area: Please vote for Miller for state Senate and Burns for State House.

Dean Myerson

The Dalles

Long for Congress

The average American pays almost 15 times more in Federal Income Tax than our billionaire president. In an entire year, he only paid $750. President Trump and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler are self-interested. That’s why they passed the 2017 Tax Bill which gave massive tax breaks to large corporations, and left working southwest Washingtonians out to dry.

We need a leader like Carolyn Long, who refuses corporate PAC money and is available to the people of Southwest Washington. Carolyn Long knows what it means to earn a paycheck. She worked through college as a union grocery store worker. All Jaime Herrera Buetler knows is getting thousands of dollars from her corporate donors, like the pharmaceutical industry, and standing by while our prescription drug prices go up. Vote for Carolyn Long for Congress.

Jill Johanson-Kubin

Longview

Wasco St. concern

Wasco Street — think of the children, please.

Wasco Street in Hood River mostly lacks sidewalks, is a straight shot for cars and popular downtown access for commercial trucks, and limits speed to 25 mph. It’s also home to many families, with children riding bikes, skating to the park, and walking in the street (usually not by choice). With fall here and the sun low in the sky and setting early, please be extra cautious driving here!

I wonder if the police could step up enforcement around sunset when people are leaving work? I’m sure most don’t intend to speed — I’ve caught myself doing so at times — but hitting someone at 30 mph is worse than at 25, though it doesn’t seem a big difference inside our powerful, quiet, modern carriages.

One simple idea is to paint the speed limit on the street just past the stop signs. I’ve read studies (forgive my lack of a reference) that claim this is more effective than signage that disappears in our peripheral noise. If Hood River can afford to install a stop sign at the busy (sarcasm) Eighth and Columbia intersection, wouldn’t some paint near 13th and 18th and 22nd streets be worth an affordable try?

Stay safe, and thanks for considering our local families!

Peter MacKay

Hood River

Supporting Lannen

Politics is nothing I pretend to understand, particularly in these divided times, so I found it interesting having a friend of many years get elected commissioner.

Four years ago Tom Lannen did just that; an event that did not happen in a vacuum.

From the time I’ve known Tom, he has consistently stepped up to help in our communities. Volunteering on the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff, as well as offering to be “fresh meat” for Search and Rescue (SAR) trainings. Whether laying on a steep snow covered embankment for hours while being “searched” for, followed by being strapped in a litter for technical ropes rescue operations, to providing extra safety during helicopter training. He was there.

Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) and Amateur Radio License are also on his resume of community commitment.

He is always willing to help.

Then came “Saving Skamania County,” where he began to educate himself on the vagaries of forest (mis)management.

With his growing understanding of the industry he started involving others of many diverse interests/backgrounds to join in the efforts to untangle the daunting forces that have led to our facing a man-made catastrophe, decades in the making: “Unstoppable” wildland fire (oh and dismal county finances).

His political genesis.

Unimpressed with politics, I am impressed with Commissioner Lannen.

Please join me in supporting him.

John Carlson

Stevenson

Long and Harris

Join me in voting for Carolyn Long and Kamala Harris.

Carolyn Long talks directly with southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional district constituents, holding over 80 in-person events. Her incumbent has not been available to talk with us. I have already spoken with Long twice.

Kamala Harris is incisively well spoken and loves to laugh. (Check out her youtube video with Sarah Cooper.) She is a loving family member and mentor.

Both are experts at bringing people together from diverse backgrounds. Skills we need to re-engage our civil society.

Krista Thie

White Salmon

Not for fun

It is not my intention to insult American democracy just for fun. As good a system of self governing that it may appear to be … it is a failure. Mankind cannot govern themselves with equity and decency.

You should be able to admit that since we are witnessing the great social movement of women “saving” the day. They will not. The issues the parties are fighting over are frivolous nonsense. The problem is one that men and women can not fix. Land. The distribution of land. When all men are living on “equal” amounts of land with their families in their own homes, then will you see equality. Why is the ownership of land so important? Food. Life is food. It is not that smart phone in your hand! Until each man and his family are growing the food they need to eat each day on their land and eat it in their own home, you will not witness equality. No man or woman can bring this about. Our society is corrupt due to the natural but dishonest means of owning land. We are a people that have an abundant source of (unhealthy) food and a tremendous amount of idle time. With this idle time we act stupid. People are constantly acting irresponsibly for they have too much idle time. You care about the environment? It will not be cleaned until each man is leading his family each day in the very challenging time consuming chore of growing their own food using “organic” methods. No petroleum-based products including no gas or diesel tractors. No time to fly about polluting the air for you have to manually till that field and weed that other one… if you want to eat that is. If each person was responsible for tending to the demands required when one must grow their own food you would witness the disappearance of our social problems. Do you desire to be a part of this? You must abandon the current vain voice vote system now. You must educate and enlighten your mind by reading the much hated and scorned Book. The Book contains much “filler” material so ask me where the golden nuggets of knowledge are hidden. Chapters. I will guide you to read whole chapters of exciting knowledge. Do you have the sense and courage to take the gamble that the Book has the answers?

Gary Fischer

The Dalles

Washington’s best

Gina in Olympia and Jaime in D.C.: We are so fortunate to be represented by two of the state’s most qualified legislators for these very big positions. Both have been not only elected by us constituents but selected by their fellow legislators to serve on two of the most powerful committees — Appropriations and Labor. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker was also selected to be Deputy Caucus Chair of all the State House Republicans, the powerful position that determines when and if bills get debated and voted upon.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, working first up through district level positions, has been serving us on a Federal level for 10 years. She has proved her leadership constantly getting key bills passed and was out of Washington’s 12 members of Congress ranked “most effective” for championing solutions for jobs, affordable health care and preserving the way of life that makes our area special.

They both have the very unique skills of getting bi partisan support from fellow conservatives of both Parties of the bills they sponsor and daily negotiate for us. We all benefit from the professional respect they each have earned and need them to continue to successfully fight for us in these senior level positions.

Adrian Bradford

Lyle

That’s my America

My uncle fought fascism in World War II, and returned home a patriot, and understandably, for the times, holding very racist convictions. It was a no-brainer to rally against a threat to “our” Democracy from without, where “the enemy” looks and talks different from “us.” It took all the sacrifice,suffering and heartbreak we could bear to protect our country and the world from totalitarian dictatorship.

Now again we are called upon to protect ourselves and the world from the threat of fascism — but this time it is embedded within the fabric of our nation. This fascism wraps itself in super-patriotic flags and exhortations, and proceeds to dismantle government institutions like the post office, and what my uncle was defending in the Pacific front, the right and ability for citizens to vote.

Hannah Arendt has described totalitarianism. It hates diversity; it bullies and tells lies. It has a military that stomps out dissent and persecutes those not “chosen.”

Whether fascism succeeds this time depends on whether the police-military will bully their neighbors and families into submission; or whether they will recognize that we as a nation are still struggling to meet our patriotic commitment to One Nation, under God (mine too!) with equal rights to Life, Liberty, Opportunity, and Justice for All. Will our police and military protect dissenting citizens? Or will they protect the heavily armed and potentially violent white supremacists wrapped in the flag and touting “law and order?”

During a Black Lives Matter rally in a Gorge town this summer, the local police stood up to prevent the leering, flag-flying, unmasked white counter-protesters from intimidating and breathing on the diverse, masked, and vocal protesters who — ironically — were demanding an end to police brutality! Now, that’s my police — local, fair, and just. And that’s my America.

Beatrice Lackaff

White Salmon

Editor’s note: This letter ran in the Oct. 7 edition but last seven words and the writer’s name were inadvertently cut off. We publish it again, with our apologies.

Tears and thanks

With tears streaming down my face, I thank God for my three heroes. At the very risk and cost of their health and careers, they strove to meet the critical needs of the Flagstone Memory Care residents against all odds last month. An incredible nurse and facility chaplain remained 12 straight days, working through the night, continuing to serve ill residents with every bit of energy that they had.

Their director sought, and asked “Corporate” for supplies, staffing and support with minimal response.

This past month has been traumatic for the residents and staff of Flagstone. Likened to a battlefield, Memory Care became a place of death, with a lack of supplies and care-givers for residences’ critical needs and seemingly ignored by the outside world. (If only the outside world could have known!)

These three people mourn for those, dear to them, that didn’t make it and rejoice that others were able to be transported to facilities out of town.

One of my heros became sick with COVID-19 and two were fired as if they had been the ones negligent. You know, as horrific as this real-life scenario has been, I believe that these three would have done it all again rather than to abandon those under their care in the conditions and fate they would have left them.

They would not, and could not, leave the residents they loved and served.

I suspect that they would prefer not to be mentioned, but, for me they are the unsung heroes of The Dalles! They are my heroes.

Ramona Harwood

The Dalles

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