Friday, August 23, 2002
Know your choices
In regards to Lynn Jakle’s letter of Aug. 17 (“Buy local products”): In the interests of fairness, it should be noted that there was actually a local beverage producer at the Town & Country Business After Hours event: Hood River Vineyards (who, like Full Sail and other local vendors, provides a price break for this function). Perhaps Ms. Jakle’s taste that afternoon ran more towards beer than wine, and so she missed us. But many guests enjoyed our wine along with the wonderful setting and barbecue. It was a nice community-building event.
I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Jakle that buying locally is good, and especially agree with her comment to “put your money where your mouth is” wherever possible; as usual, actions speak louder than words. But I don’t think it does our community a lot of good to point fingers and level blame at each other. Most of the folks at the Business After Hours the other evening spend a fair amount of money in locally-owned businesses valley-wide (and yes, they may also pop into Wal-Mart or Safeway from time to time). There are a lot of choices out there, and the “buy locally” issue is not as black and white as it might seem. The first thing to do is to become more aware of what the choices around you are.
Anne Lerch, Hood River Vineyards
Don’t trade land
Kate MacCarthy wrote a very nice letter to explain why the county should not swap land for land. Land not in the watershed is best for any trade. Do not trade watershed land for anything. Mt. Hood Meadows can build the destination resort somewhere else thus protecting our water. So many other places didn’t and now have water that is contaminated so they are having trouble with getting any drinking water.
Use inner energies
1. All children are connected to the same life force — the breath which is part of our soul power.
Why help teach about soul power and soul energy — to unite all religions.
2. Would there be a war in the Middle East if all the parents and grandparents were promoting multicultural teen interactions through their OWN community centers? Children that learn how to play and work at projects together are more able to stay together.
3. Check out the juvenile records, and the teen PGs timing of interaction and see how the statistics prove the majority of these social problems (poor choices) are happening from 3-7 p.m. The teen center needs to be open during all curfew hours!
4. Our wise, and often wealthy, seniors need to feel more useful also — many have already volunteered their time to go and hang out (oversee) at the teen center.
5. Community Education has also mentioned having many Community Education projects oriented to being taught after school at the center just for groups of teens.
6. Teens and seniors are a very special part of our society that need more interaction and healthy activities presented and available to them.
How about using drug war monies, and war machine monies to develop multicultural teen and senior centers? More money to teachers, counselors and others developing and promoting renewable energy programs.
We are all children of the same cosmic life force. Each one of us needs to be more aware of our own soul energy, gifts and soul purpose (which is all for the good of the individual and the world).
What each of us focus on is important — we can all help change our focus from ego to mind to soul.
Our soul has good information waiting for each of us to use. Caring,
Affording to live
My parents, sisters, and I, our children and grandchildren were born and raised here. We have seen many changes. We have watched over the years, sometimes sadly as people have discovered this wonderful valley and helped change our way of life forever.
The neat old places have long since disappeared. Pop’s Place, Penneys, Zigglers, etc. There are those of us who work here who appreciate what Wal-Mart has to offer. It is difficult to afford living here and Wal-Mart does make it easier.
Please do not deny jobs and benefits to other people who only want to live in this beautiful area.
Let Wal-Mart grow
I would like to take a few moments to add my voice to the opinions on the Wal-Mart Super Center. I am in favor of a new Wal-Mart in Hood River. A Super Center would be a benefit to our community. A new Wal-Mart would create additional jobs that provide medical insurance and retirement plans to employees, and provide low-priced, quality merchandise and groceries for the people of the Columbia Gorge. Many people forget that this community is an expensive place to live for our seniors, migrant workers, and for young families, like mine. A Super Center Wal-Mart would increase many people’s abilities to make ends meet. I understand the need for opposition from the small business owners, they worry about their own businesses and the appeal to tourism. But in truth Wal-Mart also adds back to our community. Wal-Mart is involved in many things; Relay for Life, Children’s Miracle Network, and United Way to name a few. Wal-Mart donates money and supplies to local schools and fundraisers. Wal-Mart has also been known to have in-store fundraisers for employees and their families that have met with tragedy. That is something rare in this community.
This community needs a place where the lower and middle income families can afford to shop for clothing, needed supplies — and most of all — groceries.
Hood River should not strictly cater to the upper class and the tourists. Tourism does not build a community. The long standing citizens do. And as a long standing citizen of Hood River County, I would vote for having a Wal-Mart Super Center as a part of our community.
The proposed Wal-Mart Superstore is not in accordance with Hood River’s Comprehensive Plan for several reasons:
The Plan states, “The ‘use’ (of any new development) shall be compatible with surrounding uses, size and character” (p 71 e6). A 185,000-square-foot retail store is not compatible with the size and character of Hood River. The proposed Super Wal-Mart would in fact be almost the same size as Hood River’s downtown area!
According to Wal-Mart’s traffic study, a Super Wal-Mart at the proposed site would bring in approximately 10,800 visits on a Saturday alone. Only 5,582 people live in Hood River’s city limits. It is not hard to see that a Super Wal-Mart would not be compatible with Hood River’s surrounding uses, size and character.
The Comprehensive Plan also states that one of its goals is “To ensure retention of the unique visual character and scenic variety associated with the mountain landscape. Strip development is to be specifically avoided along major access corridors” (p 38 1a). A gigantic big box Super Wal-Mart would not retain Hood River’s “unique visual character” or its “scenic variety,” and, in direct defiance of the Plan’s goals, would in fact BE strip development along a major access corridor.
Unbuckle the law
Candace Henderson’s letter to the editor in the Aug. 17 paper illustrates an insidious problem infecting our country today. Her gleeful tirade about seat belt fines points out that everyone with a cause these days can find a forum and lawmakers to support them. It is sad that these people cannot see the real issue, the erosion of personal freedoms in America. Simply stated, it should be your right to choose whether to wear a seat belt or not. The argument that it is “the law” simply doesn’t wash. Wrong is wrong. In the 1930s it was “the law” that blacks sit in the back of the bus. It was “the law” that you couldn’t drink alcohol. These laws were wrong, but they were “the law.”
I would like to point out to Henderson that it is simply none of her business whether or not I wear a seat belt. To support the concept of forcing people through monetary penalties to conform with her ideas is typical thinking for those who feel they know what is best for those of us too stupid to control our own destiny. Don’t get me wrong, I support her right to attempt to get people to use seat belts. If she wants to stand on the street corner and hand out photos of the destruction caused to un-belted humans involved in accidents then I enthusiastically support her. If she wants to have radio and TV ads touting her position, then great.
But to try to force people to conform to her idea is simply wrong. The only legitimate leg that she and “the law” have to stand on is the issue of the cost to society for those people injured while not wearing a seat belt. A certain percentage of those people have no insurance, nor any method to pay for their care. But this issue alone does not justify forcing people like myself, with ample insurance and the means to pay medical bills, to wear seat belts. I must point out that, by not having insurance, these people are in violation of yet another “law” — mandatory insurance.
I will never wear a seat belt in any situation where I can avoid it. I will “fake” the seat belt over my shoulder to fool “the law” anytime I can. I’ve paid a number of fines for not wearing seat belts, and I’m sure I’ll pay more in the future. Oh, well! I like to live my life with a certain amount of risk. This is my right and these people who think they know what is best for me need to go away and mind their own business!
There are news leaks every day about the coming war on Iraq. The sheer volume seem to point to the inevitability of this action. However, for those of us who oppose it, we need to remember that in a democracy, the people rule. Therefore, if we do nothing, the blood shed will be on our hands.
Why is there opposition to bombing Iraq? To begin, it is an immoral act of aggression. Iraq has not threatened the U.S. verbally or physically. Although G.W. Bush tried to implicate Iraq in the events of last Sept. 11, he finally had to drop the accusations because there was no evidence linking Iraq to any of the terrorists; Saudi Arabia, our ally in the “war on terrorism,” has many links. And wreaking violence on a country which may someday attack us if it happens to get together the weapons necessary, fear of a possibility (however remote), has never been an acceptable argument for assaulting another. In fact, we tend to label those acts of aggression “terrorism.”
Secondly, we have caused untold suffering in that country already in the past 10 years. “We” refers to the United States and the United Kingdom which have insisted on continuing sanctions in the face of growing opposition from other members of the United Nations. “We” also refers to the U.S. military which has continued to bomb Iraq (over 25 bombings this year) and which chose to target civilian infrastructure (water treatment and electrical plants, for example) even though there were reports explaining that the main victims of these attacks would be children. We are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dead children. Do we want to be responsible for more?
Finally, there has been discussion of the possibility that Iraq is creating weapons of mass destruction. At the Senate hearings this month, weapons inspectors from the U.S. and the U.N. were not invited to give testimony. The very people who had the jobs and the information to make a rational decision on whether Iraq has been able to create weapons of mass destruction were excluded from discussing this with our legislators. They have given interviews, however, and have agreed that the possibility is extremely slim. Interestingly, the only country who has ever created and used weapons of mass destruction in a conflict is the U.S. We also have the largest arsenal of weapons in the world.
With all of these points in mind, it is up to us to contact our legislators and tell them that we do not support an attack on Iraq. Although officials in Congress and the Pentagon have expressed concerns about such an attack, the administration seems to be pushing ahead with this plan. We need to remind our representatives that, under the Constitution, they alone have the power to declare war and they answer to us.
Iraq attack wrong
As America edges closer to war with Iraq, it is important to note that the Administration’s case for a pre-emptive attack rests solely on what President Bush calls “solid intelligence” that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction — intelligence which, of course, it cannot share with the American public or even Congress for “reasons of national security.”
Scott Ritter, former Chief U.S. Weapons Inspector for UNISCOM in Iraq says that there is no credible evidence to support the President’s claim. Ritter spent seven years in Iraq investigating chemical, biological and nuclear weapons stockpiles and factories before he was expelled by Hussein. Ritter agrees with the President that Hussein is an evil and devious man who cannot be believed. A life-long Republican who voted for the President, Ritter now claims that Bush’s claim cannot be believed.
To support his position, Ritter cites two facts among others: The first is that UNISCOM located and destroyed 90-95 percent of all chemical and biological weapons, storehouses, manufacturing equipment and factories before being forced out in 1998.
The second is that any new manufacture of these weapons would have been detected by NATO air monitoring of vented gases as well as by satellite detection. The manufacture of nuclear weapons would likewise have been spotted by over-flying gamma ray detectors.
Ritter’s conclusion is that Hussein and Bush are both playing a similarly dangerous political game. Hussein knows that he is only as powerful as his bluff that he possesses weapons of mass destruction. Bush knows that his power base in Washington depends on convincing the American people of the same thing — and attacking Iraq before the November elections.
I would urge readers to write Sen. Joseph Biden, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, inquiring why he did not invite Scott Ritter to testify before his committee recently, and urging him to ask Ritter to testify immediately (Sen. Biden can be reached at: SR221, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510; 202-224-5225; fax 202-224-0139; firstname.lastname@example.org).
David C. Duncombe
Time for peace
When you walk into almost any church there is usually a banner hanging that reads “Teach Peace” or “Teach Love.”
As the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy nears there are different ways to acknowledge the day. The Columbia Gorge Fellowship for Peace will be hosting a week-long remembrance of the Sept. 11 attack called “From Ground Zero to Common Ground,” and will be hosting a series of speakers and inter-faith talks along with musical events that involve the whole family. It’s not about JUST US — it’s about ALL of us on this planet. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves everyone blind and toothless. It’s time to get involved and let your voice be heard — peace is the answer.
There will also be a family-oriented music festival, “Hoodstock,” Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Hood River Marina Park from 1-11 p.m., featuring 10 local bands, food, crafts, and beverages. Please make some time in your busy schedule to hear some speakers and music; this will be a better place because of it.
Stephen J. Curley
This Wal-Mart expansion really has seemed to stir people up.
I am not for the expansion or moving of such a large retail segment out of the main shopping district, and into a residential area, not to mention the fact that the proposed building sight is a flood prone area, and such a large expansion would cause extreme traffic congestion. But I do value Wal-Mart in its current location and size. I do shop there, but I just don’t think it needs to be ... super.
As we make decisions about future growth in the Gorge it would be refreshing to avoid the kind of polarizing dialogue recently printed in this column.
Money poor master
Reading and hearing on TV about corporation executives being motivated by greed brought to my mind this saying: “Money is a good servant, but a poor master.”