Wednesday, May 29, 2002
I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to vote in the Primary Election. I am especially grateful to those who, like me, believe it is necessary to make some drastic changes in local government to begin changing the anti-business reputation of Hood River. To those people, I would say, “Please do not believe that it is the wrong message. I was just the wrong messenger.”
This election was greatly influenced by the casino issue. It would now be very interesting to see how the real politicians, who have publicly stated they were for an Indian casino in one part of Hood River County (Cascade Locks) can now be totally opposed to it in another part (the east side). Have we not already given up the moral high ground?
It’s about zoning
This Wal-Mart thing is getting ridiculous. Instead of a zoning issue, people are trying to turn it into a big vs. small business issue. If that attitude prevails, do we then zone Rosauers and Safeway out of Hood River because they also are owned by “outsiders” and because there are 10 smaller grocery stores in the Hood River Valley?
One person notes that the Pear Festival tourists weren’t here to shop in Wal-Mart. So? They weren’t here to shop in our locally owned stores either. And, to the extent that they did buy local fruit, arts and crafts, does anybody really think they would have bought less of those at Wal-Mart if it were bigger?
And what’s this talk about “family wage?” Gee ... do we really have a choice between Ford Motor Co., Tektronix or Wal-Mart? Has anybody done or seen an impartial salary study between Wal-Mart and competing locally-owned “specialty” stores? Or even of the number of employees. Or of how many dollars and jobs would go back to The Dalles and Portland if Wal-Mart were not here?
There are legitimate landscaping, parking and traffic control issues arould a Wal-Mart expansion. Let’s work on these before we get another business with no decent landscaping requirements or monetary contribution to traffic control.
Add ‘Social Capital’
As I was searching for progressive, forward thinking books to read, I came across this title: “Bowling Alone.” The main premise is: “one’s level of social interaction has a direct impact on health and happiness.” Wow! I like the sound of that ... there’s more ... the author describes three forms of “capital”; human, financial, and social. Further, that social capital may just be the most important. The definition given for Social Capital is this: things like helping your neighbor, knowing your community, voting. Hood River is a community rich in Social Capital. I feel privileged to live amongst peers who are socially conscious of each other, who not only care about community issues, but will spend time working on these issues, who will stop on the way to work and have a conversation. Thank you!
Sheila C. Schmid
Keep common sense
I have become aware through my interactions with friends and neighbors that many people think the proposed gigantic Wal-Mart is a done deal and there is nothing we can do about it.
However, this is not true. It is not too late to get informed and get involved. Learn more about how you can make a difference in your town and why it is important. Come and hear Al Norman speak on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Westside Elementary School Gym. Show your support for your town and join in the parade and Arms Around Our Town celebration on Friday. Meet at the city parking lot at 5th and Cascade at 3:30 p.m.
We live in such a special place. Concrete and big boxes are final, but they are not here yet. Clean streams and rivers, fresh air and green space, and a small town with a strong sense of community are worth much more to me and my family than the endless amount of already available and superfluous stuff that can be purchased at any number of super stores in Anytown, U.S.A. Most necessities are already available from local merchants who use local services, pay local taxes and serve locally to help their neighbors.
It is not wise to lose our common sense in the effort to save five cents.
‘Smart,’ yet required
In a recent letter to the editor of the Hood River News, published on May 22, I stated that Luhr Jensen was a founding member and participant of the Green Smart Program and donated time and efforts to help other business in the area adopt environmental procedures and recycling. This is true. It is also true (and we were recently reminded by the DEQ, with the threat of additional civil penalties) that we agreed to further state that our involvement with “Green Smart” was a part of a settlement from a prior civil penalty that was assessed in 1997. Thus, we so state.
Supervisor of Engineering,
Luhr Jensen and Sons