Friday, November 7, 2003/lk
The Hay family would like to give our deepest thanks to the Hood River News. Their recent articles concerning Leonard Hay touched many lives.
A special thank-you goes to editor Kirby Neumann-Rea, for covering the Firefighter’s Reunion. In this article you wrote about the gathering of the firefighters to honor their past chief, Leonard Hay. The firefighters who came spanned over 50 years of service, from 1953 to the present. This article helped foster good will among the firefighters, our family, friends and even complete strangers who read the article and positively commented on it. We also appreciate the group firefighter photos that were taken and shared with our family. We have also shared these pictures with the firefighters and friends. The photographs have made special momentos for many lives.
Another thank-you goes to the Hood River News for the article about Leonard in the Yesteryears section. It was special for our family and friends to remember and reminisce about the earlier years.
Our hats are off to you, Hood River News, for covering the human side of the news. We admire the care and honor you gave our family during a sensitive time. Now that Leonard has recently passed away these articles are even more special to us and will be treasured and shared with future family members.
The Hay Family
Wal-Mart has value
I’ve lived in Hood River Valley for 70 years and have seen a lot of changes. But I didn’t realize there were so many blind people in Hood River until I read the front page of the Hood River News a couple of Saturdays ago. The Citizens for Responsible Growth (CFRG) seem to be blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other. They overlook the taxes Wal-Mart will pay for our schools. Hood River has lost many businesses and industry which have moved to other towns in Oregon. Now, are they trying to run Wal-Mart out of town? If Wal-Mart leaves Hood River, it will leave us without any place to buy clothes here unless we are looking for recreational or sports type of clothing. They say Wal-Mart is not a LOCAL business, BUT neither are Safeway and Rosauers as they are chain stores also. We never had to have stop lights in Hood River until the recreational business started up. The workers at Wal-Mart might not be able to have a boat or recreational vehicle in their back yard, but they seem to be able to make a living wage which would be lost if Wal-Mart is pushed out of Hood River. As the old saying goes, “they can’t stop progress” but the CFRG think they can put a dent in it.
Box stops here?
Welcome to Wal-Mart! Especially if you jumped the fence, snuck in the back door and do all the dirty work for the upper crust!
Even though the Walton family has a net worth larger than Bill Gates, their poor little corporation must hire hundreds of unpapered aliens in order to keep wages down — wages which ought to be going to tax-paying citizens. With unemployment at alarming rates in this country, Wal-Mart snubs both white and Latino Americans in favor of people desperate enough to do the crime on Wally time.
A recent article in The Sunday Oregonian spelled out many virtues of this fine company. After roasting the arrogant and incompetent service at her local outlet — and confessing she shops there for the low prices — the author listed numerous Wal-Mart developments; allow me to quote:
“Illegal immigrants under the table ... people forced to work overtime for free ... the rash of lawsuits ... illegal labor practices ...
“Wal-Mart pushes down the nation’s wages and benefits ... retailers that offer decent employment packages struggle to compete ... unionized grocers can’t compete with Wal-Mart’s non-union labor ...
“Economists cite Wal-Mart as a major factor in the bankruptcy of two dozen supermarket chains and one factor in the decline of the U.S. manufacturing industry ... suppliers search globally for the cheapest manufacturers.”
What this Goliath wants to do to the local economy is already modeled by what they’ve done to the national economy. County commissioners, are you going to punish Safeway, Rosauers and many other businesses for their years of service to the community? There’s not much Hood River officials can do about issues of global monopolization, but here’s a modest proposal — the box stops here!
And when Wally-World threatens to leave town if they don’t get their way, tell them to go ahead and get out. Like most big barking dogs they will probably back down if you stand up to them. Let them lose a few battles and maybe they’ll decide it’s time to catch up with the latest civilized standards of economic practice, labor relations, and quality service for quality pay.
Democracy is wonderful. Not only did the people get these two initiatives up for a vote, but a landslide majority let it be known how much we care about the water we drink and the landscape where we live, work and play. Now let’s hope our officials act appropriately regarding the impending threat of Wal-Mart.
Bigger isn’t better
On Nov. 1, I was reading the Letters to the Editor and one caught my eye called “Bigger is better.” The writer who is my age said that all those who don’t want a Wal-Mart super store should just be quiet and let them build it anyway. Now, I was being quiet until there was a letter telling me to be quiet. So I decided to speak my mind as well. Here I go.
Is it or is it not true, that our country is a democracy in which it is our duty to speak for what we believe to be important? If the answer is no, then I would seriously think about what makes us American citizens. It is not about being rich, having the newest car, having the best toy or getting the latest computer.
When you think about it there are more than 6 billion people on this planet. If everyone had as much stuff as Americans do, we would need 99 more planets. The point I want to make is that the majority of the people have nothing. Kids our age are working long hours in sweat shops to make a lot of the stuff you buy. They are also getting pennies a day for it. Who do you think is profiting from people going to Wal-Mart? It is not you, it is not the family-owned shops, it sure isn’t the sweat shop laborers, so who is it?
I am not just against Wal-Mart making a super store in Hood River, I am against what Wal-Mart and other huge corporations stand for, the top few getting insane amounts of money at the expense of everyone else. Yes, that does include us, because you and I live in this world that they are quickly wrecking.
P.S. Isn’t it just as far from Cascade Locks to Troutdale as it is to Hood River?
Kory Harding, age 14
On Nov. 12, nearly two years after Wal-Mart first submitted its application to develop a 187,000 square-foot superstore on Hood River’s west side, the County Planning Commission will take a vote on the project.
The Commission has heard ample testimony on the compatibility of Wal-Mart to the rest of Hood River, on the impact of this development on traffic, natural features, and downstream flooding. The Commission will base its decision on the facts and the law. Those of us who have worked to present important information to the Commission in all these areas, are of course hopeful that the Commission will agree with us that the proposal fails to meet county requirements in a number of key areas, and will deny the application based on those failures.
However, I am also hopeful that other facts about Wal-Mart and its rapid deployment of giant facilities across rural and urban landscapes will not be far from the commissioners’ minds as they mull the facts. Numerous communities across America, including most recently, Oakland Calif., have passed ordinances excluding Wal-Mart and other vast-box retailers. Los Angeles is expected to follow. If the impacts of a giant Wal-Mart are considered injurious in mega-cities with tons of retail competitors, how much more should we be concerned about the impact of a huge Wal-Mart on local businesses and the secure, higher-paid employees at Rosauers, Safeway, Hi-School Pharmacy, Rite Aid and so many others?
Sure, we’d all like to pay less. But I am less thrilled to pay less when my bargain comes at the exploitation of others. Last week, hundreds of illegal aliens were arrested while they cleaned Wal-Mart stores. The federal government also seized numerous documents from Wal-Mart headquarters. Insiders close to the investigation say Wal-Mart knew, and even supported, the hiring of illegals by those with cleaning contracts, because they can pay them far less than legal Americans. That’s why a can of tomato soup costs less at a Wal-Mart grocery.
Having attended every Wal-Mart hearing before the planning commission, and read hundreds of pages of testimony, including every Wal-Mart submission, I also have to say that Wal-Mart’s cavalier attitude towards the floods their project will inevitably cause at the Columbia Gorge Hotel is anything but neighborly. In fact, that is probably my overwhelming opinion after all this time: add up the other communities that have seen Wal-Mart coming at them and said NO (including three in Oregon), add up the class action lawsuit filed two months ago by thousands of female Wal-Mart employees alleging discrimination, add the recent illegal worker bust, and Wal-Mart’s own careless attitude in its Hood River application, and what do you get? The word “neighbor” does not come to mind. “Nightmare” does.
Clean, then preach
I must tell you that I DID over step my Wal-Mart way of thinking. I was looking for the cheapest way to make it in this over taxed world when I wrote my last editorial letter.
The taxes are always going to be there, it’s up to us to say enough and vote no! When it comes to a super store that pays $8-9 an hour I can change my mind and say no.
When the other stores pay more and have health care and benefits I can shop there only and I will. Wal-Mart went out of its way to design a store to our liking but will suck this town dry and take the money and run. If it does build there is not one thing in the county law that says you must buy. I also think that what is now on the Wal-Mart proposed land should be cleaned up. Look at the trash in the creek, you would be sick. If a company had that much trash in the creek they would be closed down and then fined by the county that should not have let it get that bad in the first place. Is there no accountability except for Wal-Mart on the dump? I believe in the free market but only when it is even. Have the land owner clean up the dump first then preach to Wal-Mart. I will buy from the small shop owners in Hood River.