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Letters to the Editor for Feb. 26

Ironies

We are told not to judge all Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics. But, on the other hand, we are encouraged to judge all gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

How is that supposed to work?

Irony 2:

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever, to 47 million people as of the most recent figures available in 2013.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us “Please do not feed the animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because, “The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”

Thus ends today’s lesson on irony.

Dorothy M. Haanstad

Hood River

White is golden

I couldn’t wait to see the Olympics for 2014 and to see Shaun White take home the gold, but he was making too many mistakes so he gave the gold to Russia. Whatever Shaun decides to do in his future after he retires I know he’ll be the very best in anything he wants to do and be number one at it.

Pam Smiley

Odell

Donate books

This May, Ron and I will be participating in a food run to remote areas of the Navajo Reservation in Arizona through the Adopt-a-Native-Elder program. There are always lots of kids around, many of whom have never owned a book of their own.

If you are in the mood to clear out some books your kids have outgrown, we would love to pick them up and take them with us to hand out.

You can contact me at ronghr@aol.com. You’ll be creating lots of smiles on grateful faces!

Marg Guth

Hood River

No response

Representation, or a lack thereof: I have openly requested Congressman Greg Walden’s staff to assist me with Travel Management, the collaborative group and the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision. I have asked local staff in Riley Bushue, and now Kirby Garrett.

Last week I contacted Brian McDonald, chief of staff at Rep. Walden’s D.C. office, again, no response.

I did have the opportunity to visit with Rep. Walden on Jan. 11, 2013, in Mt. Vernon, Ore., on the issue of Travel Management. Rep. Walden assured me he would bring the issue up to Rep. Hastings and work to address them, and let me know through Mr. Bushue what was going on.

I repeatedly asked for follow-up; no response was ever given from Mr. Walden or his staff on the issue. I have repeatedly contacted Mr. Bushue and now Mr. Garrett on issues revolving around development of Sub-Part A of Travel Management, the collaborative group and the upcoming Forest Plan Revision; no response has ever been given to my concerns.

I recently contacted Mr. Garrett asking for a congressional inquiry as to why the Wallowa Whitman National Forest supervisor staff is being allowed to hand-pick which “public meetings” the public is allowed to attend; again, no response.

Is this truly the kind of “representation” we deserve or want from an elected official? I know I don’t.

Is it proper for only some to be paid to attend meetings and keep people locked out of them, or hold them during times the general public can’t attend them? If you don’t think it’s happening, just start asking for meeting times, agendas, and attendees list; you’ll find no-one’s real willing to let you know, because they don’t want you there.

It’s incredibly simpler to control a message when you control the conversation and tell others how you are going to march people down a process. But the sickening part is when elected officials allow it to happen, unchecked, which is what Mr. Walden continues to allow to happen, with poor staffing and even poorer engagement in the matter.

John George

Bates, Ore.

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Forest Service in 2005 published the “Final Travel Management Rule,” which directs all National Forests to designate a system of roads, trails and areas for motorized vehicle use.

Walden’s votes

Warning: This article is about Rep. Greg Walden and may be offensive to some readers, if so hold your hands over your eyes, “nod your head” and read the next article.

Well, “Kick the Can Walden” did it again on Feb. 11, 2014; he voted against raising the debt limit for the second time. Remember the last time he voted against raising the debt limit; he said the reason was he did not want to “kick the can down the road.” His vote, if passed, would have defaulted on U.S. debt, similar to a Third World country, and stopped Social Security and veterans payments.

The previous “no” vote was right after he voted to shut the government down, and that cost the economy/taxpayers more than $30 billion, because he did not like Obamacare.

Rep. Walden’s stance on Obamacare reminds me of a neighbor we had when I was growing up. Every once in a while his cow would get out of his pasture and he would always end up shooting the cow. One time my dad asked him why don’t you just fix the fence and he replied, “Too much work.”

In a recent article Rep. Walden published about things he helped with on getting a budget bill passed, one of items was he helped get a 1 percent pay raise for veterans who have been risking their lives in defending this country’s policies for the last 10-plus years. Come on, “Greg,” I would hope you could do better than that.

The most recent thing I read about Rep. Walden was a statement he made in leaving Hood River; he said on his agenda was to look into (start investigation?) on how federal dollars were spent on writing software for Cover Oregon.

I’m sure with enough federal dollars spent they will find out some of the software writers took too long of coffee breaks, some may have been unproductive a few days because of hangovers and et cetera. I wonder why “tinker’s dam” comes to my mind when I think about this possible investigation.

Don Olson

Hood River

Marijuana not to blame

Re: “Keep roads safe” (Our readers write, Feb. 22): There are many good reasons that young adults who are inexperienced drivers should not be driving late at night. Lack of experience driving in those conditions and other drivers who are tired or under the influence of drugs, (the deadliest of which are prescription drugs and alcohol), make night driving more dangerous.

There is little or no evidence that marijuana use is a significant contributor to that danger. In states that have enacted medical marijuana, traffic fatalities have fallen, on average, 10 percent. We don’t really know why this is so, though it’s theorized that with ready availability of marijuana some people substitute it for alcohol or prescription drugs and that they tend not to drive after using it.

Colorado, the first state to legalize sale of marijuana, anticipates collecting $184 million in tax revenue from the first 18 months of legalization. The state also stands to save nearly $150 million it spent at the state and municipal level arresting and incarcerating pot smokers.

Colorado, wisely I think, decided to plow most of the undedicated portion of that money into drug prevention and treatment. It is policy that has the promise of positively impacting every facet of life in their state, even making driving safer.

Ben Seagraves

White Salmon, Wash.

Fields study

Re: “County looks at ball fields (Feb. 22): With all due respect to Mr. Dave Meriwether, I’m wondering if before several agencies pitch in to spend $45,000 to determine if our county fields could be managed more efficiently, that perhaps they could arrange a meeting with all the schedulers from the various sports that use the fields.

Those schedulers, from soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, football, track, ultimate frisbee, and rugby (youth and adult in all sports), could bring their schedules from last spring and fall. I think that those schedulers will agree that they have squeezed every inch of field and every second of daylight available after school on all county fields, including church fields and private school fields.

Please, look over those schedules. Community Ed probably schedules 80 percent of the fields, but St. Mary’s, Horizon Christian and First Baptist Church also host team practices and games. If you see any holes, I’m sure they would like to know about them, because everyone is looking for more time and space.

The inventory of fields has already been done by HRVPR. The schedules for this season are being made now. If there is any question about how difficult is to find field space, just call up one of the organizations and the mystery will be solved.

Adding lights to one of the existing fields would increase field availability and partially alleviate the scheduling pressure on our county fields. Coincidentally, it cost $40,000 to install lights at Collins Field.

Peg Bogard

Hood River

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