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Letters to the Editor for July 26

Save DACA

DACA is in danger. Please speak up to save it.

Ten states, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Idaho, have threatened to sue the federal government over DACA if the law is not repealed by Sept. 5. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not defend it and wants it repealed. Homeland Security Chief John Kelley is pro-DACA. President Trump says he is thinking about it real hard.

Our U.S. Representative, Greg Walden, does not support DACA or immigrant rights. He has consistently voted against meaningful immigration reform.

As a high school teacher, I have witnessed what DACA does for our students. First, they get their driver’s license. They drive legally and carefully; they cannot get into any trouble or their DACA status may be threatened. Then, they get a job, legally. They work hard. They pay taxes, happily. They apply to college, usually community college, because they do not qualify for financial aid. They attend college, slowly, and continue to work legally, getting better jobs, and paying more taxes. They are not legal citizens until congress passes comprehensive immigration reform. But they continue to drive and work legally. That’s what DACA gives them.

Please urge President Trump to save DACA. I do not believe Walden cares about us or these kids. But Trump may have a soft spot for them, and we need to let him know that this is important. Please save DACA for our community’s kids, and for all kids.

Nan Noteboom

Odell

Clinic checks

Recently in the Hood River News, there was an article about the school-based health clinic at Hood River Valley High School. Such a clinic could be very helpful for students who may not get needed health care otherwise.

However, some parents of girl students might want to know about some situations (I had checked concerning them):

  1. The girl students may receive birth control. The girl determines if the parents are notified or not.

  2. The clinic is willing to refer for abortions.

  3. I was told that Oregon law allows this to be done without notifying parents.

Donald Rose, MD

Hood River

Editor’s note: One Community Health officials said the clinic follows state guidelines which ensure confidentiality for all patients, but always counsels students to involve their parents. Referrals for abortions would be made on request, but that has not happened in the two years the clinic has been open. “We support students’ making informed decisions on preventive health care,” clinic coordinator Lynne Frost said.

Fix it: vote

“Houston, we have a problem.” That famous line from Apollo 13 is appropriate today.

Our political institutions are less democratic than ever. Campaign finance rules are weak and ineffective. The Union Pacifics, Koch Brothers and Phil Knights of the world place heavy thumbs on the electoral scales to tip the balance to candidates who will do their bidding.

This insidious process has increased through decades of Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses. After years of tax breaks, backroom bailouts, military invasions, and weakened protections for consumers, students and workers, we have reached what may be a crisis for democracy in the United States and in the world.

In its first six months, the Trump Administration has signaled clearly that, despite its campaign rhetoric, it identifies with the rich and powerful. President Trump has praised foreign autocrats in Egypt, Turkey, the Philippines and Russia. His cabinet appointments and top policy posts have gone to oil, tobacco, and banking executives.

Even the Trump Jr. scandal is really a symptom of business as usual.

“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don Jr. [sic] attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” tweeted the president.

Sad.

With so much moral blindness at the highest levels, I am inspired by those who have stood for human rights and protections in the past and present: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai.

I am inspired by those who send petitions, e-mails and attend town halls calling out the harm that the repeal and replacement of the ACA will do to states, the sick, and the poor. I am inspired by those who stand up for immigrants, struggling families, refugees and the planet. I am encouraged by those who push back against a government that is too cozy with money interests and too willing to disregard our rights, freedoms and protections.

The struggle for democracy may never be won, but we cannot afford to lose. Write or call your elected representatives. Be informed. Vote.

Mark Reynolds

Odell

CAT and civics

The article in the July 14 issue (“‘Punting’ and moving: Legislators talk 2017 session”) quotes State Senator Chuck Thomsen, citing a reason why he voted against the highway funding bill passed this legislative session: “While he noted the program will help people who ride state-supported bus services, such as Columbia Area Transit, he disagreed with taxing those who don’t necessarily use the services.”

My property tax bill will come soon. If I don’t use the library because my cataracts won’t allow me to read print on paper, can I opt out of that portion of my taxes that goes to the library? Can I avoid property taxes going to the schools because my kids are no longer in school? Must I pay state income taxes for that too? How about the port? As far as I can tell, I don’t receive any services from it. Can I withhold that property tax payment too?

According to Senator Thomsen’s reasoning, I should not have to pay for CAT because I don’t use it. But I thought we had a community and looked out for each other. I thought people cared whether elders were able to move about without a car. I certainly care. But, silly me.

I support CAT for people who don’t have a car, such as my sister, who cannot drive due to dementia, or another elderly relative who depends upon CAT for her three-times-a-week dialysis. And, bottom line, part of my taxes that support mass transit in any form is a way of paying for the pollution I create each time I drive my car to support the local economy.

This is basic community economics that’s been with us throughout my 82 years. We learned about this in fifth-grade civics. Maybe Senator Thomsen missed that lesson.

David Hupp

Hood River

Walden, help me breathe!

Rep. Greg Walden, would you please buck Trump’s campaign to slash environmental protections and help me breathe? Please vote NO on HR 806, the so-called Ozone Standards Implementation Act. This bill would more accurately be called the “Asthma Promotion Act,” because that would be the real result if it were passed — more dirty air, more smog-choked skies, more asthmatics in our ERs.

Under the guise of implementing the stronger 2015 ozone standard, this legislation would actually delay implementation by eight years. This delay means that I and Americans everywhere will be needlessly exposed to dangerous air pollution.

Even worse, the bill guts important provisions of the Clean Air Act that have worked for decades to clear our air. It would slow down scientific reviews and updates of health-based standards, and would override a unanimous Supreme Court decision upholding the CAA’s intent that standards be based on human health rather than compliance costs for polluters.

Clean air is my right, and I and other Americans deserve an EPA and Congress working to clean up air pollution, not roll back the clock on our collective progress.

HR 806 is an affront to public health and a step in the wrong direction. Mr. Walden, I need you to protect my health and that of other Americans by voting NO on HR 806, the Asthma Promotion bill.

Lynda Sacamono

Mosier

Children’s Theater needed program

The Children’s Theater Program is another needed addition to the Columbia Center for the Arts expanding offerings to our Gorge community.

This Children’s Theater production was a shortened version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The young actors and their artistic director Sullivan Mackintosh had developed this production from scratch in a two-week theater camp.

What a great opportunity for the young actors to have the experience of crafting, producing, and presenting their own production on a real stage!

And what a treat it was to the audience to see a fresh, energetic production of this Shakespeare favorite as seen through their eyes!

As an olde Liberal Arts guy, I am delighted to see this program for developing interest and skills in theater added to the curricula.

Dick Swart

Hood River

Save public lands

Walden, please save our public lands!

I hope that Rep. Greg Walden will decide to act in the interests of his District 2 constituents and pressure Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to protect our Cascade Siskiyou National Monument outside Ashland. The two of them visited the monument together over last weekend, as part of a “review” of a number of national public lands which Trump is hoping to reduce, eliminate, and/or open for oil/gas drilling. Mr. Walden had recently said, “I will work with the Trump administration to do what we can to roll back this midnight expansion.”

Cascade Siskiyou was expanded at the end of President Obama’s term only after extensive public process, including numerous public hearings in Ashland and in surrounding counties, and a written comment period. The expansion was supported by a diverse group including neighboring property owners, chambers of commerce, tribes, and sportsmen.

This land is public property, and my natural heritage. I enjoy and recreate in Oregon’s beautiful protected public lands, and thus contribute to our large recreation and tourism economy. “Rolling back” the expansion of this Oregon icon of diversity serves no purpose. I urge Mr. Walden to side with the people and the economy of his district.

Lynne Davidson

Hood River

Walden silent on collusion

Rep. Greg Walden has been awfully quiet about a subject that most of us find frightening and dangerous.

We learned recently that Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met on June 9 with a Russian lawyer, with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election with information to be provided by the Russians.

I am deeply concerned that Trump, Jr.’s participation in this meeting reflects the Trump team’s tolerance of or possible collusion with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. This represents a significant threat to our democracy and requires an aggressive and full investigation. More and more, we are beginning to see principled Republicans expressing their concern about such matters and I am furious that Mr. Walden has said nothing about either the incident itself or the need for the individuals involved to publicly testify. I understand one’s loyalty to one’s party but at some point an honorable congressperson must speak out on the side of disclosure and truth. Walden’s continued silence amounts to the protection of an amoral and unethical president in the face of threats to our democracy, and is inexcusable.

Joseph Sacamano

Mosier

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valleycat1 4 months ago

To Dr. Rose regarding 'girl' students' rights to confidential medical care through the school clinic: Here in the 21st century, even in states that require parental involvement in minors' health care decisions regarding abortion, a judge can excuse that child from the requirements. And, a teen seeking contraceptives is making a responsible choice and most likely will NOT decide not to be sexually active if denied birth control pills. Last time I checked, 'boy' children do not have to have their parent's permission to buy condoms, and their future is not as much at risk should their partner become pregnant. As far as the abortion issue, if you do not approve of a girl having access to this medical procedure without parental permission or involvement, then create the environment within your family and circle of friends that make it safe for the girl to talk about ALL best options for her if the situation arises. But do not impose your personal beliefs on whether someone 'should' get an abortion on everyone else. Much better a girl is referred for a medically safe abortion than her trying to abort through the weird home options kids pass around. Again, denying access to abortions is not going to erase the fact that abortions happen and have always happened; the overriding issue here is to keep the event safe and healthy.

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