Walden not an extremist
Every now and again I find it helpful to add a fact or two as a counterpoint to the large number of letters that appear in this space from our friends on the left. Many of those letters, and the Indivisibles who parade at Congressman Walden's office, describe him as extremist, radical and out of the mainstream — and sometimes worse!
I guess if you look at Walden's ideology through the bright blue lens of the northwest quadrant of the state, that might be so. But let's look at our members' ideology from the perspective of the entire Congress. Here are the ideology scores for Oregon's five representatives, from 1.00 being most conservative to 0.00 being most liberal as compiled by www.govtrack.us for the 2016 legislative year: Greg Walden .66; Kurt Schrader .51; Peter DeFazio .36; Suzanne Bonamici .28; and Earl Blumenauer .25.
This analysis would put the first three on the above list pretty solidly in the mainstream. For comparison, here are the scores for our senators: Ron Wyden .21 and Jeff Merkley .08. Clearly the data do not support the over-the-top descriptions of Walden you've been reading in recent letters.
John F. Howard
Protect Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood serves a critical role in our communities here in the Rogue Valley. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Congressman Greg Walden will soon vote to block millions of low-income women, more than 60,000 in Oregon alone, from accessing Planned Parenthood for preventive services and screening, including contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections, pap smears and breast exams.
This bill would force women into a world where it is nearly impossible to prevent pregnancy or get medical care once they’re pregnant. One in five American woman (including me and many of my friends) has gone to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life, for respectful, compassionate, quality care.
Last month, I participated in the “Walden Relay” along with 64 concerned citizens; we wanted to make it clear to Rep. Walden that his constituents will fight against dismantling the ACA and defunding of Planned Parenthood. We must rise above ideological politics and preserve access to Planned Parenthood health centers for those patients who come through their doors every year.
In addition, I would like to encourage your readers to ask their representatives to support HB 3391, the Reproductive Health Equity Act.
Talk is cheap
Ashland High School students and others cheered the Ashland City Council approved climate plan calling for an 8 percent annual reduction in carbon emissions to reduce the effect on climate change. Bravo!
However, I will believe they are serious when there is a bio-digester in Ashland converting food and other bio-waste into methane to be used to generate electricity instead of sending the wastes to the landfill. (See an example at UC Davis, California.) I will believe it when there are wind generators around Ashland to replace the imported electricity from the Wyoming coal plants. I will believe it when every new home and business is required to have solar generating capacity as part of its design. I will believe it when the residents of Ashland turn off their natural gas heating and appliances using imported gas from Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. I will believe it when a citywide public transportation system relying on energy other than fossil fuels exists.
Talk is cheap, action requires people to do something. Oregon has no oil, gas or coal resources; they are all imported from somewhere else.
Move over, lane hogs
Newspapers all over Oregon should have large headlines that say, “OK, left lane hogs, now we got you.”
Senate Bill 532 will make it illegal to drive in the left lane on any highway with two or more lanes of traffic heading in the same direction with posted speeds of 55 mph or more except when passing, preparing to make a left turn, or reasonably necessary in emergency situations. The fine can be as high as $250.
So when in doubt, drive in the right lane!