Letters to the Editor: Jan. 29, 2016

Small-town values

I am writing to thank two people for an act of kindness that was displayed Jan. 23 in McMinnville.

My wife and I were shopping and went through the ATM at U.S. Bank to withdraw funds. I drove off and left my ATM card in the machine. It happens — to me more often of late. But what happened afterward was atypical in the world we live in.

A gracious, thoughtful and empathetic citizen retrieved my card and took it to the police station. I received a call at home from a police officer informing me my bank card was at the station, and I could come by to retrieve it.

A kind and simple gesture by both. I drove to the station and an officer, between calls, came by and returned my card. The kindness. The simplicity. The world at times seems to be spiraling in darkness and chaos.

Then we come home to McMinnville. Our sanctuary. Our town. We slow down. We care for one another. Thank you, Ms. Donahoo and Officer Martin.

Joe Leathers 


Trump takes scary turn

I began amused, became concerned, now am frightened.

I first thought of him as a vacuous buffoon, bored with his wealth and enamored of his own voice. I assumed that his endless self-promotion was merely a manifestation of a needy ego. Moreover, his incessant disparaging of America disgusted me. We are not a “mess.” We are, as ever, a work in progress. Yet, he was easily dismissed.

My amusement turned to alarm as he amplified his racist rhetoric. He deftly perverted the honest concerns of his followers with his obscene xenophobic message. Alarm morphed into dread as I watched him churn their anxieties into a toxic froth of fear, anger and hatred.

As this phenomenon has evolved, I am less fearful of the man himself than I am of those who clamor in adoration. How can they not see that he offers no substantive proposals and merely crows over his daily crowd size and poll numbers?

Do they not see that his response to criticism is to insult the critic and that he dismisses serious questions with insincere sound bites? Are they not offended by the mean-spirited, intellectually dishonest nastiness that he lobs at fellow candidates?

And why does the media broadcast every droplet of his drivel? Do the networks not understand that news is no more and less than what they choose to report? Why don’t they make other candidates “news,” too? Yes, Donald G. Trump concerns me.

What absolutely terrifies me is the cult of personality that he and the ratings-addled media have created and that it has elevated this idiot from a sideshow to an actual contender for the presidency of the United States of America.

I thought that history had already taught us about demagogues such as he.

Erma Vasquez 


No to drilling

I recently received a letter from Robert Redford who is on the National Resource Defense Council Board of Trustees.

I was appalled to learn that the U.S. Interior Department has approved oil drilling, fracking and coal mining on public lands in the Southwest, including areas on or near Bryce Canyon National Park, Desolation Canyon and Chaco Canyon National Historical Park.

In the interest of leaving these amazing sites unspoiled for posterity, I hope the plans approved by the U.S. Department of Interior will be changed. It is urgent that we let our government leaders know that we want these lands preserved.

Linette Studebaker 


Rights ignored

The Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee voted Jan. 25 to submit Legislative Concept 250 to the Legislature’s legal counsel for consideration during the February session — purportedly to keep people with mental illnesses from purchasing firearms.

The proposed bill allows an array of specified “reporters” (physicians, educators, mental health providers, immediate family members and so on) to make anonymous allegations about a person’s mental health.

These allegations will be sent to the Oregon State Police and entered into a database to prohibit the accused from legally purchasing firearms.

The accused is not notified of the allegation and is prohibited from knowing the identity of the accuser. The accuser is immune from being sued for making the report, provided it was made in “good faith.”

If the accused wants to be removed from the database, he or she must obtain documentation from a healthcare provider and file a petition with the state police and the court.

If LC250 passes, it will make the accused guilty through an anonymous accuser without any trial or ability to face the accuser.

This is a terrible proposal, passed by committee members Floyd Prozanski, Sara Gelser and Diane Rosenbaum.

As written, the bill declares an “emergency” — meaning it will take effect on its passage and would not be subject to a referendum of the people. In other words, we the people have no voice beyond the representation afforded us by our senators.

Please read the proposal and decide whether this proposal is something in our interests as citizens, and then act accordingly.

Rick Johnson 


Divide rather than conquer

After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, a lively discussion ensued about what to do with the country that was divided among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. The Bush administration decided to try to keep the country united and bloody civil conflict ensued that continues today.

Another plan, championed by then-Sen. Joe Biden, was to divide the country into Sunnistan, Kurdistan and Shiastan. The idea was that the minority groups — the Kurds and Sunnis — would never accept Shia rule. Current events appear to confirm that conclusion. The Kurds continue to live semi-autonomously, and the Sunni area of Iraq was taken over by the radical Sunni group, ISIS. Next door in Syria, ISIS also dominates the Sunni area, which was desperate to shake off the murderous rule of Bashar al-Assad. ISIS could not take the Kurdish area, and the Shia-Christian area remains under Assad’s rule. The United States opposes ISIS. It also opposes Assad. Assad and ISIS are fighting one another. Should we send troops into that mess? No way.

Perhaps it is time to dust off the idea of dividing Iraq and Syria into factions and give them borders to stand behind. Eastern Syria and western Iraq could combine to form Sunnistan. Western Syria could remain Shia-Christian, but without Assad.

Give the Kurds northern Iraq, which they already have, and northeast Syria for a greater Kurdistan. They have done a good job with Iraqi Kurdistan. Isn’t it time to formalize that reality?

Like all things in the Middle East, this could be a “sounds good” idea that ends in disaster. But it might just work. Give them each some territory to rule, give them borders and tell them to stay put. Complicated, difficult, and maybe another dead end. But, hey, what we’re doing now has dead end written all over it.

Scott Gibson 


Trial by news media?

The News-Register reported on the arrest of Sherry McMullen and Linda Hixson in connection with charges brought by Wendy Nelson-Baca, the wife of McMinnville dentist James B. Nelson. The story included photos of the two women taken after they had been handcuffed in their own homes (from which private computers were removed).

They were transported to the Yamhill County Jail and were held overnight until bail could be arranged. The story and the photos of the women who were in shock (having just been arrested) are an example of trial and conviction by the news media. After months of attorney fees, humiliation and community gossip, all criminal charges filed against these two 20-year former employees have been dismissed by the Yamhill County District Attorney’s Office because of the lack of evidence. Readers of your newspaper and followers of television news reporting deserve accurate, unbiased news reporting. This is especially true in a small town where wrong judgments based on a somewhat slanted news story are quick to multiply and thus hurt innocent citizens.

Lana Kowalski 







Scott Gibson

To Joe Leathers: Lovely letter. Reminds me of small town values I benefited from in a big city once. I also lost my credit card when it fell out of my pocket as I thought I put it away. Instead it fell on the ground. I was waiting for a train. Suddenly, I heard my name over the loudspeaker. I asked an employee what the issue was. He left to inquire, came back, asked for my ID, then gave me my credit card. Someone found it on the ground and immediately turned it in. I had it back before I even boarded the train. The city was Paris.

Don Dix

Erma -- If you would look at the responses of any candidate or even those that are now serving in elected positions, you have to agree there isn't much difference. Elected officials will always take credit when it makes them look concerned and constructive, and blame others when things go awry. In case4 you haven't noticed, Hillary has the same attitude when cornered.

Campaign promises are quickly forgotten and very seldom fulfilled (again blaming 'obstruction from others').

Closer to home, witness the state legislature and what they have in store for Oregonians ... the tax, tax, raise the minimum wage, tax, tax, etc. attitude certainly rates as scary as the character of any unelected candidate (it's real, rather than prospective).

Every member of the 'ruling class' considers themselves above reproach ... Trump just wants to join the club. I just thank whatever that Joe Biden didn't choose to run ... his ignorance is his strongest asset!

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