Letters to the Editor - Aug. 8, 2014
‘Rails to trails’ rejuvenates
Mary Starrett must not get out much.
Anyone who doubts the amount of revenue a bike/walking trail can bring to an area only has to travel to Vernonia. Once a town on its last legs due to decreased timber revenues, it now is bustling due to the hundreds of recreationalists using the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.
Farther afield, small towns across America have been rejuvenated by the “rails to trails” movement.
Starrett’s brand of entrenched conservatism is something Yamhill County’s economy, businesses and citizens do not need.
Vern G. Holm
Change police union contract
I see the union and arbitrator have overruled everything and everybody in favor of Tim Heidt. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s certainly a bad move.
This person is getting away with whatever he wants to do. I understand the city attorney has her hands full with all the problems and embarrassments this “crusader of justice” has laid on the city of McMinnville.
Heidt has a lot of problems — fighting, drinking, lying, etc. When is the city going to pin the ears back on the union? Come on, city, let’s do some pushing back of our own. Change the contract so the city has the last say over unions and has no need for arbitrators. Enough is enough.
The arbitrator should have called everyone involved in this mess. If the arbitrator can’t figure the tape out, call the people involved and ask them to explain it. It seems the union should step up and tell Heidt he messed up and set him on his own. He got himself in this mess; let him get himself out of it. I am an ex-union member and shop steward, and I know unions are good when used properly.
The burden on the taxpayer is getting heavier and heavier. Costs of the lawsuit over his actions, plus his reinstatement expense, now exceed $400,000, which is not exactly pocket change. I am a retired, concerned taxpayer. Please tell me how spending this money on him is right.
Come on, people, speak up. Don’t let this happen. Stop it now.
Jim Mayes Sr.
Can’t enforce smoking ban
As an employee of a downtown business, I have a couple thoughts regarding the banning of smoking in the downtown area.
On many occasions, I have chosen to walk on Second or Fourth streets to conduct business downtown in order to avoid the clouds of smoke emitted by bench sitters. Spending time or money to attract visitors seems rather useless if our visitors are forced to make the same choice.
Eliminating more situations where I am forced to breathe secondhand smoke appeals to me, but enforcing it seems impossible. The people in the business upstairs from where I work continue to smoke indoors. Their secondhand smoke seeps through the floor and forces us to breathe their toxic fumes.
If you can’t enforce a ban on indoor smoking, how will you enforce a ban on outdoor smoking? Wouldn’t this proposal simply put one more law on the books that can’t or won’t be enforced? I hope someone has a better plan.
Landfill as tourism attraction?
As the summer season swings into high gear, we need to remind the myriad tourists visiting our area of one tourist attraction missing from local literature.
This is Mt. Trashmore, or what is more commonly called Riverbend Landfill.
For a mere $13 per car entry fee, visitors can drive to the top of this mountain of trash and have a 360-degree panoramic view of the Willamette Valley. They will also be able to see our marvelous farms and vineyards, historic towns and grand rolling hills … well, at least the portions they are able to see.
With a deep breath, visitors can inhale the scents of garbage imported from the Portland Metropolitan area. If they have a discerning nose, they might be able to distinguish between the aromas of Portland’s waste and Hillsboro’s garbage. Tourists could play a game with their kids to see who can locate the greatest number of toxic chemical containers, recyclable items and compostables, all of which flow out of the garbage trucks and local pickups only to be buried and blended together to form this obnoxious landmark.
This excursion will also allow visitors to educate themselves and their children about geography and the impacts of this landfill, built on the banks of the Yamhill River, when it slides into the river during the forthcoming 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
Wow, just one trip would expose our tourists to a vast valley view, aroma therapy, geological education and the political power of a Texas corporation. Shush.
On the other hand, we would be much better off if the landfill did not exist, and its so-called virtues did not blemish our farmland.
Tune up solid waste franchise
When the News-Register editorial board (Viewpoints, Aug. 1) stated “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” regarding my presentation to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC), it missed the target.
While I am a member of Stop the Dump Coalition, there is no connection between Riverbend Landfill and my testimony to SWAC asking the county to review its waste hauler franchise system before it signs another 10-year contract.
Contrary to the editorial, I recognized that a franchise system is the appropriate way to collect residential trash. But it is inefficient for the county to exclude any other company from ever hauling any kind of waste. By renewing 10-year contracts long before they expire, the county has prevented any other company from ever bidding for a franchise.
The county’s system has created permanent monopolies for Recology and Waste Management. These big companies don’t need long-term contracts to finance their equipment. Instead, the length and renewal terms for a franchise should be established to maintain order and economy on collection routes.
In the example of Water Truck Services (WTS), which composts grape wastes, you see success in the current franchise system. I think Water Truck has succeeded despite being encumbered by Waste Management’s franchise. The innovative efforts of companies like WTS should be encouraged, not discouraged with red tape and extra costs.
I see no reason why large-container loads of certain wastes, like those for WTS and SP Newsprint, need to be captured by the same franchise collecting residential trash. Other companies, large and small, should have access to the waste-management marketplace.
So I asked SWAC to take a serious look at Yamhill County’s franchise rules. The 40-year old system isn’t broken, but it needs a tune-up.