Letters to the Editor - Feb. 15, 2013
Street is a near-highway
I must express my concern.
Having lived in northwest McMinnville for more than 50 years, I have a few observations that I wish to express.
I have watched Michelbook Lane turn from a cow trail to a residential street. As McMinnville has grown, the city decided to link Baker Creek Road on the north, to West Second Street on the south. I am sure that eases traffic on Adams Street.
After this change, Michelbook Lane has been transformed into a near-highway for many drivers. But it is still a well-marked residential street at 25 mph.
I’m without a means of tallying, but I would guess that seven out of 10 drivers exceed the limit and even beyond. What can we do? Some drivers don’t think, and others just don’t care. I ask those who use this route, “Which are you?”
Anyone can pay it forward
Before we moved here just a year ago, we had a strong suspicion that McMinnville would be a great place to raise our children. After all, as one of our new friends recently told us, “McMinnville has always been one of those places where the grass is greenest.”
This phrase has already borne itself out many times over, but there is one particular show of this community’s welcoming spirit that I will never forget.
Picture us as newcomers, just six months ago, with a tiny newborn and a 2-year-old, running our small business and trying to enjoy the small pleasures of very small people on a laughably small amount of sleep. We were in that stage when you just can’t get it together to get a full meal on the table.
A local parenting group we’re involved in on Facebook signed us up for Take Them a Meal. Now, it’s common practice to take meals to people who have babies, but strangers with babies?
In the aftermath of our son’s birth, a dozen mostly complete strangers made us dinner: whole roasted chickens, enchiladas, quinoa soup, turkey casseroles, blueberry cakes, cookies galore. They came bearing fresh salads plucked from their gardens. One had edible flowers in it.
I was so moved that every time I hear about a new baby or a family with an illness coming over the transom, I have felt compelled to double our dinner and feed some new friends.
Anybody can do this. Every day, people in Mac are teaching us how much paying it forward helps you live a great life in a small town. We are excited, big time.
Emily Grosvenor Diesburg
Nostalgic for ‘66 Nova
While reading the paper last Saturday, I ran across an ad that saddened me.
It simply stated, “Sherie’s Turquoise ‘66 Nova for sale.” I knew the car immediately, and though I didn’t know the lady’s name who drove it, she and the car were very familiar to me and my family.
We have always been fans of the Chevy Nova. I can’t recall the very first time I saw that sweet lady and her car. I’ve been in McMinnville since 1989 and have seen this beautiful lady driving around town, running her errands.
It seems everybody knows of her and that car. She appeared to drive with obvious pride and confidence. Seeing her was a wonderful moment of nostalgia. Her hair was perfect, and the car was always immaculate. It was a pleasant reminder of days gone by.
I had the pleasure of talking to her once in the grocery store. “You’re the lady who drives the ‘66 Nova,” I said. That brought a big smile to her face and some very pleasant conversation in the checkout line.
Sherie, thank you for many years of “the lady in the turquoise Nova.” I hope wherever you are and wherever you go, another classy set of wheels is taking you there.
Finding new reasons for hope
“Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.”
These chilling lyrics from Les Misérables have resonated over the past few years as my government invaded Iraq, Wall Street manipulators threw our country into economic turmoil, predatory lenders duped vulnerable home buyers, an oil company’s shortcuts led to an environmental disaster, Congressional “leaders” focused on political gain and gridlock rather than on our country’s well-being, and our nation by the people, for the people was hijacked by wealthy individuals and corporations.
I’ve wondered if my angst has taken root in the seedbed of oppression.
But recently, I found a ray of hope. I participated in a 10-week study and discussion: Challenging Corporate Power – Asserting the People’s Rights. This group led to the formation of two local organizing groups: Move to Amend Yamhill County, which joins the national grassroots movement to pass a Constitutional amendment stating: Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. The second group, Community Rights Yamhill County, joins hundreds of similar organizations across the country taking action for the health of their communities.
This past weekend, I attended a two-day Community Rights training, led by Pacific Northwest community organizer Paul Cienfuegos. I was enthralled and appalled at the historic rise of corporate power, which now influences almost every facet of our lives and has tremendous congressional, executive and judicial influence. But I was also encouraged to hear that 150 communities in the country have passed a Community Bill of Rights and ordinances addressing corporate power.
Letter clever but incorrect
David Terry’s letter (Readers’ Forum, Feb. 8, “People deserve right to arms”) concludes with a vacuous bumper-sticker sentiment: “When only the police have guns, it is called a police state.”
This is a straw man, for no one argues that only the police should have guns; in fact, guns are very much more tightly controlled in all of the democracies of the West than they are in the United States, and none of these countries is a police state. But it is a cute little zinger: “police … police” makes it sound as if it makes sense, so it is a nice substitute for any real thought.
What underlies his argument but is barely mentioned is the bogus NRA notion that the Second Amendment was intended by the Founding Fathers to arm the citizens so that they could overthrow an anti-democratic government.
The first 13 words of the amendment provide the reason for its existence, and it is the only one of the first 10 amendments that is not simply stated as a self-evident principle. What did the Fathers mean by a “well-regulated militia?”
This is made clear in the Militia Acts of 1792, which specified the equipment that every able-bodied, white, male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45 was expected to possess and permitted the president to call up the militias to protect the country from invasion or insurrection. The Militia Act of 1903 established the National Guard as the direct successor to the Militias. By the way, taking up arms against the government is called “insurrection.”
Terry’s letter is a sophistical tissue of nonsense — rather dangerous nonsense.
Second Amendment questions
After reading all the pros and cons and various interpretations related to the Second Amendment, I still have some questions.
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Did you know that there are several versions, the difference being punctuation and capitalization? Aside from that, the amendment clearly refers to “a well regulated militia.” Where is this “well regulated militia”? Could it be the Founding Fathers’ version of a militia has evolved into the U.S. military that is there to protect the United States from outside entities that would take away our “free state”?
Others argue the Founding Fathers meant that the defense of our “security as a free state” is actually from our own government. The United States has, by far, the largest, most well equipped and deadly military to ever exist. We spend more on our military than the next 12 nations combined, and that includes China. So, who’s going to fund this “well regulated militia”?
What’s the relationship with gun ownership and militia membership? Can anyone who owns a gun be part of the militia? Is the only criteria gun ownership?
“The right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” -- relates to whom? Hunters, target shooters, collectors? Oregon has a five-bullet clip limit for hunters of large animals and three on birds. Why does anyone need 100-bullet canisters, even 10-bullet clips, unless your targets are people?