Letters to the editor - Feb. 28, 2014

Evergreen bill cheats citizens

The introduction of HB 4106 to the State Revenue Committee by Rep. Jim Weidner has compelled me to express my contempt for this action.

This bill would end litigation over Evergreen Museum’s back taxes and is, without exception, a shameless effort to again cheat the citizens of this county and our state.

The facts, as they have been reported, show that, allegedly, monies may have been commingled between the for-profit enterprises of Evergreen and its nonprofits, seemingly willfully. Considering the checkered history of Evergreen Aviation as has been reported — willfully ignoring county and state land use laws and avoiding its financial obligations to individuals, taxing authorities and other businesses — it is time to hold them fully accountable.

I feel for the negatively impacted employees and those who truly value the museums, but we must not be misled into believing the museums are sustainable by forgiving the taxes owed to Yamhill County and the state of Oregon.

Yamhill County cannot be left holding the bag of financial responsibility because we, as citizens, let “them” off the hook. Shame on Mr. Weidner for representing not Yamhill County but only a narrow constituency.

Preston Henry



Help the hopeless

My heart was broken on Valentine’s Day after reading the article on Robert Chaffin and the editorial about other offenders.

Mr. Chaffin’s statements, in particular, caused me to think about our American society and how it exists today. What causes a young person to lose hope or have none? I don’t know the details of Mr. Chaffin’s childhood, but according to his defense attorney, it was the most horrible story she’d ever heard.

Where were the parents of these young people? Can we, as people, be so self-absorbed that we can’t raise our children to be loving, compassionate, respectful human beings? I was raised in what today would be referred to as a dysfunctional family: physical, mental and emotional abuse, alcoholism, etc. I was able to overcome these issues and go on to raise my own family.

Some say it is harder for this generation. I believe there have been hardships for every generation. God gives each of us free will, the ability to choose our path in life. For Mr. Chaffin, going to prison for 10 years was security and comfort. Really?

Since my retirement in 2009, I have been a foster parent and youth mentor. Broken families produce most of our wayward children. I believe others out there could provide help for the hopeless.

It takes a village to raise a child. We feed the hungry; we house the homeless. Let’s get together and help the hopeless. I would be willing to begin an outreach to share my story of survival.

If anyone else shares a passion for youth or if there is a program in place I could plug into, please contact me through Creekside Community Church at 503-472-9197. As a community, we should be able to make a difference.

Bill Bryan



Don’t bail out Evergreen

The “Good Old Boys Club” is alive and well in Yamhill County, as it is in Washington, D.C., thanks to Kathy George and her son, Sen. Larry George.

Must we bail out the rich again? Evergreen Museum already is 95 percent tax-free. Why can’t Evergreen pay property taxes for the water park?

How many businesses get bailed out by taxpayers when they can’t pay their property taxes? Only the rich get this kind of treatment in this country.

I pay almost $6,000 annually in property taxes, and I am on Social Security. If I didn’t pay my taxes, I would lose my property or have to sell to someone who could pay them. It’s that simple.

Kevin Mannix, representing Evergreen, is someone whose “personal and campaign finances have always raised eyebrows” (The Oregonian, Jan. 29).

I believe the Georges should represent all their constituents in Yamhill County. They are not in power to help one institution evade its property taxes. Maybe we need to recall Kathy and Larry George. 

It’s welfare for the rich. 

Melissa Grace, the museum’s marketing director, said the museum stands by its December declaration that it is “financially viable and has no plans to close” (News-Register, Feb. 21). 

Admission to the water park is $27 for a child, $32 for an adult, $12 to watch a child in the pool; other pools’ admissions are much more reasonable for family fun. I doubt the water park brings many visitors to Yamhill County to spend that kind of money.

Thank God Scott Maytubby is an honorable man. Thank you, Mr. Assessor, please don’t bow down to the rich and powerful. Please protect the people of Yamhill County from elected officials who support the rich rather than the majority of their taxpaying constituents.

Renee Callanan



Legislature out of touch

Are you struggling to make ends meet? Are more taxes the answer? Is my recollection of economic basics correct — more taxes deter economy, lower taxation spurs economy?

Are our legislators in touch by considering the following taxes in this session?

1. Five percent cell phone tax. 2. Raise in small business tax — the consumer pays this. 3. Double the federal gas tax— a raise from 18.4 percent to 33.4 cents per gallon. Please tell me what happened to the $20 billion gas tax fund of 2005. 4. Carbon tax — an 18 percent increase in utility bills. Why? Don’t scientific studies state global warming is a normal cyclical event?

5. Bird seed tax — a tax on bird seed and a cattle-salt-feed tax. Really? Wasn’t 22 percent of state funding for natural resources enough? 6. Forcing backyard gardeners to get a state license and pass an online test. What? Are we a republic with a Constitution and Bill of Rights granting us freedoms and rights? Totalitarian nations monitor their citizens.

You can access more proposals from the Taxpayers Association of Oregon, 503-603-9009. The association is standing up for us, but it needs your help.

We need a former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was so tired of calls for more taxes that he created the “Tax Me More Fund.” Those calling for more taxes were to be the first to contribute to the fund.

Mary A. Novak



France helps make us safer

Americans often ask why the United States must be the “policeman of the world.” Conflicts fall in our lap, and no one else seems willing to step up to the plate. Except … that’s not really true.

In a surprising twist, France has started policing areas of conflict when other nations, including the U.S., are unwilling to become involved. And France is being effective. 

In 2011, the president of Ivory Coast was defeated but refused to relinquish power. A civil war began, threatening the nation with chaos and ruin. France stepped in with military, ending the war and placing the elected government in power.

France took a leading role diplomatically and militarily in resolving the Libyan civil war of 2011 that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. French jet fighters aided in the rebel victory.

When Muslim extremists invaded northern Mali in 2012 and pushed south toward the capital, France again intervened. The rebels were routed and the country was saved from a disastrous war that could have ended in yet another extremist Muslim state.

Currently, the Central African Republic is ablaze with conflict as Christians and Muslims battle for control of the country. France has sent troops to help quell the violence and evacuate civilians.

France’s actions have saved countless lives and have stabilized several countries. It has also put dictators and extremists on notice that violence comes at a cost. By assisting legitimate governments and stopping radicals, France has helped make us all safer.

The U. S. should not become involved militarily in every conflict. But the world is a dangerous place and needs policemen. We should commend the brave contributions of our allies, who sometimes go where we will not. It’s time we give the French a well-deserved “Merci” for providing another cop on the beat.

Scott Gibson



Contrast in political parties

The Humane Society Legislative Fund has just released a report card on which our representatives in Congress are graded on such issues as prohibiting animal fighting as a spectator sport, minimal sizes for hen cages and horse “soring.”

Yamhill County animal lovers will be happy to know that our representative, Suzanne Bonamici, scored 100 percent, as did her Democratic colleagues, Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio. Fellow Democrat Kurt Schrader’s grade was slightly lower, 87 percent.

Republican Congressman Greg Walden, from Eastern Oregon, however, earned a grade of zero. This contrast along party lines is fairly consistent throughout the report and seems, to me, to parallel attitudes on human issues — think food stamps or long-term unemployment insurance.

Does this not suggest that partisan differences depend less on abstract political theory and abstruse monetary policy than on fundamental values like caring and kindness?

Jane Kristof




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