Letters to the Editor - Jan. 17, 2014
Pope offers social justice
If you were educated by the priests, brothers and sisters of the Franciscan Community, you were raised in an environment of joy because of their love, hope, forgiveness and generous giving. Remember St. Francis’ Prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon ... .”
It should be no surprise, then, when you read the Pope’s letter, Gaudium et Spes (joy and hope “of the gospel” 1962-1965), or today’s Pope Francis’ letter, Evangelii Gaudium, (joy of the gospel), you find them to be synonymous. It is as if Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio visited Zuccotti Park in New York to serve the oppressed together with the activists of Occupy Wall Street.
Their messages are synonymous: social justice, a response to an economy of inequality and exclusion.
Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg of New York disposed of all the wonderful things set up by the Occupy Wall Street (free food, housing, library, medical care) by literally bulldozing them out of the (people’s) park.
Let’s hope the regressive voice of Rush Limbaugh, representing the same smug, greedy, well-fed white men obsessed with the insidious political tools of abortion and contraception, can’t outweigh Pope Francis’ ministry of social justice — particularly for the marginalized (most of us) and the forgotten.
Habitat crew gives thanks
As site workers for Habitat for Humanity of McMinnville, we are filled with gratitude for the generosity of our community.
Habitat housing projects have drawn continuing support from business such as Grocery Outlet (special thanks to Ed and Sheryl Ryker), electrician Brian Samp IBE 280, DJ Martsolf, Farnham Electric, Encore Furnishings, Cascade Steel and The Plumbers Inc., to name just a few. One former Habitat leader said so many local businesses support the program that’s it’s hard to keep track of them all.
We’d like to give special thanks to Washington Roofing, Harold Washington (retired) and Eric Wolff, who has continued the company’s passion for Habitat. Washington Roofing has installed more than 45 roofs for our McMinnville Area projects, including all materials and labor.
Words cannot convey the deep appreciation we have for this local family business, and for all of the local businesses and individuals who serve Habitat by donating money and time, materials and household items.
Even when the economy suffered, local people and businesses continued their support of Habitat and its important mission. Their commitment to our projects makes it possible for many families to realize their dreams of owning their own home.
We are very thankful for the generosity and philanthropic support these people and businesses bestow on our organization. Their contributions help make McMinnville such a great community.
Editor’s Note: This letter was submitted on behalf of The Elmwood Street Construction Crew, which also includes Howard Leichter, Cliff Probasco, Doug Cruikshank, Steve Iverson, Roy Dorshimer and Jim Parker.
Next Christmas parade ...
Some things upset me at the Christmas parade, and communicating them may help improve next year’s event.
It would be nice if those handing out stuffed animals gave one to every child in the hospital, then only to a few on the parade route. An adorable child next to me was so excited waiting for the parade start, only to have tears wiped and parents explaining when he didn’t get a toy.
Skip candy, and keep the parade moving. This would keep aggressive youngsters at the curb so all can see entries and be safer. The money for candy could be better used on a much-needed speaker system and lights for the entertainment stage at tree lighting.
Invite school bands to play, and have more lights on entries to add gaiety. The dancing umbrella team obviously had fun and made the event more festive.
Bring merchants on board to support the parade. At a shop before the parade started, I overheard grumbling about lost parking spaces on an important retail day.
Santa should be the only star on the fire truck. Mrs. Claus and reindeer are OK, but relatives and kids detracted. Why did Santa disappear down a side street rather than immediately joining the tree lighting?
I loved following the end of the parade to the tree lighting, but I was shocked that no barricades kept people back from dodging cars on busy Adams Street.
The festive mood vanished with the long wait for lighting. I could not hear the carolers on stage or see them very well.
The weather was perfect for a parade, and it was another well-attended event for McMinnville. We did end the night with a nice dinner and seeing “Meet Me In St. Louis” at Gallery Theater, so my Christmas spirit lives on.
We must change Congress
A recent CNN poll indicates that two-thirds of Americans rate Congress as a do-nothing Congress. Two-thirds of those questioned said that this Congress is the worst in their lifetimes.
There appears to be little hope for optimism for the future. The sickness that Congress has is on both sides of the aisle. The same negative outlook carries over to President Obama’s policies (54 percent).
With Congress in gridlock, waiting until a crisis is apparent or actual, what can we citizens do to remedy the situation?
Before any positive change can take place, there has to be a willingness to change. That willingness apparently is not the case in Washington. First, there is a failure in leadership, particularly in the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House has not only failed to provide leadership, resulting in the shutdown of government, but has misled his fellow Republicans toward a potentially disastrous future. It appears that his leadership, or lack thereof, will be renewed. This does not bode well for getting the Congress out of its malaise.
What can we do? First, look with a critical eye at the actions (or lack thereof) of our current representatives. Do their actions represent what they promised to do if elected? Is their voting record reflective of our collective desires, or do they just follow along the lines of their political parties? Find individuals who reflect the needed changes, and assist them to get elected.
If we don’t do anything, we will continue to have a do-nothing Congress. If you want change, then you also have to consider personal change. Don’t hesitate to contact your congressional representatives and give them your requirements for their continued employment in Congress. If we don’t, what we have will continue.
Riverbend is a financial asset
As a businessman, I appreciate the role Waste Management plays in our local economy and community infrastructure. If Riverbend is forced to close, the negative economic impacts will be far greater than many people realize.
Here are a few financial estimates from Riverbend Landfill’s written application for a zone change. 1. We would all pay more for disposal. Together, everyone in the county would pay $3.5 to $5.1 million more each year, as calculated by Waste Management. This extra and unnecessary cost would be paid by businesses, schools, nonprofits, homeowners, and city and county buildings.
2. Yamhill County would lose a $25.5 million construction project. That is how much Riverbend is prepared to spend if the zone change is approved. If it’s not approved, the construction will not happen and the county will not benefit from the 202 direct construction jobs estimated in the application, secondary jobs or other positive economic impacts.
3. Here is an example I think provides a clear picture. Last summer, the county hired a contractor to demolish a county-owned building. The project generated 158 tons of construction debris, disposed of at Riverbend Landfill for $8,700. ECONorthwest, which prepared an economic report for Waste Management’s Riverbend Landfill on Sept. 20, 2013, indicates it would have cost about $4,900 more to haul and dispose of this much material at Coffin Butte Landfill near Corvallis. If it were hauled to northern Marion County, it would have cost about $10,300 more; if Hillsboro Landfill were the destination, it would have cost about $5,900 more.
The bottom line for Yamhill County: transporting waste to Riverbend is the least expensive option. Alternatives cost 1.5 to 2 times as much.
I hope this helps clarify why Riverbend is an asset for our community.
R. Waldo Farnham
Turn solid waste into gas
I have been a resident of Yamhill County for only two years, so I have missed a lot of the Riverbend Landfill history. However, what I now see is the typical controversy that goes with siting essential public service facilities, the NIMBYs versus the proponents and all the misinformation and wasted energy associated with it.
The NIMBYs offer no alternative solution other than a flat “No” when, in fact, if they applied their energy to finding practical alternatives, they might find one.
For example, a Goggle search for “plasma arc gasification” will yield an expansive description and list of projects now using this technology for everything from destroying poison gas to solid waste (see www:waste-management-world.com).
The technology is being used at a number of locations around the world and in this country. Briefly, the process takes a solid waste stream (after recyclables have been removed) and reduces it to reusable gases and inert slag. The gases can be used for fuel for an electrical generator or further processed to make plastics. The slag can be used as a construction material.
So, if the NIMBYs start to direct their efforts to finding practical alternatives to replace “No,” they may be surprised to find more supporters.
Kudos, Waste Management
I’m an employee of Geosyntec, the engineering firm working on the Riverbend Landfill berm. I think Waste Management is doing an excellent job running Riverbend Landfill and an admirable job trying to get along with its neighbors.
One new thing Riverbend is doing relates to the tarps. It has started a pilot project to improve the visuals in response to an idea coming from a landfill neighbor. They removed tarps from a few of the outer slopes and planted a grass seed mix. The idea is to see if this natural, more aesthetic cover can effectively replace the plastic tarps that have been used as long-term cover.
I like the idea of replacing the shiny tarps with grassy slopes, and I credit Riverbend for responding to its neighbors.
Stand up and be counted
Having considered the article about the drop-off in letters to the editor (News-Register, Jan. 3, Viewpoints), I must ask the editor of the News-Register: Have we, as Americans, become intimidated into silence?
If we do speak out, will the News-Register print it? If I write about Jesus in a positive way, will it be published? If I express my anger at local, state and federal government for intrusion into our private lives, will it appear in print? Will the News-Register print my anger at our senators and congressmen for not standing up and being counted, or for letting President Obama take our country down?
We have become a thin-skinned nation. We claim discrimination when an innocent remark is made, or when what I have to say doesn’t agree with the path someone else has chosen. No free speech for me; my speech is called hate speech.
I detest having an agenda that I strongly disagree with shoved in my face.
As our local newspaper, where does the News-Register stand?
It is time to take a firm position. Fence straddling is not a firm position — there are two sides to the fence, and the straddler will lean one way or the other.
We have a lot at stake in our country today. We had better stand for something, and do it quickly, before this America as we know it slips away.