Letters to the Editor: Jan. 20, 2017
I’d just like to say how extremely satisfied I am with the city services during the recent snowfall.
Roads were cleared, utilities were taken care of, emergency services were up and running. These people did such a great job, and they should be commended. While many stayed home, all these essential people did just what they were supposed to do. It is a privilege to live in such a well-run city.
I didn’t really see any requests for my opinion, but it is a small town and I am a paid subscriber, so here it is.
The comics page added in the Jan. 13 edition of the News-Register was cute and set a nice old-timey tone. However, your changes to the classified section seem frivolous and unnecessary without redeeming social value.
If many other people feel as I do, perhaps you’ll put things back the way they were. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, eh?
Scott Gibson always produces a thoughtful, well-written article, even if I disagree or have no interest in the subject. I hope you are doing something to show your and our appreciation of his work.
Ban the bags
I am an environmental scientist concerned about the effects of plastics on human health, so in regard to McMinnville’s proposal to ban plastic bags, please do.
Plastic bags hold up in our soggy climate and in the rest of the world for 500 years or longer. In this time, they are physically — but not chemically — broken down by the sun into smaller parts that animals and we can ingest.
This way, plastics become small enough to be consumed while still retaining their harmful chemical makeups. In the ocean, the chemicals in plastics can cause diseases. Health issues magnify as they move up food chains. These high levels of toxins can affect those eating seafood, especially those pregnant or soon to be carrying children.
Furthermore, the chemically harmful effects of plastics may be introduced to land animals as bears and scavengers bring marine life and salmon to land for feeding.
Plastic bags also physically harm us and other animals. Pieces of plastic end up in the guts of seabirds and marine life and can cause starvation and other life-threatening issues. Stressing fragile ocean life and habitats that are already under pressure from pollutants that we can’t remove from the environment is unwise. The least we can do is stop adding to the problem.
Reusable cloth bags can easily be used for sharing produce or transporting wet bathing suits, and newspapers can easily take the place of plastics used for cushioning packages.
Please don’t take the easy way out on this issue. Banning plastic bags is a selfless decision for McMinnville that takes responsibility for our decisions as consumers.
Councilors deserves better
I was very disappointed and disheartened when I read James Galbreath’s Jan. 13 letter regarding McMinnville City Councilor Kevin Jeffries’ concern over the job performance of former City Manager Martha Meeker.
I have known Kevin for more than eight years, and he has always been honest, sincere and most proud of our city. His attempt to make McMinnville a better place for all of us was wrongfully misconstrued as an attack on Meeker’s performance.
It was unfortunate that Meeker resigned. That was never Kevin’s hope or intent. When I learned Kevin was interested in applying for the city manager position, I was very excited, realizing that his style would be similar to that of former City Manager Kent Taylor, whom many citizens admire.
I was deeply disturbed to hear another councilor’s criticism of him for his interest in the position, stating her concern for how the citizens may look at his decision and its reflection on the city council as a whole.
I asked Kevin if I could lend some support, but he told me that he was fine and would wait to see how everything turned out. Kevin feels very positive about the final choices for our city manager.
And now another attack by a past political opponent. Why? There are many in McMinnville who do not feel that Kevin was out of line for his interest in the city manager position. I, for one, wish to go on record in support of him.
Thank you, Councilor Jeffries, for your genuine and diligent service to our community and for taking the time to meet with citizens about their interests and concerns. You are everything a competent city councilor should be.
We didn’t elect the paper
Last week this newspaper took the extraordinary and kind of weird opportunity to publish a letter from James Galbreath, whom Kevin Jeffries soundly trounced in the city council race in 2014.
Clearly someone’s inner child is feeling colicky, and the News-Register is the new Colic Whisperer. Why? Is journalism no longer attractive? Enquiring minds want to know.
To review the facts of the matter, Kevin Jeffries has long and well represented all of us in this ward, has served the council just as well.
The News-Register does not get to make policy because it is not elected. To anything. It certainly does not get to make policy by polemic. And Mr. Galbreath lost.
This is the second attempt by the Fourth Estate to make policy which is reserved to those elected by the people in a process which has already been decided, for all practical purposes, and which once again demonstrates the News-Register’s patent lack of judgment, responsibility and honesty in reporting.
As a member of the people, we thank the News Register in advance for their cooperation henceforth in refraining from meddling where they are not elected.
Mend it, don’t end it
No matter what position you take on the success of the Affordable Care Act, there is one thing Americans should consider: For more than 50 years, politicians have debated a solution to providing affordable health care for all Americans.
Attempts to solve this have always been put on the back burner until the Obama administration.
More than 20 million Americans and counting have health-care coverage they never had before because of the Affordable Care Act. Even before its enactment, there was strong political resistance to it, but let’s look at what this historic legislation did.
Health care for all is now never going to go away because it is something our representatives in government must recognize and address.
For the last seven years, Americans have heard the blustering and bantering of politicans about how “Obamacare” must be repealed and how they have a better plan. I am still looking for the details and how they compare with the current plan.
We hear conservative representatives and the president-elect say, “it’s a very, very, very good plan.” Sorry. I am not from Missouri, but show me.
The existing law needs to be improved, but come on. Can any American say that a new law never needs changes and improvements before it is viable for all? I do not know the price of repealing and replacing the law, but I can’t believe it will be less than fixing it.
Landfill full of it
Because one of Yamhill County’s main crops is hazelnuts, I wasn’t surprised by the News-Register’s recent front-page story that the salmonella-contaminated hazelnuts in the news came from a Yamhill County farm.
When the story gave the name and location as Schmidt’s farm, I wasn’t surprised either. Your article mentions animal feces as a major source of salmonella bacteria contamination. I was surprised, however, by the omission in the article that the farm is right across the road from Riverbend Landfill and that nearby farmers have complained for some time about the amount of feces on their land from the many thousands of birds that gather at the dump.
Neither the Schmidts or Waste Management have denied that the Schmidt Farm is owned by Waste Management and the Schmidts are usually the only nearby farmers who speak positively of the dump’s impact on farming. Waste Management has again caused harm not only to the Schmidts, nice folks and hardworking farmers, but also to the reputation of all Yamhill County hazelnut growers and to all the growers of our county’s agricultural bounty.
Cult of Trump?
Of all the shortcomings in human behavior, one of the worst is hypocrisy — the brazen willingness to do what you condemn others for doing.
Over the past few days, there have been reports that President-elect Trump was taped by Russian intelligence while engaging in perverse acts with prostitutes during a visit to Russia.
It remains to be seen if these allegations are true. Intelligence officials say the source is reliable. If they are true, it doesn’t take an expert to understand the implications of the president being blackmailed by a hostile foreign power.
What stuns me is the insistence by Trump supporters that this is unimportant and not worth looking into. These same people raised a non-stop ruckus about Clinton’s email scandal, saying she had compromised the national security.
I’m not defending her and didn’t vote for her. My point is that if there’s any truth to the story about Trump and the prostitutes, then our national security is at the mercy of Russian intelligence and our president being its puppet.
To say we don’t need to determine the truth of this is a disgraceful example of putting partisanship ahead of the national interest. For that matter, it goes beyond partisanship and looks more like a cult worshipping their infallible leader and the country be damned.
Enough with the meat
With the Republican Congress bent on depriving 22 million Americans of medical insurance, this is a great time to provide our own, totally free and totally effective health insurance — a plant-based diet.
A study with 131,000 participants in last year’s Internal Medicine found consumption of animal protein is associated with higher risk of death. A couple dozen other massive studies in the past four decades had similar findings. None reached opposite conclusions.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 1.4 million, or 68 percent, of identified U.S. deaths are attributed to heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes linked conclusively with consumption of animal products.
Cost of medical care was estimated by the National Institutes of Health at $3 trillion in 2014, or $24,000 per household, and rising at 6.5 percent annually — nearly four times the rate of inflation. Incredibly, this amount rivals our national budget and represents 17.5 percent of our gross domestic product. Even so, it does not include the costs of lost productivity, disability and premature death.
We have little control over the national cost of medical care. But each of us has a great deal of control over our household’s $24,000 share every time we visit the grocery store.