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Letters to the Editor: June 15, 2018

Splitting families barbarous

I’m writing to express my shock and horror at the inhumane treatment asylum seekers are receiving as a result of recent policy changes by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

An asylum seeker is someone who left home due to fear of death or persecution to seek refuge elsewhere. Commonly, they present themselves voluntarily at the border.

In the past, they were generally released on their own recognizance to await a determination, which can take well over a year. But under a new “zero tolerance” policy, asylum seekers are also being separated from their children and dispatched to detention camps.

These people have committed no crime. They have merely asked for asylum.

That makes this a clear violation of UN guidelines, found at unhcr.org/refworld/docid/503489533b8.html. They assert, “Children have the right to remain with parents. Detention of asylum seekers must be avoided; conditions must be humane and dignified; the right to seek asylum must be respected.”

We are arresting, shackling and mistreating people who not only have committed no crime and traumatizing their children in ways they may never recover from. Hundreds are being sent to federal prisons, including the federal prison in Sheridan.

How far we have come from the words on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.“ How low we have sunk as a country that valued freedom, rights and fair play.

A group of people protested this last Sunday in Sheridan. Another, larger protest is being planned.

Contact your congressperson, attend protests, vote in elections and educate yourself and others. To help even more, Unidos Bridging Community has set up a fund to help detainees pay for phone calls and personal items. Visit unidosyamhillcounty.org, click on “donate” and indicate it is for detainees at Sheridan.

Kathleen McKinney

McMinnville

 

Put jobs and housing first

The News-Register’s June 6 Viewpoints section offers an interesting contrast. Planning Director Heather Richards points out the many development activities the community can justifiably be proud of, while the lead editorial details a few realities that are being ignored by planners.

In some ways, city leaders are being farsighted and proactive. But in other ways, they are either ignoring rapidly developing problems or simply kicking the can down the road.

The lack of new employers paying self-supporting wages with benefits, and the lack of affordable housing, are prime examples of problems being ignored. Homelessness and downtown parking are examples of cans simply being kicked down the road.

The jobless and homeless are told, “No, no, no. You can’t do that.” But they are offered little assistance.

Fancy hotels are welcomed downtown before adequate parking exists. Hundreds of expensive homes are approved before there are local jobs paying salaries to support such purchases.

As a result, all the planning will achieve little lasting success. The money and effort will simply generate unintended consequences.

The number of jobless and homeless will continue to increase. Downtown will become gridlocked, and thus rendered inaccessible. McMinnville will become primarily a bedroom community, as only metropolitan jobs will pay living wages.

If city leaders and planners really want to positively transform our community, they need to get the horse in front of the cart. McMinnville needs well-paying new jobs, affordable housing and adequate downtown parking first, development second.

Ken Dollinger

McMinnville

 

 Support federal detainees

I am deeply concerned about the recent change in U.S. immigration policy, which has led to the transfer of more than 100 detained immigrants to the federal prison in Sheridan, including some who were merely seeking asylum.

It is unclear how many of the men were separated from their children — they are all male, as women are being sent to the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Washington — but such dehumanizing and traumatizing policies are reprehensible. In addition, these detainees are being denied access to legal assistance and other support, even from clergy.

What can you do to help?

Support Unidos Bridging Community, which is accepting donations at unidosyamhillcounty.org to cover necessities such as phone calls and personal items. Click the “donate” button and use Paypal. In the “special instructions” space, you can write in “Sheridan.”

Tanya Tompkins

McMinnville

 

Don’t Disneyfy our downtown

The June 8 editorial, “Realities cast a shadow on sunny report outlook,” decries “perky boosterism.” That’s rather ironic, given the Viewpoints’ cover perspective, “A taste of things to come,” by McMinnville Planning Director Heather Richards.

Richards sings the praises of urban renewal. But urban renewal is a long-term investment that carries both costs and risks, neither of which she mentions.

The taxes now collected for urban renewal would have gone to schools and other local government entities.

Eventually, say, 20 years from now, these governmental bodies should get more revenue. But there are no guarantees, and in the interim, taxpayers either pay more or get less.

The initial Alpine Avenue improvements were funded by taxpayers through the city transportation bond. Urban renewal later added funding to pave a couple more blocks, but that money came from borrowing against future revenue, so left the Urban Renewal District $2 million in debt.

Paving Alpine does not guarantee enough development will occur to repay the debt. Other potential risks to long-term success include recessions and earthquakes.

Meanwhile, urban renewal activities, along with city funding of tourism promotion through Visit McMinnville, have accelerated the loss of affordable housing in the downtown area.

The need to replace this housing should be obvious, as most jobs generated through these tourism-related subsidies pay wages well below the median income. Richards calls for a study to determine who should occupy that housing — senior, millennial, hipster or whatever.

We’re told a rising tide lifts all boats, but it seems to me many people don’t have boats to lift, so are simply being flooded out.

I think urban renewal should benefit everyone, and I’m not convinced that Disneyfying our downtown into some sort of wine country theme park will accomplish that. I fear all we’ll have left downtown are the tourists and the homeless.

Mark Davis

McMinnville

 

Trump an embarrassment

I am embarrassed for the abhorrent behavior of the president of the United States during the recent G-7 summit in Quebec.

His behavior was a reflection of ignorance — that and questionable allegiance to America. I offer my sincerest apologies.

I am the granddaughter of a member of the Privy Council Office in Ottawa and the daughter of parents who both served in the Canadian Army during World War II. Immigration to the U.S., and subsequent citizenship, did not diminish the strong bond of loyalty and affection felt in my family for Canada, its homeland of the heart.

My father was instrumental in educating his two daughters in the precious freedoms Americans and Canadians have joined in fighting on battlefields throughout history. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I must witness the president of my adopted country assaulting the nation that has long served as a brother-in-arms.

I am hopeful Americans exercise their right — indeed, obligation — to vote in the next election to regain the dignity, respect and trust the United States had earned throughout its history. I believe through the support of politically engaged American citizens, a patriot will be elected to recapture the White House and rescue our democracy from further degradation of the principles and values on which it was founded.

With heartfelt sincerity, I send my most humble apologies to Prime Minister Trudeau and the citizens of my country of birth. I pray the United States will soon earn the privilege of standing side by side with Canada once again.

Susan Guerin-Tiffany

McMinnville

Merkley visit just a stunt

The government has rules and procedures, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is well aware of them. So he had his office file a request to visit a federal immigration detention facility after office hours on a Friday.

He knew there was no one to authorize it at that hour, so knew he would not be admitted. But he showed up anyway, and invited the press.

It was just a political stunt. Shame on you, Sen. Merkley.

Don Bowie

McMinnville

Comments

Bizzyditchaz

Don Bowie: A "stunt" that has the people speaking out, maybe those who wouldn't be normally, now are speaking out against this! But let's not talk about the stunt Trump pulled for a photo op with the prisoners from Korea a while back. THAT was a 3am ego stunt! Period!

Mudstump

Don Bowie - Why is the Trump administration keeping our congressional members from seeing what is going on?....with children? I can understand Trump/Sessions inability to defend and justify ripping babies from their mother's arms. This is nothing but a despicable policy that is designed to use children as hostages so the democrats will vote to fund Trump stupid and unnecessary wall. It's evil....purely and absolutely. Republicans will never ever be believed when they claim to love the child and the family in their phony pro-life/pro-family charade. What a crock!

Finch

Broad generality about the republicans and their love for children. Why is it that the democrats are fighting for those born but don't for the unborn? See, it goes both ways.

Mudstump

Finch - Not my words...republicans have claimed the moral high ground for years. They say they are all about family values. When Clinton was president they stood on their soapbox and declared that we must have a president with morals and ethics...they led the charge to impeach him over his deeds with Monica L. They pounded their fists and demanded that he be punished. Trump was overwhelmingly elected by white evangelicals and the TV preachers have rushed to his defense time and time again. Republicans also talk about their support and love for law enforcement. Now?...not so much. They have done a complete reversal on nearly everything they have stood for for many years. To use Trump's new favorite word....he has "infested" the Republican Party and made liars out of so many longstanding party loyalists. You don't see the hypocrisy?

Shorty

Finch- why is that republicans are fighting for those unborn but don't for the born?

Mudstump

Shorty - "Finch- why is that republicans are fighting for those unborn but don't for the born?"

Shorty, the so-called "pro-lifers" are only about forcing their religious beliefs on women. They can't stand the idea of women having control over their own bodies and family. They care more about forcing women to give birth than the child. Once the kid takes it's first breath they say it's nothing but a moocher and a welfare scammer. Ramming their religious beliefs on the whole of society is their goal...while whining about religious persecution and a fake war on Christianity. They seem to only care about THEIR religious freedom and to hell with what the rest of us believe.

Finch

Those are NOT my beliefs and again you are broad generalizing. Enjoy living in your extreme anger. There's plenty more to do in life than spending your days fighting with people and typing angry comments online.

Lulu

Why don't you check out Roe v. Wade? Landmark decision. Maybe you haven't heard of it...

Mudstump

Finch - "There's plenty more to do in life than spending your days fighting with people and typing angry comments online."

So in your mind, calling out hypocrisy is somehow being angry? Asking for some consistency is being angry? Expecting factual information and truth is angry? I'm not angry...I'm meek and mild like a little baby kitten. When I do get angry I'll take it out on my ballot in November like millions of other American citizens who can't wait for the mid-terms.

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