Letters to the Editor - May 23, 2014

Kudos to Yamhill County Clerk

I just want to give a quick shout-out to our county clerk, Brian Van Bergen. Since we voted him in, I have seen him hit the ground running. Right off, he wanted to get technology up to snuff, to make it easier for citizens to use online services. He had great ideas to streamline voting and vote counting.

I also was impressed at his hiring practices. When hiring two new people in the office, the guidelines for qualifications were made very clear so as to invite the very best candidates for the position. I am sure he found two fantastic people for those positions.

Then, in the May 20 edition of News-Register, I was most impressed when he said that the clerk’s office anticipated the ruling change of same-sex marriages and already had gender-neutral forms ready to go. So, no matter my stance on that subject, I like having a clerk who is proactive rather then reactive. He really seems to be a great asset to our county. Great job, Brian!

Michelle Elliott



End same-sex marriage ban

I believe Measure 36, the same-sex marriage ban passed by Oregon voters in 2004, will be repealed. If I were to look at the measure without any prejudice from either side, here is my opinion:

Part of Section One of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

The law banning same-sex marriage in Oregon clearly denies equal privileges. In fact, it takes away fundamental rights and targets a specific class, which is prohibited under the 14th Amendment.

Many of our criminal laws are based on the violation of life, liberty and property, and yet Oregon voters adopted into law this measure that not only singles out a group of individuals, but takes away the basic rights many of us take for granted as part of our society.

It would be different if gay people marrying would keep me from marrying someone of the opposite gender, but it doesn’t. This law is violating rights under the Constitution and should be repealed.

Troy Prouty



Voters’ decision should stand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Ballot Measure 36 was a 2004 initiative in the U.S. state of Oregon. It amended the Oregon Constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The initiative passed with 1,028,546 votes in favor, and 787,556 votes against (57% to 43%) in the November 2, 2004 general election. It is one of a number of U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions.

“On May 19, 2014, the measure was declared unconstitutional by a U.S. federal district court judge, who ruled that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Ten years later, one judge — openly gay — has determined the result of that election vote is unconstitutional. Does this determination set a precedent for future elections?

If people elected a Christian judge or other official, and years later a Muslim judge declared the Christian’s election unconstitutional, who wins? A Muslim judge might, by Sharia law, rule that a Christian shouldn’t be in the elected position. Who would survive in office?

What has become of our power to vote when one judge can overturn the outcome of a vote or election? I thought we were a republic in which the vote of the people determined the outcome of elections.

If both sides of an initiative could be proven unconstitutional, why would it appear on the ballot in the first place? If one judge can overturn an election, a dictatorship could be installed by essentially the same means.

Wake up, people, before some judge determines our Constitution to be unconstitutional.

David C. Koch



Government is not the enemy

Now that Yamhill County has elected as county commissioner Mary Starrett, who in the past has indicated her enthusiasm for the Tea Party, one hopes she will behave more responsibly than Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and other Tea Party adherents.

Government is not the enemy, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that political compromise is a sin. Yamhill County residents deserve a county commissioner who wants government to work better, not one who wants gridlock to make political statements.

Howard Leichter



Let government help veterans

An organization called Wounded Warrior Project solicits donations to be used for care of U.S. veterans damaged by war. How is it that these expenses aren’t being paid by our government?

Why do our veterans have to appeal for charity to obtain care? Every dime needed to care for our veterans should be provided by the government that sent them to war.

If people want to donate funds to help vets with expenses not related to treatment, great. They deserve it. Helping vets become homeowners would be an appropriate use for donated funds. Helping the federal government avoid its responsibilities is not.

Fred Fawcett


Crop chemicals threaten us

In 2013 I participated in a Portland rally against Monsanto. Five thousand marched, taking a stand against this Goliath of a corporation that has grown rich and dominating by producing poisons and chemical weapons.

The fight against chemical/agricultural products is spreading throughout the world, especially in the U.S. In several Oregon counties, movements are afoot for complete bans on GMO crops and neonicotinoid pesticides linked to bee colony collapse. This week in Oregon, a statewide initiative for GMO labeling began gathering signatures.

We should be talking about these issues. Environmental scientists have linked these companies and their products to extinctions and even threats to our survival. They appear to be manipulating our food supply for profits and patenting seeds to control our agriculture and production.

Some farmers feel forced to rely on ever-higher amounts of toxic chemicals for crop production. Claiming higher yields than conventional methods, such products can leave fields unusable while creating super bugs that grow resistant to pesticides and super weeds that resist herbicides.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of unintended consequences, of trying to control the world’s food supply through technology.

Many countries have taken action against this form of corporate control of their food production and lives, even by burning down entire crops. But we in the U.S. have allowed these companies to place their lawyers and board members within our government and in the Supreme Court. They advocate more deregulation and more shielding of companies from claims of wrongdoing. I believe these highly placed industry promoters seek to prevent any type of corporate accountability or consumer protection in the justice system.

Steven Perkins




Doug and Anne Ballard

Michelle Elliott - thank you for writing your letter re Brian van Bergen. I had been thinking exactly the same thing - he's doing a great job. I also had noticed in the paper his readiness for the recent change re marriage certificates and was impressed that he was ready to go with it. So, thanks Brian - you're a wonderful example of public service. -Anne Hardin Ballard

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