Letters to the Editor: May 27, 2016
My fair share
I served the federal government for 15 years as a U.S. Marine and then 21 years more as an air traffic controller. Social Security was withheld during most of my time as a Marine. As an air traffic controller, I contributed to the Federal Retirement System.
When I retired, I was surprised to learn my Social Security benefits would be significantly less per month than my colleagues and neighbors who had never worked for the federal government. This is all because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) under the Social Security law.
Throughout my government career, I held myself to a high standard of fairness and equity. But now in retirement, I’m subject to a law that is anything but fair and equitable from my point of view. This provision unfairly reduces my Social Security benefits for no other reason than that I worked for the government.
Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, would reform the WEP. The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711) recognizes the work I’ve done and the contributions I’ve made and would adjust my Social Security benefits accordingly. Plus, it would do so without costing taxpayers a nickel. Support fairness and equity now.
RV residents let down
Waste Management is evicting the Mulkey RV neighborhood.
Mulkey’s generally lower-income residents have been given 60 days to vacate so that Portland/Metro can have nine years of an expanded landfill to pile its garbage on our riverbank.
McMinnville doesn’t need the landfill. Recology is planning a transfer station and can use a competitive landfill elsewhere. Riverbend’s expansion is overwhelmingly for out-of-county interests.
Personally, I hoped the Stop The Dump Coalition would have wrapped up our opposition to the expansion by now and that the eviction of my neighbors would have been avoided. This is more than a little frustrating. It’s disturbing — especially because the expansion is anything but a “done deal.”
DEQ reports that Riverbend has less than two years left of permitted garbage space. Yet the ever-growing coalition opposing Riverbend Landfill still plans years worth of legal fronts to defend the river, farmland and businesses of Yamhill County from an expansion. I called DEQ, the County Planning Department and Metro and got the same response when asked if they knew why the Mulkey’s eviction came so suddenly — crickets.
Here is the conundrum: We have been fighting expansion for eight years; we will fight eight more; sadly, as this unresolved battle wages on, Mulkey’s will be prematurely leveled.
Waste Management owns the property, and if it wishes to evict a decades-old pocket of Yamhill County’s lower-income people to hedge its bet for nine years of Portland/Metro’s garbage storage, that is its right. But what is not right is that DEQ, Metro and the Yamhill County commissioners are suggesting they have had no part in this unnecessary eviction.
When Texas finally drops its expansion plans and the kind sacrificed local residents of Mulkey’s are long gone, who will the commissioners pray for in open session then?
Keep pot off highways
A hearing June 2 at the Yamhill County Courthouse will have huge implications for the safety and livability of all Yamhill County citizens.
An application has been made for a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary (coupled with wine and tobacco sales) at Highway 99W and Blanchard Lane. This corner has one of the highest traffic counts in our county. If approved, this application will open the door for these businesses to dot our already overcrowded and dangerous rural highways.
We have to travel to cities to buy shoes or a shovel. Is it too far to drive to buy marijuana? At least the speed limits in cities are less that 55 mph.
In 2014, eight percent of traffic fatalities in Washington state involved marijuana. Once marijuana became legal, it skyrocketed to 17 percent.
Do we really want people buying this product along our busy highways with very congested access and high speeds? Virtually every car that travels between Dundee and McDougall’s Corner is compressed into the two-way highway at Blanchard Lane. I have seen cars there for 10 minutes and more trying to find a slot. If approved, there will be more accidents and deaths on 99W between Dundee and McDougall’s Corner. Get ready. Once approved, such establishments may well be coming to a rural setting near you. For the safety and well-being of our community, I will be at this hearing to speak against the application and in favor of maintaining our country landscape and highways. I sincerely hope others who feel the same way will show up and speak up.
The Bard vs. the Donald
My tale requires me to sketch in two backgrounds — one literary and the other historical.
Let’s begin with the literary background. When the master of revels, who licensed all stage performances, objected to Henry Chettle’s “Sir Thomas More” (Act 2: Scene 4), Shakespeare was brought in to rewrite the offending scene.
Now for the historical background. Protestant French Huguenots, fleeing the French religious wars, immigrated to England. English workers rioted in London, claiming that the “aliens” had taken jobs from them and demanding that the government deport them.
Against this backdrop, Shakespeare, writing in the voice of More, asks us to imagine what it would be like to be subjected to forced repatriation:
Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise Hath chid down all the majesty of England; Imagine that you see the wretched strangers, Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage, Plodding to th’ ports and coasts for transportation, And that you sit as kings in your desires, Authority quite silent by your brawl, And you in ruff of your opinions clothed; What had you got? I’ll tell you: You had taught How insolence and strong hand should prevail, How order should be quelled; and by this pattern Not one of you should live an aged man. For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes Would feed on one another.
If we shark on others, they may turn and shark on us, “and men like ravenous fishes would feed on one another.”
Robert E. Mason
Reader dumps paper
I was thinking about subscribing to this newspaper a few weeks back. I’m happy to say that I will not be subscribing.
The News-Register showed its amazing lack of integrity with the headlines after the election. I’ve never been more embarrassed of my hometown newspaper. You stooped to an all-time low. I am not political by any means, but the way you smeared County Commissioner Allen Springer was absolutely uncalled for.
What happened to “unbiased” reporting? Sounds to me like someone there at our unbiased newspaper has it in for this man. I am so disappointed, I believe there should be an apology — in public, just the way you smeared Springer’s name. You can recant the horrible display of ugliness.
Heed voters’ warning
One hopes that County Commissioners Mary Starrett and Stan Primozich heed the lessons of the recently concluded county commission election and learn that arrogance, incivility, unwillingness to listen to and acknowledge all sides of an issue and an inability to compromise for the good of all county residents will have negative electoral consequences.
A good man wronged
I’m writing this in regard to the election headline: “Voters dump Springer.” Why be so tacky?
A simple “Olson wins” would have been a much more suitable headline. You chose to take the low road. It was very clear who the paper stood with, and that’s your privilege. However, I thought this was a countywide paper, not just a one-sided paper.
Now I want to thank Commissioner Springer for his hard work and the integrity he has shown and lived. This county has lost someone who cared about the whole county, not just a few. So thank you, Allen Springer, for a job well done.
Don’t blame enviros
Because environmentalists want to try to save a few forests in Oregon, the News-Register editorial board suggests they are responsible for “poverty, drug abuse and child neglect.”
That makes about as much sense as claiming support for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass and the auto industry is responsible for the annual carnage on our highways. There have been five great extinction events in the last 500 million years, the last one about 66 million years ago when a huge asteroid slammed into Earth, the probable cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs and about 75 percent of all species at the time. We are currently in the midst of the sixth great extinction, referred to as the Holocene or Anthropocene extinction — this one caused by humans.
By one estimate, we are losing up to 140,000 species a year, most of them unknown to science. We are literally destroying the web of life on this planet, which will lead to unknown consequences to all living beings, including ourselves. While government agencies, environmental groups and the media focus on one animal, bird, fish or plant to protect or rail against, they are merely symbolic of a complex ecosystem that is being relentlessly attacked by the endless expansion of human activities.
Given the forces at work here, perhaps it is naïve to think that trying to save some forestland will make a difference. After all, if we are going to destroy it all anyway, why wait? I choose to oppose such fatalism and stand with those who favor stopping the destruction and healing the Earth. Such an attitude is not the cause of poverty, drug abuse or child neglect.
Shame on the News-Register for putting an editorial on the front page and passing it off as objective news reporting.
The headline “Voters dump Springer” is offensive and inaccurate. The paper goes on to report that voters were ”sweeping Mayor Rick Olson to a decisive victory.” Olson got 54.9 percent of the votes, just 5 above a 50/50 split. Springer’s 45 percent is just 5 percent below a 50/50 split.
That is not a decisive win. On page 2 of the paper, the article by the Associated Press reports that Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary, but his win was unimpressive with only 56 percent of the vote. Did the news editor review both articles?
This was a close election. The voters did not dump Alan Springer. Characterizing this as a “sweeping decisive victory” is inaccurate, a distortion of the facts, insulting to Springer and the 45 percent of voters who supported him. I ask you to report the news objectively and leave the editorials for that section.