Letters to the Editor: Feb. 12, 2016

Commissioners back militants

I am thrilled with the level of representation by our Yamhill County commissioners. They’re certainly not going to be limited by the moderation of one of our concerned citizens, Sam Hill, who called for “every peaceful measure to be taken” as the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge winds down.

Our BOC demonstrated its bravery and ethics by taking a stand. “Chair Mary Starrett blamed Finicum’s death on mismanagement of federal lands by the [BLM].” Clearly, she illustrates her belief that no one should be held back in life by accepting personal responsibility. Take action, and some sharp politician will have your back.

I’m so proud to be represented by someone who puts on her crown to school the state and BLM on how to deal with “longstanding complaints about federal land management.” I’m sure our local Native Americans will be happy to know that she will approve of their armed takeover of Deer Creek Nature Park for a good cause. You go, girl!

Commissioner Allen Springer (any relation to Jerry?) exhibited his depth of knowledge about our great pre-constitutional history, offering to help the concerned citizen strategize for future armed revolt with the appropriate flag. (A tree is much easier to mass produce than all those pesky stars and stripes.) When election time rolls around, I hope our Yamhill County commissioners will receive all the attention they deserve.

Susan Murray 


Conduct unacceptable

I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the trauma caused by former interim McMinnville High School Principal Sean Burke to a student or the fact that the school resource officer and school did nothing when this crime was committed.

How do you know there are not other victims through the years? Our children need to come first, and these type of cases need to be investigated to the fullest instead of it being a question of “did you do this?” and then having it dismissed.

Just because a member of the community is a well-liked individual does not give him or her permission to behave in this manner and then have it forgotten because “it was so long ago.” This is not acceptable, and we as a community need to and should expect more from our academic leaders.

Michele Reeves 


Trolled by Palin

Regarding the Jan. 29 political cartoon in the News-Register, I apologize for not writing an ABC (Anyone but Clinton) letter, but I am laughing too hard to even remember Ted Cruz. You got trolled by Sarah Palin, probably the greatest political genius of our time. You betcha!

Dan Katz 


Show’s over, folks

How has it become OK to take a medical crisis which a person is suffering from and gain from the needless reporting of that person’s illness? The Feb. 5 article “Roth’s disturbance triggers arrest” appears only to be interested in presenting us with a list of very graphic and detailed images and nothing more.

If this is the article’s only intent, may I suggest another way of handling the situation? “All right, folks, the show is over. Move along.” I remember a time when we would afford ourselves and others that much dignity.

The lack of compassion in the writing of this article not only hurts Katrin. It hurts her family, her daughters, her mother, her sister and her aunts. We have all been deeply hurt and affected by it. Showing compassion and allowing for human dignity is something we can all do.

Julia S. Leon 


Tell the real story

I’m writing in response to the Feb. 5 article “Roth’s disturbance triggers arrest.” The article was a blow-by-blow account of an incident gleaned from police accounts.

It was accompanied with a picture and my daughter’s name, Katrin Loretta Shockley. Besides being insensitive to those of us who know and care about her, and trampling on her dignity, what bothers me the most about it was that it lacked a real purpose for reporting it.

There was no story told, no telling of what the people at Roth’s and Dutch Bros. thought or felt. There was no discussion about mental health and addiction and its effects on the person caught by it or society affected by it. There was no coverage about what is being done about it or ideas of what could be done. There was no story about her, the backstory.

So the readers scanned or read the article, and because it had no substance, most likely gave it a fleeting thought (probably a negative one) and forgot about it. But as I look again at the picture printed with the article, I don’t see an out-of-control, incoherent woman. I see a long-suffering, hurt and ruined life. And I see a face I love.

I’m just asking you, please, to put more purpose behind what you print so we can ask the questions that might result in meaningful discussions and positive action that we can take.

Roshana Shockley 


Raise the wage

I am not surprised that the Chamber voted overwhelmingly against raising the minimum wage. They represent employers who are misguided in their beliefs that raising the minimum wage is bad for business.

I am, however, surprised that the county commissioners unanimously voted against the raise. They are supposed to represent us all.

Every poll taken over the past year indicates the majority of citizens support the raise — even up to $15 per hour.

Oregon’s current level would provide a full-time employee an annual income of $19,000 ($4,000 below the poverty level of $23,000). I would like to see any member of the Chamber or county commission boards try to live on that. I believe anyone who works full time should be paid a living wage.

To allow otherwise is immoral and contributes to the income inequality and lack of opportunity we are so much about.

The United States’ gross domestic product is more than 70 percent based on personal consumption. Ability to “consume” is greatly diminished if you are among the approximately 25 percent who make less than $10.55 per hour. I believe businesses are misguided in the opposition to raising the minimum wage.

It would certainly require a period of time to accomplish the adjustment, but in the long run, almost all businesses would benefit by more people being able to obtain their products. The new minimum wage should then be indexed to some cost-of-living factor so it is not allowed to drift downward in real dollars as it has over the past 30 years.

Local members of the Chamber may not be comparable to the Walmart Walton family. However, do they believe it is reason for the heirs of Sam Walton to share $15 billion in profits every year while taxpayers chip in $3 billion to provide a safety net for their employees?

Les Howden 


Get serious on gun control

What does “gun control” mean to you?

Violence caused with guns is a serious problem in the United States. So the goal of any gun control law should be to lessen the number of people injured or killed with guns.

If we are serious about decreasing the carnage caused by people using guns, gun control laws must get the gun out of their hands. Carrying a gun for these people must have serious significant consequences, with no room for plea-bargaining or parole.

However, many people who want more gun control also believe our legal system puts too many people in jail, that it is biased against certain groups of people, and mandatory sentencing does not deter crime. It is a difficult, and to some an uncomfortable, fact to face. But until those who commit crimes with guns are afraid to carry them, they will continue to carry and use them to injure and kill.

Richmond, Virginia, for many years had one of the highest murder rates by guns in the United States. The federal prosecutors started enforcing a gun control law that gave anyone committing a felony with a gun a mandatory five-year sentence. No plea bargains and no parole. This fact was advertised on radio, TV and billboards. “You do the crime, you do the time.”

Within six months, police told me they no longer worried about guns being carried by the gangs and drug dealers because they knew they would go to jail for five years if they had a gun. Within nine months, homicides were down 60 percent. A mandatory prison sentence is a proven deterrent. If you are not willing to send people to jail who break gun control laws, then you’re not serious about gun control.

Erik Swensson 


Give up meat for Lent

Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert before launching his ministry. But meat-free Lent is much more than a symbol of religious devotion to Christ. It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease, environmental degradation and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, caged, crowded, deprived, mutilated and shocked.

Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion and love by adopting a meat-free diet for Lent, and beyond.After all, it’s the diet outlined in Genesis 1:29.

Our supermarket offers a rich array of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering “vegan recipes” in our favorite search engine offers more products, recipes and transition tips than we can use.

Melvin Nysser 


Don Dix

Mr. Howden -- You do realize that if the minimum wage is raised for those that are paid by that standard, then those that are paid above the minimum rate must also be compensated to reflect the raise of the lower rate, right?

When the cost of labor outpaces the value of productivity, many minimum wage jobs would disappear simply because of the higher pay scale. And every increase in cost (to produce) would effectively raise the price of the product in the market.

And please research which political entity is 'pushing' the prospect. Those that are in line to receive a boost in the paycheck are not necessarily the primary beneficiaries of the increase, but that is the 'story' that is being told. The surface usually obscures a deeper inspection!


Don Dix: Agree completely---and after everyone gets their wage increase (along with higher taxes )prices of all goods and services will eventually be raised to the point that a higher wage will be demanded and on and on. Can you say inflation boys and girls??? I know you can

And who compensates the fixed income retirees? Surely not the mis managed SS system.

More! More! Free! Free! feel the bern

Horse with no name

Thanks Susan Murray. It is good to know which way your government authorities are going to jump when trouble comes down. You never use to have to ask yourself a question like that.

“As the occupation wore on, sheriffs from around the state sent help to Harney County, including the four neighboring counties of Lake, Malheur, Crook and Deschutes. Law enforcement officials said the only neighboring sheriff who didn't send help was Palmer.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/02/oregon_standoff_ sheriffs_stanc.html

Horse with no name

Sorry, hidden space in link to Oregon live story on Sheriff Palmer:


The citizens of Harney County got what they expected from their Sheriff Ward. Courage, mental clarity and honor.


The articulate letters from Julia S. Leon and Roshana Shockley bring up valid points by those experiencing heart-wrenching problems with loved ones who suffer from mental illnesses and substance abuse. To have the criminal behavior of a family member detailed with no familial context does come across as dehumanizing.

But most media organizations rely on law enforcement documents when reporting incidents such as that described in "Roth's disturbance triggers arrest" and I'm sure the News-Register is no exception. Police reports contain blunt descriptions of events, timelines designed to meet legal standards. By their very nature, little subjective information is included in police reports and those being arrested will likely be painted as offenders therein. In the quasi-clinical language of a police report, a human being who struggles with mental illness and substance abuse issues becomes “just another repeat offender” who garners little public compassion.

The nature of a news report is to simply relate events and they’re often light on context. In Katrin Loretta Shockley’s case, such a story doesn’t describe the anguish her family and friends have experienced as they struggled to help her. Such a story fails to relate the frustration these folks must've experienced as they watched the system fail her. Such a story doesn’t express Katrin Loretta Shockley’s basic humanity.

A feature story, on the other hand, might explore these avenues and chronicle the struggles of this woman and her family. It might shed light on Katrin Loretta Shockley’s battles and it might offer solutions. A feature story might portray Katrin Loretta Shockley as the human being she is.

Maybe it’s time for a feature. Occasionally context is everything.


Mr. Nysser--Why don't you simply eat your tofu and mind your own business?

Don Dix

The minimum wage was intended to be for part-time, inexperienced, or unskilled labor. You can't justify paying the floor sweeper the same as the cabinet-maker. Based on typical human nature, do that and you would have a crew consisting of mostly ... well ... floor sweepers!

It is said (and true) that 'a rising tide lifts all ships'. Providing a living wage clearly isn't the only reason for raising the minimum. Or do you think the supporters of the proposal listed at the website below are truly in this for humanitarian purposes? ... not likely!


Don Dix

Lulu -- Mr. Nysser read and believed a UN report ... do I need to say more?


Mrs. Shockley--I don't know how much dignity is entailed in throwing produce at customers and spitting. What if, next time--and there will be one--she's wielding a broken bottle or a club? In those moments of mayhem, the "backstory" is not something I care to muse about at my leisure--I simply want the unfolding incident to end.
Obviously, someone dropped the ball big time regarding your daughter's care. Where is her doctor? If she becomes violent because she won't take her medication, she should be in an environment where that choice is not an option.
Emptying facilities for the mentally ill population in order to afford them the "least restrictive environment" was not the wisest plan for someone who is a menace to herself and to everyone in her vicinity.
I'm sorry.

Jeb Bladine

Mrs. Shockley -- We have focused major news coverage and commentary over the years on the local Drug Court, Mental Health Court and local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Supporters of those programs always feel good when many people read the articles, but it doesn't change the reality of chronic drug addiction and mental illness in our midst.

We lack the capacity to investigate and analyze and judge back-stories of the hundreds of people involved each year in dramatic, unusual, disturbing and otherwise noteworthy justice system activities. If law enforcement news reporting had to be preceded by an intense investigation into the lives of the offenders – an investigation we know from experience would almost always be rebuffed – there would be no news reporting.

You are the exception, perhaps, seemingly having issued an invitation for local media to pull back the curtain and get a look inside the world that surrounds a troubled person who has been the subject of dozens of law enforcement reports in our newspaper since 2000 and, perhaps, before. I hope you will feel free to confirm that by letting our news/editorial group know if it is something you and others would want to talk about.


Thank you Erik for a well written comment. Your comment could be written with the exact same wording regarding the alcohol industry. "If we are serious about decreasing the carnage caused by people using alcohol, alcohol laws must get the alcohol out of their hands. Alcohol for these people must have serious significant consequences, with no room for plea-bargaining or parole."

The problem we have as a society is that the collateral damage caused by a person's interests are acceptable. Three times as many people are killed every year directly from alcohol use as are killed with guns, yet there is no better example for acceptance than right here in Yamhill County. It doesn't matter how deadly, if a person likes the product they could care less (or even promote) the product of their choice.

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