Letters to the Editor: April 22, 2016

Fight drugs creatively

Readers of the News-Register might be familiar with the section showing local arrests.

If you pay the least bit of attention to these, you see that a staggering percent of people in trouble with the law share one problem: controlled substances methamphetamine or heroin.

The reasons for the trouble are frequently ridiculous and can only be explained by drug-addled behavior.

We Americans already had serious drug problems dating back to the 1960s. The epidemic of prescription drug abuse has its roots in the Reagan administration's legalization of direct advertising of pharmaceuticals. Only two countries allow this.

My kids are grown up and my grandkid is an infant, so currently I'm unaffected by this. As a member of society, though, I find it difficult to turn my back on this terrible problem.

There are things we do well here in Yamhill County. Our schools come to mind. Rather than accept this threat to our loved ones, I'd like to ask people to think about creative solutions to this problem.

Send them as letters to the editor. You never know. Your seemingly oddball answer might be the solution that has eluded society for decades. Our fellow citizens would be forever in your debt if we never had to read another obituary for a young person in our community taken by some lousy pill or powder.

Fred Fawcett



Candidate rude

The Yamhill County Democratic Party hosted a forum April 17 for the public to become familiar with candidates running for secretary of state, House District 24 and the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners.

The decision to hold the forum was made in the interest of voter education, and all candidates were invited to participate regardless of party affiliation.
The afternoon went quite well with good questions from the audience and well-considered responses from each candidate, until we got to the final portion with Commissioner Allen Springer and Mayor Rick Olson.

I was pretty amazed that Springer didn’t stick to the rules of the forum, responding to comments as if it was a debate. I had heard comments about Springer’s attitude but had reserved judgement until I had the chance to observe first hand.

I realize that voting for an incumbent is easy, but it is time to really think about this one. Springer was not responsive to the questions asked and strayed off topic in the allotted time. I encourage you to consider Springer told the audience their questions were stupid.

Is that the sort of representation we want? It seems to me that as a public official serving the interests of Yamhill County, he has little concern for the attitudes of people who care to know his positions.

I refuse to vote for someone who has publicly stated he believes our concerns are stupid or misinformed.

Beth Rankin



Take care of schools

I am writing as a parent of three children who all graduated from Yamhill-Carlton High School who went on to do amazing things. (OK, yes, I am a proud parent.)

The buildings at Yamhill-Carlton High School are on the edge of extinction. Our support for the bond measure is essential to providing a prosperous future for Yamhill and Carlton.

Ken Moore


We know our rights

As a participating member of the newly formed South Downtown Association of Neighbors, I can’t believe the rebuff we received from the city of McMinnville.
The News-Register quoted Councilor Kellie Menke as saying, “I don’t understand how they can create this neighborhood association.” Really? Look up the First Amendment of the Constitution and you will see that freedom of assembly is the individual right or ability of people to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend their ideas. The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political right and a civil liberty.

In the three meetings I attended, the hall was filled with my neighbors. There were folks of all ages. There were professionals, working-class people, church representatives, retired people, homemakers, artisans and business owners. We passed bylaws and elected officers. We formed committees to address safety, beautification, homeless problems, land use, historic preservation and livability.

Our city officials should welcome the formation of a group such as ours. Why are we being treated as troublemakers? Why is it “too much work” to simply add us to an email list for notification of projects slated for our neighborhood?

The City Council recently decided that it didn’t have the resources to deal with a number of local concerns such as homelessness. Our association has a committee that is discussing that problem and working with local churches and neighbors who are affected by this issue. We also have a committee looking into pedestrian and vehicular safety on our neighborhood streets. Our beautification committee is educating us about native plants. Our association is discussing subjects the City Council may not have the ability to address.

Do we really need the city’s permission to exercise our First Amendment rights?

Phyllice Bradner



Bolster citizen engagement

The city has made a mistake in its handling of the issue of citizen participation in McMinnville, especially when it comes to neighborhoods. While citizen involvement organizations are clearly written into state statutes and are implemented in other cities across Oregon, my own hometown lags.

Not only has our own local Citizens Advisory Committee not met in years, but many committees members are re-appointed without ever appearing before the city council. Other citizen committees such as Historic Landmarks do not meet, putting at risk our historic resources which attract visitors.

McMinnville continues to operate as if it is still a small rural community, with a top-down system that emphasize city council and staff control over citizen involvement. I have often heard of this system referred to as the “McMinnville Way.”

Our city is not the small town it was when I was a child. Since the ‘60s, we have grown threefold from a town of little more than 10,000 to a burgeoning urban center of more than 33,000, with more growth on the way. Demographically, we are much more diverse. Geographically, we are much larger.

Someone living in Grandhaven or near Hill Road now deals with totally separate concerns from those living close to the downtown core or across the river. Politically, it makes sense to be changing, too, but we aren’t.

It isn’t easy to get in touch with our city officials as it used to be, and they, in turn, are less in touch with citizens. The city could benefit by embracing new ideas like the neighborhood system, as has been done elsewhere. It is time for change.

J.W. Milligan




More Springer antics at the candidates forum. How come no report in the N-R? I certainly hope that the public is paying attention to this race. Springer seems to have little respect for anyone who doesn't toe his line. We deserve openness and Rick Olson has demonstrated that for years. I noticed in another article the mismanagement of the County email system that had the Treasurer ready to make a transfer of a sizeable amount of money, $49,000. Present Commissioners and County Administration not doing their jobs reasonably protecting county assets. No firewalls? No spam filters?

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