Letters to the Editor: July 6, 2018

Let us compete

Sokol Blosser wines will readily compete with those of any country, at all quality levels, at all price points, in every market. Bring it on.

I only wish our president and his trade representatives believed the same thing. As we begin the most patriotic of months, retaliatory tariffs are beginning to go into effect on American goods exported to Canada, Europe, China and other nations Mr. Trump has angered.

So far, these retaliatory tariffs do not include wine exported from Oregon, so why should I complain? Because I find it impossible to predict our president’s trade policy, and feel it’s just a matter of time before our wines and those of our neighbors get slapped with higher tariffs.

It does not have to be this way.

Canada is not only the biggest export market for Sokol Blosser, but for the Oregon wine industry in general. The UK is next and Japan third.

All the saber-rattling from our president and his trade representatives is effectively telling us not to compete outside our borders.

How can this be? Why shouldn’t we sell our wine all over the world? We compete extremely well with the pinot noirs out of France and New Zealand, both within our borders and outside.

It feels as if our country is boycotting international trade. I am starting to feel the way athletes did when we boycotted the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Moscow.

International competition makes me a better winemaker and marketer. After growing our export sales over the past 20 years, I have seen first hand how well our wines and others from Oregon compete, even with all the regulatory hoops we have to jump through and without the Trans Pacific Partnership.

I can compete. So can Oregon, all over the world. So why not let us continue?

Alex Sokol Blosser



Where’s the multiculturalism?

Over the last two years, I’ve noticed something disturbing: Every week, the News-Register runs a full-page spread of nostalgic photos from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and every single person is white. No black, brown, red or yellow; just white.

Note the roadside billboard on the southbound side of Highway 99W, just south of Dundee. It’s a postcard right out of the ‘50s. And then there’s the annual Dragging the Gut Festival.

Though restaurants featuring Mexican fare do pay homage to Cinco de Mayo, the only culture here is European. There are no synagogues, black Baptist churches, Shinto or Muslim shrines. The only women covering their hair are Mennonite rather than Muslim, and their dress code is right out of the 1700s. There are no Arab women walking down Third covered from head to toe in traditional garb.

The new president of Linfield College is black and a citizen of the 21st century. How is Mac prepared to make him feel inclusion? Not just PC acceptance, but inclusion. There’s no point of reference for a region stuck in 1955 white, and that’s a the challenge for everyone.

Perhaps there’s an app update waiting for each of us in our preferences menu. We can just plug it in, hit the button and land in the 21st century.


Sheila Hunter



Gun foes should get out

Many thanks are due to whomever has brought suit against the proposed gun-banning law, Proposition 63.

We apparently have citizens who want to destroy the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

Since you disagree with the law of the land, why do you stay in our nation? There are many nations with gun ban laws where you could become an expatriate.
We appreciate the freedoms and rights of self-defense, not only of ourselves, children and families, but also our animals. So, dissenters, bug off!

If self-protection rights and freedoms are so offensive to you, please go elsewhere. Don’t destroy great freedoms not experienced elsewhere.

Mary Novak



Lawless, immoral and abusive

Separating children from their parents is an egregious act of lawlessness, immorality and child abuse.

The law does not require children to be separated from their parents. It does require that children not be incarcerated with their parents.

To comply with this law, previous administrations practiced “capture and release” until a hearing could be scheduled. And 75 percent of the released showed up for their hearing.

English Common Law is one of the foundations of American jurisprudence. It stipulates children may not be punished for their parents’ crimes, and it is the parents who came to our borders, not the children.

This basic principle informed the Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe.

The question was, are public schools required to educate the children of illegal aliens? Writing for the majority, Justice Brennan said to deny them an education “imposes a lifetime hardship on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status. These children can neither affect their parents’ conduct nor their own undocumented status … Directing the onus of a parent’s misconduct against his children does not comport with fundamental conceptions of justice.”
In a moral society, people should never be treated as a means to an end, only as an end in themselves. Separating children from their parents is a means for discouraging parents from bringing their children to our borders, so it violates that precept.

The trauma visited on toddlers separated from their parents damages them, perhaps for life. Childhood adversity fundamentally alters brain development, increasing a person’s risk of illness in adulthood. So separation also constitutes child abuse.

Separating children from their parents flouts the principles of jurisprudence, justice and morality, and also inflicts irreparable harm on children.

Robert Mason



Feeling sadness and disgust

Watching the news has become more painful the past few days, as we view crying children being separated from the parents at our southern border. The children suffer not only the trauma of being taken from family, but that of being shipped to different parts of our country.

I am reminded of the horrible stories about the treatment of the Jewish people, and others, by Hitler and his followers in the World War II era. I feel sadness and disgust that this type of atrocity is going on in our country.

We have a president who seems incapable of compassion. His huge ego prevents him from admitting any mistake, so he does whatever he wants to.
How many of us even knew about the separation of the children until recent days?

Trump admires Kim Jong-un, a dictator whose cruelties are well-known. He also has great admiration for the Russian dictator Putin. His well-established affinity for hate groups is also scary, and his comments on and treatment of women are very offensive.

When Trump is faced with addressing a problem, he prefaces his solution with ramblings about all the “wonderful” things he’s done — like the huge tariffs that threaten many small farmers, including our local cherry growers. And he constantly deflects blame to past administrations.

Special praise for Sarai Weeks, the 12-year-old who offered free water and Kool-Aid near Sheridan. I would so much prefer her as a neighbor than the cold-hearted motorists who berated her.

Anita VanDatta



Equal compassion for vets

I read the article on the Humane Society seizing neglected animals, it being against the law in Oregon to deprive animals of food and water. Shouldn’t there be a law in Oregon protecting humans from the same fate?

My husband was a Word War II veteran. He earned two combat stars and was fiercely patriotic. But he didn’t think our government owed him anything.

He died last year from esophageal cancer, and could have had a more peaceful death.

When he could no longer swallow food or drink, I begged the VA cancer unit in Roseburg to admit him so he could be nourished intravenously. The VA refused, saying, “That would interfere with the process of dying.” As a result, he died before my very eyes of dehydration and starvation.

This great country of ours ought to be ashamed of how it treats some of its veterans.

Romaine Smith


Retain turkey, history

1) I agree with the June 29 letter from Claudia Spawn, headlined “Please bring the turkey back!” No turkey sides or BBQ for Turkey Rama 2018 is a major disappointment.

2) What year did Turkey Rama start?

Much of what I’ve read says 1961. However, a June 28, 1983, Oregonian story by correspondent Jo McIntyre said this “community extravaganza” emerged from “relatively small beginnings in 1960.”

I’ve seen the 1960 date indicated elsewhere, too.

The History of The Rotary Club of McMinnville #922 reports, “On 12/6/47, 49 local area turkey growers were guests of the club. The first week of December had been proclaimed Turkey Week, with exhibits, judges, speeches and entertainment. This might have been the forerunner of what became Turkey Rama in 1960, a huge celebration in McMinnville each summer.”

A photo cutline in The Oregonian of Aug. 9, 1963, called that year’s Turkey Rama the third. The newspaper’s July 5, 1972, edition referenced the 12th and its July 11, 1976, edition the 16th. All three references would suggest a 1960 start.

Tim Marsh



Shooting verdict questioned

As the nation struggles to understand the shotgun massacres at Columbine, the Washington Navy Yard, Santa Fe High in Texas and now a Maryland newspaper, the judges and citizens of Yamhill County, Oregon, need only look in a mirror.

A Yamhill County jury recently deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting a marijuana grower over the firing of two rounds from a 12 gauge shotgun at his landlord’s son.

This was no doubt inspired by the judge’s decision to exclude from evidence photographs of the menacing signs posted on the grower’s front gate. The images of guns accompanied by the warnings, “DOG BITES, OWNER SHOOTS” and “I DON’T DIAL 911,” amply demonstrates the attitude and state of mind of the grower, who didn’t dial 911 either before or after the shooting.

Equally tainting was the testimony of a fellow grower, presented as a “firearms expert” because he’s an ex-Marine who once worked as a gun store clerk. He testified the shooter could not have been firing heavy buckshot, much less one-ounce slugs potentially deadlier than a bullet from a .50 caliber machine gun,  because his shotgun was equipped with a choke.

But if you read the label on a box of Remington Sluggers, you would learn they are “safe to shoot through any choke.”

James Crawford



Reject heartless society

I watched a movie about Charles Dickens and how he came to write his classic book, A Christmas Carol. While the story is currently out of season, it still has importance for the same reason it has since its release in 1843.

While it’s a fantasy, it does one of the best jobs ever of showing the kind of society that decent good people want to live in. It does that while depicting a cold, mean-spirited, heartless society that people of goodwill reject.

When the season does roll around in the winter, the many versions of this story should be told often. We seem to have come back around to a time where all those mean-spirited ideas the book so clearly shows to be wrong are once again gaining influence.

While only a book, it has profoundly affected people for almost two centuries. We would do well to continue to be affected.

Fred Fawcett



Set out the facts

I spent Saturday morning in the company of about 99 other folks, waving signs sharing messages such as “Stop jailing babies” and “Stop separating families.” Passing drivers gave back a lot of positive waves, smiles, and thumbs up, which was heartening.

It was sad, though, to encounter some folks who have been brainwashed by anti-immigrant propaganda. Many of them yelled, “It’s the law.”

They seem convinced there is a law requiring us Americans to lock up people who come here for protection and assistance, as if they were criminals.

This is wrong. There is NO SUCH LAW.

Seeking asylum is lawful, so the way refugees from Central America are treated flouts our nation’s legal obligation under Article 33 of the Refugee Convention and our own Refugee Act.

I hope this paper will make a better effort to clarify the reasons: (1) People are fleeing Central American countries, such as rampant gang violence; (2) So many asylum seekers on our southern border have been subjected to what amounts to Gestapo tactics.

These travelers are in desperate straits. They are not criminals. In fact, child snatching and the arrest of innocent people by ICE is getting in the way of agents charged with catching actual criminals and stopping drug trafficking.

In this country, we don’t separate children from parents who just need help. That’s something the Nazis did.

This policy is nothing but a cruel whim. It is not law. It is not civilized behavior.

People who think otherwise have been led to feel this country is all about hate and punishment. It should be the job of this nation’s free press to set out the facts and help people understand what is real and what is nothing more than slanted, manipulative propaganda.

I hope you’ll make a greater effort. This community needs that kind of help.

Kate Fuller




We thank veterans with our words and nothing else. Talk is cheap.


Sheila---I think you need to look again!

While the makeup of our county has been dominated by our settlement history, McMinnville and Yamhill County have a large and vibrant Hispanic community that has been here since the 40's. If you drive west a few miles you might notice the lands belonging to the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde .....It might not be apparent by viewing a weekly photo spread from the 50's/60's, but we do indeed have a diverse and growing population living here....We don't need an app to enter the 21st century....we just need an open mind...


If Sheila Hunter's preference is for a more ethnically and culturally diverse community, she may have come to the wrong place - at least, at this point in time. She may find it disturbing, but certainly not unwelcoming. But, maybe she would prefer living in Detroit, MI, or even Portland.


Sheila Hunter - Anyone is welcome to live here. There is diversity, but a wide range of diverse populations are not common in the Pacific Northwest. Whose fault is that?....no one is at fault or unwelcoming. The roads are open and I doubt that you will find a moving company that will refuse to deliver the goods because of someone's religion or ethnicity....what more would you have the local government do?

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