Letters to the Editor: Jan. 11, 2019

Park upkeep gets short end

I see the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is embarking on yet another neighborhood park.

I called the city in 2017 asking that the Chegwyn Park be better maintained. I also asked that the dead and dying trees along Hembree be replaced, then properly cared for.

I was told there was no money in the budget at the Public Works Department to replace dead trees, or even to weed the grounds, only to mow the lawn periodically. The city’s solution to the dead trees was to cut them off at the ground and add irrigation so the rest of the plantings did not also die.

Unfortunately, part of me thinks this benign neglect is the result both of the perceived socioeconomic status of our Chegwyn/Autumn Ridge neighborhood and poor budgeting on the part of the city for new assets coming online.

Perhaps the city’s development efforts would be better applied to proper maintenance of our existing parks than to adding more to its plate.

Patrick Evans



Inability to comprehend

Many people who disagree with the concept of climate change do so out of an inability to comprehend actual facts and data.

Humans impact our planet, and not in many, if any, positive manners. Humans have significantly altered the basic working of our ecosystem.

We have denuded millions and millions of acres of oxygen-producing trees planetwide. We have filled our atmosphere with millions of tons of waste from internal combustion engines, factories, slate-and-burn agriculture and human-caused wildfires. 

Climate change is a large, complicated and fearful concept. For many, it is too much to process, so it becomes easier to just deny it.

Stuart Gunness



Pure, raw racism

I saw the editorial comment about the racist incident occurring in McMinnville on Dec. 24. I don’t agree that this was only a slip of the tongue or a moment of lost control.

If the reporting is correct, this woman not only screamed racist comments, but pulled a knife and threatened to kill these people. I think this is pure, raw racism.
This behavior diminishes us all. It causes fractures in our social network.

We had better take risks on this as a moral issue and speak out. If not, as one smart person suggested, we risk even more.

Larry Snider



Climate forces beyond dispute

The statement in Steve Sommerfeld’s Jan. 4 letter, terming evidence pointing to humans as the cause of climate change “sketchy,” is simply wrong.

Greenhouse gases, CO2 and others, trap heat and thus make the planet warmer. The largest sources of C02 in the U.S. are electrical generation (28%), transportation (28%) and industry (22%). Put another way, 78% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year in the U.S. comes from activities that did not exist before the Industrial Revolution.

During ice ages, CO2 averaged an estimated 180 ppm. Before the industrial revolution, the atmospheric CO2 level averaged about 280 parts per million.
When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration started monitoring atmospheric CO2 in 1974 at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, it had risen to 320 ppm. The average weekly Mauna Loa value this past Christmas was 409 ppm, up from 386 just 10 years ago.

The last time CO2 levels rose above 400 ppm, humans didn’t even exist. And at that point, sea levels were at least 20 feet higher than they are today. If CO2 remains above 400 ppm, the seas will eventually rise to that level again.

I recognize that the above is a very simplistic explanation of human influence on global warming. However, the reader can easily check out the facts by visiting NOAA.gov or EPA.gov.

We are the only country with such a high level of climate change denial among our population. There appear to be three major reasons for this:

First, most of the public pseudoscientific deniers are beholden to powerful corporate fossil fuel interests. Paul Krugman of The New York Times says, “Almost all prominent climate deniers are on the fossil fuel take.”

In addition, some conservative ideologues are totally committed to small government and free enterprise, so oppose any large government undertaking. Finally, other ideologues believe any restrictions threatening the “American Way of Life” will prove economically devastating and won’t help anyway. These last two probably explain why the majority of Republicans are deniers.

Good luck finding a credible climate change denier to write a Viewpoints guest opinion.

Les Howsden



Cause of change at issue

With regard to Steve Sommerfeld’s letter to the editor:

I agree that the News-Register should offer the opportunity for a qualified expert’s opposing thoughts on the causes of climate change in the Viewpoints “soap box.” I suggest that perhaps past state meteorologist and self-described state climatologist George Taylor be asked to summit a piece.

I heard George give a presentation about his opinions on what was causing climate change years ago, and he presented what I thought to be hard facts and historical data that tied climate cycles to ocean cycles, both short term and long term — up to 30 to 40 year cycles. It was very fascinating and convincing.
Unfortunately for George, as a state employee, his ideas went against established state politics and the environmental narrative of Govs. Kulongoski and Kitzhaber. So he was forced out of his position.

So much for being a climate change disbeliever, when it comes to what is causing the change, and standing steadfast.

Jim LeTourneux



Where’s the enforcement?

There is a stretch of Highway 99W between roughly 15th and 19th streets, near McMinnville High School, which is a designated school zone.

Northbound, the speed is 20 mph between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on school days. Southbound, the same rule applies, but only when children are present.

Sadly, I have rarely seen these speed limits observed by motorists, including law enforcement officers clearly not in emergency mode. Nor have I ever seen any enforcement of the limits during the 15 months I’ve lived here.

What’s worse, the “end of school zone” sign is significantly obscured by trees.

The city should either remove these school zones or enforce them. And as long as the school zone remains in place, the signs should be made more visible.
In the meantime, it would be great to see drivers respect school zone postings and slow down!

Leslie Taylor



No to free borders

Isn’t it time for our legislators to wake up, grow up and stop acting like spoiled children whose goodies have been taken away?

Isn’t it also time for us citizens to see that they get to the business of making our nation safe, law-abiding and prosperous? Instead, they are pursuing an unwarranted witch hunt, wasting our money and driving our debt further into the red.

They are ignoring or violating the law of the land, using consoling rhetoric to facilitate passage of bills violating our Constitution, such as NOAA, Patriot Act, Homeland Security, TSA and so forth. Do you know how many amendments they are violating?

Read Article 1, Section 4, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution (The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year) as amended in the 20th Amendment, Section 2 (and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day).

To whom have these legislators sworn an oath? For whom are they working?

These legislators are advocating free borders, a threat to our nation and its citizens. Illegals get protection but we don’t.

If we want to ensure the freedom of a law-abiding nation, shouldn’t we hold them to their oath before more damage is done? I say, have them either shape up and fly right or just ship out.

What a shame we haven’t acted sooner, for it might be too late for change. If so, we will incur great sorrow and regret for what we have lost.

Mary Novak



The crisis is Trump in office

The desperate families who walked 2,000 miles to flee violence in Central America already knew there was a humanitarian crisis.

They knew there was a crisis when they were denied their legal right to seek asylum at legal ports of entry. When their screaming children were ripped from their arms. When their children disappeared or died. When they were placed in cages for months with no one to help them.

These crises were deliberately created by Mr. Trump. Normal immigration did not and does not pose a crisis.

Drugs are not carried in by 4-year-olds. The real terrorists appear to be the gun-toting native-born Americans who committed mass murder at Sandy Hook, Parkland and Las Vegas.

It took the particularly malign genius of Mr. Trump to extend this manufactured crisis to millions of Americans who aren’t getting paid, can’t pay their rent, can’t get loans and can’t feed their children.

By rejecting a bipartisan funding bill in order to pander to his base about a wall he promised Mexico would pay for, Trump created a crisis. If Trump has one skillset, it is to create crises where none existed.

We do have a crisis in this country — it stems from the chaos created in every sector by the ignorant, impulsive, childish, lying, mean-spirited, reckless and irresponsible behavior of Mr. Trump.

He is leading us into the worst constitutional crisis since Nixon. Crisis, thy name is TRUMP.  

Margaret Cross




Mr Howsden. I agree with you on the direction our human activities are taking our climate and our children's future. I see no reason to characterize those who don't believe as we do in negative partisan terms. Yes it is all politics, yes, I know those pseudo-scientific deniers are dupes of the carbon industry. Mr Howsden. It's too late to turn or slow down this behemoth world wide industrial civilization. Our American culture is build on consumption and our culture is the world's culture. We are living the good life and we will not back away from the table until the feast is over. When it is over our children will pay the price.

Don Dix

Les Howsden -- Mauna Loa began CO2 measurements in 1958 (Keeling).

Since 0 A.D., the Earth has gone through 2 warming events and 2 cooling. That's confirmed history. If, as claimed, CO2 is the driver of temps, how could the level remain fairly stable during any of these periods? Shouldn't it have fluctuated?

97% of the atmospheric CO2 is from natural sources. And study of ice core, tree ring, and ocean sediment reveals CO2 "follows" temps by and average of 600 - 800 years.

So, coming out of the Little Ice Age (approx. 1350 - 1850), the Sun becoming more active (which it wasn't during the LIA), and the 'natural warming' that has always occurred after cold periods throughout Earth's history is now being blamed on man's 3%? -- Seriously? Pretty convenient to be able to ignore actual history to promote a questionable hypothesis.


Leslie Taylor, school zone enforcement

I drive passengers for a living and go through that area often. I can't count the number of times people tailgate and even flash their lights at me. And someone always zooming past me on the left or right.


Mary Novak, no free borders
I know it fits the argument to claim some want "open" or "free" borders. But the argument against the wall is about lack of practicality and waistful use of money. The border crossing is at the lowest numbers in decades. The majority of Drugs are smuggled by air, water, and hidden in legal shipments. A request for asylum is legal and constitutional and is not a free pass for entry. All those requesting are screened and the majority are actually deported back. As far as the investigation, that is a process we use in the system of checks and balances of the position of POTUS. The president has been untruthful so knowing the truth is necessary. Many of those working for him or associated with him have either been convicted or plead guilty to serious crimes. This warrants a complete investigation. And the business dealings of the Trump organization throughout the decades have leave a trail of suspicious motives and an example of someone with a disregard to the law.


It would help if the climate change arguments, pro and con, were at least interesting.


Robin – much appreciate your application of facts and fact-based logic to the discussion. Such unstable times demand no less.


Hi Don. Let me try another approach. We are natural causes. We humans in the industrial civilization are spewing CO2 and other green house gases in huge volcanic quantities. Green house gases (CO2) are moderated (keeping the temperatures from fluctuating)by sinks with moderate and transform like the oceans and the massive forests. We natural human industrial animals are also destroying this very moderating earth systems. At least that is what the current science reports indicate. Of course those current measurements and assessments might be completely of base. Some of us believe we nature animals who have learned fire and how to consume our home will be successful, some of us think it's just a silly plot to spend our tax money. Such is life.

Don Dix

Nike -- Interesting approach that humans are the 'natural causes'. Also quite a reach!

Water vapor is the most abundant and most common gas in the atmosphere, and also has the most influence on the heat trapping system. It occurs naturally, and man has no control over it's level. So the strongest, most abundant, and most influential greenhouse gas in atmosphere occurs naturally, and man's CO2 is blamed for the results. Hard pill to swallow, wouldn't you say?

Don Dix

Sorry, typo 'Mike'.


Don Dix –

Don’t know if the research that supports your opinions includes the National Academy of Sciences but just in case, you might find some interesting data in this new report:



Cause of change and Climate forces
Remove the issue of cause and effect. Remove even the issue of climate change. It still behooves us as a country to become independent of fossil fuels and move to renewable and clean sources of energy. This would leave a better world for our children, once fully changed over more profitable and efficient, and increases our countries security and reliance of products from overseas.

Don Dix

treefarmer -- if you are told the education you experienced and what you learned through study of such was incorrect, would you just accept it, or explore further?

When the alarmists stated, 'the Earth is hotter than it has ever been', if became clear something was up (study of the Roman Empire says quite different). From that point, fact-finding always seemed to lead to weak excuses, foolish predictions that never happened, manipulation of data and historical temperatures, and another 'changing of the goalposts' to fit the narrative.

To me, that's not science or the scientific method -- but it is very similar to a basic business model that changes with the sentiment and demands of the owners and of that business. Belief (by the public) in a product or an idea determines success or failure. Bombarding the public with scary guesses (words such a 'may', 'likely', 'possibly', 'could', 'might', etc, are the clue) is the most effective way to change minds.

At some point, one either relinquishes individual thought and joins the herd, or explores the path of actual evidence. I fall into the latter category, mostly because the required studies of my education, which basically tells me this 'global warming' (or whatever is the term of the day) is a pile of B.S. And when 'self-appointed leaders' (IPCC) admit it isn't about the environment, but about money, I stand firmly with skepticism.


Hey Don Dix – It appears that there will continue to be plenty to explore. For example, I was very interested to read this old (but still timely) quote in “The Guardian,” (no indication the clever practices would have changed much in recent years?)

“Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m (£77m) to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned. The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of thinktanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarising "wedge issue" for hardcore conservatives. The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund.....”

The Koch bros & friends PLUS the orange conspiracy advocate in the White House – it just keeps getting better for the sayers of nay. (Reinforces observations about a business model too?)

So – the earth is flat, or the sky is falling, or nothing to worry about here.......the actual realities of climate change remain moot. Could it be that folks just want to believe what makes them comfortable? (you win that one) Either way, the Pacific Northwest seems mostly stable for now, with any luck you and I will probably be pushing up daisies by the time either one of us would have to acknowledge who had the “winning” argument.

Don Dix

treefarmer -- you wrote -- 'The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of thinktanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarising "wedge issue" for hardcore conservatives.'

Climate change has always been a 'neutral science fact', and occurred thousands of times throughout Earth's history. The reporting and assessments are of question -- are the polar bears gone yet? (no, growing in numbers), has the ice melt flooded major cities? (New York, Miami), do the winters now lack snowfall? (no), are hurricanes more frequent and powerful? (no), is the Artic ice gone? (no, but it was in 1922). If all these (and other predictions) were reported by the media, yet none have transpired, there is a common sense conclusion.

'Winning the argument' isn't of any significance, but finding truth with reliable facts are. Historical temps have been reduced and recent temps 'massaged up' to fit the narrative (for instance -- 1931 still holds 20 high temp records and over 50 days of 90+ in McMinnville and yet we hear Portland just 'set a record' with 31 day of such). Once again, common sense says the Portland record is 'convenient', but hardly true.

And when the 'global warming' scenario didn't pan out, climate change became the mantra (so everything climate related could be included in the claims). Instead of employing the scientific method to prove the hypothesis (or disprove), just change the conversation (goalposts) and proceed.

My opinion is based on education and actual observation of fact and events, not 'who' makes the claims or says 'nay'. When nothing transpires from the scary scenarios and predictions fail miserably, something is askew, wouldn't you say?


Oh Mr. Dix – “nothing transpires” you say? Are we living on the same planet? Do you spare yourself “observations” of news reports about the increase of monster hurricanes and devastating droughts and disappearing ice shelves?

No matter. Our opinions are two grains of sand on the disappearing beaches. I do want to correct your response to me though. You credit me for “writing” something I was, in fact, quoting. (I would never spell polarizing with an “s”)

Don Dix

treefarmer -- During the past 5 decades, an average of 5.6 major hurricanes struck the United States. During the preceding 5 decades, and average of 8.4 major hurricanes struck the United States.

During the past 4 decades, the time period during which global warming alarmists claim human-induced global warming accelerated rapidly and became incontrovertible, the fewest number of major hurricanes struck during any 40-year period since at least the 1800s.

Antarctic sea ice has grown somewhat over the past 10 years. Between 2012 to 2014, it reached record-high extents each year during the winter. It topped 7.78 million square miles in September 2014, the largest extent since satellites started keeping accurate measurements in 1979.

"The climate models do not get it right at this point," said Lars Kaleschke, an ice researcher with the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability. "The models project a decrease of Antarctic sea ice, which is in contrast with observations." Incorrect models -- hmmmm -- seems to be an epidemic.

Average drought conditions across the nation have varied since records began in 1895. The 1930s and 1950s saw the most widespread droughts, while the last 50 years have generally been wetter than average

Would the above be the 'observational news' of which you speak?

Look, we are going to be at odds with this subject, and I appreciate that the conversation is civil. My problem is the fact that the knowledge I have gained throughout my lifetime does not correlate or correspond to what is being put forth (by alarmists). It's nearly impossible to 'unknow' the facts, so to speak.


I'm still getting used to adapting to global cooling. That was the last scare of certain doom for earth. I have been doing all this for naught. Now it is global warming. I need to get started.


Stuart Gunness -

“If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.”

Jonas Salk


Jonas Salk is someone I would trust completely. Most people don't or can't remember the major polio epidemic of the 1950s. What's difficult is describing the terror everyone felt--but parents most acutely. There would be numerous children within our fairly dense street radius who, overnight, developed the sore throat, stiff neck, headache and fever which resulted a few days later in paralysis. People were frantic--at first, they connected polio incidences with water--gutter water [suddenly we couldn't dam up a gutter or send paper boats sailing, actually quite exciting for city youngsters]; and then rain. Kids' names would be screamed through the neighborhood when rain started falling. Nobody told us anything, because nobody knew. It was a time of whispering and suspicion and fear. Further, there was the grim specter of the horrible iron lung and the ghastly lifestyle it entailed. So many died or became permanently affected, using leg and arm braces, provided they could even walk.
Even though the first polio vaccine injections were painful, thank you to those heroes, Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin.


Believe in climate change or not...what harm would come from making the necessary adjustments? Even if you don't believe in it...what would it hurt to mitigate the consequences?

Don Dix

Mudstump -- it's not about believing in climate change, that's a reliable constant in Earth's existence. It's whether humans are causing it -- and how to mitigate the consequences? -- surprise!, the cure is taxes, of course.

Predictions have gone awry, models have not matched real world observations, and the IPCC says it's not about the environment anyway. The story keeps changing (like the climate) to fit any narrative that supports it. Credibility seems to have taken a backseat to convenience -- and that's not how true science operates.

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