Letters to the editor: April 12, 2019

Hard decision to make

Thank you for bringing readers current facts, and potentialities, as to the possible need to expand low-income housing in McMinnville. (April 5 editorial, “Housing crisis is not going to solve itself.”) Given what appears to be building pressure in this direction, it is important that citizens are informed, and hopefully participate, in the future decisions.

Personally, I could not support moving the urban growth boundary to add mobile homes.

It depresses me to think when considering the future of McMinnville, we need “the ability to face facts — even unpleasant ones — bravely.” But I am old and don’t accept change easily.

At root, I am ambivalent about how far our moral duty extends to solve this housing crisis. After all, others made the decisions that bring it to us. We were not advised about or included in their considerations.

If we do make unpleasant accommodations, such as expanding urban growth boundaries, don’t we just degrade our quality of life to enable or encourage future dysfunctional decisionmaking? You might be interested in www.numbersusa.com/blog/too-damn-high.

John DeMay



Other avenues available

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional to bar the homeless from sleeping on public property.

People are upset by the sight of the homeless along the streets downtown, particularly business owners.

They are at a loss as to what to do about it, because of the ruling. However, it did not speak to personal property on public property.

I’m sure McMinnville has litter regulations, or other laws, that prohibit storing personal property on public land. If so, is it within the city’s legal right to confiscate tents, bikes and so forth that are littering public property?

The goods can be sold and the proceeds used to clean up after the homeless. When the city starts doing this, let’s see how fast they return to their families, switch to couch surfing or find an opening at a shelter.

Sheila Hunter



Action needed on care issues

I have worked as a caregiver for a private homecare agency in Oregon for eight years.

The training was not enough. Only my background as a paramedic gave me the ability to meet my clients’ needs.

Our clients’ safety was not taken into account either.

I saw clients refuse to use their Hoyer Lifts because they had been dropped too often. I knew of a caregiver with a documented drug problem history who was sent to a client to administer liquid morphine. I knew of a caregiver who was fired for refusing to wash dishes, but not for smoking pot inside the client’s home. And I once averted a potentially severe injury to a hospice client while an occupied bed change was being performed.

Blame not the caregivers! The company knew about these issues, but failed to address them. It also failed to address the lack of training and oversight.

I urge state Rep. Ron Noble to support Senate Bill 669, as it would help protect consumers and caregivers, ensure standards are enforced and ultimately improve the quality of homecare services for vulnerable Oregonians.

Carolyn Leggett



Lack of transparency

Last year, I confronted the Oregon Health Authority’s Immunization Department about an apparent violation of state public meetings law. When I asked what happened, the administrator in charge told me something most taxpayers have no clue of.

Several years ago, a nonprofit was formed with membership mirroring that of OHA’s Oregon Local Public Health Officials committee. This nonprofit is known as the Oregon Coalition of Local Health Officials, and its meeting are not open to the public.

Most public health agencies are participating in this nonprofit. Taxpayer dollars are going to fund it, but its meetings aren’t open to the public.

County public health officials get significant funding from Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control. To continue that funding, they sign an intergovernmental agency agreement committing them to push certain immunization programs and pharmaceutical products.

When I asked several health departments what would happen if they disagreed with the OHA or CDC on a particular topic, they said they could lost funding as a result.

The coalition recently submitted testimony supporting legislative efforts to increase government intrusion into our families through passage of HB3063, which would eliminate non-medical vaccination exemptions. It opposes legislation aimed as providing more transparency about pharmaceutical products.

We should be concerned that our public health officials are compromised by their funding sources and nonprofit shield.

Our tax dollars are being spent without our knowledge to attack our personal liberties. To stop that, we need to start demanding transparency from our agencies.

Brittany Ruiz



Come celebrate with us

I was 12 years old during the first Earth Day celebration in 1970.

I gave a presentation at my grade school on how to make compost. But only one person came to hear my lecture — my brother.

Earth Day has ebbed and flowed since the 70s, becoming a sleepy kind of celebration along the way. Let’s change that. This Earth Day weekend, April 19-21, you can become a participant or volunteer in the celebration of Mother Earth.

It’s Easter weekend, so some events have been pushed around on the calendar. But they will still be held in the name of Earth Day.

They range from hiking, a free lunch and birdhouse placement at Miller Woods to picking up litter along our roadways. Local vineyards are having special tastings and a kid’s scavenger hunt is in the works.

A week later, the first annual Zero Waste McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival will be held at Linfield College. A full list of activities, and volunteer opportunities, can be found on Zero Waste’s Facebook page and www.zerowastemcminnville.org website. Finally, Zero Waste will be hosting a family-friendly Earth Night celebration from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Allegory Brewery on Fourth Street. The event is aimed at those who love the Earth and have dedicated their lives to the environment — farmers, gardeners, natural resource specialists, sustainability wonks, solid waste workers, land use planners, academics and foresters, all coming together for one night.

Seeds, starts and summer-blooming bulbs will be offered for sale, along with beer and eats from the Farmer’s Lunch Box food truck. Three bands have been booked to provide live music.

Allegory Brewery has graciously pledged to donate one dollar from each beer sold to support Zero Waste McMinnville. Volunteer, then join us to celebrate!

Ramsey McPhillips



Touch now off limits?

What will society be like when we can no longer touch each other?

Are sociologists missing their calling? If people are afraid to lend support by way of a friendly and civil touch, won’t this make us more fearful of our fellow human beings?

At this time, or really at any time in human history, this approach seems problematic. To make someone feel guilty because they touch an arm or shoulder with a smile or explanation is taking our culture down a rocky road.

The pendulum is already swinging too far. Society needs to be aware of the adverse consequences.

Janet De With



Protect the unvaccinated

The current measles outbreak was not spread in a school setting. So why are Oregon lawmakers pushing a law that would permanently ban unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children from daycare and school facilities?

Healthy unvaccinated children do not harbor illnesses or viruses, and they can’t spread what they don’t have. I thought education was important to Oregon’s elected officials, but maybe not.

Oregon already has a law that says unvaccinated children must be excluded from school during an actual outbreak of a contagious disease, including measles. Why would anyone want to make this quarantine permanent? What is the point of denying perfectly healthy kids an education or after-school activities?

This is segregation. I thought we were done with segregation in our schools.

Please ask your representative to vote no on House Bill 3063.

Holly Garland



Preserve Electoral College

To the people of Senate District 12, including McMinnville: Did you know your state senator, Brian Boquist, is the co-leader of an effort to outsource Oregon’s sovereignty and influence in presidential elections?

Boquist is the only Republican sponsor of SB 870, which calls for Oregon to become part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The compact aims to establish a nationalized mechanism for presidential elections.

Under that mechanism, Oregon’s Electoral College votes would be assigned to the winner of the national popular vote. The vote outcome here at home would become irrelevant.

If Oregonians gave their vote to one candidate, but the national population voted another way, Oregon’s Electoral College votes would go to the national winner.

Isn’t it ironic that such a game-changing bill is being orchestrated by a handful of legislative insiders, not grassroots voters across the state — and that Boquist’s legislative website says nothing at all about this bill?

Backers say NPVIC would make “every vote count.” In fact, it would throw Oregon’s votes into the same batch with those of much larger states like California. Without Electoral College protection, small- to medium-sized states like Oregon would be swallowed up.

If you are concerned about this bill, please contact Sen. Boquist at sen.brianboquist@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1712.

Roberta Schlechter



Don Dix

Roberta Schlechter has shed a bright light on the changes proposed to the Electoral College. Does anyone actually believe that awarding Oregon's 7 votes to the winner of the popular vote no matter how the state votes is a way 'to make every vote count'?

I would like to believe Oregon voters are not that incredibly stupid, but I could be wrong (based on who always gets elected to decision-making positions).

Don Dix

Janet De With -- When it comes touching, the difference is wanted and unwanted, IMO. It's OK when the 'touching' is welcomed, but that is not the case here.

Biden is a creep, always has been. The videos absolutely show his advances cause some to feel quite uneasy -- and most of his actions are surprises from behind (no warning of his intent). A lofty political position is not a free pass to 'cop a feel'!

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