Letters to the editor: April 19, 2019

Forsake the barbarism

Thanks to the News Register for its April 4 editorial supporting SB 1013, which would limit death penalty cases to acts of terrorism. Thanks also to Rep. Ron Noble for supporting the measure.

My understanding of the great costs of the death penalty matured as I watched my home state of New Mexico end its right to kill perpetrators of crimes and opt for the vitally less costly and morally closer-to-Jesus option of life in prison without the opportunity for parole.

I despise killing among humans on all levels, at all times. But the death penalty requires professionals to train for — and in very few cases in Oregon historically — carry out the killing of another human being.

When Oregonians don’t have money for homes or medications, I want our state to be most judicious and humane in its spending. And just having the death penalty on our books is costly.

Oregonians now spend in excess of $29 million annually to preserve a death penalty they’ve used only twice in 54 years, according to Oregonians For Alternatives To The Death Penalty, whose website may be found at www.oadp.org. A 2016 Lewis & Clark Law study showed the initial death penalty trial alone costs $800,000 to $1 million extra.

I have learned the death penalty does not deter crime and is administered with great bias against the poor and people of color. Further, it’s not the choice for many families of murder victims, who find the perpetrator’s execution can actually create more grief and suffering.

When I started to ask open-minded questions about what the death penalty solves, I learned that it actually just begets more problems.

I pray for Oregon’s eventual abolition of this antiquated, racist and expensive penalty. In the meantime, SB 1013 takes a step in the direction Jesus would have walked.

Amy Halloran-Steiner



Restore local control

A recent guest opinion by the CEO at the Willamette Valley Medical Center painted a rosy picture of how things are going since his arrival. He noted how he had gotten rid of some doctors, which includes Dr. Vessely, and reduced the number of beds available to local patients.

Basically, he’s a bean counter for the bottom line mentality of the out-of-state owners, not an advocate for the care of McMinnville residents.

I understand morale is not the same since he arrived. Some local folks, including a local EMT, say they would no longer go there, but to Newberg instead.

Due to his policies, I have to take my wife to Good Samaritan in Portland for a procedure she could have obtained here six months ago. We need to get local control back and return the hospital to what it use to be.

Don Bowie



Heed the research

If we want to foster actual educational improvement, we need to shift from opinions to data from research.

We have more than enough research and examples of its application. We know how we can assist students who struggle with their learning, as well as those who are ready, but need to be challenged. We know how we can support teachers seeking to improve instruction.

The badly kept secret is that implementation doesn’t cost an exorbitant amount of money, but does take time and patience. Unfortunately, we are constrained from implementing research for both political reasons and unrealistic urgency.

In a presentation to the Oregon School Boards Association, we shared these imperatives for improving instruction and achievement levels:

n Focus on a few important things. That will produce five times the gains.

Weed the garden of initiatives. Use vetted research to guide needed changes and implement the research with fidelity.

n Strengthen instruction by tapping the research base for powerful instructional strategies.

What we have been asked to teach is a mile wide and an inch deep. Both research and field experience dictate the need to narrow and deepen the scope.

We also need leadership that creates a culture of inquiring and learning. We should design the work of everyone with the explicit purpose of improving the capacity and performance of someone else.

n Practice the concept of reciprocal accountability.

For every incremental increase in performance, instruction and learning demanded by politicians or administrators, the capacity to meet that expectation must be provided. In return, educators much recognize that for every investment made to improve their skills and knowledge, they need to demonstrate some measurable impact on student performance.

It’s all about research. Adhere to the admonition of W. Edwards Deming: “In God we trust. The rest of you bring data.”

Art Anderson



What about Linfield?

After graduating in journalism from Linfield in 1970, I worked on three Oregon daily newspapers. One was The Observer, then a six-day daily, in Eastern Oregon’s La Grande.

I was the sports editor, making me a one-person “department” covering the athletics of Eastern Oregon University, La Grande High School and smaller high schools in Cove, Elgin, Imbler, North Powder and Union in Union County and Enterprise, Joseph and Wallowa in Wallowa County. In summary, I reported on, wrote about and photographed athletes from a four-year college and nine high schools.

My newspaper sports editorship there was prior to Title IX. There were some sports for girls and women, but not many. Nonetheless, I was very busy from morning to night.

The sports editor of the McMinnville News-Register covers schools in the N-R circulation area in Western Oregon. He covers high school boys’ and girls’ sports and more, so he’s very busy.

But lately, the N-R has stopped covering men’s and women’s sports at Linfield College. Busy or not, that’s inexcusable.

Please resume covering the Linfield Wildcats.

Tim Marsh



Proud of our delegation

I was proud to note last week that both our Oregon senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, were among the 15 co-sponsors of the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act, which is designed to help the persecuted Rohingya minority. Likewise, I was happy to see that the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which regularly rates our legislators on their animal welfare records, gave Senator Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici scores of 100 percent, while Senator Merkley earned a spectacular 100 percent plus. Needless to say, Rohingya people don’t participate in our elections, and neither do animals. Therefore, the legislative records of Oregon representatives indicate they are not just successful politicians, but also caring individuals.

Thank you!

Jane Kristof



Tactics of Tail-gunner Joe

You can’t go a day without hearing the accusation of socialism being leveled.

You want decent pay for American workers? Socialist!

You think everybody should have access to health care? Socialist!

You want college education that doesn’t bankrupt you? Socialist!

If it all has a vaguely familiar ring to it, just think about Tail-gunner Joe McCarthy. This is his playbook resurrected seven decades later.

When you can’t outright oppose better pay or decent health care or reasonably priced education, you have to somehow poison those ideas. You do it with cries of socialism.

You can’t use the original communism, because that died and went away. Instead, you label any move toward the things that would benefit Americans most as socialism. You promise you will deliver them later, untainted, sometime in a future that never arrives.

Just once in the dirty world of politics, it would be refreshing to see some new lie put to use to make sure good things don’t happen. Sharia Law, maybe?

Fred Fawcett



Linfield left out

McMinnville has been a college town since 1858.

I am a Linfield graduate as well as a faithful reader of the News-Register. And I enjoy following local sports, both high school and college.

I am curious as to why there is little or no coverage for some Linfield sports.

Football, which is always covered. Men’s and women’s basketball is sometimes covered. But I haven’t seen any coverage of softball or baseball so far this year. I enjoy following Linfield sports. I’m disappointed in the coverage they are given. Can’t the paper at least provide the latest scores?

Sandra Douglas



Eschew the meat

Earth Day is April 22, marking a half-century of promoting environmental awareneess and protection of our planet. But are we making enough difference?

Can we do more than reduce, reuse and recycle? Sure! We can stop consuming animals and adopt a plant-based diet.

Why the focus on meat and dairy?

An article in Nature argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, air and water pollution, and depletion of soil and water resources. Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that averting a global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to plant-based eating.

Animal agriculture is responsible for carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of forests to create animal pastures and the operation of machinery to raise and transport animals. Even more damaging is the methane released from the digestive tracts of cattle and nitrous oxide from animal waste ponds.

In fact, meat and dairy production dump more animal waste, fertilizer, pesticide and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It’s also the driving force behind wildlife extinction.

An environmentally responsible world replaces meat and dairy products in dietary consumption with vegetables, fruits and grains, just as it replaces fossil fuels in energy production with wind, solar and other pollution-free sources.

We can celebrate the observance of Earth Day at our supermarket.

Milo Nakamura





Mr. Fawcett. I appreciate your point of view especially since you seem very passionate about it. I am passionate about my point of view as well. Please allow me to present my perspective.

Senator McCarthy was correct in his assertion that communists had infiltrated the US government. One such man was Harry Hopkins, a communist who was an advisor to FDR in creating the new deal and swayed an aging and sick FDR at the Malta summit that Soviet Russia should hold Eastern Europe as compensation for the war. This act condemned these countries to brutal treatment and locked them as prisoners in their own countries.

I see things very differently than you.
The government doing away with private health care and forcing everyone into a failed Medicare system IS socialism and communism. Yes Communism still exists and sadly has gone nowhere.

Government taking control away from private businesses and mandating a ‘living wage’ is socialism. And it doesn’t lift anybody out of poverty but has the opposite result. Look what the $15 minimum wage has done to Seattle’s restaurant businesses or fast food workers replaced with electronic kiosks.

Free college for all will only take away choice and make a college degree universally worthless.

These positions are touted by most of the democratic candidates for president in the upcoming 2020 election. Our country is technically bankrupt and these policies will put the final nail in our coffin.

Name me one socialist success story. Venezuela is a disaster with its citizens living in the dark and scrounging for food in dumpsters. The Canadian and British health care systems are broken systems providing poor care to citizens with no other choice unless they can pay cash at private clinics.

Of the dirty words of politics it doesn’t get much worse than the word socialism. And sharia law? For the love of god I hope you were joking.

Don Dix

Jane Kristof -- The Humane Society of the US does not have any shelters, and any local Humane Society shelters are not at all affiliated. So, contributions to the HSUS or HSLF are for political action, and not for any care for homeless animals.

And according to the records of HSLF, if the candidate is a D, there is approximately a 70% chance that they will be the choice. That's possibly a little more light on the subject than might be suspected, but there it is.

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