Letters to the editor: May 24, 2019

Rubber stamp for staff?

Having just completed my first participation in a contested zoning matter before the McMinnville Planning Commission, I am sharing my observations for those in a similar position in the future.

I don’t know how typical the proceeding was with regard to the Oak Ridge Meadows subdivision. But commissioners seemed unwilling to second-guess the city planning staff.

I’m unsure whether this speaks to their lack of independence or the thoroughness of the staff. It does, however, raise a question as to the practical usefulness of the commission.

The city has adopted a number of lofty goals, such as preserving wetlands, protecting natural features, avoiding burdens on existing neighborhoods, enhancing livability. But it seems the commission was unwilling or unable to apply them here. It leads me to wonder what was accomplished in the adoption of these goals besides window dressing.

The city encourages citizen participation. However, the large, well-prepared public testimony seemed to fall on deaf ears, suggesting the process was more for appeasement than working to craft the best plan.

They may not necessarily have been because the commissioners personally opposed making any changes, rather because under the law, they were powerless to do so. If so, why string the public on?

I was impressed with the time, effort and interest the commissioners put into the matter in preparation for the hearing. Serving as a planning commissioner obviously is a huge commitment, one not generally recognized or appreciated by the public.

I was particularly impressed by the job done by Roger Hall as chair. He was kind and impartial, attempted to interject levity, gently maintained control and served as a model of civility. It was obvious he wanted everyone to feel appreciated.

Mark Bierly



In God’s image

Neglecting to care for helpless newborns for the purpose of causing their death is infanticide. But the many born-alive bills introduced in Congress to further ensure protection for infants surviving abortion have been voted down by the Democratic majority.

Proponents of abortion have always contended that the act was not wrong because it did not kill a “human person.” They defined a baby as a “human person” only after he or she was fully born.

This logic was used to justify partial-birth abortion. Because the infant’s head was not out of the birth canal, the baby was not fully born, thus could be killed.

But abortion proponents are now championing the killing of what even they call human persons. Have they changed their position?

Taking away personhood from any group of human beings takes away their legal and constitutional right to live. When a government has this kind of expanding power grip over its citizens, it repeats the mistakes of Nazi Germany.

God’s standards are the ultimate protection for the unborn, elderly and mentally and physically disabled, as well as for the racially or religiously oppressed. Foremost among those standards is, “Thou shalt not commit murder ... for in the image of God made He them.”

Susan Paz



Not my heroes

With the annual Memorial Day holiday just days away, it’s time to reflect on our heroes and heritage.

My heroes were not those who dropped bombs and napalm on innocent people. My heroes were not those transported to distant countries in order to subdue or kill. My heroes never received medals serving to decorate their egos.

My heroes marched in Selma — or on college campuses to protest the Vietnam War. They fought to enshrine the values of liberty, freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble.

The history of our government is not something easily forgotten. It is a sordid, violent, brutal history of slavery and Jim Crow laws. It is a history where each side read the same Bible and each side prayed to the same god, making the Civil War the costliest ever in terms of lives lost.

It is a history of the forced removal of the Cherokees from their lands, leading to the Trail of Tears. It is a history filled with genocide, massacres and butchery of the natives. It is not something to be emulated or glorified.

I remember how Mike Royko, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, framed the meaning of this holiday. He said Memorial Day was “just a day off to goof-off and get paid for goofing off.”

That’s all it is. It’s a free day for government workers, unions and the financial sector. For all others, it’s just another workday.

Dan Hilbert



Unfounded petition pitch

Our household received a petition in the mail from one C. Arthur Bradley. It states that Ordinance 5059, passed on October 9, 2018, by the McMinnville City Council, creates unfair taxes on seniors; that no other city has passed this kind of tax; that care facilities will close and seniors will suffer, if not be forced to move away entirely.

Here are some actual background facts:

Ordinance 5059 allows for the imposition of fines and penalties on care facilities that make unnecessary emergency calls. It is an addition to Chapter 5.40 of the city regulations regarding care facilities.

The imposition of fines for unnecessary or frivolous emergency calls is reasonable.

Our fire and ambulance emergency response services are paid for by your taxes. When a private care facility makes a non-essential call for emergency services, the city absorbs the cost.

Also, when paramedics are called out to change a catheter or lift a patient, they aren’t available for real emergencies — like you having a stroke. Note that any fines collected go into the city’s ambulance fund, and that there are hardship provisions. 

The city keeps records. It has determined that 37% of EMS calls are made from care facilities, even though their residents represent only 3% of the population.

Most care facilities are responsible. They do not make frivolous calls.

A few are NOT responsible. They hire low-paid, high-turnover workers and use public emergency services to perform non-emergency transport or other non-essential medical services.

In such cases, the taxpayer pays. They don’t.

Many cities charge for non-essential emergency calls or false alarms after the first few at any address.  I doubt that there will be a mass exodus of either care facilities or seniors from McMinnville. 

I do not know who C. Arthur Bradley is, but I suspect he has a special interest in this matter. If so, he should disclose that special interest.

The facts are not on his side.

If you want more information about Ordinance 5059, contact your city councilor or download it on your computer. Please do not sign ANY petition without learning the facts of the matter first. 

Margaret Cross



Where’s the money going?

Regarding the editorial, “Civility set aside in state’s political war,” published May 10:

We should applaud Sen. Boquist and colleagues who joined him in opposing this corporate tax. They are good stewards concerned with the cares of us citizens and the state.

We citizens are being deceived and taken advantage of by the cry for money needed for schools, roads, etc.

This corporate tax is, indirectly, a sales tax on us. The corporations just raise prices on their products, leaving us paying the bill.

We may also be losing part of our kicker for other “needed” expenses. This call for more frunds makes me wonder:

1) Where does all this money go?

2) Where is all the money from the lottery for these causes?

3) Why does all the money end up in the general fund?

4) Why isn’t there a reliable account of the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report?

5) Why are able-bodied citizens benefiting from our taxes by getting welfare?

Where are we being led in this state anyway?

Of all the western states, ours is the most taxed, surpassing even California, which is supposedly bankrupt. Is that the intended fate for our own state as well?

We are all being taken advantage of by our legislators and other officials. They are disregarding any concerms for the welfare of our state or its citizens.

It’s time for the sleeping giant to awake and remove those legislators and officials.

Mary Novak



It takes a village

The homeless issue in McMinnville is most certainly a serious problem with no easy solution. It is a serious public safety concern.

The main issue I see is shelters declining to accept individuals with substance abuse issues. Reversing that would greatly increase access to shelter beds and willingness to seek help.

Theft, violence and disease are primary concerns.

Also, some homeless, especially women, are victimized. It becomes nearly impossible for some of them to escape and leads them into trading sex for drugs.

The homeless have so little. Many have no couch to surf on or family to go to. So offering positive options and true community involvement is vital.

It takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes it also takes a village to repair shattered people.

David Klingensmith



Where’s the mercy?

One word seems to be missing from the debate about homelessness in McMinnville: mercy.

Our debate has centered around justice, following the law, the haves and have-nots, the rights of landowners, the protection of public lands, who should pay for what, the authority and duties of the city council, etc. All are important to hone the depth of our decision making, but let’s add mercy to the mix.

We have all experienced mercy in some form or other when we knew we deserved punishment, or at least a reprimand, for something we had done or failed to do. Yet the parent or neighbor or employer let us off the hook with kindness.

Our hearts know what mercy is, right? And we were the better for it.

So, could we as a city extend mercy to our homeless citizens? Could we acknowledge: There but for the grace of God go I? Could we be less willing to exact conformity from those who do not yet have the resources or skills to abide by the norms of those who have more? Our hearts know what mercy is, right? Could we be less judgmental and more compassionate for six months, until public property is readied for the campers? Could the city council take action to let the campers remain where they are for six months, offering some assistance in garbage removal in the meantime, and providing leadership in what mercy looks like?

Our hearts know what mercy is. If we add it into the mix in our discussion about our homeless neighbors, we will be the better for it.

Peggy Kennedy

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, McMinnville




Dan Hilbert...I am so sorry for you that you would feel that it is appropriate to say such things. My fellow Veterans never did any of these acts you describe. We honor those that have fallen in Service on Memorial Day. I feel sorry for you. Know that I feel no Animosity toward you and I fought for you to have to the right to say these things. Freedom is not Free. Have a good day. The rest of us will take a moment to honor those whom we know are heroes.


Aorta1775 I’m glad to see your comments. You are spot on. If it wasn’t for Veterans he wouldn’t have the freedom to write what he did. My hat is off to you and every Veteran in this great country that fought for our freedoms. My deepest respect for you sir.


So Jim...does that include the homeless veterans too?.....or do they get the rail out of town as well....


Tagup homeless vets need to be taken care by the VA. I know what side of the fence you set on in every issue and I’m definitely not on your side of that fence. Our Veterans Administration has done a terrible job of taking care of our Military Veterans and it needs to be fixed. If there are Veterans in this bunch of people tearing apart McMinnville and they want help there are programs for them.


Dan Hilbert. I agree with you that this country is far from perfect, after all it is a sinful and fallen world and every person struggles from temptation daily. However, America and Americans have always struggled to improve and make things better. We have shed blood for what we believe as right and sometimes we really screw up. This is still the best place in the world to live, work and thrive. All of the qualities you admire in your heroes were made possible by the defense of this country, the defense of our God given rights and the blood of my heroes.



Thank you for your service. You, my father and all the other veterans deserve our gratitude and respect.


Susan Paz - "Neglecting to care for helpless newborns for the purpose of causing their death is infanticide. But the many born-alive bills introduced in Congress to further ensure protection for infants surviving abortion have been voted down by the Democratic majority."

That's because they are nothing but a bunch of BS.


What about Cain?

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