Letters to the editor: June 21, 2019

 School support gratifying

The last few months have provided many examples of the commitment of members of our generous community to the success of students attending our schools.

Individuals and local companies stepped up to support the MHS robotics team when it learned it had been selected for an at-large slot at the FTC World Championship in Houston. As a result, 13 students had the chance to interact with teams from around the world and discover they could be competitive even at that high a level, as they finished in the top third of participating teams. At MHS Scholarship Awards Night, countless community organizations and memorial trusts offered scholarships to a diverse array of students. The total dollar amount of scholarships awarded was eye-popping.

Making education beyond high school an attainable goal for students with a range of interests, gifts and talents will have a lasting impact. Finally, support for the MHS Grad Night party made a fun and safe gathering possible for graduated seniors. Such an event requires a significant amount of financial support, so it was heartwarming to see local companies, organizations and individuals make it a reality. Thank you to everyone who supports the students, teachers and administrators in our schools.

Laura Hampton



Driving privileges for all

One of the things I love about being an Oregonian is that we truly care about one another. We are willing to look out for our neighbors’ safety and welfare.

My life’s work, as a third-generation Oregonian, has been to support the Spanish-speaking immigrant community. Immigrants make life better for everyone through their hard work and their enrichment of our cultural landscape. The number one priority for immigrants we’ve surveyed through Adelante Mujeres, where I serve as executive director, is the ability to get a driver’s license and be able to drive legally. A driver’s license is essential to immigrant parents to assure family well-being and contribution to the regional economy.

HB 2015, currently before the Legislature, would ensure standard licenses were available to all applicants meeting the requirements to drive. The ability to drive legally is an everyday core need for most Oregon families to take their kids to school, commute to work and take care of friends, family and neighbors in need. I don’t know how we’d get by at my residence if I couldn’t drive my husband to the doctor, pick up chicken feed for my neighbor or drive to work.

In many communities, especially here in rural Oregon, driving is an essential part of everyday life. Oregon farming communities thrive, in part, because they welcome people from all over the world. It’s what makes Oregon such a unique and special place. Please urge your legislators to grant driver’s licenses to your immigrant friends and neighbors through HB 2015. It is the Oregonian thing to do. Oregonians might disagree about how Congress should reform our complex and broken federal immigration system, but we can all agree that our immigrant friends and neighbors should have the means to provide for their children and build Oregon’s economy.

Bridget Cooke



A chance to be heard

I am opposed to Premier Development’s Oak Ridge Meadows application, recently approved by the McMinnville Planning Commission. I feel that public concerns were just dismissed, that the planning department wants development and doesn’t care how.

The planning commission was hemmed in by narrow rules. The city attorney said it could not use McMinnville Comprehensive Plan policies and goals, as they would not hold up if litigated. That left no option but to approve the developer’s application.

Why have comprehensive plan policies and goals if they’re indefensible? Why have a Great Neighborhoods Initiative, then do nothing to discourage projects at odds with it?

This development would destroy wetlands in the Baker Creek Drainage Basin, increasing the threat of future flooding downstream in the Crestbrook neighborhood. That’s a potential liability to us, the city taxpayers. 

This development has no immediate primary access to Baker Creek Road. So the Compton Crest and Oak Ridge neighborhoods will have their livability impacted for five-plus years with traffic from construction crews, and later from Meadows homeowners.

Several planning commissioners wanted to develop a Shadden extension instead, but the city attorney said they could only rule on this application, not a future Stafford Land Company plan putting that issue into play. So no compromise for these neighborhoods.

I was frustrated that people who wished to speak got only three minutes, while the developer and planning staff had much more time. What’s more, speakers were not allowed to correct misrepresentations made by the developer. 

The city council is scheduled to hold a meeting June 25 on the planning commission’s approval recommendation.

The council can grant a public hearing to let these corrections and concerns be voiced if it sees fit. I urge the council to schedule a July public hearing so we can be properly heard. 

Steve Olsen



Talk is cheap

Is anyone listening?

We came ready to compromise, and were complimented for our mature behavior. But we were dismissed and ignored.

We asked to save one lone oak. Nope. Not even that.

We oppose development of the Baker Creek wetlands, via PDA 3-18 and PDA 4-18, for more reasons than can be put into 300 words. The entire process has featured hard boundaries on the public, but given the city and developer unlimited opportunity to influence the planning commission.

We were limited to three minutes, but the city and developer got hours. We encountered politics instead of reason.

Our opposition to development of the wetlands has been supported by Friends of Yamhill County and the Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District. They came, they saw, they listened.

We’re getting better representation from the county than the city. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to forge a new collaborative relationship with the county, as the wetlands flood county land as well, the city ignored that. It ignored the citizens and ignored the county.

The city insists on using a FEMA map from 1983, even though the wetlands have become flood plain with as little as 1.75 inches of rain in more recent times. It’s also ignoring the data.

Let’s talk affordable housing, yet burden those homes with the cost and liability for parks until the city decides to take responsibility, making them not so affordable. Let’s talk Great Neighborhoods, then take existing ones and run 1,000 to 1,200 cars through them.

Let’s talk five-year build-out and ignore the fact that the wetlands have remained in limbo since 2005, when an earlier promise was made but not kept. Let’s talk required DSL, DEQ, ACE and ODFW permits, yet turn a blind eye to riparian destruction and fill dumping without any such permits.

Talk is cheap.

Cathy Goekler



Beware the Praetorians

As Rome devolved from a democratic republic into a despotic empire, the elite Praetorian Guard usurped the authority to anoint the emperor. 

The Praetorians’ selections were based not on merit, but on which of the claimants to the throne and crown offered them the biggest bribe. These bribes were funded either by debasing the Roman coinage or by ruinous wars of attempted conquest.

The Mueller investigation has now been revealed to be nothing more than an attempt by a cabal within the FBI, CIA and State Department to become a modern day Praetorian Guard. They have attempted to usurp the U.S. Constitution by staging a failed coup against a constitutionally elected president.

The irony is that these traitors relied on the infamous Steele dossier, which had been fabricated by British spies as a pretext to initiate sedition and rebellion. These tactics are made all the more venal because the Praetorians knew their fabricated accusations of Russian collusion would escalate the risk of nuclear war.

Russia is the only foreign country on the planet with enough nukes to not only destroy the United States, but kill billions of people as a consequence, so maintaining good relations with Russia is a vital national interest. But the Mueller witch hunt has made it politically impossible for Trump to constructively dialogue with Putin.

The threat posed by America’s presumptive Praetorian Guard is exasperated by ongoing nuclear proliferation.

China is attempting to expand its modest nuclear arsenal to reach parity. India and Pakistan have recently engaged in yet another border skirmish that could escalate to a nuclear war. North Korea and Iran pose growing threats that could provoke responses as well.

Russia could be helpful in restraining China. It could also with efforts to disarm North Korea and prevent Iran from going nuclear.

James Crawford



Needed: POTUS who cares

It seems we all have to live with what we’ve got, but our president is trying to force us to live a life of uncertainty that occurs every second of every day.

We never seem to know what is coming next. Will it be a tantrum, another one of many false statements or perhaps new and novel ways to obstruct democracy?

We seem to be trapped in this never ending game while real issues like gun violence, the warming environment, women’s rights, healthcare, animal rights and other important issues are ignored. I believe we need a president who has an interest and concern for our country and its inhabitants, not just himself.

Janet De With



City fails to come through

I wish Michael Cornell good luck regarding his request of the city’s Public Works Department for moving the no parking sign. (“No action from the city,” from the June 7 Viewpoints)

I, too, have been trying to get some results from Public Works. I have been trying to get some stop signs in my neighborhood since January of 2018.

We have two streets that have turned into speedways, even though there are 25 mph signs posted. Despite countless promises, reassurances and excuses, nothing ever occurred. I finally gave up, which is no doubt exactly what the city wanted.

If an accident happens, it will be the city’s fault for allowing these speedways to exist in our neighborhood.

Mary Evans



Breach of contract

When I agreed to pay for water, light and sewer service from McMinnville Water & Light, I was told the money would go to the maintenance and day-to-day operation of the facilities. It was solely to be used for that purpose. So it became a contractual agreement for both parties.

However, the city now wants to change all that and make me pay for other things, such as making funds available to homeless people. As I understand it, some of my money could also be siphoned off and eventually end up in the general fund.

When I agreed to these services, no one informed me that city officials could add a 5% tax on my bill whenever they felt like it.

This sewer rate hike is masquerading as a franchise fee. It’s really a tax that we never got to vote on.

McMinnville Water & Light is guilty of violating this agreement with all its customers. This constitutes a civil wrong, known as a breach of contract in legal jargon.

We are all being forced to pay for something that was not in the contract, is separate from the contract and has no bearing on operation of the facilities. The city could easily wind up in court, incurring attorney’s fees and damages, if the city council continues to pursue the present course.

If the city is really concerned about the homeless problem, it should stop designating itself as a sanctuary city. This only serves to encourage those who think McMinnville is a safe refuge.

Dan Hilbert




Listen to Dan Hilbert.


....Utilities adjust rates all the time without the consent of every rate payer, I would assume they also make more revenue than used for day to day operations and maintenance, and invest those dollars appropriately .....is that a breach as well?

Don Dix

Dan Hilbert has it correct -- he writes-- 'If the city is really concerned about the homeless problem, it should stop designating itself as a sanctuary city. This only serves to encourage those who think McMinnville is a safe refuge.'

Simple and logical!


Of Mr. Hilbert thinks he has a "contractual agreement" with the City of McMinnville, through his Water & Light bill, he is wrong. It is no more of a "contractual agreement" than he has with his grocery store or his gas station: He simply pays for his purchases from each vendor.

However, he is entirely correct to call out the use of surcharges for tangential government use. So-called natural monopolies (primarily utilities), controlled by governments, are ripe for this type of money-grab. They are, indeed, a tax and should be challenged on that basis, without the specious claim of "breach of contract."


This is a perfect example of following superior strategy: buy up every single utility and railroad in Monopoly, even though they're not colorful and you can't put houses or hotels on them. Also--opt for the cheapest streets directly following "Go." Stack them with all types of add-ons and you, too, will be as rich as Midas, after an interminable length of time when all your opponents detest you and direct snide comments in your direction. Slum landlords take in far more capital than owners of elite properties. We've seen that principle here in McMinnville over the years; and Water & Light can screw anybody anytime once they formulate a pet project.


Water and light has provided economical power and water rates in McMinnville for decades based on decisions made before you were born Lulu......take a look at Maguire & Haskin’s Creek Reservoir and show us an example of better long term decisions......


Lulu, I don't know if you have ever attended the public rate hearings for Water & Light, but your invective is misdirected. Water & Light has nothing to do with the sewer rates, or their surcharges; those are determined solely by the city council (which, by the way, does not govern Water & Light operations or its rate structures). W & L merely collects and passes through the sewer payments, on behalf of the city, since the sewer charges are determined by water consumption.

If you have specific examples of "a pet project" of MW&L, which led them to "screw anybody anytime", I would be most interested to hear about it. Otherwise, you are way off base.


What about the raise in W & L rates specifically to be used for the homeless problem?


You still don't seem to understand: W & L rates are not being raised "for the homeless problem." W & L has nothing to do with sewer rates or surcharges; they are simply the collection agency on behalf of the city. W & L is a separate agency, independent of the city and its operations.




Don't give up, Lulu; just do your homework.


When I started reading your letter you spoke of positions of power being placed with bribes. You described the Trump administration with that analogy. As far as the Mueller investigation. A few very high end people in the Trump organization are serving time. And a lot of illegal funds were confiscated, more then was spent on the investigation itself. The report has proven illegal obstruction by Trump and those under his orders. Enforcement though lies with the Senate. Presently the President of the Senate, Mitch McConnell,is still protecting Trump and his administration. He will refuse to move forward with charges and continues to obstruct all legislation coming from the house. Just as he did during the final 6 years of Obama.


What bribe? What obstruction? Please be specific. The time for generalities is over. The president invoked neither attorney-client nor executive privilege. There was no Trump-Russia collusion to hide. He didn't even reach the standard bar for Mueller to charge obstruction if he wasn't president(something in the report and Mueller clarified by letter after his press conference). This doesn't even account for a President's article two constitutional powers. The only actual collusion with Russians I know of is the Clinton campaign and the Russia (Steele) dossier - almost ten million dollars changed hands. Could you imagine if the Trump campaign had done such a thing? None of the sentences you described have anything to do with the 2016 election.


Bridget Cooke

We voted to not allow illegal immigrants to drive. Driving is a privilege not a right. The minute someone comes into our country without following the law they should quickly be deported.

Making our community safer for our citizens - many who immigrated here legally = zero chance for driving or voting


.... for ILLEGAL imagrants


Why are people so dense to not put 2&2 together? Being a “sanctuary” to the illegals and homelessness? The human trafficking and drug smuggling networks and then when the illegals get here compete with citizens for scarce housing resources! And now these “progressives” even want to give free health care to the illegals? I wonder how many apartment complexes the state of California could have funded with the billions in free hand outs to the illegals? It’s no wonder why the Californians are flocking here except they are setting up the same failures they’ve escaped from. Oh and why is it that cars are “bad” until an illegal needs to be able to drive?