Letters to the editor: June 28, 2019

Single-payer the answer

Thank you for your editorial on the lack of oversight in the senior care industry. It is one of the reasons I tell my kids: “Don’t grow old. There’s no future in it.”

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” But in our country, 100 citizens, typically the very young or old, die every day because they lack health insurance.

We need a single-payer health insurance program that covers all our citizens, regardless of age or pre-existing condition.

France has the best single-payer system in Europe. One aspect of that system has government workers coming into the home to clean toilets, wash floors and take on other tasks the elderly can’t manage on their own. This allows seniors to remain in their own homes, where research shows they live longer.

Moving to a single-payer system is hardly a new idea in this country. In the 1950s, then United Automobile Workers President Walter Reuther pushed for it. Harry Truman tried as well, as did the Labor Party in the most recent attempt in 1996.

These seniors, as your editorial mentions, raised and educated their children, paid taxes to support the government and may well have served their country in the military. Certainly, we have do do better by them, if for no other reason than the fact we are all aging every second, minute and hour we live.

As a member of the Health Care for All Oregon union caucus, I thank you for a great editorial.

Mike Sullivan



Climate bill makes no sense

Regardless of one’s views on climate change, the current cap-and-trade bill makes no sense for a non-industrial state like Oregon. Let’s consider the local steel mill.

As the News-Register noted earlier this year, McMinnville “has a stake in cap-and-trade legislation because it’s home to Cascade Steel Rolling Mills and its payroll of some 400 workers.”

If you look on the web, in fiscal 2017, Cascade produced 489,000 short tons of steel billets. That may seem like a lot, but China’s crude steel production in 2017 was 916.8 million short tons, according to the World Steel Association.

Quickly dividing, our plant’s production amounted to 0.053% of China’s — a minuscule fraction. In fact, China produces 10 times as much steel as the United States as a whole.

The article noted the facility had emissions equating to a little over two-dozen Ford F-150 pickups. Are we going to risk 400 mill jobs and more than a thousand supporting jobs for such a small potential gain?

Have we considered what happens if this production moves to, say, China? I doubt it will be produced using a “state-of-the-art, energy-efficient electric arc furnace,” or get 90% of its electricity from non-carbon emitting hydroelectric dams, as Cascade does.

The only way you can noticeably reduce carbon emissions in a non-industrial state is to dramatically reduce private fuel and electricity consumption through higher prices.

It’s estimated this bill will start off with a 22 cent gasoline tax hike that progressively rises over time. I don’t want to think about what would happen to my electric bill.

This proposed cap-and-trade program would create an expensive bureaucracy resulting in regulatory consolidation that forces out small business. And individual Oregonians would bear the brunt of the costs.

Robert Wilson



Cap and trade an atrocity

Open letter to common-sense Democrats:

I am writing this to urge common-sense Democrats out there to wake up and take their party back. As a former Democrat, I am appalled by what is happening to the civil discourse in this state and country.

The far left has hijacked the Democratic party with its extreme views on the environment, life and free speech. I ask those who have more centrist views to not just vote the party line, but to use critical thinking in casting their ballot.

In our state, the Democrats have a super-majority in both the House and Senate. And please look at the laws they have been passing at the urging of our leftist governor.

One example is the cap and trade carbon-reduction bill, HB 2020. It’s one of the most divisive to hit our state in my lifetime.

I stand with the Republican senators who have walked out to stop this atrocity from becoming law in our state. The economic fallout from this law will be felt by all people, be they Democrats, Republicans or Independents.

The cost of fuel is projected to rise 19 to 72 cents a gallon in the first two years. This cost will increase steadily and continually over the next several years after that. Stand with your rural neighbors in this state, who will be taxed more heavily than those living in the areas.

In addition, the cost for all businesses will increase. And those costs will be passed on to you, the consumer.

Demand this plan be put to voters. Don’t let Gov. Kate Brown railroad it through.

We need the common-sense Democrats to send the governor a message. Demand this be sent to the voters.

Tim Horrell



Not a reasonable reaction

“Send bachelors who are heavily armed.” This is the comment made by Sen. Brian Boquist, who represents Yamhill County in the Oregon Senate.

The implication is that he will kill state police officers who come to escort him to his job. That is not exactly what I expect to hear from the man who is supposed to be a voice for the people, including state employees.

Senate Republicans walked out of the session earlier this year over another disagreement, denying the Senate a quorum so no bills could be passed. They returned after a compromise was worked out that included Republican agreement not to walk out again this session.

They broke their promise last week and walked out again. Because of this, Gov. Kate Brown announced she would send state troopers to bring the senators back to Salem.

They are in a disagreement over a bill designed to help the planet and keep Oregon livable. While all the Republican senators are unhappy over this bill, Sen. Boquist is the only one who apparently prefers to murder people rather than to lose a vote in the Senate.

Right-wing militias have offered to get involved. Republican leaders have rejected their help, but Sen. Boquist had not yet done so, as of this writing.

I think we need to elect a new senator — one who prefers to use the power of his voice. Killing state troopers is not a reasonable reaction to losing a political fight.

I was also interested in the fact that this comment, rather than earning a front page headline in the News-Register, was buried on the second page of a long article about the Republicans walking out. Is the News-Register interested in informing the citizenry of the actions of our state representatives or in protecting those representatives from the anger of the voters?

Sandra Coates



Wild West revisited

I’m so embarrassed by my state senator, Brian Boquist, and his threats of violence against state law enforcement. He seems to be suggesting gun violence is the answer to our problems.

Perhaps the future of our children would be best if the gun battle he wants would happen. Just warn citizens of Dallas that a violent man is about to be taken down by state police so they can take cover.

I thought the Wild West days were over!

Steven D. Harloff



Going green in Mac

On May 30, I was invited, as a member of Zero Waste McMinnville, to attend and enjoy a STEAM event at McMinnville Adventist Christian School. And enjoy it I did.

All students participated in a charming and sophisticated musical presentation in three parts.

The program was unusual in part because much of the instrumentation was unfamiliar. Indeed, some of the instrumentation consisted of refuse items skillfully employed to create rhythm and tone in the delivery of classical compositions.

It was innovative. Outside the box. Pleasing to the ear.

The school was presented with a certificate of qualification for the Oregon Green Schools program by Regional Coordinator Leslie Lanzar, along with a $500 check from Zero Waste McMinnville to help further its science, technology, engineering, art and math efforts. Afterward, we were invited to participate in creative arts and crafts efforts using waste resources as materials.

During the program, I browsed essays and stories, many rooted in sustainability, and admired visual displays. Also featured was a refill station fostering re-use of plastic water bottles.

Although I was only able to stay a short time, I continue to be impressed by how deftly the school has woven sustainability into its curriculum. In the process, the school is instilling some fundamental human values: personal responsibility in the community and the planet, frugal use of available resources, human efficacy in addressing global issues, and simply how great it feels to do the right thing.

I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the experience of active, relevant learning in our classrooms. I applaud the initiative, innovation and creative thinking I saw at MACS.

Lovetta Dill



Other reasons for die-off

Recently, opinion pieces by an organic Christmas tree grower and private forestland owner concluded fir trees were dying due to global warming or climate change.

Currently, I have Douglas fir growing in ages ranging from 2 to 65 on my timber farm, with 45,000 newly planted seedlings. And I’ve not found that to be the case. 

My speculation is that for an organic grower, moisture conservation to help establish a new plantation is ever more difficult, especially with the tree of choice, noble fir.

Regarding Ben Deumling and his great family, whom I have met, there may be another reason his 150-acre plot of 40-year-old Douglas fir is struggling.

I was on his property years ago, when a contract logger wanted me to help thin the stand now experiencing die-off. What I remember is that his Douglas fir interfaces with Oregon white oak, an indicator species that typically grows on hot south- southwest- or west-facing slopes with shallow, rocky soils.

When I converted half the family farm to Douglas fir in the ‘60s and ‘70s, I planted everywhere I could find a spot, including sites adjacent to oak and a fellow indicator species, Oregon ash. Ash tells the story of wet clay soils, which give Douglas fir something it doesn’t like — wet feet.

Today, 40 to 50 years later, I, too, am experiencing Douglas fir die-off, but only where stands interface with oak or ash. Otherwise, my timber never looked better.

Oregon summers have always been hot. Hence the great Tillamook Burns of the 1930s and extreme heat of 1948-1952, when fire burned half of Yamhill County’s timber. And who could forget the late 1950s, when drought became so severe Portland was considering a cloud seeding venture, if and when any clouds appeared.

Jim LeTourneux



Breaking a promise

Honorable people give you their word and they stick to it. You can count on them to keep their promises even when doing so is inconvenient or unpleasant for them.

Sen. Brian Boquist is one of a group of legislators who gave their word not to go AWOL again this session as a means of preventing a vote.

The issue being boycotted is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Sen. Boquist gave his word, then broke it for partisan political reasons.

Even worse, the senator then threatened violence against law enforcement officers, should they try to compel him to keep that promise.

We already have more than enough violence in society rooted in partisan politics. Having an elected official threaten violence based on political division could easily inspire someone to commit such an act. 

While I’ve never thought much about Sen. Boquist one way or the other before, I will remember this come election day. As an elected official, you shouldn’t be threatening to shoot cops.

It’s a sad commentary that this even has to be said.

Fred Fawcett



Border atrocities continue

The deplorable abuse of children held by our government after their families crossed our border seeking asylum or simply better opportunities has got to stop. Immediately.

Our government’s treatment of these children is shameful and inhumane. It is immoral to keep children confined in the unbelievable conditions we are hearing about from lawyers and other advocates who have visited facilities where they are being held.

This treatment is cruel and deplorable. No one should ever be held in such conditions — having to sleep on bare floors with only a blanket, having to wear filthy clothes, going without soap or other hygiene supplies, getting inadequate food and having to cope with insane crowding.

As children, they need special emotional and physical care. But none of that is apparently being provided, or even considered.

Under the law, no one is to be held for more than 72 hours. Nonetheless, many of the children have been held for months. If there is a backlog in processing the children to determine their status and eligibility for return to their parents or guardians, hire the number of people it takes to adhere to the law.

It’s not a matter of money. There is plenty of that to go around, based on the number of golfing weekends the president takes.

It’s not a matter of illegal immigration, either. The issue of how to resolve immigration questions is separate from that of how these children are being treated.

The children are here, in our custody, and must be treated humanely regardless of their legal status. It’s a matter of the will to do what is morally right.

Where is that will? Where is the conscience of the people in charge of making these decisions? Where is the resolve of our nation to stop this atrocity?

Wanda Cochran




Much to think about in Ms. Cochran’s letter. It will be very revealing to observe how some will continue to justify or simply turn away from the atrocities currently reflecting America’s deteriorating values, as well as the cruelty of corrupt priorities. It is deeply demoralizing to consider the tens of millions spent on those golf outings noted above, (in locations where the profits line the pockets of the Duffer-in Chief) the cost of Secret Service protection for the extended royal family as they travel the globe for fun and profit on the tax payer’s dime, the misappropriations of funding for an irrational wall, (aka: monument to the imperious ego) the billions needed to compensate farmers for a trade crisis this “leader” recklessly created - and yet he is not willing to prioritize resources for basic humanitarian care for innocent babies. Instead he uses their suffering to bully and leverage the Congress. The good people from the communities surrounding the deprivation facilities rallied and TRIED to provide donated necessities for the children. They were turned away. What does all this say about the character of our nation?


Treefarmer, I think you may be right. President trump had the audacity to try and fix the problem at the southern border and tie that legislation into a funding bill that gave money for the wall and money for more detention centers, ICE agents, more diapers, more formula, more beds, more family facilities. Craziness. Did you know ICE agents are committing suicide? Is it from the job pressures as some believe?

A hundred thousand people a month are apprehended at our southern border. Suppose three more McMinnville's rolled into town every month. And oh yeah, many don’t speak English, are not literate in their own language, have no marketable skills and carry with them diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, hepatitis, typhoid fever,etc. there have even been cases of the bubonic plague in LA. With all this, do you think that we might have a resource problem?

Young, working age males make up the majority of detainees. Where did they get their children that they crossed with? Did you know that a good number of the children are sent back over the border to be reused and brought back again as someone else’s ‘children’, and that’s if they are lucky. Child sex trafficking is a huge problem, coming and going across the southern border.

You keep bringing up his golf playing, his family travels, his reality shows, don’t forget his hair and most of all, ‘orange man bad’. Then please bring up my punctuation, spelling or attitude, or whatever. Hell, I'm a Trump supporter, maybe you’ll smell me at the Walmart.

You are right, it’s all Trumps fault. It’s amazing what the lefts hatred for President Trump will allow them to justify in their minds.

I won’t even touch what you believe to be America’s deteriorating moral values. Save that for another day.

Don Dix

It really doesn't matter how Trump wants to revise or handle illegal immigration -- because whichever way Trump flows, the Ds will take an opposite stance. That has been the playbook ever since Hillary lost (to a candidate outside the Washington loop)).

Some Ds wish to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and yet some of the policies, such as family detentions, were reinstituted by the Obama administration. Now (family detention) is all Trumps fault, even though he inherited the situation.

No matter which way one leans, the insanity created in DC is not new nor constructive to this country. Partisan opposition has become the number one requirement to become a member of either party. Just look at how the D debaters have resorted to pointing fingers at Trump -- it's as if he is the only subject on display -- Sick!


Don , I know you think the D’s are the problem at the moment, but Mitch McConnell had the same approach on Obama’s first day in office with a goal of making him a one term president.....

Isn’t Trump the problem with the family detentions?.....regardless of what happened in the past, he’s in charge now.....


Congress obstructed so much the president had to resort to tariffs to get Mexico to stem the tide. Congress appropriates money so his options were limited. I can't make heads or tails out of a lot of what I hear from many, especially Ds, anymore. Trump is all they seem to see. Maybe Trump Derangement Syndrome is real.

Don Dix

tagup -- Frankly, it's quite simple to blame either party for the government mess. Somehow, the ability to constantly bicker with a partisan slant seems to be the standard most rewarded. And the national media relentlessly hammers their particular view upon the audience daily.

The 'stalemate' has an origin -- a large percentage of DC politicians are just that -- stale. It's long past time that congressional seats be restricted to term limits -- then every election cycle would effectively become a congressional douche!


We agree on that!.....Unfortunately, because the congressional positions are so lucrative, I’m doubtful that the group will ever impose term limits on themselves......or limit lobbyists or have pension and benefits that are identical to their constituency or change political contribution law that basically allow a candidate slush fund.....I don’t think Congressional office was ever intended to be a career choice....


I agree with both of you concerning term limits. The lobbyist are way to powerful and this may be the only way to limit their power. I believe they are the reason a bill to end "Too Big To Fail" [Dodd-Frank] actually ended in even more bank consolidation. Why was there one word in that bill affecting small banks? Because big banks paid lobbyists to put it in the bill. I think the vast majority of people on both sides of the aisle agree term limits would be an effective solution but I doubt it will ever happen.


Thanks bigfoot – I was very curious to learn more about how the base views current atrocities and your post (minus the snark and sarcasm) is informative. It appears you are sincerely convinced that your guy is actually trying to do something to “fix” the problem and that takes him off the hook. (I wonder if you are able to at least acknowledge that he just isn’t very good at it?) You are surely correct in that the pressure of dealing with this crisis is triggering suicide, as well as bringing out the ugly sadistic side of human nature in some of the agents. (Vile dehumanizing posts and photos on a private Facebook account……a deterioration of moral values perhaps?) And yes, I DO think we have a resource problem – and it pales in contrast to the total lack of leadership across the board. I question the stats you claim about majorities and “re-using” children, but I plan to do some research. Can you point me to a credible resource? (Does your research indicate that babies are NOT being abused?)

Interesting that you are so defensive of the facts about massive squandering of our tax money. And re the golf, as much as I loathe the outrageous expense that goes straight into his pocket, the hypocrisy is even more disgusting. All he did was bitch and bloviate non-stop about Obama’s time on the course which in reality was a mere fraction of what we see now. (And Obama didn’t profit from it.)

I wonder if we will ever be the “United” States of America again. If we can’t agree on the facts, it is highly unlikely we can unite to find solutions. I do have hope though, as mentioned before, most folks blindly supported Nixon until the facts proved beyond a doubt what a criminal he really was.

p.s. If we found ourselves in line together at Walmart, I’m going to presume we would both smell just fine.


Obama golfed non-stop and had the lightest calendar. He and his family wasted an enormous amount of our tax dollars on their many vacations and hauling Michelle's ridiculous number of staff with them. Trump isn't even taking a paycheck.

There is not a single person that will change your mind or hatred for this President. Get used to it. It may be another four years. And, yes, treefarmer I'm talking about you.

Explain why it's okay for all of these people to cross our borders illegally and justify why American tax dollars should be paying for it. Try to enter any other country and expect to be taken care of and see what happens. Not going to happen.


As of June 23 figures indicate trump has taken 305 golf outings since his inauguration.....Obama took 306....in 8 years.....So if Obama golfed “non-stop”...then trump is working overtime....by the way, you do realize that he primarily golfs at his own properties and bills the government for the cost....so not taking a salary ($400,000) doesn’t come close to covering the money his company is taking in from the federal government.....


Hello Finch. Respectfully, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Presidential travels are a matter of public record. Let’s examine the facts. Here are the golf statistics for just their first two years: First year in office: Obama = 31 days. Your guy = 75 days. Second year in office: Obama = 27 days. Your guy = 63 days. Also from the public record: Obama usually golfed on military bases. (approximately 74% of the time) Military bases were close by and already secured thereby requiring far less tax money spent on travel and security. We all know where your guy chooses to play, and why. Our tax money goes right into HIS pocket nearly every time he hits the greens. It is estimated that we, the American taxpayers have spent over $100 million on golf since January 21, 2017. Are you actually happy to defend and finance such wanton self-indulgence as you work hard for your paycheck and (I assume) budget your resources with discipline?

Re the fact that he doesn’t take a salary, what do you consider a fair wage for someone who gets up early to tweet lies and insults, spends much of every day watching (and taking national security advice from) toxic TV programming, and then continues tweeting more nasty lies and assorted absurdities on into the night? Zero seems about right, especially considering the multi-millions in fringe benefits available to him for fun and profit.

And no, it is NOT okay to cross our borders illegally. Nor is it okay to abuse babies because their parents have done desperate illegal things in an attempt to protect them. This isn’t “any other country.” This is America…..or at least it used to be.


What is it with nonsense talking points like "Nor is it okay to abuse babies." Do you really think the border patrol or DHS officers do that? Come on - these people put on uniforms every day to serve their country but are stuck with the stupid laws and regulations they are dealt. They've were screaming for more money but were told it was a 'manufactured crisis' and only recently congress passed a $4.6B bill to get them some of the money they need to care for the onslaught of 100K per month. Child separations ended after it was tried for six weeks last year. Now they separate them if they cannot verify the adult(s) as a parent - they perform genetic tests. What would you have them do - keep the kid with a potential sex trafficker?


Exactly right Rob. And evidently many of the same children have been used multiple times by traffickers and some even left out there for border patrol agents to hike out and recover.


You will get no argument from me about the FACT that our border and immigration laws desperately need to be overhauled, or the FACT that most of our agents are good decent hard-working patriots. However, as mentioned in another post, stress is taking a serious toll on them, either making life itself intolerable, or perverting their humanity. (I have personally witnessed this effect on staff years ago when I worked in a large over-crowded mental hospital in California.) Have you not seen reports from the whistle-blowers? The doctors who have visited the facilities? The photos smuggled out in spite of attempts to hide the horrific conditions? Even our government agencies have documented and reported on the realities at the border. Are all their accounts “talking points” and “nonsense?” I am not suggesting abuse is the intent, but it certainly IS the result.

The separation of families started long before the deplorable practice was revealed to the public and, given our daily diet of lies, what makes you believe it has ended? It was purposefully implemented to deter the crush of immigrants – a cruel, hateful and short-sighted plan (along with cutting aid to the countries these people are fleeing) that exacerbated the current crisis. These are the consequences of heartless incompetent leadership. Yes we need more money and resources to address this crisis, yes the damn constipated Congress shares the blame, and yes, children and babies are suffering abuse as a result. I am encouraged to see the public outrage, which may lead to changes……the sooner the better.

I had not read about DNA testing to validate family relationships. I am a god-parent and as such would not have a genetic connection to someone I was trying to protect – BUT judiciously applied, if this helps sort out the sex traffickers and other fraudulent schemes, I wholeheartedly support it. (Did you suggest otherwise?) I will be doing some research on this topic.


See article below regarding separations ended after tried for six weeks. See "And so on June 20, a year ago today, President Trump slams on the brakes and signs an executive order stopping family separation." I made no suggestions regarding you personally - I only point out the great difficulty those officers face at the border and the outlandish claims made against them. AOC compared the facilities to concentration camps and last week accused officers of ordering women to drink out of the toilet. She never even entered the facility. To be honest, it is difficult to know what to believe with such crazy accusations flying other than they are grossly underfunded for the task at hand.



Rob – I appreciate the link and the credibility of your source. I was also able to find some interesting information on a pilot program for “rapid DNA” in the Washington Post. I love this forum – I learn things here.

Re the duration of the “zero tolerance” policy, it appears there are many conflicting reports:

--- On 5/8/19 the LA Times published an editorial that reports “…..the government is still separating migrant families at the border.”

--- On 3/8/19 the NYTimes reported that “Nearly nine months after the Trump administration officially rescinded its policy of separating migrant families who have illegally crossed the border, more than 200 migrant children have been taken from parents and other relatives.”

--- And this: "In early May 2018 [AG] Sessions says the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy may split families at the border." and “The administration also says it had tested its “zero-tolerance” policy as part of a pilot program in the El Paso, Texas, area from July to November 2017.” A Reuters report published on June 8, 2018, says that nearly 1,800 families have been separated by border agents between October 2016 and February 2018”. (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/how-trumps-family-separation-policy-has-become-what-it-is-today)

You are quite right that it is difficult to know what to believe in this insane culture of intentional disinformation and "alternative" facts. Undeniably toxic for our democracy - we can only hope it is not the death knell.

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