Letters to the editor: Aug. 30, 2019

Awash in red ink

Fiscal responsibility is a standard Republican talking point. Unfortunately, it is only that — a talking point.

Every Republican president in the last half-century has operated on a deficit and run up our national debt. In contrast, Democratic administrations have given us five balanced budgets with small surpluses, one under Lyndon Johnson and four under Bill Clinton.

Never has the gap between principle and practice been more dramatic than under the Trump administration.

As a candidate in 2016, Trump promised not only to balance the budget, but to pay off the national debt in eight years. Yet, he has increased the deficit every year since taking office.

Now, in 2019, we are looking at a projected trillion dollar deficit and a mounting national debt.

Why are Trump’s conservative fans so complacent about this shift? I suspect it is because, with Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy, the burden of repayment will fall less on our current generation of taxpayers and more on our children and grandchildren.

So much for “fiscal responsibility.”

Jane Kristof



Protect the children

With the school year fast approaching, extreme vigilance must be used for the children’s schooling and the influence to which they are exposed.

A spreading trend is appearing in cities throughout our nation. It is a story hour showing in classrooms and libraries titled “Drag Queen.” The supposed purpose is to teach children to love one another and themselves.

Two showings were recently held in public libraries in Spokane. Men dressed in flashy women’s clothing served as the storytellers. Parents were allowed to accompany their children, but others were denied entry.

Protesters were pelted with eggs and other objects by supporters. But no one was arrested except a pastor from protest ranks, charged with obstructing a police officer.

Elsewhere, California has passed a law mandating a new K-12 health education framework exposing children to various forms of sexuality. And it denies parents the right to opt out.

Our children are vulnerable. They are easily influenced. So adequate caution must be used to protect their innocence.

Do your research, get involved and protect them. Teach them rights and wrongs.

Exercise your rights or lose them. Hold your officials and schools accountable.

Maybe a boycott would be in order of the banks, insurance companies and other corporations helping support the “Drag Queen” story hour.

Mary Novak



Welcome all in need

We need a shelter, not another church!

As a person who has stayed at the Gospel Rescue Mission hundreds of times, I would like to set the record straight. It is an unmitigated disaster there.

With two exceptions, the staff is horrible. The problem is systemic and it starts with Kaye Sawyer.

The new building has sat empty, except for one staff person, for a year now. I asked Kaye why and her response was to blame the city over a “certificate of occupancy” problem.

I went to the building department and was told otherwise. The new building was actually expedited to get people into a shelter sooner rather than later.

I have contacted Board Chairman Tim Beevers and City Councilor Remy Drabkin about the problems.

Staff running off with guests. Staff sneaking a daughter into the warming shelter at 2 a.m. for a shower. Staff referring to guests as “retards.” Rules that are amorphous at best, changed by staff to suit their goals. People denied a bed because they cannot do chores. Medications stolen out of lockup by staff members with keys.

Homeless folks stay away because they know they will get treated with disrespect. They stay away even in the harshest conditions.

People need to wake up and stop taking Kaye Sawyer’s word.

Where was the mission when folks were sleeping on Fourth Street in tents? It’s not what it should be, which is a welcoming place for everyone in need.

Keith Page



 Follow the money

There is plenty of room for difference of opinion, especially where governments are involved. The first rule is, follow the money.

Democrats, socialists and RINOS never have as much money as they like, so favor creating a carbon fee in order to extract more from the peasants.

The U.N. says this is good. We should distribute some of this money to poor nations so they can collectively hire hundreds more people to prove global warming.

These people know what they have to say to keep their jobs, of course, so contrary data is ignored, temperatures are falsified and garbage is fed into the computers. They end up claiming increased CO2 will destroy the food supply — the ultimate lie.

In pre-history, when CO2 levels were very high, dense plant growth created enormous beds of coal. If we managed in our stupidity to eliminate all CO2 from the atmosphere, our food supply would go with it.

Even though our brilliant politicians let China and India continue to build coal-fired power plants almost indefinitely, while we destroy ours in favor of expensive and unreliable alternatives, we will still have some CO2.

Elmer Werth



Cut meat from the menu

Sept. 1 marks 80 years since Hitler invaded Poland, triggering World War II. Three years later, he launched the Holocaust, which murdered six million European Jews.

A key question facing historians is how an enlightened society, one that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets, painters and composers, could also produce its most notorious mass murderer, aided by millions of ordinary citizens who just went along.

Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon, or are other enlightened societies capable of the same? How about our own American society?

Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer gave a clear answer when he wrote: “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” Singer’s message is that we are all capable of oppressing the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst, frequently without even thinking about it.

Our own enlightened society has translated the arbitrary Nazi dictum, “The Christian lives, the Jew dies,” into an equally arbitrary, “The dog lives, the pig dies.” Only the victims’ names have been changed.

The blissful, self-serving ignorance of the death camps and slaughterhouses in our midst remains. Our very first step on the long road to end all oppression should be to drop animals from our menus.

Milo Nakamura



New study long overdue

In a recent “Counting beans” article, McMinnville’s planning director made it clear our city faces a critical shortage of buildable land. She said there are only 180 acres available inside our urban growth boundary for “near-term” development. And I recently learned the near-term inventory would drop to 100 to 150 acres if the city council ordered an updated Federal Emergency Management Agency wetland and floor plain study resulting in new maps and restrictions.

Oregon land use law only requires developers and planners to comply with the “latest” FEMA classifications. That catch-22 in McMinnville’s case is that local FEMA classifications have not been updated for 36 years!

Concerned that pending development would flood existing neighborhoods, the nonprofit group Friends of Baker Creek commissioned a hydrology study concluding FEMA’s 100- and 500-year flood plain classifications for Baker Creek were about 60% to 70% inaccurate. Classifications are probably equally inaccurate for three Cozine Creek basins as well.

So even if citizens produce photos of flooding already occurring annually, spend $6,000 on hydrology studies documenting the threat, and demonstrate how storm flow volumes will continue increasing with new development, the planning staff, mayor and half the council will grant a nearby development’s approval anyway.

Basically, city leaders agreed to stand on FEMA classifications that have become woefully outdated. Allowing the developer to squeeze in another 7-14 houses is apparently more important to them than protecting against harm from the planned dumping of 5-7 feet of fill into already overtaxed drainage basins.

I can’t blame the developer for trying, but you’d think our city planners and councilors would be more interested in protecting the community and local environment.

The city used badly outdated and wildly inaccurate FEMA information to approve unnecessarily high-density development threatening surrounding neighborhoods. If you agree that’s wrong, please e-mail city leaders and demand they order an updated FEMA wetland and flood plain study.

Mike Colvin



No room at the inn

In reference to “Counting beans” photo and headline of Aug. 23:

The demonstration using jelly beans to depict projected demand for new McMinnville housing through 2041, one bean per house, was certainly clever.

The beans were divided among four cylinders, each representing roughly double the time period of the previous cylinder — 2018-21, 2021-26, 2021-31 and 2021-41. But the fourth cylinder featured a much greater diameter.

Sticking to the same diameter would have required a height of eight feet to accommodate the required 4,421 beans. Assuming demand holding steady at 200 homes per year, even though expoential increases are more unrealistic, your next cylinder would have to be 16-feet tall.

That would certainly provide a graphic depiction of what we have in store if the city and development community get their way. Demand for water, sewage disposal, school and jail space, landfill capacity and so on would go through the roof, and probably long before 2061.

The growth industry is cartel-like. It doesn’t compete within itself.

Paid consultants advise the city to reduce farmland so the industry can build more homes. That requires more tax-supported public service infrastructure.

Under Oregon law, cities are required to grow. Local government complies, supported by these paid consultants and the eager contractors they represent.

McMinnville’s population great from 2,200 in 1906 to 34,500 today, according to the Viewpoints piece published the same day. That reflects a growth factor of 15.7.

No doubt, we enjoy many advantages from that growth. But we are now a mature town.

Population growth by that factor over the next 100 years would give us a population of 541,000. Going out another 100 years, it would give us a population of 8.5 million. At some point, enough is too much.

The underlying problem is the codified cycle of growth. We’re being subjected to a one-way, out-of-control ratchet of growth.

Fortunately, we have lawful means outside of government — public vigilance over our elected officials.

Dan Katz



Expanding the board

In last Friday’s Watchamacolumn, Jeb Bladine addressed the possibility of expanding the county governing board to five members.

Currently, the county board of commissioners consists of three full-time, paid, non-partisan members elected at large. The board selects its own chair, who runs meetings while retaining his or her voting rights.

For a year now, several of us have been investigating what an expanded board might look like.

Two weeks ago, we presented a draft ordinance to the board, which voted to review it for submission to voters. That review will take place at a work session scheduled for Sept. 10.

Before drafting the ordinance, our group held listening sessions throughout the county to find out what voters wanted their board to look like. We discussed full- versus part-time, paid versus volunteer, partisan versus non-partisan, and election by district versus election at large. We also discussed the transition from three to five members.

To my personal surprise, people were not particularly interested in representation based on districts.

They wanted their commissioners to be farmers, educators and business owners in order to diversify perspectives, but those qualifications are not permitted under the Oregon Constitution. It specifies residency and age as the only two criteria.

The people we spoke to were comfortable with paid, full-time representatives. They expect commissioners to work full-time for them, attending local meetings and events as well as regularly scheduled sessions.

The draft ordinance charges the already existing compensation committee to set fair salaries. It’s worth noting that most issues raised by Bladine apply equally to the existing three-member board, so are worth discussing whether or not the board expands.

Susan Watkins




EMS ordinance is working

Within the McMinnville city limits, there are 15 care homes featuring 1,093 beds. They account for only 3% of the city’s population, but prior to passage of October’s Ordinance 5059, they accounted for 35% to 38% of the city’s emergency service calls.

We were getting a large number of non-emergency EMS calls for assistance with lifting, transport to the emergency room for a prescription renewal, transport to the hospital to facilitate an eviction, transport of a patient not wishing to be transported, and the like. The care center staff would routinely refer to a corporate policy requiring EMS transport for such non-emergency services.

These centers are under out-of-state ownership. They have always paid property taxes, but were not paying directly for patient transport and assistance costs prior to passage of the ordinance.

McMinnville property owners were, in fact, picking up the tab for these non-emergency services. And it was taking service time away from actual emergency transports, thus endangering the lives of McMinnville citizens needing emergency transport.

Under Ordinance 5059, care facilities now face a $1,500 fine for each non-emergency transport. That served to reduce the volume of fire department calls by 250 during the first half of 2019, and we’re expecting it to eliminate another 250 by year’s end.

This reduction in transport calls saves lives for residents actually needing emergency service from medical personnel.

Since Ordinance 5059 was enacted, only two facilities have incurred fines. And both of those fines were abated in the interest of providing an educational opportunity.

The preventative effect of this ordinance is eliminating the $1,500 cost the city incurs for providing each unnecessary EMS transport. And any fines a local care facility eventually does incur cannot, by law, be passed to residents.

Kellie Menke

McMinnville City Councilor



Mr. Nakamura: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”


I used to be a Republican but am now an Independent after the recent budget deal. I joined the ranks of others that couldn't take the fiscal irresponsibility any longer.


Your comparison of Nazi concentration camps to American meat consumption is an outrage. Talk about a one-trick pony. And, oddly enough, you never mention how your plan will be realized. Because it certainly involves blood and the slaughter of every single animal people eat--including deer, elk, moose--because you equate their existence with the pollution of the atmosphere. So, exactly how would you go about exterminating them, Mr. Nakamura? Paint that picture for me. And, by the way, Germany wasn't the only monstrous Axis country in World War II. Travel east about 6,000 miles to the Philippines and backward in time to 1942 and the Bataan Death March. I guess you can look only forward to your ideal world in which we all skip arm-in-arm to our friendly local [vegan] supermarket.

Don Dix

Elmer Werth gets it! The one question that never seems to find an answer -- How does taxing carbon emissions, presumably to reduce a trace gas that is necessary for all life on Earth to survive, solve the imagined crisis?

And the government lies? Well, most of them lied their ass off to get into government, so there's that!


Keith Page

Thank you for sharing your experience. I question why a house was given in January by the commissioners to them and large checks after large checks yet they operate under only a cup and are restricted as to how many people they can help?


Ms. Kristof - As a fellow alarmed citizen I very much appreciate the facts and logic contained in your letter. (This approach appears to run in the family?)

“Never has the gap between principle and practice been more dramatic than under the Trump administration.”

The scope and scale of broken promises and corruption is flagrant. The evil tendrils of this administration extend into our government like a metastasizing cancer. From the reckless ego-driven madness of trade “policies” to the destabilizing assault on our global allies and fawning support of our adversaries, to the rape of the environment, our values are being shamefully perverted and our national security is in dire peril. And nowhere is the cruelty and inhumanity of this administration more evident than hateful new policies that give migrant patients (who are here receiving live-saving medical treatment) 33 days to get out of America or be deported. For many of these patients this constitutes a death sentence.


I continue to hope that a clear vision of the damage and devastation being caused by the current “leader” will finally convince the voting public that we can no longer tolerate or suborn these atrocities being carried out in our name. Time is of the essence.


Mr. Page – You have made very serious and troubling accusations. Can you suggest any way for us to verify what you have said? I have had a long-standing association with the Mission, I drop in with donations – always unannounced - from time to time and have never observed anything that would validate what you assert. And if it is as horrible as you describe, it does beg the question why you”… stayed at the Gospel Rescue Mission hundreds of times….”?



I'm sorry you feel that way about the Mission. I have worked very hard making sure every guest has their needs met and treated with respect.

You had never brought any of this to my attention until now, right after you expressed great disagreement with our policy to keep any additional bags that are brought to the Mission in a locked area where guests can't get to. When I explained it was to prevent people from obtaining items that aren't allowed at the Mission and for the safety of the guests as well as limit bedbugs, your demeanor changed radically.

I'm glad you felt safe enough to stay at the Mission for a few years where we could serve you. I do care about everyone that walks through our doors and wouldn't volunteer my time if I didn't. I pray some day you will understand that we care about you too. Wishing you the best.


Mary Novak -Kids today are strapping on bullet proof back packs and learning how to survive the spray of bullets from military style guns.....and, you think that drag queens and men dressed in woman's clothing is something for us to fret about? In their prep for the return to school, teachers are learning how to treat gaping holes from bullet wounds and to how stop bleeding until help arrives. Kids are taught what to do to survive when a gunman is hunting them down in the halls of their schools. Parents worry about seeing their kids alive at the end of the school day. If you want to protect kids....worry less about silly stuff and more about ways to make their school safe.


Amen, Mudstump.


Elmer. You believe the effort is to eliminate All CO2? Okay. Now I understand your position.

Don Dix

Mike -- Elmer's mention of the elimination of CO2 would be that of unintended consequences, not his understanding of 'why a carbon tax' (the 'why' is explained earlier in the letter). But you already knew that, so feigning confusion is your method of debating the issue? How convincing!


Hi Dan. As you know there is no way (even as stupid as we are) that we will eliminate all CO2. I was not confused. But you are right, I was being snarky, which is a terrible debating approach. I'll try to do better


I mean Don. Typo. Forever.


Jane - When George W Bush left office our national debt was $9 trillion. Yes, he was a spender. When Obama left office it was $19 trillion -- he added more than all previous presidents combined. Every single time there is a threat of shutting down the government the democrats start their scare tactics threatening that the republicans are mean and that we won't have public safety, medicare and social security and we'll be hurting all those that rely on public assistance. So, the republicans cave and they add more to the debt and the same old song and dance repeats itself the next time. The federal government shuts down every weekend and we're fine. I do agree the republicans are also spenders and I too, like Rob am a conservative and not so much a republican. Behind the scenes Trump has not filled positions as they've opened and is reducing the government workforce and that's not a bad thing. Have you paid attention to all the democrats running for president and many of their "plans" relating to the Green New Deal and climate change? Talk about a waste of money and scare tactics. Those people are insane and many of their "plans" have a price tag as high as our current national debt.

Mary Novak - It's sickening what they're teaching our young and innocent children relating to what you mentioned in your letter. And, you are correct that it's going on in California. Whatever happened to reading, writing and arithmetic and parents teaching their children what they needed to know at the age they felt it appropriate. Something is terribly wrong with exposing these kids to things that are not the business of the schools.

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