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Letters to the editor: Oct. 25, 2019

A better way

At 400,000, the latest guestimates of the opioid overdose death toll exceeds that of military casualties in all our previous wars except the Civil War. But there are demonstrated ways of making big inroads into solving this dreadful problem.

Recently, local son Nicholas Kristof pointed out in his New York Times column that Portugal has had stunning success with its health-first program, which offers free opioids to addicts for use in special clinics.

More recently, Switzerland has adopted this approach as well. While the two nations make opioids available to addicts free of charge in clinic setting, they continue to make sale and distribution of illicit drugs on the street illegal.

While these clinics give free opioids to those unable to free themselves from the grip of addiction, their first step is counseling against continued use, then substitution of methadone or suboxone if counseling fails. Only if that also fails are opioids provided as a last resort, and even then, only in a controlled setting.

Swiss voters have repeatedly approved this approach to hard drug use, thanks to its success in reducing petty crime to pay for costly illegal drugs. And because there is no longer any need to recruit others to help cover an addict’s drug bill, addiction levels are gradually dissipating in both Portugal and Switzerland.

Perhaps we should follow their lead.

Anthony Bell

McMinnville

 

Re-set the conversation

On behalf of the Campaign for Seniors and People with Disabilities, I write asking for your YES vote on Ballot Measure 36-202. The campaign is being mounted by a broad coalition of stakeholders, coming together to advocate on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities.

We were shocked to learn about a city instituting new fines and fees on senior care providers, as these providers are regulated by state and federal government, not city government. In fact, McMinnville is the only city in the entire United States that has passed something like this.

This is a horrible idea on its face. As Del Zook wrote a few weeks ago, different care regulations on a city-by-city basis is a dangerous precedent to set. It would create a patchwork quilt of regulations that would be hard to understand and completely antithetical to quality care.

Additionally, we must be wary of any action that increases the cost of care without also improving the quality.

A $200 per bed tax and a $500 annual business licensing fee, targeted only at care providers, does nothing for the seniors in these communities. It simply fills a budget hole for the city — another dangerous precedent.

Please vote YES to repeal these fees and fines. Let’s re-set this conversation and engage all stakeholders fairly.

Kyndall Mason

Portland

 

Care industry taking advantage

With regard to the proposed EMS fee for senior care centers, City Councilor Zack Geary hit the nail on the head when he said he sees “a private industry using public services to underwrite their effort to have little overhead and provide no adequate level of service to their customers.”

The care centers have mounted a campaign portraying the fee as an unfair tax on seniors. It is no such thing. It is, rather, a simple user fee.

The city has documented clearly that the care centers overuse EMS, calling paramedics out unnecessarily for care for which the patients have already paid handsomely.

Seeking compensation for these needless calls represents neither a tax on seniors nor a denial of care. It represents fair payment for services rendered.

The city ordinance bars care centers from passing the cost of excessive EMS usage on to their patients. They can pass on another element, a new licensing fee. But if they do, it is they, not the city, that is imposing a surcharge on seniors.

Further, fee opponents have paid for the printing and mailing of a slick postcard to area voters decrying the city’s attempt to secure fair compensation. They have also produced and aired a prime time TV commercial urging voters to reject the proposed fee.

It seems to me that any group with sufficient cash for an expensive two-pronged media campaign can afford to reimburse McMinnville for the use of taxpayer-supported city resources.

Kent Stevens

McMinnville

 

No logical justification

I understand the city’s desire to recoup the cost of unnecessary 911 calls by care facilities. I don’t have a problem with it, although the $1,500 fee for a first offense seems excessive.

Unfortunately, most of the publicity has been focused on this part of the ordinance.

What I do have a problem with is imposing a new business licensing fee on senior care facilities that are regulated by the state. I have yet to hear a logical justification for either the purpose or amount.

The residency of the owner of the facility is irrelevant. Care centers are not the only businesses inspected by the fire department. Seniors will not receive any new benefits from the increased revenue the city receives.

I am a small business owner. How do I know the city won’t decide at some future date to impose fees on gas stations, hair salons, dental offices or my business?

The city should not be allowed to start picking businesses off one at a time. I am therefore supporting repeal of this arbitrary and excessive measure.

Mark Bierly

McMinnville

 

City oversteps authority

The city council of McMinnville has been on a money-grabbing extortion spree for some time.

Anyone who can count to 10, and knows where the sun goes at night, can see through the veil of deceit that permeates the council. It acts more like an organized crime family than a servant of the city’s populace.

At council meetings, we are kept in the dark. No tongue or pen has been able to successfully penetrate the dense thicket of intractability that members seem to hold dear.

Now councilors have overstepped their authority with a parade of unjust ordinances.

First, they enacted an ordinance targeting travelers with an 11% transient lodging tax. Then they pushed through a sewer surcharge. They knew they couldn’t tax our groceries, so they enacted a tax on the end product of our digestive tract.

That’s a novel way to subvert the state constitution. A federal judge recently ruled it unlawful for Trump to divert dedicated military funds to build his border wall. Here, the city is guilty of doing the same thing.

The final insult to our intelligence is the discriminatory, overbearing, money-grabbing Ordinance 5059, an assault on seniors in our care facilities. Especially alarming is the $500 licensing fee and $200 per bed inspection and training fee.

This cannot stand. The immortal words of novelist Walter Scott — “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” — is most appropriate.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote on the repealer, Measure 36-202. I’m confident you’ll know what to do.

Dan Hilbert

McMinnville

 

Most unworthy creature

Some 25 years ago, it was my great privilege, as a graduate student, to study for a year at the American School for Classical Studies in Athens.

Many of my fellow students were from top institutions, including Princeton, Harvard and Yale. Many also knew they did not stand a chance at achieving their ultimate goal — to become tenured professors in ancient Greek studies at a college or university.

They were extremely intelligent and dedicated to the task of scholarship and teaching. Their backup was the Foreign Service.

That is why I take William Taylor’s testimony with the utmost gravity. He’s a man of service in the military as well as the foreign service, has deep experience of the world, and is likely fluent in a number of foreign languages.

I have met people of his ilk. Dedicated and measured, they have the welfare of our country at heart.

I compare this to the crudeness, corruption and complete lack of seriousness of our president, who is maligning him.

This is a corrupt and ignorant man who betrayed our men in uniform in Syria, betrayed a key European ally, betrayed the Kurds, and, to be blunt, betrayed our national sovereignty and all of his spouses. He is the very opposite of a decent and dedicated public civil servant, or for that matter, husband, father or president.

I urge all who read this to consider in their hearts whether they want the most unworthy of creatures to hold the future of their children and grandchildren in their hands any longer.

Steve Rutledge

McMinnville

 

Senior voting no

I’ve received countless glossy advertisements from different folks and organizations trying to convince me that my city is “taxing seniors” who use the 911 system.

It’s NOT true. They appear to assume that I’m not an intelligent, thinking human being who can read the original ordinance and understand it.

When the petitioners were out gathering signatures, I twice heard misinformation about this measure and declined to sign. They managed to get enough signatures anyway, to bring about this special election.

If we want to talk money, how much are these out-of-staters costing us for this election?

I’m a McMinnville senior citizen who’s voting NO on this measure, because our EMTs need to concentrate on true, essential emergency calls. We need to quit paying for the non-essential ones.

If any of the care facilities or their residents call 911 with a real emergency, they will not be fined. If the call is for a non-emergency medical service or other nonessential service, then I expect them to be fined.

Please go to www.mcminnvilleoregon.gov/ordinances and click on Ordinance ID 5059 to read it for yourself.

Peggy Rouse

McMinnville

 

Patients put at risk

At the Alzheimer’s Association, we work every day to improve access to quality care and services for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. As a staff member for the local chapter, I urge, on behalf of all families in Yamhill County affected by dementia, a YES vote on Measure 36-202. The measure would repeal expensive fees levied by the city — fees that do nothing to enhance quality care for seniors living in care facilities, including those living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. These fees could force the cost of care to rise or require cutbacks to existing programs offered to seniors in care facilities.

The cost of care is already a great concern for many families, especially those dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, as it requires a wide variety of thoughtful programing to enhance quality of life. The fees imposed by the city on residential, assisted living, nursing and memory care facilities negatively impact people living with dementia.

By age 80, some 75% of them will be admitted to a nursing home, compared with just 4% percent of the general population. Among those living in residential care settings, 42% are living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is deeply concerned that the current ordinance does not serve the best interest of individuals and families living with dementia. Please support them by voting yes.

Kendall Ekerson

Newberg

 

Keep control local

We have been carefully following the efforts by the McMinnville care homes to stop the city from levying reasonable charges for ambulance and fire department services.

They would have you believe their primary concern is for their elderly residents. But based on the broad, expensive, misleading and high-pressure campaign they have launched, we’re skeptical.

The arguments in support are mostly from either organizations with close ties to the large corporations that run the homes, or groups who are afraid not to cooperate. It’s basically about corporate profit.

All four of our parents spent their last years in a McMinnville care home, so we have a very good idea about the arguments, both pro and con. The staff was mostly kind and caring, but undertrained for many tasks.

The citizens of McMinnville should not have to pay taxes to provide services the care homes are obligated to provide.

Since Ordinance 5059 was passed by the city council, the number of unnecessary calls from care facilities has dropped dramatically. It is obviously working, with no adverse effects on senior residents. And it needs to continue.

There have been suggestions that perhaps the ordinance could use some refining. They may be true, but let’s keep it local. City government is closer to our citizens and more responsive to them.

If you agree that Measure 36-202 should be voted down, fantastic. Get your ballot in as soon as possible. And please urge your family and friends to follow suit.

The blizzard of TV ads, mailers and phone calls is reaching a lot of people who may not have access to the information they need to make an informed decision.

Skip & Claudia Huwaldt

McMinnville

Comments

Sponge

At least Don Hilbert reins in his invective short of telling us how to vote. His spleen-venting on the city council as being “on a money-grabbing extortion spree”, operating “through a veil if deceit”, and “acting more like an organized crime family than a servant of the city’s populace” is more than enough.

Mike

Measure 36-202 goes too far. If they wanted to repeal Ordinance 5059 they could have pitch that as unfair. But changing the City Charter will deprive we city residents and voters our ability to impose taxes and fees on Care Homes should we feel they are needed. Needed like when the Care Homes do not pay a living wage, do not adequately train staff, and then use our public resources to increase their profits. Changing the City Charter goes not far and deprives McMinnville voters. Vote No.

BC

I agree with Mark Bierly. I believe the fine is a good idea and stops frivolous use of 911 calls. However, imposing a $200 per bed per year "fee", unfairly targets a select segment of the population to pay for inspections that are state mandated. State mandated should mean state funded. Besides, there is no guarantee that the $200 stays $200. A fee can be raised at will without any public input.

I'm voting yes. I'd like to see the city go back and do this the right way instead of tacking a bad idea (fee) onto a good one (fine).

Mike

BC. If 36-202 passes the city won't be able to go back. 36-202 changes the city charter specifically to keep the city from fines and fee on Care Homes. Then they get to call the city for help whenever they want and city can't do a thing about it.

To have the city be able to go back and change the fees yet keep the fine for misuse of our city resources vote NO.

treefarmer


Steve Rutledge - I so appreciate your perspective and the many valid observations in your letter. It is nothing short of national tragedy that so many decent honorable civil servants are defiled and dragged through the muck simply because they are patriots who speak up to call out corruption and ominous wrong-doing. We used to value truth and courage but now, if someone dares to cross the demagogue who is ruling us, he declares them “human scum” and demands they be destroyed.

You list some of those who have been betrayed and I suggest we can add his followers to that list - because he has betrayed them too. Each morning begins with new and ever-more heinous words, actions, and revelations the faithful are expected to justify and defend without question. Otherwise they are disloyal scum. Hard to believe that is what they signed on for.

I have been trying to address our demoralizing and dangerous reality with facts and logic. (along with a hefty dose of outrage which has probably been counterproductive.) I do respect and agree with your approach urging consideration from the HEART though. Our children and grandchildren ARE watching and being shaped (and surely confused and corrupted) by what they see. Cruelty and immorality are NOT American values, and yet those traits are now accepted and re-defined as strength. The perversion is insidious as it permeates our culture. RED ALERT!!

As Elijah Cummings stated so often and so passionately:

“We are better than this!”



FFS

Vote YES because this is not just about local care homes, it’s about whose next. Whose next to be targeted with taxes and fees that don’t add to quality, it’s about stopping the continued layering and overlapping of government regulations and bureaucratic control. It’s also about our current city government that has been recalcitrant to any ideas but their own. I can assure you, as a fact, that over a year ago significant efforts where made to avoid this measure. Efforts that would have used the resources currently being spent on this YES campaign to help solve the problem and create a win-win. The only reason this measure is on the ballot is because current city leaders refused to listen to citizens. For that reason alone, this measure must pass to send a message that we can fight city hall. Please vote YES.

Mike

The reason 36-202 is on the ballot is because a well healed industry is protecting its profits. They funded the imitative and they are funding the campaign to pass the measure. Changing the City Charter is about keep our citizens from enacting ordinances which make sense for us. If the fees are to high, work to lower or eliminate them, but do not seek to eliminate being able to impose them. If 36-202 passes those who paid for the imitative will laugh all the way to the bank. Their profits are protected. They can call on our city resources when ever they want and we can't do a think about it. Vote No.

RobsNewsRegister

William Taylor’s testimony was hearsay opinion that wouldn't be allowed in a court of law. We have the transcript of the Ukraine phone call. Regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump, no crime was committed; let alone an impeachable offense. The DOJ already reviewed the phone call and ruled as such.

Also, I find it interesting how Taylor's opinion was reported widely last week yet Kurt Volker's text message reply to Taylor when Taylor asked earlier in the summer about a quid pro quo, "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The president has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind." seems harder to find. Hmmm.

https://www.bizpacreview.com/2019/10/03/new-texts-between-u-s-ukraine-makes-clear-no-quid-pro-quos-of-any-kind-834225

treefarmer


I am continually alarmed (but not surprised) by the lies, spin and phony justification being asserted in defense of Trump’s corruption and criminal abuse of power. In service to these pathetic defenses, the testimony of patriots like William Taylor and Lt. Col. Vindman must be denigrated, their character must be assassinated, their truthful reporting must be repudiated. While, on the deceitful and fraudulent side of the "discussion," Volker, a shameless and inept opportunist, can be afforded credibility when he alleges a *CRYSTAL CLEAR* denial: “NO quid pro quo!” We have no way to know if Volker was passing the lie along, or if he manufactured it himself - either way a lie is a lie regardless of its origin.

It is glaringly obvious by now that the assertion of a “perfect phone call,” of “an EXACT word for word transcript,” is just evidence of yet another self-serving lie. Col. Vindman exposed additional FACTS in his deposition yesterday. The “transcript” released was incomplete and omissions were obviously intended to hide the reprehensible abuse of power and cover-up that occurred even BEFORE trying to bury the damning call away in a top secret server. “READ THE TRANSCRIPT” the enablers command in lockstep – ironic given the fact that the document itself states clearly it is NOT verbatim, and the intent IS crystal clear.

Just more evidence of a wanna-be authoritarian who demands that you reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. Will this deceitful dance of denial ever become intolerably humiliating?
“Hmmm.”

RobsNewsRegister

First. The quid-pro-quo text discussion between Taylor and Volker was BEFORE this all became public. That is important.

Second. I still see no issue with looking into Burisma. Besides Hunter Biden, they also had Coffer Black, former CIA operative, and Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign national security advisor on their board. We also know Ukraine is incredibly corrupt country (why new president was elected) and interfered in our 2016 presidential election. This is clearly a case of buying government influence.

For points of reference, Exxon board of director's are paid $110K/year. There are bank records showing Hunter Biden was paid $85K/month for sitting on a board of directors for an energy company with NO petroleum industry experience while the average Ukrainian pensioner gets $100/month. Hmmm.

treefarmer


Don’t see how it is “important” WHEN the lie became public, but please do not bother to school me. This scandal reaches quite far into the past regardless of when the lies and cover-up started. It is what it is.

A big component of the dance referenced in my last post is (desperate) distraction. I could not care less if someone wants to put Burisma under a microscope. Have at it. (I am actually surprised that Trump wants to go there given the multitude of ways HIS offspring are profiting from flagrant unethical nepotism.) But it does NOT have any bearing on Trump’s obscene abuse of power and disgrace of the office - nor does the gas-light assertion that Ukraine had something to do with the Russian success at putting their candidate in the White House in 2016. Deceit and distraction may be failing as a tactic as more facts and evidence come to light in Congress, but I realize there will be those who will cling to the “alternative facts” as they dance and carry water in service to the demagogue. The Fox state propaganda network will make sure of that.


RobsNewsRegister

I love how people that rely on anonymous single sourced stories (too many during the Russia Hoax to count) lecture others about 'alternative facts. The $85/K per month is from actual.. you know... bank records (first link).

Also, if reports are true (I won't name him until confirmed further) it looks like the so-called whistleblower will soon be public. Like I thought, this is a Cover Your Backside move by a CIA operative and NSC holdover from the Obama administration. He has worked with Joe Biden and Jim Clapper and has connections to a DNC staffer (2nd link) that colluded with Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump in 2016. That interference by Ukraine in 2016 (reported by many including the NYT - 3rd link) is part of the ongoing investigation that the president discussed with the Ukrainian president in July.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/peter-schweizer-trump-is-right-to-call-for-probe-of-biden-dealings-with-ukraine
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/world/europe/ukraine-paul-manafort.html

Finch

Ever get nosebleeds up there on your high and mighty throne? Only YOU seem to know all and everyone else . . .

treefarmer


So predictable. But I do understand the need to deny facts and condemn the messenger, (the tribe must maintain the rhythm of the dance at all cost) and honestly believe I am on solid ground. We shall soon be exposed to documented facts on live TV as the impeachment process moves forward. Our opinions will either be reinforced or debunked. I will do my best to keep an open mind as the stakes have rarely been higher or more consequential. And, once informed, if the majority of my fellow citizens agree they still want to be governed by Trumpism, I will have to accept that reality and learn to live with it while hoping for the best in 2020. (not quietly though)

RobsNewsRegister

I personally can't wait until some of these 'witnesses' finally cross examined though the process voted on today allows the committee chair to act like a dictator (he can reject witnesses and questions).

Impeachment is for Treason, Bribery, and High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Where's the treason? We aren't at war. Where's the bribe? (did Trump take a bribe from someone?) and where is the High Crime and Misdemeanor?

Evidentially @Treefarmer you are fine with CIA (so called whistleblower) and DoD (Vindman) operatives imposing their foreign policy on the country over that whom it is declared in the constitution (the president). Whom the people of the country voted per the constitution. What the heck happened to the classic liberal??

Finch

They're scared of Horowitz and Durham.

treefarmer


Groan. Okay I will rise to the bait again but only to call out the absurd and purile misrepresentation of my post.

Labeling someone a “so called” whistleblower, and the idea that patriots come forward to IMPOSE THEIR FOREIGN POLICY on the country is way beyond ludicrous. But I bet you know that. Those folks took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not to cover up flagrant abuse of power, or to look the other way because that would be an easier path. By that tortured pretzel logic a loyal public servant should NEVER question illegal conduct, and the American people must NOT be made aware of extortion plots and other high crimes being carried out in our name by a corrupt “leader.” Here we go with that infamous Nixonian philosophy rearing its ugly head again: IF THE PRESIDENT DOES IT, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL. Full stop. Obviously that reasoning works for some, perhaps it helps to validate blind loyalty. Probably prevents being considered human scum in the opinion of the tribal overlord too? Whatever gets you through the night I suppose.

RobsNewsRegister

Agreed Finch.

I am amazed how people DONT want the IG (Horowitz) and Durham to investigate election interference during the general election of 2016 from places like, you know, Ukraine, are the SAME people who now want to IMPEACH president Trump for claimed 2020 election interference from a phone call over 6 MONTHS before the first 2020 PRIMARY!! If it wasn't for DOUBLE STANDARDS they wouldn't have standards at all.

Finch

Absolutely Rob! And 45 million of our tax dollars spent on a scam. While stupid Schiff's state is burning he's continuing on this ridiculous charade that will go nowhere instead of focusing on his home state and his constituents that are losing their homes and businesses. What a crock. The man is so biased and hateful he needs to be removed from chairing that committee. People are getting sick of this ongoing circus and I hope will be heard in 2020. I think even an ever so small portion of the media might be starting to get it.

Megan

Folks, if you vote YES, you are amending the city charter and tying the city council's hands: if this ballot measure passes, it will be illegal for the city to attempt to recoup any lost taxpayer dollars by fines or fees on care facilities. This isn't a thumbs up or thumbs down vote. The City has done an abysmal job of communicating this fact, as well as the fact that the council is open to amending the dollar amounts but chose to wait to do so until after this vote. Voting NO is the only way to allow them to do that.

RobsNewsRegister

>Those folks took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution

@Treefarmer. There is little one can think of that is more un-democratic and counter to the constitution of the United States of America than a permanent bureaucratic class in DC running the country.

treefarmer



I see no way that being alarmed and reporting genuinely alarming behavior up the chain of command is undemocratic, nor that it could POSSIBLY be interpreted as “bureaucrats running the country.” Thank all gods for decent patriotic public servants who are willing to defend the Constitution and protect the republic in the face of corruption, and gross abuse of power.

I fully understand that some folks want this to be about loyalty and dogged determination to look the other way, about pretending there is NOTHING wrong with what the facts have revealed. I anticipate that the discussion will shift as the public hearings play out. “Yeah, he did it but if the president does it, is NOT ILLEGAL.” (Not unlike that famous quote about grabbing body parts, “When you’re famous, they let you do it.”)

In her book “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds,” Elizabeth Kolbert writes that scientists have deduced that the vaunted human capacity for reason may have more to do with winning arguments than with thinking straight: “Providing people with accurate information doesn’t seem to help; they simply discount it.”

Just so, no point in arguing, eh? Facts don’t matter if one doesn’t value, or even acknowledge them.