Letters to the editor: Feb. 7, 2020

Lacking legal precision

I think there’s one thing that people can agree on about the recent House impeachment and Senate trial.

The whole process seems to be vague and poorly defined. It lacks the precision we find in the court systems that ordinary Americans might find themselves in. The rights of the accused and the powers of the prosecution are so poorly defined we end up with a spectacle that has nothing to do with justice.

I find it interesting that the laws that govern the most powerful are so full of loopholes you could drive a truck through them, while the laws that govern the rest of us are crystal clear.

I wouldn’t hold out hope that anyone will address this any time soon, though. It’s been 20 years since the election debacle of 2000, and we still haven’t moved to fix that.

Fred Fawcett



What have we wrought?

McMinnville’s Great Neighborhood principles sound very attractive, quite capable of seducing. And the city has hired a young person to sell us the plan.

First, let me give you a sketch of the past:

When I was young, I had a picture book that I looked at over and over. Published in 1942, it was writted by Virginia Lee Burton.

Titled “The Little House,” it captured the threat posed by urban sprawl. You can find it today on YouTube.

In the 1950s, a movie was made on the last piece of land available in America. People stood all around a wide cyclone fence looking in at the family that had obtained the property.

In 1956, Eisenhower created the federal aid highway project. One result was the highway that takes you to Seattle.

When it was built, it carried hardly a car. Now look at it.

Washington has no land-use system like ours. So the road is choked with traffic.

Do you remember the early ‘60s song written by Malvina Reynolds and made popular by Pete Seeger? Titled “Little Boxes,” it referred to Daly City.

By the early ‘70s, it was back to the earth a return to handmade houses. The bank was out of the equation for buying land.

Today it’s worse. Land is like gold.

In 1971, Gov. Tom McCall warned Californians, “You are welcome to come and visit, but please don’t stay.”

Thank Oregon for having vision. The bottle bill, the beach bill, the land-use bill.

The battle is neverending, though, between those who want to save the land and those who want to take it.

Helen Bitar



Can’t keep expanding

I found the city council work session to be more about providing land for building than saving farmland.

The McMinnville Planning Department only gave half a presentation. It was more toward portraying McMinnville as derelict in not providing land for building and needing to follow the law and build more houses.

It totally ignored Section 1, Item 2 of Senate Bill 101. The effect on farmlands must be considered, otherwise we’re left with only half a plan.

After over 30 years’ heavy involvement in land-use issues, I find many people don’t know the history.

Just read the Jan. 31 letter from Jim Kreutzbender. It gives the history of the involvement of the Oregon building industry in our land-use laws. It notes we are following laws pushed through by the industry, not those passed independently by the citizens.

In 32 towns, citizens voted independently on the right to decide annexations on the polls. I spent considerable time at hearings defending our right to have the final say, but did not prevail. Now, we are expected to follow the laws eased through the Legislature by the industry, which goes against what citizens really wanted.

People must ask themselves, if the cities keep supplying land for 20 years of expansion, then what happens when thy grow hard up against the neighboring cities? Then where will the land come from?

That has happened to Portland. Thus, a 20-year growth requirement just doesn’t make sense.

For years, I have lobbied for a final Urban Growth Boundary, within which a city could be planned and built out, then expand no more. That makes more sense.

John Englebrecht



Wrong location

I’d like to express my disappointment with the location of the proposed Stafford development.While I can’t speak specifically to the need for housing and low-income apartments, I can say the area currently being considered deserves better, especially in light of what is now under construction at the corner of Baker Creek and Hill roads. It seems land on the east side of McMinnville, closer to established roadways, would be better able to carry the additional traffic while also offering appropriate space for potential commercial use.

Throughout my career, I worked with large-scale developers up and down the West Coast. Whether they specialized in commercial, industrial or residential, the ones that hit the biggest paydays followed the same formula:

Tie up large tracts of land while lobbying hard for entitlements and special conditions. Once approved, sell off much of that land to other developers, thus recoupe the initial investment with a profit.

Sound familiar? 

Some 100,000 square feet of commercial development is being proposed at this rural and historic crossroads. But any developer investing in the property would hardly consider it a Class A or even Class B location.

Let’s face facts: It’s stuck in the northwest corner of town.

The resulting tenant mix might include Plaid Pantry, Western Union, Subway, a nail salon and a tire store. In Northwest McMinnville? 

Summary: Nice project, wrong location. It’s folly to think this in a potential value-added context.

Those of us living in the area don’t need additional commercial. We have all that we need within a couple miles. 

And we definitely don’t need, or want, the greatly increased traffic this development would bring 

I urge you to vote against the project. Keep what’s left of “rural” McMinnville unique and rural — at least until the right plan comes along. 

Rick Weidner



High crimes aplenty

Letters on these pages continue to defend a historically dangerous and corrupt president. Let’s review what they are defending:

The president has attacked service personnel, diplomats and soldiers risking their lives for our country; treacherously betrayed our Kurdish allies; used coercive extortion against Ukraine to subvert our elections, and continued to do so, and illegitimizing himself if re-elected; protected Saudi Arabia from sanction for the murder of a U.S. journalist and citizen; assisted in a willful humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen; actively worked to weaken NATO and our presence in the Middle East for Russia’s benefit; used inflammatory rhetoric contributing to the murder of Jews, Muslims and Latinos, among others; and corruptly profited from public office, violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

An anti-Semite and racist, he has given aid and comfort to white supremacists; physically threatened and menaced opponents; supported tyrannical regimes around the world; cheated on all his spouses; committed numerous sexual assaults; treated immigrants and refugees with deliberate cruelty; exacerbated disasters like Hurricane Maria; willfully destroyed the environment; mocked the disabled; urged and excused war crimes; degraded our public discourse; and actively worked against anything advancing the common good or threatening his personal interests.

Is there more? Plenty. Martin Luther could easily reach number ninety-five and barely be warmed up denouncing this abomination.

That Republicans have essentially crowned a dangerous authoritarian, allowing him to dismantle our laws and Constitution with their vapid “but the economy!” mantra, is emblematic of their moral collapse.

They have displayed a profoundly reckless venality. Meanwhile, their party has mounted an assault on our system of governance.

They have effectively usurped Lincoln’s, “With malice toward none,” replacing it with, “Knock the crap out of him.” They are so inebriated with animus they fail to recognize their messiah is in fact Mephistopheles.

Steve Rutledge



Mob boss acquittal

The actions of the mob boss warrant an indictment. The indictment is referred to a jury.

Despite overwhelming evidence of guilt, the jury votes not to convict. Jurors fear the boss man will kill their careers.

This is a script for a Grade B mob movie — “Trumpfellas.”

Traditionally, the GOP icon has been an elephant. Today, the GOP icon could be an ostrich with its head buried and its rump at half mast.

Bob McNamee



Trump must go

It appears to me that the majority of Senate Republicans are more interested in maintaining the leverage of power than the integrity of doing what is right in order to limit the abuses of the incumbent president and remove him from office.

If the Republican Senate is unwilling to replace this president with the Republican vice-president, through impeachment, then it’s likely the offices of the president and many senators may soon be occupied by members of the Democratic party or third parties.

I am already done with supporting this president. And I may soon leave the Republican Party, after 37 years of membership, if the existing president is allowed to continue these abuses unchecked.

It would be in the best interest of the Republican Party to put forward any other Republican candidate for president for election this fall. I am no longer supporting Donald Trump to remain in office or win re-election.

Darrell Driver



Tread lightly, please

It’s encouraging that many McMinnville residents are concerned about the sudden growth of new subdivisions. Even one or two city council members appear to be paying attention, and perhaps becoming stingier with big development approvals.

Oregon’s land use law is not perfect. It needs to be carefully, thoughtfully addressed. But McMinnville’s current limited urban growth boundary is the only thing preventing the “bulldoze and build” forces from sprawling housing tracts across outlying areas.

I just joined Friends of Yamhill County as one way to resist McMinnville’s pending challenge to LUBA.

Several city council positions are up for election soon. I will closely examine the growth attitude of all candidates. Those who favor small and steady growth as opposed to large developments will get my vote.

Our city planning director is smart and capable. However, I question whether she’s planning for growth or seeking growth so she can plan.

I wonder if she has a long-time commitment to McMinnville. I worry that she plans to make her reputation here so she can move on to a bigger job elsewhere and leave us with a mess.

I don’t want the character of our community sacrificed on the altar of rampant growth. I don’t want McMinnville to become another Hillsboro, marching developments across fields, forests and wetlands toward neighboring communities.

I don’t want problems to soon face us when hundreds of new homes are built and masses of people, cars and students mob city services, streets and schools. I don’t want McMinnville to actively recruit new development and growth.

The current “Welcome Developers” doormat should be replaced with one warning, “Tread Lightly.”

Ken Dollinger



Growing inequity

Social inequity is growing into an extreme problem under Trump’s administration, although he seems to deny it. The gap between the rich and poor is now at its highest level in 10 years.

The reasons for social inequity are broad and far-reaching. One factor is social stereotyping.

Social and economic inequity are linked. Because of a lack of wealth in certain areas, people are prevented from gaining access to social goods such as health care, quality schools, property rights, accessible voting and even the confidence to speak freely.

Access depends on wealth. The more wealth, the better the access.

Trump and his policies are literally attacking our traditional American way of life. The wealthiest in our society have not only the most goods, but also the most advantages. And this administration is making it worse.

As Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn mention in their new book, “Tightrope,” we can no longer boast we have no class system. In fact, it appears to me we are rapidly moving toward a class system of the very rich and the very poor.

To help solve these issues, we need our elected representatives to work on policies to even the playing field, such as health care for all, free or low-cost higher education, and laws that are reasonable for everyone. Let us not become a society where you must be born rich to be able to have a decent, fulfilling and happy life!

Janet De With



Make peace, not war

I was truly disappointed with Jeb Bladine’s incendiary Jan. 17 column, “Time for a war on land use tyranny?” Why would the newspaper want to encourage war when there are other options, such as dialog and cooperation? 

Dredging up McMinnville’s past UGB expansion without presenting all the facts doesn’t do anyone any favors. The expansion sought 17 years ago was, at the time, the largest ever proposed in Oregon. Farmers were joined by citizens of all stripes, and rightfully so, in opposing loss of huge swaths of high-value farmland. They and appealed to stop the over-ambitious plan, for that and other shortcomings.

In 2009, McMinnville’s planners, their land-use attorney and the objectors arrived at a mutually agreeable compromise through mediated negotiation. Land-use advocates agreed to accept inclusion of more than 300 buildable acres of prime farmland, and to make other significant concessions, but the city council turned them down. 

What has happened since? The city has allowed most, if not all, the affordable apartments downtown to become vacation rentals; allowed many smaller homes to become vacation rentals; permitted Linfield to convert residential land to commercial use; authorized demolition of housing on Baker Street to make way for new commercial-only rather than mixed-use development.   

Rather than waging war, let’s try working together to develop an expansion plan that meets McMinnville’s needs while still protecting what makes this area so desirable — farmland and quality of life. Cities around the state have worked cooperatively with 1000 Friends of Oregon and the state Department of Land Conservation and Development to expand their UGBs, thus allowing for more residential, commercial and industrial development.

Everyone knows McMinnville needs more affordable housing.

There are environmentally appropriate ways to meet that need and more. But if the city adopts a my way or the highway attitude, smart growth won’t happen.

The News-Register should promote cooperation, not warfare.  

Ilsa Perse



Global cooling

We are conditioned, threatened and shamed to accept many fallacies without doing the research. The most destructive fallacy facing us now is this supposed carbon crisis.

According to John Casey, a former White House adviser now heading the Space Science Research Corp., “The story of manmade global warming and climate change based on human greenhouse emissions is the greatest international scientific fraud perpetrated on the world’s citizens.”

In his book “Dark Winter,” he plainly states that global warming is based on uninformed research. He says it is just a play for control and taxation.

What the government should be doing instead is warning the citizens to prepare for a cold period. The last such period ran from 1812 to about 1823, with great loss of lives, animals and property.

Predictive factors of such global cooling include volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. According to Casey and other leading scientists, this kind of global cooling typically occurs approximately every 620 years.

We are being deluded big time with this carbon control hoax. Here appears to be no concern for our safety or welfare with regard to the real threat.

It’s time to stop this fraud. We don’t need to be oppressed and taxed out of existence. All congressional perpetrators should be recalled, impeached and removed from office.

Mary Novak



Pandemic avoidable

Fifty-million Chinese locked down. Fifteen countries affected. Three confirmed cases in the U.S.

These dramatic headlines announce another pandemic caused by our abuse of animals. Indeed, 61% of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals.

These so-called zoonotic diseases, claiming millions of human lives, include Asian flu, Hong Kong flu, West Nile flu, bird flu, swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola, HIV, SARS and yellow fever. They include the pandemic Spanish flu of 1918, which may have killed as many as 50 million people worldwide.

Western factory farms and Asian street markets are virtual breeding grounds for infectious diseases. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in close contact with raw flesh, feces and urine provide ideal incubation mediums for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate on contact.

Each of us can help end these deadly pandemics by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses or government warning labels.

They are touted by every major health advocacy organization.  They were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden. And the internet offers ample recipes and transition hints.

Milo Nakamura




Trump Derangement Syndrome is alive and well in Yamhill County. Anyone who argues Trump and the Repubs protected the party and were less than forthcoming during the impeachment are duplicitous. How can you escape the graft and corruption the Democrats demonstrated from the beginnings of this supposed "trial". Are you kidding me? Biden corruption, Adam Shift holding secret hearings and not allowing a defense for the accused. On and on the Dems took oaths to be fair and unbiased. Do you think Bernie, Kamala, Clobashar and others signing an oath made them stick to that oath after wanting impeachment since before the last election. I am disappointed in the Yamhill County libs. They should know there are two sides to every story.


While Mr. Fawcett is correct regarding the “spectacle” of the recent impeachment and trial, he is off the mark by characterizing this as an example of some inequitable difference between “the laws that govern the most powerful”, and “the laws that govern the rest us”. Impeachment is an inherently political process, where the rules for evidence and trial are made up on the go, with various parties seeking leverage along the way. This rarely used process may be distasteful and frustrating, but is hardly a sign of the inferred divide between us and them.


Good job Bob McNamee, you said it all !!!!

Don Dix

Ilsa Perse asks (concerning any UGB expansion) --'Why would the newspaper want to encourage war when there are other options, such as dialog and cooperation?'

Answer -- Since the 90s the 'dialog' from you and your pals has been totally negative for any proposed annexation, totally. And filing appeal after appeal after appeal to any UGB expansion can hardly be described as any sort of 'cooperation'.

For years you have laid the foundation of how 'dialog and cooperation' are to be implemented, and after being called out, you feign innocence and disappointment. Pathetic distraction!

Actions have consequences -- and in this case, the consequences are well deserved! Comprende?


Following a week of deeply demoralizing events I was very encouraged to read letters published last Friday that clearly, factually, and logically illuminate some of the dangers facing America. We are all living through an escalating crisis and some of our fellow citizens cannot or will not accept the dire implications. If this was devotion to your own team captain, I would be concerned for the welfare of your team, but how your chosen leader treats you would not be my business. In this circumstance, others have chosen for me and their support continues to enable a corrupt dictatorial agenda that affects my life, the lives of all Americans, and the future of our democracy.

To the writer who is leaving the Republican Party, you are not alone. (And it seems evident that the party left you.) The GOP was once an honorable organization that fostered good governance and moral ideals. It has been debased and transformed into a cult of personality. Dear leader has now found his way around the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution. A spineless obedient Senate refused to restrain his power so he can indeed do whatever he wants. He can frog-march a Purple Heart patriot from OUR White House and humiliated him for speaking truth to power. He can use his office to corrupt our next election and since Lapdog Barr has openly demonstrated his blind allegiance, the formerly independent Department of Justice has been successfully weaponized. Trump is now set free to unleash his vile vindictive words and deeds at will, unrestrained by law or decency.

God help us survive the next eleven months and then perhaps we can begin to heal the soul of our nation and the ideals of our democracy.


>He can frog-march a Purple Heart patriot from OUR White House and humiliated him for speaking truth to power.

NSC employees are borrowed from a host agency from which they work just like others whom served on the NSC staff - he simply goes back to the DoD. From testimony during the House "impeachment investigation", Vindman was obviously a source for the "whistleblower" whom Schiff claimed to not know even as he stopped Vindman from answered Nunes's question regarding whom he told about the classified phone call.

> Lapdog Barr has openly demonstrated his blind allegiance

Barr is a straight shooter, which is why he's so feared in the swamp.

>formerly independent Department of Justice

Really? After the Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax? How in the world was Obama's AG Eric Holder, who called himself "the president’s wingman," independent?

The irrationality of all of this is why people on the sidelines are becoming Trump supporters in droves, regardless his myriad of personality defects.


We live in different universes Robs, obviously you have your own lens through which you filter your news and views. We all do. It is so disheartening to read your justifications and diversionary “what-aboutisms.” Trump’s venomous lies echo in my head as I read your words. Are you not old enough to remember when Nixon weaponized HIS DOJ? He tried to bring his corrupt vindictive influence to bear on his enemies too, and AG Mitchell went to jail for the unsuccessful attempt to help Tricky Dick exact revenge on patriots who stood up to his criminal behavior. History is repeating itself

Your final assertion would be humorous if it wasn’t so alarmingly delusional. Did you fail to read the letters above? The American people are becoming MORE aware of this corrupt and criminal administration with every passing day, and it scares the (excrement) out of them. Unlike the spineless Senators, the citizens are not controlled by that fear. We are motivated by it. If we can overcome the election-tampering, and the calls from the king for anarchy, we can evict Trump and the royal family from the White House and put an end to the tyranny that is strangling America. Hope springs eternal.

p.s. STRAIGHT SHOOTER? You can’t be serious. Barr is Trump’s Roy Cohn, and the most dangerous enabler of them all. The similarities are blatant and chilling. (Do you not realize that, or do you see it clearly and like it?) (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/27/fbi-releases-file-on-trumps-late-lawyer-roy-cohn.html )


I keep hearing the nonsensical criticism of utilizing past as precedent to gain context referred to as "what-aboutisms". Very convenient if you want to selectively ignore that done by political allies.

By that logic, we should just go ahead and ignore the entirety of history. Hey, do the kids get to use this line to get out of history classes in High School and College?


Rob - which one of the clowns running on the left stand a chance of beating President Trump and making a certain person happy? Did you see the number of his supporters in New Hampshire? Amazing.

Bernie, Elizabeth and Biden are jokes, Amy and Pete are the closest to moderate.

I also would be curious to hear treefarmer's opinion of Pelosi's childish stunt. What an embarrassment. The whole $30 million Schiff show was never going anywhere from the beginning and they knew it. The American people are sick of it all. They will turn out and re-elect this Ptesident.


Not sure. Will need to see who comes out of super-Tuesday. One thing is certain, the DNC is doing what it can to stop Bernie again(just like in 2016 though not quite as corrupt, but hey, Clinton isn't in the race yet). Did you see that rigged CNN question? Sheesh. The establishment does not like populist candidates as they threaten their swamp power. We may very well have a brokered convention. It will be interesting.

Based on the past, Biden was always a weak candidate as his past presidential campaigns have quickly flamed out. Even Obama knew that. But hey - isn't history, precedent, and context just 'what-aboutism'?


Hey Finch – haven’t heard from you in a while. Not surprised to have you re-emerge in this discussion. I find it sad and bewildering, but I know how important it is to you (and many others) to defend Trump. (I still continue to believe that he is not worthy to clean your boots, and I would bet the mortgage that you would NEVER tolerate his lying, his cruel vulgar attacks, or his moral rot from your own loved ones.)

As for the Dems, I am more than disappointed with the way things have progressed to date. Too much opportunistic sniping, too much disorganization, and I fail to see the advantages of a circular firing squad. I can’t agree that Bernie, Liz, and Joe are “jokes” but I sure do urge the good ol’ boys to recognize the wisdom of retirement, and hope Ms. Warren will decide to stay and apply herself in the Senate. She did some wonderful work in the past to establish strong consumer protections, and I think she still has much to offer - especially to the working class. And since you asked, I believe Nancy Pelosi is a remarkable woman but wish she had chosen to shred that lie-infested reality show script in private. I suspect she wishes she had displayed less public pique as well.

Looks like we CAN agree that the American people are “sick of it all,” we just identify the “IT” quite differently. I will keep hoping that even blind loyalty has a limit. Now that he knows he can literally get away with anything, and the Republicans are emasculated into total submission, we are about to learn what he is truly capable of. I feel sincere sympathy for those who will need to find ways to continue defending an escalating lawless Anti-American agenda. "My 401k looks good" seems like a myopic illusion that will ultimately prove useless in a banana republic.


"Nancy Pelosi is a remarkable woman" - debatable. Her time has come and gone. She should spend more time in her disgusting needle and feces infested district and demand that it be cleaned up. Allowing a beautiful, historic city full of business and tourism to be turned into a toilet is unacceptable. Her newphew Newsom is even a worse governor than Brown was. Nancy is old, delusional and out of touch.

"knows he can literally get away with anything" - you mean like Obama, Hillary (remind me how many people connected to the Clinton's suddenly died of mysterious circumstances), Clapper, Brennan, McCabe, Mills, Comey, Lynch, Lerner - should I go on?

Reality Show Script? Many Americans thought it was a wonderful speech and she not only shred his speech, she disrespected some pretty amazing people begin honored by that speech.

Bill B

Treefarmer-The fact is that many of us don't feel the need to defend our president. He gets things done; the right things.


Exactly! Quickly and not at bureaucratic speed and they hate that.


Bill B – I am sadly aware that many of you support Trump in every way imaginable. As I have said before, I accept that fact but cannot understand how it is possible. (different universes perhaps, as theorized above?) Obviously I don’t know as much about American values as I thought. I can agree that he “gets things done,” but I view most of those things as destructive, hateful, lawless, immoral, and dictatorial.

Finch – If one bought into the lies (fact-checking puts the script in stark contrast with reality) and if one managed not to gag on the repulsive ego-maniacal delivery, I suppose it did resonate with the base. You are correct that there were some honorable people recognized (excluding the viper Limbaugh) and I will theorize that Pelosi meant those fine patriots no disrespect. Obviously – like everything – it is a matter of perspective?


As a woman I am sick of hearing about women's rights and the mob dressed in white couldn't even stand up for the fact that more women are employed than ever. The representative from MN who is married to her brother was on her cell phone. I can go on.

Rush Limbaugh is an amazing, kind and generous man who has done more for people than anyone will ever know. He fights extremism with extremism and if you cared to find that out you would realize it.

You going on your rants changes nothing.


To repeat my earlier comment, everything is a matter of perspective. You need to dismiss my posts as rants and yet for some strange reason you continue to read and respond to them. (The psychological implications of that are intriguing). I will spare you my observations of yours. For now we can only wait to see how our national nightmare ends, and reality will be the best judge of who has been living in fantasyland.

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