Letters to the editor: Feb. 21, 2020

Opportunities for Oregon

On Wednesday, the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce submitted written testimony to the House Revenue Committee in opposition to HB 4010, which would disconnect Oregon from provisions of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The act set the stage for establishment of opportunity zones in local communities across the country.

These zones provide a tax incentive to encourage infusion of capital gains realized on other investments into a specific economically disadvantaged location. They encourage reinvestment of capital in equity in local businesses, thus creating housing and employment opportunities.

In partnership with Business Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown nominated and won designation of 86 opportunity zones. She used an award-winning process that gave Oregon best-in-the-nation score for identifying zones “positioned to bring positive social, environmental, and economic returns.”

In McMinnville, three such zones have helped city and McMinnville Economic Development Partnership officials facilitate development of the Rivergate Area, a 28-acre mixed use industrial site. In a highly competitive environment for spurring investment and economic development, these dedicated professionals need every available tool to maintain the attractiveness of communities like ours as great places to start, locate or expand businesses.

By the time this letter goes to print, HB 4010 will have had an additional work session. Despite a high volume of opposition from cities, economic development agencies, certified public accountants and chambers of commerce across Oregon, it is likely to be amended once more in committee, then passed to the House Floor.

For further reference, including a copy of the chamber’s letter of opposition, please see http://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2020R1/Measures/Exhibits/HB4010.

Gioia Goodrum

President, McMinnville Chamber


Socially yours

I’m writing in response to the”Repeating History” letter appearing in the Readers Forum of Feb. 14.

My understanding of the three countries mentioned is that China and Russia were Communist, which means socialist states ruled by totalitarian leaders like Stalin and Mao. Germany was Nazi, led by totalitarian leader Adolf Hitler. Its NaziFascist system featured extreme right-wing, top-down rule by autocracy.

People, look up definitions of Communism, Nazism and Fascism before attempting to compare them to socialism.

As to the issue of guns, I believe citizens should be armed. How would our revolution have happened if they weren’t?

Thomas Jefferson was concerned about government. In fact, he warned the people to question the authority of such.

As far as socialism goes, I like the Social Security check I get every month. To those who don’t like socialism, please send me yours.

Mike Sullivan



We can do better

State Sen. Brian Boquist, the three-term politician from Dallas, has assured his friends in the financial industry, and the special interests to which he has been beholden, that a fourth term is in the bag.

He has, after all, a ton of money. He has name recognition, after receiving extra publicity and notoriety, even celebrity, from his 2019 hissy fit over being “forced” to show up to vote.

Boquist has proven himself a litigious guy, a guy who likes to sue people. His latest scurry down to the courthouse had him suing because he got disciplined for being a jackass.

The case was thrown out of court, but expect him to sue again. He’ll think of something.

When Boquist first ran for the Senate in 2008, making the move over from the House, his campaign slogan was “Patriots Unite – Vote Boquist.” In other words, it’s patriotic to keep him on the public payroll.

I ran against Boquist in 2008. That was 12 years ago. I was defeated. Apparently, we true patriots didn’t unite enough to whip him.

When a citizen becomes a candidate, he’s proposing to work for us. That’s certainly what a state senator is supposed to be doing with his or her time.

Our concerns are supposed to occupy their days, and even some of their nights. That’s representative democracy.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all learned, there are elected politicians whose overriding concern consists of their own fears, biases, ambitions and interests.

Do voters, residents, workers, educators, taxpayers and business owners in the 12th District deserve better representation in Salem? We’ve got another chance to answer that in November.

Patriots, unite.

Kevin Nortness



False and misleading

A letter published Feb. 14, authored by one Rich Roberts, declares mass killings in China, Russia and Germany examples of “socialism,” which he links to Democrats and liberals in the U.S. today.

These assertions are wrong. The misleading catch-all term “socialism” encompasses at least 11 vastly different governmental/economic theories and systems encompassing more than 20 different sub-types.

The bottom line is, “socialism” applies to any system in which society takes care of its citizens, so no one is left to struggle against the selfish greed of economic monsters such as corporations, banks and the medical-pharmaceutical complex.

In our country, in our time, the versions of “socialism” espoused by some progressives are democratic socialism or social democracy. Neither comes close to the Marxist-Leninist theories espoused by Mao in China during the Cultural Revolution or by the “Bolshies” in Russia in 1917.

To refer to the German Nazis as “socialists” is to misunderstand both Nazism and socialism. The Nazis were fascists; they were not socialists by any stretch.

Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party was a tool for malignant nationalism. It was founded on anti-socialist ideas, fueled by blind hatred and controlled by fear.

The death camps are the ultimate repudiation of any attempt to equate Nazism with socialism.

The democratic socialism advocated by some progressives today aims to provide free education and universal health care, to  ensure clean air and water, to foster reliable manufacturing practices, guarantee safe housing and preserve health and safety for everyone. It accommodates benign capitalism in most cases, and is succeeding well in Scandinavia and other countries in Europe.

Americans need to understand terms like “socialism,” — so often carelessly twisted nowadays, in order to determine the type of government that will protect and sustain our children, our grandchildren, our world.

Kate Fuller



Not that simple

Let me applaud Susan and Arnie for their effort to improve the oak habitat on their rural property, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service for assisting with financial support. However, if I may play devil’s advocate with the News-Register’s editorial, “Restoring native savanna a cause worth of support,” the very word “restoring” is incorrect.

It implies something has destroyed this habitat. But left to nature over time, their oak habitat has simply evolved with brush species, plus some Douglas fir and big leaf maple.

The Kalapuya Indians used fire to artificially maintain their oak savannas. But I don’t think we want to turn fire loose today. 

To maintain the openness of a true native oak savanna, when our 35-40 inches of precipitation is ideal for invasive species such as Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom, the land will need to be “restored” every five years.

There’s no way around it. As Aristotle said, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” And nothing today fills a vacuum quite like blackberries and Scotch broom.

The editorial implies the government offers farm and forest owners a tax break to protect against development pressure. That may be partially true, but the main reason is to encourage active land management.

At the core is an economic incentive, and properties must be economically viable to qualify. Forest deferral requires a specific number of certain commercial species per acre.

Giving tax breaks to active farm and forest managers ensures delivery of food to our grocery stores and logs to our sawmills. It also creates jobs.

The assessor’s office is responsible for determining whether holdings continue to meet this criteria. If not, no deferral.

Oregon’s land use system does a pretty good job of protecting our base of productive farm and forestland on its own.

Jim LeTourneux,



In search of solutions

Last week, a few of us from Yamhill County’s Encompass team attended one of Portland’s town halls in search of solutions for our “houseless” crisis. We found it enlightening to see a middle school gymnasium filled to capacity and more.

Mayor Ted Wheeler spoke with great compassion, insight and understanding, and expressed his desire for everyone to participate. His leadership led to a very peaceful and productive evening.

Tables were set up for residents to dialog in small groups, then respond to the larger group. In the end, what we took away was the importance of having leaders with the vision and tenacity to face a crisis head on and never give up.

At our candlelight vigil last Sunday, a handful of us stood in the cold with more than 10 of our “houseless” individuals. We wanted them to know that we care and will continue to seek solutions.

We asked them to share our concern to others who feel that our community has given up on them. They conveyed their gratitude for churches like First Baptist, which have opened doors to them when the temperature dips to 32 or below.

It was 35 the evening of the vigil. As I stood there shivering, I wondered how they do it.

Sadly, some don’t. We had our candles lit for those who’ve died in the cold over the past five years.

Jacob and Valerie Miller mentioned their Facebook page, “Give Back Mac family popup @ Champion Team,” where they post needs such as food, funds, blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothing. Donations are accepted from 1 to 3 p.m. Sundays at the Champion Team site, at 1300 N.E. Adams St.

Please join me in helping those in need know how much McMinnville cares about them.

Liz Marlia-Stein



No contest

Regarding your “Do Not Settle” editorial:

How ridiculous that the News-Register lists the two filed county commissioner candidates as “relatively unknown.”

When comparing the experience of the two, or lack of it, there’s no contest. When comparing the local vs. non-local endorsements of the two, there’s no contest. When comparing the paid and unpaid work for various local associations, and community impact of that, there’s no contest.

I don’t confuse quantity for quality.

Barbara Boyer has my vote. There’s no contest.

Annette Madrid



A line too far

Are there any Trump supporters for whom there is a line too far, a line beyond which Trump would lose their support? Recent events bring this question to mind.

According to The Washington Post, Trump has now surpassed 16,000 untruths. His State of the Union Address itself contained many falsehoods or gross exaggerations.

He solicited and accepted information from Russia on his opponent in the 2016 race and obstructed the investigation of same multiple times. He attempted to withhold military support for Ukraine to get negative information on one of his current opponents. He obstructed efforts by the House to obtain records and/or witness testimony related to the withholding of funds, and avoiding conviction seems to make him feel particularly empowered.

Specific acts of retribution include having Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an impeachment hearing witness, escorted from the White House less than 48 hours after the trial verdict. He fired fellow witness Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union.  

Longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, found guilty of seven counts of criminal behavior, faced up to 50 years, 20 for witness tampering alone. Federal prosecutors recommended 7 to 9, which is obviously generous.

But Trump tweeted, “This is a horrible and very unfair situation.” In less than 24 hours, the recommendation was rescinded, triggering the resignations of all four prosecutors. Thanks go to Attorney General William Barr, a reliable Trump enabler.

 While apparently legal, Barr’s interference politicizes the judiciary and destroys its independence. This is a common step in countries moving toward authoritarian rule — Germany in 1942, Egypt and Turkey more recently.

More than 2,000 former justice department officials responded by calling for Barr’s resignation.

The presence of an independent judiciary is an absolute requirement for the continuance of a healthy democracy. I think the line has been crossed.

Les Howsden



Communist flag flying

Oregon State University, a public university in Corvallis, has refused to remove the flag of Vietnam’s illegitimate communist regime from one of its buildings.

Members of the community have requested removal of this flag, which is equivalent to them of the renowned Nazi flag of World War II Germany. It has offered an alternative for display — the Vietnam freedom flag.

OSU has refused, saying it is using this flag to honor students, not countries, governments or politics. But to many of us, allowing the communist Vietnamese flag to be raised is the equivalent of allowing the Nazi German flag to be raised.

This has long been a sensitive topic. It is a PTSD trigger for Vietnamese students whose parents or grandparents, if not they themselves, were fortunate enough to survive a perilous journey by boat to flee dictatorial rule. Present-day communist tactics have received worldwide attention, as journalists and bloggers begging for the world’s help keep disappearing.

The communist flag displayed at OSU does not represent the students currently attending the school. It not only offends them, but also their parents, who are helping support them financially and emotionally, and their grandparents, who spent half their lives or more fighting a war to provide one simple thing: freedom. OSU students — including international students from Vietnam, who are afraid to speak out publicly because they still hold citizenship — are pleading with OSU to remove the communist flag and substitute the freedom flag, which better represents the university’s student Vietnamese population.

Minh Ty Tran



Make it fair

I’m all for people paying their fair share for using our roadways. But I take offense when those in charge unfairly single out people who bought vehicles that are all-electric or get more than 40 miles per gallon.

The common sense approach would be to charge a minimal flat fee, based on the vehicle’s weight, then tack on for every mile traveled. That way, all owners would be fairly assessed, based on the weight of their vehicle and the number of miles it travels on our roads.

That would be simple and fair. The cost would be shared by everyone on the road except those using mass transit, who should be applauded for making that choice.

James Parker



Join forces to meet need

A recent article by a Portland real estate developer said McMinnville must increase land available for housing or else the Legislature will force a change in our urban growth boundaries. This person recently hailed from California, where he and his friends have created big city nightmares like Los Angeles.

So, what to do?

I have been impressed with multi-family housing recently built in Amity. I think Amity would like to grow and this impressive housing signals growth for them.

It is on the right-hand side as you enter Amity, going south on Highway 99W. Way to go, Amity!

McMinnville doesn’t need to be the center of all things. Collaborate on housing with neighboring towns — Lafayette, Dayton, Amity, Carlton and others. Call it “The Yamhill Housing Group.”

How would this help?

Together, we can share available land, land use ideas, government connections, planning costs and job transportation between our towns.

Local towns all take the piece of area housing needs that benefits them. That way, we can best control development of our precious, beautiful and bountiful Willamette Valley.

I think some of these connections are already in place.

Peder Kittelson




Mike you earned the money in that SS check so I don’t believe that’s socialism.


While it is true that we all pay into Social Security, if someone outlives what has been contributed, the program continues to function as a safety net for the elderly. The Va cares for our military, also a social program that provides an invaluable service. Not sure how socialism became such a loaded word.


Treefarmer is so right. And so is Mike. In addition to the elderly, Social Security will benefit the disabled and dependent children who have not paid in to SS. And don't forget the corporate welfare the government provides to agriculture and the oil and gas industries, among others. Only the most cold-hearted, un-Christian among us would reject the "socialism" that helps the most needy among us.
There are few if any pure examples of any ideology and "socialism" and "capitalism" both have long continuua.
The original letter by Rich Roberts was wrong on so many counts, which Kate, too, begins to make clear in her response. But really, only the most ignorant would ever say the Nazis were socialists. Rich should please read the first 100 pages of William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." It will explain in detail how Hitler co-opted the socialist name to form the Nazi Party. If Rich won't do this, he may repeat history.


You folks pushing "socialism" need to be very clear what you mean. You continually cite countries that aren't socialist as examples. Denmark, Sweden and Norway all rank in the top fifth of the most economically free countries in the world (e.g. economic freedom index).

Democratic Socialism? That's Venezuela. Chavez was democratically elected in 1998 and the country is now an economic disaster. For example, the central planners failed to order enough barley. The country ran out of beer. In true socialist fashion, they blamed the 'evil capitalist' owner of the largest brewer for the failure.

Totally agree with BT about our corporate tax structure though. But the root cause is the same problem as socialist's have with corruption. Centralized power.


As for the NAZIs not being socialist. The founder of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, was a life long socialist. Fascism is one of the many forms of socialism - the ugliest one by far - but a subset.

The party wasn't called Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (in German) for nothing.

>Rich May repeat history? Trump may be a blowhard but his power is checked by our constitutional system. There are real dictators in this world (e.g. Xi).


The problem with history is it is much messier than can be dealt with in spaces like this. That said ...
Rob is wrong that Mussolini was a *life-long* socialist. The Mussolini we think of today was a fascist, which is not even in the same ballpark as socialism, since fascism is a right-wing nationalist ideology opposed to individual liberty. It is true that in the pre-World War I years Mussolini was a socialist, indeed one of the most prominent in Italy. But he was expelled from the party. As he turned fascism after World War I he renounced socialism. He co-wrote in 1932 in the "Doctrine of Fascism," "Fascism is therefore opposed to socialism..."
Reducing complex and multi-hued issues or arguments to single-word epithets to conjure up emotions is the work of propagandists, which we should all resist.
I recommend all read Timothy Snyder's slim pamphlet "On Tyranny," especially the last section, "History and Liberty."


Anyone remember FDR's 2nd Bill of Rights in his 1944 State of the Union address? It was WWII we were fighting and dying for those ideas. Most of those ideas require government leadership and assistance. The 2nd Bill of Rights is based on all citizens sharing in the burden and the benefits of this great country.

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education


I'm in disbelief on how conservative thought (e.g. limited government, individual liberties, rights come from God and not the state) can be equated to Fascism in any way, shape, or form. They are diametrically opposed.

Fascism is an offshoot of socialism (see link) for which Mussolini was the founder. It is under that umbrella.

Regardless of what we name it, these systems have the same problem. They possess the per-requisites for the atrocities that killed countless millions in the twentieth century. The power of a central government is large while individual liberties are small.



Rob, you are dealing with one type of conservative thought, which, according to your definition, seems like libertarianism. No one in their comments equated conservatism with fascism (as I read the comments). Today's Republican Party, with Donald Trump at the helm, is neither libertarian nor conservative. It cloaks itself as conservative, but its undermining of the rule of law and constitutional checks on presidential power, its appeals to populist nationalism (read white and anti-immigration), and the way in which Trump defines reality and legality as what he says it is, are all fascistic. Trump has not a Christian bone in his body, and yet he is given the benefit of the doubt by many evangelicals and others because he pretends to be pro-life. He doesn't give a damn about your civil liberties. He despises all who he views as disloyal to him. And he brings his vengeance down on them. That is also fascistic. He and his minions wield their propaganda through the most advanced media technology there is. That again is out of the fascistic playbook. As Goebbels said about "the Big Lie," if you repeat a lie enough times and loudly enough, people will believe it. That is also what fascists do.
Rob, fascism and socialism are at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. Neither is the offshoot of the other, although both promote a larger state role than perhaps you would prefer. Given the choice, I would much prefer European-style social democracy to European-style fascism.


I am glad msantone brought up Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Capitalists at the time were critical of FDR's reforms as being socialistic. But he saved capitalism from itself. Many nations were experimenting with socialism and communism in his era. There was a strong socialist current in US politics at the time, too. It was touch and go during the Great Depression. FDR saved us. We should all be thankful. He also preserved the core civil liberties we all enjoy today. For reference, look up his Four Freedoms speech (freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear). FDR was so reviled by some conservatives after he died that a two term limit was placed on the presidency.


Just because something is in writing doesn't mean you will get it. The socialists in Venezuela put health as a "fundamental social right" in their constitution. A word on paper doesn't make a good or service materialize.

One big issue with these systems is that they put in price controls at or below the price of production. Producers then stop producing and no one has anything. Margaret Thatcher famously said, paraphrasing, that 'socialism works until you run out of other people's money'. Also - the The Nordic countries oft referenced as examples all have market economies and rank high on economic freedom indexes.

I do agree that with non-elastic goods a form of socialist distribution may be in order if we aren't going to protect ourselves from monopolies and oligopolies as in these past decades (see book "The Myth of Capitalism" by Jonathon Tepper- but it needs to be insulated well by the bubble-wrap of a free market, or it will inevitably implode.


BT - your posts are a welcome breath of fresh air. (Facts, logic and common sense are in perilously short supply these days.) I look forward to your future contributions.


Rob - I continue to appreciate your input.


For Mike, Social security might look like socialism but you have already paid for it. That's a quid pro quo. Look up socialism for the correct definition. For Nortness, if you can, over the years, not found one thing good to say about someone or something from the other party you are being disingenuous. And we have enough of that with your party line stuff.

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