Letters to the editor: April 24, 2020

Unsung heroes
Many members of our community have written to thank all the people who are helping to keep us healthy.I would like to add one more group — the people who work to keep our water clean and flowing, our sewers working and our electric grid in good repair. Thank you to these very essential workers, who are the very foundation of our town.
Markita Price
A crisis of knowledge
County Commissioner Mary Starrett, in her bid to align the board of commissioners against Gov. Brown’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, wrote: “To quarantine people who are contagious ... that’s a public health response. To quarantine people who are healthy, that’s tyranny.” Her implication is that social distancing restrictions ought to be lifted.
The rhetoric may have its merits. Given the nature of the COVID crisis, however, the implications would be disastrous policy. The COVID pandemic is a health crisis because it is also a crisis of knowledge. The virus propagates so successfully because it is so deceptive.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 50% of individuals who test positive for COVID have no symptoms at the time of testing (CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 03, 2020), and that up to 80% of COVID cases may have been transmitted from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals, per research published in the journal Science (R. Li et al., March 16, 2020). As of this writing, there are approximately 2.3 million confirmed cases of COVID worldwide, meaning that as many as 1.84 million people may have caught the virus from individuals who appeared perfectly healthy at the time. We may grant that it is fair to quarantine virus carriers and unfair to quarantine healthy individuals. But for this admission to be actionable, we must know who is healthy and who is not.
We do not know that, and without widespread testing, we cannot know that. What we can infer, from the fact that the county reports new cases every few days, is that the virus is still passing undetected through our population. Until Commissioner Starrett calls for wider testing to eliminate the virus’s insidious advantages, her rhetoric will benefit neither public health nor personal freedom.
Leonard Finkelman
She stood with us
As a longtime Democrat, I supported medical freedom rights and bodily autonomy. I supported an accountable government and policies and laws providing the greatest good for all.
In the 2019 and 2020 legislation sessions, however, draconian pieces of legislation were introduced that would have destroyed my children’s rights to their education, and also our family’s jobs. I went to the Capitol, I called legislators, I asked our county commissioners to help and I got other families aware and fighting as well. 
I was greatly dismayed to learn that the individuals behind these pieces of legislation were members of the party I greatly admired and stood up for.
I am no longer a registered Democrat. The past two years were the last straw. I can no longer support a party that feels it can make better decisions for me and my children than I can.
What I did see was Lindsay Berschauer standing up for me, my family and many other families in our community — families of all political affiliations. I saw her protecting our medical rights and our jobs.
She rallied at the Capitol, at county meetings, at town halls. She spoke up about her concerns with the legislation, which I shared.
When I saw her running for county commissioner, I knew she was someone our family could vote for.
She believes in accountable and transparent government, low taxes and support for minorities. And much like my family, she didn’t just speak up about it, she showed up to fight against it.
Cortney Thomas
Open mind and heart
I’m writing to share my strong support and recommendation for Barbara Boyer as county commissioner.
I’ve known Barbara for at least 15 years. I believe our paths first crossed because of our farming connections, as my husband Rich and I owned a farm in Yamhill for 16 years.
We bought hay for our cattle from her farm. And we shared a love of farmers’ markets.
Barbara is honest, grounded, open-minded and hardworking. When I consider the type of person that would benefit the diversity of our community, Barbara completely fills the bill.
She has been a small business owner and farmers’ market manager and has served on numerous boards. She understands that life is complicated, so a one-size-fits-all approach is not what we need.
Our county needs a commissioner who has more experience with elbow grease than greasing palms. Who will come in with an open mind and heart, not a partisan agenda. Whose honesty will lead her to seek out and listen closely to people from the full spectrum of perspectives and experiences. Who has nurtured deep local roots. Who seeks the position not as a stepping stone to others, but as bedrock to support our common goals. Who understands that it’s hard work to sow compassion and unity, but that it’s worth the effort when the harvest is a vibrant, healthy and sustainable community.
Our county needs Barbara Boyer as county commissioner. Please join me in supporting her in the upcoming May election.
Valerie Blaha
Science over Starrett
During a health emergency, we should not rely on advice from a former TV show host. 
And I’m not talking about the White House. I’m talking about Yamhill County. 
It seems Commissioner Starrett, apparently with support from Commissioner Olson, would like to elevate her lay opinion above that of public health experts when it comes to relaxing some of the mitigation strategies employed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Science is objective, but it is not neutral. And it tells us to proceed judiciously.
We all are eager to return to some sense of normal. To accomplish that we must follow science, not someone’s personal interpretation of the data.
Alisa Owen
Potentially tragic results
I am deeply troubled by Commissioner Mary Starrett’s attempts to abandon COVID-19 countermeasures in Yamhill County.
Who is being served by a proposal that puts the financial well-being of the well-off ahead of the lives of the poor, the old and the inconvenient?
It is one thing for a person to harbor misguided beliefs on an individual basis and suffer whatever tragic consequences result. It is quite another for that person to use a position of influence to promote unsafe behavior, endangering the lives of the people she serves.
Anyone claiming knowledge that they do not have, and promoting personal opinions to discount the work of people searching for actual answers, is doing harm.
Right now, we need to make sound decisions based on our best understanding of the facts. We do not have the luxury of tolerating the unlearned opinions of self-appointed experts promoting their own biased viewpoints.
I am not an expert on this subject, nor do I have any ability to determine the future. So I do not know when it will be safe to relax the restrictions. But neither does she.
How would anyone promoting relaxed guidelines answer to this community when someone follows that example, spreads their infection and causes the death of a first responder, a medical provider or a child?
I recognize that every single member of this county is being affected by the shutdown, myself included. We all face financial hardships and uncertain futures. However, we must resist the temptation to seek quick and easy answers.
We must resist simply believing what we want to be true. We must face the hard truth of what we are actually up against.
I would ask the commissioners to reconsider this action. It has the potential to do great harm to the people here that we know and love.
Robert Myers
A local treasure
Elaine Rohse is a treasure.
Her recent piece on the history of pandemics was excellent. This article was comprehensive and well-written. It was as good as any written nationally.
We take her for granted. She needs to be appreciated for the talent she brings to this area.
Bob McNamee
Follow the money
I am writing to respond to Leslie Lucier’s letter of April 17.
You conveniently omitted an important data point that thoroughly contradicts the argument put forth in your letter. The largest donation to Barbara Boyer’s non-partisan county commissioner campaign so far has actually come from local winery owner Ken Wright, a Republican. In fact, he has donated more to President Trump than anyone else in Yamhill County, according to Federal Election Commission records.  
A candidate who can garner donations not only from someone like Wright, but also from members of the county’s Democratic Party, seems to me to be exactly what Boyer claims — an independent candidate who wants to represent all members of the county.  
In contrast, candidate Lindsay Berschauer has received donations almost entirely from Republicans — including Commissioner Mary Starrett, by way of her family. And she will in fact appear on the May ballot twice for some voters, once as a non-partisan candidate for commissioner and once as a partisan candidate for a Republican Precinct Committee seat.
Berschauer has been involved in Republican Party politics since at least 2012.
But one-third of Yamhill County voters are registered Democrats and another third are independent or non-affiliated. With only three county commissioners, do we really want to let two of the three seats be filled by partisan politicians like Starrett and Berschauer?  
I’m glad, by the way, that you like that Farmer’s Market. Did you know Boyer helped start it?
I’ll be voting for Barbara Boyer to bring balance to the board.  
Megan Corvus

Just the facts
I was disturbed reading the response to Commissioner Mary Starrett’s desires to look into reopening our economy ASAP. I really feel compelled to support her here.
She’s right to want to look into this further. And our county would be right to support her, for the sake of the entire population.
We should be constantly reviewing this issue, as every single day my employer is among many that are closed and we’re losing thousands of dollars. We need to reopen, because economic death can kill way more actual people than this virus is threatening to.
Locally, this could not be more clear.
If you study the cases of infection, hospitalizations and death, you’ll see very distinct patterns. It is not being equally distributed. What is being equally distributed is the financial pain — that and industrial/commercial death.
Just because some people get this virus and suffer does not mean everyone should have to suffer. We can do this better.
Ultimately, in America, under our constitution, it would be wiser to err on the side of freedom and the Bill of Rights.
Let’s look at the local demographic realities. Oregon’s official statewide death rate is ridiculously low — about 0.00001% of all Oregonians, which is statistically irrelevant, and about 0.039% of Oregonians testing positive.
Our Yamhill County death rate is about 0.18%. That means 99.82% of those infected locally would survive. And all local victims so far have been elderly people with pre-existing conditions.
We never close everything down for the flu or any other illness, even if they cause tens of thousands of deaths. Yet here we are, with more time to write letters to the editors because everything is shut down.
Here’s some food for thought: Instead of making this childish and political, let’s make it a grown-up discussion about facts.
Chris Brabb
No misrepresentation here
I find it interesting that Leslie Lucier terms herself “concerned about someone making misrepresentations” when she challenges commissioner candidate Barbara Boyer’s “non-affiliated” claim.
Ms. Lucier says she’s learned it’s “important to do your own research,” so she looked into campaign donations on file with the Secretary of State’s office. And she identified some Democrats on Boyer’s list. But what about Ken Wright, who has a history of donating to Republican candidates, notably Mr. Trump? Ken Wright Cellars made a substantial donation to Barbara Boyer’s campaign to become the next Yamhill County commissioner.
The donation was listed on the Secretary of State site over a month ago. So much for misrepresentation. Candidate Boyer IS a “non-affiliated voter who wants to represent all members of the county.” Ken Wright apparently agrees, as he and his wife are both named supporters at www.forwardwithbarbara.com. No misrepresentation here. Barbara Boyer is exactly the county commissioner we need in these times. Join me in voting for her.
Susan Karp
Bridging partisan divide
County commissioner candidate Barbara Boyer was attacked in a letter to the editor last week for gaining some support from local progressives. The reality is that Barbara is a common-sense moderate who draws support from all sides — Democratic, Republican and non-affiliated. She enjoys backing from many local business owners and civic leaders.
Ken Wright is well known for his enthusiastic support of Republican candidates, and he is a strong Barbara Boyer supporter. He’s just one of many moderate or right-leaning backers. Having the ability to see all sides of an issue, and compromise when needed, is a very good thing. That’s especially true in these difficult times, when we all need to work together. Let’s not escalate the partisan divide. Barbara has proven her ability to work with everyone, regardless of political bent.
I’ll vote for Barbara Boyer. I know she’ll work of all of us rather than govern based on rigid ideology.
EJ Farrar
Stay the course
I am concerned about last week’s letter from Mr. Wozniak approving of Commissioner Mary Starrett’s decision to seek reopening of the county.
Neither are epidemiologists nor doctors, but both seem fine ignoring expert advice from global health officials. And I am terrified they will succeed. Many people aren’t practicing safe social distancing now. Loosening restrictions before our numbers start dropping will result in even more infections.
Increased cases will strain our already precarious economy and health system. It means a longer recovery period, during which locals and visitors will not be spending money here. Worst of all, it means more people dying. Mr. Wozniak says the drop in projected cases nationally means the pandemic is dissipating. This is absolutely false.
This virus is novel to humanity, so we have no natural immunity. Everybody is at risk.
State and county statistics show that we have not yet flattened the curve. People are dying daily, and Portland, a hotspot, is just an hour away. Restrictions should only be lifted once we are no longer seeing new cases.
There is much we can do if we really want to help our small businesses. We can buy gift cards, visit during reduced hours or order online or by phone. We can splurge on delivery or pickup from local restaurants.
The pandemic has hit everyone really hard, be it medically or financially. I wish we could just go back to normal right now, but doing so would make things worse.
Oregon is doing better than many other states, but we can do better.
We need to support each other so we can weather this together and come out safely on the other side. And right now, that means staying home in order to keep each other safe a little longer.
Elizabeth DeVisser
Stay home; stay safe
In a News-Register story published April 17, County Commissioner Mary Starrett said she relies upon her own interpretation of COVID-19 data rather than that of academically trained epidemiologists. And based on that, she also considers it prudent to let local businesses reopen now.
She argued the virus behaves like the flu, which has been fact-checked and debunked several times. She wants board support for a letter to Republican legislators seeking support for local reopening.
The governor of Florida recently opened the beaches in the northern part of the state, around Jacksonville, and they were promptly flooded by citizens suffering from cabin fever. That suggests caution.
I suggest the letter be delayed for two or three weeks to determine the results of the Florida action. The results of this social experiment will determine whether the letter has basis for submission, that it isn’t just some sort of knee-jerk response.
I applaud Commissioner Casey Kulla’s objections, which were based on medically sound reasons.
County festivals and school athletic programs have been put on hold. Linfield College has delayed its graduation. County transit traffic is down 80%, and riders have been asked to wear face masks. Six senior citizens in a Newberg care facility have died of this virus, including a WWII vet.
These circumstances do not sound a vote of confidence for Starrett’s letter. The commissioner would do better to follow Gov. Brown’s lead.
Quarantine is a safety procedure for the well, apparently well and unwell, all three. Let those who have epidemiological knowledge about the issue make these decisions.
Tyranny is not the issue here. Commissioner Starrett is wrong about that.
Stay home; stay safe.
Micheal Groshong

Boyer what we need
I am enthusiastically supporting Barbara Boyer for county commissioner. Her energetic participation in a wide range of work for the benefit of all people has impressed upon me her values of diligence and persistence.
She is a farmer who also knows the value of thriving forests. She is a small business person who has experience partnering with state, county and local entities. She is a community member who listens to all who have opinions about how to improve our county. She is a generator of good practices who values all residents’ perspectives, not just those of the entitled elite.
Boyer has decades of experience living in and contributing to Yamhill County. She has long been working for us through her service with Yamhill County Extension Service, Lutheran Community Services, the McMinnville Farmers Market, the Soil and Water Conservation District, Linfield College, Master Gardeners and more.
I hope you’ll join me in voting for Barbara Boyer — and in spreading the word that her eye toward cost savings and sustainable economic development is what we need in order to recover from this current economic downturn.
Amy Halloran-Steiner
A clear choice
Barbara Boyer is the clear choice for Yamhill County commissioner. In these uncertain times, steady, experienced leadership in government is more important than ever, and Barbara stands head and shoulders above her opponents.
She and her husband own a thriving farm just south of McMinnville, but Barbara has worn more than just a farmer’s hat.
She began and managed the highly successful McMinnville Farmers Market until just a few years ago. She was appointed to the state Board of Agriculture in 2012, and is now serving as chair. She was elected to the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation Board 16 years ago and now serves that as well.
Barbara is a true community leader with a proven track record in state and local government. In contrast, her opponents have little to no experience and have shown no indication that they are equipped to lead the county.
Barbara Boyer is the clear choice.
Sid Friedman
Still backing Bernie
During this time of crisis, we are hearing that people are losing their jobs and many no longer have quality health insurance. Please everyone, now more than ever, it is important to note the importance of voting for candidates who will support a universal single-payer healthcare system for all Oregonians.
Oregon has a plan called Health Care for All Oregon. Nationally, Bernie Sanders has a plan called Medicare for All. Both plans would offer quality healthcare for everyone, covering much more than our current Medicare program.
Please go to each site to understand their benefits.
Health Care for All Oregon is making some significant progress, and you can sign up for updates. Medicare for All is at a standstill, but one way we can move it forward is to continue supporting Bernie Sanders.
Even though Joe Biden is the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, now that Bernie has suspended his campaign, the only way we can ensure Medicare for All becomes part of the national Democratic platform is to vote for Bernie in the Oregon primary.
Please don’t assume Bernie is out of the picture. Everything he has stood for to help the American people is still on the table.
Voting for Bernie supports his progressive agenda. We need these policies to help all who are hurting.
Vote for Bernie, along with other candidates who care about every Oregonian and every American.
Liz Marlia-Stein
Positive and enthusiastic
I am a senior who would like to share my experiences and impressions from dealing with county commissioner candidate Barbara Boyer over the years.
My experience with Barbara has been one of a positive, bubbly, enthusiastic and independent-minded advocate for local farmers (as co-founder of the McMinnville Farmers Market), a strategic thinker on environmental issues (Soil & Water Conservation Board) and a devoted and generous person willing to spend time on our local needs.
Although not a huge fan of Facebook, I recently ventured onto the web to learn more about her opponent from her opponent’s page. I discovered an opponent who was self-righteous, snobby and sarcastic in proclaiming her superiority to Barbara, whom she labeled a “supposed farmer.”
What a turnoff! There is no room for a dramatic or mean-spirited person on our local board.
Barbara works well with others. she has the experience, credentials, professionalism and calm confident manner that recommend her as the only real choice for the county board of commissioners.
Please join me in casting your vote May 19 for Barbara Boyer.
Annette Madrid



It’s pretty obvious why Ken Wright backs Barbara Boyer. Her opponent has said she does not back the proposed trail in Carlton and Mr Wright wants the trail. Ken Wright has donated large amounts of money for kids and other projects in Yamhill County and I think has been sincere in his efforts. I applaud him for that but I think he’s wrong on this one. I will vote for Lindsay Berschauer.


Endorsing Bernie Sanders is equivalent to throwing your vote in the landfill. Idealism aside, this is not the '60s; you don't follow your heart and back Don Quixote. It's far more intelligent to support a candidate with an actual chance of winning.

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable