Letters to the editor: May 29, 2020

Not a political statement

Not all people are far right or left politically. Most of us are in the middle.

To some, wearing a mask is a political statement. To me, it’s just loving my neighbor.

Michael Passo



Trim occupancy ratings

If a restaurant or bar is allowed to be open seven days a week for non-essential gatherings, then the same people who assemble in a restaurant, bar or grocery store should be allowed to assemble for religious gatherings based on the same conditions.

Those include frequent sanitizing of touched surfaces, good personal hygiene and frequent handwashing, with social distancing required and use of masks recommended.

Perhaps the most equitable solution would be for the health and the building code departments to temporarily reduce the occupancy ratings of all structures, based on use. They could be limited to 6 by 6, or 36 square feet per person, or held to some other appropriate and consistent standard.

If a building space used for assembly is presently rated at seven square feet per person, then a 30 x 100 foot space would have its occupancy limit reduced from 428 people to 83.

I believe that there are 10 building use categories in Oregon building codes. That would provide for 10 different temporary  pandemic occupancy ratings.

See https://up.codes/viewer/oregon/ibc-2018/chapter/3/occupancy-classification-and-use#3 and https://idighardware.com/2014/07/decoded-calculating-the-occupant-load.

Darrell Driver



In search of integrity

I was compelled to write my first letter to the News-Register editor after reviewing the many articles and posts on the county commissioner election. One particular post was from an individual who asked Lindsay Berschauer about the mailer distributed by Capitol Watch PAC, outlining Barbara Boyer’s arrest record, with a recommendation to “Vote No on Barbara Boyer.”

Apparently, Berschauer responded, “Was my name on the mailer? I think you might be confusing my campaign with another one. Thanks!”

No, we didn’t see her name on the mailer. However, we did see a $10,000 in-kind contribution from Capitol Watch PAC listed on her campaign finance filing. We also saw an utter lack of distancing from the inflammatory piece on her part.

Berschauer’s Facebook page was filled with similar threads. Someone would post about the mailer and similar campaign strategies from her past. She would just circle back to the Boyer arrest record and complain about a double standard for conservative candidates.

Berschauer’s failure to respond with common courtesy makes me question her ability to sit at a table with people of opposing opinions and entertain any kind of discourse toward a consensus. I am concerned that collaboration and compromise are not in her vocabulary.

Any seasoned voter knows we don’t vote NO on a candidate. We vote YES on some other candidate.

A conservative candidate opposed to the continued development of the Yamhelas Trail could have been found. Instead, a political consultant was tapped for the race.

Some remarks were aimed at Boyer’s farm being inherited, like somehow her 30-year presence in the county, let alone her experience, meant nothing. Yet a candidate remarkably new to Oregon and Yamhill County has somehow become a savior for family farms?

The campaign funding speaks volumes. Boyer’s base consisted largely of individuals (77.3%). Berschauer’s leaned more on PACs (30%) and businesses (38%) than individuals (32%).

The most striking comparison, however, is that 97% of Boyer’s funds came from within Yamhill County, compared to 63.5% of Berschauer’s.

The election is over. With 52% of the vote, Berschauer will be seated in January.

If we couldn’t see fit to vote in someone with proven integrity and experience, I hope Lindsay Berschauer proves me wrong and commits to such values on behalf of Yamhill County. We deserve it.

Patty Williams



The gift of caring

Sometimes you just need to share an uplifting story with a surprise ending.

For months, my friend Ina has been making dinners for the families of three siblings taking care of their dying mother. As their mother endured multiple surgeries for tumors, Ina has provided hearty casseroles, desserts and fresh baked bread week after week.

When Ina and I talked last week, I asked how she was still baking so much bread, as yeast was scarce. She said:

"I don't know who found out about what I was doing for this family, but someone placed a large brick of yeast on my porch. I am so grateful for the good folks around here. I really don't know who she was, but what a blessing!"

Anne Engen



What pandemic?

May 18, 2020 saw one of the greatest court rulings in American history. Baker County Circuit Judge Matt Shirtcliff declared “null and void” all of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's executive orders related to the state of emergency declared on March 8.

Unfortunately, later the same day, this injunctive relief was stayed by the Oregon Supreme Court.

According to Gov. Brown, “There are no shortcuts for us to return to life as it was before this pandemic. Moving too quickly could return Oregon to the early days of this crisis, when we braced ourselves for hospitals to be overfilled ... ”

But has there been an increase in the death rate commensurate with a pandemic? No.

Has there even been any material increase in the death rate? No.

Using federal Centers for Disease Control data, here are the national death tolls from all causes for the first 18 weeks of the current year and two immediately preceding years:

2018: 1,053,535    2019: 1,027,360    2020: 1,085,534

Here are the figures for Oregon:

2018: 13,244         2019: 13,374         2020: 13,166

These results are contrary to Gov. Brown's underlying premise of a pandemic. In fact, Oregon's 2020 death rate is the lowest of the three.

The death rate from car accidents was probably reduced, but deaths from undertreated medical conditions surely increased. New York City reportedly lost thousands of people in crowded hospitals and care homes, but most hospitals elsewhere around the country were pretty empty, and many doctors and nurses were laid off.

The only logical conclusion? There is no pandemic.

Therefore, I call on our local officials, especially the Yamhill County sheriff, not to enforce any of Gov. Brown's executive orders related to the state of emergency.

Dan Katz





Dan, KB does little that exhibits common sense. She is Space Cadet Jerry Brown's little sister so what do you expect?


When Lindsay refers to confusing her campaign with another, nearly every Republican candidate and conservative PAC in Oregon, uses Carol Russell of Bandon as their treasurer. Check the Secretary of State’s office if you don’t believe me. You can bury and hide contact so easily when you have one person involved with all the PACs and candidates. Lindsay would only have to mention it to her treasurer if she wanted help. Mary uses the same treasurer. Ms Russell and her husband filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and they were caught in a scheme to hide their assets in a shell company and were facing federal fraud charges for lying in the bankruptcy filing. Seems like she is well qualified to help cover any ‘less than above board’ dealings in political finacing.


Financing. Correction before the spelling cops come for me


There is a Republican PAC called Yamhill First. Their purpose is to get conservative candidates elected, not a bad objective. They donated to both Lindsay, $5,000 and to Paulette Alexandria, $1500. Both candidates when they filed the donations with ORESTAR listed Yamhill First as a business entity instead of a PAC. This makes a difference, a big difference. Carol Russell is the Treasurer for both candidates. Both Ron Noble and Mary Starrett are donors to the PAC. Also Mary Starrett donated to Paulette through an LLC rather than a personal donation. It is called Along Comes Mary.



A study out of California showed that, in regard to governors actions regarding the virus, science was the least impactful variable of the four studied (Political affiliation, Social learning, Mini-cascades, & Disease Science).

According to the authors, "Counterintuitively, the percentage of the state's population infected with COVID-19, had the weakest effect on the governors' decisions of all the four variables." You can see the chart with an r^2-value (a statistical measure of correlation) of .89 in the link below. The possible range is 0 to 1 with the latter the highest possible correlation.


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