Letters to the editor: Aug. 28, 2020

Keep the trees

I am eight. I have lived in McMinnville my whole life. I was upset and angry when I saw the trees on Baker Creek torn down.

Those trees have their own lives. Please find ways to keep our special trees.

Griffin Dieburg



Missing out

I don’t understand. I stood in line for hours to file a $500 relief claim, coming in at 4 in the morning, only to have them tell me I don’t qualify because I’m not licensed for day care.

I tried to explain, for one, I was just starting out when this COVID hit. I only had three children.

I was going to have two more, but then my clients were laid off due to virus, so I lost my income. I didn’t even get the chance to apply for a license through the state.

I put babysitting down instead of self-employed and I didn’t qualify. I know at least 20 people who are self-employed, and they were all approved. If I had known I was going to be singled out, I would have come prepared with more paperwork.

Everyone I talked to was approved. I don’t understand how that is fair. If I had to have more proof in some form, why didn’t probably more than 50% of the other people didn’t.

I hope my letter is heard and shared, because I’m sure there were people who had similar situations.

Rita Ramirez



Wise words

I have to agree with Dennis Carmody that this nation is not a racist nation.In his recent letter he asked, “Would a racist nation fight a war, losing thousands of federal soldiers to free the oppressed? America did.”

Both my grandfather and his brother were in that war. I remember well how my great uncle responded when I asked him why he got into the Civil War. His reply was, “You remember, slavery isn’t right.”

That answer came from him with the force that brooked no reply from a young kid. Yes, I am of the age such that I did get the chance to talk to him.

The old veteran spent more than three years as a private. He was captured, but was subsequently rescued from imprisonment in Atlanta by General Sherman’s army and accompanied Sherman on his ensuing march to the sea.

While that is the history of just one person, there were a ton of others who fought in that bloody war. And far too many did not survive to see things set right in this country.

To me, that war was a major turning event that marked the beginning of a new America. Now, we have to look forward to continual improvement, without letting past problems dictate the future. Otherwise, we will just live in a quagmire of despair.

Much needs to be done, but only with the cooperative attitude of each of us can that ever be accomplished. In the meantime, let me share the hopes of an old Civil War veteran who made an indelible impression on his young relative.

John W Englebrecht   



Putin is smiling

So now our “Wartime President,” having surrendered to and collaborated with the enemy, has realized the only way he can get re-elected is to take a page from his well-worn copy of the Dictator’s Handbook and use the tools of government to steal the election.

I am grateful to live in a state that facilitates secure voting by mail, but I am concerned to watch our newly appointed postmaster general dismantle the Postal Service to further the transparent motives of our would-be king.

Even if he stops for now, the damage is done. Dropboxes have been gathered up, sorting machines have been taken out of service and folks are wondering whether or not their ballots will be counted.

Putin is smiling. He’s been running this game in Europe for decades, and now he’s homing in on the big prize.

With all of this overlaid on the worst COVID epidemic in the developed world, can there be any doubt as to the intent? This is no accident.

Who benefits when voters fear for their lives waiting in line to cast their ballots? Not the republic.

Bill Johnson



Out of step

Dear County Commissioners: It has been April since I wrote regarding Yamhill County’s response to COVID-19.

It appears many of my concerns have been addressed, particularly by our Democratic governor, Kate Brown. Consequently, Oregon remains one of the few states that has not experienced uncontrolled outbreaks of the virus. This morning, I read in The Oregonian that Commissioner Starrett is advocating the reopening of Christian schools.

While I fully understand the need for open schools, I also fully understand that when it has happened in other states, it has become a nightmare in a couple of days. We do not need that in Yamhill County.

Nationally, the response of our president and other Republicans — and I have always been registered as one — has the rest of the world looking at us and thinking, “Has the U.S. gone nuts?” I also look at Commissioner Starrett’s action regarding the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

She is against it because she “wants to protect farmland.” Yet she voted in favor of expanding Riverbend Landfill on prime farmland on a site surrounded on three sides by the Yamhill River flood plain.

The existing landfill has generated 35 millions gallons of leachate, which is being hauled off annually. But the volumes have been dropping while monitoring shows well levels rising.

The EPA has found several violations, including failures to report or inspect “areas of cracks or seeps in the cover,” or to maintain landfill cover integrity, “allowing water to equal or exceed 50% of well height at multiple wells.”

In conclusion, Commissioners Olson and Kulla, thank you.

Commissioner Starrett, please learn problem-solving. It is your responsibility to solve problems, not create them.

Leonard Rydell



A phase too far

Phase I of Carlton’s JR Meadows subdivision was approved in December and is currently in progress. But there is a growing concern regarding proposed development of 55 single-family and 22 multi-family residences in Phase II.

Phase II plans have triggered numerous expressions of concern to the mayor and the city council. And citizens are feeling rebuffed, unheard and blocked out, including this 27-year citizen.

The concerns seem well-based.

According to the executive summary presented to the council on July 7, Phase I figures to increase car traffic by 430 trips a day to a traffic flow that is already problematic. If Phase II is approved Sept. 1, it would add 682 other trips, or 1,112 in all.

Additional citizen concerns center on an incomplete upgrade of our water facility. Already, late summer water rationing is common, and Carlton’s waste and stormwater systems are also inadequate.

Carlton’s Comprehensive Plan says the city should permit new development “only when all urban services become available,” including water, sewer, storm drain and street. It goes on to say, “The city shall continue to involve citizens in all phases of the planning process.”

Concerned Carlton citizens are not against growth. They are simply calling for smart growth, and they have a right for their voices to be heard.

Robin Geck



Politics of division

A huge “thank you” to the editors for exposing the source of “dark money” in local politics in their editorial of Aug. 13. It is yet another example of the key role a free press plays in preserving our democracy.

After 40 years of living and working in McMinnville, where I maintained a medical practice until my retirement, I am truly saddened  to see the big money culture wars of Mary Starrett being brought to the city council.

I plan to pay attention to what businesses and organizations support these candidates and choose to do business elsewhere. I encourage other concerned citizens to consider how they might take a stand against these tactics themselves.

I have no intention of allowing profits from my spending dollars to be used to foster politics of division and greed in our city. Until now, that modus operandi had been limited to the White House and its sycophants.

Michael McCoy



Vote Hansen

Elections are rapidly approaching, and while national politics have taken center stage, we shouldn’t forget the importance of the job our state legislators do for us in Salem. Fortunately, we have a great candidate running in Senate District 12, Democrat Bernadette Hansen.

I’ve gotten to know Bernadette, and am impressed with her determination to advocate for rural Oregonians, not the big special interest groups from out of the district that fund so many of our local campaigns. You only have to look at where the contributions of opponent Brian Boquist come from to understand who he’s beholden to, and it’s not us.

Bernadette is committed to working across the aisle with other legislators to develop practical, bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face — to ensure we have affordable healthcare options, push for solutions to our affordable housing shortage, protect our environment, support our schools and demand accountability from our public servants.

She is committed to seeing it through to pass legislation that will better us all. She won’t hide out of state at the last minute if she doesn’t get her way on every vote.

It’s time we have someone in Salem who’s looking out for us. We deserve better representation.

You can find out more at https://www.bernadettehansen.com. Please join me in voting for Bernadette Hansen in Senate District 12.

E.J. Farrar




I don't know how this continual fascination of bashing Trump because 'Putin likes him' (are we still in Junior High?) has legs after the Russia Collusion allegations fell apart but geopolitically things are rapidly turning south with the Russians. INF treaty - gone. Open Skies Treaty - gone. START III in jeopardy. Tactical nukes are back. Putin recently announcing any missile heading toward Russia will be assumed nuclear. American Troops leaving Germany to forward locate to Poland (1st link) and more aggressive military exercises (2nd link). Do I need to mention what's happening in Belarus or Ukraine? I know Trump isn't popular with many, but there's a lot more at stake than mere political posturing.


Russian navy conducts major maneuvers near Alaska


Guess you missed the Senate Intel Committee report.....yet not a word from the top....not sure “Putin likes him”....but trump is clearly unwilling to call him out on his misdeeds. The question is why?


Saw it. Not much new. Let's be clear - the allegation was that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election. There wasn't much new in the Senate report- maybe a little innuendo and Roger Stone is a blowhard - surprise!

Probably the most damning thing I saw was Manafort telling Konstantin Kilimnik poll numbers. However, the fact that Kilimnik is a State Department asset (works for us) is notably left out of many news reports. No Trump campaign member was charged with colluding with Russia. The Mueller team found, “The evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”

For some reason, the most obvious potential collusion with Russian Intelligence (the Steele Dossier and the Clinton campaign) hasn't been investigated. I could also ask- 'The question is why?'

I really don't care who says what or who likes whom. Politicians say anything. He actually has criticized Putin though (e.g. after Syrian chemical attacks). Why not more? Given its Trump, its probably because the press wants him to so he's being stubborn. I follow action. The majority of Trump's policy actions are patently against Russian interests and tensions are steadily increasing. The risks of something going wrong are also rising. It may be time for us to remember what is at stake, a whole heck of a lot more than our personal feelings, below is a link to a Princeton nuclear war simulation from last year.

Nuclear War Between U.S. and Russia (2019 Simulation)

Sally G

Thank you, Dr. Mike!


Rob – I always read your posts – although not always the links you post to support your opinions – and here is how Russia’s campaign to inflame and disrupt appears to me:

There is a big game going on. There are outside influences creating and applying dirty illegal tactics to favor one team. The favored team recognizes that the dirty illegal tactics are EXTREMELY helpful so they embrace and exploit them to full advantage. There is no proof that the team initiated illegal assistance, only that they made proud maximum use of it. (notwithstanding a request from the podium for additional criminally obtained information.) Please feel free to point out any flaws in my evaluation.

I have come to accept that some of my fellow Americans found this lack of ethics perfectly acceptable – it appears that since their team “won,” (well, except for the actual popular vote, of course) the end justified the means. I have come to accept that cruel and corrupt actions are often valued, defended, and celebrated. I have come to recognize that the base has such blind faith in trump that they DO NOT CARE if he disregards essential security briefings, or that he sides with Putin over our own intelligence agencies, or that he pimps out the People’s House to advance malicious lies and an anti-American agenda using an illegal Covid-19 super-spreader event. Abhorrent.

When the media reports on corruption, it gets spun as “FAKE NEWS.” (Obviously the truth is unacceptable when it reveals that the emperor has no clothes?) We are WAY past differences of opinion – we now live in a dangerous alternate reality that threatens our lives, and the survival of our democratic republic. It is possible that November 3rd may herald the end to this shameful chapter of hateful divisive American history. I fear for the two months that follow the election, (there WILL be rage and desperate abuse of power) but there also may at last be light at the end of the tunnel.


p.s. I remain deeply grateful for the courageous, tenacious public service and patriotism coming from “The Lincoln Project.” Trumplicans beware, true honorable Republicans want their party back and they are willing to fight for it.


I think people give the rookie Trump political team in 2016 a lot more credit than they really deserve with all the Russia collusion stuff; chaos better describes the campaign except for the polling genius of Kelly Ann Conway who became the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign. Podesta was completely, and embarrassedly, outplayed. I don't think the campaign was ever organized enough to effectively collude with the Russian government even if they wanted, Kelly Ann told Trump where to go and he did - that's why they won.

What do we have evidence the Russian government did in 2016? 1. Bot ads before and after the election, 2. Anti-Trump rallies (at least 9) after Trump won, and possibly 3. The Steele dossier. Everything else is conjecture or not well supported (e.g. CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry testified no forensic evidence Russia hacked DNC emails).

Now consider, both the Russian and Chinese authoritarian states that are a majority one ethnic group believe the way to beat the pluralistic representative democracy like America is to divide the populous. Consider it a form of mental judo, turn a strength (diversity) into a weakness. Its no accident Putin's sport is Judo.

If we don't as Americans get our act together and make 'politics about policy' again I fear we are on the losing end for we have discarded a significant long-term advantage of our system. An authoritarian regime has the edge in the short run (decide and do fast) - our advantage is in the long run and we're frittering it away.


Treefarmer - thanks and I hope all is well.


Hi Rob – I do agree with much of what you observe, but please note that I did NOT suggest “collusion,” just deplorable unethical malignant opportunism. Also, re the evidence of Putin’s strategy, Mueller did hand down 26 indictments for Russian nationals, and a couple of Russian companies – I thought that his info was well supported in the charging documents. (What a shame that Putin’s henchmen will never see the inside of an American courtroom.) I can’t see trump ASKING Putin for help, that is not how he rolls. When trump wants something, he will bully or blackmail for it. We can be sure he was convinced Putin was directing state resources to favor him because trump’s ego identified the support could ONLY be the result of Putin’s total admiration for him. That cagey KGB thug knew a useful idiot when he saw one, hence his mobilization of resources to get his puppet into the White House. “It’s no accident Putin's sport is Judo.” TRUE THAT!! I see that Facebook is attempting to take down troll farms – we shall see if tech can succeed where Barr’s justice department just continues to protect the corrupted status quo.

You are quite right about Podesta, he was a weak link which was extremely helpful to grease the skids of the illegal tactics brought to bear on the 2016 election. I will continue to hope for a fair election in November. Perhaps the American voters will be able to flip Putin a big decisive bird in 2020. As you say, time to get our act together or we will get the authoritarian regime that continues to take root even as I type. A huge number of patriots have fought and died to keep that from happening.

No valid complaints from the farm – hope all is well in your world too.

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