By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Rumbling trucks and council campaigns

Newspapers consistently provide invitations to learn about and become involved in public affairs. This week, two of those invitations deserve extra attention.

One involves regulatory overreach in the admittedly problematic area of campaign finance — a city of McMinnville ordinance that ignores these sage words of old: “Do not use a cannon to kill a mosquito.”

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

The other is a regional transportation initiative that warrants close scrutiny and a high level of concern by McMinnville-area citizens — an investigation into channeling Highway 47 heavy truck traffic the length of Westside Road into the intersection of Baker Street and Baker Creek Road.

First, the idea of a truck bypass converging at what promises to be McMinnville’s busiest future residential intersection. To repeat, this route would rumble the entire 10.3-mile length of Westside Road from the city of Yamhill to Baker Creek Road, then feed laboriously onto already over-burdened 99W intersections.

Several adjectives spring to mind, but you can develop your own. Let’s acknowledge and commiserate with residents of Yamhill and Carlton who live today with that traffic problem; but let’s not create an even worse situation for McMinnville as “the solution.”

You can drop into ODOT’s Sept. 29 meeting, 2-4 p.m., to explore feasibility “with jurisdictions and stakeholders most impacted.” There will be audio/video access and the ability to ask questions. For phone access, call 408-418-9388 with event number 146 830 9932; for more information, go to oregon.odot.gov and search for project R2-Plan-02.

Moving to city politics, you should start by reading today’s article about new regulations for reporting contributions to McMinnville City Council candidates. In a weak moment I volunteered to write that story to help our over-stretched news department, and it took too many hours of frustrating time.

The law, first adopted in April and modified in August, is heavy-handed, overly complex, flawed, and enacted without benefit of needed legal interpretations.

Candidates, perhaps already running afoul of the law with various campaign messages, are protesting. The stage is set for an avalanche of complaints about alleged violations, which at least would produce city clarity on enforcement. The newspaper itself has requested reconsideration of unfair and unnecessary elements of the law.

My opinion: The city should cancel Ordinance 5096 for a 2020 election that already suffers from an excess of controversy, then either abandon or rewrite the law for future elections.

And there, folks, are your invitations of the week to connect more fully with important local public affairs!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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