Letters to the editor: Oct. 23, 2020

Effective contributor

Tynan Pierce has filed to run against Adam Garvin for a Ward 3 seat on the city council. Mr. Pierce cites frustration with how the city is operating and barriers to community participation as key issues triggering his decision.

I agree with some of his observations. I do question his commitment, however. He’s an admittedly default candidate because a woman or a person of color wouldn’t run to represent his group.

City councilor is not a position to be undertaken on a whim. It’s a tough, time-consuming job.

Multiple interest groups, including citizens, city staffers and even state officials, have conflicting opinions about how our city is growing and changing, compared to how it should be growing and changing. Adam has listened to this array of concerns, considered the facts and then voted as he believes.

There are major issues facing McMinnville currently, including the UGB remand, an unprecedented build rate, transportation and utility limitations, and personal and economic strains intensified by COVID-19. This is not a period of “business as usual.”

Ward 3 residents need to seriously consider the time it would take to bring in a new player and have that person get up to speed to the point of being a contributing, effective council member.

Ward 3 already has an excellent councilperson in Adam Garvin, who knows how to be effective now. Residents will have a much stronger voice in the future of McMinnville if they retain Adam Garvin.

Patty O’Leary



The invisible man

Votes are precious. Choose wisely.

We elect legislators to debate blls with colleagues on all sides, then vote on the record, regardless of the chances of prevailing.

Sen. Brian Boquist did not do that. Since one specific bill he opposed was clearly going to pass, Boquist and 10 Republican colleagues chose instead to run to Idaho, depriving the Legislature of the quorum necessary to proceed with that vote — or vots on anything else.

Prior to the walkout, Boquist said publicly to the Senate president, “If you send the state police to get me, hell’s coming to visit you personally.” And Oregon made national news when Boquist advised the state police superintendent, in any bid to force him back, to “send bachelors and come heavily armed.”

That’s who’s representing my District 12. His actions certainly aren’t those of a man with the temperament required.

It was the Republicans’ second walkout. After the first, the governor dropped certain GOP opposed legislation in exchange for their return and commitment not to walk out again. Obviously, their word, including Boquist’s and the oaths taken to legislatively represent constituents, doesn’t mean much.

Boquist’s page at www.oregonlegislature.gov links a Facebook page that doesn’t exist and a Twitter account where the most recent comment was made in 2015. As of this writing there’s no Boquist re-election web page, nor have I found interviews or appearances, Zoom or otherwise. Apparently there are none, so where can constituents hear him discuss and voting decisions?

Why is he not accessible? Perhaps he knows he doesn’t deserve reelection.

His actions say it all. Fortunately, he’s not unopposed. Bernadette Hansen is a highly qualified and accessible person with integrity. She will not flee, but work with colleagues on both sides to represent all of District 12 honorably.

It’s time for a change. Vote Bernadette Hansen.

Susan Karp



Intolerance not a virtue

I attended a meeting in our community where a few people had the opportunity to speak their opinions regarding the city’s no camping ordinance. One brave man spoke about the harassment he and his family had been suffering while just trying to live.

As he walked away from the microphone, a red-haired woman sitting directly behind me yelled out, “Buy a house!” Immediately recognizing the violent tone of the voice and emotional, knee-jerk reaction of the words, I turned in my seat and said to her, “That was a hateful thing to say.”

When she then tried to defend herself with something like, “Well, I’m just tired of this **it.”, I pressed on, saying, “That’s no reason to say something so hateful.”

Thanks to the article about her candidacy in today’s News-Register,  I now know that this same woman, Heidi Parker, is now running for mayor of McMinnville.

I also learned that her candidacy is being backed by people who seem to share her vision of the world. I would describe that vision as, “We welcome all to be part of McMinnville as long as you look, act, talk and think like we do.”

The fact she didn’t want to participate in this article, and that dissenting opinions posted to her Facebook page are deleted, proved to me that, even though she touts transparency and openness in her campaign, she will never welcome or value differing viewpoints.

I think we all have to ask ourselves: Is intolerance the main quality we want to see in our mayor?

Rev. Rebecca Swee



Changing presentation

It occurs to me that there has been a great metamorphosis in Kris Bledsoe, one of the candidates for county treasurer. It seems she has changed her left-leaning spots with each campaign.

2008 for county commissioner: Management consultant, investment broker, consumer-lending manager, bank auditor, vice-president of a bank subsequently sold to Washington Mutual.

2008 for county commissioner: Chaplain, communications director, management consultant, investment broker, bank vice-president; consumer-lending manager, bank auditor, 20 years in leadership and management positions.

2010 for county commissioner: Hospital chaplain, truth-in-lending consultant, retail lending manager, financial manager and leader

2018 for state representative: Bank auditor, investment manager, commercial lending officer, hospital chaplain

2020 for county treasurer: Shearson investment adviser, Chase private banker, bank portfolio manager, bank legal compliance officer, bank auditor, American Bankers Association economics instructor

This is the same person with the same background each time she ran. Nothing in her occupational background has changed.

But somehow her presentation changes. She seems to change each time to try and convince us of her qualifications.

Is this the quality of ethics we want in a Yamhill County treasurer?

Sarah Sommerville



Exemplary commitment

I support Kellie Menke in her McMinnville City Council re-election bid. Having known Kellie for many years, I have observed her commitment to the city of McMinnville and the various aspects that make McMinnville a great place to live.

As pointed out by a number of community leaders in previous letters, she has made major contributions to many city projects during faithful service on the city council. We need her experience and financial skills.

I appreciate that Kellie doesn’t have a hidden agenda. Her reason for serving is providing leadership to maintain the quality of life that we enjoy in our community.

Please join me in support of Kellie. Help reelect Kellie Menke to the McMinnville City Council.

Galen McBee



Magic mushrooms

Perhaps Timothy Leary isn’t dead after all. He’s living here in Oregon, working hard to corrupt us with the legalization of weed and now magic mushrooms.

Next on the docket will be a push to legalize LSD, but for medical use only. The state must be flush with cash to even consider legalizing this, not to mention paying for the two-year development period up front.

Throw in expansion of the bureaucracy to manage and police this new effort and it just makes me shake my head. According to the fine print, “Revenue estimate from fees and taxes when fully implemented is indeterminate,” and, “The financial effect on local government ... is indeterminate.”

What we do know is that if funding from taxes exceeds costs, a majority share will probably have to go to drug education and treatment centers. Therefore, it only makes sense to legalize a product and hope it generates enough income to treat those who will become addicted.

Anyone who took the time to read through the measure, and the arguments for and against, would think Oregon is a really unhealthy place to live, especially if you believe one out of five Oregon residents suffer from some type of mental health issue.

Oregon Psychiatric Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association oppose this measure. And if anyone is qualified to make a judgment call on this, it would be psychiatrists.

I urge all to oppose this measure, which will only exacerbate the drug problem in Oregon. The only “magic” about psilocybin mushrooms is making money disappear.

Steve Sommerfeld


Only motive to serve

I’m enthusiastically supporting Kris Bledsoe for Yamhill County treasurer. Not only does she have the education and financial experience necessary for that position, she has a long history of leadership and service in our county.

Currently, she is a member of the Yamhill County Investment Advisory Committee. Her political opponent, Paulette Alexandria, has been a member of that same committee in the past, and both have worked under our current county treasurer, Michael Green.

Guess which one Green strongly endorses? Kris Bledsoe.

I’ll quote Mr. Green: “By far, Kris Bledsoe is best suited and trained to fill the role as Yamhill County’s treasurer. She understands the policies and the philosophy of public funds investing and will ensure that the policies currently in place will continue to benefit the county.”

This is exactly what we voters wanted to know. Thank you, Mr. Green. In addition to her proven expertise, Kris has a good heart, and will keep us, the taxpayers and diverse array of citizens, in mind as she manages our county investments.

We can trust her to make wise, long-term decisions without having to consider any alliances with members of a certain rather far right political persuasion who have so obviously planned to exert undue influence on our local government.

Have you seen the really expensive signs installed together all over the county? Some big money is bankrolling these candidates, who hope to dominate our local politics.

This is a political phenomenon seen this year in many local races in Oregon and other states. Be wary, dear voters, and support people whose only motive is to serve.

Madeline Bishop



Selfless leadership

I am writing in support of the re-election of Scott Hill for mayor of McMinnville. In my 14 years working within the city of McMinnville, 10 years as a planning commissioner and four as a city councilor, I have been impressed with Scott’s selfless leadership.

In the Good to Great books, they define leaders who exhibit traits that create excellence as “level 5 leaders.” Scott is a role model of just such exemplary leadership. Scott is a balance of personal humility and professional will. His ambition is, first and foremost, always for what is best for the city. I have seen him work with calm determination in the most difficult of circumstances. Scott is a clock builder versus a time teller.

Greatness is a methodical journey spent taking consistent action to build the foundations. Scott is focused on building the organization and people so the foundation will be strong for McMinnville into the future, emphasizing a standard of excellence in a consistent, methodical way. Scott works behind the scenes rather than on stage. He gives the glory to others over himself. He looks in a mirror when there is work to be done and out a window when there is praise to be given.

He works tirelessly for the city. He supports those around him to be successful, grow, learn and take leadership seats in government.

His support and encouragement are the reason I joined the City Council. He admits what he doesn’t know and seeks to surround himself with great people He is a rare and exceptional leader in these critical and turbulent times. Please join me in voting for Scott Hill for mayor.

Wendy Stassens



A great neighbor

We wanted to put in a good word for Paulette Alexandria, who is running for Yamhill County treasurer.

This is the first time we have lived next to someone running for local office. She has been our neighbor for eight years.

Our neighbor has an extensive professional background in investment, finance, management and teaching. She has also served on our Investment Advisory Committee. And she has recently taken professional courses with the National Treasurers Association to make sure she is prepared.

But most importantly, she has been a great neighbor for all these years.

She is always helpful to all of her neighbors. She is cooperative, kind and thoughtful.

When another neighbor cut through our waterline in November, in the middle of a storm, Paulette and her husband, Greg, were there to help us get it fixed. Standing in a ditch full of mud, they kept on working until the problem was fixed.

Paulette always offers a “howdy, neighbor” when we see her. We have enjoyed living next to her.

We think she would make a great treasurer. Just thought you should all know.

Al and Lauretta Straessle



Eminent qualifications

There’s no doubt Kris Bledsoe is the most qualified candidate for Yamhill County treasurer.

Kris is certified as a government investment professional through the Government Investment Officers Association, which employs a rigorous 22-course certification process.

She holds an honors degree in economics from the nationally esteemed economics department at the University of Washington. She has studied the fundamentals of sustainable investment through the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, and U.S. public policy through Harvard University Online.

Kris has received professional training in financial investment and management through a bond investment company and Oregon bank. As a bank executive, she served on an executive team responsible for managing a $100 million portfolio, setting rates for deposits and loans, and managing quality and risk.

She has experience as an investment broker with Smith Barney, a bank auditor with Wells Fargo and a private banking officer with Chase Private Banking. She has written loan policies, served as the loan compliance officer and headed up marketing operations.

Kris is an unaffiliated voter. Because Oregon has a closed primary system, she sometimes changes her party affiliation so she can vote for her preference in Oregon primaries.

Voting for the county treasurer is very much like hiring a financial planner. The treasurer takes care of and invests your money for you.

It takes a special kind of person to do this well. That person needs to have a firm grasp of finance and an excellent understanding of financial markets.

Kris fits that bill. When it comes to finance, she’s done it all.

In addition to her eminent qualifications, she is a woman of integrity. She would do an excellent job of caring for and growing Yamhill County funds.

You can’t go wrong with a vote for Kris Bledsoe.

Steven Rupp



Steady at the helm

Integrity, community trust and proven, meaningful experience are qualities that have shaped the steady and thoughtful leadership consistently demonstrated by Mayor Scott Hill and City Councilor Kellie Menke during their tenures serving the McMinnville community.

Their broad knowledge and understanding of our community, their sincere commitment to community engagement, and their positive teamwork with other elected officials, the city staff and citizens of McMinnville, will continue to inspire the best outcomes in meeting our community challenges today and into the future.

Mayor Scott Hill and Councilor Kellie Menke have earned our confidence and our trust. We encourage your support for their re-election.

Jay and Becky Pearson



Best choices for us

Bernadette Hansen is challenging incumbent Brian Boquist in Senate District 12.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, has filed a lawsuit challenging Oregon’s drug price transparency program. And in May of this year, it donated $5,000 to Boquist, knowing he would support its position.

Bernadette would be on our side, not Big Pharma’s. She’s committed to seeing us all get affordable access to healthcare and prescription medications.

Sean Scorvo is challenging Mike Nearman in House District 23, covering the southern half of Boquist’s Senate Distyrict.

Nearman apparently feels he’s entitled to serve in the Legislature, so doesn’t need to do interviews with the press, engage constituents  at town hall meetings or participate in debates with opponents. The Statesman Journal recently reported that Nearman had refused multiple requests for an interview, and declared, when a reporter finally reached him by phone, that he didn’t have time to talk and hung up.

He’s confident he can slide under the radar, hoping no one checks his record.

Boquist is taking a similar tack. He is almost equally inaccessible.

In August 2019, the anti-union Freedom Foundation announced the hiring of Nearman as state director at an undisclosed salary. He’s now listed as a senior fellow, a title shared only with the founder.

Nearman also has strong ties to Oregonians For Immigration Reform, which the  Southern Poverty Law Center describes this way: “Founded in 2000, the McMinnville-based Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) is the most prominent anti-immigrant group in the state … ” He’s been listed as vice-president and/or senior director.

We have clear choices: More of the same or, instead, legislators  who will make decisions solely to benefit their constituents rather than themselves. Vote for Bernadette Hansen and Sean Scorvo, the best choices in our region.

EJ Farrar



Meeting the test

Our city council is non-partisan.

We as a community thus owe it to ourselves to vote without partisanship in mind. We need a body that can see past partisanship and work toward our collective good.

A strong council doesn’t lean right or left. It leans in to the needs and challenges of its citizens.

In my 10 years of public service, our council has operated as a governing body unconcerned with individual affiliations. Our shared goal has been the betterment of McMinnville, always striving toward its brighter future.

As a council, we manage an extremely large budget, make difficult land use decisions, actively respond to local challenges, and work with partners at the city, county and state level. And we do so with civility and respect.

McMinnville needs elected officials who create cohesion in the community and are capable of achieving mutually agreed goals. We will best succeed for you with councilors who are prepared for complex, difficult and usually thankless work.

I urge you to vote for those who have demonstrated they are worthy of the honor you bestow upon us and are best  qualified to meet the demands of our growing city. I urge you to re-elect Mayor Scott Hill, Council President Kellie Menke and Councilor Adam Garvin.

Remy Drabkin



Choice is obvious

During this election, we will be electing the next Yamhill County treasurer, to replace the retiring Mike Green. According to a recent newspaper article, he is recommending Kris Bledsoe, who has served under him on the Yamhill County Investment Committee, to succeed him.

Kris Bledsoe would make an excellent county treasurer. She has the education, qualifications and training, plus the knowledge of that position gained while serving on the investment committee. She knows what it involves and how to fulfill her responsibility.

I have known and worked with Kris for approximately a dozen years, while serving with her on the Protect Grand Island Farms committee. During that time, I found her to be a tireless and dedicated worker who would not leave a stone unturned to find an answer or solution. She is personable and works easily with others in finding desired outcomes.

But there is more to Kris than her qualifications. She cares about the county, its people and its resources. She has the desire to be a part of making it better for all of us.

With this motivation, and her qualifications, it is obvious she should be our next Yamhill County treasurer. Please join me and many others in voting for Kris Bledsoe.

Sam Sweeney



Vote do-nothings out

Our mid-valley districts have no representation. The do-nothings in Senate District 12 and House District 23 are not representing us.

They walked out on us over the course of two legislative sessions, but still got paid. They walked away from legislation that would have helped our district and Oregon.

They believed getting headlines was better for their careers. That is not democracy, that is anarchy.

They talk law and order, yet our own District 12 senator is the one who threatened law enforcement officers with death, and our District 23 representative is a hate-group member who thinks it’s still 2010. They make loud noise while they pretend to play government.

Fortunately, there are real challengers to the pretenders.

Bernadette Hansen, running in Senate District 12, is a water policy and land use expert committed to providing a true voice to all constituents. She will be a senator who shows up and works hard to create real opportunity for all residents.

Sean Scorvo, running in House District 23, is a retired emergency room doctor and current businessman who understands the COVID crisis in a way his opponent never will. Unlike his opponent, he has not taken any corporate cash and believes so strongly in campaign finance reform that he has returned money to contributors.

It’s time to vanquish the do-nothings.

Vote for Sean Scorvo and Bernadette Hansen. They won’t walk out on us.

Daniel Jaffer




I am endorsing Kris Bledsoe’s candicacy for Yamhill County treasurer. I believe she is well-qualified for this position.

She has long demonstrated her commitment to our community through her many volunteer activities. She is independent of party encumbrances, which is fitting for a position that solely involves managing our county’s investment portfolio.

She is detail-minded and has a conservative investment philosophy. She has run a very positive and issue-oriented campaign in a time when others have taken a much lower road.

Kris seeks to serve our county by using her skills, education and her love for our community. Join me and vote for Kris Bledsoe for Yamhill County treasurer.

Sheriff Lee Vasquez, retired



Perfect mayor for Mac

We are voting for Mayor Scott Hill and encourage you to do the same.

We decided four years ago to move our family from Tigard to McMinnville to be closer to our jobs at Visit McMinnville (Kitri) and Linfield University (Travis). We also were looking for a community rather than an extension of a large city, and we found that in McMinnville.

Not long after we made the move, Mayor Hill took the time to learn what was important to us and encouraged us to get involved.

At every community event we’ve attended, Mayor Hill has been there, greeting and listening to everyone. He makes sure all feel welcome and included.

Mayor Hill has served on the volunteer board of directors for Visit McMinnville while he was a city councilor and has attended meetings consistently for the last four years as mayor. His insight was crucial in the foundation of the organization, and his continued dedication to building the visitor economy in McMinnville has helped to grow visitor spending by 80% over the last five years.

Both of us have been fortunate to work with Mayor Hill. We’ve witnessed first-hand how he leads with kindness and appreciation for others.

His experience speaks for itself, but his attention to all of the citizens of McMinnville is why he’s a perfect mayor for our city. Our votes are for Mayor Scott Hill.

 Kitri and Travis McGuire



Help for trauma victims

Let’s take a break from political letters and talk about vulnerable citizens — aka “the walking dead” — whom we rarely acknowledge. McMinnville has its share of these traumatized citizens, including firefighters, police officers and military veterans.

I retired in May after a 40-year run providing psychotherapy services in three states, including Oregon. During the last 15 years of my career, I provided counseling services to adult clients suffering from PTSD triggered by horrific personal experiences.

So often, run-of-the-mill therapy is thrown at men and women who have seen the worst humanity can dish out. I find that doesn’t clean up the issues or extinguish the long-term effects stemming from trauma. I’m not writing to criticize, just to state my concern.

Psychologists from the Department of Defense trained me in two protocols, PE (prolonged exposure) and CPT (cognitive processing therapy), and both work well. Trauma therapy is hard work for clients, but the results are well worth the psychic pain.

Here’s what led me to write:

On Oct. 20, Wired Magazine published an article written by a vet who used gaming, along with PE or CPT, to get his life to a new normal — that is, without thinking of suicide every hour of every day.

In the article, he writes about other vets, many with missing body parts. One vet he cites suffered three missing limbs and a head injury in an IED explosion.

All said the same thing — that gaming was their ticket back from the brink of depression and PTSD. You can find the article at www.wired.com.

This does not work for those suffering from CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, caused by blows to the head. You can find a 60 Minutes segment on CTE at www.cbsnews.com/video/brian-mancini-brain-how-ieds-may-be-physically-causing-ptsd.

Maybe by publishing the links, someone may be helped. That’s my hope.

Sheila Hunter



Hail the octopus

Netflix’s explosive new documentary, My Octopus Teacher, chronicles the complex relationship between a man and the world’s most bizarre animal — the octopus. It further testifies to our highly conflicted relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.

Most of us treasure our “pets” — dogs, cats, horses. In fact, our allegiance to them transcends that to our own species.

If our dog and a Congolese child were competing for scarce funds for lifesaving surgery, we know who would live. Yet we torment, kill and consume other animals that are similar in appearance, intelligence and ability to suffer. And we bristle at East Asians who do the same to animals we consider pets.

We pride ourselves on being intelligent, rational beings. We have gone to the moon, unraveled and modified genetic codes and developed cures for deadly diseases. But most of us have still not figured out our relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.

Well, some of us have.

Vegans profess compassion and respect for all sentient beings, and veganism requires no special courses or certifications. Every one of us can become vegan on our next trip to the supermarket.

Melvin Nysser




Rev. Rebecca Swee: I was at that meeting and heard and saw it for myself, thinking how very inappropriate was this comment by Heidi Parker. In fact I was outraged over it and thanks to a friend that attended the meeting with me, I was able to ID Ms. Parker over on the wings hiding among a cluster of other hatefully-minded anti-homeless activists. It was during the heat of debate over the homeless issue and by at least a 2:1 margin were the supporters of ousting the homeless from their camps in attendance.

With no real viable alternative offered, many of these homeless have just drifted about with no real sense of direction or purpose, but that does not excuse Parker's hateful attitude then and now, nor that of her husband Aaron, who shortly after Ms. Parker made her outlandish comment, that he left YCAP where he had been their VA Coordinator. I do not know if his departure came about directly in relation to his wife's untimely and unwarranted comments or if he left voluntarily or was released. It does not matter. What matters is that Mac cannot afford someone like Heidi Parker or her husband if we are going to move forward.


Don Dix

When complaints arise about the actions (or inaction) of elected officials, do those complaints include every instance, or just those across the isle?

Case in point -- Some complain about the Oregon Rs who walked out of the legislature to avoid a slam dunk vote on an issue they opposed. Would those same discontents also call out the Senate Ds for boycotting an important judicial committee vote that was also considered a done deal? Just wondering!


Mr. Dix: It's aisle - not isle.


We have lived in McMinnville for 37 years. Population at that time was 15K. It has more than doubled in size now. During all the political campaigns I have never, ever seen so much money flooded into certain campaigns to date as I see now. Why? What does Timber Unity want for the money spent on these candidates? Lindsey Bershauer, Brittney Ruiz and Heidi Parker are, to my knowledge, successors of TU supporters. Again, Why? This precedent isn't a magnanimous gesture because in politics it never is. I received a huge flyer today from Heidi Parker. Received one from Brittney Ruiz recently. Have seen billboard sized posters around everywhere, which to my knowledge is illegal, but also VERY costly. A small regular sign like other candidates wasn't good enough? Wasn't visible enough? It makes me feel like I'm being bought and paid for. My vote isn't for sale. Character, morality and working within the system does. My vote goes to Kris Bledsoe, Kelley Menke, Scott Hill and Lynette Shaw. If I could I would vote for Lisa McCracken but she's not in my ward.

Amity fan

sandbeg2, at the root of all of this is Mary Starrett (and of course her brother Kevin) and Lindsey Berschauer who obviously want to have complete control of the county (including the lowly treasurer's position) and the city. Come January, there will be a Board of one - Starrett. Its all about control and power. They will say anything to anyone or do anything if they perceive there's a vote to be bought. Control, control, control. If Berschauer ever challenges Starrett on any small thing, she will realize that she's been used. People better wake up and realize what's going on and fast. All these folks are newbies to the area who don't realize they are being used for a very tight little group to gain control.

Don Dix

montag -- thanx -- typing with a missing digit is an occasional challenge.

I can remember when the city and county candidates didn't bother much with raising money to win -- campaigns were about respective, individual qualifications -- sad, but it's been a while since those qualities mattered. Now, many want to purchase a seat at the table of decisions, and it appears it will only get worse.

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable