Letters to the editor: Oct. 30, 2020

Decision time in Carlton

What should Carlton’s government look like? You can answer that by voting.

Three new council candidates offered their concerns and goals for Carlton in the voters’ pamphlet. Two current councilors did not submit ideas.

In the statements from Carlton’s two mayoral candidates, Councilor Linda Watkins listed specific goals, ideas and concerns. Incumbent Brian Rake wrote about nearly unanimous votes.

Rake’s statement is surprising, as I’m one of the councilors, and we were divided on some major projects during his tenure.

Remember, when someone says, “Council voted to ___” that only means the majority voted that way. It doesn’t imply unanimity.


n The Highway 47 Project was hotly debated, and the mayor cast the deciding vote after the rest of us split 3-3.

n The city budget was approved on a split vote. So were multiple applications for new subdivisions.

Also consider: 

n A truck route outside Carlton is being discussed by the mayors of Carlton, Yamhill and McMinnville, and representatives of Yamhill County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Each had small blocks of time to speak at a recent meeting, but Rake ceded his to our neighbors — twice. So no one spoke on our behalf.

This is not leadership.

n In the News-Register of Oct. 2, Rake mentions having written new rules for the council.

Ask yourself, what if I went to work, and only my department had new “rules.” How would you receive that message?

n Speaking of rules, Rake did not get the previous city manager’s performance review accomplished.

We were not unanimous on his performance nor his attitude. And it’s worth noting some candidates were involved in the hiring of that manager.

You voters are the most critical stakeholders in our city. If you want transparent leadership that involves citizens, values honest communications and welcomes new ideas, vote.

Kathleen Maher



No fringe ideologies

I first met Kellie Menke in the Sunrise Rotary Club many years ago. In fact, I have vivid memories of Kellie planting trees in the mud on her knees during a Rotary project to beautify the city.

She is someone who cares deeply about our community and is willing to put in the work necessary to get things done. I have watched Kellie make hard decisions as a city counselor — decisions that enhance the livability for all residents in McMinnville.

I am not the only one who has noticed her hard work and commitment. Others have detailed her volunteerism, her involvement in city government, and her long-established leadership and residency in McMinnville.

In Kellie Menke, we have a public servant who is non-partisan, who has established relationships in the community, and who is not influenced by fringe ideologies. She has well-thought-out priorities and a well-established, community-minded approach that would serve us all upon her re-election.

Her opponent makes vague statements about transparency, fewer taxes and fees, and increased services. I believe our local voters will spot the magical thinking.

We must re-elect Kellie Menke to the post of city counselor. We would all benefit.

Rob Higgins



Working for solutions

The last six years have been the hottest six on record. And we had the hottest September on record this year.

Human-caused climate change is very real. And in the coming years, it will have a profound effect on our lives.

Some say we did not act in time, that it is too late to reverse the effects of climate change. Regardless, we must do all we can now. Our current state representative, Ron Noble, had a chance to work on climate change. Instead of working toward a solution, though, he decided to run away and hide.

Faced with a problem this consequential, it’s better to do something that might work than do nothing. Doing nothing is not an option any longer. Ron Noble runs an ad with him pictured with his young grandchildren. Has he considered what life on earth will be like when they reach his age? Lynette Shaw knows climate change is the biggest challenge we face.

She would join with others in working on the many problems facing us. She would not run from problems, but would work creatively with others to come up with solutions. Vote for Lynette Shaw for a livable future.

Jake Rockwood



Integrity and honesty

If you are still puzzling over your ballot, here’s an easy choice: Vote Kris Bledsoe for Yamhill County treasurer.

Kris is an experienced money manager with an extensive background in investment and banking.

Her volunteer work on the County Investment Advisory Committee has earned her the endorsement of the current treasurer, Mike Green. It’s telling that her opponent also worked on the Investment Advisory Committee with Green, but did not receive his endorsement. Kris has an active interest in local government. I have known Kris since she moved to Yamhill County and have watched with admiration as she ran for office, volunteered for government committees and raised funds for community groups.

In 2017, on the spur of the moment, she organized the large and effective Women’s March in McMinnville.

Over and over, she has demonstrated integrity and leadership. She has proven she is someone we can trust. She is also honest, a trait one definitely wants in a treasurer.

Like many, I have followed the brouhaha about political signs this fall, and noted that her opponent is one of those whose large signs violate state and county rules. I understand all candidates have been made aware of legal sign requirements, yet Paulette Alexandria has left her oversize signs up. Our county treasurer, the person who invests our tax dollars, should display the utmost integrity and honesty, not flout the law. Join me in voting for Kris Bledsoe for county treasurer.

Susan Watkins



Above the fray

With all the rancor caused by McMinnville City Council challengers, I was pleased to see Mayor Scott Hill and City Council President Kellie Menke remain above the fray.

I was especially pleased to see Hill and Menke make a special effort to spend much of their budgets for campaign signs at businesses here in town. It just seemed tone deaf that local challengers would spend tens of thousands of dollars at sign businesses in Southern Oregon when they could have spent it right here in McMinnville at a time when CD restrictions have taken such a terrible toll on local merchants.

I feel like Hill and Menke have the interests of local people and local businesses at heart. If their challengers can’t even be bothered to support the businesses they want to represent, then how can we expect them to effectively represent this community on the council?

Please reelect the proven and local experience of Mayor Scott Hill and City Councilor Kellie Menke.

Lynda Phillippi



Others’ needs first

For 15 years, I have known Chris Chenoweth as a man who puts others’ needs before his own. I saw his involvement and love for reaching out to and helping others, especially within the Latino communities in town, myself being a recipient.

As a candidate for McMinnville City Council, he displays principle, honesty and character. In my opinion, he has the best interest of the community in mind and would bring a great perspective.

I believe Chris would be a great addition to the current councilors, and would add benefit to our community!

Martin Rogel Lopez



Passionate about community

I am supporting Scott Hill in his candidacy for mayor of McMinnville. I have worked with Scott over the past several years and know he will continue to serve as an advocate for our city.

Scott is dedicated, level-headed and works well with a wide variety of people. He takes the time to do his homework and fully understands the issues he is confronting.

One of the things I have always admired about Scott is the enormous energy he brings to city issues. He is truly passionate about our community.

For these reasons, I hope you will join me on election day in giving Scott your vote for mayor of McMinnville.

Carson Benner



Protect our vineyards

Marijuana should not be grown right next to winegrapes.

So Circuit Judge Cynthia Easterday thinks she knows more about growing grapes than the winemakers? I find that interesting.

Judge Easterday needs to stick to upholding the laws of this county and keep her nose out of winemaking.

Sandra Ponto



A matter of trust

Community leadership is built on trust, and time spent in volunteer positions builds trust. So does time spent working with leaders across different parts of our community. On that basis, Mayor Scott Hill and Counselor Kellie Menke have my trust, thus my vote.

They both have spent years volunteering hours of time to various community organizations and getting to know how our city works in the process. From those thousands of hours, they understand our local laws and ordinances, and how to work within those constraints to solve problems.

I have worked with both trying to solve issues with vacation rentals and sign ordinances. While working with them, I appreciated their willingness to keep an open mind in working toward a solution.

They protected our town from increasing toxic waste by resisting the push to expand our local landfill. They protected our resident tax dollars by pinpointing costs to those who abused our emergency services. They trust science, so are willing to follow scientifically recommended mandates while volunteering for the city or going about their lives on their own personal time.

They know trust is built by following local ordinances and laws to solve real estate issues, not to rely on favoritism. They aren’t afraid of opposing viewpoints and different opinions as openness to other ideas also builds trust.

They know that trust is built from depending on many local donations, not on tens of thousands of dollars from outside PAC groups for a small, local election. They known that trust is gained by recognizing there is limited outside money influencing decisions made in the best interest for our community.

We are weathering the strains of an economy battered by a pandemic. Our city needs those who know how our many departments work, how to reach out to leaders from other counties to solve cross-county issues such as homelessness, and how to work with our local leaders to rebuild our local business and industry.

I trust those who have put the time in to have the institutional knowledge to solve what issues we have and those we may encounter.

Vote for trust. Vote for Hill and Menke.

Sidonie Winfield



Serving the city well

I am very concerned about how some McMinnville citizens seem to have been sucked in by out-of-state infiltrators who have imposed their divisive rhetoric onto the current races for mayor and my own Ward 2 city councilor.

Mayor Scott Hill and Council President Kelle Menke have proven themselves to be committed professionals effectively and efficiently carrying out essential work on behalf of McMinnville. Their efforts have played a significant part in making it the special place we appreciate so much.

Remember, these people are unpaid citizen volunteers. They are long-time residents who know well and care immensely about the needs of our community.

One wonders what underlying agenda motivates the strident newcomers from California who have suddenly and noisily appeared on the scene.

Using heavy-handed tactics and spending lavishly on gaudy signs — signs made in McMinnville, by the way — they are seeking to grab attention. That should be rejected, as their call for change rings hollow.

They lack the perspective to know what constructive change might be or how it might work. Either that or they want to impose changes that would not be in the best interests of the vast majority of our citizenry. 

With this election almost upon us, let’s give credit and express appreciation to those who have served the city well, while seldom receiving the gratitude we owe them for a job well done. Please join me in expressing that gratitude by re-electing Mayor Scott Hill and City Councilor Kellie Menke.

Karl Klooster



Save the postal service

Our world as we know it must have a postal service in order to function.

It is as necessary as our senators and representatives. It connects us to the social and governmental organizations that make our lives tick.

Please save what has been working since our founding fathers started it. We all depend on it.

Join us in visiting htpps://saveusps.cc to demand the Senate fund the U.S. Postal Service.

Ruth Hand and Linda Noordman-Velebir



Judgment matters

It’s with increasing dismay that we’ve watched our city races turn into a microcosm of the larger divide in our country, fueled by ambition, nasty tactics and misinformation.

This is our first time voting for these positions. After 16 years on our Yamhill farm, we moved to Mac in 2018.

We want the same thing most people want — honesty, dedication and a commitment to serving all community members, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or economic status.

We want the most experienced and level-headed candidates, the ones who perhaps don’t spend much time talking on social media, but spend a lot of time doing the necessary work to run a city. That includes hours spent reading reports, attending meetings, listening to constituents and making difficult decisions.

Experience matters. We need steady, firm hands steering the ship, not interns hoping to get trained on the job.

Education matters. Would you want someone trained as a chef to perform surgery on you? No. When it comes to fiscal issues, we need people who attended real schools and have real training in financial and public policy issues.

Judgment matters. We need leaders who believe in science, not science fiction. We need leaders who wear masks to protect others, not to project an image on social media. And we need leaders who know that transparency means openly sharing your values and goals, not blocking attempts to understand them.

Character matters. We need leaders whose actions demonstrate they are kind, open-minded and honest — that they will work to protect the rights of those who may not have a voice, as well as those of us who do.

We need to re-elect people who have demonstrated through selfless service that they have the skills and attributes of leaders: Scott Hill for mayor and Kellie Menke for city council Ward 2.

Val and Rich Blaha



What’s behind the money?

We have lived in McMinnville for 37 years.

Population at that time was 15,000. It has more than doubled.

During all the political campaigns, I have never, ever seen so much money flooded into certain ones as I see now. Why?

What does Timber Unity want for the money spent on these candidates — Lindsey Bershauer, Brittney Ruiz and Heidi Parker? They are, to my knowledge, successors of original Timber Unity supporters. Why?

This new precedent isn’t a magnanimous gesture, because in politics, it never is.

I received a huge flier today from Heidi Parker, and I received one previously from Brittney Ruiz. In addition, I have seen billboard-sized posters around everywhere, which to my knowledge is not only illegal, but also very costly.

A small regular sign like other candidates wasn’t good enough? It wasn’t visible enough?

It makes me feel like I’m being bought and paid for. But my vote isn’t for sale.

Character, morality and working within the system does. My votes are going to Kris Bledsoe, Kellie Menke, Scott Hill and Lynette Shaw.

If I could, I would also vote for Lisa McCracken. But she’s not in my ward.

Els Sandberg




Brian Rake

My comments in the voter’s guide were about my 4 years as a councilor, not the last 2 as mayor. For the last 2 years Carlton’s city council has been mired because of Councilor Maher and Councilor Watkins. Their inability to work with others and follow the rules has created a situation where the council has simply stopped listening to them.

I only have influence over council, so the new rules were written to strengthen the council’s ability to work together, a great starting point, but one opposed by Kathy Maher.

The Westside truck route was a project brought up by ODOT on Carlton’s behalf, it would have been great for Carlton, but not for our neighbors. I chose to listen to what McMinnville, Yamhill and Yamhill County had to say and what their feelings about the project would be. At the end of the meetings it was clear that our neighbors did not want this project, what would Kathy Maher have had me do?

As to the City Manager’s review, it was due by December 1st, and we were working on a new way of doing the review when the city manager quit. We have voted to pass the new rules for a better review process and will use it with the new city manager.


Sandra Ponto alleges that marijuana is not good for the grapes, but the science on this is not sufficient enough to justify her claim. There are many views on this subject and the battle between grape producers and marijuana growers is not a new story, but a rehash of a tired story. Yamhill County's grape producers have long held an advantage in the agriculture arena and need to learn to play fair and share the resources and land with others that may or may not be inclined towards growing grapes and are inspired by other products.

Her further allegations against Judge Easterday are unqualified and do not give the Judge the benefit of the doubt. She is a trier of law and as such undoubtedly did some online research and maybe even some in person conversations with local grape growers before rendering her verdict, but the bottomline is that those on the grape growers side did not present the evidence needed to sway her decision to their side. Judge Easterday did not play favorites, in my opinion, and delivered a sound decision based upon current knowledge and practices.

If Ms. Ponto has any links that will prove her allegations, then I invite her to respond and post them here for our consideration. A blanket allegation without the benefit of citations is an argument best kept to yourself like an unsolicited opinion. This forum is fair (more than fair at times) and will gladly entertain her thoughts and maybe even side with her if she can actually provide some believable scientific facts.

Don Dix

Jake Rockwood weites -- 'The last six years have been the hottest six on record.'

Add a little perspective to what exactly is the record.

Observed weather records go back not much further than the 1880s. Those 140 years are barely a blip on the scale when comparing to the age of the Earth. Not an adequate sample size at all.

Those who 'announce' warnings and predictions are playing to fears, and predictions have shown to be less accurate than the local weekly weather reports. And every prediction is hedged with adverbs such as likely, might, possibly, could, etc. -- more akin to guesses and supposition.

Rather than just blindly believing the hype, do some actual study -- not just weather, but geology, plate tectonics, the Sun's and large gas planets effect on Earth's elliptical orbit, and most important - history. These areas of study reveal many inconsistencies in the hypothesis of human-caused warming. Reality 'might' be a big surprise!

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