Letters to the editor: Jan. 8, 2021

Started at N-R

Thanks for the nice mention in your "Year in Review" of the books by Jim Tankersley and me. As you note, both of our books touch heavily on Yamhill County, and Jim and I are both now writers for The New York Times.

The one thing the article was too modest to mention, and that we're very grateful of, is that we both got our start at the News-Register.

I began writing for the N-R as soon as I turned 16 and received my driver's license. It was a wonderful training ground.

Jeb Bladine, Tom Ballard and many others were superb tutors and models, and they made me want to pursue journalism as a career.

Jim is of a somewhat more recent vintage — wine metaphors now seem appropriate for Yamhill County, in a way they didn't when I was a kid! — but he too emphasizes his debt in journalism to the News-Register. All this is another reminder of the indispensable role that a great community newspaper plays, not only in informing citizens, but also in giving them a leg up.   

Nicholas Kristof



Blame the Legislature

In his recent letter to the News-Register, Donnie Mason asks, "When does McMinnville get to stop growing?" There have been several other writers asking the same question, citing the incessant growth in our town.

There is nothing to stop or slow that growth until McMinnville grows hard up against neighboring towns. The growth law — HB 2709, enacted in 1995 — requires a continual 20-year supply of land within the city's Urban Growth Boundary.

McMinnville will keep expanding as long as it is required by that state law. Thus the citizens will continue to see that growth.

The citizens of 32 communities individually responded by reserving the right to vote on annexations and put that in their city charters. That gave the citizens the privilege of having some say in the future.

The growth industry tried for 20 some years to get rid of voting on annexations. It eventually succeeded in a hideous decision of the state Legislature, SB 1573, taking away any meaningful input in McMinnville and 32 other communities.

Its purpose was to change the city charters and shut out the voters. It blatantly removed the right of Oregonians to have any meaningful input.

The Legislature "fibbed" by declaring SB 1573 an emergency, when there was actually no emergency. Unfortunately, the circuit court in Portland upheld SB 1573 with little regard to its real intended purpose.

The only way citizens of local communities will have any input into growth and development is by demanding restoration of their inherent rights by the Legislature. To see what the future holds for Oregon's farm lands, just drive west on Baker Creek Road and take a good look

John Englebrecht



Dump Electoral College

It’s time to dump the Electoral College and elect our presidents by popular vote. Doing so would avoid the kind of problems we’ve witnessed in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

We’d get the result quicker and it would be a straightforward process free of all the loopholes and opportunities for mischief. After all, we elect every other office holder by popular vote.

The excuse given for the college is that it provides smaller, less-populated states an equal say. In fact it provides these states an outsized advantage. It takes something like 60 voters in a big state like California to equal the power of one voter in Wyoming.

The argument is made that without the college, big states would ride roughshod over smaller states. This ignores the fact that smaller states are already given a boost by the fact that they have two senators, just like the big states.

As it stands, if the least populated states join together, it’s possible for a candidate winning only 23% of the popular vote to be declared the Electoral College winner. The candidate with 77% of the vote loses.

That’s a prescription for unrest and the loss of faith in our system. We ought to make the common sense changes to avoid it.

Fred Fawcett



Going meatless

With the “year of COVID” barely behind us, we look forward to the New Year and its customary resolutions — reducing weight, social media time and animal foods consumption. Yes, that.

Nearly 40% of Americans are already eating more plant-based foods, and hundreds of school, college and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Mondays. Even fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr, Chipotle, Denny's, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell and White Castle offer plant-based options.

Dozens of start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are producing plant-based meats, milks, cheeses and ice creams. Every ice cream manufacturer boasts nut-based flavors, and even meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Perdue, Hormel, and Canada's Maple Leaf Foods have rolled out plant-based meat products.

The reasons for the skyrocketing popularity of plant-based meat and milk products are compelling — they are more convenient, healthier, more eco-friendly and more compassionate than their animal-based counterparts. The resolution to explore plant-based foods requires no sweat or deprivation, just some fun visits to your favorite supermarkets and food websites.

Milo Nakamura





Congratulations to Jim Tankersley and Nicholas Kristof on the publications of their books. I always enjoy reading Kristof's articles on the Internet and hearing him being interviewed on NPR. Home town boys make good!

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