Letters to the editor: Jan. 29, 2021

Celebration of hate

While walking my dog in McMinnville one morning last week, I passed a house with a “Trump 2020” banner on the garage. Below the “Trump 2020” was the statement, “F*** your feelings” — a hateful sentiment.

Then, in Friday’s News Register, I read the letter from Leonard Leis decrying Democratic hatred of Trump. Pointing a finger at Democrats as haters ignores the facts. 

On Jan. 6, I watched Trump incite a homicidal insurrection by his followers on live TV. In the crowd, visible symbols of hate were prominent, including Confederate flags, banners like the one I encountered, and T-shirts proclaiming “Camp Auschwitz” and “6MWE” (“6 Million Wasn’t Enough,” a reference to the Holocaust).

The OK finger sign, a means of identifying oneself as a white supremacist, was flashed by members of the mob. Visual references abounded to Q-Anon, the conspiracy theory alleging Trump would expose a Democratic Party cabal of Satan-worshiping, cannibalistic pedophiles. 

Such displays of hate are upsetting but, sadly, not surprising. According to the FBI’s yearly report, hate crimes have been on the rise for years.

In 2019, there were 7,314 hate crimes committed against Black, Hispanic, Jewish and LGBTQ individuals, a 3% increase since 2008.  

Clearly, there is a strong hateful spirit in our country. It was exploited by cynical politicians who repeat the Big Lie —that the election resulting in Biden’s win was fraudulent.

If we are going to change this culture of hate, we will have to accept the truth and reject the lies. Given that many Republican politicians are still refusing to tell their constituents the truth about the election, I fear that I will continue to encounter banners celebrating hate for a long time.  

Adrianne Santina



Time to move forward

Commissioners, I've sat in your seat, so know there are few easy solutions. However, in this case, I believe the solution is obvious.

A small group of farmers is thwarting progress. These farmers have no valid reasons.

There is no impact to their farm practices that does not already exist. They have no claim to this property or its use.

This county purchased this property from Union Pacific Railroad with state and federal grant money, and further grants were obtained for trail upgrade and design work. In regard to the opposition farmers, we are asking to sit down with them to develop a strategy satisfying all concerns.

The LUBA ruling made it clear there is no valid reason to stop the trail. So your personal attitudes should have no bearing on your doing the right thing.

At this meeting, we ask for the support and endorsement of the board for mediation.

This trail offers an opportunity for a substantial number of benefits. Safe routes to schools, economic benefits to the cities of Carlton, Yamhill and Gaston, and opportunities for individuals and families to get healthy activity, are just a few.

Failure to move forward would force the county to pay back nearly $3 million in grant money. Is this truly a way to demonstrate fiscal responsibility?

Instead of moving ahead with a project that could economically benefit the county, you would be choosing to strap the county with an enormous, indefensible debt.

I have supported this trail since running for commissioner. I continue to believe in the benefits it can bring to this county, and beyond as we are able to connect with other trails.

This is a time to move forward into the future, and not find a way to wallow in the past.

Stan Primozich

Former county commissioner, McMinnville



Light of truth

It's time for us to step out of the recent dark ages of rumor, misinformation and conspiracy theories and back into the light of science, truth and common sense.

If Mary Starrett wants to hold personal beliefs that masks and vaccines are not effective, that is her right. But it is not her right, as an elected official, to endanger those she is meant to protect and serve.

She has drunk the poisoning elixir that has muddled her mind and those of millions of other Americans. It is the elixir blended of fear, misinformation and a tunnel-vision approach to problem-solving.

The $80,000-a-year commissioner position was never intended to be political. But Mary Starrett has taken it to the height of political theater.

Hopefully she can set that aside, step into the light and serve all of us who she works for, her constituents, rather than a political party.

Stuart Gunness



Misconstruing Christianity

Displaying Christian symbols and slogans amid the violence at the Capitol, such as “Jesus is my Savior and Trump is my President,” is more than reprehensible. Violence and anger are not the way of Christ.

Is there hypocrisy of the left denouncing the violence at the Capitol, but not the violence of the BLM movement? Of course, because violent protest should never be endorsed or permitted. But the one thing that you didn’t see in the BLM protest was a claim that they were doing Jesus Christ’s will.

Real history tells us we have killed each other more over religious beliefs than we have in any modern war. Maybe two of the Ten Commandments — “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” — should be better followed.

Remember that God is truth, so humans who believe in God are indebted to honor the truth. So, what’s the truth? There is, of course, only truth and non-truth.

We need to educate ourselves by listening and reading various views, then not only do some “critical thinking,” but feel what is truly in our hearts — what is right.

It’s time to wake up and realize Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat, and that Christianity should not be confused with Nationalism.

John Gallagher



Time to turn page

Impeachment is a process to remove an individual from office.

The last four years, the Dems have tried every false claim to remove Trump.

Now they are afraid that in the next four years, Biden and Harris will screw things up so badly that Trump will get back in. So they must destroy him.

Get over it. You Won and Trump is gone.

The trial will be a waste of money — money that we do not have. And just so each senator can read a stupid speech written by someone else.

President Biden's keynote theme was "unity" This trial will not create unity, but only drive the nation further apart.

Don Bowie



Warned years ago

Commissioners, you are in an embarrassing conundrum over owing the Oregon Department of Transportation $2.4 million in grant money procured for Ken Wright's Yamhelas Trail proposal. You were never eligible for those funds and you knew it.

From the beginning back in 2015, you and your staff were informed personally, over the phone and in via two Department of Land Conservation & Development memos, that bikeways, footpaths and recreational trails must comply with ORS 215.296, to become eligible for permitting. But you started construction anyway.

I and others continued to sound the alarm. We invited a concerned DLCD staffer to join us in a meeting we had arranged with the county staff, but his participation was ruled out by County Administrator Laura Tschabold, since retired. An Oregon Farm Bureau lawyer and other hearing witnesses warned you ODOT would demand repayment if you went forward without permits, as it did in Benton county five years earlier over another failed attempt to turn abandoned railway into a bike and foot path. The state Land Use Board of Appeals has since turned trail efforts back in a series of four rulings. Yet you continue to fight your own constituents. Let Wright fund this trail on his own.

Bryan Schmidt



Trail a winner

The Westsider Trail would improve the quality of life in Yamhill County. Residents and visitors would enjoy the trail and businesses would prosper from folks coming to use it.

The best way for this to happen would be for the opponents to believe the testimony of farmers whose farms abut the Banks to Vernonia Trail, also following an abandoned rail line.

One farmer was absolutely against the trail. After it opened, he realized how wrong he's been and installed a gate to provide access for his family. Other farmers have not felt any negative effects from that pioneering trail either.

Local opponents of the Westsider Trail must realize they have desperately scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with their objections. They are using baseless claims about interference with farm practices, transient encampments, litter and trash, and leashed dogs on the fenced trail attacking farm animals.

Right-to-Farm laws allow farmers to engage in whatever practices they need to, including spraying. Whenever they need to spray, they can spray.

Just yesterday, the field across from our house was sprayed with a chemical, inundating us with a stinky fog. But we live in farm country, so they can do what they need to whenever they need to.

The trail cuts through farm country, and is covered by Right-to-Farm laws.

The trail would get walkers, runners and bikers off our highways, making them safer. And it would give folks an opportunity to see how beautiful our county is. It would improve the quality of life here.

Jake Rockwood




Trail for safe cycling

I'm a 71-year old cyclist. I still ride my bike on country roads, much to the worry of my husband, who fears for my safety.

I feel much safer riding on a protected trail, as I do the Banks-Vernonia Trail and did on the Marine Drive River Path when I lived in Portland. I am safely away from speeding vehicles and drivers who may be distracted.

I know a lot of research has been done for the Yamhelas Westsider Rails-to-Trails project. I know open conversations, just begun and ongoing, are being held with neighbors whose land abuts the trail. I'm concerned the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners isn't listening to its constituents, thus isn't giving the trail a fair chance.

The Land Use Board of Appeals took a long time coming back with its recent decision. It ruled the county still needed to supply more details about how it proposes to protect agricultural activities, but did not deny the conditional use permit and in fact said explicitly that it was not finding the trail illegal.

I am totally in favor of the trail. I don't want to let all of the grant monies, research and efforts to date go to waste. The master planning has already been paid for, so let it continue.

We need a safe place to ride or walk, and the Yamhelas Westsider Trail would give us that.

Cheryl Nangeroni



Trumping away

When I was a boy in England, about 1954 or '55, BBC Radio aired a Children's Record Request program. They played songs written and performed for children, not the hit parade songs you'd hear on radio today.

Unfortunately, the program tended to be rather repetitive, perhaps because the children calling in requests weren't familiar with many songs intended for their age group. I never heard, for instance, any of the songs for children recored by Woody Guthrie or Peggy Seeger.

I've been remembering one of the BBC songs in particular lately, having in mind that the elephant is the traditional symbol of the Republican Party. It was called "Nelly the Elephant Packed Her Trunk," and it began:

Nelly the Elephant packed her trunk

and said goodbye to the circus.

Off she went with a trumpety-trump.

Trump! Trump! Trump!

Kit Dolman



Complete the plan

My husband and I enthusiastically support the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. The safety of our kids is reason enough by itself.

Highway 47 is incredibly dangerous for bikes, and the trail would eliminate that danger for kids in Yamhill and Carlton who bike to school for classes and extra-curricular activities. In addition, it would provide a safe and scenic walk or ride for the many residents and visitors in the area.

We hope to use it frequently, and encourage visiting friends and family to do so as well. Thus, we urge that the master planning process continue.

Commissioner Mary Starrett has criticized trail organizers and supporters for not providing a forum for the adjacent landowner’s concerns to be heard. She has also raised questions about cost that need to be addressed.

The Land Use Board of Appeals has not said the trail is illegal. It is abundantly clear the board sees a path forward. It has simply said the county still needs to supply more details about how it will protect agricultural activities, and the master planning process would do that.

It would be fiscally irresponsible with our tax dollars if the Master Plan weren't completed. It would also be unfair to all those who have worked so hard in support of the trail.

In fact, we believe it is unfair even to people who are not quite sure either way, because in that process, they would get the facts they need to make an honest and thoughtful decision. We really hate to think the commissioners don’t want their constituents to get the facts and have their voices heard.

Do the people of Yamhill County understand that the county will have to pay back both the grant from ODOT and the matching funds from Friends of Yamhelas-Westsider Trail? That is your money people.

The Master Plan, already paid for, must move forward to address the costs and the concerns of the adjacent landowners. This is what Commissioner Starrett has been asking for, and it would be hypocritical of her not to support it.

Janet Zuelke & Forrest Babcock



Hail the trail

The Yamhelas Westsider Trail will provide a safe biking, walking and jogging path for students and adults in the Yamhill-Carlton area.

As a business owner who has guests who like to hike, walk, jog and bike, the trail would provide a safe path. Highway 240 and Highway 47 are dangerous, as there are no shoulders to provide a safe experience.

The trail would be used by many. It would enhance our safe recreational opportunities. Please vote to keep the trail progressing.

Sue Stein



Don Dix

Kit Dolman -- as a true independent (no party affiliation), just wondering -- are you you are celebrating or complaining? -- do one about the Democrat jackass so one will know for sure.


Don Dix - how about...
Humpty Trumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Trumpty had a great fall.
All of Trumpty's bootlickers (GOP men),
Couldn't put Humpty Trumpty together again.

Don Dix

sorry for the confusion -- should have read -- are you celebrating or

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