Letters to the editor: March 26, 2021

Other perspectives

After reading the many Viewpoints submissions concerning the future of our country, I wanted to praise those who spoke about kindness, gifts of spring, support for our Constitution and seeking common ground. No attacks about “the other side” and no name-calling, just a respective voice of their opinions.

However, not the same can be said about other viewpoints that continue to shame, belittle and deny others’ point of view. How does that bring unity to our community?

Smugness and self-righteousness never last long. And they tend to leave a disagreeable taste in one’s mouth.

Instead of calling others “whack-a-dos,” accusing them of “writing pablum” and insulting them about “degrees from the same chewing gum wrapper,” how about listening to what they have to say from their point of view? It may not change your belief, but it will give you a perspective you may not have had before.

Rather than listening to your local news channels, how about broadening your horizons by watching Fox News, CNN or Newsmax to hear what they have to say?

Don’t assume one is more correct than the other. Look for common ground and beware of prejudice, then make your decision.

Learning is neverending, listening is a great teaching tool and respect means you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you and you don’t agree with them.

As for the Viewpoints commentaries and editorials, I will continue to read them. But I will ignore those that are hostile or politically biased, form my own opinion, give kudos where deserved, question the actions of government and media, and broaden my knowledge by reading and listening to other views.

Conversation anyone?

Alyssa Green



Securing converter

I read the article about the theft of catalytic converters in the newspaper.

The converter of my 2008 Prius was stolen in the Portland airport parking lot while we were out of town on vacation, and the airport was no help. I found out they are stolen in Portland a lot.

I took my car to The Muffler Doctor here in town. I had a security plate installed over the new converter, making it harder to steal, and the insurance company paid most of the cost.

Maybe this can help other people with the problem.

Henry Vigil



No such authority

The question is simple and the answer is clear.

Can the Yamhill County commissioners tell other elected officials, who do not report to them, to violate state laws that they have sworn to uphold?

The answer is no. In fact, the county commissioners have no authority over the other elected county officials at all.

What’s next? Can they tell the county clerk how to run the election? No, they cannot.

This is not the Wild West. But if it were, the sheriff would be in charge.

Kris Bledsoe



Deep local roots

I will keep the letter in the paper from Darrell King about the rings on trees.

We lost a pine tree. It fell over and exposed the roots.

My husband counted the rings. The age was about 43 years.

I planted that tree. It was part of my program of adding wealth to my land.

History is wealth in all sorts of ways.

Darrell mentioned William Newby and the seedling he had planted. It’s hard for me not to brag when it comes to my own relatives.

Mattie Newby married my great-grandfather, Charles Newton Graves from out here in Sheridan, in 1882. But the marriage did not last.

Mattie was a very strong woman and spoke at the high school. My mother said she was embarrassed by Mattie, who was before her time in having the strength to speak her mind.

Helen Bitar



Gun idolatry

Commissioners Berschauer and Starrett are attempting to remake Yamhill County as a “gun sanctuary.”

If you check your Webster’s Dictionary, you’ll find that a sanctuary is a “consecrated place,” a “holy of holies.” It’s associated primarily with churches and other “places of worship.” Another common usage of sanctuary is a refuge for wildlife, a place where, ironically, guns are illegal.

Creating a sanctuary means that we’re going to “sanctify” guns and gun ownership.

Going back to Webster, “to sanctify” means that we as a community are singling out guns and “setting them apart to a sacred purpose.” It also means to “purify,” “free from sin” or “give moral or social sanction.”

I’m not anti-gun. I own three.

While gun sales are not tracked in Oregon, background checks are. And in 2020, more than 500,000 were conducted.

More than half of Oregon households have a firearm. It seems as if guns were alive and well here.

The pseudo-religious fervor surrounding the commissioners’ effort seems strangely cult-like. It calls to mind conspiracy theories, militias and Q-Anon rumors.

What’s the real payoff? Who wins?

I’m sure the far right media will treat our two commissioners as right-wing heroes, right up there with Ammon Bundy and Marjorie Taylor Greene. But what does it mean for the rest of us? Who’s Yamhill County going to attract once it becomes a world beacon for gun idolatry?

What’s wrong with being famous for fescue, hazelnuts and pinot noir? Does this do anything to address the real needs of our farmers, vintners, professionals, service providers, business people and their families?

I won’t repeat numerous arguments already made against this plan. But clearly, no credible threat to gun ownership is posed at this time.

Our elected officials should focus upon taking care of the people. The guns will be fine.

Doug Verigin



All one community

Lately, I have been thinking about words. Most people understand that words do matter, but do they realize how words transmit both intended and unintended messages?

The word troubling me lately is “community.” We speak of the Hispanic Community or the Black Community. In the wake of the horrendous killings in Atlanta, we are hearing about the Asian Community.

When we pointedly identify different “communities,” it seems to me that we are taking pains to differentiate these people from — what, the White Community? Yet, but oddly, no one ever uses such a term.

When we single out a “community,” we are underscoring differences rather than acknowledging commonalities. In thusly labeling people, we suggest their interests, concerns and needs are unique to them and imply their problems are theirs alone.

Shakespeare posed the question, “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” And it seems to me that this 400-year-old query remains relevant today.

All human beings bleed. All grieve losses. All rage at injustice. All pray for a better future.

I fear that in our rush toward political correctness, we fail to realize we are all just human beings. I am so sorry we use terminology that furthers the divides among us rather than reminding us of our shared humanity.

Yes, ethnic, cultural and language differences exist. But I wish we could see them as an opportunity to reach out with an open heart and learn about one another.

I pray for the time when there are no hyphenated Americans. A time when we are all one community. A time when Americans celebrate and share their different heritages — learn the languages, enjoy the foods, participate in the traditions. A time when we can just look each other in the eyes and talk about our day.

Erma Vasquez



Trails away!

What a relief to hear that Yamhill County Commissioners Berschauer and Starrett have their priorities straight. Rather than tackle such minor, backburner issues as racism, homelessness, affordable housing, the pandemic or climate change, Commissioners BS are focusing on the biggies: Killing the Yamhelas Westsider Trail project and designating Yamhill County as a gun sanctuary — because, as we all know, gun owners have been persecuted more than any other group over our country’s history.

Just because Yamhill County owns most of the rail corridor doesn’t mean it should ever take advantage of said ownership to provide us citizens with a safe, enjoyable, healthy way to recreate so close to home.

But why stop there, when the opportunity to combine the gun sanctuary and trail issues is right in front of Commissioners BS? Why not designate the rail corridor as the inner sanctum of the gun sanctuary, with only the most hardcore weapons — high-powered assault rifles — allowed inside?

Yes, it would need to be walled off. But I believe we have some lightly used sections of southern border wall available at a bargain price, since Mexico paid for them.

Security could be provided by the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Patriot Prayer and others of their ilk.

There would, naturally, need to be doors cut in the wall to provide entry for the minions who would want to join the security forces. That’s not to mention egress for patriots wishing to spread the word — peacefully, of course.

I nominate state Rep. Mike Nearman to serve as doorman, since Mr. Nearman has a proven track record as a master of door operations.

Rick Hammond



Looking for help

I was anxiously awaiting direct deposit of my stimulus check into my checking account. Then I received notice it was being reduced to $600.Earlier this year, the payments I was receiving from the Veterans Administration for 100% disability were cut off because my income was $500 too much. Without that, my wife and I slipped below the poverty level and could barely stay above water.

I am 73 and my wife is 79. We don’t even have enough to require paying income tax, and are paying more out of pocket for our medical expenses than ever before.

I thought the reason for the stimulus check was to assist citizens through the burdens experienced during this time of pandemic. It has been a great burden for my wife and I, and we have not even been able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine yet.

I feel very disappointed.

Jace Early



No to gun anarchy

I believe the News-Register and the rest of our community should avoid the Orwellian titling of the county’s proposed gun free-for-all as a gun sanctuary ordinance. It should be called out for what it is, a gun anarchy ordinance.  

This ordinance seeks to prevent order and regulation. It seeks to restrict the sheriff and district attorney, both elected officials, from enforcing state and federal law to prevent harm to their constituents. It seeks to coerce employees into non-cooperation with state and federal law as well.  

Legal and responsible gun owners recognize that current gun laws are not onerous. They support regulation of these deadly tools, consistent with the Constitution, to prevent tragedy.

There are people who should not have access to guns, as it only takes one irresponsible person with access to a gun to take innocent lives. Should a preventable death happen due to the idiocy of our two grandstanding commissioners, legal liability will and should rain down upon them.  

These commissioners have indicated they have little regard for either popular opinion or the tax cost to their constituents of their ideological vendettas. Exhibit A: the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle.

The scuttling of 20 years of work will impose more than $2.5 million of cost upon us. For a county of 100,000, maybe 50% of whom are adults and maybe 25% of whom pay taxes, this means $100 for each of you.

My family already has to pay this Berschauer/Starrett ideology tax. Now this dynamic duo is seeking to open the county to  huge liability from its gun following. 

Repeal their ideology taxes and avoid anarchy in our county. If they won’t listen, recall them as irresponsible posers.  

John Linder



Nothing sacred here

Yamhill County Commissioners:

Since you seem intent on proceeding with the safety off on your ill-conceived gun ordinance, I would ask that you at least refrain from associating it with the word “sanctuary.” Merriam-Webster defines “sanctuary” as the following:

(1) The most sacred part of a religious building (such as the part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed); (2) the room in which general worship services are held; (3) a place (such as a church or a temple) for worship

While you’re at it, please also refrain from citing the adoption by a couple of other counties as an argument in favor of this asinine ordinance. It makes you sound like petulant children whining for what all the other kids have when clearly they don’t.

Parents can see through this and so can constituents.

Stephanie Shaw



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