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Letters to the Editor: Dec. 31, 2021

Protection needed

As the vociferous agitator who inspired Rep. Ron Noble to introduce HB 3200, I feel compelled to comment on Yamhill County’s failure to regulate marijuana processing.

HB 3200 requires the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission to obtain the consent of landowners before issuing address-specific grow site permits.

Legislators were shocked they had been issuing permits to tenants without knowledge or consent of the landowner. Legislators were also shocked they had been allowing more than 500 plants rather than the half-dozen plants voters were led to believe. Thus, the bill passed unanimously in both chambers, and was signed without protest.

Unfortunately, as a result of my own failure, it did not include a provision to prohibit the OMMP and OLCC from issuing address-specific permits for cannabinoid extraction without landowner knowledge or consent. To add insult to injury, the OMMP actually requires landowners be listed as “persons with a financial interest” in operations they are almost certainly unaware of.

In the likely event explosive hash oil extraction triggers a catastrophic fire, it would be amazingly easy to falsely implicate the landowner and thus invoke civil forfeiture of the smoldering ruins. Thus, the citizens of Yamhill County have a legitimate interest in regulating these operations.

Yamhill County should independently verify ownership of prospective processing sites, contact their owners directly and obtain notarized consent forms. It should also impose fire protection standards, including notification of local fire departments, installation of fire alarms, installation of sprinkler systems with adequate water reserves, maintenance of adequate setbacks from surrounding properties and posting of a multi-million dollar bond or insurance policy to compensate the community and surrounding property owners for the cost of fire damages and suppression costs.

James Crawford

Yamhill
 

Headline objection

Once again, your editorial bias is showing.

You ran a front-page headline Dec. 21 reading, “Starrett and Berschauer object to tightening mask rules.” Commissioner Casey Kulla didn’t see a need for the rule-tightening either, so why didn’t you headline the story, “Yamhill County commissioners object to tightening mask rules” and let readers discern their differences?

The article goes on to cite dated statistics and articles about how wonderful masks are and encourage all of us to mask up due to the Omicron variant sweeping the world.

So, what’s the big deal? Omicron has been spreading for weeks, yet the confirmed U.S. death rate so far stands at one — an unvaccinated 59-year-old Houston male with underlying conditions. Worldwide, the confirmed toll stands at less than two dozen.

But the CDC and WHO continue to fearmonger over Omicron. Naturally, our local and state officials climb on the fear bandwagon to make sure we the people continue to shake in our shoes over a potentially mild infection.

It’s time for our government leaders to act like adults and treat the rest of us like adults.

It’s time for a mask-optional order, putting the burden on individuals instead of businesses. It’s time to take the boot of OSHA off the necks of businesses and let people decide for themselves whether the risk of living without a mask is worth the perceived risk from the Omicron variant.

Steve Sommerfeld

Sheridan

Editor’s note: As indicated in the opening paragraph of the story, Starrett and Berschauer voted to send the governor a letter of protest that Kulla opposed, citing a number of elements he could not support.

 

Grateful for warning

The letter to the editor pointing out the number of train whistles in town surprised me.

Willamette & Pacific has kept us safe fulfilling a vital role in the local economy.

When was the last time you heard a report of the death of the pedestrian violating the cross the barrier? That happens in Salem almost yearly.

The W&P consistently makes improvements for safety and track maintenance, and I, for one, am thankful it keeps us safe. I’m glad for the sound of the horns, alerting me so I can seek a different route and avoid adding to the congestion.

At one point, an engine had one horn at C sharp, the other at C flat. My dog found the dissonance painful.

But so far, local train whistles have not been loud enough to raise him from the dead.

Malcolm Koch

McMinnville

 

End the indoctrination

Your editorial of Dec. 24 was an insult to the citizens of Yamhill County. Duly elected Newberg school board members are referred to as “fringe zealots empowered in low-turnout elections by naively unsuspecting voters.”

These “fringe zealots” are trying to keep politics out of our schools and get back to educating our children instead of indoctrinating them in the current political correctness.

I for one applaud the work of these “zealots” in a time when our governor has suspended achievement standards for our children. Sex education is not the only thing we send kids to school for.

You repeatedly refer to the low turnout in the school board election as if this somehow makes it illegitimate.

But low-turnout elections are nothing new. We’ve put up with them for a long time. And as someone once said, “elections have consequences.”

You refer to two of the board members as “culture war disruptors.” I don’t even know what you mean by that.

I notice that in addition to everything else you blame them for, you hold these board members responsible for their own recall election cost. This sounds to me like holding a rape victim responsible for the cost of prosecuting the rapist.

Craig Pubols

McMinnville

 

Back to what?

“The United States has been taken over by anti-Americans — evil people who hate America!”

But who hates America, exactly?

“Our way of life is threatened, our liberties are at stake!”

Which parts of your lives, specifically, are under threat?

“We need to take our country back!”

Who exactly is “we” and where exactly are we taking it “back” to? I’m pretty sure “we” means people who look like pasty ol’ me.

Are African Americans or Latino Americans chanting, “Take our country back!” Of course not!

The robustly pigmented swaths of our American population just want equal participation. They want “liberty and justice for all.”

It’s people looking like me who’ve been conditioned into fear of so-called “others” for most of our lives.

“Take our country back!”

The foundational fear behind this chant lies in changing American demographics.

All societies evolve. Like it or not, every one of us sees inexorable changes occurring in our bodies, our households, our communities and our nation.

Change can be torturous. How we react is what defines us.

Many people and organizations are practicing what I call “toxic relevance.” Or to put more bluntly, “white relevance.” That’s what they mean by “take our country back.”

It’s rage — rage against diminishing white dominance.

Lisa McCracken

McMinnville
 

Not much progress

In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the classic “A Christmas Carol,” about a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his poverty-stricken clerk, Bob Cratchit.

Poor Bob slaved away for Scrooge for the pitiful amount of 15 shillings a week, which condemned him and his family to a life of bare subsistence.

Adjusting for inflation and the passage of time, Bob’s salary in today’s U.S. dollars would be $530.27 per week, or $27,574.00 per year. Hourly, that works out to $13.50, which is more than millions of Americans receive.

The big difference between our society and that of 1843 England is replacement of debtor’s prison with homelessness. Not much in the way of progress, is it?

Fred Fawcett

Lafayette
 

Imperative to prepare

We can no longer deny the fact of climate change and its dangers, as reflected by the intensity of recent storms and related disasters. Because of this, we must prepare for more erratic types of weather at all levels — individual, community, state, national and international.

Nations must plan together and collaborate in deciding how best to mitigate the effects of these dangerous weather events. There is also a need to publicize these plans in order to help prevent injury and death.

If we ignore what is happening around us, we will soon all be victims.

Janet DeWith

Yamhill

 

Comments

Don Dix

Janet DeWith claims 'storms and recent disasters are more intense because of climate change'

First of all, aren't storms considered 'weather' and not 'climate'? That's the claim when it's colder than usual, yet warmer is always related to climate change. And name a time in Earth's history when the climate 'did not change', with or without the human presence.

Second -- the magnitude of weather disasters is now measured in dollars of loss. Building in flood plains, tornado zones, and hurricane prone areas is simply foolish and raises the risk of loss to weather related events. Stupid is as stupid does.

And third -- going back to the mid 50s, tornados of F3 or stronger -- from 1954-1985, there was an average of 55.9 such storms yearly -- from 1986-2018 the average was 33.8 per year. It seems that is 'less intense, right? And from 1970-2020 the net global change in tropical cyclonic frequency (hurricanes) is zero. That's right, zero!

Lizzy

It is not indoctrination to teach children and young adults about the rights of citizens under our Constitution, it's amendments and law. It is right to emphasize these rights and to give knowledge of what lawful behavior is. Showing compassion for those who have been discriminated against and saying such discrimination and the accompanying bullying will not be tolerated is also good. That's what Black Lives Matter and rainbow signs say. It's safe to be here and get an education. To refuse to allow such statements implies such behavior is tolerated.