Letters to the Editor: February 25, 2022

Character assassination

Do the ends justify the means? Do political ends justify ruining people’s lives and destroying the community? What about trampling the rights of a child?

For the last six months, I have been a volunteer for the community effort to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. I’m proud of the work I’ve done.

I’m even prouder to have done it beside people who care deeply about the well-being of our community, and are committed to running a campaign with dignity.

We worked hard to keep our efforts bi-partisan and focused on Commissioner Berschauer’s misuse of her official position.

It’s no secret that Commissioner Berschauer brought a new brand of toxic, take-no-enemies politics to Yamhill County.

She won her seat with a brutal character assassination of opponent Barbara Boyer. She more or less accused longstanding county employees and former commissioners of fraud to justify killing the Yamhelas-Westsider Trail, a long-sought goal of her big money donors.

In response to our recall campaign, she has published lies about our chief petitioner and recall PAC director, and has given platform to attacks against the small businesses of our volunteers.

One of her supporters, a man who publishes a fake news blog focused on targeting members of our community, has now turned his attention to our recall effort. His lies are aimed at recasting civic engagement as something insidious.

His messages are celebrated by fringe extremists. Commissioner Berschauer has quoted references to his work in her rebuttal arguments, exploiting his attacks to bolster her own.

In his latest effort, he published an unedited photo from my Facebook profile. It was a happy moment, a photo of me and my kindergartner relaxing together in a hammock. I chose it for my profile photo because of what I see in my face — complete, all-encompassing joy to be with her.

He could have edited out my daughter’s face, but he didn’t. The message is clear. Oppose Commissioner Berschauer and beware.

That’s not the kind of county I want to live in.

People shouldn’t live in fear that if they exercise their political rights, they will be targeted by a bully politician or the extremists who back her. And if it can happen to my family, it can happen to anyone.

But there’s a solution to this problem. We stand up together and say that this is not acceptable behavior. This is not the Yamhill County way.

Vote yes to recall Commissioner Berschauer. Let’s all of us together bring civility back to Yamhill County.

Erin Chen



Making contribution

Thank you for featuring a great story about Ray Crain, the Black student leader from Linfield.

I am glad the article also talked about his experience here in a town, where diversity is extremely lacking. His mother should be proud he is the first of her children to finish college, and he is making people aware of Black history.

I am glad he got to be quoted about living and going to school here and the experience he has in this small town. It’s well known that the population of BIPOC people residing or represented in this town has to deal with side looks and racism often.

Thank you again for painting this young man in a positive light, with the amazing things he is doing for the students at Linfield and other BIPOC people in our community.

Jenny Wilson



Facts matter

Jim Talt’s Feb. 18 letter in defense of County Commissioner Lindsey Berschauer is not supported by the facts.

Contrary to Mr. Talt’s claim, the state Land Use Board of Appeals did not stop the Yamhelas Westsider Trail project. Its most recent finding was that the county hadn’t yet sufficiently analyzed the trail’s impacts on agricultural practices, which the county was given the opportunity to do.

Berschauer is responsible for its cancellation, not LUBA.

Berschauer’s election campaign hinged on her support for shutting down trail development, no matter what. Much of her campaign funding came from wealthy NIMBY landowners; she was just fulfilling her promise to them.

The abrupt cancellation of the trail project, and the resulting obligation to repay Oregon Department of Transportation grant funds already spent on project components, is on Berschauer and her mentor, Mary Starrett, not on LUBA.

Anyone interested in the long factual history of this terminated project should read Nicole Montesano’s article of Feb. 4, 2021, “County commissioners officially end pursuit of Yamhelas Westsider Trail” on the News-Register website.

Facts matter. Vote yes in the March 22 recall election.

Ed Farrar



We deserve better

When we moved to Yamhill County in 2019, we were excited about the unique makeup of our new community and how warm and welcoming it seemed to be. I would like to think that’s still true, and in my daily interactions it seems to be. But where it’s not, and where we all need to do better, is when it comes to our local politics.

Currently, it feels like the loudest, rudest and most aggressive voices “win.” When our political discourse can be framed in that way, no one is winning. We don’t need to be loud, rude and aggressive, as the Lindsay Berschauer crowd has been. We don’t need to be belittling, dehumanizing and closed-minded. We need instead to be inclusive, to actively listen to diverse ideas, to eagerly meet in the middle and stand together on common ground. I’m proud to stand on the common ground of the hard-working, bi-partisan volunteers behind Save Yamhill County’s Recall Lindsay Berschauer campaign. Despite facing nasty personal attacks and other disgusting tactics pulled directly from the far-right playbook, Save Yamhill County’s team of volunteers continues to move forward with grace and an even keel.

Not only are they lifting up the voices of voters who our current commissioner likes to ignore, but they’re turning their communication into level-headed, consistent political action. This is democracy at work. Lindsay Berschauer has wasted taxpayer time and money, letting special interests guide her choices rather than her own constituents. She is making decisions that have long-standing ramifications for our community, and sadly, many of them cannot be undone. Let’s be sure she can’t make more damaging decisions along a path of making a divisive mess of our otherwise warm and friendly community. Recall Lindsay Berschauer. We all deserve better.

Fiona Gwozdz Mancill



Future at stake

Across Yamhill County, most of our schools have three basic rules: Be safe, be responsible and be respectful.

With assistance from parents, educators and each other, students put these rules into practice. As a result, they benefit from being part of a safe and supportive learning community.

Violating these expectations results in harm to the security and well-being of everyone. So it breaks my heart to see a Yamhill County commissioner blatantly, brazenly and continuously breaking even the basic school rules that students expect and trust will be followed.

Leaders set an example.

We must vote yes to recall Lindsay Berschauer. The safety, security and future of our children and community are at stake.

Deborah Weiner



No overall majority

I would like to comment on a statement made by County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer in the article which appeared in this paper on Feb. 18 regarding the upcoming recall vote.

In it, she claimed: “A majority of voters elected me to serve … ”

Not exactly. Here are the facts I found in this document: https://www.co.yamhill.or.us/sites/default/files/election-results/may2020/cumulative.pdf

1. Only 46.23% of registered voters in Yamhill County voted in the primary of May 19, 2020, which is not a majority.

2. Of the 32,808 ballots counted, only 30,758 were cast in the county commissioner race. That means 2,050 voters did not check a box for this position.

To win outright, avoiding a general election runoff, it should have taken 16,404 plus one — a simple majority of all those voting. But the 2,050 who skipped the commissioner race reduced that to 15,379 plus one — 1,025 LESS than it would have been otherwise.

3. Berschauer received 16,070 votes, or 52.25% of those cast in the race, which is indeed a majority. But no one can predict where the other 2,050 votes might have gone. With those votes cast in a head-to-head race, maybe there would have been a run-off in the November general election.

4. Bottom line: A majority of votes cast in the race elected this commissioner. But it isn’t even close to being a majority of the voters in Yamhill County. See point #1 above.

Linda O’Hara



Our chance to decide

Lots of money is being spent nowadays on local political campaigns. You will see splashy signs blanketing the highways and find multiple political fliers arriving in your mailbox.

In the end, there won’t be much doubt who the wealthy political donors support. They will have a handpicked political operative to do their bidding. The only question is, who’s being represented when the successful candidate takes office.

The current efforts to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer were launched when local residents from throughout Yamhill County became appalled by her divisive and self-serving actions.

Despite her disingenuous smears, there were no special interest groups or large political donors funding these efforts.

It was accomplished — twice — by local citizens. It was accomplished by your friends and neighbors, who donated their time, energy, and money in order to give us an opportunity to change course.

They have not put forward any candidate or agenda. They simply believe that Yamhill County can do a lot better. It could be represented by someone who cares about the well-being of all our residents, not just those who donated to her campaign.

Someone capable of fostering a sense of cooperation and inclusiveness while working to find solutions to the problems confronting us. Someone who is honest enough to follow the law, in order to keep the taxpayer out of financial jeopardy. Someone who doesn’t use intimidation and retribution against constituents with whom she disagrees. Someone who focuses on local issues instead of an ideological culture war. Someone who won’t damage the reputation of our county, which is so economically dependent on tourism.

We have a chance to decide what kind of community we wish to live in and share with others. Please use this opportunity and vote yes on the removal of Commissioner Berschauer from office.

Gerald Smith



You are fired!

Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer and her supporters would like you to believe the recall effort is tied only to her decision to kill the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

She doesn’t realize the trail is just one of many reasons why residents are calling for her removal — further evidence that she does not engage with, listen to, or learn from her constituents.

Lindsay, have you ever had a basic performance review?

- If you harass, berate or wish harm on your fellow co-workers or customers, you are fired.

- If you mishandle organization funds, prevent cash coming in or stand in the way of business growth, you are fired.

- If you ignore the boundaries of your role, and in doing so, create legal implications for your organization, you are fired.

- If you refuse to accept and resolve customer complaints, you are fired.

- If you earn dual incomes from competing organizations and refuse to acknowledge a conflict of interest, you are fired.

The upcoming ballot vote to recall Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer is simply a performance review.

She has failed even the most basic of performance measurements. It is time she was fired.

Vote yes on March 22 to recall Commissioner Berschauer.

Liesl Forve



Own house in order

Now Commissioners Berschauer and Starrett have decided it is their place to tell school superintendents to drop student mask requirements. But such a directive is none of the commissioners’ business and they continue to support their position with scientifically disproven claims.

If school superintendents tried telling Yamhill County how to treat its employees, Berschauer and Starrett would be the first to loudly demand they mind their own business.

If Berschauer and Starrett want to tell superintendents what to do, they should run for a position on the school board. Until then, they need to focus on getting their own house in order. 

Mark F. Bierly



Schoolyard taunts

A representative of Commissioner Berschauer has chosen to call any constituents in favor of recall “cockroaches.”

This is unacceptable. As one of those constituents, I firmly request that Berschauer hold her representatives and team responsible for these words.

The effort of all officials should be to bring the community together, not name-call and act like kindergartners. Be better than this.

Robyn Hensler



Don’t be fooled

The Recall Lindsay Berschauer people say, “Commissioner Berschauer operates a political consulting business while acting as county commissioner but has never disclosed her clients.” The recall petition lists that as one reason for the recall.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s business database shows that Berschauer does own a business called Leona Consulting. But it also shows all customer transactions completely stopping two months before she was sworn into office as a county commissioner.

Lindsay Berschauer has publicly stated she put her business on hold because, “I thought it would be completely unethical to operate the business when I’m commissioner”.

It’s evident to me that she is ethical and honest. The recallers, on the other hand, appear to be disingenuous enough to intentionally mislead the voters of Yamhill County.

Don’t be fooled. Vote no on the recall and keep this ethical woman in office.

Peggy Kilburg


Meat-free Lent

In Western churches, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter. It features a 40-day fast, in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.

Many Christians abstain from animal foods during Lent. However, a meat-free Lent is more than a symbol of devotion to Christ. A meat-free Lent reduces the risk of chronic disease, environmental degradation and animal abuse.

Volumes have been written linking consumption of meat with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and more.

A 2007 United Nations report cited meat production as the planet’s largest source of pollution and greenhouse gases. And undercover investigations document farm animals being beaten, crowded, deprived and shocked.

Lent offers an opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion and love by extending a meat-free diet beyond Lent. It’s the diet mandated in Genesis 1:29 and observed in the Garden of Eden.

Today, there’s a rich array of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, as well as readily available vegetables, fruits and grains. Decide to make this change for Lent, then commit to keeping meat off your plate all year.

Melvin Nysser




I have seen so much hate directed at Commissioner Berschauer in the past year. That’s divisive politics, that’s hate filled nasty comments and bullying. The county has to pay back the state grant. So be it, the county had no business putting a single penny of hard earned tax money on that boondoggle. Talk about pandering to special interest groups, I think it should have been called the wine trail to hell. Or more correctly, the homeless highway, blue tarps as far as the eye can see. The past commissioners who were so devoted to the trail should be held responsible for the money. Maybe county citizens can form a class action lawsuit against them.

And for the love of God, you wrote a letter to the editor to rant about Berschauer only getting the majority of the registered voters that voted, not majority of voters in the election. Really? I’m sure right now you are busily pouring over her county emails searching for mispelled words for next weeks paper.

I am part OF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED that put Commissioner Berschauer in office. Sorry for the caps, I just don’t want to see a letter about me next week.


The letters from citizens supporting the recall of Berschauer are filled with facts, numerous common sense observations, and reality-based hope for the future of our county. More than 200 VOLUNTEERS devoted themselves to this cause even as they were subjected to harassment and other despicable attempts to intimidate and thwart the lawful gathering of signatures. These courageous and dedicated folks deserve our respect and gratitude.

It is probably true that we can’t undo the damage to date but we CAN stop it before it gets any worse. I implore my fellow voters to return those ballots in support of the recall. We can do this!

p.s. re the comment above mine, fact is: the hate and divisive politics originates from the Berschauer camp. It appears you have purposefully mischaracterized the tone and tenor of this week’s letters. We are sincerely concerned citizens availing ourselves of the ethical democratic process to rid Yamhill County of maladministration and the squandering of our hard-earned tax money.

Spelling errors? Seriously?? Spare us the puerile snark.

Don Dix

Hate and divisive politics have been around long before the commissioner began her campaign -- it's a frequently used tactic of both extremes -- and if you belong, possibly an adequate reason to go your own way. But one thing for sure -- haters gonna' hate.


Tree farmer - I’ve read the the issues taken with the the commissioner on the recall website. I was describing what I have been reading in the comments and opinion pages since before the first failed attempt.

And to go chapter and verse on whether she got a majority of voters, or a majority of registered voters who cast a ballot. Are we calling into account the original election results? This has been standard lefty strategy the last 5 or 6 years. Find a suspect and the dig for a crime.

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