Letters to the Editor: March 4, 2022

Costing us millions

My wife and I moved to Amity a couple of years ago for family and personal reasons, after seeing the population of our county in Washington double. We were looking for rural, friendly and quiet, and for the most part, that’s what we found.

But we’ve been disappointed in county government.

We imagined taking our grandson on the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. We believed in being a part of a community that chose to create such an asset for future generations. Its development was favored by 70% of the county population, and its progress was measurable.

Not only did two commissioners stop the trail, but that stoppage has forced the county to pay back funds already spent. The bottom line is, we’re now paying back some significant grant funds, with no trail resulting.

Lindsay Berschauer, along with fellow commissioner Mary Starrett, drove that decision. And it made me look at local politics more closely.
Here’s what I’ve seen from Berschauer:

- Attacks on county employees, simply for doing their jobs in keeping with the policies of the previous majority.

- Using her influence for personal gain by attempting to benefit a relative in a legal matter.

- Doxing those who are in opposition to her behavior, including local families and businesses.

- Refusing to stay in her lane as county commissioner, by inserting herself into the Newberg school fiasco and helping Starrett pass the symbolic gun sanctuary declaration, triggering a suit that costs public funds to defend.

- Refusing to distribute federal COVID funds in a timely fashion, while attempting to force county health professionals to tout bogus COVID remedies.
She’s already cost us millions we could be using to keep roads safe, improve parks, and promote public safety. Please vote for her recall. It’s time to end her involvement in Yamhill County government.

Chuck Morrison


Just vote no

I believe the effort to remove Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer from office through recall is wrong. I plan to vote no when I receive my ballot.

I reviewed the petition for recall on file at the Yamhill County Clerk’s Office. The petition triggering the election is quite different from the one that was circulated last fall, and is full of opinion lacking the specifics to support the charges being made.

The petition states the commissioner backed “extreme candidates, who are bankrupting the Newberg School District.” But I have not heard that the school district is bankrupt, and the Newberg candidates being referenced are still serving.

The commissioner is charged with voting improperly on fiscal matters. No one county commissioner can do this alone. It takes a vote of two to do anything. That’s why we have three.

The county also has a legal staff to review and inform commissioners on any action deemed inappropriate. I can’t find anywhere on record where the commissioner has been charged with legal wrongdoing in her board role.

Finally, the petition states, “The people of Yamhill County have spoken -- she must be recalled.” But the reason for this election is for the people to speak. We have not yet spoken.

The Yamhill County clerk informed me that this recall election will cost us approximately $80,000. What an abuse of county funds. These are your tax dollars the petitioners are forcing us to spend.

Vote no on the recall. It is a mistake.

Dennis Goecks


Time to recall

It’s time to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer.

Why? If you’re a fiscal conservative, how do you justify:

- Putting taxpayers on the hook to pay back hundreds of thousands in grant money when she joined Commissioner Starrett in voting down a trail 10 years in the making, acting for the convenience of a few farmers who contributed to her election campaign.

- Joining Starrett to subject the county to a state lawsuit over an unenforceable  gun sanctuary ordinance the sheriff, district attorney and county counsel all warned against. Plus, paying private counsel to help draft the ordinance and fight the state in court.

If you are a working person, how long would you last if:

- On recorded camera during commission meetings, you berated members of the county staff and accused them of fraud without proof.

- Repeatedly berated Commissioner Kulla on your official county web page and allowed use of that platform to attack your own constituents. Berschauer even allowed posters to provide personal names and addresses of political opponents and suggest supporters pay them a visit.

- Constantly overstepped your position into areas not under your direction, including public health, public education and federal gun law.

If you are part of the general voting public and care about your neighbors, are you OK with behavior this dangerous and irresponsible:

- Refusing to acknowledge solid scientific methods of disease prevention, mask in groups indoors or acknowledge COVID-19 vaccines as even an option for prevention. Instead, Berschauer has promoted unproven herbs, drugs and treatments.

- Badgering and threatening the county health director about changing info on the county public health website, despite having no training and no direct supervisory authority.

Bershauer is too costly, irresponsible and unprofessional. Vote yes on the March 22 recall.

Geneva Foster-Ward


Taxpayers foot the bill

It’s easy to see that Commissioners Starrett and Berschauer are Second Amendment zealots.

That’s OK by me. Whatever turns them on.

What I don’t get is how they justify involving Yamhill County in their personal beef.

If Starrett and Berschauer and their ilk have a problem with Oregon gun laws and legislation, why aren’t they individually, or as a class, suing the state? Why are they using Yamhill County tax dollars to fight their personal battle?

Heck, they aren’t even using the lawyers working for the county. They have instead contracted with their own personal lawyer, meaning even more money draining out of the coffers.

If these folks are so sure about their beliefs, why aren’t they funding this expensive court battle with their own money?

We used to say, “Put your money where your mouth is!” But hey, if they can grift off the taxpayer, why not. It seems to be in vogue these days.

Larry Treadwell


Oust them both

I read the article about the county response to the state Department of Justice lawsuit challenging its gun sanctuary ordinance with a heavy sigh.

The ordinance was passed with enthusiastic support of Commissioners Berschauer and Starrett, over the objections of the sheriff and district attorney. Only Commissioner Kulla voted against this ordinance, which puts the county in direct conflict with state law.

The two commissioners were warned at the time that the state would object. But in their infinite wisdom, they believed otherwise.

These two spend more time impeding effective government in Yamhill County than they do making meaningful efforts to support the county’s real needs. Now we have an expensive lawsuit and the county is being represented by Tyler Smith, the same lawyer who wrote this ordinance in the first place.

This is an expense that was completely avoidable. The only way to avoid further expensive and other unnecessary debacles like this is to recall Commissioner Berschauer and replace Commissioner Starrett in the May election.

It’s a commonsense issue about the health and well-being of Yamhill County.

Mary Holdman


Tale of two counties

Before moving to McMinnville a few years ago, I lived in a Midwestern county of about the same size and same sort of rural/urban split. County affairs were managed by a three-member board of supervisors, akin to the board of commissioners here.

The big difference is that the supervisors were truly non-partisan and made decisions designed to serve all county residents. That is definitely not the case here.
Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer caters solely to her cronies and donors. She has tunnel vision about pleasing her supporters, while sabotaging measures to benefit the entire county.

The supervisors dealt with the economic and environmental welfare of the entire county. They treated county employees and residents with respect. They didn’t agree on everything, but they made an effort to be open and fair.

They did not tell medical professionals how to run the public health agency or what information to share with people. They did not insult the professional staff of county departments.

They did not defy the state government by passing their own “laws,” thus did not get sued by the state attorney general. They did, however, assist with the construction of a hiking/biking/walking trail along an abandoned railway, which greatly benefited county residents and adjacent businesses.

I didn’t always agree with the supervisors, but they clearly considered matters carefully and made the best decisions they could for the entire county. It has been painfully obvious that Commissioner Berschauer represents only her chosen few adherents.

Yamhill County desperately needs a commissioner who is mature, open-minded, and willing to work with the full range of citizens, employees and state officials. We don’t have that now.

That’s why it is vital to vote yes on the recall of Commissioner Berschauer.

Mary Adams


Reckless and wasteful

I have served in minor elected offices for more than 14 years, so I tend to give newly elected officials the benefit of the doubt -- i.e., time to learn the ropes. Overwhelmingly, they are educable, grow in the position, and at the very least try to act in good faith.

But Lindsay Berschauer seems to lack good faith, relish ignorance and resist growth.

I’m now 72 years old, and had never supported a recall election. That’s because until now, I had never encountered a local elected official so reckless, wasteful and harmful to her community’s economy and public health.

She has needlessly invited lawsuits against the county. Then, with the help of Mary Starrett, she persevered in hiring an old friend at taxpayer expense for more than $400 an hour to defend the indefensible. It’s a goldmine for old friends.

In fact, Berschauer has earned the distinction of being the first county commissioner in Oregon history to face a recall election.

Excelling at grandstanding, lawn-sign placement and foolishly spending public money does not qualify her to stay in office. Yamhill County deserves better.
Vote yes. Vote in the March 22 recall election.

Signe Johns


No more recalls

Really? Another recall?

Yes, it’s true. Another recall. This time against Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer.

This is actually the second recall attempt against Lindsay in less than six months. The first failed because of petition procedure issues, even though the recallers reportedly paid thousands of dollars to professional Portland area canvassers.

This new recall is being brought to us by people that just can’t wait until Bershauer would be up for re-election in 2024. They have created a bunch of false stories about her that are total baloney.

Berschauer is proving to be a great county commissioner. She is working hard for us.

Ballots are on the way in the mail. The last day to vote is Tuesday, March 22.

Vote no. No more Recalls. Let the votes that elected her last election count.

Helen Talt


Helpful reminders

Thank you, Lindsay, for the prominent reminders. As I drive Yamhill County roads and notice how you have bombarded local drivers with your picture and name, I remember.

I remember how you voted to discontinue the Yamhelas-Westsider Trail project and deprive the county of a more diverse economic base, not to mention the lost recreational opportunities. And I remember the tens of thousands of grant dollars the county must return as a result.

I remember the total lack of civility and professionalism you have continually shown county employees.

I remember the grotesque way you treated your opponent in the commissioner’s race and the way you continue to treat those of us “cockroaches” who dare to disagree with you.

I remember the way in which you have joined with your mentor Mary Starrett in attempts to place your own personal and scientifically unsupported opinions about the masking, vaccination, the pandemic and COVID treatment onto the county’s health website.

I remember you wasting hours of commissioner’s meeting time on a personal agenda that goes well beyond the scope of your role as a county commissioner and brought the potential for the loss of more county dollars through litigation.

Most of all, I remember I am going to vote for your recall and sincerely hope that others do as well.

Rick Thomas


Needs replacing

County commissioners are voted into office to conduct the business of the county. Why then, has Lindsay Berschauer spent her time and county resources on issues seemingly unrelated to her job description — issues related instead to her personal beliefs and those of the backers providing her financial aid?

What have taxpayers received in return for paying her salary?

- Repeated public denigration of the efforts of the Oregon Health Authority and the County Public Health Department regarding science-based COVID restrictions.

- Delayed distribution of more than $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds.

- Use of her position in an attempt to influence private litigation against her husband.

- Disregard of the state law protecting medical consent for teenagers.

- Threats to recall organizers by publishing their private information and by hiring a legal firm to pursue legal action against them.

- Financial losses to the county from a state grant repayment of more than $1 million.

- Passage of a gun sanctuary ordinance, ignoring concerns from our district attorney and sheriff, resulting in a lawsuit against the county.

- Wasting time at county business meetings to promote her own, divisive agenda and publicly berate the county staff.

Lindsay Berschauer, I’m voting yes on the recall because I want a commissioner who has the experience, ethics and professional skills to conduct the business of Yamhill County.

Carla Chambers


Stand up

Vote recall now.

Stand up to bullies. Don’t be sheep. Look to the future.

Our community, the county of Yamhill, has more than 100,000 hard-working citizens. For the greater good, they must vote to oust this wasteful, selfish, disastrous, for-the-few county commissioner, Lindsay Berschauer.

Dana Gray


Vote her out

Ballots in the recall election come out this weekend and are due back by March 22, during Spring Break. If you’ll be gone during Spring Break, please turn them in before you leave.

I urge you to vote yes to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. One of the main reasons I’m voting yes is her use of her position to pass and change laws and policies to conform to her vested interests — and those who financially supported her — instead of working on county business.

During the pandemic, Berschauer tried to strongarm our county health department by telling them to put unproven and sometimes dangerous advice on the county website. She defied the state’s COVID-19 policies on masking, and refused to promote safety through masking and vaccination.

Berschauer also tried to tell our county school boards how to run their schools. She co-authored and voted yes to create a Second Amendment Sanctuary, which violates state and federal law. The state is now suing Yamhill County over this.

As a former Timber Unity board member, she has accepted its financial support and in turn rallied for its trucker convoys in protest of COVID-19 safety precautions at the national and international levels. These are all outside the scope of her job.

When a commissioner spends money, eventually the county must raise taxes to pay for it. And Berschauer has spent money on pet projects that won’t benefit the county. That’s pure waste that everyone will be paying for with higher taxes in the future.

We have an opportunity to change our county’s representation. It’s time to put someone into this position who listens to and works for all the people throughout the county. Vote yes to recall Berschauer.

Dana Gilbert


County killed trail

I am writing to correct false information stated by Jim Talt in a Feb. 18 letter to the editor.

Mr. Talt cites an oft-repeated falsehood by stating the Land Use Board of Appeals stopped the Yamhelas Westsider Trail project. LUBA did NOT stop the trail!
If LUBA meant to stop the trail, it would have issued a reversal of the county’s conditional use permit, not a remand seeking additional justification. LUBA explicitly said it was not reversing, as the trail is not illegal.

LUBA did issue a series of remands. In each remand, it sided with trail opponents on some issues and the county on others.

A remand gives the county a chance to issue a response designed to meet the conditions LUBA has set out.

The Trail project died because Commissioners Starrett and Berschauer decided not to respond to the latest LUBA remand, choosing instead to inform LUBA the county was withdrawing its land use application.

The two commissioners also halted the master plan process that had been underway. That is where details were to be worked out to address specific concerns.
Land use in Oregon can be a lengthy process, and trails often take decades to develop. This process was ongoing when the new commission majority decided to pull out.

There are trails through agricultural land throughout the state and country that don’t infringe on farming activities. And 81% of Yamhill County voters support a safe walking, biking and horseback riding route between Yamhill and Carlton.

Given the fact the Yamhelas Trail’s proposed route has been a transportation corridor for 150 years, it’s the most sensible location.

Veronica Hinkes


Respect needs of others

Within two weeks, Oregon is going to drop its requirement that people wear masks in most indoor places.

Hurrah, you say. But this decision will put many Oregonians at greater risk of getting seriously ill or dying.

Why, you ask? These Oregonians are elderly or have compromised immune systems due to arthritis, diabetes, cancer, obesity or a host of other medical conditions and treatments.

Many have had to live in constant fear of catching COVID-19 because their bodies have no or limited resistance to the virus, even after getting vaccinated.

A high percentage of those who die from COVID fit into those two categories. With fewer people wearing masks, their chance of contracting COVID will increase, putting their health in greater jeopardy.

What can we do about this?

Certainly, the elderly or immunocompromised can remain isolated, subject to self-imposed house arrest. But they want to go out, too. With the protection they get when others wear masks disappearing, many of these people will continue to wear masks.

When we see someone in a mask after we are allowed to take ours off, let’s respect their choice. Let’s recognize their need to have to limit contact with others. Let’s give them some space when we are near them.

We need to recognize that, like us, they would like to throw their masks away, but it’s not safe for them to do so.

Let our actions show that our community recognizes the difficulties they face and that we are willing to adjust our behavior to allow them to get out in spaces that we have made safer for them. Let’s all help one another weather the rest of the COVID storm by respecting the health needs of many of our seniors and immunocompromised residents and visitors.

Arnie Hollander


A win-win

What does Putin want?

Ukraine’s rich agricultural and mineral resources? It’s frosting on the cake.

Retribution for killing Russians on Ukraine’s soil? Russians most likely did that and blamed it on Ukraine to justify the current military action.

Control of the Black Sea? Russia already has bases in Crimea.

Because Kyiv is less than 600 miles from Moscow? Bingo! It’s about fear.

Think about it. If Ukraine joins NATO, the West will have military bases and missiles on the Russian border.

Kyiv is less than 600 miles from Putin’s Moscow bedroom. That’s too hot for him. He needs a buffer zone between the West and Russia, the kind provided by Belarus and Ukraine.

Belarus is already an ally. Ukraine was an ally until the current president came into office.

Did the West put him there? So many conspiracy theories, so little time.

Regardless, the United States has allies. Why can’t Russia have them?

Solution? Ukraine does not enter NATO.

Done. Putin withdraws and can sleep at night knowing he won’t take a missile to his belly in the dead of night.

No more innocent murders in Ukraine. Win-win.

Sheila Hunter


Richness in diversity

Overprotecting kids causes damage.

It’s a misguided fear, anxiety and, yes, sometimes pride. The result is an adult extremely ill-prepared to handle life.

Right now, it’s very apparent in the critical race theory argument.

We have a bunch of parents who, in order to save their feelings, don’t want their kids to learn the facts. Or so they say.

We all know what actually lurks behind the curtain on this topic.

In my 51 years on this Earth, none of the people in my orbit ever took their lives, or became profoundly depressed, because they learned about how our American history unfolded. But I did have a biracial South African friend, my father’s best friend, who took his life because his childhood experiences in South Africa imprinted on him that his very existence was a crime.

That represents the true damage — teaching some human beings that they are less than others, not teaching our real history and why we should be better stewards to each other when it comes to diversity.

Teaching diversity, embracing diversity and making sure everyone in our collective orbits feels as welcome as anyone else. It could save lives.

Flowers come in many colors. All are beautiful.

Lisa McCracken


The Tax Me Fund

A major revenue surplus was recently announced. So why do we need a sales tax on luxury items to fund a homeless program?

Money could go for road repairs and so forth. Streets are still in disrepair and the forestry debt unpaid.

We citizens work, pay the taxes and stretch the dollar.

Many others who have chipped in in the past are now living on the streets. But illegal aliens, who are not citizens and don’t belong here, are benefiting from our labor.

Everything is already taxed. There are many hidden taxes. This must stop.

Our officials and legislators are not accountable stewards. A complete house-cleaning is what’s called for, with investigation of the squandering of our money

Charges should be levied.

The former governor of Arkansas proposed a resolution to create a Tax Me Fund. The first one calling for a new tax would be the first one hit up for a donation to the fund.

Wouldn’t that fill the bill? Our taxation resolved.

Mary Novak


Treasonous attack

I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that the purpose of elections is to determine what the majority of voters want or who that majority wants in office.

When some people don’t get what they want, or who they want, they are not allowed legally to protest violently.

The attack on our nation’s Capitol was nothing short of treason. The Constitution speaks of the punishment for treason.

If a voter doesn’t like the election results, the right thing for him to do is tighten his belt and join everyone else to get America’s business done.

America is crying for justice, and the Constitution spells out the just punishment for treason. We all know darn well what that punishment consists of.

Jim Shelton


Soft spot for France

I no longer have cable. I get my TV through the internet and I recommend it to everyone. It features interesting and educational programming.

I’ve been watching videos of Francis Scott Key and how he came to write our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. It brings tears to the eyes.

It’s not a history lesson, but a history reminder for those who do not know the story and may want to investigate. I hope some of our liberals watch it.

To this day, I’m sure we would have won our war with Great Britain if France had not helped us. That’s why I will always love France, no matter what.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from them to us.

Of course, after Germany invaded France, setting off World War II, it was our soldiers who ended up liberating their country. So they love us, too.
I hope that friendship is never lost.

Judy Hromyko




Reading the letters this week is extremely encouraging -- with the glaring exception of the peculiar allegation that “recallers reportedly paid thousands of dollars to professional Portland area canvassers” “REPORTEDLY?” So...a little bird told you? We can only assume the writer of that inflammatory statement didn’t cite a credible source because there isn’t one. Signatures were gathered by more than 200 VOLUNTEERS who truly care about the ethical administration of local government.
That was the agenda, full stop. We made a huge mistake in the last election. It appears that the citizens of Yamhill County have educated themselves and come to realize how severely we have been damaged by one utterly ill-considered choice. And it also appears that Berschauer is going to continue her costly antics with a lawsuit to promote chaos to the bitter end. True colors!

I have received my ballot and will be dropping it off ASAP. Please join me, vote YES. Together we can end this dark expensive chapter in Yamhill County’s history.

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable