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Letters to the Editor: March 18, 2022

Deserve better

I represent the Rural Engagement Project, a non-partisan voter education organization dedicated to increasing quality of life in rural Oregon and holding public servants accountable.

We’ve received broad support — from Republicans, Democrats, Independents and the non-affiliated alike — because quality of life is tied to the livability of our communities, not to the political ideas of our neighbors.

After considering all the evidence, the Rural Engagement Project has endorsed the Save Yamhill County effort to recall Lindsay Berschauer from the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners. In her year in office, Ms. Berschauer has inflamed public sentiment on a number of issues that fall well outside the scope of her office, while neglecting those that should have been her priority.

Commissioners are elected on a non-partisan basis because they are not meant to focus on larger political issues. Instead, they should be making improvements to water, roads and other infrastructure, sustaining and creating new avenues of economic development, and advocating for what’s best for the entire community.

Ms. Berschauer has failed in this regard, choosing to play to special interests and national issues. She’s had many opportunities to correct her behavior, but she hasn’t.

The taxpayers are paying Lindsay Berschauer $79,944 a year. Are they getting their money’s worth? It certainly doesn’t look like it.

When Save Yamhill County lost in its first attempt to get the recall on the ballot, it could have given up. Instead, it dug deep and did the whole thing over again. It doubled its team of volunteers and succeeded.

Surely, there are any number of people who could serve the people without the antics of Lindsay Berschauer. We know there are because Yamhill County has had good Republican commissioners in the past, some of which have endorsed the recall.

You deserve better. Vote yes on the recall.

Kelie McWilliams

Executive Director

 

True leadership needed

Yamhill County needs common-sense, well-informed problem-solvers to bring us together as a community instead of further dividing us. We need leaders able to stand in everyone’s shoes and look around until they understand each person’s perspective.

We need leaders who work to benefit all members of our community in spite of our differences. We need leaders who will deliver positive and beneficial results to all of us.

We need leaders with the maturity, collaborative ability, insight and intelligence to develop several alternative solutions — solutions that reflect our society as a whole, not just benefit a certain group of individuals. 

We need leaders who honor the efforts and progress of others, demonstrate open-mindedness to hear and take all sides into consideration, display creativity, flexibility and collaboration, and bring people together to discover win-win solutions.

We need leaders who build community vs. division, inclusion vs. exclusion, breadth of understanding vs. entrenched perspective — ethical and civic-minded leaders capable of both effective communication and effective listening. We need leaders who will leave their comfort zone and seek to understand others.

Vote yes to recall Commissioner Lindsey Berschauer

Steven Battaglia

McMinnville

 

About the people

When I moved to McMinnville in 2018, I found a kind and caring community of people. Everyone was so nice, smiling and welcoming.

Over the last few years — pandemic aside — I have seen and felt a shift in the overall atmosphere of this beautiful county.

I voted yes on the recall ballot because I want my local government to be about the people of this county, not the special interests of a few local, vocal and wealthy individuals.

I want a trail to walk, a common sense approach to health care and the freedom to express a dissenting view without fear of reprisal. I want that sense of community back!

Please. Vote yes on the recall. Then vote again in May to restore balance to the county board of commissioners.

Amy Karshner

McMinnville

 

Full of self-importance

I have reached the absolute last gasp of what little tolerance for County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer I may ever have had.

My wife and I volunteered to place informational door hangers around Mac and Newberg. In response, we have been accused by Berschauer of being paid to do the work.

This accusation is a blatant lie. And it’s just one among many by this woman, whose self-importance seems to reign supreme.

David Burch

McMinnville

 

Time to go

There have been a multitude of well-written letters recently in support of the effort to recall Commissioner Berschauer.

I was hesitant to add my voice. But I feel I must speak up, in much the same way I felt compelled to return my ballot the same day it arrived in my mailbox.

Ms. Berschauer has not, in good faith, supported Yamhill County as an elected official. Her actions have indicated a personal agenda that does not consider the welfare of her constituents.

This is evident in her trying to use her position to influence the DA in a case involving a person in litigation with her husband, and when Mr. Berry recused himself, the out-of-county prosecutor he asked to take over.

In the gun sanctuary ordinance, the DA and sheriff objected to some of the language. Both she and Ms. Starrett agreed to remove it, but when the DA and sheriff had to miss the next meeting, the two commissioners seized the opportunity to add the language back and pass the ordinance 2-1.

As a result, we are now being sued over it by the state.

She is unethical and self-serving. Time to go, Ms. Berschauer. Time to go.

Patricia Carlson

McMinnville

 

Had enough

County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer seems to think she is being recalled for her opposition to the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. The truth is she is being recalled for her inability to represent the people of Yamhill County on a variety of issues.

We elect our commissioners to do the business of the county. We expect them to function as part of a three-person commission, listening to the staff and making  decisions with the good of the entire county population in mind.

Berschauer has failed spectacularly at her job. She has pushed controversial measures that don’t represent the majority of voters in the county, serving only to keep her small base happy.

I have lived in the county for 50 years, and I have never seen a more divisive politician.

When she ran for the commission, she was a newcomer and thus not well known to most in the county.

She has shown her true character since taking office. Even past commissioners, both conservative and progressive, question the job she is doing.

Don’t be fooled by all the signs she has plastered everywhere. She is well-funded by special interest groups.

She does not represent the average Yamhill County voter.

She recently asked her supporters to contribute $17.76 to her cause. I’ll send her $20.22 if she agrees to resign.

Robert Bansen

Yamhill

 

Promises to whom?

It was comical to read Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer describing how she has kept promises to the taxpayers of Yamhill County.

I don’t recall her promising to make sure we taxpayers were left on the hook for over $1 million of Yamhelas Westsider Trail grants we had to repay. I suppose her refusal to even listen to Tualatin Valley Parks and Rec’s proposals to take the burden off the county must have been part of that promise.

Nor do I recall her promising to use our taxes to carry on her transparently political crusades against state gun policies — where the lawsuits and legal costs have just started — or COVID safety.

It might lead one to believe her only kept promises were her promises to use our taxpayer funds as an open checkbook to enact policies for her political cronies.

David Brock

Yamhill

 

Can't go unchecked

One of my earliest lessons about Yamhill County is that regardless of your position, you will win more with honey than vinegar.

As a union representative in Yamhill County, I represented collective desires in forceful ways to win the favor of my membership. While my intent was never malicious, my actions were not free from hurting good people on the other side of the county bargaining table.

But these are good people who have given most of the years of their lives to serving Yamhill County. Seeing them berated in a public meeting softened my perception of them.

County Counsel Christian Boenisch became a wry hero for me when he repeatedly advised the commissioners that they don’t determine what is constitutional through ordinance. County Administrator Ken Huffer is a dedicated county servant as well, and has continued to provide stability, acting with grace under very challenging circumstances.

Make no mistake: Lindsay Berschauer is a bully. Thanks to her, even parties who are obstinately opposed have joined together to do an incredible amount of useful pushing.

This is why Save Yamhill County features a coalition of neighbors with different ways of life and political affiliations, banding togetheer in response to her lack of leadership.

Good leadership means sometimes you have to change your approach.

By being an insufferable bully to everyone in her way, Lindsay Berschauer helped me change my own approach. Her bad example allowed me to see the humanity in people I thought were my enemies, and the labor relationship in Yamhill County is the better for it.

This recall process has shown you that Lindsay Berschauer will not change her approach. She is still doubling down on attacks to constituents and staff.

Berschauer is only able to cite frivolous, unlawful ordinances as achievements. She has offered you no reason why she should stay. She will not serve you in good faith unless you donate enough to her coffers.

We won’t agree on everything all of the time in Yamhill County. But right now, what most of us can agree on is that Lindsay Berschauer cannot continue like this unchecked.

Please vote yes on the recall of Lindsay Berschauer.

Paige Barton

Wilsonville

 

Not my commissioner

I drive from Mac to Carlton almost daily, so see the many large "No on Recall" posters in large agricultural fields. That’s understandable.

The poster at the entrance to the Carlton Seed facility is surprisingly candid: "Keep OUR Commissioner!"

I assume they want precisely what they say. I voted yes.

Dennis Isenburg

McMinnville

 

Politics of division

As a Yamhill County commissioner, Lindsay Berschauer has chosen politics of division. At a time residents desperately need unity, she has aggravated division by encouraging supporters to give out names and addresses of opponents.

Now, some of her followers have defaced signs urging her recall. This behavior is encouraged by the passive-aggressive politics practiced in Berschauer’s 10 years of career politician behavior in Oregon.

I urge all residents  to research her past, as she did in her disgusting smear campaign to win election. Look up Leona Consulting, the Oregon Transformation Project, Matt Wingard and  Stimson Lumber.

She has made a career of the politics of division. It’s time for a change. 

I am an independent not affiliated with any party, a fifth generation Oregonian from a farming and ranching family, a former educator and police employee, a former worker with emotionally disturbed children and a local resident since 1978.

I urge you to reject the ridiculous and outrageous behavior of someone who fans strife and anger. We don’t need career politicians supporting themselves by encouraging constant turmoil, which can cripple the ability of this county to move forward.

By her actions, she has encouraged thuggish behavior. If confronted, the commissioner can and no doubt will deny knowledge of such activity.

But she has certainly fanned the anger that can foster it. I call on the sheriff’s office to vigorously prosecute the perpetrators.

Thanks to all residents of this county who engage in legal and non-venomous discourse. We may not always agree, but working together, we can protect our rural heritage while advancing the interests and general welfare of all our residents.

Vote. It is your right and heritage.

Patrick McElligott

Dayton

 

Enough is enough

I’m voting yes on the recall because it's past time Lindsay Berschauer focuses on county business instead of using her position to further her own agenda and promoting divisive rabble-rousing and political agitation.

She should be finding ways to improve delivery of county services, not grandstanding on hot-button issues with a recitation of extremist talking points.

Lindsay Berschauer has to go. Enough is enough.

Turn in your ballots by Tuesday.

EJ Farrar

Amity

 

Her latest lie

I have watched the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners meetings every week for well over a year. I became concerned with our newest commissioner, Lindsay Berschauer, within a few months.

I became troubled because of her disdain for our hardworking county employees, her encouragement of distrust for our county staff, and her fixation to push items on the agenda that had nothing to do with county business during a time when strong leadership concerning county issues was needed.

Among other actions, she backed a Second Amendment sanctuary ordinance that left our county open to being sued by the state. She also tried to dictate what would appear on the county's public health website rather than support the experienced, respected director.

After six months of increasing concern, I decided to join with others in petitioning for a recall election. Since August, I've been gathering petition signatures, helping people register, distributing door hangers and observing the signature validation process — all volunteer work.

Through blistering heat, pouring rain and occasional hail, I've tromped through mud and ice, going door to door as the sun went down and light dimmed. Working with a flashlight, I've shown someone how to use their phone to register to vote.

I was never paid one red cent. I did it because I believe in this county and the people who live here. I believe we need to end the corruption Lindsay Berschauer has inflicted on this proud office.

Her latest lie, that we recall volunteers were paid, is a slap in the face of democracy. It upsets me greatly.

I am a retired 69-year-old educator, proud to be considered someone of merit. I am using my pent up energy to be active in the recall effort.

Sheila Barnes

McMinnville

 

Trail of destruction

I was astounded to read Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer’s ballot statement accusing recall proponents of Portland-style politics. Actually, it is Berschauer herself who is the longtime Portland-area political operative, with a history of attacking infrastructure plans and wasting millions of dollars.

In 2011, as a research associate at Portland’s Cascade Policy Institute, Berschauer worked to defeat the Portland Public Schools' $548 million bond issue, needed to repair and upgrade school buildings.

The measure lost narrowly. As a result, Portland school kids had to suffer with buildings in need of fire and earthquake safety and roofing, plumbing and electrical repairs.

In 2020, a new bond measure passed overwhelmingly. But because of increased deterioration and rising construction costs, Portland taxpayers will now pay $1.2 billion to repair their schools, an increase of a whopping $652 million that could have been avoided.

From 2011 to 2013, Berschauer was employed as director of the Oregon Transformation Project, funded to the tune of $650,000 by Andrew Miller, CEO of Stimson Lumber. Then she formed her own political consulting firm, Leona Consulting, where she worked to defeat an infrastructure project in which taxpayers had invested nine years and $175 million — the Columbia River Crossing.

The project was ready to go to bid when Berschauer helped kill it, wasting tens of millions. Replacement of the more than century-old bridge, which is not earthquake-safe and was never designed to handle modern traffic, will have to go forward at an undoubtedly much-increased cost.

Now Yamhill County has to pay back more than $1 million in grants for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail she derailed. And it has to pay outside counsel to defend the county in an unnecessary lawsuit she brought about.

Vote yes to recall Lindsay Berschauer.

Meghan O’Flaherty

McMinnville

 

Plenty of company

So, Lindsay Berschauer is concerned about holes in her political signs after she's doxed opponents.

She had signs installed before any election was scheduled. And the majority of her signs are inaccurate, as they endorse Ms. Berschauer for county commissioner, when the special election is concerning a recall.

Voters are not electing a county commissioner. They are determining whether or not a sitting county commissioner should be recalled. I would be happy to argue that since there is no county commissioner election in the current time frame, most of Ms. Berschauer's Yamhill county signs are of questionable legality.

Also, I've seen Berschauer signs posted in both Polk and Marion counties, yet neither Polk nor Marion residents are eligible to vote.

I suppose an argument could be made that Yamhill County voters would see the signs, as I'm a Yamhill County voter who saw them. But political signs are only allowed to be posted during specific time periods around an election, and neither neighboring county has one scheduled. Ms. Berschauer should be more familiar with political codes and restrictions.

In the interest of fairness, I give Ms. Berschauer credit for motivating me.

I'm an independent who prefers to vote for the person rather than the party. But her track record has been so abysmal that, for the first time ever, I reached out to a political group — Save Yamhill County — for training.

I became one of those "professional" signature collectors. I networked and drove around the county, annoying friends and friends of friends, who were gracious enough to let me do it twice.

And guess what? I'm not the only one who's been motivated. My yes ballot was dropped off last week and I'm sure it has plenty of company.

Patty O'Leary

McMinnville

 

Who we are

Yamhill County commissioners of all stripes have voted in ways that have made me pretty cranky. They have said things that have been factually incorrect and/or  viewed matters in ways other than I do.

But at no time in the 30 years of living here, have I thought that those commissioners should be recalled — until now.

There have been numerous letters to the editor detailing the illegal and unethical behavior of Lindsay Berschauer. I won’t reiterate them.

This is not about disagreeing with an elected official. It is about an elected official whose behavior has gone beyond disagreeable into the realm of unethical, extreme and illegal.

When I describe Berschauer to non-local friends, I simply say she is Yamhill County’s own Marjorie Taylor Greene. She brings out the worst in people. She and her followers don’t understand how a democracy works.

The Vote No crowd began their anti-democratic attack when petitioners for the recall began to collect signatures. Instead of simply not signing a petition, they interfered with the signature gatherers, intimidated and insulted the volunteers and sometimes even defaced the petitions.

Now they have graduated to the sign-stealing phase of their putsch, even going so far as to drive onto private property in order to knock down Vote Yes signs.

Childish? Yes, but more than that, anti-democratic.

That’s how bullies operate.

I know people who want the recall to succeed, but were afraid to sign the recall petition or put up Vote Yes signs because they were afraid of Berschauer’s wrath. And bullying hard-working county employees takes it one step further.

In his March 11th column, Jeb Bladine had it right when he said, “This election will tell Yamhill County much about who we are.” Vote yes to recall.

Ilsa Perse

Carlton 

 

Poisoning the community

My husband and I moved to McMinnville for the natural beauty of the surroundings, the gem of a downtown and the friendliness of the locals.

But sadly, in just the few years we've lived here, stark divisions wrought by the actions of County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer and her mentor, Mary Starrett, have so polarized people that this community no longer feels welcoming. It feels menacing.

I walk with my dog along the road I live on, and am nearly run over by trucks flying Fu**k Biden flags, confederate flags and 2nd amendment flags — trucks that don't slow down or move over a bit for an older woman and her little dog.

I feel afraid. But I continue to walk there because there are few other options in this town, especially since Berschauer killed the recreational trail that would have provided a safe place for people to exercise and get out in nature.

As a health educator, I know this is paramount to the health and wellbeing of a community. But in the present toxic climate — whipped up by Berschauer, who has never held a town hall or listened to anyone but her donors — the essential values of cooperation, openmindedness and access to the best this area has to offer have been seriously undermined.

I threw myself into this fight to preserve the once vibrant life of the community. If this selfish, undeserving woman isn't recalled, I fear McMinnville will no longer be a place anyone wants to live.

The saddest part is, Berschauer and her cronies won't give a damn!

Candace Bewell

McMinnville

 

Deserve better

I have been a close observer and participant in politics for more than 50 years, and have learned a thing or two along the way.

I have made peace with the fact that — as much as I would like it to be so — not all of our elected officials will promote my point of view. That’s OK, as everyone’s political views should be represented.

More important for elected representatives than their stances on issues are integrity, compassion, an understanding of the needs of those they represent and an ability to conduct themselves in a civil and professional manner. When those qualities are not present, the ill-suited representative should be booted out.

That is why, no matter what your political beliefs are, you must vote to recall Lindsay Berschauer. Even if she represents your point of view, we all deserve better!

Phyllice Bradner

McMinnville

 

Know how, but won't

In Scott Gibson's March 11 Viewpoints piece, it's hard to tell who the audience is. It's certainly not members of the Republican minority and anti-abortion theocrats.

The tactic of making abortions rare by enabling pregnancy to be a choice, which the author urges on Democrats, has been available to Republicans and their allies. Why have they not availed themselves of those tactics, rather that choosing to use the state's police powers and legislating from the bench?

Gibson's position is essentially that politicians of both parties should do what they have chosen not to do. And that is not a recipe for success.

We know how to make abortion rare. You make abortion rare by promoting affordable health care for everyone.

You do it by making contraceptives easily available. By providing reproductive education. By focusing the economy on the welfare of average people, not the rich, so people have good-paying jobs. By providing our children with a good education.

We've seen the results of making abortion illegal before. Rich women find a way to procure services from medical professionals, here or abroad, while poor women at best endure forced pregnancy or, at worse, death by non-medical abortion.

This is not the "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" envisioned in our Declaration of Independence.

The best we can do at the moment is to vote against any politician of any persuasion who wants to criminalize abortion. By all means, let's build a society where pregnancy can be celebrated by everyone and not a criminal sentence for some.

Paul Lemman

Newberg

 

Overruling science

Dr. Gibson’s “End of the Road for Roe?” was excellent as far as it went. And we are all pleased, of course, that the number of abortions has been reduced over time, at least partially due to improved availability of contraception.

However, I fear the end of Roe will trigger a concerted effort to make many forms of contraception unavailable. The finding in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (2014) was that for-profit corporations qualify for exemption from a regulation to which its owners object on personal religious convictions — in this case the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

The the anti-abortion movement has been increasingly tied to the question of when life begins.

The Christian right has more and more strongly argued that life begins with the egg's fertilization, not its implantation in the uterus. With this position, anything interfering with a fertilized egg's implantation would constitute an abortion. 

Hobby Lobby owners believe life begins with fertilization, thus that contraceptives thwarting implantation are abortive.

However, the contraceptives the plaintiffs targeted included both copper and hormonal IUDs, which are among the most effective means of contraception available. These are clearly not abortifacients and should not have been treated as such by the court.

The copper IUD inhibits mobility of the sperm. The hormonal IUD stimulates formation of a thick cervical mucus serving to block sperm.

Both actions occur pre- rather than post-conception. Does the Supreme Court have no responsibility to ensure its decisions are based on science?

Because misinformation and disinformation is so widespread, I believe, in the event Roe is overturned, we will see an endless effort by the Christian right to exclude the use of more and more currently accepted forms of birth control as abortifacients, even though they aren’t. Thus, we will never not need freely available abortion.

Les Howsden

Amity

 

Time to step up

This is National Women’s Month. It doesn’t appear to be so in Yamhill County, though.

You’d think the paper would publish celebratory pieces about successful professional women in Yamhill County. Instead we read a piece about abortion in B Section of last Friday’s paper, written, as usual, by a man.

Laws are being passed outlawing abortion even in the cases of incest and rape. If men want to pass laws regulating a woman’s sovereignty over their bodies, even if the pregnancy was the result of brutal force, then we need laws meting out comparable punishment on men.

Until men step up and bear 50% responsibility for pregnancy and childrearing — including married men whose wives work outside the home — men need to shut it.

Sheila Hunter

McMinnville

 

Republican no more

My definition of Donald Trump:

He is a lying, cheating, colluding, narcissistic, misogynist, racist, bully who's best friend is Putin. He does not believe in democracy, the law, the free press or equality.

I think all he cares about is himself and money. Maybe the Republican Party should move to hate group instead of political party status, since that is all it has been promoting.

America is great because we are a democracy with integrity. We believe in a free press and equality, not just money. Lets all try to remember who we are and what we stand for.

Thanks for letting me share my opinion. I used to be in the Republican Party. This is why I changed to independent.

Suzie Summar

McMinnville 

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