Letters to the editor: April 22, 2022

Commissioner conundrum

The county commissioners’ move to change established criteria for American Rescue Plan Act funds, after applications have already been submitted and screened, is irresponsible.

Both the county and multiple legally recognized nonprofits are financially impacted by this last-minute change.

The county has invested many staff hours following the criteria the commissioners themselves set, only to have their work negated. Nonprofits, in good faith, spent time and money completing detailed grant applications, believing they were fully eligible.

Based on their well-documented personal opinions, it’s not surprising Commissioners Mary Starrett and Lindsay Berschauer fail to understand the positive cultural and social impact of nonprofits like Gallery Theater and the Chehalem Cultural Center — both called out as nonprofits the two commissioners “didn’t like.” It’s surprising they don’t comprehend the positive financial and economic impacts of these organizations and others like them.

These nonprofits attract people to our communities and events. which benefits multiple small businesses. They make our communities more attractive to tourists, which also benefits small businesses. And they employ people in Yamhill County.

One example of positive economic impact is the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival, held at the Chehalem Cultural Center.

The two-day event attracts an average of 5,000 people and around 50 small-businesses vendors. The attendees and vendors often frequent businesses while in Newberg.

The festival includes an art show and a large number of the paintings are of Yamhill County farms, creating a long-lasting legacy. The art show attracts 100-plus artists, most of whom come and stay for several days while painting.

The festival has been in Yamhill County for 17 years. It has grown to the point where it would be extremely difficult to continue without a facility and facilitator like the Chehalem Cultural Center.

Usually, mistakes are corrected moving forward, not backward.

If the commissioners would like to change the criteria they set forth, they should consider doing so for future grant applications. They should not negate applications already completed and submitted based on criteria they provided.

Though some nonprofits provide more critical services, these two provide longlasting financial and community-building benefits that also have significant value for our county’s citizens and businesses.

Marilyn Kosel



Can do better

The majority of our Yamhill County Board of Commissioners has again tossed aside procedures and convention to rule by personal preference.

In rejecting the recommendations of their own advisory committee on the distribution of federal ARPA funds to local nonprofits, they have violated their pledge of transparency.

Moreover, they are currently making no effort to seek further available federal monies for critical infrastructure improvements — funds that are ours only for the asking — suggesting instead that the obligatory constraints are too convoluted for our capable county staff to manage.

In other words, the members of our current county board majority are simply not doing the job for which they were elected.

I think we can do better. I think the people of our county deserve better.

May I recommend Harry Noah as our next county commissioner in Position 1, replacing the departing Casey Kulla? I have known Harry for more than a decade as my neighbor here on Grand Island, and have grown to appreciate him as a trusted friend and sage advisor.

He brings to his role as commissioner a remarkable background of success in land-use planning, management of large industrial projects, statewide administration of natural resources and the local growing and processing of food.

Harry has the temperament to listen to all of our citizens and the experience and the drive to actually put the office of commissioner to work on behalf of all of us.

Please support all of us by voting for Harry Noah for county commissioner. He is making the acquisition of already available federal infrastructure funds for Yamhill County his top priority.

Steve Bledsoe



A brighter future

I am puzzled. I am disappointed. But I remain hopeful.

Commissioner Mary Starrett has, time and time again, put her own self-interests and animosity for what she believes is “government overreach” in front of her constituents’ interests. She forgets that “government” is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

We, the people of Yamhill County, deserve the funds the federal Build Back Better program is providing. But Commissioner Starrett says, “We need to wean ourselves off grants, because what government gives, government holds conditions on.”

How can that be true when these funds will help us repair our roads and bridges, our water supply and our wastewater systems, as well as pursue other infrastructure projects? These are federal monies that “we, the people” have provided through our taxes, and they are coming back to us to help our communities thrive.

After working with commissioner candidates Doris Towery and Beth Wytoski, and learning about their commitment to the people of Yamhill County, I can see a brighter future for all our communities.

Liz Marlia-Stein



Plan ahead

Ms. Sheila Hunter:

A woman should have control over her own body, but when does life begin?

The fetus you talk of didn’t mysteriously show up. Remember, you were a fetus at one time yourself.

Our judicial system only has a death sentence for the most heinous of crimes, and the perpetrators get a jury trial with a judge and a couple of attorneys. But abortion destroys life all the same.

If you don’t want a pregnancy, you and your partner should plan ahead.

Henry Evers



Plant for future

Here’s something to do today in honor of Earth Day: Plant a tree — a native tree suited for our local environment.

We have lost so many here in Oregon.

Wildfires burned 1.2 million acres in 2020 and 518,000 acres in 2021 alone. Then there are all the trees lost in Yamhill County to vineyards in the last 30 years.

It’s time to replace our trees for the sake of our climate and natural habitat. If you don’t have ground to plant a tree, donate to one of the many tree planting organizations online — Trees for the Future, the National Forest Foundation, Tree Sisters or others.

Happy planting!

Alanna Pass



Protecting democracy

According to recent polling, 84% of voters — Republicans and Democrats alike — agree that no president, regardless of party, should be able to obstruct and undermine the will of the American people or exploit weaknesses in our political system for their personal gain. In our polarized politics, that level of bipartisan support is a huge deal.

So what can we do to protect our democracy from presidential corruption?

Pass bold legislation like the Protecting Our Democracy Act. If passed, it would prevent future abuse of presidential power and corruption, increase transparency, and ensure presidents of either party can be held accountable.

If the average person used public office for personal gain, he’d go to jail. So why should the president be allowed to act with impunity?

I’m urging Congress to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act. We must prevent future presidents from abusing the power of office.

Samantha Wright



UN needs to act

While the world watches, Putin is destroying cities and committing atrocities on innocent civilians.

The United Nations needs to take immediate action to stop this madman. Otherwise, it just shows itself to be a useless, bloated, corrupt agency.

The United Sates should then stop all funding for the UN and give it six months to move to the city of its choice in Europe.

Don Bowie



Don Dix

Don Bowie -- although the intent was otherwise, the UN has been that useless, bloated, corrupt agency since it's formation in 1945. It's been on a graduated scale of providing wind, shit, and excitement, but little real, valuable action.

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