Letters to the editor: May 13, 2022

Passion for service

Fellow Yamhill County residents, I urge you to join me in voting for Dayton Mayor Beth Wytoski for Yamhill County commissioner. She is the best choice to represent us in Position 1.

I had the honor and privilege of serving with her on the Dayton City Council for eight years. In my opinion, she was and is the most outstanding mayor in Yamhill County.

Of all her fellow candidates, she has the highest level of relevant knowledge, experience and proven leadership. Her passion, strength and even temperament is exactly what we need at this time.

Beth's track record of civic and public service speaks for itself. Wherever she serves, she gives 110%. She rightfully wins service awards wherever she works or volunteers.

If elected, I am certain that she will serve all citizens of Yamhill County with the highest level of integrity.

John J. Collins



Fair and caring

For more than four years, I’ve been Harry Noah’s office manager.

He is the first boss I’ve ever had who is unfailingly fair and honest. He listens to all sides. He cares about people and their needs.

Harry is candid and accessible. And he always wants to hear directly from people about their concerns and their ideas about reasonable solutions.

I’ve watched the way Harry has conducted himself in his 100% positive campaign for county commissioner over the past four months.

Not surprisingly, his approach to politics is much the same as his approach to his businesses and employees. People matter to him.

He finds that solutions serving the common good are always best, and doing the right thing is more important than personal gain.

I recently asked him, “Do you think you will continue to knock on doors even after you are elected?” Not surprisingly, he said “Yes,” because Yamhill County is more than this election, or a tally of faceless voters.

He’s not out to deliver sound bites or slogans. He is out there running for the job of county commissioner because he shares your concerns and wants to bring all of us together for reasoned solutions.

The current game of politics has not been serving Yamhill County well. It has corrupted the basic functioning of the supposedly non-partisan board of commissioners.

It's time for change and healing to begin. It’s time for all the people to matter.

In this primary election, please do vote. Your vote for Harry Noah is a vote for a great commissioner.

Michelle Blumenthal



Climate and people

In a crowded primary for Oregon’s new 6th congressional district, one candidate rises to the top.

State Rep. Andrea Salinas is a champion for climate and people. As such, she’s earned my vote!

Andrea understands that we need bold climate action now that not only protects our environment, but makes sure no one is left behind. She’s ready to do the work to make sure our most marginalized and vulnerable communities get the resources and investments they need, that we have good-paying jobs in the clean energy sector, and that workers are supported as they transition into green economy jobs.

From her time as an advocate to her time in the state legislature, Andrea has prioritized climate action and environmental justice.

As a state representative, she helped pass milestone policies that phase-out dirty diesel engines, and put Oregon on a path to 100% clean electricity. She also championed Oregon’s historic farmworker overtime bill, which ensures farmworkers will finally have the same rights as all other workers in Oregon.

In 2019 and 2020, when Oregon Republicans walked out on the job twice to block the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, Andrea stood strongly in support. She saw the messaging from Timber Unity for what it was — anti-environmental as well as anti-democratic.

Andrea’s experience and commitment to Oregon values set her apart from her opponents. That’s why she’s the only candidate in the race endorsed by the Sierra Club and Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

I had the honor of working with Andrea when we served together on the Oregon League of Conservation Voters Board. I’ve seen her fight for climate policy here in Oregon.

I’m ready to see her fight for us in Congress. Please join me in casting a ballot for Andrea Salinas by May 17!

Ken Hayes



Needed more than ever

There is a decision to make in your Position 1 county commissioner race.

You have to choose whether roads, parks, services and programs take priority, or political agendas and infighting are the daily business. Which best serves the residents of Yamhill County?

Beth Wytoski has proven herself to be a leader who understands how to serve all the people of her jurisdiction, not just those who agree with her. She understands that county commissioners, like mayors, are in the business of governing, not getting bogged down in partisan politics.

Beth works hard to serve all of the people she represents, whether locally or statewide. As a fellow rural Oregon mayor, I can attest to her ability to bulldog the needs and desires of rural Oregon, as she represented me last year as president of the Oregon Mayors Association.

Beth is needed now, more than ever, to represent you. She can see that your needs and concerns are heard in years to come.

Vote Beth Wytoski for Yamhill County commissioner.

Mayor Rod Cross



Think again on Flynn

Has anyone other than me wondered how a no-name like Carrick Flynn, running for Congress in our new 6th district, has managed to pummel us all with his TV ads? That takes money and lots of it — $14.5 million at last count.

It turns out he’s being backed by a 30-year-old cryptocurrency billionaire, Sam Bankman-Fried, who doesn’t even live in the United States.

Is this what would be called a “special interest”? What favors would he get?

For that matter, what favors would he get from the Tualatin mayor, who provided Flynn with an endorsement. I would think more than twice before voting for this guy.

Judy Hromyko



Follow the science

I have been uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision for many years. It seemed to me that seven justices wanted a certain outcome and set about using creative legal rationalization to justify it.

“Follow the science” seems to be in vogue now.

Well, if you follow the science, the mass of cells growing in the womb of a pregnant woman can be determined to have 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. That is the number that determines that this is human tissue, and its genetic makeup would show that it is separate from the mother.

It must be alive. Otherwise, why would a woman need an abortion? The conclusion has to be that this is a human life separate from that of the mother.

Neither the right to choose or right to life is specifically addressed in the Constitution. But the 14th Amendment guarantees due process before any person can be deprived of life or liberty.

It seems somebody added the word “viable” to persuade us life in the womb is still sub-human in the early stages, and therefore enjoys none of the rights guaranteed to the rest of us. Opinion rules over science to justify termination of a human life.

Is a person in late stage dementia viable? How about a polio child who was confined to an iron lung in the ‘40s?

Signs carried by protesters proclaim, “My body, my choice” and “Keep your hands off my body.”

Tell that to the men drafted to fight and die in Korea, Vietnam or our world wars? Did they get a choice?

There are several stages in human life: Fetus, newborn, infant, child, toddler, grade schooler, teenager, young adult, middle age and senior. All have the same right to life, regardless of their “viability.”

Leonard Leis



Male privilege

There are several parts of Roe v. Wade that have not been discussed much.

We often hear of where life begins and ends. But we rarely hear about the right of privacy, illegal search and seizure, equal rights, equal representation and medical records privacy.

Abortion became illegal in Texas in 1854, more than 60 years before women gained the right to vote.

Having no right to vote would today be a violation of the 14th Amendment, as this was a case of all male representatives making law that affected all female constituents. It’s what we would today call “male privilege.”

The Supreme Court has long recognized a fundamental constitutional right of privacy. That’s what was judged to protect a woman’s right to choose under Roe.

The government also has an interest in protecting women’s health and prenatal life. Texas law making it a crime to even assist a woman in getting an abortion would seem to violate this right.

Woman make up 50.8% of our population. But only about 18% of our congressional representatives are female, and when Texas Republican Rep. Roger Williams recently referred to one of them as a “bitch” on the Capitol steps, he was by no means the first.

We have had 44 women serve as governor. But Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia have never elected a woman to the post.

Women have a right to be angry, as they continue to be oppressed by a system steeped in male privilege.

The Supreme Court is upset about leak of this opinion violating its right of privacy. That’s kind of ironic, figuring their decision is based on violating a woman’s right of privacy.

Troy Prouty



Authoritarian tide

It should come as no surprise that the authoritarian tide we are living through is about to wash away rights that women in this country have enjoyed for almost 50 years.

Mitch McConnell deserves a standing ovation for his skillful hypocrisy in producing the zealot-laden court capable of bringing this about. With a little luck, this court may manage to cancel the entire twentieth century and all the social benefit it provided. 

Credit to the forces of the right for keeping their eye on the ball for so long.

But it does surprise me to see Louisiana is leading the charge to bring this new opportunity to its logical conclusion. Its Legislature is saying the quiet part out loud, and everyone should listen:

If abortion is murder, then all the conspirators should pay a price for the homicide. That includes the killer, the one who hires the killer, and every person who facilitates the offense.

So simple. So pure. So logical. Anyone who shrinks from their conclusion is ducking the question.

This is where the minority is headed, and it has the tools and the will to drag us along if we allow it.

So what other rights are these folks about to curtail or push down to the states for enforcement?

The right to marry who you want, regardless of race or sex? The right to have your vote count, regardless of your zip code? The right to public education?

The right to survive a late-night traffic stop? The right to push for a union in your place of employment? The right to purchase birth-control products?

Don’t expect to maintain any of these rights if this authoritarian crew prevails in the next couple of elections.

Our billionaires are smiling at the prospect. They like their chances.

Do you like yours?

Bill Johnson



A butter dish plan

When my husband and I bought our first refrigerator, we knew it was a big expense, so we researched refrigerators for weeks. Flush with data, we went shopping.

The salesman was helpful and very enthusiastic. Confident he was going to make the sale, he tried to close the deal by saying:

“You’ll love this refrigerator. It even keeps butter at the perfect temperature!”

My husband and I looked at each other. That sounded good, but we were not as gullible as he thought.

“I like my butter really cold,” my husband said. “Well, this built-in butter dish will keep it hard as a rock,” promised the salesman.

“But,” I said, “I like my butter soft.” “No problem,” he exclaimed. “It will be just the way you like it!”

This was obviously nonsense, as butter compartments can’t read minds or feature dual temperature controls. So we thanked him and left.

The other night, I attended the first hearing on the Three Mile Lane Area Plan. Much of the discussion focused on the proposed redesignation of 68 acres south of Highway 18 to C-3 to permit development of a large retail shopping center — the central feature of the plan.

As might be expected, there was a lot of confusion over this. Would it be an intimate, pedestrian-friendly development with small shops and cute cafés? Would it instead be a giant Costco complex or another redundant strip mall?

For that matter, do we need or want a big shopping center? And how much traffic would it generate?

We were assured the plan was “wholly aspirational,” that specific decisions would be made later. We also learned that the existing zoning code for C-3 deals mostly with signage, so there are no guarantees about what we would actually be able to require, now or later.

This is a butter dish plan. We need solid, current data and approved zoning ordinances in place, not just recommendations.

You can believe what you want, but it’s better to rely on hard facts instead of promises. Once you buy the refrigerator, you can’t retrofit the butter dish.

Margaret Cross



Demands careful thought

COVID-19 has weakened public involvement in the planning process for two years. At the same time, the city has been moving forward on development plans that could lead to a huge regional shopping center on the south side of Three Mile Lane.

What started as a 33-net-acre project is now joined by almost 30 adjoining acres with active applications for rezoning to commercial use. It could have an enormous impact on our community and raises important planning questions that need serious public discussions.

Traffic implications will be major, and the plan to address them remains unclear.

Would we still have a functional bypass? Would its development interfere with our long range plans for a broader regional bypass?

Is a roundabout reasonable? How about lack of an overpass for pedestrians crossing the highway?

What is the real impact on local businesses? And is the increase in lower-wage retail jobs really good for our long-term economic growth?

Recent ads in the newspaper for an in-person public meeting to review the Third Street Improvement Project show that we are finally returning to more significant public input. That is how we do things in McMinnville.

But a plan that may facilitate this huge shopping center just has not had enough focused public involvement.

Developers suggest we address all of our questions when they finally submit a detailed plan. But we need a clearer vision of what this means for our community first.

Can we please just take some time for meaningful public input before making such a major decision?

Marilyn Worrix



Keep malls off 18 

Regarding the Three Mile Lane Area Plan:

Since 1999, I’ve commuted more than 50,000 miles by bicycle. 

I’ve taken many, many trips among Dayton, Lafayette, and McMinnville. I’ve ridden on both Highways 99 and 18.

While I applaud plans to create separate bike and pedestrian lanes, and even safer separate paths, I will work against developing regional shopping complexes on the land along Highway 18. And I join many other citizens of this county in that.

We don’t want McMinnville to be “on the way USA,” thanks to another boring barrage of franchise stores run by a New York developer.

Let’s instead invest our effort in attracting living-wage  jobs and quality of life transit corridors. Let’s focus on making McMinnville unique by supporting locally owned businesses and an economy that invests in local families.

Our prosperous future depends on an economy that is accountable to and for the benefit of us.

Tad Beckwith



Shades of Tanger

The Three Mile Lane Area Plan brings the Tanger Outlet Mall project to mind.

Folks driving by on the Highway 18 bypass didn’t stop to shop, and the local population’s needs were not great enough to support it.

So the mall went bust. Now it is home largely to medical offices.

I recently heard a story about Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville buying a failed shopping center and using it with great success.

In fact, its first shopping center conversion worked so well it is  buying another failed shopping center for its next expansion. The ample parking and easy access make retired shopping centers ideal for medical uses.

The need for the retail center portion of the plan is questionable.

Will folks driving by stop? Will it draw some of the existing retail businesses from McMinnville, leaving more empty storefronts around town? Will internet retailing become even more dominant, making a huge retail expansion unnecessary?

When the planned retail space next to our hospital goes bust, it’s well-placed to support future hospital expansion. This is the only part of the plan that makes good sense to me.

Jake Rockwood



Red wave on way 

Last night I watched The Verdict, starring Paul Newman. In his closing argument to the jury, Newman said,

“We become tired of hearing people lie and after a time we become dead. We think of ourselves as victims ... and we become victims. We become weak. We doubt our selves. We doubt our beliefs, we doubt our institutions and we doubt the law.”

The movie was released in 1982. How prophetic it is in describing today’s America.

We get bombarded daily with lies from Biden, Psaki, Mayorkas, Schiff, Schumer and Pelosi about the border, inflation, critical race theory, racism, white supremacy and many others.

You Democrats have been uncovered for the liars you are. A red wave is coming in November.

Robert Long



In fear of fire

On May 5, the McMinnville Fire Department had to send trucks and crews to put out a large wildfire caused by unattended and unsupervised agricultural slash burns.

It was on property next to ours that is being cleared by one of the largest hazelnut growers, developers and packers in the area.

This is a repeat of a fire last May on the same property that spread to our property and came within minutes of burning our barn down. It was also caused by  unattended and unsupervised agricultural burns.

Last year, I complained to the Oregon Department of Forestry agent in Forest Grove, who is responsible for this area, and was told supervision is not actually required. He said he conferred with McMinnville’s fire chief, who agreed.

I believe unattended and unsupervised agricultural burns endanger neighbor farms and forests. And it  costs taxpayers to have the fire department send trucks and crews to put out such irresponsible fires — not just once in this case, but twice already with who knows how many more to come.

We shouldn’t have to live in fear of fire.

Michael Losonsky




vball fan

Robert Long, A blue wave is here due the Trumpism radical right that showed the liars and cheats the GOP are. The blue wave is here to stay!

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