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Letters to the Editor: Sept. 30, 2022

A benefit to all

I was most disheartened to read that our News-Register staff does not support Measure 111, which obligates the state of Oregon to make sure that every resident has access to affordable, cost-effective, clinically appropriate healthcare without going into debt.

The News-Register staff fears the measure would “unleash a torrent of litigation, potentially forcing the state to raid funds earmarked for schools, parks, roads and other vital citizen needs.”

Clearly, the staff is mistaken, as the measure requires the state to balance fulfilling this constitutional obligation with its need to fund all other essential public services. If the Legislature determines current policies are not fulfilling this obligation, it will work with experts to create policies that do fulfill the requirement.

High healthcare costs jeopardize the financial stability of people in Oregon. Some have used up most or all of their savings because of medical bills, others have had to file for bankruptcy, and then there are those who have had to skip medications or cancel doctors’ appointments.

Two pharmacists in my family have told me how heartbreaking it is when they tell their customers the cost of a medication, only to have them turn away and leave.

What is the matter with us? How can we keep allowing so many Oregonians to suffer when we finally have a measure that will begin to address everyone’s right to have a healthy life?

We will all benefit from this. It is simple, it is efficient and it is fair.

Please vote for Measure 111.

Liz Marlia-Stein

McMinnville

 

Parks getting neglected

How wonderful to see the city focus on parks. But wouldn’t some of the $250,000 master plan money be better spent on maintaining current parks rather than looking to expand the system?

The Public Works Department can barely keep up with the mowing, trash clean-up, graffiti removal and other maintenance needs of the city’s present parks and boulevards. Fortunately, volunteers have worked to cover what is left undone.

A good example is the overused City Park. The trails there have not been maintained, and that’s not all.

More than two-dozen large trees have fallen down or been cut down in the last five or six years.

And how many new ones have been planted as replacements? One — by a volunteer!

Cyclists and skateboarders aren’t discouraged from riding down the steep hillsides, causing soil compaction and subsequent erosion. The rhododendrons along Second Street were overpruned by an overzealous prison crew about five years ago, killing many of them, and nothing has been done in the way of replacements.

It is a tired, sad park that needs caring and management. And I don’t think it’s the only one that needs attention and investment.

Yes, it is good to look to the future. But please also care for what we have.

Kathleen Culbert

McMinnville

 

People over politics

I urge Yamhill County voters to support Beth Wytoski for county commissioner in the November election.

Beth has 14 years of experience as an elected member of the Dayton City Council and nine years as mayor of Dayton, doing the non-partisan work of improving local infrastructure, protecting natural resources and growing the economy.

She has utilized grants from state and federal sources to augment local tax revenues. She was chosen president of the Oregon Mayors Association in recognition of her leadership skills.

Beth had been endorsed by the current and former mayors of every city in Yamhill County, countless former county officials and lots of local farmers. The Homebuilders Association of Metropolitan Portland endorsed and supports her candidacy in recognition of her efforts to facilitate housing development within the city of Dayton.

By contrast, her opponent has no experience at all as an elected official.

As mayor of a small city, Beth knows that there are never enough dedicated employees to accomplish all the tasks of local government. If she received a federal grant opportunity to recover for county residents a share of the taxes they had already paid, she would sit down and read the 64-page description of eligible projects and reporting requirements, then go about securing the assistance.

Voters can find detailed descriptions of her priorities for county government on her website, BethWytoski.com, as well as an extensive list of committed endorsers and supporters.

Beth Wytoski puts people over politics.

Peter Gladhart

Dayton

 

Tireless advocate

I am writing to encourage folks to re-elect Zack Geary to the city council.

I have served with Zack on the board of the McMinnville Downtown Association, so have witnessed his dedication to our community first-hand. He thinks creatively, is a tireless advocate for his fellow McMinnvillians and works hard to get the job done.

Zack was instrumental in developing successful events for the MDA, like the much beloved Concerts on the Plaza. As councilor, I appreciate his dedication to thinking outside of the box.

He considers how the council’s decisions affect all members of the community, not just the people we see and hear from regularly, but also people who may not have as loud a voice. He works hard for the whole town.

Please re-elect Zack Geary this November.

Sylla McClellan

McMinnville

 

Basic human right

Reading your assessment of Measure 111 makes me think that somebody forgot to read more about this measure.

I’m not surprised you have found lack of support for Measure 111 from the Republican Party. That party has never supported labor laws that benefit the working class. I know of one, off the top of my head, though there are perhaps a couple more.

Measure 111 is a laudable goal for sure. It would not take money from schools, nor would it constitute a tax increase. It would only change the language in the state’s constitution.

With Measure 111, the state would have to provide access to cost effective and  clinically appropriate health care. It would be up to Oregon lawmakers to determine how and if state law would change in accordance.

Measure 111 has a long history with state legislators, having been introduced in 2007, 2008, 2015, 2018 and 2020. In 2021, it was finally passed as a referral to voters.

I sat in on the Senate Health Care Committee when Rep. Mitch Greenlick, author of this idea, was given a “courtesy hearing” on it in the form of House Joint Resolution 203. The committee refused to provide a formal hearing, even though it had already been passed by the House.

A member of the committee mentioned having discussed the measure with her husband, and Greenlick responded, “I do not care what your husband thinks. I want to know what the people of Oregon want.”

I am with Greenlick. Let the people speak

You can view Greenlick’s House floor speech of 2/13/18 on predecessor HJR 203, known as the Hope Amendment, on YouTube. He tells a personal story about his own health and explains why healthcare needs to be recognized as a human right.

Mike Sullivan

McMinnville

 

Get cars off Third

While I was sitting along Third Street recently, a bus went by.

It was as long as two storefronts and fully as wide as the lane it was on. Its roof was about level with the second floor of the adjacent buildings.

It reminded me of my tours on buses making their way down streets not designed for them.

With its increased demand for parking, public restrooms and drinking fountains, tourism could eventually put Alien Days and Turkeyrama in the shade. And locals can’t leave town for an entire summer to escape.

There is no turning back, but we can stay ahead of this trend. We can turn the downtown into a mall.

It would take pressure off the city to uproot Third to maintain the flow of auto traffic and turn downtown it into a spacious, shopper-friendly place with trees, fountains, benches and public restrooms. For bus parking and collection of tour customers, there is the Chemeketa Mall and Highway 18, providing revenue for both Chemeketa and the city.

Highway 18 could also be used for actual, low-cost apartments for those low-income workers without whom the tourist industry would be impossible. A shuttle service would provide jobs for workers and take both workers and tourists around the area, preserving downtown parking for local businesses and residents.

Some part of this needs to happen, with or without tourism. But it does not need to happen overnight. And the costs can be at least partially offset through parking fees and room taxes.

Imagine McMinnville in 20 years if the tourist issue is not dealt with now.

Darrell King

McMinnville

 

Make it plant-based

I just learned about World Day for Farmed Animals, coming up Oct. 2, on Gandhi’s birthdate. Around since 1983, it is meant to memorialize the billions of animals abused and killed for food each year.

Like many, I always considered farm animals only as a source of food. But after recently watching the documentary Speciesism, I realized that farm animals are much like our family pets, deserving of love and respect.

I’ve learned that farm animals get neither on today’s factory farms.

Male baby chicks are ground up alive or suffocated in garbage bags. Hens are crowded into small wire cages that tear out their feathers.

Breeding pigs spend their lives pregnant, in metal cages. Calves are snatched from their mothers upon birth so we can drink their milk.

The cruelty of factory farming drove me to replace animal products in my diet with plant-based meat and dairy items. I have since learned that my cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and the health of our planet.

Milo Nakamura

McMinnville

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