Letters to the Editor: April 21, 2023

Safety first

We deserve to have a safe and reliable fire service. We deserve assurance that an ambulance or a fire engine will be immediately available to respond when we call 9-1-1.

Why should our paramedics and firefighters suffer, causing our community to suffer?

They are working with slim crews, constant overtime and engines only staffed with a driver and captain, with no firefighting crew. They tell us the station needs maintenance and repair, their engines and ambulances are aging out and, worst of all, some of their equipment is beginning to fail on emergency calls.

We need to do better.

Voting Yes on Measures 36-226 and 36-227 would improve response times by building two new substations. A yes vote means more firefighters and paramedics available to respond to you in emergencies, and the repairing and updating of the necessary equipment.

It’s simple. Why shouldn’t we be safer?

Jorge Duran Estrada



A valuable asset

I served on the school board with Larry Vollmer for many years. He has many qualifications that make him a valuable asset.

I observed that he has consistently focused on the needs of all students, utilizing a vast knowledge of the school system amassed over the many years he has served our community in his position.

Because of his unique, hands-on experience, I encourage your vote for him to continue in his capacity as a school board member. Please continue your support for Larry Vollmer.

Dr. Tim Roberts



School board packing

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, conservatives have needed a new wedge issue.

That issue has become transgender identity, particularly as it relates to schools, bathrooms, sports and transition-related medical care. In just over two years, at least 20 states, all Republican-controlled, have enacted related laws.

Banning books and limiting the teaching of Black history are secondary parts of the same movement.

There are an estimated 1.5 million trans adults and 300,000 trans children in the U.S. No LGBTQ individuals chose to be who they are, and certainly no trans individual. A significant number know they aren’t actually the gender designated at birth by the time they enter school, or shortly thereafter.

Conservatives say, “We must protect the children.” But their actions are destroying children.

Most parents grow to accept and support trans children. It is ironic that conservatives want parents in general to have more say, but not when it comes to trans children.

In order for gender transition to be completely successful, it must be started before puberty. Blocking access until the age of 18 is a great disservice.

Conservatives make a concerted effort to pack local school boards with people intent on imposing very restrictive positions.

It concerns me when I hear local board candidates say, “I will listen to the voice of parents” or will take a “parents first” policy. To me, this is code for, I want to ban books, ban support for LGBTQ students, deny that racial bias is still prevalent and ignore our history of slavery, Jim Crow and mass incarceration.

We need a better way of evaluating such candidates. I think each candidate should be required to answer relevant questions for publication in the newspaper.

Les Howsden



End the indoctrination

School board seats have become the most critical political offices of our time.

I used to think school board service wasn’t much to think about when casting my ballot, and many others seemed to have the same opinion.

But over the past 30 years or so, we have let our children down. Throughout the country, school boards have been seized by leftist and Marxist extremists.

I am lucky my children have made it through the system without too much indoctrination. My grandchildren have not fared so well.

The one good thing that may have come of the COVID pandemic is giving parents a look at what was being taught to their children.

I still do not have a clue as to where the McMinnville school board candidates stand on issues. The News-Register did offer up a hint in the Whatchama column dated April 14, though.

I want to make the most informed decision possible about these candidates. But I am still not yet ready to check any boxes.

I can look at the homes and the signs in those yards and assume those candidates might support some of the controversial issues that I am opposed to, based on previous election signs in their yards. Is that really a fair way to decide?

Would a debate or town hall help in making this decision? I don’t know, but I do feel this is a time we need to make a stand for our children and our country.

Candidates, please write a letter to sell me on why you are a better choice than your opponent. Editors, please run a story on what these candidates support and what they oppose so the people of McMinnville can make an educated choice.

Tim Horrell



The right time

Seeing RB Rubber leaving McMinnville is a milepost.

My father, John Klaus, developed the RB manufacturing process in a small shop next to the railroad tracks on East 12th Street. Not being encumbered by formal education, his mind was always at work as to what might be possible, often to my mother’s dismay.

Uninterested in the mundane world of business, he sold the process to Ron Bough of McMinnville. Thanks to steel mill connections, Ron grew the business into a vibrant and valuable employer.

The business has long been out of compliance at its Eighth Street location. It has also generated an odor making it less than the best neighbor, but then so did the railroad.

I once worked there. It was a tough job then — hot, dirty and smelly — and seemed to remain that way to the end.

But all along the way, the company provided a product so in demand that it generated profits that would have make my Dad proud.

Today’s zoning, permits and state reports would have stifled Dad’s active mind, as it would have, I think, of many creators of the period. He was just born at the right time.

Dean Klaus



Vast experience

I am delighted to be writing to endorse Lu Ann Anderson for a position on the McMinnville School Board.

I have known Lu Ann professionally and personally for 11-plus years now. I have seen her work at the university level and throughout public schools.

Lu Ann is an excellent candidate for the school board, as she has vast experience as a teacher and school administrator. She is ethical, honest and wise. She is also compassionate, fair and determined to work for the best outcomes for student learning.

Through these qualities, Lu Ann would provide valuable insight into matters pertaining to our education system. She is also highly versed in legalities of public school systems.

She would be an incredible asset to the board. She has my highest recommendation.

Vote for Lu Ann Anderson for the McMinnville School Board. She will exceed your expectations.

Ann Ziehl



Sinister agendas

Having observed the election signs that have gone up around McMinnville in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a familiar pattern.

Signs with pictures on them are grouped together, and funded together, like it was when Lindsay Berschauer and Kit Johnston took over the county commission. But these smiling faces belie a more sinister agenda.

If you want the chaos of our county commission to infect our well-managed and highly successful McMinnville schools, go ahead and vote for the Lindsay Berschauer cabal.

As for me, I don’t want that. I want schools that function for our students, including my son.

Schools are complex operations that require a high level of dedication, intelligence and maturity to govern. Even in the best of circumstance, it is hard work.

The last thing we need are fringe candidates advocating book bans, curricular interference or whatever the rightwing talking points du jour happen to be. These distractions are detrimental to an institution in our town that has functioned well.

If you need a counterpoint, please see the Newberg School District chaos and the implications it has for its home community.

In my opinion, it goes without saying that you should vote for incumbent members of the board.

Larry Vollmer has been a stable leader on the board for many years. Gerardo Partida has come up to speed and shown true interest in the hard work of this board. They deserve re-election.

Beyond those no-brainers, please don’t vote for candidates who put a photo and a pithy, meaningless statement on their election signs.

Make no mistake, they don’t want to make your schools function well. They have an agenda driven by their benefactors — the same folks who brought you Berschauer, Starrett and Johnston.

Just say no to chaos.

John Linder



Looking for help

My brother and his wife have been homeless in Yamhill County for most of the last two years. They have repeatedly tried to see someone at the Yamhill County Housing Authority and YCAP, to no avail.

There are no shelters available that I can find. Why does this community not have emergency help for the homeless, especially those with children?

I sent the following e-mail to Gov. Tina Kotek’s office in Salem, as this was her platform – providing help for the homeless and making sure everyone had a place to lay their head. Let’s see how long it takes to get some sort of action-oriented response:

“My brother and his wife … have been homeless for the last one-plus years.

“We applied and received a temporary occupancy permit from the city of Lafayette last October and got it extended once. They have been trying to deal with the Yamhill County Housing Authority, (but) have gotten nowhere … The temporary permit expires today and they are homeless again.

“They have a 13-year-old who goes to school, and they are heading to the river in Lafayette to camp out. This (child) has to shower and be around other kids in school and this is unacceptable.

“They need temporary housing assistance immediately. They are homeless and do not have a phone or access to internet or e-mail.

“Can someone give me a number they can call to get some help, where someone will pick up the phone rather than (take) a voicemail. Local agencies won’t return their calls or see them in person.

“They have been given the run-around over and over. Why is it someone who needs this state’s help cannot get it?”

I hope the local newspaper will run an article on the severity of this issue and bring it to the public’s awareness.

The Housing Authority lack of help, YCAP lack of help and lack of emergency shelters need to be brought to light. Someone should be held accountable.

Michael Cranmer


Editor’s Note: In addition to writing regularly on the issue, the News-Register has a major reporting project in the works.


Endorsement disappoints

I am writing this letter to share my disappointment with how you handled a school board candidate, my friend, Anita Humlie. Your words sounded like you hadn’t interviewed her at all.

Your supposed facts were inaccurate and incomplete.

First, she is not a “native from rural Alaska,” but was born and raised in rural Oregon. She lived in Alaska, but moved back to McMinnville in 2005.

She worked for the McMinnville School District from 2007 to 2018. She is very knowledgeable with how the school system works.

Second, you never shared why she is running. You simply left that part out and immediately jumped to your forgone conclusion that her opponent, the incumbent, was the man for the job.

As a man, I’ve never understood the term “mansplaining” until now. You basically told her and the other female candidate that there are other volunteer jobs they could apply for if they are wanting to serve.

I’m very disappointed in your process of endorsing candidates. I hope that this will help to set the record straight.

John Spitzer



Takeover threat

Our county’s far right extremists are trying to take over our school board in May balloting, as they did in Newberg. And if they succeed, they will destroy the quality of our schools, as they did there.

According to reliable sources, they have selected three candidates and are providing significant financial support to them in hopes of gaining control of our board. That would be a disaster for our school district.

If you value your children’s education and future, and the future of high-quality education in our McMinnville schools, you must vote to defeat these three.

For position 4, vote for the incumbent board chair Larry Vollmer, and for position 5, incumbent board member Geraldo Partida. Both of these men have participated and guided the board exceedingly well in prior years.

For position 7, vote for Doris Towery, whom I know from the Cancer Foundation and other worthy organizations here in McMinnville.

She is both smart and very capable. She would be a great asset to the board.

I believe this is the most important school board election yet to occur here in McMinnville. The future of our schools is at stake.

You must make your voice heard.

Steve Rupp



Saving lives

While we will be voting on the “fire” district in May, keep in mind that most of the sirens you hear leaving the station emanate from ambulances on their way to try and save lives. Their highly trained EMT crews are a critical part of our community’s health care system.

We support that health care system annually with thousands of dollars in health insurance payments coming from our own pockets, those of our employers or the federal government, or some combination thereof.

The new fire district, representing a merger of the McMinnville Fire Department and McMinnville Rural Fire Protection District, promises to provide faster, more reliable ambulance service. It promises to deliver us to the hospital in a condition giving the medical staff there a better chance of saving us.

Yes, it figures to cost us $2 per thousand of assessed property value, which represents $600 on a house assessed for tax purposes at $300,000. But this is a relatively small amount in relation to the annual cost of medical care.

As a bonus, the new McMinnville Fire District will also provide better protection from fires, helping to keep home insurance rates reasonable.

Please join me in voting yes on Measures 36-226 and 36-227.

Mark Davis



No pestering, please

Trails are liberal.

Trails promote health and well-being, which are known liberal values. They might even be socialist, like public schools, fire protection and safe roads.

Don’t get me started. Health and well-being have been associated with vaccines and Anthony Fauci.

Health and well-being will ruin the economy because they help people live longer, happier lives than they deserve. That will tax our resources, and taxes are bad.

Trails don’t belong in Yamhill County. Trails are the enemy of farms, roads and businesses.

Trails don’t make anybody any money. If we spend money on trails, we won’t be able to spend money on other stuff, like ANYTHING.

Our fearless leaders will raise our taxes. And that is almost worse than being forced to get vaccinated.

Let’s talk about bridges, because bridges are sometimes included in “trails.” Some people might call this guilt by association, but I see it differently.

There’s no association between bridges and trails. They’re not brother and sister, nor even first cousins. They’re the same darn thing.

We cannot ask taxpayers to put up wheelbarrows full of money — estimated by a person who actually knows something about money — just so people don’t get their feet wet when they’re listening to birds singing or looking for cattails or holding their granddaughter’s hand.

But now is not the time to talk about trails. We’ve barely gotten over the trail-induced trauma of the past several years.

Every time someone brings up trails, our commissioners get heartburn. And heartburn is a public health issue, so we shouldn’t be spending money on it.

We would do better helping our commissioners find ways to avoid answering questions without being rude. Or actually answering any questions.

I’m not making any of this stuff up. I leave that to others.

Quit bothering our commissioners.

Patrick Vala



Don’t emulate Newberg

The school board races in McMinnville, and all of the slick signs and cookie-cutter websites of some of the candidates, has me curious.

I have a unique perspective as a retired police officer who served as the police association’s Political Action Committee president and briefly served under contract as the McMinnville School District’s safety manager at the beginning of this school year.

My experience with the dedicated district staff and dedicated and effective school board incumbents has me asking myself why the sudden interest in replacing members who have done such an outstanding job providing the best education for our students.

Perusing the websites of some candidates doesn’t shed any light on why they feel the current members should be replaced. Seeing the amount of money spent on a campaign for the full-color signs placed around town makes me wonder what their motivation is.

I haven’t personally met any of these candidates, so I am speculating. But I am worried that they may have some agenda that they aren’t making clear to voters.

We have all watched the recent actions of the Newberg School Board, which received national media attention for its attempts to bring their personal beliefs and culture war thinking to Newberg.

School board members are supposed to be non-partisan, non-political residents of the community who have nothing but the best interests of the students in mind. And members of our current board fit that model perfectly.

Until I see otherwise, I find no reason to replace effective board members with new faces. Based on my personal and professional experience interacting with the incumbents, I strongly endorse our current school board members for re-election.

Kelly Couch



Beware a takeover

McMinnville voters beware!

The upcoming school board campaign is in full swing. Be careful in your selections to avoid another debacle like the one playing out in Newberg.

Elect individuals concerned with quality education and the needs of ALL students.

Don’t elect a do-nothing board whose only concern is that of pushing an agenda. We already have a board of commissioners like that.

Stuart Gunness



Brilliant and passionate

I’m writing to endorse Lu Ann Anderson for a position on the McMinnville School Board. I have known Lu Ann both personally and professionally for several years, and she is one of the most brilliant, passionate, ethical and caring woman I have met.

Lu Ann displays unwavering integrity. She has dedicated her entire professional life to student success.

In my career as a school psychologist, I have frequently consulted with Lu Ann, as her expertise on special education law is widely known. I also knew her at George Fox University when she was on the teacher education faculty there.

Lu Ann has a deep understanding of school systems, teaching and learning, and students with disabilities. She knows what students require to be successful in all aspects of their education.

She is also a problem-solver. She knows how to roll up her sleeves and get to work.

Lu Ann has my highest recommendation. Please vote for her in the May 16 election.

Staci Gaut



Background and skills

As a retired special education teacher, I am writing in support of Lu Ann Anderson for the McMinnville School Board.

In the past, I worked with her to ensure that each educational plan for a student was the best it could be. She is a person of quick mind and great aptitude for detail, but what I admired most about her was her concern for the individual student.

What Lu Ann was after was the best plan for the child. I think she has the background and skills to make her a terrific addition to our school board.

Patricia Britton



Students his priority

I support Larry Vollmer in his bid for re-election to the McMinnville School Board.

Larry has shown that he is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to understand the issues, and work collaboratively to develop successful strategies to solve problems. Stability and consistency are important attributes in volunteer school board members, and Larry’s background and experience illustrate these attributes.

Larry spends time in the schools. He has established long-term relationships with employees. He knows what’s happening in our classrooms, as well as what happens in board meetings.

He believes it’s important to recognize staff and build leadership skills, knowing this will help students reach their goals. His communication skills, institutional knowledge and dedication to the success of McMinnville’s children serve this community well.

Our students are his priority. Vote for Larry Vollmer.

Vicki Williams



Advocate for students

As an elementary school principal, I am supporting Lu Ann Anderson in her candidacy for the McMinnville School Board.

I worked with Lu Ann in McMinnville earlier in my educational career. I know she would be a true advocate for students as a school board member.

Lu Ann empowers families of children with disabilities by providing them with information and clear and concise answers. She is dedicated, level-headed and works well with a wide variety of people.

She takes the time to do her research and fully understand the issues at hand. She listens for understanding and will decide based on facts.

One of the things I have always admired about Lu Ann is the depth of the knowledge she brings to school issues. She understands how it is to be a teacher working within the educational system.

She has experience collaborating with parents when she was a teacher and administrator in the McMinnville School District. She can bring a new perspective that reflects the needs of the community.

During her campaign, Lu Ann has been working hard to gather input from parents, teachers and other citizens about what they need from a school board member. She has attended PTA meetings and listened to the concerns of parents and staff within the school district. She is open to input from a wide array of sources.

I know firsthand, from my experience in McMinnville, that she is sensitive to the needs of the families with children in the district. I know she will be especially sensitive to the concerns of parents.

For all these reasons, I hope you will cast your vote for Lu Ann Anderson on May 16.

Sandy Pérez

Metlakatla, Alaska


Dedicated to students

As a past chair and six-year member of the McMinnville School Board, and a colleague of Larry Vollmer all of those years, I echo the News-Register’s strong endorsement of Larry to retain his seat.

It was a privilege to work with Larry during my years on the board. I’ve witnessed first-hand his dedication to the students of McMinnville.

Larry brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position he serves, and he has held that role with distinction. In the turbulent and political times school districts face around the country, leaders like Larry Vollmer serve as exactly the kind of stalwart anchor it takes — now and into the future.

Sadly, I had to resign my school board seat when we relocated to New Zealand. But I still pay U.S. taxes and retain local absentee-ballot voting privileges.

So this May, I will be casting my vote from 11,000 kilometers away for Larry Vollmer. And I encourage those closer to the county courthouse to do the same.

Dr. Scott Schieber

Gisborne, Aotearoa, New Zealand


A different perspective

Responding to the commentary by Dr. Tom Hastings:

He calls the protesters of Jan. 6 “killers.”

Check the facts. The only person who died that day was shot by the Capitol Police.

We can and should be able to all agree that the protest was wrong, that it got out of hand in some places. But the Democrats who equate this protest to Pearl Harbor of 9/11 never say a word about all the protests in the summer before.

We are already in a dark place when our First Amendment is very much threatened. MAGA people have been branded by our own president as terrorists.

Joann Williamson




The reason Aase,Humlie, & Reyes seem like they are being promoted together is that they are all connected. All received an “in kind donation” on April 4th in the amount of $1,416, from the Town & Country PAC. I am willing to bet this is the campaign poster grouped in threes, appearing in places where it is common to see the Republican candidates advertising. All three candidates use the same treasurer, Jessica Miller of Independence. Jessica just happens to be the treasurer for T & C PAC. The largest contributors to T &C PAC are the Republican Party of Yamhill county along with $3,000 in the past 30 days from Tom Hammer. To refresh your memory, Tom is the guy who referred to Mike Nearman being “christ like” when he opened the door of the Capitol for the demonstrators. Tom sits on the County Transportation panel because of the $1,000’s he donated to Lindsey. Kit Johnston uses the same treasurer for his campaign along with generous support from T & C PAC and at least another $3,000 direct from Tom Hammer. They seem the same because the come fro a common source.


Oh the shame! Republicans support candidates that share their values!

I guess we should not be surprised to know that Progressive Yamhill and the Democrat Party are supporting their opponents. This is the group that started (and lost) elections and recalls of Newberg School Board members, Lindsay Berschauer, and most of Newberg city government. Sounds like democracy in action, except that you cannot accept when the people speak up.

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