By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Whatchamacolumn: Some weeks, it's a show about nothing

Occasionally, writing this column can be relatively easy; other weeks, simply choosing a topic is a frustrating challenge. Consider some current options that didn’t make the cut:

Transgender phobia surfaced on the Yamhill County Commission last week, aptly timed to coincide with McMinnville’s upcoming School Board election. The culture war that produced new leaders of Newberg School District is being extended to McMinnville with a trio of candidates whose financial backing comes from the same interests that elected our county commissioners.

Coincidentally, before all that, I had boned up on some controversial transgender issues — that after talking to two otherwise open-minded mothers who found themselves alienated by their young children’s forced confrontation with “appropriate pronouns.”

It seemed a natural subject for comment until a trusted advisor counseled me with advice I’ll quote exactly as delivered: “No one cares what an old white guy thinks about pronouns.” So, temporarily, my appetite for that column theme faded.

Next to mind came the city council’s straw vote that indicated pending denial of the downtown Gwendolyn Hotel project. That subject qualifies for comment only if accompanied by full disclosure of personal and business conflicts of interest with regard to the development proposal — something I gladly divulge even while a few others are less forthcoming.

However, it’s a topic so entangled with backstories that nothing short of a multi-part series would be needed to describe, much less dissect, them all. So that topic goes back on the shelf for now.

Another high-interest issue is the announcement of one more — likely last — delay in city decisionmaking about a major shopping center along Three Mile Lane. Many readers of that story surely recognized there are inside, non-public complications, and since I haven’t yet become privy myself, one more potential column bites the proverbial dust.

There is some financial controversy related to the proposed merger of McMinnville and rural McMinnville fire protection services. However, today’s newspaper editorial supporting that merger provides the basic money details voters should understand, leaving only a quick comment here that if the merger is approved, citizens should rally to involvement with when, for what and how much of that extra $5 million should be spent.

Well, that’s 4-for-4 topics now set aside from detailed discussion. Fans of TV’s “Seinfeld” might just compare this column to the hypothetical sitcom dreamed up by character George Costanza, who famously said, “The show is about … nothing!”

News-Register Publisher Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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