Letters to the Editor: Dec. 22, 2023

Setting things straight

Thanks to Jeb Bladine of the News-Register for the accurate recounting of the city of McMinnville’s transparent communications regarding the consolidation of McMinnville’s fire and EMS services under a newly formed fire district. To be clear, my wife and I fully understood the consolidation of fire and EMS services into a new district would increase our taxes by $2 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation.

The city discussed a range of options regarding what to do with the released general fund revenue previously allocated to municipal fire department if the ballot measure passed, including permanently reducing the tax rate by $1.50 per thousand, immediately allocating all of the released revenue for city services or incrementally adding it back over time.

The council agreed to reduce its taxing authority by $1.50 per thousand the first year, solicit community input on the newly released revenue and incrementally increase the rate by 50 cents per year for three years to realize its full taxing authority.

The recent budget committee action to add 50 cents back for fiscal 2024/25 was anticipated. It is in keeping with the council’s prior discussions.

So, yes, we knew.

The grandstanding and disingenuous comments by the county commission are not surprising to me, as its members again attempt to spread their brand of dysfunction to other jurisdictions. The commissioners should stay in their own lane and let the adults take care of city business.

McMinnville city government has a history of exemplary leadership in its elected officials. The County Commission on the other hand … well, not so much.

If Chair Berschauer and her fellow commissioners are so interested in putting something up for a vote, they should begin with the Yamhelas Westsider Trail project.

Chad Olsen



Failure of imagination

Israeli analysts say it was a failure of imagination that prevented Israel from recognizing that Hamas planned a vicious, near-term attack. They had a copy of Hamas’ written plan, and had watched its fighters training to carry it out, but were confident Hamas valued détente too much to follow through.

A similar failure of imagination kept Ukraine from being fully convinced Russia would invade. And in the US, federal agencies couldn’t imagine Middle Easterners who learned how to fly jumbo jets in the air, but not how to land them, might be planning to crash planes directly into targets. Finally, none of the agencies that reviewed the conspiracy talk leading up to the events of January 6, 2121, could conceive that Americans might actually storm Congress.

What are we failing to imagine now? That China might actually invade Taiwan?

A young woman who stayed with us in our house as an exchange student lives in Taipei.

Like the Ukrainians, the Taiwanese are highly patriotic, but woefully unprepared. So I worry for her every day.

It’s not in China’s interest to invade, our leaders say. They just can’t imagine it.

Susan Watkins



Immune for life?

The Supreme Court is about to rule on whether a former president is immune from prosecution for criminal acts.

Department of Justice policy is that a sitting president is immune from prosecution, and that makes complete sense.

Without that, every opportunistic hack looking for publicity would get it by going after the president for nonsense. Presidents from either party would be victimized.

Allowing this immunity to continue for the rest of the president’s life is absurd. It would make a person utterly above the law from the moment they took the oath of office.

If the Supreme Court allows lifetime immunity, then what would stop the current president from having his political opponents rounded up? What would stop him from rounding up media figures that he dislikes?

He could set up a kangaroo court and put them all on trial for their lives. The people that carry out his orders aren’t immune, but a presidential pardon would take care of that.

I don’t want to live in a society where we have a king who comes complete with the ability to say “Off with his head!” The entire idea of America is that we don’t accept that kind of unrestrained power, because we’re free people.

You can no longer call yourself free if this becomes the law of the land.

Fred Fawcett



Don Dix

Chad Olsen -- Since you refer to Jeb as the source of understanding, at the end of Jeb's dissertation, he wrote this -- 'It would be fair, even at this stage, for taxpayers to urge a public vote on how much of that $1.50 per $1,000 should be levied.'

The city leaders know what the result of a public vote would be -- otherwise, it would already be in the works.

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