Letters to the Editor: August 4, 2017

Is it really such a chore?

To Councilor Remy Drabkin:

During the July 25 council meeting, you expressed irritation because the city is not getting credit for what is being done about the homeless situation in our city. You confuse “doing” with “accomplishing.” They are not the same thing. Certainly, there is plenty of study, thought and talk and some action, but nothing of immediate consequence. And while the city council fiddles, the citizens who own homes and businesses continue to endure a situation that is not going away and has yet to be directly addressed. To date, the city’s performance (measured by tangible results) can only be rated as pitiful. This is not hundreds of congressmen developing health care insurance for millions in 50 states. This is only a half-dozen elected citizens figuring out what to do now with a small group of individuals in one small Oregon city. It should take only a few days to gather and assess information and ideas, a few minutes to act and a few more days to implement.

Call it two weeks, tops, for results to appear. Yet the weeks and months roll on without results. The simple part is how to deal with all the transients/homeless firmly but compassionately:

n Ordinances effectively dealing with outdoor/vehicle camping, loitering and panhandling.

n Designation of a “transient” park where homeless can legally and safely (patrols, water, sanitation) camp without affecting residences, businesses, tourists and traffic. The difficult part (made easier by consolidating all individuals) will be to provide services for specific needs and issues. This will take committed involvement by public and private entities in the community and will be a long-term process. You and your fellow council members, as elected leaders, should accept reality, embrace responsibility and resolutely take effective action now. Or of what use are you?

Ken Dollinger



It’s about safety

While the July 25 city council meeting was punctuated by occasional disagreements in form and focus, the greater disconnect is between those who were concerned about safety issues in the downtown area and those who would categorize those concerns as a complaint about McMinnville’s homeless population.
McMinnville Downtown Association Executive Director Rebecca Quandt was unfairly characterized as targeting the homeless population. Indeed, her suggestions for possible tools to deal with downtown concerns do target a population — those who engage in threatening behavior, who hurl sexist, racist and homophobic language at passersby, who block sidewalks and disrupt business and recreation in our downtown.

While that population includes some homeless, in the experience of those who conduct or run businesses downtown, the issue is not one of economic status, but behavior.

This isn’t simply a request for more arrests or citations, but for recognition that some problems aren’t solved by good intentions. How many windows must be broken before recognition of a problem leads to action?

There was much discussion of the plight of the homeless Tuesday night. Whatever we as a community can do to alleviate suffering is worth our efforts. Mental illness, addiction, poverty — there are many issues that need champions and will take continuous effort. However, the safety concerns in our community must be addressed now.

I applaud the city council for giving citizens a sounding board. I applaud the give-and-take. Let’s keep talking, but let’s start moving, too.

Patrick Vala



Poison people instead

This is for Worth Mathewson on his June 25 column: So you think it’s OK to poison free-roaming cats to prevent them from killing the wildlife? The Melbourne program of killing feral cats is totally inhumane.

Why don’t you just poison the irresponsible humans for not fixing their cats? Then we wouldn’t be overpopulated with feral cats. I do agree with your idea of keeping pet cats indoors.

There are no laws for cats. Why are there laws only for dogs? Why is it OK to allow cats to poop in your yard versus dogs?

Sandra Ponto



It’s a bypass to nowhere

I agree with Merilyn Reeve’s assessment that the Trojan horse of a bypass in Dundee ought to be scrapped.

As Merilyn points out, congestion will continue. All the “bypass to nowhere” will do is move the congestion down the road, but it will not alleviate the congestion on Highway 18.

Oregon Department of Transportation representatives came to the community center in the mid-1980s to tell us that Highway 18 was one of the most traveled highways in Oregon. So, what has changed since then?

The population has grown from 2.7 million in 1985 to the present day of more than 4 million. There are also two casinos, one on Highway 18 and the other in Lincoln City.

The late Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, once said, “All politics is local.” His saying works in this situation. Think local.

We need to think of how we the citizens can make our local area friendly and work on bridges, roads and the like to make our communities more livable, as was done recently on the Springtown Road lane improvements.

If a word to the wise is sufficient, dump the bypass to nowhere.

Mike Sullivan



It’s there in black and white

Dig deep enough, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. A case in point is the city of McMinnville’s ordinances.

Ordinance 6.04.100: The dog control officer(s) appointed by the city or the county and any regular police officer shall be vested with full authority to make arrests.

Ordinance 6.04.010(L)(2) (definitions): Any dog which, without provocation, attacks or bites, or has attacked or bitten, a human being or domestic animal.

Ordinance 6.04.150: It is a violation of this chapter for the owner or keeper of a dog to do any of the following:

n To have a dog running at large.

n To keep a dog with knowledge that it hs injured other domestic animals.

n To have a vicious dog go unconfined.

Ordinance 604.120: A dog control officer or police officer may issue a uniform dog control citation when the violation occurred within the city.

Ordinance 6.04.095: The dog control officer, a police officer, or a designated representative may impound a vicious dog whenever said dog is not confined as required by Sec. 6.04.150 (see above).

Ordinance 6.04.080: Until such time as the city provides its own impoundment facilities the city shall place impounded dogs. There it is, the black-and-white letter of the law.

Sheila Hunter



It’s primitive as can be

Why is it when I read the paper or watch the news I feel like I’m living on Gilligan’s Island?

Patricia Cole



Fight voter fraud

During an interview Nov. 3, President Obama was asked the following question by actor Gina Rodriguez:

“Many of the millennials, dreamers, undocumented citizens — and I call them citizens because they contribute to this country — are fearful of voting. So if I vote, will immigration know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?”

On its face, Obama’s response was an incitement of non-citizens to vote:

“This is not true,” Obama said. “And the reason is — first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself, and there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, et cetera. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential in terms of who you voted for.”

Fortunately, the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 2, leaves the states with authority as to the requirements to vote in both state and federal elections.
Therefore, here in Oregon we have pending Initiative Petition 5, which addresses the broader problem of voter fraud by proposing an amendment to our state constitution.

According to Oregonians for Free and Fair Elections:

“We all want our vote to count. Voter rolls polluted with dead electors, electors with double registrations and non-citizen registrations dilute our vote. Oregon Initiative Petition No. 5 proposes to require all electors to give citizenship documentation when they initially register to vote. Those already on the voter rolls would have two years to bring their registration into compliance. This is a constitutional amendment that requires 117,578 valid signatures to get on the ballot.”
At the Oregonians For Free and Fair Elections website, you can download a signature sheet for the petition.

Dan Katz



Put homeless to work

We can help the homeless by giving them jobs, rehab and other services other than free handouts.

Most people, including myself, work for what we have and pay our bills and show up for work while not taking illegal drugs. How you can pretend that this group of homeless can’t be singled out and targeted when they live lives completely different than the other 90 percent of the population?

Let’s face it. The merchants have invested years of blood, sweat and time into their businesses just to have the homeless drive business away by tolerant bleeding hearts enabling people to get things free. Instead, we should raise the confidence of the homeless to achieve more the occasional handout by making them work for what they get, like the rest of society does. Then they will feel a part of the community and want to give back to the community.

Some of the council members who think the homeless aren’t a problem should feel comfortable opening their own yards and homes to the homeless. At one point, McMinnville came in second place in a national contest for the best small towns. The bottom line is if you lose your businesses downtown, say goodbye to tourism. All you will have left is a lot boarded-up buildings. When you walk down Third Street, be sure to avoid stepping on the humans sleeping in the streets and the human waste they left behind.

Rachael Estrada


Trump the serpent?

I don’t like or trust Hillary Clinton and didn’t vote for her. This might preempt the standard “what about Clinton?” response to any criticism of Trump.

I watched his speech to the Boy Scouts and was offended by many things. More than anything, though, I found Trump’s dangling of the “hot parties” to these young boys like the serpent offering the forbidden fruit. He said “I can’t tell you, you’re kids.” Then he teased them again with, “But you’re boys, and you want to know.” We live in a society where kids have access to entirely too much adult behavior as it is. Teasing them with references to the “hot parties” he frequented was low class and immoral. One host of these parties is Trump’s billionaire friend Jeffrey Epstein, who was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl at one such hot party.

Trump was also accused by the girl, but the charges were dropped when the girl and her family received death threats at their private number. I disagree with Trump on many, if not most, issues but feel sick at heart watching him brag about these billionaire orgies to Boy Scouts. I’m no prude, but this was so far over the line — the moral decay of our society personified.

Fred Fawcett



Explain yourself

Dear State Rep. Mike Nearman: As one of your constituents, I have been asking for several months for your explanation of your position on an issue. I have had no response from you. I assume Becky Mitts, your chief of staff, has relayed my numerous requests.

This is a blatant disregard for a constituent. I am not expecting you to agree with me. I am simply asking you to explain your position on an issue: Why you think it is appropriate for government to interfere in an individual’s decision for their own body? You have told me why you want government to interfere but not why you think it would be appropriate.

Wanting to do something and thinking it would be appropriate are two very different things. If you are unable to articulate your reasoning, I submit you need to re-evaluate your position.

Alisa Owen




I reacted with total disgust after reading Worth Mathewson's repellent article about poisoning cats. I'll bet he feels justified as long as torturing cats to death pays off in yet another sighting of a belted kingfisher. Or an American coot.

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