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Letters to the editor: Jan. 23, 2020

Cuffed without cause

I have lived in McMinnville for more than 40 years, and am very concerned about the lack of local police transparency. I am speaking out of personal experience, after having two McMinnville police officers show up at my door on a Saturday afternoon.

They asked me a few questions, then took me out to the police car in handcuffs and placed me under arrest. But the “crime”  turned out to be a misunderstanding between two people at a grocery store, which my lawyer straightened out simply by mediating the situation.

Later, I was told the police could have just given me a citation to appear in court.

And why not? I am a retired senior citizen, a law-abiding person with no police record and a person who was posing no threat to public safety.

After the incident, I wrote a letter to the police department about the way the officers handled the situation. The department called back to tell me I didn’t have any grounds for a complaint, as whether to write a citation or make an arrest is a matter of officer discretion. In other words, the police department just brushed it all off.

I believe in balance and openness within all government departments. And I believe local police should always remember their primary job is to serve and protect the citizens in the community that employs them.

You cannot have transparency in a community if there is no opportunity for citizens to be heard when they feel an injustice has been done.

Bill Stuebing

McMinnville

 

New guy making few friends

In the Jan. 14 Readers Forum, Rich Roberts ask us to imagine a new guy that immediately runs circles around us at work. He, of course, has Donald Trump in mind.

I find that hard to imagine, as it has never happened. What has happened is this: People saying they are running circles around everyone else and actually believe it. Other people saying the same thing even though they know they are not.

I never feared a loss of power and employment, because I knew I was doing a good job.

As far as knowing why D.C. hates Trump so much, I say this: It’s not just D.C. It’s people across the country and around the world.

Joey Mahan

McMinnville

 

Respect for facts

It is very discouraging to see our national penchant for divisive rhetoric, misinformation and alternative facts infecting local discussions of growth.

I’m referring to last Friday’s article quoting McMinnville’s Planning Director Heather Richards and the supporting column in which Jeb Bladine calls for “war against state land use tyranny,” then goes on to ridicule those who would protect our best farmland for future generations as “worshiping at the altar of anti-sprawl.” Inflammatory invective like this shuts down reasoned discourse.

For her part, Richards asserts that “state land use laws make expanding a city’s UGB practically impossible.” But as she doubtless knows, Bend, Grants Pass, Medford, Coburg, Eugene, Springfield, Woodburn, Dallas, Sandy, Amity, Lafayette and Portland Metro cities, to name just a few, have all successfully done so in recent years. McMinnville itself has added well over 400 acres to its UGB over the last 16 years.

If McMinnville’s planning director is unable or unwilling to follow the law, and propose an expansion that will similarly pass muster, perhaps she needs to look in the mirror.

She also falsely claims, “Now it is the norm to fight all UGB amendments with rallying cries of no more UGB amendments.” I’m not sure who she is trying to tar with what brush.

In more than 25 years of involvement in planning issues, I’ve heard plenty of people argue for more moderate growth than she might like, the aim being to protect farmland, reduce infrastructure costs and curb transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. But I have seldom, if ever, heard an individual or organization oppose all UGB amendments.

Yes, growth issues can be controversial and emotional. People feel passionately about where they live.

Nonetheless, real facts, and respect for those with whom we disagree, promote community. That’s the conversation we need, not just on a national scale, but here at home as well.

Sid Friedman

Yamhill

 

A fair and open trial

Only a fair impeachment trial can reveal the truth.

As an elder in McMinnville, I vote for fairness, with the Senate’s decision based on witnesses and public documents. Also for allowing the population of our country to watch and consider the outcome

Demand Trump’s impeachment and removal at www.impeachmentinquiry.org.

Ruth Hand

McMinnville

 

Setting the record straight

Your story on Amity’s Dollar General hearing quoted Councilor David Antinucci denying any ex parte communication with applicant Sam Coehlo. But I never asserted that in seeking his recusal. 

Mr. Antinucci is not a resident of Amity. He became an Amity planning commissioner just months before Sam Coehlo began his latest effort to sell downtown property to Dollar General. As a commissioner, Mr. Antinucci would vote on acceptability of the site design, giving Dollar General the green light to proceed.  

The parcel was being offered for sale by Mr. Antinucci at a time when Dollar General was considering purchase, and I submitted a copy of that offering from his website. He says he’s no longer serving as a listing agent on the property, and he has removed all reference from his website. But no other agent is listed.

I also submitted documentation from Realton.com and Zillow.com showing  Mr. Antinucci currently represents Mr. Coehlo in sale offerings on two other Amity properties, and the relationship goes back four years.

Mr. Antinucci apparently prides himself on “always keeping the Client’s end result in mind as the ultimate test of my effectiveness.” I submitted that quote from his website, though it seems to have since been removed.

Obviously, Mr. Coehlo and Mr. Antinucci knew about this substantial conflict of interest. But neither chose to make it known.

As reported, I overran my allotted time. I was referencing serious design safety issues, so yes, I was insistent on proceeding.

The site design shows approximately three feet, a mere 36 inches, between a child waiting at the crosswalk and the right panel side of a truck turning in. And that side is in the truck’s blind spot.

Thanks, Mel, for giving up your time so I could report that.

Susan Karp

Amity

 

Stop the slaughter

On January 27, the world will observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Hitler’s largest death camp.

Key questions facing historians include how could the enlightened society that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets and composers also produce its most notorious mass murderer, and how could it get millions of ordinary citizens to go along? Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon, or are other enlightened societies capable as well? Well, the fact isi that we Americans are willing to subsidize unspeakable atrocities in our own factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer once observed, “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” His message was that we are all capable of oppressing the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst, frequently without giving it a second thought.

Indeed, our own enlightened society has translated the arbitrary Nazi dictum — “the Christian lives, the Jew dies” — into an equally arbitrary dictum — “the dog lives, the pig dies.” Only the victims’ names have been changed.

The blissful ignorance of the death camps and slaughterhouses in our midst remains intact. On the long road to end all oppression, our very first step must be to drop animals from our menus.

Melvin Nysser

McMinnville

 

Land already available

Planning Director Heather Richards claims McMinnville doesn’t have enough buildable land available within the city limits to meet short-term needs and blames state land use laws for this situation. However, she has overlooked land in the West Hills that has been in the city limits for nearly 40 years, but still lacks water and other urban services.

Rather than appropriating our economy-driving, food-producing farmland for houses, we should extend services to land already in the city.

Shirley Kimball

McMinnville

 

Beyond call of duty

If Rock of Ages had a Good Neighbor Award, I would have given one to Ms. Anonymous last week. Here’s the story:

I was sitting in the dining room of my duplex at Rock of Ages, looking out the window. I observed a large, dark-colored pickup pull into the road down below, where people park when they come to walk their dogs on our nice path.

The truck parked right in the middle of the road, so I got my binoculars to check it out. 

A person emerged from the vehicle and walked over to a section of sidewalk incorporated into the walking path. I assumed this person was female, because of her clothing.

This person took out a small plastic sack and apparently picked up some dog doo from the sidewalk. She took the bag, got back into her truck and drove away.

I’m assuming she had been walking her dog earlier, it had done it’s job right on the sidewalk and she realized, “Oh no. I forgot to bring a doggy bag!”

I think she got in her truck, drove home and came back with a bag.

If so, thank you Ms. Anonymous! You can come walk your dog here any time.

Gordon Martin

McMinnville

 

Costs to every action

Global warming, climate change, recycling, renewable energy, plastic pollution and the destruction of wildlife habitat are all front-page news these days. We have protest groups demanding action on all fronts.

We do need to focus on ways to improve our world.  But lately, I don’t see much balance in the discussion. We need to weigh both the positives and negatives of our choices.

Every time I turn on the faucet to rinse a can of beans, I wonder if the water I just sent down the drain, to be treated and returned to the Yamhill River, wasn’t worth more than the can I intend to recycle.   Recycling, limiting waste and being conscious of our carbon output is all good, but there is a cost.

I’m especially wary of the political/social push toward reliance on electric vehicles to reduce carbon output from fossil fuels. “Get Ready to Dig,” published in The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 5, outlines many troubling facts about what the transition would require:

Renewable energy equipment — wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and infrastructure — are made of non-renewable materials  They wear out, and decommissioning generates millions of tons of waste. By 2050, decommissioned solar panel disposal will double the tonnage of today’s global plastic waste.

An electric car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds and requires the mining of 500,000 pounds of earth to obtain the necessary cobalt, indium and lithium.  Rare earth minerals and other needed elements are mainly found in the Congo and China.

A wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2.500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of non-recyclable plastic. How many years must it run to generate enough electricity to offset the energy required to build it?  

There are short term and long term cost to every decision we make.

Don Welliver

Yamhill

 

Don’t scrap the scraps

If you don’t have the right bin for yard debris and food scraps from Recology, keep your food scraps out of the landfill by composting them in your backyard, giving them to a neighbor who composts or saving them in a bucket and taking it to NW Greenlands, next door to Recology’s recycling center.

It will do the composting for you. Just remember, no meat, bones or dairy.

Why bother?

Because food scraps from our homes, schools, stores and restaurants end up in the landfill. They emit carbon into our atmosphere, adding to global warming and climate change. You can make a big difference by paying attention to what you do with your food waste.

One-third of our perishable food never makes it from farm to market. And perishables that do make it to market may be passed over by shoppers because of bruising, shape or size and end up tossed into one of the store’s garbage bins.

Once home, perishables may be tucked away in the refrigerator for later use, only to be forgotten. They go to waste and end up in the garbage.

This reminds me of a cartoon I once saw. A woman is holding broccoli in her hand, heading for her shopping cart, when the broccoli says, “Please don’t put me in the back of your refrigerator and forget about me!”

We can all do our part to keep food waste out of the landfill and carbon out of the atmosphere.

Linda Werner

McMinnville

 

Generations to come

McMinnville does not need to add hundreds of acres to its urban growth boundary. Many who live here enjoy the small town feel of our area. If we keep expanding, without a lot of careful consideration, we may find our unique area the next Beaverton.

While there is nothing wrong with the large cities up in the Portland area, that is not what makes McMinnville special.

A larger growth boundary will not solve the low-income housing problem, either. The reasons builders are not putting in this type of housing has little to do with available land.

I’m a fourth-generation farmer. And I hope my family will be able to continue farming next to this great small town for many more generations.

Jennifer Redmond-Noble

McMinnville

Comments

BT

The problem with Linda Werner's comment on composting food scraps is rats. Unless composting is done responsibly, not just throwing food waste into a pile in the yard, it will attract rats. I know of people in each quadrant of the city who have rats in and around their homes. In other words, the city has a rat problem and feeding them will only make it worse.

Don Dix

Sid Friedman wrote -- "But I have seldom, if ever, heard an individual or organization oppose all UGB amendments."

Really? Since you have been at 'the tip of the spear' when it comes to opposing Mac's UGB expansion since the 90s, exactly which UGB expansion(s) have you or your cohorts ever endorsed?

gophergrabber

Joeyd, Your broad sweeping claim that the whole world hates Trump is sort of childish to say. Of course 63 million people voted for him and will again, plus those that decide socialism is not the way to go. You need to get out of Oregon and look around. Trump is much beloved. Just go to one of his rallies. There is an energy he has created that you can only be jealous of.

Sponge

Melvin Nysser needs to get a grip. His effort to equate animal slaughterhouses to Nazi death camps is not only an affront to human value and dignity, but amounts to an ignorant dehumanization through his equivocation of “the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst”. His passion may be real, but his moral perspective is warped. If his stated goal is “to end all oppression,” he needs a more reasonable place to start.

gregtompkins

We’re already Beaverton Hillsboro whether we like it or not ..... Too many people have moved here but yet we have this absurd idea that we must not even grow to accommodate the masses. And placate to the illegals and lots of homelessness. And what do we get? California 2.0 !

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