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Letters to the Editor: March 1, 2024

Losing our way

My greatest good fortune was to be born into an ascendant America, a proud nation of immigrants that had just led an alliance to defeat fascism in Europe and the Pacific.

During the post-war period, our mission was to promote democracy and freedom worldwide. Democracy was the Holy Grail and fair elections were the mark of a civil society.

We now have a major political party claiming that democracy is the problem. Its repressive policies are not faring well with the electorate, and it doesn’t believe in elections unless its candidates win.

Now that the electronic media blizzard has dimmed any hope of a shared, fact-based reality, the loudest liars prevail by repetition, and we are ripe for an authoritarian takeover.

Jan. 6 was a test-run. The updated version of that project is underway now, with a self-proclaimed dictator ready to rule on day one.

We hear that democracy is a failure, that our constitution should be ignored, that elections don’t matter, that violence and death threats are reasonable pathways to power in our politics. The expectation is that once the first “vermin” are exterminated, the rest will shut up and go along.

This is a five-alarm moment in our history. Does any thinking person really want to live under a vengeful dictatorship? Well, that is our fate if we accept it.

The stated plan is to rid society of anyone unwilling to bow to the Dictator, replace a civil service based on expertise with cronies loyal to the Dictator, and eliminate any governmental agency that impedes the flow of wealth and power to the Dictator and his enablers.

Have we lost our way?

We must oppose this transformation relentlessly and vote for democracy in 2024. If enough people buy this con, that will be the last significant election in our lifetimes.

Bill Johnson

McMinnville


End nepotism, corruption

Want to rescue our county parks from nepotism and corruption? Vote this May for David King to replace Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer.

Last year, Lindsay joined Mary Starrett and Kit Johnston in appointing six candidates with jaw-dropping conflicts of interest and lack of qualifications to the county parks board. They included Lindsay’s husband and one of Lindsay’s largest campaign donors.

Why would commissioners do this? One reason is not wanting anyone who might favor the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

They also refused to approve construction of a footbridge allowing public access to 11 acres at Ewing Young Park. Did they fear it might set precedent for other county bridges and trails, say, the Westsider?

Before Lindsay’s election, citizens and previous commissioners wholeheartedly supported the idea of converting abandoned rail right of way into a hiking and biking trail. But by the spring of 2021, work was halted, forcing return of grant funds.

Our community should not lose parks and trails because Lindsay, Mary and Kit work single-mindedly for the rich people who fund their campaigns.

David King’s reason for running is simple: “It’s time to put aside politics and bring balance back to the board.” Former co-owner of Newberg’s Honey Pie Pizza with his wife, Sarah, King now spends his time running his 11-acre raw dairy farm, Godspeed Hollow, and serving as president of the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce.

He told the Newberg Graphic, “We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas of our state. Our county shouldn’t be focused on limiting recreation opportunities.”

Many say David ousting Lindsay is a long shot, a real Hail Mary. But one can dream.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if county citizens rose up to end nepotism and corruption and protect their parks? Please vote for David King to replace Lindsay.

Janice Allen

Newberg


Broaden representation

The recent outrage over a county commissioners’ mandate, which prohibits our Health and Human Services Director from publishing important medical information, reminds us again that our county is at the mercy of only three people. A county this size should have a commission of at least five representatives.

With only three, meaningful discussion representing various points of view isn’t really possible. If one commissioner happens to be absent, or must recuse him or her self, there are only two people making decisions for the whole county.

In the City and Borough of Juneau, where I lived for many years, there were nine commissioners for a population of around 33,000. They represented various segments of the community, and were therefore able to discuss and render decisions based on many points of view.

At this time, Yamhill County operates under the Oregon Constitution as a “general law county.”

If we were to adopt a home rule charter, Yamhill County voters would be able to choose their own structure of elected and appointed officials. We would then be able to expand our board of commissioners to a more reasonable number.

In 2020, I co-sponsored a petition designed to represent a first step in expanding our county board. Unfortunately, COVID struck and we had to abandon our petition drive.

I’m not able, at this time, to resume the hard work of jumping through the many hoops required to make this happen. But I’m hoping to light a fire under some folks who could champion this cause.

Phyllice Bradner

McMinnville


Love for trails

Oregonians love their trails, and with good reason.

Trails offer more than just scenic walks. They weave a path toward improved health and wellbeing.

Immersing yourself in a secure walking space away from vehicles, even for short periods, has been shown to positively impact one’s physical and mental state.
Whether it’s a brisk walk, a challenging run or a leisurely bike ride, trails cater to various fitness levels. Engaging in regular physical activity on trails strengthens your cardiovascular system, improves your muscle tone and aids in weight management, serving to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Trails can also serve as a catalyst for social interaction.

As you encounter fellow hikers, cyclists, joggers or dog walkers, trails offer opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals. Participating in group hikes or joining running clubs fosters a sense of community and belonging, combating feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are serious issues today.

Oregon’s trails offer an affordable way to improve your health and wellbeing, and most are free to use, requiring minimal investment beyond basic gear. This makes them an inclusive option for individuals of all socioeconomic backgrounds, promoting health equity within communities.

Stay tuned for more information. Meanwhile, make plans to join in National Celebrate Trails Day on Saturday, April 27, as trail lovers across the country celebrate their access to these wonderful pathways to wellbeing.

Phil Forve

McMinnville


A better way

Has anyone in city government noticed the appalling situation that has developed with parked RVs and trash on McDaniel Lane next to Wortman Park?

I’ve been in that area a few times in the past week, and it is out of control. It’s pretty obvious that some of the RVs are not roadworthy.

Apparently, there is no real plan for preventing situations like this from developing, or for addressing them when they do. There has to be a better way!

Chuck Hottle

McMinnville


Cut the cartels out

Drug addiction, including alcoholism, is a fiendish problem that destroys lives decade after decade.

Look at New York City newspapers from 50 years ago, when Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas were flooding the city with Southeast Asian heroin.

Half a century later, that represents the good old days. Now the scourge is fentanyl, which is killing people daily.

We tried Prohibition, and people during that era drank more than ever before or since — a whole lot more.

On the opposite end of the solution spectrum, Oregon passed Measure 110, decriminalizing possession of small quantities of drugs. Money was set aside for treatment, but no mechanism was provided for pushing people into it.

Both Prohibition and the current drug plague serve the interests of organized crime families, allowing them to rake in billions. The bootleggers were put out of business simply by ending prohibition.

If the opiate plague is ever going to end, it will only be when the criminal organizations that profit from it are gone. That could happen quickly if the government legalized opiate use in a way that the sole supplier was a government clinic.

We already have a system of methadone clinics, so it’s not an unheard of concept. Make the users coming to the clinic participate in either work or school, along with counseling.

If this is where addicts have to come for opiates, you can count on them coming. They will jump through whatever hoops they’re presented with.

Limit the program to the already addicted and accept no new members. Cut off the money to the drug cartels and they’ll find something else to do.

Not only would we contain the current epidemic, and make it difficult for new users to get started, but we would also save taxpayers billions.

Fred Fawcett

Lafayette


Let her do her job

Our county commissioners are advocating a “both sides are equal” approach to vaccines. This is a danger to public health.

The commissioners decided to limit what our public health officials can say on social media about vaccines to simply “vaccines are available.” This is because Lindsey Manfrin, Yamhill County’s health and human services director, refuses to air the disproven theories advocated by Commissioners Mary Starrett and Lindsay Bershauer, to the effect that vaccines are harmful to public health.

Starrett and Berschauer are free to believe whatever they wish. However, in the service of public health, promoting personal beliefs that are not supported by science is, at best, irresponsible.

Through vaccination, the world ended a significant threat to public health: smallpox. With continued vaccination worldwide, it is likely that polio will also be eradicated.

When vaccination rates decline, incidences of communicable diseases, such as measles, spike.

Vaccines are a major part of promoting public health. Their benefits far outweigh their risks.

I wish our county commissioners would let Manfrin do her job: protecting public health.

Adrianne Santina

McMinnville


Following the Dow?

Some years ago, during the Trump presidency, we were having dinner with a local businessman and his spouse. My wife asked our dinner companion if he intended to vote for Trump again, and he said he did.

I was shocked by my gentle wife’s response, which including an explosion of profanity and sudden departure from the table.

When things calmed down, I asked the gentleman why he intended to vote for Trump again. His answer was “My 401(k) has gone through the roof.”

I considered that a rational reason, though not necessarily a moral, ethical or patriotic one. I’ve since asked a number of Trump supporters the same “why?”

question, but most of their answers were more emotional and less informed.

As unpalatable as our dinner companion’s answer was, it remains the sole rational response I’ve received to my question over the ensuing years.

At the time of this conversation, The Dow Jones Industrial Average had, in fact, risen dramatically from the 18,000 range at the time of Trump’s inauguration to around 27,000.

Presently the Dow has skyrocketed to around 39,000. I wonder if our dinner companion will be voting for Joe Biden this time?

Steve Eichelberger

McMinnville

Comments

Culbert

Janice Allen's letter, "End Corruption, Nepotism" above, requires a response. As Chair of the Yamhill County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board I realize she is not interested in the facts, but only spouting off what she has read in the local news media. In fact, our Board, now with 13 active and involved members, is the most productive in the last nine years. In coopearion with our Parks Manager and Public Works support, we are all truly interested in promoting parks. Our new and continuing Board members have no conflicts of interest that are hindering that goal. In addition, Kit Johnson, our Parks liaison commissioner, has been 100% supportive of our work. I invite Janice and others interested in county parks to come to our meetings, each third Wednesday of the month, or to contact me directly, if interested in the truth. My contact info. is posted on the new county website on our Board roster.

tagup

Is Ms. Berschauer's husband on the board? If so, that would be the definition of nepotism.
Was the Ewing Young bridge blocked?
Those appear to be the facts that Ms. Allen put forth, and I believe both are indeed true.
It's great that the Chair of the board has a rosy view of progress of the advisory board, I would expect nothing less, but given the track record of the county commission, I would agree with the authors concern about trail opportunities going forward.

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