Letters to the Editor: March 15, 2024

Another view

My response to the president’s State of the Union address consists of takes on four items he didn’t mention or glossed over:

1) Fighting in Ukraine and the Middle East

With Trump, there were no ongoing wars. Now, Ukraine is entering the third year of war with no end in sight. The country is being destroyed, but Biden wants to keep sending money with no accountability.

2) The economy

Some 70% of the American people think we’re headed in the wrong direction. Though it’s since been declining again, inflation hit a 40-year high in June of 2022.
China is kicking our butts in development of batteries for EV cars, costing American auto workers jobs. Oil and LNG resources have been restricted or shut down.

Wind and solar are a disaster, with thousands of birds and many whales being killed. Working EV charging stations are mostly a figment of Biden’s imagination.
3) Women’s rights

Biden touted protection of Roe v. Wade, but made no mention of his total disregard of the rights of women when it comes to allowing men claiming to be women to expose themselves in women’s locker rooms. He threw women under the bus there.

4) Border security

Our borders are wide open, allowing millions of illegal aliens to enter. They are murdering thousands of people through fentanyl poisoning.

Biden finally mentioned Laken Riley, who was murdered by an illegal, but ignored hundreds of other young people killed by illegals associated with gangs.

Bob Long


Risk vs. benefit 101

Unfortunately, our county commissioners have repeatedly shown they don’t understand risk management, most recently in a Feb. 16 article. I am responding based on knowledge amassed since entering medical school 60 years ago.

We all want to avoid risks. However, there are many medical conditions posing risks if left untreated and no treatments for them carrying zero risk. The trick is balancing the potential frequency, severity, cost and discomfort with treatment vs. without treatment, factoring in increased no-treatment risk to relatives and neighbors.

Aspirin is a safe and effective for fever or pain in the vast majority of people, but can very rarely prove fatal. Because most people benefit, the government doesn’t prohibit aspirin or prevent discussion of its benefits and risks.

In 1796, Dr. Edward Jenner learned vaccination with cowpox could protect people from smallpox, and routine childhood vaccinations now prevent more than 4 million deaths per year. In 1865, Dr. Joseph Lister first used handwashing and antiseptics to prevent the spread of infection, with equally remarkable results.

Vaccination and hygiene have since become the cornerstones of public health, defined as “the health of the population as a whole.” And each person who stays healthy helps others stay healthy.

There’s no question vaccination for COVID and flu have saved millions of lives and long-term complications. A small number of people have experienced side effects, but the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Risk management does not eliminate all risk for all patients. It strikes the balance delivering the greatest the benefit ratio. This requires education and understanding, fostered by an unfettered county health department.

Lindsey Manfrin has done an excellent job as health director in Yamhill County. She should be supported and complimented, not hamstrung by inappropriate and counterproductive restrictions.

The commissioners should not pretend to be experts on topics with which they have neither training nor sound judgment.

David F. Pfendler, MD


Must do better

I was appalled, shocked and disappointed with the behavior of several members of Congress during the State of the Union address March 7. This is a constitutionally mandated address to be delivered before a joint session of the House and Senate.

I taught school for 32 years, 23 at the middle school level, working with an age group often thought to be rowdy and challenge authority. But never, in more than three decades, did I witness students being as rude and obnoxious as several members of Congress were during President Biden’s speech.

In addition to the yelling and hollering by members of the GOP, Marjorie Taylor Greene also was disrespectful by wearing a hat in the chamber, a violation of House rules for the last 181 years.

When told by the sergeant-at-arms she needed to remove her hat as a matter of “decorum,” she adamantly refused, despite being threatened with removal from the chamber. Interestingly, the leader of the House, Speaker Mike Johnson, chose to do nothing regarding this situation.

The heckling, the yelling and the lack of respect I witnessed was appalling. And unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly more common with a number of our elected officials and candidates.

I would like to be optimistic that the lack of civility demonstrated in our political arena will not become the standard of behavior for our society as a whole.

Regardless of the party you align with, despite the candidate you support, let’s try to adhere to some sort of code of behavior that we would want to encourage and model for others, especially our children and grandkids. We must do better.

Geri Johnson


Respect for all

The issues we are having with race are very upsetting.

I am white, but God made us all. He didn’t make me to think that I was better than someone of another race.

My parents taught me to respect all people. If someone of a different race trashes my property, my first thought is, “Why didn’t your parents teach you respect?” not that it was because of race.

Please, let’s show kindness and respect to everyone and make this world a better place.

Sandra Ponto



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