Letters to the Editor: March 8, 2024

Educate and vaccinate

As a retired physician, I have to ask, what are our county commissioners thinking?

Vaccination has saved more lives than any other medical invention. It leads any list of the top 10 medical advances, followed by anesthesia, antibiotics, medical imaging and so forth.

The first disease for which vaccines were developed — smallpox, Edward Jenner, 1796 — has now become the only one ever fully eradicated. This was accomplished through worldwide vaccination.

I was 12 in 1952, when America’s annual polio epidemic had its worst year ever. I lived in Nebraska, which was hard hit. We pretty much never left the farm during the summer polio season.

That year, 57,000 cases claimed 3,000 lives. Also known as infantile paralysis, the disease preyed on the young.

Jonas Salk developed the first vaccine, tested in 1954 and rushed into clinical use in 1955. The Sabin oral vaccine followed quickly, and became the primary medium by the mid ‘60s. These vaccines were so effective, polio has become virtually unknown in the U.S.

Measles is the most contagious viral childhood disease ever encountered. It requires more than 92% vaccination to achieve herd immunity.

Developed in 1958, the vaccine is considered 100% effective. Now, there is fear anti-vax backlash from COVID will cause vaccination to fall below the necessary threshold, leading to new outbreaks like the one now unfolding in Florida.

Other diseases controlled by vaccines include rubella, whooping cough, tetanus, typhoid fever, hepatitis B, cholera, HPV and COVID 19. Without them, the world would be a very different place.

Though vaccines can have side effects, the benefits are overwhelmingly greater. In the case of COVID, excess adult deaths in the U.S. ran 200,000 to 300,000 between 05/30/21 and 09/03/22, due to failure to vaccinate.

We should be encouraging vaccination, and education about it, by every possible means.

Les Howsden


Politics with child care

They’re at it again.

County Commissioners Mary Starrett and Lindsay Berschauer, joined by an easily led Kit Johnston, have put up barriers to final approval of a grant to George Fox University for a new child care center. They withheld voting to approve the grant because they want to consider holding half the money, intended to buy furniture, until a later date.

There may be more reasons, but this is the one articulated in the article: Commissioners don’t think immediate purchase of furniture and fixtures is necessary.

Child care is one of the most needed resource in our county. George Fox is ready and able to build a child care center to support the community.

Holding up half the money is fiscally irresponsible. It is not in the best interests of our county.

The prices of furniture and other items needed to open a child care facility will continue to go up. Purchasing at today’s prices means money saved later.

Because we have such a need for child care, delays in approval mean delays in providing this much needed resource. That makes this just one more glaring example of their indifference to local needs.

Commissioners, please stop putting up barriers to support in our county.

Lu Ann Anderson


Trio of commissars

When I was growing up, everyone was scared of Communism. There were several reasons, but the main one was its totalitarian nature.

Those of us who have studied it know that was not the end goal. But it always seemed to get stuck at the dictatorship of the proletariat, where a dictator and his inner circle of elites actually gave the orders and made the decisions for everyone. And having a chosen few make decisions for everyone is not even close to democracy.

I have been observing the actions of the three people holding the title of Yamhill County commissioner for some time now.

They spent our tax dollars on an attempt to make the county a Second Amendment sanctuary, knowing the state would mount a challenge. Then they hired a closely connected attorney to defend the indefensible, as Second Amendment rights are a national issue decided on the federal level.

They stuffed the Parks Board with closely connected insiders, including one commissioner’s husband. Meanwhile, they are making unilateral decisions on public health, a subject of which they have little relevant knowledge.

It has become evident that they’ve decided our county government is not a democracy, that they are in sole control of the decisionmaking, so no longer need to be responsive to the wishes of the citizens. Based on their own little dictatorship of the proletariat, I suggest changing the title of commissioner to commissar, a much better fitting description for their version of county government.

Patrick McElligott


Opportunity looming

There are two ways I really don’t like having my taxpayer dollars spent:

One, our county commissioners deliberately provoking lawsuits from the state. Two, our county commissioners asking taxpayers to pay for what would normally be considered campaign literature.

Neither of these actions went well the first time around, and there is no reason to think we will get a different result this time.

In a recent meeting, the commissioners voted to impose their uninformed personal beliefs on vaccines over public health protocols based on decades of research. And Commissioner Mary Starrett said she didn’t care if the county got sued over it.

We face paying a high price for her grandstanding, not only in terms of tax dollars, but also in terms of people’s lives.

Meanwhile, our commissioners have decided they don’t get enough positive press from the county’s two newspapers. They want us to pay for the services of an independent PR firm for them.

There is a simple solution to their problem: Do the job with thoughtfulness, competence and integrity, something Starrett and sidekick Lindsay Berschauer have been lacking for years.

Fortunately, Berschauer is running for re-election in May and we have an opportunity to replace her.

Signe Johns



Web Design and Web Development by Buildable