Letters to the Editor: May 18, 2018

Let’s hear some specifics

Something I have heard from nearly all Oregon legislative candidates — regardless of party affiliation — is simplistic advocacy for better education, housing and transportation, along with fiscal responsibility. Everybody wants those things. But there has been a collective absence of discussion about:

(1) The root causes of the problems we face;

(2) The details of proposed solutions; and

(3) A mechanism for funding those solutions.

No doubt Democratic candidates would identify different root causes and advocate different proposed solutions than Republican candidates. But we aren’t hearing anything other than platitudes from everyone.

Republican candidates complain about fat budgets, waste and excessive spending. They accuse Gov. Kate Brown and the Legislature with seeking to raise everyone’s taxes. They blame the state’s budget woes on Oregon’s public employee pensions, making teachers and firefighters villains. But they never provide factual examples.

The truth is that Oregon’s budget is grossly short of revenue because the state has no sales tax, property tax revenues have been slashed by Measures 5 and 50, and Oregon ranks dead last in corporate taxation. To make matters worse, Oregon is one of only six states allowing unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns.

In response to Measure 97 on the November 2016 ballot, big corporations spent exorbitant sums to plaster the airwaves with factually inaccurate TV and radio ads in opposition. They succeeded, thanks to the barrage of lies.

In November, we citizens need to rise up and make our voices heard. We need to call out Republican candidates for their knee-jerk, fact-free lies about all things related to government spending and taxation. We need to demand Democratic candidates give us more than easy-on-the-ears platitudes, that they engage in public discussion about the lack of adequate state revenues and provide us with detailed solutions.

Sherri Yeager



Need for public privies

If people are using the public spaces for their toilet, it’s because there are no public toilets available.

The problem is not going to go away. It seems pointless to wring our hands and hold people at fault for having the same needs as the rest of us, but no place to meet them.

The solution must be public restrooms. This poses difficulties, notably vandalism and maintenance, but at least the issue is narrowed to a particular place rather than spread over the entire community.

Facilities at highway rest stops are designed to stand up to unsupervised use. They feature walls of tile and sinks and toilets of stainless steel.

Mirrors are vulnerable, but would not be necessary. And there are ways to deal with graffiti.

Such facilities do need to be connected to the sewer system, and they don’t come cheap.

The problems of the homeless are our problems, like it or not. The solution, whatever the cost, is up to us.

Though they are different, their present situation obviously has its costs as well.

Darrell King



Expand board to five

First, hail to the victors. And congratulations to all candidates on races well run.

Second, congratulations to the current commissioners for their wisdom in putting the Yamhelas Westsider Trail on hold. This became a hot button issue, due to poor planning. A do-over is definitely in order. And Tuesday’s primary demonstrates the importance of inclusion, diversity and working together to find acceptable solutions.

Third, congratulations to Ken Huffer, newly appointed county administrator. We encourage him to lead with a new vision to improve relations among workers, managers and the public, and to put the county on a sounder financial footing.

There is a movement afoot to expand our three-member board to five. Many who attended the candidate forums were resounding in saying, “I wish we could vote for all three.” With the change, you could. With reductions in existing BOC salary and elimination of the deputy county administrator position, costs would remain the same while representation would be enhanced.

With a population now exceeding 100,000, Yamhill County needs a larger and more diverse board. And the candidate forums showed voters this would be possible. They presented these younger contenders as gracious, mature, educated and in closer touch with the struggles of everyday people.

Residents need more affordable housing, an environment in which they can thrive, freedom from addiction, protection in school from drugs and abuse, and incentives for higher education and economic expansion.

If this sounds good to you, make sure you vote in November to change the makeup of the current board. This will ensure realistic and representative views.

Annette Madrid

Josh Rojas Campaign Manager



Had it with unleashed dogs

Today, for the third time in a month, an off-leash dog threatened to harm a person or another dog near downtown McMinnville. We have leash laws, but it’s clear many dog owners don’t take them seriously.

A month ago, a business owner let his bulldogs run free and they attacked — on Third Street, in full view of a crowd — a woman walking two tiny dogs on leashes.

Even though some members of the crowd stepped in to help, the lady was bitten. She had to go to urgent care.

Both her dogs suffered numerous injuries. One had a gaping hole in its throat.

That bulldog owner paid the vet bills, which ran several thousand dollars. The little dogs are recovering slowly, after much medical care.

More recently, an owner let her dog walk to her car unleashed, outside the Riverside Dog Park. It lunged toward a smaller, leashed dog, almost creating another violent episode. The rule about keeping dogs leashed outside the fencing is posted, yet often ignored.

Earlier this week, the owner of a large dog dropped its leash so it could wander free just off Fourth Street. It spotted my little dog and took off after it. Both owners had to exercise quick thinking to keep them apart.

It’s no joke. Dogs are always somewhat unpredictable, no matter what their owners might think.

For unknown reasons, a dog or person can incite violence in otherwise calm dogs. Just ask local mail carriers.

Leash laws are there for a reason. Follow the rules, people.

You and your dog are NOT exceptions. Keep your dog on leash and under control at all times in public places.

If you see an unleashed dog, find the owner and take a photo. Get license plate photos. Do something about it.

Letting a dog wander unleashed is risking the safety of our community’s children, adults and pets. It is also unsanitary.

Fines for unleashed dogs should be high. And at least a few signs should by posted around town to remind owners.

Susan Wain



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