Letters to the Editor: Oct. 13, 2023

Please don’t disappoint

I am writing to encourage the McMinnville City Council to return the previous fire department funding incrementally over a period of at least three years.

I attended one of the citizen meetings prior to the vote on the new fire district. Attendees voiced support for a more robust fire and medical emergency response.

The concern expressed by many was the added cost of the new district, combined with the retention of the current $1.50 in fire department funding. The city councilor leading the meeting stated the city council supported a one-year pause, followed by a three-year phase-in of the $1.50.

Voters, including me, trusted that promise with a yes vote on the new fire district.

I recognize the city has needs, and that adding $1.50 back all at once will provide quicker revenue. But in the long run, I believe losing the trust of your voters will cost you far more than you gain.

McMinnville residents love and support this city and its schools. We trust you to manage the needs of the city while also looking out for the well-being of the citizens.

Please do not disappoint us.

Joan Buccino



Piling on

Members of the community should be alarmed that Mac PD is willing to keep officers on duty who are clearly not fit for service. If an officer is suffering from extreme distress from an incident on the job, perhaps he should be put on leave, placed under therapy or removed from duty altogether.

Two McMinnville police officers are suing a young family for $12 million.

The members of this local family have already had their lives turned upside down by a failed system that offers no help or support for people who suffer from mental illness, and at times, severe mental illness. This lawsuit is kicking them down when they are already down on their knees.

In addition, with this lawsuit, Officers Burt and Rudolph are discrediting the 12 members of the jury who sat through a week-long trial and found Cashman not guilty of inflicting intentional harm.

I have compassion for officers who may suffer distress from work-related situations. I pray for their recovery.

But this seems to be a sick search for revenge. Mac PD, you can do better.

Audrey Aase



Cronyism at work

I am once again appalled by the county board of commissioners’ obvious cronyism when it comes to awarding dollars to their friends.

This commission asked for and got a thorough study of the child care problem in our county. It invested a lot of time coming up with a thoughtful solution, to not only the childcare problem, but also the issue of trained childcare workers.

This plan had the potential for growth, offered realistic plans for the future and provided a much needed service for our childcare desert.

So how did the county commissioners respond? By potentially awarding a small group of people in Newberg, who have no child care experience at all, the chance to open of pseudo child care center.

This is unbelievable on so many levels. I hope an outcry from their constituents, the people of Yamhill County, will be enough for the board to reconsider.

I am never certain that this board will do the right thing for its citizens. But I can always hope for some sign of consideration.

Amy Karshner



Many issues

Although we accomplished our effort to have the gates on High Heaven Road closed for the fire season, which is now over until next year, we have not accomplished our effort to have them closed year-around.

We are still faced with the many issues that open gates present the remainder of the year. These issues include vandalism, shooting, dumping and vehicle abandonment, not to mention the speeding indulged in by many who drive our road.

Renewed thinking is needed at this point.

Joe and Nancy Keim



War and peace

Late last month, a group gathered at noon at Linfield University to dedicate a peace pole, one of many in McMinnville.

Shortly after the ceremonies started, four Blue Angels flew directly over the grounds in tight formation. It was a magnificent exhibition of skilled flying, but they drowned out our speaker for a few moments, and they returned several times.

I could not help but contrast what the Blue Angels stand for with what the peace pole stands for.

Sooner or later, the planes must land for fuel, maintenance, a new flight crew and other needs.

They cannot function without consuming vast resources. Each plane costs more than $60 million, and its infrastructure — airfields, pilot recruiting, pilot training, maintenance and so forth — etc.) costs many times that.

These planes are weapons of war. They are beautiful, awe-inspiring symbols of technological prowess, but weapons of war nonetheless.

In contrast, the peace pole might have cost a few hundred dollars, total, for both its manufacture and installation.

It will be there day and night, requiring no maintenance, requiring no annual budget. It will quietly invite people of all nations with these simple words in many languages: “May peace prevail on earth.”

We have a choice – invest in peace or invest in war.

Our national budget reflects our choice as a country. But which choice is better for our sons and daughters, our granddaughters and our grandsons?

May I suggest we start investing in peace just one tenth of 1% of our 2024 defense budget, which comes to $826 million?

The Peace Corps is currently receiving $410 million, half of my proposed $826 million. What other programs could be created, and what could they accomplish?

Finally, what if we become outrageously bold and increased our peace budget by 1/10 of a percent each year until it stood at 1% of our military budget? Could we actually prevent wars instead of grieving over their destruction?

FYI: I served in the Army from 1969 to 1971, so am familiar with the costs of the Vietnam War.

Gary Langenwalter



Saying goodbye

The long goodbye. That’s what some call dementia, and the description couldn’t be more fitting.

After watching our elderly mother start to forget little things like the names of common objects and end up referring to them as “that deal,” we realized something was wrong. When she began to forget the names of her children, other family members, and her friends, the seriousness of the disease hit us hard.

I visited mom often in McMinnville. During the drive from Beaverton, I wondered if she would recognize me, and whether she would be in good spirits.

Despite the destruction that is inherent in Alzheimer’s disease, our mom was always the class act that we knew her to be. Always smiling, she was gracious to the end.

I realize not every patient or family is as lucky. Some people with dementia are very angry or melancholy, but our mom was neither.

Now that my siblings and I have experienced the effects of dementia first hand, if anyone asks me for advice, I would say visit as often as possible. Just don’t put them on the spot by asking them to recall people, places or things.

Listen more than you talk. Play their favorite music. Smile often. And take your time, no matter how tedious or repetitive the conversation — or lack thereof — becomes.

Ultimately, one day, conversation will no longer be possible.

Spend some time. Make it a long goodbye.

Ron Allen



The woke crowd

Our education system has been taken over by the left-leaning woke crowd.

Our kids are taught America is racist, so they should hate everything about it. As a result, Columbus Day is now Indigenous Peoples Day. And after many years, one of our schools had its name changed from Columbus to Willamette.

Every individual obtaining citizenship must pass a civics test about how our country works and what is so great about it.

There should be a requirement that all students pass this test in order to graduate. Then they will learn to love rather than hate America.

Don Bowie



Lights of the season

I enjoyed the article by Kirby Neumann Rea about the Northern Lights.

Being a former Alaskan, I have seen nature’s incredible phenomenon many times. But my sister, a city girl from California, had never witnessed it until she visited me one Christmas in Juneau.

My son called one night to tell us the Northern Lights were dancing in the sky, so we hurried outside to catch a glimpse of the illusive Aurora Borealis. They dance around in the night sky, so you never know exactly where to look.

After scanning the heavens, my sister pointed excitedly and shouted, “There they are, I see them over there!” I followed her finger and realized my city slicker sister was pointing at the neighbor’s Christmas lights!

Phyllice Bradner



Caught red-handed

I read with interest the letter to the editor posted by Joanne Williamson last week titled “Fox singled out.”

Ms. Williamson seems to think that the Fox organization was singled out for having the wrong politics. Actually, it was sued by another corporation, Dominion Voting Systems, for defamation.

It is nearly impossible for a news organizations to lose a defamation lawsuit. But first, let’s discuss defamation in a non-news context.

To win such a lawsuit, the plaintiff must show four things: 1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm, caused to the reputation of the person or entity who is the subject of the statement. (https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/defamation)

For a news organization to lose such a lawsuit, the bar is much higher. According to the Supreme Court’s Sullivan decision of 1964, the plaintiff seeking to prove libel against a news organization protected by the First Amendment must show that a damaging allegation was made with actual malice — “that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for the truth.” (https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/supreme-court-landmarks/new-york-times-v-sullivan-podcast)

In the Dominion vs. Fox case, Judge Davis said, “The evidence is crystal clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” (https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/31/dominion-lawsuit-fox-trial-00090034)

Thus, the trial was going to a jury to determine whether Fox was acting with actual malice, that is with knowledge that what it was reporting was false. Fox paid out $800 million, because the evidence was overwhelming that Fox principals knew what they were reporting was false.

A good rule to live by as a news organization is this: Don’t lie.

John Linder



Hypocrisy on parade

Some House Republicans appear bent on killing any chance for a budget bill — 21 of them, mostly from pro-Trump districts where they command 2-1 support. Rumor has Donald Trump behind this, and who can argue, as he’s bragging about it.

I stayed quiet when the GOP blamed Clinton for Libya, even though Republicans had just blocked extra security at U.S. embassies, including Libya’s. I stayed quiet during the pandemic, when the order of rescue was Wall Street, corporations, mid-sized and small businesses, and only then the people.

I’m done with them blaming others for deficits, while giving out fat-cat tax cuts being used for record profits and stock buybacks. I’m tired of them giving subsides to industries using them to secure monopolies and manipulate markets, at significant cost to the people.

I watched the GOP complain about inflation under Biden, without addressing the Phillips curve coming off the pandemic. As if they could have done better — not.

According to Katie Porter, 54% of inflationary increases were actually attributable to price gouging.

So what did the GOP do? It voted against regulating price gouging via HR 7736 and HR 7688, then threatened a filibuster in the Senate. Maybe fossil fuel money played a role, as most goes to the GOP.

Republicans also killed voter security bills in 2019 and 2020, then raised allegations of fraud. Go figure!

Now the GOP cares about the deficit. But Trump added $7.8 trillion in four years, almost matching Obama’s eight-year total.

Biden’s only at $1.7 trillion. He’s also managed the biggest tax collection in history at more than $4 trillion — something the GOP would never acknowledge.

Now Republicans want us to sacrifice yet more, so they can continue stepping on us in pursuit of their own political gain. I’m not that stupid and you shouldn’t be either.

Troy Prouty



Time to speak up

I am ashamed. Deeply ashamed.

I was a coward, afraid to say what needed to be said. I allowed myself to bow to social convention, to be “polite.”

We were visiting a Vietnam friend of my husband’s at his ranch in Alabama.

We have gone there over the years. It has been good to reconnect, but always evident that we hold strikingly different views.

One tries to focus on points of agreement rather than create conflict. But this time was different and I failed miserably.

Our friend was talking about land he had sold. He mentioned the buyer was planting trees on the acreage.

Then he said it. He told us that the new owner “brought in 40 head of Mexicans” to do the planting.

I gulped and shuddered, but only internally.

In retrospect, I can think of so many responses to the obscenity of likening human beings to cattle. But in that moment, I swallowed them all because I didn’t want to offend our hosts.

I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I have vowed never again to hold my tongue in the face of such offensive speech, even if it affronts the speaker.

When I reflect on today’s far right political hate speech — on Donald Trump sounding frighteningly like Adolf Hitler, opining that immigrants are “polluting our blood” — I realize it is nearly too late to stand up.

We must never fail to call out fascist, racist and anti-American sentiments. We must never stay silent when someone likens to herd animals those human beings who are willing to do the manual labor most native-born Americans would never consider.

If we let these indecencies pass unchallenged — if we do not scream, “This is NOT American,” when we hear such obscenities — soon there will no longer be an America to save.

Erma Vasquez




Hi Don,

Columbus, interesting character. Columbus came back to conquer, get gold and obtain slaves approved not only by Spain, but the Pope as outlined by the book "The hidden roots of white supremacy" by Robert Jones.

America has a racist past, are you saying it doesn't?

Even more remarkable is levels of denial today, yet for some reason, nobody can answer these..

Why are the majority of wrongful convictions black man?

Why do Black man get 19% higher sentences than white people for same criminal history and same crime?

Why are you more likely to be pulled over illegally being black ?

Why are you more likely to be killed by a police officer, even with no weapon if you are black?

Why do you have higher unemployment rates if you are black?

and why do you have the lowest wages in the U.S. if you are black?

Remember we are talking roughly 14% of our population.

You might be worried about our past being called Racist. I'm more concerned with our future allowing it so more of this continues.




Hi Erma,

Great letter. To bring home the point.

"What you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening"

Donald Trump 2018.

"Since then a struggle between the truth and a lie has been taking place, as always the struggle will end victoriously for the truth."

Adolf Hitler 1921

"You must believe me because I have the habit, it is the system of my life of always and everywhere saying the truth."

Benito Mussolini 1924

Fascism is upon us, of we do not speak against it, we enable it to grow and get worse.

Paul Mason wrote a book "How to stop Fascism" that i strongly recommend.


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