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Letters to the Editor: Oct. 21, 2022

Vision for future

I’ve known Zack Geary since our days running jog-a-thons together at Memorial Elementary School back in the early ‘90s. Zack has always been a passionate and selfless leader, from those early years in McMinnville Park & Rec sports, to his days in student government representing the Class of 2004 at McMinnville High School.

Since returning to McMinnville from his college years, Zack has put in time on community service projects, various nonprofit organizations, and terms on McMinnville’s planning commission and city council.

Continuing to give time to these projects while starting a business and raising a family is no small task in today’s world. It shows he truly believes in service to our city, proves his desire to give back and ensures the town that’s turned into a city has the resources and service levels enabling the next generation to prosper.

While on council, I’ve gotten to serve on the KOB Technical Advisory Committee with Zack, as well as see him carry the heavy lift of the MacPAC project, which will extend well into the coming term.

Throughout our childhood, and even today on the dais in council meetings, we don’t always agree on each issue or the path to get there. I do know I can always count on Zack to have an honest, passionate and no hidden-agenda discussion, while articulating his perspective in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.

He has his finger on the pulse and brings a unique perspective that provides balance and diversity in the “sausage making” of City Policy. Please join me to Re-Elect Councilor Zack Geary to his second term on the McMinnville City Council.

Adam Garvin

Ward 3 Councilor and City Council President

Democratic pals

In the non-partisan race for Yamhill County commissioner, both candidates show strong backing from the Democratic and Republican parties.

Beth Wytoski has gotten financial support from Democrat Nick Kristoff. Her signs were available at the Yamhill County Fair’s Democratic Party booth, and many of her signs are posted near those of Democrat Victoria Ernst.

In a recent article, however, the News-Register saw fit only to comment on Kit Johnston’s support from his own Republican Party. If the News-Register is an unbiased source of information for its readers, why would it omit mentioning the Democratic support Beth Wytoski is clearly receiving?

Beth Wytoski touts reaching across the aisle, yet has never attended a single meeting of her own registered political party, the Republican Party. She was invited to speak to the party last winter, but declined.

Kit Johnston mentioned in a recent forum that he would be more than happy to meet with any group, if invited. He has been reaching out to businesses from across the political spectrum, while Wytoski has been largely sequestered with her Democratic pals.

If you have in fact listened to Kit Johnston, or kept up with his social media, you will find that he has never mentioned Democrats or Republicans. However, Beth Wytoski consistently brings up the two parties.

Kit Johnston is genuinely for the people. The News-Register is blatant in letting its true-blue color show in its reporting on the race for Yamhill County commissioner.

Patrice Jordan

Newberg

Integrity and authenticity

I am a forward-thinking, solution-oriented and compassion-driven person.

As an independent, I vote for who I think will serve the position with dignity, ethics, integrity and authentically. This means I would happily vote for a Demorcrat, Independent or Republican, if I thought he or she was best for the job.

The position of Yamhill County commissioner is supposed to be non-partisan, but many people still end up voting by party. This is very frustrating, but it is the reality.

This time around, it is Republican vs. Republican, so the choice cannot now be about party. It must be about ability to do the job and actually represent all of Yamhill County.

The choice is simple and clear.

Beth Wytoski has made it clear that she would serve the entire county, as she is supposed to. She would serve with dignity, intelligence and integrity, and on behalf of all the people of this county.

Vote Beth Wytoski for Yamhill County commissioner.

Lisa Pool

McMinnville

Shades of Ralph Nader

For anyone thinking about voting for Betsy Johnson for governor, and for this newspaper’s endorsement writer, I have just two words for you: Ralph Nader.
If you are too young for that to sink in, go ahead and google the 2000 presidential election. I’ll wait.

Brad Thompson

McMinnville

Salinas in 6th

The last few years have been very difficult for the United States.

I watched both parties say the other party had divided our nation. But when I went back to reflect on the words of Trump versus those of Biden, I really only saw division coming from the right.

Donald Trump has never taken responsibility for anything he has said and done, and I find similar fault with Mike Erickson.

He never appears to have taken responsibility for his past or offered what he even learned from it. He acts as if it would be a weakness, when it could be a strength, if he showed us he actually did learn from it.

I’m a third-party voter, currently with the Working Families Party. But of late, I can’t in good faith vote against a Democrat when the Republicans have continued to either lie or enable lies about the 2020 election, Critical Race Theory, Jan. 6 or Trump’s abuse of the Presidential Records Act.

Add to that what I consider an authoritarian movement from the right with rumors of amendments to re-write our Constitution through state legislatures, which could include such things as book banning, anti-abortion and anti-LGBT measures.

I’m voting for Andrea Salinas in the 6th Congressional District.

Troy Prouty

McMinnville

The change we need

After attending recent candidate forums featuring Victoria Ernst and Lucetta Elmer, candidates for state representative in House District 24, I feel the need to shed some light on the way Elmer has characterized herself as a change in leadership.

Elmer complains that failed leadership is the reason Yamhill County is facing such challenges. However, she was nominated by the Republican Party, which has held this seat for many years. And while she claims leadership is the answer, she proposes no solutions of her own.

In two forums so far, the Linfield forum and the NAMI forum, Elmer has mentioned her RV Park in Sheridan as an answer to our houseless crisis. Despite her claims that this park is affordable, it advertises rates of $45 per night, $310 per week or $650 per month.

For reference, monthly rates at other mobile home parks are in the $400 to $500 range. How Elmer can think the rates at her park are affordable to people experiencing houselessness is very concerning.

In contrast, Ernst has a proven track record of actively seeking solutions for our houseless and housing insecure neighbors. She has represented clients in landlord-tenant disputes and is currently serving on the Encompass Yamhill Valley board of directors and YCAP finance committee, both dedicated to finding real, long-lasting solutions to this crisis.

During the height of the COVID pandemic, when the Legislature was passing measures to protect renters, Ernst turned those new rules into easy to understand legal guides that people facing housing loss could use to exercise their rights and defend themselves. That is what effective leadership looks like: seeing a need and taking initiative to solve the problem.

Victoria Ernst represents the change in leadership we need in Salem. Vote Victoria Ernst in House District 24.

Candice Robben

McMinnville

Essential collaborator

Zack Geary has effectively, efficiently and steadily contributed energy, action and passion in his role as a McMinnville city councilor, and through his long-time volunteer civic contributions.

Zack is curious, invites exploration of topics, and finds perspective on opportunities and challenges. He has a bias for action, learns from others, and gains logical information to enhance his insightful decisions.

Zack examines biases and quickly moves toward solutions. One of Zack’s admired strengths is as an essential collaborator.

Re-elect Zack for Mac so he can continue the great work he is doing!

Michael Hampton

McMinnville

Clear choice

There are two Republicans running for a non-partisan county commissioner seat in this election. Why should we care which one wins?

Beth Wytoski’s years of service as Dayton’s mayor shows that she is dedicated to focusing on practical, local issues that affect us all. She listens to all the voices in the community and makes decisions based on what’s best for us, not just what fits a rigid ideology.

Her opponent has never held elected office. He is being promoted by two far right conservatives on the board, hoping to achieve a trifecta allowing them to bring their political grandstanding on our county issues to even greater heights.

There’s a clear choice here. Join me in voting for Beth Wytoski.

Ed Farrar

Amity

Effective representative

Thank you for giving Victoria Ernst your endorsement. She is very worthy.

Victoria will be an effective representative for House District 24. Her priorities are just what we need.

She will work toward protecting everyone’s rights and freedoms. She will fight for a stable, reliable economy that benefits everyone equally.

Victoria believes in securing funds for roads, bridges and utility systems. She wants to protect our natural environment and stand up for agricultural industries.

Keeping our communities safe with strong, comprehensive public safety programs and healthy with accessible, affordable healthcare is very important to her.

Victoria will work hard for all of us in District 24. I hope voters will give her their support.

James Bush

Lafayette

The real deal

As an 84-year old native Oregonian who has held elective offices in two Oregon cities – councilor in Sherwood and councilor and mayor in Cottage Grove -- I feel there is a real opportunity for Oregon to elect a special kind of governor.

I have yet to hear either the R or D nominees say a positive word about the other major candidate or any of her positions. No person or party can be that bad.

On the other hand, one candidate states she will bring both major parties together to have input and mutual discussion on any major bills considered by the Legislature, whether introduced by the D or R side of the aisle. That person is Betsy Johnson.

Betsy has been around long enough to know how the system works in state government. She knows that what we have now certainly isn’t working for the betterment of the entire state of Oregon.

I spent nearly two hours listening and talking to Betsy. My conclusion is she is the real deal.

Her pledge to call both major political sides to the table before enacting legislation is a goal that all Oregonians should support. For that reason, I encourage voters to read about Betsy and vote for her as the next governor for our state.

Bill Whiteman

McMinnville

Far more qualified

I am writing in support of Zack Geary for city council.

I know and like both Zack and George Humlie. I have found both to be good, honest, civically minded men.

However when weighing my vote, I agree with the editorial board of the News-Register: Zack has done a great job for the city, he has more experience than his opponent, and therefore, he deserves another term on the city council.

Zack has come up through the ranks of community service and local government.

Besides his term on the council, he has served on the planning commission. He has also spent six years on the McMinnville Downtown Association’s board of directors. All three of these roles have given him a deep understanding of the many important issues facing the city.

He has also added to the culture of McMinnville. He has been a key player in the Davis Street Summer Concerts and co-organizer of the Walnut City Music Festival for five years — two of my favorite cultural events.

As a McMinnville native and small business owner, he also understands the needs of local citizens. And he is accessible. When I had an issue with the city, I called Zack, and he found a workable solution.

In short, both candidates are good men. But because of his very competent and long-term involvement in both city government and the community at large, it is clear to me that he is by far the more qualified candidate.

I urge you to support Zack Geary for city council.

David Sumner

McMinnville

Lives on line

According to the Oregon Health Authority, there were 455 suicides and 110 homicides committed with firearms in 2020.

Ballot Measure 114 requires a permit to purchase a firearm and restricts magazines to 10 rounds. So would this save lives or cost lives?

I am actively involved in developing and deploying groundbreaking strategies to prevent suicide and save lives in Oregon. We are making great progress, to the point we are being held up as a model for other states.

Unfortunately, Measure 114 hinders these efforts, as it prevents a trusted friend from taking control of firearms to proactively create time and distance — key factors in suicide prevention. This will cost Oregon lives.

A study on homicides, commissioned by the city of Portland, found that prior criminal justice system involvement and social network activity were key predictors. It recommends focusing on these issues.

Assuming law enforcement needs to be involved, I looked at its stance on Measure 114. In the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet, the state sheriffs and police chiefs associations were clear in saying Measure 114 is not enforceable, even with adjustments to correct its many errors.

It is unfunded, so would pull funding from first responders. That would make our communities less safe and cost Oregon lives.
Vote no on 114.

Kerry Spurgin

Newberg

Vote Oregon values

Are we going to allow one man to buy our election for governor?

Phil Knight has contributed $4.75 million dollars to the campaigns of two of our candidates.

He gave $3.75 million to Betsy Johnson’s third-party campaign, the most an individual donor has contributed to a politician in state history, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Then, not happy with Johnson’s lagging poll numbers, he contributed $1 million to Christine Drazan’s Republican campaign, giving it financial parity with Tina Kotek’s Democratic campaign.

Knight gave the game away with his switch from Johnson to Drazan. He told the New York Times he would do whatever he could to defeat Democrat Kotek, calling himself “an anti-Tina person.”

His support of Johnson was based upon her policies being more in line with Drazan’s than Kotek’s, as his switch to Drazan proves. It was clearly aimed at siphoning Democratic and non-affiliated support from Kotek.

A vote for Drazan is a vote against women’s freedom to control their own bodies, for the NRA based on her 92% rating, for big business based on her 100% Chamber of Commerce rating, and against the environment based on her 32% Climate Action Cabinet rating.

A vote for Kotek is a vote for universal health care, reasonable gun laws, greater access to mental health resources, a woman’s right to choose and support for workers’ rights. She is endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood of Oregon and the Oregon Mental Health Providers PAC, just to name a few.

Don’t let Phil Knight buy our next governor for his conservative corporate agenda. Make your vote count.

Vote Oregon values. Vote Tina Kotek.

Pat Magda

McMinnville

Time-tested history

It is great to see two candidates running for the open city council position in Ward 2. Both are known to our community, but one has a time-tested history of service to McMinnville.

I have known Zack Geary for numerous years, and have admired his complete dedication to the many volunteer activities he has been involved in. Zack has gained excellent knowledge and experience and developed a profound ability to communicate with those he works and represents.

As your former mayor, I appreciated his work with numerous civic and community groups, as well as his service on the planning commission and his preparation for each council meeting. He studied the issues, talked with citizens and thought outside the box, bringing the needed questions for a complete discussion among the councilors.

Zack is passionate and smart. He’s a forward thinker, focused on safety, family, recreation and the betterment of the community.

He was raised in McMinnville. He was educated in McMinnville public schools and a public state college. That gives him a strong local focus.

I support the re-election of Zack Geary 100% in Ward 2.

Former Mayor Scott Hill

Saratoga Springs, Utah

Standout candidates

After studying each of the candidates running in Yamhill County to represent ALL of the residents here, I have settled on the two who I feel would benefit us the most — Victoria Ernst for Yamhill County’s House District 24, and Beth Wytoski for the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners.

Too often, people choose to run for office because of their own agenda, or that of their strongest supporters, losing sight of the fact they will be representing EVERYONE in their district or county. After they take office, they become beholden to a few, not the whole.

Not these two. Let me tell you, they are passionate about winning for us ALL. They have the personalities, experience and conviction that we all deserve in order to be heard and served.

Their agenda is one of seeking collaboration, compromise and constructive results to move us forward and initiate healthier, more compassionate dialogue. And we so need this, don’t you think?

I can’t encourage you enough, as voters, to take some quality time to look into what Victoria Ernst and Beth Wytoski will bring us. Thank you!

Liz Marlia-Stein

McMinnville

Mac superfan

Zack Geary is a McMinnville native and superfan.

In volunteer service with the Walnut City Music Festival and McMinnville’s planning commission, downtown association and city council, Zack has advocated for the importance of parks, music, public services and open community spaces. He solves problems with passion, professionalism and an open mind.

Zack is a down-home dude who listens, learns and empathizes with a broad range of perspectives. Always willing to offer up help — even if it’s just a good dad joke to make you laugh — he is the type of person everyone needs in their life.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to re-elect Zack to the city council.

Diana Riggs

McMinnville

Just a spoiler

I am writing to warn Democrats not to toss away their votes on the spoiler candidate, Betsy Johnson. Unwittingly or not, she is playing the part of the spoiler.

She’s backed by billionaire Phil Knight just to increase chances of Christine Drazan becoming governor. She serves no other purpose.

Her candidacy does not have a snowball’s chance in hell, and Phil Knight and his fellow Republicans know it. So, please, do not waste your vote on her.

I can understand a less than ringing endorsement of Tina Kotek, but just keep in mind the personal liberties Oregonians have been able to enjoy.

In the past, a good number of wise political moves were from Republicans — Tom McCall, Mark Hatfield and others. But for some time now, the party has become the dominion of those less sensible. It is suffused with election deniers and people motivated by religious imperatives.

Oregon has a compassionate approach to abortion. Drazan does not, but in an attempt to disguise her agenda, she has scrubbed opposition to abortion from her campaign website.

That’s disingenuous. Be wary of someone resorting to this ploy.

Scott Phoenix

Newberg

The person we need

Driving around rural Yamhill County, one sees very large fields decorated with signs supporting a large array of extreme right-wing Republican candidates, from governor to dogcatcher.

It is important to remember that tracts of hundreds of acres or more reflect the votes of just one owner or family of owners. Acres don’t vote; only citizens do.
County commissioner candidate Beth Wytoski is extreme only in the extent of her accomplishments as mayor of Dayton, recognitions as an engaged citizen and achievements as an educator.

Utilizing funds from Community Development Block Grants, Small City Allotment Grants, the State Revenue Sharing Fund, Safe Routes to School Grants and the Transient Lodging Tax, as well as direct loans, Beth helped Dayton acquire a community center, update and refurbish several city parks, acquire water rights for future city needs, complete the Dayton Veterans Memorial, install new sidewalks around the community and improve the sewer lift station and trunk lines.

Beth was honored as 2018 VFW Teacher of the Year, 2019 winner of the Civic Education Award of the League of Oregon Cities, 2019 LOC designee as Oregon representative to the Women in Leadership Conference, 2020 Dayton Education Citizen of the Year, 2021 president of the Oregon Mayors Association and 2022 nominee for the Mark Hatfield Statesmanship Award. Visit BethWytoski.com for more details.

Beth Wytoski has many years of experience as an elected official, and is responsive to the needs of local citizens. She is the person we need as Yamhill County commissioner.

Peter Gladhart

Dayton

Record of involvement

Please join me in voting to re-elect Zack Geary to represent Ward 2 on the McMinnville City Council.

As a long-time member of McMinnville’s budget committee, I have seen the time, energy and effort Zack brings to the council. He does his homework. He is always on top of the issues and comes prepared to ask tough and insightful questions.

Zack’s community involvement goes way back. Although young by my standards, he brings deep personal knowledge of our community and fellow members of the council.

I don’t know Zack’s opponent, George Humlie. But I went to Mr. Humlie’s campaign website and Facebook page, and neither shows any history of community involvement.

They also fail to show where Mr. Humlie stands on any of the issues before the council. Nor do they show an understanding of what is involved in being a member of the council.

The election is between an incumbent with a long history of effective service to our town’s governance and a person with no history of involvement.

The choice is clear. Vote for Zack.

Jerry Hart

McMinnville

No on measures

My Voters’ Pamphlet arrived this week and it shows we have some very qualified people running for office. I really like Keri Hinton for county clerk, Kit Johnston for county commissioner, Tim Svenson for sheriff and Lucetta Elmer for state representative in House District 24.

I am very concerned, however, after reviewing the four state measures.

Measure 111 established a medical right without any definition of what that means or how it will be paid for. It does not belong in the state Constitution.

Measure 112 is opposed by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association. I agree with its logic, appearing on page 53 of the pamphlet.

Measure 113 takes away from the voters the right to decide in the next election who they want to represent them based on floor attendance. It takes away an important tool for any minority party.

Measure 114 is opposed by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association. I agree with its logic there as well, provided on page 83. It violates federal case law and the U.S. Constitution. It would be tied up in court forever — a lawyer’s dream.

Please vote no on all four measures.

Dennis Goecks

McMinnville

No forgiveness

There once was a boy who killed his parents, then asked for mercy from the court because he was an orphan.

The McMinnville City Council happily approved multiple developments, growing the city by thousands of new residents, hundreds of new homes and miles of new streets.

Now — surprise — the city budget will not allow for services to the enlarged city. And asking voters to cover the shortfall would be risky, at best, even if inflation were cited as a factor. So the council majority — there were two negative votes — approved a devious “service charge” on utility bills. That, of course, has very little to do with general city budget and services.

Apparently it’s better to seek ratepayer forgiveness than voter permission. Well, this ratepayer will not grant forgiveness. He will not vote for city councilors who approved the unrestrained growth and then the resulting scheme to bypass voter approval.

My ire will be renewed with every artificially inflated utility bill I pay. Current circumstances do not mitigate previous actions, whether by the orphan or the city.

Ken Dollinger

McMinnville

Right fit for who?

FOR SOME REASON:

- The city found itself with a $1.8 million general fund shortfall. The state had money left from its share of the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, and the council chose to close its gap with a loan of $1.8 million from this source.

- The city council singled out the customers of McMinnville Water & Light to help repay the loan by adding $13 to our monthly bills. This is due to go into effect in January.

- It is estimated this fee will generate $1.1 million in seven months. Along with $163,000 from Transient Lodging Tax funds, that will enable the city to repay the ARP loan and become solvent again. Does this mean that the fee will only last seven months??

- It doesn’t seem fair that Water & Light customers, already burdened with out-of-control inflation, sky-high gas prices, rising fear of recession, fallout from COVID and the ongoing challenge of making ends meet are being asked to pick up the tab. Other options could have been considered, including more money from the Transient Lodging Tax.

FACT:

- The Transient Lodging Tax gets 10% of each short-term rental, which generated $272,000 in just the first six months of this year. Together with fees for short-term rental permits and yearly renewals, this generates a lot of money.

There is some diversity of views regarding short-term rentals and a moratorium on new applications is currently in place. But with short-term rental property being a vital element of local tourism, it’s not going to go away. A committee is now in place to come up with a “right fit” plan for McMinnville.

How about a “right fit” for balancing the budget without it being on the backs of Water & Light customers?

Donna Lunt

McMinnville

Made to kill people

Regarding the letter “Unrestricted access,” taking exception to former Sheriff Lee Vasquez referring to AR-15s as assault weapons:

Weapons of this type have been referred to as assault weapons ever since Germany introduced them in World War II.

But let’s call them what they really are – machine guns. Their sole purpose is to kill and maim human beings.

Too many people are willing to say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” to the many victims of these weapons, instead of getting behind legislation to stop civilians from possessing them. They should be classified as machine guns and outlawed as such.

Oregon statutes allow prosecution for assaults involving all manner of weapon, even an ice cream cone. A weapon being used in an assault is an assault weapon, and these are being used to slaughter innocent people.

Jim Shelton

Lafayette

Edge of cliff

Are we ready for the end of the political rhetoric? How can we know which candidates are reliable and will back up their words?

Remember President George H. Bush’s pledge: “Read my lips, No new taxes.” We all know that taxes hurt us and depress our economy.

We all have a duty to vote — and to monitor the voting for fraud — regardless of our party affiliation.

We are on the edge of a cliff. All efforts should be used to keep us out of the pit.

Mary Novak

Yamhill

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