Letters to the Editor: Oct. 6, 2023

Vegetation hazard

Street safety has received a lot of attention recently. I would like to call attention to one aspect — blind corners.

Property owners tend to neglect the area on the street side of their walls and fences. There are a number of intersections where a shrub or hedge extends up to, if not over, the sidewalk.

Fences sitting right on the property line are also a problem. In either case, to see if it is safe to enter the crossing, it is necessary to pull out almost into traffic.

On a related issue, overgrown plants like rose and blackberry bushes, with their thorns, pose a hazard to walkers. So do overgrown shrubs and low-hanging tree branches, which force them to duck and/or proceed single file.

I sometimes carry a pair of clippers to deal with the problem. Anything that extends over the sidewalk is fair game.

Darrell King



Focus on solutions

“A clash over homeless policies” was the way you put it in a Sept. 15 article. But what are the best policies if we want to reduce the population of homeless folks in our city?

I heard two groups of people, both with valid concerns, present solutions that punish the negative behavior of vagrancy. But where was the voice that understands the need to separate “homeless” from “vagrant”?

People can choose to be homeless, use drugs and play by their own rules.

But we must acknowledge that more and more people are homeless involuntarily, simply because they lost their ability to afford housing. Are these good people being mixed in with vagrants in our minds?

Our livelihoods are fragile things.

Property taxes and utility fees are rising, along with the cost of gasoline, healthcare and groceries. People are increasingly unable to afford to live in the place where they work.

Right now, our county workers are saying they can’t afford to live in Yamhill County, so are demanding better wages. In McMinnville, we know that housing eats up more than half of total net income for about 1 in 4 households.

Median household income here is around $55,000, which might qualify for a $300,000 home loan. But the median home price is more than $500,000, so most people are left renting month to month.

Rent increases, job losses and medical bills can cause an otherwise normal, hardworking person to become homeless very quickly.

Our city has an Affordable Housing Committee filled with wonderful people working on policies to reward the positive behavior of homeless folks who want more stability in their lives. They are focused on homelessness prevention and transitional solutions that help get people back into permanent housing.

If the problem of homelessness is urgent, maybe we can do more to expedite their solutions.

Buck Newman



Keeping spirits high

We have all found the past few years to be challenging, in matters of health, interaction with family and friends, and simply maintaining a positive attitude toward the new realities that COVID and divisive politics have brought to our land. However, I wish to raise my voice in praise of one of our local gems here in McMinnville: the Senior Center.

Director Erin Guinn is doing an excellent job of keeping spirits high for those of us participating in the many services the center provides. Every employee is genuinely interested in the wellbeing, health and happiness of those who come in.

I cannot state how important this is for those of us who are in our last phases of life. The exercise classes, social opportunities, art classes and endless array of events the center provides are all led by individuals who know how to make us all feel good about ourselves.

Thanks to all of those at the McMinnville Senior Center for their terrific work.

Paul Siegrist



Appreciate the humor

Thanks for the laughs.

I’ve been reading and laughing at your cartoons for years.

It is obvious that your cartoonist is a flaming liberal, while I am a moderate MAGA Republican. Even so, I appreciate a good sense of humor, no matter which side you are on.

The cartoons of Sept. 22, about DeSantis and McCarthy, had me in stitches. Keep up the humor.

But also keep an open mind about Trump and his supporters. And investigate.

You may discover we are really nice, smart people and he is an American hero who loves this country.

Judy Hromyko



Competing values

What do we value?

Last weekend, an excited admiring crowd numbering in the thousands watched the Blue Angels perform death-defying maneuvers in the sky above Yamhill County.

In the spring, I watch a mother barn swallow fly in circles, gathering insects that are so small I cannot see them. She then flies at a high speed through a maze of tree limbs to a bird house with a small hole, where she comes to an abrupt stop to feed her hungry babies.

Within a few weeks, those babies will approach the doorway of their home and look out at the wide world below.

But first, they need to take one step out of their home and in the smallest amount of a second learn to fly — or fall to their deaths below. How do these decisions and actions happen in a bird that probably has a brain smaller than the eraser on my #2 pencil?

I recently disturbed a great horned owl that spread its wings of more than two feet and silently flew through many branches looking for another tree in the forest.

These owls hunt our fields at night seeking the field mice that destroy our grass crops. I marvel at their hunting abilities, based on being able to spot their prey in the dark.

Why is it that we almost worship aeronautical stunts that require 60 gallons of fuel per minute, releasing carbon in a shrieking explosion scaring our pets and livestock, while paying little or no attention to the amazing natural world around us.

Sam Sweeney



Fox singled out

After reading the “Whatchamacolumn” about Fox News being sued because its stock value went down (in the wake of its $787 million Dominion Voting Systems defamation settlement), I am wondering what is has happening in our “free” country.”

It appears that if you disagree with our present administration or the Democratic Party, you are either racist or authoritarian. Because Fox News tries to report all the news, which the mainstream media does not, it is singled out as going rogue.

Since when is a stock purchase a guarantee of making money? I suppose the stockholders in Budweiser will also get a lawsuit going, as greed, not truth, is what matters today.

Joanne Williamson



Price gouging

Over the past four years, I’ve seen the cost of my water, internet and dog food increase by at least 50%. This is an example of price gouging masquerading as inflation.

In each case, the massive price hike was possible because there’s no competition. Take dog food, for example.

I used to buy canned dog food at the food store for about $1.20 a can. Then I found the same product on Amazon for 98 cents a can, so started ordering online.

In the year or so since then, that can of dog food has gone up to $3.56. That’s closing in on a 300% increase, which they know you’ll pay because the alternative is starving the dog.

Someone could point to the fact that there are numerous brands of dog food available. However, they are concentrated in very few hands. It’s a monopoly made to look like it’s not a monopoly.

If the existing antitrust laws don’t address this situation, they ought to be updated. Leaving consumers unprotected results in situations like this, where the cost of feeding the dog goes from about $90 a month to almost $400.00 a month, simply because the greedy monopoly knows you have no alternative.

Fred Fawcett



Conned in America?

Yamhill County Peace and Justice will host a brand-new documentary titled “Americonned” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Great Room at McMinnville Cooperative Ministries.

This film highlights the income inequality that has been affecting middle class Americans for the past 40 years. It describes what happens when America hits a tipping point, as we definitely have.

In comparison, it will look back through our history at similar critical moments of instability and the actions that were taken to restore some degree of harmony.

To quote the writers, “Despite an increase in productivity in recent decades, compensation for the American worker has been stagnant. In addition, 47% of American jobs are at high risk of being lost to automation and A.I. by the mid-2030s.

“In the United States, there has been an upward redistribution of over $50 trillion from the bottom 90% to the top 1% over the last 40 years. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have created a protection racket for the rich.

Clearly, it is time for the middle class to rise up. How do we do this?

Please join us for viewing and discussion. Donations will be accepted to offset the cost of bringing the film to our community.

If you have questions, you can contact me at 971-241-1258.

Liz Marlia-Stein



Chaos and danger

Reading and hearing of the chaos and danger confronting all of us, I can’t help but think I’m having a horrible nightmare. Looking back to my childhood, it’s plain to see we’re now in a cancerous era, by way of contrast.

Back then, school was attended. We read about history, studied the multiplication tables, learned about our Constitution and the struggle for our nation.

We were taught respect and responsibility. There were no phones or calculators.

We played in the street without fear of being kidnapped. If a car came by, we moved to the curb to wait for it to pass.

With the onset of winter, it was time for sleds, snowmen and snowball fights, for Christmas lights and Nativity scenes, for Santa displays, unbreakable educational toys and lots of enjoyable goodies.

With the arrival of spring came Easter. We went to church in new clothes and new bonnets, seldom not seen in that era.

These days, very rarely do we experience the pleasure or the freedom, the care or the respect. It’s only the hate, greed and control.

Yes, this has to be a nightmare. Else we would face the bully and fend off what is happening.

This should not be happening to us in the land of the brave and free.

Mary Novak





Ms. Hromyko

As a person who loves and values my Republican friends and family members, I already know they are “really nice smart people.” At the same time, it is impossible to understand how really nice smart people see Trump as a decent human being, much less an “American hero.” I recently watched him at a rally make vile jokes about Mr. Pelosi (who had his head bashed in with a hammer) - his audience laughed and applauded enthusiastically. Not long ago he suggested General Milley should be executed. He put our nation at great peril with his reckless misuse of classified documents. He was convicted of sexual assault. He has been exposed in a court of law as a fraud and a conman. He came within a razor’s edge of overthrowing our government with his lies and incitement to violence. He knew the MAGA mob wanted to hang Mike Pence on 1/6 and threw gasoline on the fire with an encouraging “tweet.” This is by NO MEANS a comprehensive list of his hateful reprehensible actions, but to me the most disturbing effect of his influence is that he brings out the very worst in some of my fellow Americans. He has proved beyond a doubt that he does NOT love this country, or our military, or his loyal fan base. He only loves himself. And so long as he is empowered by his supporters, our democratic republic remains on shaky ground.


Trump is an American hero? 🤣 sorry but he’s no hero. He’s a bully, a liar & a fraud. But go ahead and support him & give him your money because that’s what he wants you to do. Keep believing his lies, as that’s what a conman does. He spins the truth to make him look like the one who has been hurt. You may be nice but you’re not very smart or you would see Trump for what he truly is a narcissist who loves the spotlight but has no interest in actually helping our country. I was a Republican I did not vote for him. I no longer support the Republican Party it’s too far gone.


Many excellent points. I a lot of people speak about tax breaks as an answer. I don't. It's been proven time and time again that tax breaks are often used for stock buybacks. In many regards it appears to have created wealth inequality. Wealth inequality can create monopolies and market manipulation adding more cost and debt to society as a whole.

Worse yet, it strips power from the majority over it's government and replaces it with oligarchs.

I'm concerned there is no easy way out of this. White Collar crime has escalated, Corporate crime convictions are not coming close to what we need for restoration. Propaganda is also playing a huge role. Inflation or Price gouging? Both 54% price gouging to a Congress that failed to regulate it. Currently the Supreme Court is taking up the case regarding regulation, perhaps getting rid of Federal agencies of "Regulation".

Probably the biggest concern I have with inequality of wealth is justice. Being able to afford a lawyer for example to fight a crime committed by a Company, Business, or Corporation at our expense (externality). Sometimes effective regulation is the only defense people can have when they have no other options to fight.

let's just say that.

We are a long way from what Italy did when they convicted a Swiss Billionaire in asbestos deaths.



We're all going to need scuba gear to breathe the air in 20 years. We should all be a conservative.....by conserving our air, water, wildlife, and forests. It's wasteful to do otherwise. I can't save the planet by myself. We need all of us to pitch in to do it...and we better start now.

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