Letters to the Editor: October 27, 2017

Issue misunderstood

The News-Register printed a story and editorial about me and my wife’s request to the city to vacate the right-of-way claim for part of Edmunston Street and the adjacent land. I was not interviewed by the News-Register, and the article didn’t mention the reason for my request, so I will explain it here.

When a subdivision is created, the city requires that rights of way for possible roads be taken from the subdivision and turned over to the city council. That law states that when a city determines a particular piece of right of way is not needed for roads, it should be returned to the subdivision.

The city took the right-of-way land for Edmunston Street in 1988 and 1989 and a 33-foot-wide strip of land extending south toward Fellows Street, which runs parallel to Edmunston. It was evident that those roads would not be needed to connect to other roads.

I asked the city council to schedule a public hearing to determine whether or not the city needs the right of way and to vacate the land if it is not needed.

Neighbors to the west of the land vowed to block the vacation process. They avoid mentioning the actual issue being considered, that the city doesn’t need the right of way. With apparent emotion, they redirected the discussion. They worried what might happen if the land was restored to private ownership.
They also alleged intimidation by city employees and Councilor Kevin Jeffries. There was no intimidation.

One property owner said that even beginning the vacation process could cause the value of his property to plunge. A public hearing could examine whether those claims are valid and resolve the right-of-way issue.

However, three of the five voting councilors voted not to schedule a public meeting.

Richard Anderson



Better PERS ideas

Gov. Kate Brown appointed a blue-ribbon task force earlier this year to source at least $5 billion to help reduce the $25.3 billion PERS funding shortfall.
The committee met only four times, and their report will be submitted Nov. 1.  Unfortunately, the committee will not make any recommendations but will give the governor a list of “things to consider,” such as taking money from SAIF reserves, putting a “Cadillac tax” on high-earning PERS recipients, selling the Portland State Office Building and replacing it with two smaller, less-expensive buildings in the suburbs, among several other ideas that don’t involve a reduction in spending or any other meaningful cuts within the state.

 A good suggestion would be to sell surplus state land and buildings, but there is no comprehensive inventory because those records are kept agency by agency.
Another good place to start would be to take $150 million that was set aside in 2002 for a grant to build a Major League Baseball stadium in Portland.  Apparently, that grant money is still available for that purpose.

It’s time for the governor and/or the Legislature to take a leadership role and move to redistribute that grant to help reduce the PERS unfunded actuarial liability. How many other piles of cash are squirreled away by various agencies for other pet projects we know nothing about? 

Steve Sommerfeld



Important films

Regarding this month’s “Meaningful Movie” titled “Fix It: U.S. Health Care ... At the Tipping Point,” sponsored by Peace & Justice Yamhill County, it is important that our small-business owners know that a portion of the documentary addresses their concern and interest in providing quality heath care to their employees.

Peace & Justice Yamhill County and Linfield College’s sustainability team are bringing to our community two crucial documentaries regarding our country’s health-care crisis in October and November. Both are important, not only to individuals and families, but to small business owners as well.
Information about this month’s movie can be found in the events section of the News-Register.

Liz Marlia-Stein



Meat is scary

I have no fear of goblins, witches, or evil clowns lurking on Halloween. What really scares me is the meat industry.

This is the industry that deprives, mutilates, cages, then butchers billions of cows, pigs, turkeys and chickens (animals who feel joy, affection, sadness and pain as we do) and exposes undocumented workers to chronic workplace injuries at slave wages and exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating market prices.

The industry contributes more to our epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer than any other. It bullies health authorities to remove warnings from dietary guidelines. It sanctions world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals, instead of people. It generates more water pollution than all other human activities and spews more greenhouse gases than all transportation. It destroys more wildlife habitats than all other industries.

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Fortunately, my local supermarket offers a rich selection of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses and ice creams as well as a colorful display of fresh fruit and veggies. It gives me hope and courage for my future. But I still fear for my friends and neighbors.

Melvin Nysser



Letter correction

Dan Katz’s Oct. 20 letter contained an editing error. The letter should have referenced the 23rd amendment.


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