Letters to the Editor: September 8, 2017

Unions maligned

The News-Register exhibited uncharacteristic cynicism in publishing the Cascade Policy Institute’s op-ed piece “Time to stop forcing union membership” Sept, 1 — three days before Labor Day.

According to the Department of Labor, states and cities across the United States began recognizing Labor Day between 1885 and 1895. On the department’s website, it states that Labor Day is “dedicated to social and economic achievements of American workers.” It further states that the first Labor Day proposal was to celebrate “the strength and esprit of the trade and labor organizations.” In response specifically to points by authors Steve Buckstein and Kathryn Hickok, collective bargaining is the tool unions use to negotiate working conditions, wages and benefits for workers. “Union shops” become so by a majority vote of the workers. Collective bargaining works only because employees have power in significant numbers. Buckstein and Hickok mention a survey that asks union households “if members opt out of paying all union dues and fees, they should represent themselves in negotiations” as evidence to support the assumption that “workers want to be able to support themselves.”

If the majority of union workers wanted to support themselves in negotiations, they could vote the unions out. So-called workers-choice and right-to-work laws are nothing more than state-supported union busting.

I appreciate the opportunity to read the diverse opinions the News-Register publishes in the Viewpoints section. In this case, I just question the timing.

Cameron Urnes



Rules not followed

Yamhill County officials found a way in 2011 to allow Riverbend Landfill to expand, legally, under state law — amending the county zoning ordinance to allow landfills on “exclusive farm use” land and then rezoning the landfill to a farm use. Genius!

There were catches, of course. The new zoning requires any “maintenance, expansion or enhancement” of the landfill to go through site design review. County zoning and state law also require the landfill to show that a proposed maintenance, expansion or enhancement will not significantly affect area farming practices or costs.

The current 29-acre expansion was considered under these rules and is now on appeal on the question of whether county officials properly interpreted the rules when they allowed the expansion. But other expansions and enhancements, such as a new stormwater detention pond, have not been sent to site design review or studied for their effect on nearby farms.

The stormwater pond is a case in point. It’s outside the landfill but inside a special overlay zone the commissioners created when they approved the 29-acre expansion. That special zone calls for a community meeting before any expansion activities occur there.

I don’t know if the pond meets the requirements of the overlay zone, the zoning ordinance or state law, but neither do county officials. That’s because they refused to evaluate this pond under the zoning ordinance and state law rules.

Why didn’t they follow their own rules? I asked the county planning director and counsel, but they didn’t answer.

It’s clear the 2011 zoning ordinance was designed for one purpose only: to expand Riverbend.

County staff and commissioners never intended to apply the new rules to other enhancements or expansions of the dump.

Susan Watkins



Inaccurate history

Regarding Dennis Carmody’s Sept. 1 letter where he claimed that the Nazis were a socialist party, but national socialism was socialist in name only.

At the far right of the political spectrum, they were about as far from socialism as possible. It’s funny that Carmody’s defense of Trump made this claim because Trump followers regularly conflate socialism with communism, which is also incorrect.

The Nazis and Communists were mortal enemies. Would Carmody have us believe that the Nazis were, in fact, their own worst enemies?

This twisting of historical fact is increasingly common. Trump supporters like to claim the Democrats are the allies of the KKK because, decades ago, Southern Democrats (or “Dixiecrats”) supported the Klan. Republicans who attempt to link Dixiecrats with modern Democrats leave out the fact the Dixiecrats deserted the Democratic Party en masse when President Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964.

The Republican Party saw an opportunity and embraced the racist Dixiecrats with open arms. They used Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” to appeal to Southern whites’ rejection of school integration and have hung on to these Dixiecrats to this day.

All this is an attempt to draw attention away from the Republican Party’s objectionable far-right fringe. It’s not accurate history, and it’s not honest.

Fred Fawcett



Trump rights Obama wrong

Back in 2015, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a series of then-President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, including the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

Obama must have known his executive overreach could be overturned when he left office. So Obama was really no friend to the “dreamers,” using them as political fodder.

For those who signed up for DACA, the feds have their information, including a confession to being in our country illegally. President Trump could simply rescind DACA through his own executive order.

But the 2018 primary season starts in just six months. In true “art of the deal” fashion, the president has referred DACA to Congress for six months. Immigration law is back in the hands of Congress where it belongs.

We’ll probably get a compromise that avoids a catastrophe for the legitimate dreamers. Meanwhile, Trump has also given us the choice to get rid of any Republicans in name only who vote for a congressional version of DACA.

I can already hear the swamp gurgling down the drain.

Dan Katz



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