Living in a post truth world, Opinions aren't facts, Cost of elected officials —Letters to the Editor for April 27, 2022.

Siuslaw News Letters to the Editor

(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on these and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)

Living In A

Post-Truth World

A visit to the family dentist this week provoked contemplating uncomfortable realities.

Waiting for him to check the status of my exam and cleaning, I was left to observe my X-rays, displaying eight crowns.

“Pre-fluoridation,” I thought, having been born in 1938, leading me to recall a film every high-schooler should be shown in civics class: “Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Love The Bomb.”

In those days the Koch family had sponsored the Heritage Foundation and the John Birch Society, both promoting voter disenfranchisement and the latter promulgating fluoridation hysteria.

In 1963, director Stanley Kubrick and screenwriter Terry Southern brought the parody to the public. It featured a mad, anti-fluoridation, Air Force general (Sterling Hayden), starting the war to end all wars, interpreted by the U.S. Chief of Staff, general (George C. Scott) and ex-Nazi scientist Strangelove (Peter Sellers), as somehow “winnable.”

Their insanity is resisted by President Merkin Muffley (also Sellers), trying to negotiate with the drunken Soviet dictator, but unable to forestall humanity’s ultimate doom.

Past is indeed prologue.

We’ve experienced four years of metastasizing terror, with our own slow-witted, mad president, admitting in September 2020 he would refuse to recognize a prospective election loss, effusively praising his genocidal “smart, savvy” Russian counterpart, embracing his equally mad, bad-haircut, nuked-up North Korean doppelganger dictator.

But the lunacy has trickled down. The Kochs, who have refused to shut down their Russian manufacturing, promote disenfranchising minorities, gays, college students, even women coast-to-coast. Vaccines and masks have replaced fluoride as elements of their plot.

Republican leaders, even when recordings of their own words are played back for them, disclaim their objectives and tactics. Mitch McConnell, who has been packing our federal courts with Federalist Society incompetents for six years, interrogates a Supreme Court nominee about her opinion, demonstrably quite irrelevant, about court packing.

But the dishonesty has even permeated Democratic electoral candidates. A 2020 DeFazio opponent — Doyle Canning — now praises him effusively for successfully unlocking Oregon coastal port improvement funding when she condemned him for it and even called him a supposed supporter of Trump’s “anti-immigration, white nationalist” policies just two years ago this month. She still has refused to provide evidence of her prior claims when I asked personally her and her campaign manager to do so in Florence a week ago.

What indeed, have we come to?

 Frank Smith — Florence

Opinions Aren’t Facts

It appears that the bulk of Siuslaw News now consists of outside contributions and press releases: Only two out of eight pages in section one of the April 16 edition contained stories bylined by the reporters.

Thus, your news becomes a contest of “alternative facts,” questionable citations, and dueling letters, with bonus points for each writer’s a) title and b) length of residence in Florence.

I realize it’s difficult, with your limited staff, to fact-check all the letters and opinion pieces you receive, but you need to try; publishing false information serves no one.

Case in point: The latest discourse from Joel Marks (“Unconstitutional Spending Has Doomed U.S. Taxpayers”) argues that a deficit budget is somehow unconstitutional, and that the federal government should not share revenue among states. His claims are specious, and his facts are wrong.

Mr. Marks cites United States v. Butler, decided by the Supreme Court in January 1936. Contrary to Mr. Marks’ claims, the SCOTUS ruling was not about taxation; in fact, the ruling reaffirmed the right of Congress to levy taxes and appropriate funds.

The unconstitutionality arose from Congress’ attempt to use a tax (via the Agricultural Adjustment Act) to enforce farmers’ production. SCOTUS said that that activity is reserved, by the 10th Amendment, to the authority of the states.

And, by the way, the majority opinion was written by Justice Owen J. Roberts; there was no “Justice Owens.”

I’m not sure what Mr. Marks is trying to say with his repeated attempts to channel old dead white guys (Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison et. al.), but the séances at his house must be filled with static. Here’s hope his signal improves.

Bruce Hadley — Florence

Editor’s Note: Siuslaw News runs a monthly section for columnists called “Community Voices.” It consists of viewpoints from people in the Siuslaw region. Siuslaw News welcomes these opinions as part of its goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives, but they should not be interpreted as the views of the News or its staff.

Has What It Takes

Dawn Lesley has what it takes to be the next West Lane County Commissioner. She doesn’t care about what party someone belongs to or political ideology, she just cares about our community.

Dawn is an environmental engineer with 30 years of experience helping people out. It is just who she is. As a community leader, Dawn shows this compassion for her neighbors by volunteering her time to help with organizations such as the Big Sister Program and the Egan Warming Centers.

We need someone like Dawn Lesley; someone who is just like you and me and someone who works hard and is dedicated to her work, her family and her community.

I support Dawn Lesley because she has real plans for a better future for our children and to expand access to affordable housing, improve public safety and invest in rural broadband internet infrastructure.

Dawn Lesley is the commissioner West Lane County needs because when everyone does better, everyone does better.

Beverly Sherrill — Florence

The Cost of Elected Officials

I have listened to Dawn Lesley and learned about her plan on anticipation of running for Lane County Commissioner.

As a member of the Lane County Budget Committee, Dawn Lesley voted to give elected officials a 2% raise. Lesley, Joe Berney and Heather Buch all voted in favor of a motion to give commissioners, who already earn $140,000 a year in pay and benefits, an additional raise. Lesley would get right in line with these ideas.

Lesley was obviously not using her money to make this raise happen, but our hard-earned tax dollars. If it’s that easy for her to spend county money, she would probably have no qualms spending additional money on more new programs.

We can’t afford Lesley. You can’t afford her raising your taxes to pay for more salary hikes. I would not be voting for Dawn Lesley.

Jami Sautner — Mapleton

Editor’s Note: In the Jan. 19, 2022, Lane County Budget Committee meeting, watch?v=pmxC-gCLuzs&t=3925s, Dawn Lesley was one of 7 out of 10 budget committee members in attendance. After a presentation by the Elected Official’s Compensation Board, the committee passed 2% Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for elected officials — county assessor, district attorney, justice of the peace and sheriff. However, the COLA for the board of commissioners failed to get a majority vote and did not pass. As such, it did not move forward to the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Long-Time Community Publishers

Out-of-state travel kept us from services for former Siuslaw News owner/publisher Paul Holman, but I’d like to tell people what a positive influence Paul and Bev had on the Oregon newspaper industry and many of its long-time community publishers.

They represented past — and 

occasionally, still present — traditions of small-community newspapers with owners who are integral members and contributors to the community. Their involvement in affairs of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association was equally professional, fun and much appreciated by others.

We know that Florence and the surrounding areas were well-served by the Holmans, and that they enjoyed all of their time in your community. This is just to acknowledge that many others also appreciated them over the years.

Jeb Bladine, McMinnville — Publisher, News-Register