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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.19.06

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APOLOGY NEEDED

No, Katye McDonald (10/12), you say you get it, but you don't get it at all. We protested outside the WOW Hall the night of the Buju Banton concert not to make a statement to Banton or the media, but to make a statement to you, to the CCPA leadership. Almost 200 of us, gay and straight, were there to say we were deeply offended that the WOW Hall failed to cancel an artist known for spewing hatred and promoting violence against gays.

Lots of venues in other cities managed to cancel, and we think you could have done so, too. Some of us with long memories remember a concert the WOW Hall did cancel, back in 1991. That's when you canceled an anti-racist band, Fugazi, because WOW Hall leadership panicked over rumors that Nazi skinheads might be coming down from Portland to disrupt the show. Your fearful decision then was to cancel, not to provide adequate security.

But apparently you weren't very fearful at the prospect of wounding community sensibilities. And please don't belittle those of us who were there. For all Sally Sheklow's wonderful leadership qualities, she didn't manipulate anyone into being there because "she didn't get her way," as you so snidely said. No, each of us individually felt angry and offended.

You were grateful that you could "provide a safe, open forum." What? Do you mean the public sidewalk where we gathered?

It's nice to learn of the WOW Hall's newfound concern for Jamaican gays. I wonder what specifics you had in mind as you "worked to prepare to stand in solidarity with the people of Jamaica and our local community." I wonder if you realize that right here in River City, LGBTQ folks face physical violence and death threats? Often.

I'm not sure what the WOW Hall can do to improve the lot of gays in Jamaica. There are some things you could do here and now to begin repairing the relationship between the WOW Hall and the community — the whole community of people who cherish human rights — though the tone of your letter, Kayte, makes that repair more difficult. The first, maybe the most important step, would be simply acknowledging the damage you have done to the community by allowing the WOW Hall to be a venue for someone who promotes hate. You could say you were sorry. Then you could review your policies and guidelines, and you could humbly ask for help with that. You could arrange for your board, staff and volunteers to participate in workshops on homophobia, heterosexism and on cultural competence in general. Then the Community Center for the Performing Arts would once again be in a position to contribute to the building of a safe, respectful, inclusive community.

Marion Malcolm, Eugene

 

TORREY'S JUST WRONG

When I was chair of the Eugene Police Commission a few years ago, I worked with Jim Torrey in his position as mayor. While I may have disagreed with some of his stands, I thought he was hardworking and generally did a good job. Now, he is running for state Senate against Vicki Walker, and the picture is completely different.

Jim is an anti-choice conservative Republican who has boasted that he is an unabashed supporter of George Bush. These characteristics may not have been too important when he was mayor, but they are very significant in the Oregon Senate where Jim would be voting with the far-right Republican caucus if he wins this election. In the future, he could provide the Republicans with the one vote that would grant them a majority. Such a majority would block any meaningful action and reform from taking place in state government and enhance passage of the neo-con/religious right extremist agenda.

If Jim is so concerned about the welfare of children, has he dissociated himself from the congressional Republican House leadership that covered up for the pedophile member of that party? How about the thousands of children who have been killed in Iraq because of the illegal and immoral war that George Bush has waged? Jim has stated that he supports the Bush/Iraq war. Does he also agree with Bush torturing detainees who have not been indicted or charged?

Regardless of how one felt about Jim as a mayor, his far-right political views and party affiliation should act as an incentive for all of us to prevent his election now. His opponent, Vicki Walker, is an incumbent, and one knows where she stands on issues. Jim claims to be an "independent moderate," but his stated positions demonstrate otherwise. I urge voters to support Vicki Walker.

Munir Katul, Eugene

 

DEADLY DUCKS?

Because my family is rooted in Green Bay, Wis., booster support for the hometown team is not only familiar, it's genetic. As an immigrant Eugenean, I love the real affection folks here feel for the UO players and their wonderful coaching staff.

That's why I'm puzzled by the Ducks football billboard at 7th and Washington that says "LETHAL" beside two UO players. Aside from the slang use of the term, we all know this word means "sufficient to cause death: harmful or destructive." Does the billboard somehow suggest that violence at games is taken lightly?

Does it mean, in case of legal action by someone permanently injured during a game, that a jury might award compensation for damages because the billboard gives tacit permission to "lethal" attacks? What kind of sense does this billboard make in a county famous for its gun-toting teens?

Just wondering.

Patricia Burkart, Eugene

 

PROGRESSIVE TAX?

I am writing in support of Vincent Puleo's letter published Oct. 5, urging voters to pass the 2 percent Lane County income tax to fund public safety.

As Mr. Puleo repeatedly stated, this is a "progressive" tax. It is so "progressive" that whether one makes $75,000 a year or only $12,000 a year one will pay exactly the same tax rate. This is a true democratic tax, for it does not unfairly discriminate against the wealthy by making them pay a higher county tax rate.

The tax's "progressive" nature is such that even the working-class poor will be allowed to participate. Only individuals making $10,000 or less will not be taxed. Well, even someone working full time at minimum wage makes way more than that. Whether one can really live on an income of only $10,000 a year is truly a moot point.

Finally, well known local progressives like ex-Eugene mayor Jim Torrey strongly support this "progressive" tax. In fact, Torrey has even used this issue to attack his opponent Vicki Walker for failing to support it. And we all know how lacking Walker is in her "progressive" credentials.

The people of Lane County must make a decision! Either you stand with those of us supporting this "progressive" tax to fight crime, or you are against us and thus standing with the terrorists!

Oops, wait, I just made a mistake. I was confusing this issue with the war on terror.

Lance Jacobs, Springfield

 

OUR EXPERT IN D.C.

If you were facing open heart surgery, would you want an experienced surgeon who has been doing this operation for over 20 years, or would you choose someone who has never done any operations and isn't even sure where the operating room is located?

Peter DeFazio would be my choice if I wanted to be well-represented in Congress. He has been my representative for a long period and prior to that was a Lane County commissioner. This is no time for someone to do on-the-job training, given all the problems this country is facing.

If we assume, and most experts do assume, that the Democrats will retake the House of Representatives, Peter will have the seniority to be given the chair of some committees in the House that are vital to Lane County. His opponent, on the other hand, would be a freshman in a minority party. Which would you rather have represent Lane County's interests in Washington, D.C.?

Besides, if Peter were to lose, who would push the wheelbarrow in next year's Eugene Celebration parade?

G. Dennis Shine, Springfield

 

PICTURES OF CUTE GIRLS

Noticing that the escort service display ads are no longer running in EW had me wondering why this decision had been made. I was not bothered by the ads, nor was any one else I have talked to about it. So, why were these ads replaced with stories about "dog fuckers"? I would much rather look at a few pictures of cute girls who are just trying to make money to survive than read stories about a grown man abusing his German shepherd. I would like to know why EW replaced the escort ads (which were and are not hurting anyone) with stories of zoophilia?

Denise Lunn, Eugene

EDITOR'S NOTE: We no longer run display ads with photos for escort services, but a few classified ads still run under "dating services." Savage Love now takes up the space. We've tried several sex advice columns in the past, drawing little response from readers. This one might be different. Sex is a driving force in our relationships, mental health and even politics. Let's talk about it.

 

LETTER TO KITTY

Dear Mayor Piercy: I was moved when I read your Viewpoint column (10/5). I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you have to say about young homeless people in your city. Thank you for framing these people as human beings rather than sociological statistics on a political balance sheet. In so doing, you set a precedent for leaders in positions at every level. It is unfortunate that we currently have leaders at the highest political levels who lack the compassionate insight that you demonstrate. You have issued a challenge for action. Your message should be published nationwide.

Stephen J. Oder, Corvallis

 

REIN IN RUNNERS

What's new? Is everyone tired of reading about our elected representatives and their bribes, lies, sex scandals, expensive trips and millions spent for elections? The power of money has achieved dominion over the legislative process even in Oregon. It is long past time for Oregonians to have spending limits, and Measures 46 and 47 will make a big difference with our local and state campaign spending. Forty-six other states have already passed spending limits, and their candidates no longer are tied to special interests.

If only all those many millions of dollars going into candidate treasuries this year in Oregon could be spent instead this year on education, health care or public safety. In 2002 it was $42 million for Oregon races. There are organizations who think they should have been excluded from our campaign limits, but then how really fair is that? They can organize small donor committees. Individual citizens should be heard, and Measures 46 and 47 will allow it to happen. Measure 46 was approved as constitutional by the Oregon Supreme Court in September.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

WHAT A PISSER

Bush has added yet another signing statement attachment to yet another bill already passed by Congress, this time in regards to the Homeland Security Department. Bush has been pissing all over Congress and the Constitution in his excessive use of attached statements as a way to expand (his) executive power. And they have been letting him. It's time the American people stop the urination flow. It's time to vote out the self-serving and spineless on both sides of the aisle.

Marilyn Marcus, Eugene

 

IN VINO POLITICS

Dear Lance Sparks (Wine, 10/5): I can relate to your feelings of conflict and distress in these dark days of growing fascism in America. Can anyone continue with any kind of "business as usual" while having even the slightest clue about our country's increasingly rapid descent toward a Hitlerian wet dream? I say no, we cannot innocently go about our lives as if everything is fine and continue to consume and support that which is in conflict with our deepest desires and principles. Everything we purchase feeds money/energy toward the kind of world those products support and nurture. So if I don't want a world filled with toxic chemicals, I need to buy only organic, non-toxic goods and foods. If I want people to be paid living wages and not slaves in sweatshops, I won't shop at Wal-Mart. If I want a vibrant, sustainable community to live in, I need to support local businesses that share in my world vision as much as possible.

I believe more and more people are understanding the interconnectedness of all things, just as you've connected wine and politics. Piece by piece, the seemingly disconnected pieces of our lives are being integrated into a seamless picture, in which every decision has meaning and every moment the potential for further awakening. So I was delighted to read about the continuing collapse of our so-called "democracy" in the Wine section of EW. Not what I expected, which is always welcome and savored, like a fine (organic, local) wine. Bravo! Encore!

Richard Baynton, Eugene

 

MONKEYWRENCH TIME

Electoral and partisan politics are distractions that discourage involvement in political endeavors. The illusion of participation cedes power to the dishonorable.

If everyone engaged the body politic, representation could be superfluous, but that is utopianism, as opposed to reasonable compromise. Consequently, mindful of flaws, I have voted in nearly every local and national election since 1976.

However, democratic institutions cross the Rubicon when war is glorified, torture embraced and habeas corpus murdered. At risk of being labeled corrupted reformist or deluded radical, allow me to hazard this possible path: I will not vote again until a system of universal suffrage is established. That means no prerequisites for eligibility to vote. None. No requirements regarding age, citizenship, residence, identification, criminal record, party affiliation or anything else. There should be no voter registration, with voting upon demand during elections. Avoiding fraud requires only an ink stamp and simultaneous elections.

Other aspects of universal suffrage might include election day holidays, recording all write-in votes and the elimination of electronic voting, including scanning of paper ballots, which still employs hackable tabulation.

When my ballot arrives in the mail, I will sign the confirmation, scrawl NO in red letters across the ballot, seal it the secrecy envelope and deliver it to the elections office. My name will remain on the voter roll, but mine will be a non-vote.

I recommend that everyone do the same or find your own way to monkeywrench the machine. Get involved with something political instead of surrendering control to politics.

bernard nickerson, Eugene

 

DEFINING WHOLESOME

Last week's EW exhibited an interesting confluence of three striking issues: objection to the use of the word fuck in the newly carried Savage Love column, an objection to perceived censorship of the f-word in a choice interview quote regarding the Lord Leebrick Theatre and a reader objecting to EW sexual content after being hit with spam phone calls.

Fast on the heels of Coming Out Week, and with these issues mingling in my mind, I can't help but thank the EW for conducting your business the way you do. Our sexuality, and our language, can not be contained in a small box labeled Average or Wholesome. I am an ardent user of the f-word who does not believe its use to be synonymous with bad taste. I also am a sex-positive reader who thanks you for running escort ads and sexual material such as the Savage Love column, examples of sexuality that may be out of my realm of sexual experience. They serve as my personal reminder that the human experience is vast, and I am not one to judge another's experience, nor define what is wholesome or average for others.

You said it best in last week's Slant: "We do not see sex between consenting adults as a moral issue, and teenagers should not be kept in the dark about the diversity of sexual experience."

Jocelyn McAuley, Eugene

 

LITMUS TEST

A recent spate of letters and commentaries have been read from Bush apologists sharing the suggestion that administration opponents demonstrate their mental imbalance by directing relentless and undue criticism at our humble and faithful current occupant. Surely the political left has gone loony. And you'd consider trusting the House to them?

But this is a man, our decider-in-chief, who reportedly farts for the quick laugh at Oval Office meetings. Who assigns crude nicknames such as Turdblossom and worse to advisors and cabinet secretaries. Who unflinchingly interrupts world heads of state in private conversation and public press conferences. Who while chewing food greets his British counterpart in undiplomatic and adolescent vernacular. And who gives an unwanted neck rub to an unsuspecting and notably female and upset German chancellor.

All this which of course pales beside the pursuit of the legalization of torture and the suspension of habeas corpus, the disregard of international conventions and treaties, the authorization of preemptive wars, the solitary veto of medical research that might one day help millions and the enrichment of his crony wealthy at the price of astronomical federal and foreign indebtedness, falling wages relative to inflation and soaring numbers of uninsured.

Every Republican candidate for office should be given this litmus test: Do you support George Bush? Is this too much emphasis to put on one man? Is it too much to make every political contest, no matter how local, a referendum on the president? Yes, in ordinary times. But our times are not ordinary.

Todd Huffman, Eugene

 

 





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