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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 3.15.07

JUST A TOY

When I saw the cover of this week's EW (3/8), I could almost see 1940's era pre-teens hawking: "Extra! Extra! New Electric Car will save Oregon from Global Warming!" The article was a positively glowing report, almost an infomercial, for the BugE. Yes, it's a cool gizmo. It's non-polluting, it's electric, it's mostly local, it's do-it-yourself fun! But in the quest for solutions to global warming, pollution, and war in the middle east, the BugE is — like its predecessor the Gizmo — is irrelevant.

It's an electric scooter with a cool shell. It won't carry the kids to school. It won't carry my wife and me to the library. It may be great for the trip down to the grocery store, but since its cargo capacity is so limited, it's not useful for any significant shopping trips. The uses the BugE is good for are basically the same that a bicycle or electric scooter is good for. Yet it carries a car-sized price tag. At $5,000 for a really fancy bike kit, the BugE is hardly "a battle cry against human-caused global heating and a practical design for affordable and efficient personal urban transportation" as article author Nicole Fancher says.

The BugE is a toy for those with enough disposable income and time. Meanwhile, I'll pull on a rain jacket and head downtown on my $400, 0-cents-a-mile bicycle, while my wife picks up the kids from school in the VW.

Max Schwanekamp, Eugene

 

ADVICE FOR PERVERTS

I am writing in response to all the hoopla that surrounds the now controversial EW (formerly What's Happening) which includes: foul language, advertising for escorts ("duh," prostitutes), porn, "girly shows," kinky alternative singles ads, that disturbing "Red Meat" cartoon and that lascivious trash written by Dan Savage.

I absolutely love it! I applaud the editors, staff and crew for including a column that offers advice for confused perverts (like myself) who began reading Penthouse magazine in the fourth grade and haven't looked back since! As a faithful reader I fully support uncertainty, surprise, insecurity, disorder, unlawfulness, promiscuity, bad taste and all things ugly that go "bump" in the night. I realize that not all readers share my opinions, but isn't that what a diverse community is all about?

If there are "naughty bits" of EW that you disagree with, you can choose to simply not read those. There ARE people who are not offended by Dan's column and are seeking non-judgmental advice on topics much of the local public seems to be uncomfortable with. Dan Savage offers frank, sincere answers to those folks who were brave enough to ask.

Fred Van Vactor, Eugene

 

TAX NECESSARY

Alan Pittman's article (3/1) attacking the county commissioners for enacting the income tax failed to include a single example of a conversation with anyone on local law enforcement to explain why the tax is needed. The Lane County jail is notorious and widely considered the worst in the state for releasing prisoners held here on felony warrants from other counties before they can be transported to face trial. Police and victims of crime are frustrated by the lack of funding for our local jail.

We live in a lower-income neighborhood in Springfield. Such neighborhoods benefit from police services more than most. Protection from the violent and thieves is why peaceful, law-abiding people organized government in the first place during pioneer days. There's nothing wrong with lower-income people paying for a service that benefits us all. When this measure was voted on in November, it passed in Springfield and west Eugene. I was dismayed to see you attacking the measure. You could have performed a public service if you talked to our police departments and informed yourselves on the desperate need for this money.

You don't have to think the police are always right or support the war on drugs or terror to understand that citizens are wise to organize themselves to control and punish brutal and dishonest people when they attack and rob the innocent.

I lost some regard for Commissioner Sorenson after reading his comments on this tax in your article. I agree with Mr. Dwyer, "grandstanding" does best describe it.

Craig Enberg, Springfield

 

NOT ONE MORE

There is a nationally coordinated campaign currently underway. Called the Occupation Project, the goal is to ask our senators and congresspeople to state publicly to vote against any further funding for the Iraq occupation by the U.S. military. Period. This is not about not funding the troops, it is about bringing them home NOW.

An affinity group has formed to implement the campaign locally.

On Monday, March 5, several people, including myself, entered Rep. Peter Defazio's Eugene office with our request of his committment to not further fund the war. We stated we would not leave the office until he agreed to our request. We waited for seven hours with a dedicated group of supporters. While we had a very open dialogue with his staff and assurances of his support of our efforts, he stated that he could not make such a commitment. At 5 pm we were told to leave, and upon refusing, two of us were put under arrest by federal authorities.

The war will not end until funding is cut. Please call your representatives and demand this. The cost of this war has been devasting to our military, to Iraq and Iraqis and to our communities.

Not one more death, not one more dollar.

Rich Klopfer, Eugene

 

REZONING INGENUITY

On March 1, EW published a letter from Tom Lininger defending a rezoning proposal Mr. Lininger and Ms. Weiner have submitted for 240 acres of land in Peaceful Valley. Mr. Lininger states that I want them "to live on a portion of the property we have devoted to a state-certified Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Zone."

When they bought the property on May 18, 2005 this portion of their land (more than 80 acres) was already zoned impacted forest land (F-2) which allows construction of one single dwelling with a special use permit. Most of this portion was clearcut except for one stand of trees. I have walked this land with Mr. Lininger, and there are several beautiful home sites that fit his stated aim of living in privacy and seclusion. One site is even on the edge of the flat area where Mr. Lininger states "we think it would make more sense to build."

But they do not want to build on this part of their property they want to build on a portion of the remaining 160 acres that is zoned non-impacted forest land (F-1), hence the impetus to make this F-2 portion of the property a wildlife area on Aug. 15, 2005 and thus"off limits" for building a house. Given their strong and overriding desire to build on a different portion of their property zoned F-1, it set in motion a whole series of events.

In this flurry of activity, the primary goal was to devise a means to the end of building a house where they wanted to build it rather than where it was already allowed.

I think that it is distressing the extent to which they are pursuing this end, even "considering the possibility of filing a Measure 37 claim" (see their rezoning application). This last possibility really distresses me when a law professor(s) with a public record of being involved with environmental concerns considers filing a Measure 37 claim. The entire application is very troubling to me as it is to many in Peaceful Valley and on Fox Hollow. I urge the honorable hearings official Gary Darnielle to deny this application, if for nothing other than its ingenuity in trying to circumvent the current zoning laws.

Hal Hermanson, Eugene

 

SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY

Tom Lininger (3/1) justifies rezoning 80 acres from F-1 (timber resource land — no dwellings) to F-2 (one dwelling) on the basis of using good forest practices and not spraying chemicals. Playing on the neighbors' sensitivity to the issue of spraying, he claims there was a "huge protest by neighbors in 2004" against chemical spraying by the former landowner (Rosboro Lands). Not true! Rosboro was sensitive to community concerns and readily agreed to avoid aerial spraying, eliminate spraying in large areas and backpack spray in others. Lininger has even threatened to sell the land to somebody less responsible who would spray chemicals unless neighbors support his application — which ironically does not preclude him from spraying if he himself deems it necessary.

The fact is that spraying is a smoke screen masking Lininger's real intention — to build a house on the top of the ridge instead of on the existing F-2 portion where a dwelling is allowed. Sustainable forestry is a moot issue since it applies to both F-1 and F-2 land, and forest practices are not even a criterion considered in such rezoning cases.

What Lininger will not discuss is his manipulation of county land use laws, subdividing the original 240 acres in order to rezone 80 acres or how his "behind-the-scenes" deal with a neighbor will grant additional acreage to that neighbor in exchange for increasing access to 10 dwellings on the rezoned property. Lininger has literally harassed the neighbors with repeated phone calls and mailings in order to gain support for his application.

County Commiss-ioner Bill Dwyer has stated that when somebody buys a piece of property, they must accept the zoning on that property and not have expectations of changing it. Former Commissioner Lininger should take note of that statement.

Neal Miller, Eugene

 

ADAM ROCKED IT

Bravo to Adam Golthwaite for his balls-out (hee-hee) reprise performance as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the the Lord Leebrick. It takes major guts and talent to play the role of our dear Hedwig and Adam rocked it to a tee!

We saw the event as a chance to shed our Birkis and let our inner Club Kid free but are wondering where were the rest of you? We know you're out there — let's not miss the next opportunity to glam up!

Teri Ewing, Sundaye St. Onge, Eugene

 

AWKWARD FOR PEACE

Last week I wore an armband with a peace symbol to the grocery store. It was a Monday, and I had a long list of things to buy: milk, bread, potatoes, etc. I felt a little nervous wearing the bright blue band around my left arm. I wondered if people would notice it and how they might react. As I moved from the produce section to bulk foods, I felt a little awkward and began to think about what I was doing.

Every day the horrors of the Iraq war and its consequences reach into my life and color it more hopeless. Every day when I wake up to a cup of coffee and kindergarten children, I remember that far beyond my horizons an unimaginable catastrophe is crushing people just like us, with our tax dollars. Every day we are involved in a catastrophic war we cannot see and could not stomach if we could. And we just go on.

Now when daffodils and warm sunshine lighten our steps, a bloody horizon beyond my imagination weighs on my heart. So I put on an armband as a sign of mourning and feel awkward. I can't remember seeing anyone wearing one before. But I suppose I feel awkward also because I want to wear it as a sign of hope. I hope that we've had enough. I hope that we the people are ready to stand together to stop this war and start creating a more peaceful world. Anybody want to feel awkward with me?

Kara Steffensen, Eugene

 

SOLUTIONS, PLEASE

Hey, remember that Steve Miller Band song, "Fly Like an Eagle"? I heard it the other day and I got to thinking: Why are people still living in the streets? What is the solution?

Jen Workman, Eugene

 

GIVE ME MY HOOT

First off let me say that I am a big fan of Dan Savage and have enjoyed howling over his columns for several years. He provides a unique cultural service with the refreshing openness and honesty he brings to discussion of sexuality.

And I'm fascinated by the debate around whether his column is appropriate in EW. I don't have kids myself, but I don't think it's a stretch to imagine the concerns of parents who feel the Weekly is so ubiquitous in this town and that Savage's column (good as it is) might not be appropriate for, say, 12- and 13-year-old children. I'm a little disturbed by the tenor of pro-Savage letters that tar people expressing those concerns as ipso facto sanctimonious prudes. It's either disingenuous or reflecting a serious lack of imagination to not be able to recognize those concerns as possibly legitimate. I think the impact on children of explicit sexual material in a free community paper is a legitimate issue, and a fair and compassionate debate could be a good thing for this community.

One thought I have is that it might be extremely selfish of me to insist on EW's continued publication of Savage just so I can have my weekly hoot and to hell with even considering how it might affect the children in our community.

Mitch Moore, Eugene

 

TOP TEN

Top 10 Reasons to Suspect You've Been Classified as an Enemy Combatant (with apologies to David Letterman):

10. You buy a plane ticket to Disney World and find that your flight is being rerouted to Guantanamo Bay.

9. You're learning the hard way the difference between surfboarding and waterboarding.

8. You sit down to watch a war movie on TV, and you can't tell the difference between the Americans and the bad guys.

7. Your "Get Out of Jail Free" card can't be used until after Bush leaves office.

6. The New York Times reports that Scooter Libby has been talking about you to Judith Miller.

5. President Bush mentions you by name in his next "Axis of Evil" speech.

4. You discover that your court-appointed lawyer thinks "Habeas Corpus" is a sandwich special at Quiznos.

3. The Bill of Rights contains a special subsection exempting you from coverage.

2. A "Wanted" poster of you is on the wall at the local branch of The Jackbooted Thugs Club.

1. Pastor Niemoller speaks of you as the first person they came for.

Mike Bonner, Eugene

 

ALARM!

If you thought that President Bush's troop surge was a dangerous escalation of an irresponsible war, what about this? The Department of Energy just announced the development of a new H-bomb. Really! This is the first new nuclear warhead in more than 23 years. If you are alarmed, let DeFazio, Wyden and Smith know. An Associated Press story said that Congress has given "cautious support" to the program.

Margaret Brye ,Eugene