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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.5.07

NOT A TOY, A TOOL

I enjoyed Max Schwanekamp's letter (3/15) about the BugE. He partly gets it: The BugE is for grocery getting and other errands and short trips around town, but it's not to drive the kids to school or "serious shopping" (that's what four wheel drive SUVs seem to be used for), and if Max's $400 bike is working for him, pedal on, dude!

I disagree with his claim that the BugE is an irrelevant toy; rather, it is like a new tool for the vehicular toolbox. The BugE isn't for everyone; all we suggest is that you use the most efficient vehicle for your task. The BugE is just a new option between the bicycle and the Buick.

And for two people, you can't beat Max Shepanek's smart car although in a few months you will be able to save about $15,000 off his gray market price and get a brand new 2008 smart car from a factory authorized dealer. Use the money you save to buy three BugE kits for you and your friends to play with.

Mark Murphy, Creswell

 

ART GOES WITH POOL

When a bowling poster of Richard Nixon gets better press than EW's voted "Best Local Artist" Scott Boyes' Adams Family, it makes you wonder why Chuck Adams ("Art Barhopping" 3/22) gives Diablo's Downtown Lounge such a bad rap. After all, Diablo's is not a "newer hybrid" of art bar, booze and visual stimuli; Diablo's started monthly art shows seven years ago, perhaps the first nightclub in Eugene to do so.

Diablo's features 12 local artists a year in conjunction with the Eugene Art Walk. Dan Hitchcock, another EW "Best Local Artist," is featured once a year. Yeah, he's the guy who painted the mural on the back wall of the EW's office. Granted, Diablo's art choices can be edgy at times. That's what you'd expect from this venue. Diablo's is deliciously different. That's one of the reasons Diablo's Downtown Lounge was selected as an "Elite 2007 Top 100" bar by the editors of Nightclub and Bar Magazine (Oregon's only venue given this honor).

Hey, it's downtown. Eugene should be proud. Art in a pool room? Ridiculous? Mockery? A threat? Art and pool go hand in hand. Show me a rich guy with a pool room and I'll show you some nice art hanging in there. Incidentally, the Adams Family piece was the first one sold this month. Scott will be happy.

Chuck should give Diablo's art gallery a second chance next month. Hell, we'll even provide him some safety glasses and a helmet.

Troy Slavkovsky aka Diablo, Eugene

 

SPREAD EAGLE

In response to Dan Owen's letter (3/29): Dan, it seems you have a major misconception on pornography. First, the American Apparel "centerfolds" in the recent editions of the Weekly are nothing like the "centerfolds" in Hustler magazine and would hardly make any XXX star blush. You see, Dan, in Hustler the women are naked, usually spread eagle beagle and some sort of phallus stuffed in every orifice. If they're not blushing at that, then women posing in thermals isn't going to faze them.

Second, Dan, if you're uncomfortable with a picture of the human body posed in jammies, then throw out all your mirrors and stay at home. That should keep you relatively safe from the evil nakedness that runs abound this planet daily. Think cooties! Finally, you should thank "GOD" for the stork that brought you here cause the rest of us came from vaginas. Cheers, buddy.

Jamie Hartley, Eugene

 

EW GETS AN F

For 20 years I have supported What's Happening (now EW) by advertising in their paper because of their community values and weekly calendar of events. As time went by WH lost some of its moral values by demeaning woman's bodies by allowing ads showing sexual suggestiveness to sell products.

About three years ago when WH had allowed smuttier pictures in the back section of the paper, in my sales contract with WH I added "Do not place my ads on the same back pages." Today I refused to sign my new contract with WH because of the Dan Savage articles they choose to print. I am for equal rights and open to other people's opinion. I feel these articles are not appropriate in a community paper.

Star Gate Awareness Resources has survived for 20 years as an independent and locally owned book and resource lending library store. I take great pride in our community and try to promote a higher potential of human awakening. What's wrong with sacred sex?

Our world is on the edge of a total collapse because of our obsession with power, money and sex.

Staying in business can be difficult because you are always being tested for your accountability, integrity and staying true to your heart's vision.

I give WH an "F" grade because they allow controversial articles to generate income over much needed examples of community moral values.

Alan Stein

Eugene

BEST THEY CAN DO?

The House of Representatives just voted to give President Bush the billions he's asked for to fund an escalation of the war in Iraq on condition that troop withdrawal begin by October 2008. House Democrats say this is the best they can do, but bringing the troops home in 18 months isn't good enough — by then hundreds more of them will have been killed and thousands more wounded or mentally maimed (not to mention the toll on Iraqis) — all for no reason but to realize Bush and his corporate cronies' imperial designs.

I agree with Judi Ivy, who wrote (3/22) saying that if Congress can't deliver on the mandate they were given in the 2006 election to bring the troops home now, a million or more of us should peacefully occupy the halls of the Capitol, telling most of our so-called representatives — as well as the president and his cabinet — that they're fired.

We can also support Congressman Dennis Kucinich's second campaign for the presidency. Kucinich is one of the few Democrats who voted against funding the troop "surge." Read his well thought-out plan for troop withdrawal and reconstruction in Iraq under U.N. auspices — along with excellent ideas on health care, etc. at www.kucinich.usKucinich depends on small donations from ordinary people, not corporate money, acts according to his values rather than following political strategies and will help us reclaim/claim our democracy and respond peacefully and cooperatively to the challenges of global warming and peak oil.

Maggie Springer, Eugene

ARMBANDS UNITE

Hey Kara (Steffensen, 3/15), I just wanted you to know you are not alone. All week I too wore my armband with the peaceworks symbol on it. I also felt that awkwardness that you were talking about. Everyday I felt stronger wearing that armband.

I know it is soooo frustrating! I feel it's the least we can do. I am starting to wonder if calling our Reps, writing letters to them, signing petitions and marching for peace is doing anything.

After listening to Lt. Ehren Watada's speech on Saturday (3/17) at the rally, I have a newfound hope. Thank you, Ehren! Let's not give up! Hey, maybe we should send a truck load of peace armbands to y'all know who!

Cheryl Stafford, Eugene

 

RUN, PETE, RUN

Peter DeFazio has it made. His re-election as the Democratic congressman from District 4 is as certain as death and taxes, which, given the war, abound.

Nobody could blame DeFazio for playing it safe and winning re-election to Congress every two years. Or could we?

Now is the time to reclaim America. The Republican administration has never been so unpopular. We can elect a Democrat in District 4 — whether it's DeFazio or someone else. We can elect a Democrat to Gordon Smith's Senate seat, too — but only if the right candidate runs. Let's work together for progress — in Oregon and America. Let's persuade Pete DeFazio to run for the Senate.

Bruce Schennum, Eugene

 

EUGENE YEARS BEHIND

I am loving it! Dan (yawn) Savage has caused an uproar. YEARS after much of the country doesn't even bother reading it. Hilarious!

Only in Eugene would this still be causing such controversy. Eugene, you are the all-time squarest town ever! — and a consistent 10 to 15 years behind.

Thanks for the laughter!

David Peterson, Rural Lane County

 

WOW! BRAVO!

It was my turn to roll my eyes when I read the review (3/15) of my book, Food Not Lawns, How To Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community. Suzi Steffen repeatedly mentions her annoyance at my suggestions for building a healthier, more ecological culture and implies that here in Eugene we are beyond such advice. Hmm.

Well, could the widespread local familiarity with these issues have anything to do with the 50-plus workshops I and my co-collective members organized here over the past 10 years? Not that we deserve all the credit, but some would be nice.

Further, if Eugene is such an eco-city, then why do we still have a toxic river, a growing landfill and other serious environmental problems? And don't kid yourself about a lack of high-end housing developments here, Suzi. Take a ride out to the edge of town and you will see fertile farmland giving way to nasty housing developments.

Food Not Lawns is about far more than ripping up lawns and sidewalks. It is about taking control of our lives, starting with the yard and spiraling outward. It contains several chapters on urban organic gardening and over 100 pages about organizing community projects with minimal funds and resources.

My intention is never to preach, only to comment on this ill and toxic culture, and to present what I believe to be some very valuable, viable and practical options. My target audience is obviously not the super-eco-home-gardener but rather the struggling urban dweller with a vision of a better culture and a need for the inspiration to make a difference. Perhaps if Suzi had kept our interview date back last fall, she would have known this and written a more accurate review — one that readers could use to determine what Food Not Lawns is actually about.

And for the record: I wear gloves every time I garden!

How ironic that, though my book has received dozens of excellent reviews all over the world, my hometown magazine would deliver such a reluctant one. What about saying, "Wow! A local, low-income activist from the Whiteaker has published a book! Bravo!"

Heather Coburn Flores, Eugene

 

EVERYONE FOR PEACE

The peace movement must be all inclusive if we wish to see world peace. Logic dictates that the bellicose win conflicts, so cooperation is our tool. Only by including and actively welcoming those outside the movement will we bring a real and lasting peace. I myself, an activist, often feel excluded. We must make "them" want to join "us." When we realize that we are all "us," we can begin to make them feel comfortable. Is it fair that we should have to stick our hands out first? That doesn't matter if we care about peace. It is our obligation if we care.

Trevor Kiel Ballard, Eugene

 

HIGH PRICE TO PAY

It looks as if we have some tough choices to make.

Press reports indicate that Congressman DeFazio has retreated from his principled opposition to the war and instead supported the $124 billion Iraq appropriation that he previously opposed. Apparently, he's switching his vote in exchange for a one year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act.

It's easy to sympathize with him; for the Democratic leadership to link the two funding measures is cynical in the extreme. He probably assumes that most of us (his constituents) care more about the lost timber revenues than about Iraq, which affects us less directly. The sudden disappearance of the revenue would force all of us — not just our county commissioners — to make choices as difficult as the one DeFazio faces now. But now that the party leadership has placed us in this moral predicament, we must face it squarely.

We're being bribed, plain and simple. The questions confronting us: Will we endorse the continued occupation of Iraq in exchange for one more year of timber revenues? How much pain and suffering, how many military and civilian lives, are those revenues worth?

I think the price for the revenues is unacceptably high, particularly since the pains of war will be borne by U.S. soldiers and the people of Iraq — not by us. But it's a difficult choice and one that should be openly debated. We should let our elected representatives know where we stand so they don't have to guess.

John Edward Davidson, Eugene

 

DISSENT IS DANGEROUS

Lt. Watada may have a legitimate moral objection to the war in Iraq, but his choice to disobey military orders is profoundly immoral. When a person joins the military, he explicitly gives up the right to object to a particular conflict on moral grounds. This is one of the fundamental distinctions between military and civilian life.

When soldiers disobey military orders, we all suffer. National security depends on military discipline. Soliders must obey their military superiors all the way up the chain to the civilian elected officials who have the lawful authority to direct the military. While we may not like the Iraq war, it does not justify undermining this bedrock principle. To demonstrate this, we need only consider the case that established this principle in military law — U.S. v. New. In that case, Army Spc. Michael New refused President Clinton's order to deploy to Macedonia as a U.N. peacekeeper, a conflict as dear to the political left as the Iraq War is odious.

Marty Wilde, Albany

 

NO CIGAR

Well, good try, EW, but no cigar. Your second ad for another so-called fetish fun bar night is clever but still completely insulting and dangerous to women. While the first ad showed a vulnerable woman tied up, this second ad is not much better. This new ad is Betty Boop in Japanese manga cartoon style — with her boobs bulging between two thick tightened belts, arms behind her, and a third tight belt squeezing her waist. Her big eyes are asking, "What's next, mister master?" What does Womenspace or anyone conscious of women's safety think of this ad trend? What is hard to understand about wanting universal safety for women? These ads promote masochistic danger to women. Who cares if you print the sincere but crude words of a gay guy interpreting everyone's sexuality for us?

Promoting demeaning images of women is serious. Even in cartoons.

Deb Huntley, Eugene

 

CONCENTRATING POVERTY

To Alan Pittman ("Racism Complaints," 3/22): It does not make any difference to the concentration of poverty at Adams Elementary whether a child leaves to attend alternative schools such as Fox Hollow or Eastside or neighborhood schools such as Parker or Edison. We need to deal with the underlying issues: an ineffective state revenue structure, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), parents having disparate expectations on quality education and vastly different levels of preparedness amongst children.

The liberal guilt that is fueling the alternative versus neighborhood school debate could in fact be playing into the hands to the conservative right that pushed through the NCLB. Achievement in this district and across this country is defined by how well children perform on standardized tests. Eugene currently offers parents choices. Limiting these choices without the district addressing the underlying issue that some parents demand more than a standardized curriculum geared toward taking standardized tests will lead to a rise of private schools and home-schooling, requests for a voucher system and lack of support for local bond and revenue measures.

Parents pulling their children from the public schools could lead to true concentrations of poverty; public school would then be part of the welfare state. We could then thank Alan Pittman, Nancy Willard and board members like Beth Gerot for the severe concentrations of poverty that will exist.

Tamara Torrence, Eugene

 

SAVAGE GETS IT STRAIGHT

Few weeks back, the father of a 15-year-old girl tells me his daughter "got drunk and got herself raped."

That afternoon, I read Dan Savage's column. On this day, Savage very bluntly explained to a young girl whose boyfriend forced her to have anal sex that she has been raped.

Give me Dan Savage honesty any day of the week. At least he doesn't continue the patriarchial spew and lies of blaming women for "getting themselves raped."

Sarah Ruth, Eugene

 

IMAGINE

I am so bored with people taking the easy way out. I propose that we agree to work through our differing opinions and agree to stop using them as reasons to inflict pain on others. Why is it that the revered, powerful and magnetic members of our society feel that it is okay to malign others in an attempt to elevate themselves? Why is it that when people feel injured by another's words or actions, often their first deed is to injure others? In my opinion, deflecting pain onto others is the action of a coward. Instead of trying to celebrate and accept our differences, we are taught to document and catalog them.

Many of us are through with the worn-out tradition of believing that we must defend ourselves against people who act, think or look different than us. The last time I checked, we are all human beings. Let us stop trying to categorize and identify all of our differences. We should start to celebrate our commonalities. Once we as a community can agree to honor the common good of each person, we all will be strengthened. There is an old phrase that one of my elders often repeated, "The higher you think of others the greater your world will be." Please, take just a moment to imagine how great our world can be.

Caitlin Turner Robertson, Eugene

 

A WEEKLY SWIZZLE?

I really have to voice my thanks and appreciation for a couple of things. One is the fellow who wrote in last week (Mitch, 3/15) and stated: "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 childen in our community." I also appreciated Dan Savage himself stating in written and spoken word that his column is not for children.

The bottom line is that it is the EW's decision to make itself a community oriented paper for everyone or not. I would think that the EW would want to keep the family audience and to influence the whole community in a positive way. So why not make Swizzle a separate paper with a focus on all the adult material? Maybe it costs too much for new newspaper stands. Ultimately I suspect it is this cost that might prevent the EW from making this decision. In that case how about making it a permanent insert, and the readers can then easily remove the insert before the children can see it. This would cost virtually nothing to do. Maybe it would even drum up more business for EW. Swizzle could contain the personals, the escort services, Dan Savage and the voluptuous picture ads. Give it a try and make the entire community happy!

And a question for those who think that EW need not be concerned with the children in our town. What do you think of the 12-and 13-year-old prostitutes who earn a living in Eugene?

Janelle Kinski, Eugene

 

BE A GREEN STEWARD

As a person of faith, I have come to believe that global warming is a real and growing threat and is one of the greatest moral issues of our time. Since I believe we have been called to protect God's creation, we must take action now to preserve the earth for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

I applaud Governor Kulongoski and the governors of Washington, California, Arizona and New Mexico for agreeing to work together toward a western cap of greenhouse gas emissions. Gov. Kulongoski has called for increased use of renewable energy to help achieve that goal.

My faith leads me to consider the kind of energy sources we use to be a moral issue. I am thankful that God has blessed Oregon with abundant renewable energy potential so our state can become a national leader in renewable energy.

I feel it is time for Oregon to join 21 states which have already adopted Renewable Energy Standards. Our legislators should pass legislation requiring utilities to have 25 percent of their power generated by renewable resources by 2025.

Our members of Congress should support similar legislation at the national level. Renewable energy is good stewardship of God's creation.

Dorothy Sistrom, Springfield

 

GREEN MOMENTUM

Global warming has finally found a national audience! Nightline recently interviewed Thomas Knutson, a hurricane researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to his account, the Bush administration suppressed his research on the effects of human-induced global warming on the intensities of hurricanes. Knutson's research found that the rising sea-surface temperatures are going to cause hurricanes to get significantly stronger and more destructive. The online magazine Salon has reported that the White House controlled media access to NOAA scientists and routinely scrutinized their reports.

As residents of Oregon, and more specifically Eugene, we see the momentum of the green movement all around us. In addition, many of us know that small changes to our lifestyle can make big differences: using fluorescent light bulbs, biking to work instead of driving, demanding greater fuel efficiency from our vehicles and energy accountability from our corporations and local governments. But just as important as being a "green citizen" is convincing the rest of this country why global heating is of paramount concern and how they can be energy conscious.

The independence of the news media is constantly being eroded, and most of the country doesn't have access to impartial information about global climate change. Call, write or email your friends and relatives who are not involved in the discussion and tell them how they can make a difference.

Americans must stand together and say we've had enough destruction of the planet. According to the science, the lives of our countrymen depend on it.

Tyler Allen, Eugene

 

NO CONDOS IN DEADWOOD

Planet Glassberg writes (3/22) that he moved to Eugene eight years ago. He goes on to say that "I didn't move here to live in a condo, view films in a megaplex theater or be concerned about which parking structure I could park in."

Well gee, Planet, you got here about 20 years too late. Bummer.

And what is wrong with condos? The ones I am familiar with make very good use of space and help create the density that allows the community to keep open green spaces. Same thing for those evil megaplexes which allow multiple screens to share common facilities like bathrooms, food areas, and yes, that other evil — parking. Not to mention that by putting high use facilities adjacent to each other we make is practical for things like mass transit to serve them. It is not a coincidence that LTD has frequent service to the malls and that the next EmX line will go to Gateway mall and its megaplex.

Anyway, Planet, you got here way too late. May I suggest Deadwood?

Randy Kolb, Eugene

 

SNAP ADVICE

Before the Savage controversy, I was scarcely aware of anything other than another advice column at the end of the paper and signed off somewhere around "Red Meat." Then the debate piqued my curiosity and — being of the generation floored by Clark Gable's "damn" — once accustomed to the free-flowing language, I began to enjoy "Savage Love" in the way I enjoyed listening to Rush Limbaugh. After Rush proclaimed that he was first and foremost an entertainer, I immediately saw the comic value, migod, the Lou Costello of politics. Of course, I had to go into abject denial about Mr. Limbaugh's army of devotees who took him seriously.

Similarly, the trouble with any advice column, be it Mr. Savage, Dear Abby, Drs. Ruth, Laura, Phil and Tatiana (animal sex counselor) or (ack!) Oprah and The Secret, is the generalization of highly individualistic problems and simplistic snap solutions to complex issues. Dr. Phil is especially harmful, Candid Camera with a Ph.D., exploiting the basest, sadistic side of humanity and letting us enjoy the suffering of others while cheering the "Get Real" psychowizard's militaristic lightning insights. In contrast, I find Dan Savage the lighthearted host of a forum for notions previously swept under the carpet.

Jim Wood, Eugene

 

DO SOMETHING

I was having lunch with my friend Karen complaining about the fact that by March 19 we will have been at war for four years, longer than we were in WWII, costing us up to $9 billion per month. I told her that I don't like to complain and not act, so I vowed I would do something — so here I am.

I told Karen that it took us, the public, a while to understand that deceptive information facilitated our entry into to the Iraq War. And because of the Bush administration's now familiar deception of linking dissimilar information, it also took us awhile to understand that the terrorism of 9/ll isn't why we're there. However, despite the fact that the war has no connection to 9/11, whatever deep hatred of the U.S. that initiated that terrorist act, we are multiplying that hatred exponentially. Case in point: If you are caught uttering an English word on the streets of Iraq, that is reason enough for someone nearby to shoot you. In fact 250 official interpreters have been killed.

Let's stop this insanity. I challenge you to — next time you are complaining about this war — do something. But do it non-violently, so peace can spread.

Debra Higbee, Eugene

 

LET SAVAGE DO IT

Am I the only parent who does NOT want to be the one to tell their kids about anal sex, rimming, fist fucking, etc.? It's not that I don't want them to know about all the possibilities out there, and I would hate for them, as I did as a teen, to think that a blow job entails blowing on something and to find out that it does not in an embarrassing way. But it seems a bit creepy to me to be The One who gets to tell one's kids everything about sex.

And I am pretty sure my kids agree.

Ruby Colette, Eugene