Having suffered my own physical abuse (non-sexual) by Eugene cops, I am convinced that no progress has been made toward correcting the problems I've read so much about.
In my own case, I followed the normal procedure and filed a formal complaint. I also met with Mayor Kitty Piercy and reviewed the problem with her. My complaint was subsequently "investigated" by the supervising officer, which I've discovered first hand is nothing but a farce.
In response to my complaints against three officers, I received a cordial letter from Chief Lehner that included blatant lies about what had happened and advised me that his officers had done nothing wrong. Though I had met with Mayor Piercy to discuss my complaints, at which time I presented my documented complaint, she obviously accepted Lehner's efforts to just ignore and cover up the problem. This type of response to complaints only lets cops know that they can do as they please with impunity.
I notice in your article about Magaña and other police officers who have received complaints that "consultants" were called in to evaluate the problems and make recommendations. First of all, consultants make their living with the understanding that, if at all possible, they must please those who hire them. Secondly, management often avoids dealing with problems by referring them to committees, where it can take forever to analyze the problem and come to conclusions. In my many years of corporate management, if someone complained about one of my employees, it was my job to deal with it. I could not shuffle the problem off to a consultant or committee.
Something very interesting is that I don't hear anything about what action is being taken by Eugene's mayor or police chief. It seems the long list of complaints have come from various sources, they were serious and have been ongoing for years. So where were our mayor and police chief during all this?
I have a simple proposal that I feel will bring about great change in the management of our police department.
• Each time anyone inside or outside the police department complains about a police officer's behavior or actions or others in the police department, a report must be filed by the officer hearing the complaint. The report must include the name of the party making the complaint, date, etc. These reports must be filed for each officer.
• Each incident report must be distributed to the mayor, police chief and district attorney for possible action. In turn, they will each respond in writing within so many days about what action will be taken.
• All employees of the police department, including the chief, will be advised that if it is ever discovered that they did not follow the above procedure, or if they altered the information or lied, they will be fired without probation. They will be gone.
• Based upon my own experience, and what I've read so much about since moving to Eugene, our last and current police chiefs are lacking the character, strength and management skills to do their job. We need a police chief who is very strong and can convey to his cops that they work for and are responsible for the well-being of the citizens of Eugene. The police chief and mayor must be of a mindset that any complaint about their cops is a very serious matter which must be dealt with honestly and fairly. So far I have not seen any such commitment.
Wayne Pierce, Eugene
SPREAD THE WORD
I went to hear Ohio congressman and Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich speak April 2, and I believe that supporting this remarkable man in his bid for the presidency during the coming year and a half is one of the best things we can do to try to realize our vision of a better world.
Kucinich wants to pull troops out of Iraq within two to three months and replace them with a U.N. force that diplomats from other countries have assured him could be assembled that quickly, never "using force as an instrument of policy" again; realizes that we're part of the natural world, not the bosses of it, and need to get serious about protecting our environment by changing our lifestyles; and advocates a single payer national health care system — getting insurance companies out of the process and using what would have been their profits to help pay for it. He even said last night that one of his first acts as president would be to cancel NAFTA and other similar trade agreements, eliminating the power of the WTO to override workers' rights and the environment.
Quoting/paraphrasing from Kucinich: The essence of who we are as human beings is unity/connection; we can create the America we want from our deepest intentions, not our fears, starting at home; it's our responsibility to dedicate our lives to changing our society; officials responsible for the deaths of a million Iraqis must be brought to justice not because of who they are, but because of who we are; a deep transformation of American politics is possible .…
Since it would be hard to fantasize a better candidate, I believe that if we don't do all we can to support this man and get him elected, we don't really want what we say we want ... Visit www.kucinich.usto see what you can do, and spread the word — it's an opportunity not to be missed.
Maggie Springer, Eugene
I work at a garden in this city / Most days it's lovely but sometimes it's a pity / While every morning I make my rounds / The litter I collect makes me frown.
So one day I started counting / To show the world it's mounting / Maybe with one month's stats / You'll throw them in the nearby trash.
In one month they do accrue / To a grand total of 1,122 / If you were to pile them all in one place / It would be a half pound of nasty waste.
It takes 12 years for one to decompose / They're plastic not cotton, don't you know? / It takes 2 seconds to do it smart / So please please, respect this place, do your part.
Ellyn Toneys, Eugene
PLOTTING WITH NATURE
Do not go toxic into that good night. The Earth is a precious place with dwindling native forests that are becoming increasingly expensive to preserve, and the human species, with its very expensive death rituals and need for more cemetery plot real estate every smog-choked day, has sadly become the antithesis of nature. What if trees didn't have to be cut to bury each of us but instead preserved?
Imagine that you could choose from a dazzling array of natural burial traditions; that an old growth forest to be logged was instead snapped up by a Natural Burial Park Alliance; that the money paid for your funeral (only about $700-$800) was used to buy a plot with breathing room of hitherto unprotected forest (whatever you can afford) with a natural hiking trail, llama, horse, bike trail or wheelchair nature trail going right by your plot.
A minimum of grave goods could be buried with you for the same reason, unless they are of nature, but I would think a minimalist approach is the core. A Friends of the Natural Burial Park group of forest stewards would do various volunteer trail maintenance and help with the larger celebration of life ceremonies that go on as the park grows. For example, five of the park stewards are also members of a New Orleans style brass band who perform at funerals when needed, and two are in the Eugene Highlanders and are expert bagpipers!
Do you see how this could work? And as the movement grows, so will the size of the protected parks, saving the natural heritage of American wilderness. It's time to take a new look at our unsustainable rituals of death, and if we're lucky enough, we just might find a greener way to push up the daisies.
A.F. Nash, Eugene
After reading the article in EW (4/5) concerning the visit of Dennis Kucinich to Eugene, I must express my disappointment in Alan Pittman's reporting style. I am particularly dismayed with his misuse of quotation marks.
Throughout this article, views were superimposed on Kucinich that bore at most a tangential relationship to the content of his speeches. For instance, the reference to the Blackwater private army and corruption was made not by the congressman but by a member of the audience who made a statement on the issue under the guise of a question. Mr. Kucinich did call for accountability, but in a manner nowhere near as frothy-mouthed as the article would convey.
During his evening presentation Kucinich did indeed describe his visit to the site where many innocent persons had been killed when a building collapsed on them. I hung on to every word when he described the picture of a young boy who had been among those killed, and I was moved to tears. The word "cherubic," though, was not among the words that he used to describe the countenance of the boy. He used much more accessible, less trite and more effective language in describing the incident.
Kucinich is highly articulate and profoundly reasoned in his expression. His own words communicate his case much more effectively than Pittman's inaccurate paraphrases. Please, Mr. Pittman, let him speak for himself and stick to the work of a reporter.
Joseph Newton, Eugene
WHAT LIES BENEATH?
I must complain about the huge sign on West 6th Avenue. I'm sure everyone in Eugene has seen it. It is truly an eyesore. It reads "For Sale — Under One Acre of Land."
Why won't they tell us what it is they are selling?! Why hide it under one acre of land?! Is it pirate treasure? Jimmy Hoffa? LTD's first subway stop? Maybe if they told us, they could sell whatever it is and they wouldn't have to keep that sign up forever!
Glenn Leonard, Eugene
CRIMINALS AROUND US
Some observations about Alan Pittman's "Whitewash" article (3/29): Cops are sexier than Dan Savage, for Eugene cops really suck. Many cops in many countries are criminals who get away with murder and lesser crimes. The standard cop culture constitutes gang behavior. Legally carrying a gun is almost as bad as illegally carrying a gun. Justice in America is deeply threatened by the code of silence which should be totally outlawed.
Moving on to warfare by soldiers, Marines, etc.: Many members of national armed forces are committing many crimes in the name of national security or empire. And the worst criminals of all are Bush/Cheney who order mass murder in illegal bombings, invasions and occupations. We need peace, not cops/robbers/rapists/wars.
Bob Saxton, Eugene
KUCINICH IS THE MAN
A most amazing man came to Eugene to speak and campaign on April 2. He is Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a presidential candidate from Ohio. His resume includes being mayor of Cleveland as well as being elected to six straight terms to the House of Representatives from Ohio. Hearing him speak again was quite wonderful and gave me hope for the future.
He is a charismatic speaker, extremely intelligent and well read, passionate and thoughtful, a good listener; he actually answered everyone's questions openly and honestly, and he has an impressive resume.
He is running a grass roots campaign seeking small $50 donations per person so as to not be beholden to large corporations or special interest groups but actually represent we the people! You remember a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is still our government though it is hard to tell to hear most politicians talk and act. Not so with Kucinich; he obviously understands the influence of big money on politicians and is thus running a populist grass roots campaign — quite refreshing. I urge all of you to take a good look at this man and what he stands for. His website is www.kucinich.usI know I am not the only one who is disgusted by the amount of money needed to run for office. Do we truly feel well represented by electing those who can raise the most money? Shouldn't we instead be seeking the smartest, best qualified person to be our president, not the one with the biggest checkbook?
Once again I urge you to take an honest look at this man. Don't let the media or the political parties tell you who has a chance to be our president.
Tim Boyden, Eugene
A CARING PEOPLE
It's been wonderful to have lived the last 10 years in this emerald valley. I've enjoyed the river, Hendricks Park, the rose garden, the university, LCC, LTD, the Hult Center, the mountains, the coast and the Bijou, but most importantly the people of this special place called Eugene. The best thing about this place is that people care — care about so many things — about so many important things. That's the first thing I noticed when I arrived here in 1997.
We need to continue to care about others in our local community and throughout our state. That is why I encourage everyone to support the statewide legislation under way in Salem to fight discrimination (Senate Bill 2) and to provide equal rights to couples (House Bill 2007). If passed, they will keep our community on the march towards equality and fairness through caring!
Larry Leverone, Eugene
WAR IS OBSOLETE
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and his dedicated wife, Elizabeth, were in Eugene April 2 to ask support for his presidency and for his legislation (HR 808) for a U.S. Department of Peace. This bill would fund a new agency costing the equivalent of 2 percent of our military budget to include a Peace Academy. The peace search would be for "win-win" solutions to problems now being addressed violently.
Two-thirds of the budget would be for local opportunities such as education of our children in nonviolence, family mediation and prison rehabilitation. The Peace Academy would cooperate with our military universities to reduce violent approaches for settling disputes. Diplomacy would have a stronger role internationally.
The CEAT (Civic Education & Action Team) of Beyond War here in Eugene supports the aim of this proposed U.S. department as being in tune with BW's three principles:
1. "War is obsolete" as is seen by the historical trends to increased deaths of civilians in war; now nuclear annihilation threatens us.
2. "We all live on one planet together" and thus must bless the diversity of culture and religion.
3. "The means are the ends in the making." What we practice will show us where we want to go.
We should cease to arbitrarily isolate part of the world as "enemies" and instead work to alleviate the shortage of the resources for others that will make us increasingly insecure.
Henry Tucker, Jim Anderson, Tom Dyke, Fran Dyke, Jackie Litchfield, Anne Millhollen, Dave O'Brien, Betsy Steffensen, Beth Tucker