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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.31.07

MISTAKEN AIKEN

First off, let me start off by saying that I am against the arson committed by these environmental activists. Arson is a conservative way to deal with what you dislike. Burn crosses, burn books, burn record albums. They were only emulating what was taught to them by past conservatives. But what I can't figure out is the definition people are using for the word terrorist.

Judge Ann Aiken (whose new nickname should be Mistaken Aiken) says that environmental activists who, in her own words, harmed no one, have now been labeled as terrorists? Can someone provide a working definition for terrorist? Were the people who threw tea into Boston Harbor terrorists? Were the ones who left England and chose to form this country terrorists? Are the people who bomb abortion clinics terrorists? What about the people who are serving in Iraq, are they terrorists? The word is bandied about quite often in this post 9/11 world and it's lost all meaning except to harm others and strike fear into people.

Lastly, Aiken says that: "Fear and intimidation can play no part in changing the hearts and minds of people in a democracy." Then she must be against the war in Iraq and all other wars? It's funny, I wonder if she would have said that to President Bush.

Jared Wolfsen, Eugene

 

A BIKE CHALLENGE

Nice article on biking in Eugene (cover story, 5/24). I suspect, though, that the people who don't use cars will find that the people who are car-bound will not comprehend the real transportation problems in Eugene. So, how about a challenge? If the mayor and City Council really want to see improvement in bike commuting rates (and perhaps understand a little more how the other half lives), they all should put away their cars for a month and get around under their own power or using public transit. Perhaps the whole city government should.

Problems are much more pressing when they are your own problems. Besides, it is late spring in Eugene; why would you want to spend it in a car?

Felicia Kenney, Eugene

 

A REVIVED DOWNTOWN

A recent letter (5/17) critiquing development in Silver Spring, Md., missed the mark. I lived in Silver Spring for the past three years, during which time the majority of the revitalization of the downtown was done. Prior to the change, downtown Silver Spring was a place many avoided. There was a decaying mall that (seemingly) existed merely as a place for the local teenagers to loiter. There were no restaurants to speak of, and the place was a ghost town on Friday and Saturday nights.

When the city finished the new downtown, people arrived in droves. No longer were Silver Spring residents streaming into downtown Washington, D.C., on the weekend because now they had their own hangout spot. The atmosphere was completely different. There were numerous new restaurants and people ate outside while kids played in fountains. It was a great change. There was even a large AstroTurf field for people to play or relax on though its fate was up in the air when I left.

The Silver Spring I knew went from being a depressed ghost town to a cool place to hang out. I do not know whether similar development should occur in Eugene or whether it would have the same effect. But I do know that it worked in Silver Spring. While Mr. Andrews feels like it turned Silver Spring into "an outdoor mall," the fact is that before the change there was nothing to do or see in downtown Silver Spring. While I dislike developers/development in general, such action was needed in Silver Spring; I do not know if such action is needed here.

Peter Fehrs, Eugene

 

INSULT TO THE DEAD

As someone who wrote a book (The Culture of Make Believe) that details the history of the KKK, I was both appalled and not surprised to see a prosecuting attorney compare the Green Scare defendants to the KKK. I was appalled because the comparison is both absurd and utterly false.

The KKK murdered tens of thousands of people. A 19th century commanding officer of federal troops in Texas wrote: "Murders of Negroes are so common as to render it impossible to keep accurate accounts of them."

In the weeks preceding the presidential election of 1868, at least 2,000 people were killed or wounded by Klan violence just in Louisiana. This violence carried right on into the 20th century.

Contrast that with the defendants in this case, who are accused of nothing more serious than property destruction. Even if they were guilty of everything with which they've been charged, they injured no person.

They destroyed only corporate and governmental property. This in no way compares to the terrorism of the Klan (or any other terrorism, for that matter).

I am not, however, surprised to see a prosecutor in this case make this absurd and inflammatory comparison, since from the beginning this case has been more about public relations than substance.

To call for a terrorism enhancement in this case is to devalue the very real suffering of real victims of terrorism the world over. No one was killed. No one was injured. No one was put in fear of his/her life.

No one was terrorized. It is obscene and an insult to the dead, the injured, the real terrorized, to apply that label in this case.

Derrick Jensen, Crescent City, Calif.

 

A WONDROUS PLACE

Just a few miles from downtown Eugene — easily accessible by common transport — lies a most magical and wondrous place: the Amazon Creek Headwaters. A largely intact bio-diverse forest, the headwaters has — for good reason — gone undeveloped to date. But that condition is threatening to change.

From wee lichens to in-your-face woodpeckers to ghostly owls, the headwaters hosts hundreds of uncommon and rare species. More common are the thousands of Eugeneans who choose to visit this idyllic spot to detox from city life, walk dogs, pursue health and fitness, introduce children to nature or simply observe. But whether one visits or not, the headwaters provides clean water and fresh air.

What the headwaters doesn't provide is a good place to build houses: too wet, too sloped, too unstable. Yet two individuals have submitted plans to develop 65 of its acres. These applications have been rejected so far, but the developers come with money and a cadre of paid professionals in support of their efforts.

A remedy is at hand. The City Council is presently considering an ordinance authorizing the institution of eminent domain to acquire this property. Fair market value will be paid to the developers, and the land will be protected forever as park and open space.

Please urge Mayor Piercy and our city councilors to enact this ordinance. For the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees — and the citizens of Eugene — let's do the right thing!

Benton Elliott, Eugene

 

WHO OWES?

Is "UO" an abbreviation or a phoentic two-word phrase that describes the boat most of its students are in? Just wonderin'.

Glenn Leonard, Eugene

 

GO TO THE ROOTS

Animal shelters can operate in vastly different ways. Curtis Taylor ("Say No to No-Kill," 5/17) describes one kind of shelter when he says that "No-kill shelters … cannot accept all the animals who are in need of help" and which "direct people with unadoptable, old, injured or sick animals to facilities that have no choice but to kill the animals." Indeed, this is how some no-kill shelters operate.

Fortunately for Mr. Taylor, animal welfare advocates in Lane County are not calling for the construction of an isolated, underfunded, overburdened no-kill shelter. They are instead wisely building a self-sustaining no-kill community philosophy. This is not just semantics; a no-kill community philosophy is one in which the entire community takes responsibility for all animals in need, rather than leaving it to a single agency or shelter. It is a visionary community that puts proven programs into place. These innovative programs will help animals today but will also reduce the need for "animal control and sheltering" services tomorrow.

Sounds too good to be true? See how other communities have already successfully achieved this goal at www.nokillsolutions.org.

Don't miss reading Diary of A Shelter Director, which demonstrates how "a simple, firm committment to stop the killing, and the flexibility to see it through" could be utilized at our local shelters.

A no-kill community does not develop overnight, and not every animal will be saved in the beginning. But it is time for a new, effective paradigm. Would a no-kill shelter save Lane County's animals in need? No. Will establishing a no-kill community sustainably save animals now and actually alleviate our long-term problem of unwanted animals in our future? Absolutely.

Kylie Belachaikovsky, Eugene

 

STARTS WITH PET OWNERS

Thank you for your heartbreaking story (4/26) about euthanizing pets in Lane County. The responsibility in creating a compassionate society lies with all of us and should not depend on policies made by agencies that shelter animals. It begins with anyone considering getting a new pet.

Do your homework first; know what you are getting into. Kittens and puppies are very cute but can live for 10-15 years. Do you have what it takes to give them a loving home for their entire lives? Often animals need to be rehomed for legitimate reasons — death of owner, allergies, etc. But all too often animals are relinquished to shelters for reasons such as a new baby in the house, new furniture, lack of housebreaking and/or medical issues. All of these situations have solutions.

There are many compassionate animal care professionals in our area who are more than willing to offer creative and workable recommendations to anyone seeking to give up a pet. Don't contribute to the problem in shelters by giving up your pet without seeking advice. Don't count on the fact that your pet is very "adoptable" in assuming it will find a new loving home.

Remember to spay and neuter your pets so they don't add to the tragedy of overpopulation. If you can, make a contribution to a local animal welfare organization in memory of Garfield and other beautiful and loving cats and dogs that were euthanized so that today you can be part of a more humane Lane County.

Randi E. Golub, CVT, CatNurse on Call, Eugene

 

NO-KILL SOLUTION

I would like to reply to the May 17 letter from Curtis Taylor. It is obvious to me that Curtis does not know what he's talking about. Nathan Winograd's No-Kill Solution shelters are completely open door, turning no animal away. No-Kill Solution shelters do euthanize animals that are sick and suffering or are dangerous. These shelters don't "warehouse" animals in substandard conditions. See information on his programs and their success at www.nokillsolutions.com

Reno, after a recent clean sweep of personnel who did not support the No-Kill Solution, has dramatically reduced the numbers of animals killed at both the Humane Society and Animal Control. Lane County needs this No-Kill Solution. Please contact your county commissioner and Greenhill to urge them to adopt this program for the sake of the animals that we love and care about.

Bev Jorgensen, Springfield

 

REPUBLICANS LACK COURAGE

It takes courage to admit when you are wrong or to admit you have made a mistake. It takes courage to actually take responsibility for your actions. Republicans clearly lack this courage and they demonstrated this in their most recent presidential debate, which resembled a Neanderthal contest.

When Congressman Ron Paul had the audacity to point out that one of the reasons we were attacked on 9/11 was because of our military presence in the Middle East, he immediately felt the wrath of Rotten Rudy Guiliani, the FOX Noise moderator and the Republican crowd. In other words, if there's something Republicans just won't tolerate (other than equal rights for non-heterosexuals, women's medical freedoms and embryonic stem cell research,) it's admitting that there might be something wrong with the United States of America. It's the same reason so many Republicans refuse to vote for an end to the occupation of Iraq. Supporting withdrawal means coming to terms with the fact that the Republican-led invasion of Iraq was a mistake of huge proportion.

In the first Republican presidential debate when Mitt Romney was asked what was wrong with America, he didn't dare to recognize even one problem. Because Republicans abhor self-criticism, he actually claimed that he couldn't think of anything. We need leaders who will admit that there is a long list of problems that ail America. We need leaders who realize we shouldn't be occupying Iraq. We need leaders who will admit when they have made mistakes. We need leaders who have the courage to take responsibility for their actions. The leadership that this nation so desperately need is nowhere to be found in the Republican Party.

Joshua Welch , Eugene

 

PURGE THE PARASITES

Every so often I get disgusted with EW and drop it for a time. About the only things I read are the letters, concert announcements and Red Meat, so hopefully it's apparent what I am disgusted with. To my surprise, however, the letters in your recent Weekly (5/17) are constructive and interesting, seeking solutions instead of just bad-mouthing.

It is that spirit I'd like to see more of: people seeking solutions as a community, as independent individuals grouping for change (or status quo, you tree-huggers — you keep this town, you know). The recent defeat of the latest tax/theft scheme offers us a chance to help ourselves.

I heard from a friend that the head of Search and Rescue was canned as a "result" of your votes. The petulant children in our local government complain about the lack of allowance and try to make things as hard as they can for us. Tell you what: Let's wean these kids and start doing things for ourselves. This should not be seen as a tragedy but an opportunity to rid ourselves of burdensome parasites who cannot manage the money we give them. Quit buying candy!

As a community we can do things for ourselves that a government would only foul up in bureaucratic non-sense. If we must have one, let it be a "night watchman" rather than a thieving, lying nanny who acts like a little child when things don't go its way. Let's take this opportunity and nourish it.

Justin Bengtson, Eugene

 

CHINA'S ROLE

Thank you to Sens. Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio for joining their Congressional colleagues in signing on to letters to Chinese President Hu Jintao regarding the situation in Darfur.

China yields a great deal of influence in Sudan. China is Sudan's largest overseas investor, and Sudan is the third largest supplier of oil to China, with annual trade exceeding $1 billion a year the last three years. China has developed Sudan's oil fields and built more than 900 miles of gas pipeline and a refinery and port. In addition, China has been a major arms dealer to Sudan. The arms China has sold to the Sudanese government have been directly linked to atrocities committed in Darfur, including the sale of helicopter gunships used against Darfuri civilians.

These letters that our Oregon representatives signed on to were written by Sen. Joseph Biden and Rep. Tom Lantos and urged President Hu Jintao to use his influence with the Sudanese government to stop the violence in Darfur and to significantly increase the number of U.N. troops in Darfur to protect civilians.

I encourage my fellow Oregon residents to also express their concerns about Darfur by writing to President Hu Jintao c/o Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, Embassy of China, 2300 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008.

Karen Kennedy, Eugene