THE BATHROOM ISSUE
I'm all for protecting our children from perverts in public bathrooms, but while Jim Torrey is avidly equating transgender people with perverts, I have to wonder, who's looking out for my kid?
The reality is that for any transgender person, using a public restroom is often a source of anxiety and potential danger. If my transgender daughter were forced to use men's bathrooms, the chance of her being harassed, ridiculed, beat up and even killed is a hundred times greater than the likelihood of some teenage boy pretending to identify as female just for the thrill of going into the girls' bathroom.
This whole bathroom issue is nothing more than a distraction from the real issue — offering to transpeople the same human dignities we extend to others.
When I hear national statistics on hate crimes against transpeople, I am sickened and appalled. I'm glad my family lives in Eugene, where my daughter has a good chance of being treated with respect and a much smaller chance of being fired, evicted or murdered for her "crime" of being whoever she was born to be.
Current Mayor Kitty Piercy is committed to making Eugene a welcoming and safe place for everyone. I hate to think of the steps we'd be taking backwards into bigotry if Jim Torrey were elected.
Thank you, Sally Sheklow, for once again calling a spade a spade and still getting us to laugh.
Jennifer Meyer, Eugene
WALKER A BIT BETTER
After the City Club of Eugene meeting last Friday (4/18) and watching and listening to the three Democratic candidates for secretary of state explain their desire for the office and answering questions from the audience, I came to the conclusion that I would like to see Vicki Walker win the nomination.
All the candidates displayed remarkable intelligence, ideas and desires for our population. However, Walker impressed me the most. In my humble opinion she seemed most adept and comfortable on the stage summing up her goals and answering hard questions.
The other two, especially Metsger, showed real passion to defend the environment, the laws and citizens rights of our fair state. Right now I would like to see that passion stay in the Legislature.
They were all excellent candidates; it's just that I feel Walker might be a little bit better for the position.
John DeLeau, where?
Apparently the Torrey campaign thinks that he is running for eighth grade class president. Have you seen the childish signs on River Road? "Don't Get Robbed" is a cheap reference to Rob Handy, showing a poor rendering of a bandit in a cowboy hat and scarf over his face. "No More Kitty Litter" doesn't even deserve a description.
Wow. On top of all that, they feel they need to enclose these campaign signs within a chainlink fence! Did I see barbed wire on top? I dunno, I was driving by at the time and drawn to the immature signage.
On second thought, I take back the eighth grade analogy. It's an insult to eighth graders.
Glenn Leonard, Eugene
PEOPLE VS CORPS
At last! We have a couple of local elections in which it will be easy to choose whom to vote for. The candidates for the mayoral and North Eugene county commissioner races are as different as could be!
When we look at the type of decisions our next mayor will be facing — the new hospital placement and our downtown renewal — we have to decide between a mayor who is supported by the people of the city or the mayor who gets his financial support from the big businesses of the city and surrounding areas. Jim Torrey's list of political donors is like a who's who of developers and corporate sponsors. Kitty Piercy is still the voice of the people; she is being supported by a wide array of individuals and listens to all their voices. Whom do we want creating our downtown? The people of Eugene or the Big Money folks who think they know what's best for us?
The County Commissioners' race is another easy choice. Look at the donor lists. Bobby Green's donor list almost matches Torrey's businesses and developers. Rob Handy is listening to the voices of the people, asking them what they want and need. Has he been to your doorstep yet? These next few years are going to be big for the county. We have a huge tax deficit coming up. Do we want the people of Lane County deciding how we want it dealt with, or should we just hand it over to developers and big business to take care of it?
If you still aren't sure whether to vote for the big business candidate or the candidate of the people, remember that for the last seven and a half years we have had a man for the corporations in the White House. How has that worked for you so far?
I know that Rob Handy and Kitty Piercy will represent the people.
Maureen McClain, Eugene
During a news broadcast, I heard Jim Torrey boast that he had raised more campaign money than Mayor Piercy. When listening to the Eugene City Club recently, I heard Lane County Commissioner Bobby Green boast that he had "friends."
The following is a public service announcement. Go to oregonvotes.org and see the ORESTAR page, where candidate committees do their finance reporting. On the right side of the page under the big red star, click on public search. This takes you to a page where you can check the candidate box and type in your candidate of interest and then click on submit. Click on the name of the candidate's committee, and this takes you to a page that allows you to view candidate information. At the bottom of the screen under "Additional Candidate Information," click on "Financial Activity." This may sound like a lot of work, but you will be rewarded. You will see who is supporting Torrey and who is supporting Commissioner Green and whom they patronize. Google The Lindholm Company and Ric Lindholm — hardly moderate in the political spectrum.
Now look up Mayor Piercy. Now look up Handy, who is running against Green. Look at the amounts under miscellaneous contributions. These are contributions of $100 or less. These are the people who are the groundswell of voices who want to be heard. And they are the people who will be heard.
Sorry, Mr. Torrey and Commissioner Green. Be careful when you boast.
Mona Linstromberg, Treasurer, Elect Rob Handy, Veneta
James Johnston's piece regarding the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in the April 17 issue was exemplary, but methinks he is somewhat directionally challenged. The rocky ridge along Petroglyph Lake is on the WEST (not east) side of that lake, where one can view ancient petroglyphs.
Similarly, the evidence he describes of human habitation over 14,000 years ago is in the Paisley area, which is 60 miles WEST (not east) of Hart Mountain. I didn't want to have reports of folks wandering all around the far eastern reaches looking for these geographical wonders. Perhaps members of the EW staff could award Johnston a nice, new compass. Happy exploring!
Boyd Wilcox, Corvallis
EDITOR'S NOTE: James Johnston says he usually gets north and south right. Our web version of the story has been corrected.
PORN OR ADS?
Mr. [Eric] Sprado (Letters, 4/17): I can respect your decision to discontinue advertising with EW — it's your choice. What I can't understand is the connections you draw between pedophilia and the advertising of this company. It would take a leap of faith to make that one work!
Frankly, the Catholic church promotes more pedophilia than American Apparel. How many priests got away with literally molesting LITTLE children?
Why haven't you mentioned the many strip clubs like the Silver Dollar that advertise in the EW as well? Or the porno stores? Oh, that's right; they're "adult." And they're in the EW every week.
Furthermore, they also feature many advertisements with men. Is this "aging activist" a wee bit nearsighted? A photograph doesn't objectify someone; society does.
Finally, how do you know if they're under-aged?
P.S. Gustavo Arellano is quite the moron.
Jeff L. Salata, Eugene
Leave it the Obama Mafia to start the unfortunate yet re-occurring game of political campaign sign-stealing. It was bad enough that the first two days I had my Hillary Clinton sign up in my lawn, it was ripped out and thrown on the ground three times. Now I find my sign completely stolen. It was bad enough when the Obama people attempted to disrupt visits by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton with obnoxious and even silly questions; now they have resorted to outright vandalism. Are the Obama people not happy with the dozens of lawn signs they already have up in Eugene? Must they try to intimidate all of us into falling under the same spell they have? Hillary and Chelsea Clinton turned the tables on the Obama supporters who cheap-shotted them, and then the Clintons moved on.
I'm going to forgive whoever you are and stay on the high road. After all, we all need to get together before November no matter which of our candidates proves to be the strongest. The childish games are no way to start the crucial rapport that must be built between our two camps if we don't want to be stuck with President McCain.
Kenneth Elsbree, Eugene
Last night I was driving in River Road and saw signs for Bobby Green. It left me feeling sad. Commissioner Green has hurt both city and county residents of River Road through his lack of leadership and management around annexation and intergovernmental issues. Green has been a commissioner for 13 years and all the while has maintained that problems between River Road and the city were caused by decisions made long ago in the Metro Plan and that he is powerless to do anything about it. Amazingly enough, Bill Fleenor, in office barely two years, has already started work on re-negotiating this outdated agreement.
City residents and city staff aren't happy about the mix of tax rates and service providers in River Road. County residents aren't happy about the city of Eugene's oversight and land use regulations over a population that's not represented by city government and staff. This is a long standing no-win situation that Bobby Green has miserably failed to address.
I implore residents in River Road to research these issues and then vote for Rob Handy. Having lived in River Road for 30-plus years and worked tirelessly for both city and county residents, he will indeed be leadership for a change! Everyone will win: River Road residents and the city and county.
Michael Shubert, Eugene
According the American Heritage Dictionary, fascism is a system of government marked by 1) centralization of authority under a dictator, 2) stringent socioeconomic controls, 3) suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship and 4) a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
The Chinese autocratic regime gleefully fulfills this definition. China's forced occupation of Tibet has led to the deaths of an estimated 1.2 million Tibetans. Additionally China's direct support of the Sudan genocide blatantly continues. Within China's borders, compulsory family "planning" and forced abortions are universal. China has hundreds of forced-labor prisons, which hold political and religious dissidents. There are firsthand reports of physical and psychological torture, confessions forced by torture, live organ harvesting, and other inconceivable atrocities within these prisons.
America should send a message to China: We do not support you; we will not attend the Olympics.
Jared McKinney, Corvallis
My heart goes out to the 300 Monaco Coach and 200 Country Coach employees recently laid off in Coburg. I know all too well the pain of doing my best at a job and then being let go because of something totally out of my control.
I'd imagine among these honest, competent and hardworking folks there are those who've considered self-employment. The Lane Community College Business Development Center (Biz Center) has helped me greatly with starting my own business. There's a little five-hour First Steps in Business class which helps people figure out if self-employment is for them. There are also classes in Accounting, Non-Profit Management, Farm Business Management and, for people who have ideas for doing something nobody else has done before, Innovation Business Management. heck 'em out at www.LaneBDC.comor call 463-5255.
Geoff Koerne, Eugene
CAN'T HANG UP
I recently started receiving unsolicited prerecorded robotic calls with the caller ID showing Barack Obama's toll-free phone number. These calls do not permit hanging up or calling 911 in an emergency as I can do with other calls.
I have been unable to get this safety issue addressed by anybody.
Obama should respect the federal Do Not Call List. As an independent voter, I refuse to vote for any politician who harasses citizens with telephone calls.
Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis
It does appear that the Oh-SHIT! Factor is now over 11, given the news that four major rice-exporting nations, including China, have decided to NOT export rice this year due to barely having enough rice to feed their own citizens. Add to this dark mix:
• Australia's wheat production is seriously low due their years of hellacious drought — severe water-rationing in that nation is causing a variety of societal stresses. And those nations north of Australia, are they dependent on wheat and rice for food?
• Due to corn-based ethanol production, much more of the U.S. corn crop is now being diverted away from food production — so, not only is their a corn-for-food shortage, but it takes too much costly energy to produce one gallon of ethanol and this production cost has been contributing to the rise in fuel prices. As you may know, locally, many senior citizens are having a very difficult time with affording enough to eat and with paying their heating bills.
• Will the food riots happening now in Haiti spread to the Dominican Republic?
• Will the Caribbean economy be affected? Add this: as oft-reported, drought-stricken Mexico is embroiled in major battle between the drug cartel and their militias and the Mexican army and government. Will there be more refugees?
Locally, Eugeneans got fired up last fall and defeated 20-134, an urban development measure. Much ire was expressed regarding $40 million in development funds possibly going to out-of-area planning and construction companies and 20-134 allegedly causing a need to increase taxes.
Now, the UO and, presumably ,the Eugene City Council are going ahead with plans to build new stadiums and a deluxe academic center for UO athletes only, all at a cost of well over $200 million, much of which will be contributed by a well-intentioned, generous donor who has stipulated, demanded, that he have complete control of the project(s), that his own chosen planning and construction companies, from out of the area, will be doing all the work.
Are these companies known for their green development techniques?
Given that re-prioritization is blatantly needed, can we shift priorities, forgo or block plans for costly-to-taxpayers-not-athletes new construction, and re-direct funds and efforts towards alleviating the increasing hunger among elders and those less financially fortunate, can we? Yes.
Now, what to do, what to do about all the SUVs elbowing their way through Eugene while sporting "Obama, Change We Can Believe In" bumper stickers? HEY! Let's institute an Eugenean environmental destruction penalty tax on gas-hogs and fully fund more neighborhood gardens and food distribution centers!
Charles F. Thielman, Eugene
Fifty years ago this week, I attended my first stockholders meeting at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Two bright young aspiring actors wanted to attend and I told them they had to be stockholders so they purchased one share of General Electric stock apiece.
In the large and crowded Beverly Wilshire ballroom, eager adults of all ages seemed excited, restless and expectant. After the CEO reported on his state of the corporation, which seemed excellent to us, but conservative — maybe a little plodding and unimaginative to stockholders, the CEO took question and suggestions from the stockholders. Suddenly, stockholders, standing and shouting, sounded frustrated and frenzied.
My companions and I were astounded and appalled by their frenzied shouting of suggestions, one of which was to take over Westinghouse, another was for the CEO to quit if stock value didn't rise more rapidly. After all, net profit and share value were higher than expected. Watching the sea of hands being raise we felt sorry for the flummoxed CEO.
Since then CEOs have learned how to consolidate their power and position and are magnificently rewarded. CEO salaries, including stock, commonly surpass $2 million yearly, and CEOs know how to control with corporate money, not only their stockholders, but our politicians, government and the American public, without appreciating that uncontrolled greed can be like a fatal disease from themselves and their country.
Jerry Copeland, Florence
Sen. McCain has made a major point of stating that economics is not his strength and his recent pronouncements have proved the validity of his statement.
I would like to deal with one facet of his economic plan and that is his proposal that the federal government suspend their federal gasoline taxes for the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
In the first place, as a retired economics instructor, I know that doing this would reduce the price of gasoline effectively at the pump and, therefore, increase the demand for gasoline. Since the world, including the U.S., is trying to reduce air pollution, it makes no sense to stimulate the use of gasoline since its use is one of the major contributing causes of this air pollution.
In the second place, the revenue from gasoline taxes is used to maintain our roads and bridges, including those in Oregon.
I would suggest that readers contact Congressman DeFazio's office about this since he chairs a committee related to this issue. Rep. Terry Beyer, who represents Springfield, chairs the Oregon House committee that deals with Oregon's roads and bridges, and can tell you that Oregon's economy depends upon these being well maintained.
One would hope that a candidate for president would have thought about the economic consequences of such a proposal prior to making it. However, it seems that while economic reality has limits, economic stupidity does not, and we should not elect a person whose economic platform contains such a plank.
G. Dennis Shine, Springfield
WAR FOR OIL? NO
The war in Iraq is costing the U.S. around $255 million per day, according to an MSNBC story last year. Iraq's sustainable oil production capacity is almost three million barrels per day. Iraqi ground holds more than 112 billion barrels of oil — the world's second largest proven reserves — and unexplored regions could yield an additional 100 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. One million barrels of oil a day is either 1/20 of the U.S. daily gas consumption or $100 million (calculated at $100 a barrel).
America has liberated Iraqis from the torture chambers of Saddam, but in doing so we have gone billions of dollars further in debt. The month that Bush was sworn into office, gas averaged $1.70 a gallon. Now, after eight years of war in Iraq, gas is $3.60 a gallon. That is $2 more to pay — because of the war on terror. Iraqi oil should be used to pay America back. Unbeknownst to many, Kuwait (think Desert Storm) paid the U.S. some $36 billion for its liberation. Iraq should do the same.
Jared McKinney, Corvallis
BLAME THE BABIES
With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth on these pages over environmental woes, poverty, deforestation, food and water shortages and other calamities around the world, you'd think that at least one writer would connect the dots and flag the root cause of it all: babies.
Untold millions of them. And as long as their numbers keep skyrocketing, none of the efforts to address the foregoing issues will mean a thing.
In the U.S. alone, population is on track to double in the next 50 to 75 years. Nearly all of this will be due to immigration — most of it illegal. If you think our environment is in sad shape now, what do you think will happen by adding another 300 million people?
We as a species have stupidly refused to control our numbers. Mother Nature is eventually going to do that for us and it won't be pretty.
Jerry Ritter, Springfield
UNHEARD VOICES/ UNSEEN LIVES
A HUGE thank you to the hundreds of people who came to the First Friday Art Walk (4/4) at the WOW Hall to see "Unheard Voices/Unseen Lives: A Path to Empowerment," a premiere showing of artwork by street youth in Eugene/Springfield. You were part of an amazing and monumental event in the lives of these young, marginalized artists. I am deeply grateful to everyone who helped support this event in so many ways.
For those of you who missed the opening, the show is up in the WOW Hall Lobby Gallery through the month of April — open hours are noon to 6 pm Monday through Friday. It will also be shown from May 15 through May 31 at the Museum of Unfine Art at 537 Willamette.
Karen Olch, Youth Arts Advocate, New Roads/Hosea Youth Services
It's been the leading story in major newspapers and TV news programs for the past week. More than 100 million people are being driven deeper into poverty by a "silent tsunami" of rising food prices, according to World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran. A dozen countries have experienced food riots and strikes.
Prices for basic food staples such as rice, wheat, corn and soybeans have skyrocketed in recent months. They are driven by rising fuel and fertilizer prices, diversion of corn to produce biofuels, drought in key food-producing countries, soil depletion through overgrazing and growing demand for meat in China and other developing nations.
The resulting hunger afflicts nearly one billion people, mostly women and children. It kills an astonishing 24,000 per day. It's not just a problem for strangers in faraway lands. It affects millions of Americans, and some U.S. stores are already rationing food.
The good news is that even a small shift toward a plant-based diet in the U.S. and other developed countries would free up enough land, water, and fuel to feed everyone. More than 80 percent of U.S. agricultural land grows animal feed. A plant-based diet requires only 16-20 percent of the resources of the standard American diet (SAD).
Every one of us can start abating the scourge of world hunger today by reducing our consumption of meat and other animal products and by supporting food distribution agencies. (For more information, see www.thehungersite.org)
Elijah Hennison, Eugene