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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.18.08




RELIGION BLOWS

Thanks for your article (cover story, 9/4) on Vodou. While it annoyed the hell out of me that you have nothing better to report on for your cover article, I read the whole thing (though to be fair I forgot to bring my book to work, and I didn’t have a choice). At least now I know enough about Vodou to say that it’s just as stupid as any other religion. 

Do they really think an animal gives a fuck if you’re praying over and thanking its dead body? As far as I know an animal’s brain stops working after it’s dead, and they haven’t yet mastered fluency in any language, so they wouldn’t be able to understand you anyway. Your prayers and thanks don’t mean dick, so don’t bother. If there is a heaven, they’re up there talking shit about you and are using their angel powers to harden your arteries in vengeance. Killing things is not a respectful thing to do, even if it’s in the name of some fake, made-up god. Religions are all equally a complete waste of brain power and time. Religion is nothing but ignorance, violence and a whole lot of psycho.

Mandy Deville, Eugene



RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY

I just wanted to thank you for the well-balanced, informative and interesting article (cover story, 9/4) on Afro-Caribbean religions in Oregon. Whenever I see a news piece on “Voodoo,” I’ll admit that my stomach clenches for a moment, ready to see some uninformed hysteria about animal sacrifice or zombies.

This was a refreshingly reasonable story. Every article like this is a step forward, not just for that one religion, but for all of us practicing minority, nonmainstream and/or “alternative” spiritual paths (of course, I use those qualifiers in relation to American culture only — in certain other parts of the world, these religions are the norm). 

And I bet there are more of us out there than you’d think, quietly practicing our religions in our own ways. Especially in Eugene. As such a person myself (I practice Hellenic polytheism, a revival of the religion of ancient Greece), I am greatly encouraged to see the spirits, customs, rituals and beliefs of an often-misunderstood religion such as Vodou get some positive press.

Kate Winter, Eugene



SPIT HAPPENS

On beautiful sunny summer days, one of my favorite things to do is to enjoy a walk along the riverside bike path. I am not alone as bicyclists whiz by and runners stride past in packs or alone. Along with unleashed dogs and kamikaze bicycles that come within a hair of crashing into elderly pedestrians or moms with baby strollers, there is a practice that makes my walk a lot less pleasant, and I really don’t understand the motivation behind it. 

Why, why, when men jog by me, do they have to spit? I mean, I guess I can understand that you might work up a mouthful while running, but why do you have to wait until you are right in front of me to let it fly? Can’t you wait just two more seconds so it doesn’t land right on my shoes? Seriously, I have never understood why some runners feel the need to do this. Is it a macho pseudo-ejaculation thing? Because it is just disgusting.

 Spitting runners, take note: Next time, I’m spitting back. 

Jennifer Clark, Springfield



UNSAFE ON 2 WHEELS

For the second time in 10 years, I was sent to the emergency room because of a bicycle collision on or near Franklin Boulevard. 

Two emergency room staff as well as my primary doctor have also been in major bicycle collisions in Eugene. My doctor no longer commutes to work on his bike.

Like my doctor, I am surmising that it may no longer be worth the risk of injury and/or death to ride a bicycle in Eugene anymore.

If Eugene, Springfield or the state cannot provide and maintain safe and adequate bicycle infrastructure, then perhaps it’s not worth risking your life to ride anymore. The bicycle lanes on many streets are strewn with life threatening potholes and broken seams. Bicycle lanes should not be evaluated based on automobile safety tolerances. A pothole or a pile of leaves in a bike lane can cause a bicyclist to fall into traffic and death. Even the paths in the parks are in disrepair or are too crowded with dog walkers, moms and kids to be safe for anyone.

I and other bicycle advocates have written and discussed these issues with city staff many times, but still not much changes. The latest proposed expenditure is to install streetlights at two separate locations at a cost of about $1 million. 

Solutions: Turn 12th Avenue and Alder Street to bicycle-only through streets from east to west and north to south, respectively. Create a separate budget and safety criteria to maintain bicycle lanes. 

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



PROTEST VOTE

Lynn Porter (who apparently has been asleep since 1999) is going to vote Nader ’cuz Obama isn’t saying exactly what she wants to hear (letters, 9/4). On behalf of the McCain campaign, I’d like to thank her for her support. She’s right; the perfect is the enemy of the good. If we win with the help of folks like her, we’ll be sure to continue to trash everything she values. But she’ll get to feel oh-so-righteous when she casts that protest vote.

Jud Landis, Eugene



SELECTIVE JUSTICE

I admire Carly Barnicle’s idealism (Viewpoint, 9/4) — I really do. I used to share it. The dream of a just society is hard to lose. But I had to smile sadly at her naïve notion that anything resembling justice would come from DA Doug Harcleroad.

I discovered the ugly truth about 15 years ago when a white martial-arts instructor was investigated for the shooting death of Jake Fogus, a young Native American Eugenean. Jake and some friends were out of gas in the parking lot at Garfield and 11th, waiting for help, and the defendant was apparently disturbed by their presence across the street from his studio/home. As Jake walked down the dead-end strip of 10th, the man accosted him with a gun and threatened him. As the open 911 phone line recorded the events, within seconds he shot and killed Jake from some distance. He later claimed that Jake had threatened him with a weapon; the police report revealed that Jake had a simple key chain in his hand.

I attended the closing session of the grand jury hearing, assuming some kind of murder charge would emerge. Instead, I watched in horror as Harcleroad reviewed the killer’s military service and “honorable citizenship” and basically told the jury not to pursue the case. He all but said, “He only killed an Indian, and that’s no crime around here!” It was just like the shooting of Byron Bearchum at the old Butte Tavern, and the beating of my brother at a park in Tulsa — and dozens of similar murders yearly: No charges pursued against the white killers.

As long as we give power to Harcleroad and his ilk, we really shouldn’t expect justice. I don’t know what to do about this, but there it is. Sorry, Carly.

Jeff Harrison, Eugene



GREAT LEADER

What is a great leader? A great leader is one who lives and stands up for her values every day. The values to which she is committed are those of the people she leads. To sum it up in a phrase, I would say a great leader is committed to her community’s values.

Kitty Piercy is focused like a laser on building Eugene’s economy. She successfully recruited Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which brought 200 jobs, with 250 more soon to be added. She led the current development of the downtown “pits.” She added 10 police officers, with four more to be hired soon, helped create an independent police auditor and formed the Civilian Review Board.

And thanks in large part to Piercy’s tireless work, Eugene is Track Town USA once again, as the home of the Olympic Trials, which pumped millions into our local economy.

Kitty Piercy is our mayor and has proven herself to be a great leader, over and over again. Eugene knows her and trusts her because she has always been there for us. Her door is wide open, and now we need to re-elect her in November.

Darelle Baker, Eugene



SAVE A TON

Speaking of environmentally friendly businesses, 10 months ago I and two other women at my work decided that we would have a contest to see who could save the most carbon emissions from the atmosphere on the way to and from work. 

Calculating carbon emissions output is fairly easy. Here is the formula: number of miles driven (or not driven in our case) divided by your in-town miles-per gallon equals number of gallons used (or not used) times 19.6 lbs (other molecules attach to the carbon as it leaves your car, making it heavier than you would think). 

Over the last 10 months, we have grown from three women on our quest to 10 men and women, all biking, busing or walking to work as much as possible. As of the end of August, we reached our goal of 1 ton of carbon emissions not released into the atmosphere. 

In truth, this amount is probably much more because many of us have started biking, busing or walking other places as well, not just to and from work. Our goal this time is to save another ton, but this time to do it in six months or less. We would like to issue a challenge to other businesses to join us. All it takes is a blank calendar, some stickers and a little math to track individual progress, and someone to tally it all. Contact us at sanders4@uoregon.edu

Sebrina Doyle-Schultz, Clinical Coordinator, Child and Family Center



WORSE THAN DEATH

After enduring these Bush-Cheney years and the prospect of McCain and his hockey mama taking this country even further down the drain, I only have this to say: I may someday get run over by a train, perish in a hurricane, get cancer of the brain, maybe go insane; or I might die in the throes of heart-attack pain, stumble off a cliff in Maine, be crushed by a fallen crane or murdered by my wife’s secret lover, Jane.

But no matter what, I’ll take true solace and everlasting peace to my grave in knowing I never succumbed to becoming a Republican.

Steven Kunert, Corvallis



GENDER VS ISSUES

Why would so many women (presumably Democrats) become so angry that Hillary Clinton didn’t win the nomination that they are threatening to vote for the Republican nominee — issues be damned!

Behavior like this is like a child’s revenge, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” It’s beyond me.

Nancy Slagle, Springfield