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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.02.08




UO EXCLUSION ZONE

My comment is on the exclusion zone for certain people who hang out in downtown Eugene.

Let’s see how we can apply the exclusion zone theory to beloved Duck games. At the opening game, 44 people were ejected from the game due to disorderly conduct, only six of whom actually got tickets. Should “those people” be outlawed from the game for a length of time? Would the world come to an end? I’m sure the same people over and over again ruin the game for “those people” who enjoy watching sports.

Only seven received DUI’s once out on the street? The number should be higher. Just think of all the people arriving early for tailgating who continue to drink during the games and then are let out on the streets to drive. Once again alcohol, the country’s legal drug, is given a polite look the other way. Perhaps the Sheriff’s Department could get grant money to pay for the extra patrols, like they did for the dreaded Country Fair in Veneta, where “those people” gather once a year, and give out tickets for driving too close.

Track Town, you should be ashamed of yourself. You OK tailgate parties at the stadium where “those kind of people” drink to their hearts’ content, unbothered by police? And yet Autzen stadium bans concerts due to the noise level. What about the loud noise from all the crowds cheering and the loud foghorn blowing? Isn’t that a problem? What a bunch of hypocrites. In a town like Eugene that deems itself so open and liberal, how can it condone sanctioned drunk fests? “Those kinds of people” can always be defined by every group as a way to oppress people who are different.

Diane DeVillers, Eugene 



CHRONIC SPIN

Is Jim Torrey Eugene’s whirling dervish?

Not only does he give new meaning to public career-hopping (or is that hoping?), but in his frenzy to energize his base, using as he does the Karl Rove playbook, he has missed an important pronouncement from his mentor: Even sleaze meister Rove now says negative attacks on political opponents are no longer appropriate.

Is Torrey’s scurrilous personal attack ad saying that Mayor Piercy disrespects Eugene police to be attributed to chronic whirling disorder (CWD)?

To reprise Joseph Welch, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Robert L. Weiss, Eugene



RESPECTING THE POLICE

Some people will say anything to get elected. Jim Torrey’s accusation that Mayor Kitty Piercy does not respect the Eugene police is one of those statements.

I’ve known our mayor for 30 years, and I know that his accusation is false. Piercy respects and appreciates Eugene police. She also, unlike Torrey, supports the independent Civilian Review Board, as does the majority of Eugene voters.

Torrey seems to believe that respecting the police means allowing them to operate without oversight. Perhaps this explains why the Magaña/Lara reign of violence against women was allowed to continue for years during his tenure.

Maybe it also explains why then-Mayor Torrey sat passive in his car and only watched as the police rioted against peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders with pepper spray, tear gas and fire hoses at the infamous tree-sit on June 1, 1997 — a police riot that resulted in another costly legal settlement paid for by the taxpayers of Eugene.

Piercy respects the police and appreciates the difficult and dangerous job they do every day. She also believes, as does the majority of Eugene voters, that the independent police review board provides valuable oversight that was sorely needed when she came into office.

Piercy is poised to lead us honestly into the future, while Torrey proposes to drag us dangerously into the past. Please vote for Kitty Piercy for mayor.

Mike Helm, Eugene



THE VODOU THAT I DO

Thank you for your cover story (9/4) on Vodou and Santeria and for actually getting it right. I’m from South Jersey. I’ve lived here six years now. I practice Vodou — in my own quiet way. I suppose I could be more open about it … but I grew up in a very religious family who were very unforgiving towards other spiritual/religious views, so my quiet ways have just stuck, even though I live 3,000 miles away from them now. 

Thank you for bringing to light this wonderful religion and for the respectful manner in which it was written. 

Lorraine Montalvo, Eugene



TORREY’S EQUIPMENT

A recent EW issue (9/18) had a photo showing Jim Torrey riding an unidentified piece of equipment in the Eugene Celebration parade. Given some of the dubious statements he had made about Major Piercy, is there any chance that piece of equipment is a manure spreader?

G. Dennis Shine, Springfield



GREEN’S DESPERATION

Under stress, often our true nature is revealed. Bobby Green’s recent campaign tactics indicate that he is desperate and quaking in his shoes. In violation of the spirit of election law, Green is using campaign funds to advertise a series of “town hall” meetings involving county employees. Some of the panelists participating in these town hall forums don’t realize that they are publicized with money from his big contributors. This is not the first time Green has blurred the lines between right and wrong. Visit Bobbywatch.com and take the time to evaluate for yourself if Green is ready for a rest from public office after 14 years at the helm of Lane County. Personally, I’m ready for a change.

Ruth Perkins, Eugene



TORREY’S TENURE

Does anyone remember what Jim Torrey actually did during his eight years as mayor of Eugene?

He misled voters into believing they could approve a road that would in fact never have been built since only a fraction of the funds were available and since the route would have violated federal law by destroying essential wetlands.

His “leadership” brought alarm from Amnesty International to Eugene when serious human rights violations occurred.

On his watch, Magaña’s misconduct tarnished the reputation of our police, at great cost to taxpayers.

He had no interest in the chance to protect the Amazon headwaters when sellers offered it at a reasonable price.

Did he set the pace for fixing potholes? No. Did he prepare alternative business plans anticipating the time when Hynix would depart? No.

Did he give Eugene the thriving downtown we need? No.

Did he befriend developers who would back his current manipulative, bulldozer campaign? Yes, he did.

A vast, unsustainable sprawl at the cost of our surrounding farmlands would be his legacy if he had another chance.

I don’t want to see it.

Elaine Weiss, Eugene



15,000 DOORS

You should see eyes pop and jaws drop when I tell voters in north Eugene that Bobby Green had his first “town hall” event in more than 13 years as county commissioner this August. As a volunteer for the campaign to elect Rob Handy, I’ve knocked on a lot of doors, and I’ve learned how important it is for citizens to have a commissioner that is accessible and listens to their concerns. 

Most of the people I talk with know of Bobby Green because they read about him in the paper, but they’ve never seen or heard from the man that’s supposed to be representing them — until now — when he faces the biggest election challenge of his career as a politician.

In sharp contrast, Rob Handy’s sincere interest in understanding the needs of the voters has motivated him to personally knock on over 15,000 doors since January! If that kind of determination, sincerity, and commitment to the voters inspires you as much as it does me, elect Rob Handy county commissioner in November.

Allen Hancock, Eugene



DISGUSTING PRACTICE

Why would your article on voodoo and Santeria (9/4), which began so well with Antonio Vicioso’s emphasis on music as a means to “bring down” the spirits, end up including Hardson’s and Calhoon’s ridiculously shallow justifications for animal sacrifice by saying that it is “no more wasteful than buying a package of chicken wings” and that it honors the animal? Was this some sort of sickening joke on their part? Did they really think that we would all swallow their suggestion that one bad practice justifies another? Are they not aware that many people who see the disgusting nature of animal sacrifice also find “detached” animal “farming” practices horrifying?

But furthermore, in my conversations with medicine women and men of Latin America and the Middle East while doing research on animist societies, it was always evident that those who really had the power to call spirits and do something worthwhile with their supernatural presence did not need to resort to props of any kind but did everything purely on their own. In fact, they told me over and over that one of the surest ways of identifying the charlatans with little or no spiritual power at all was the use of “tools” and particularly sacrifices. One of them, an Amazonian medicine woman who was respected throughout an enormous region, summarized it by saying: “The real spirits that are worth contacting would be repelled by anyone thinking that killing an animal would be a way to establish communication.”

Fernando Sonoro, Eugene



STRIKING BACK

On Sept. 3 and 4, I participated in group sessions facilitated by conflict resolution consultant Bob Chadwick, initiated by City Manager Jon Ruiz, concerning police/community relations. Sessions for police were also held. Perhaps joint sessions will be arranged to include community members and police. I hope so.

On Aug. 27, Ruiz also hosted a dinner meeting with about 20 diverse community members. Ruiz is committed to this and in his words will “stay at the table.” I commend him for taking this step. With integrity and honesty we just might be able to turn this difficult situation around.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Since June 1, 1997, an incident which sparked efforts to secure external police review, I’ve spearheaded numerous campaigns to defeat tax measures for new police stations and county public safety measures. My public rationale was that money was needed more to fund crime prevention, such as alcohol/drug rehab, mental health support. I felt righteous about that because there is truth to this. But I see now that the main impetus for me was the “gotcha” element — striking back because of the anger I felt over incidents of alleged police misconduct.

I’ve noticed the “blue wall” of police culture while not noticing the walls of mistrust and suspicion I’ve erected. I’ve noticed the “us vs. them” attitudes of police while not noticing I’d created my own “us vs. them” world. I’ve given lip service to the goal of improved police/community relations while often acting counter to it. Now, I’d rather do the work I do without the enmity element.

I really hope there will be a joint session with the police. I hope to look into the faces of the people I have profiled or demonized to tell them I now know this is not the way to be. This is not community-enhancing. It will not get us to the goal of a better spirit in Eugene. Maybe that opportunity will happen; maybe it won’t. But I can say this to them now, publicly. I can thank Ruiz, Francesca Johnson and her staff at HRC who made us feel welcome and cared for. I thank Bob Chadwick and his assistant Deanna. I especially thank the other participants who helped me see there is a better way.

Carol Berg-Caldwell, Eugene



GET PAST THE B.S.

Many Americans doubt we have enough in common to be able to mutually talk about our central aspirations and concerns. I believe we do. But bullshit obscures it.

I don’t understand how Republicans not only cheer at the Republican National Convention for Sarah Palin and others but also ardently believe in what she says about the state of our nation, the direction we need to take and how wrong the Democrats are — all the while not showing any sense of their own blinders or the grace of self-doubt.

But looking at the Democratic National Convention makes me realize how much we are alike — not in a positive sense. Almost every speech emphasized that in America if you work hard you can be anything you want, with Barack Obama as Exhibit A. That and other standard American individualist themes were everywhere at the DNC. 

The idea that you can be anything you want is a lie. 

Obama had a white mother, caring white grandparents and good white schools, all of which gave him the cultural capital that, together with a very high IQ, made possible what he has become. Most poor people, especially racial minorities, do not have that kind of cultural capital. Many will end up dead or in jail by the age of 20 — that’s not what they wanted to be. 

Let’s get past the bullshit the Democratic and Republican national conventions exemplify to see what we share in common, in a positive sense.

Sam Porter, Eugene



A NOBLE GOAL

Joe Biden said, “If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis.” A noble goal indeed, which finally convinced me to vote for Obama, rather than Nader, to once more make a statement about the condition of American democracy.

But to go a bit beyond that. If I could solve one problem, it would be to let us recognize our animal instincts so we can work around them. These mainly include gaining personal wealth at all cost, and since we can’t take it with us, making lots of little copies of ourselves so we can pass it on. These are the underlying causes of our environmental as well as most social problems.

Dan Robinson, Eugene



STOP THE SLURS

Torrey’s explanation (R-G, 9/18) doesn’t include the apology he should have produced for his unthinkable slur against the mayor. I have never once heard a remark or seen a written word against the police from Kitty Piercy. The truth is she has increased the number of police serving Eugene and has seen that the largest part of the city budget goes to the police department. She does support the Citizen Police Review Board and the independent police auditor. The police union disagrees and wants complete freedom from oversight. Many of us who have witnessed or had friends witness police misbehavior by a few police now appreciate the opportunity to have our complaints heard. It is time for the slurs and untrue television ads to stop!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



LESSER IS BETTER

To Lynn Porter (9/4): I implore you to reconsider your decision to vote for Ralph Nader. I’m more on your side than you might think. In 2000 I knew very little about George W. Bush or Al Gore, but almost everything either one said sounded like variations on continuation of the status quo. So I “voted my conscience” because I knew what Ralph Nader stood for; he spoke my language. He still does, but I have lived with eight years of utter regret and embarrassment for that choice. So hackneyed to say “lesser of two evils,” but it might be significant at his time.

Jim Wood, Eugene



TIMBERLAND PRACTICES

I grew up hearing constant advertisements by “the tree growing people,” the Weyerhaeuser Corp. I also grew up to make my home surrounded by commercial timberland, a full half-hour drive from the nearest urban area. The Upper Mohawk Valley, I was sure, would never be like similar foothill valleys in California. After all, “the tree growing people” in a checkerboard with Willamette Industries and the Bureau of Land Management controlled the lion’s share of the land surrounding me. 

Across the Marcola Road to the north of my holdings was a patch of tree farm owned by Willamette Industries, which clearcut the 80-acre unit 12 years ago. This was hard on the view from the north windows of my house. I could, however, have an experience similar to riding my horse on the high desert just by crossing at Marcola Road. The unit was replanted. Like much of the Mohawk Valley, it is rich timber growing land. Twelve years after looking like the high desert, healthy trees made the way impassible on horseback. 

It appears that “the tree growing people” have decided to be instead “the suburbanize timberland people.” There is a development underway which intends to put more houses than should be legal on productive timberland in that unit. Tom McCall would call this Californication!

John Anderson, Marcola 

 

 

RIGHTS FOR RAPISTS

Nice to see that the Republicans are bringing rapists into their “big tent” by giving them their own bill of rights. Under the Republican platform, any rapist will, without fear of infringement, be able to select the mother of his child.

Douglas Hintz, Eugene

 

 

 

FOLLOWING DAD

I find it fascinating that George W. Bush began his political career with the creation of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) that was used to bail out the Savings and Loan crisis that he benefited from and now Bush will end his political career with the reincarnation of an RTC-like entity that will again bail out the financial market corporations that he has benefited from. 

Commenting on the model used by George Bush on how he amassed his money and benefited from the S&L bailout of the 1980s, William Black and James Galbraith wrote in Bush’s Role in Corporate Fraud, “He (George Bush) is following in his father's footsteps: First, create the problem by taking actions that encourage fraud. Second, do nothing while the frauds become epidemic. Finally, when the scandal breaks, claim like Claude Rains in Casablanca that he is ''shocked, shocked'' that gambling is going on. In Bush's case, the winnings from gambling were safely pocketed long ago.” 

We should not be surprised that Bush’s behavior today is the same as it was 20 years ago. He acts to save the rich and soak the poor. He wants all hands on deck to bail out the wealthy and all those middle class homeowners who suffer due to the ARM bailout get to walk the plank. It is ironic that the end of Bush on the public stage has come full circle to the beginning of Bush on the public stage. Bush is once again saving his friends who will no doubt save him and relegating the rest of the “marks” to their misery.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



BYE-BYE MEAT

Will 2008 mark the beginning of the end for the U.S. meat industry?

The escalating costs of corn and soybeans caused by harvest shortfalls, rising global demand, and government-mandated ethanol production are forcing widespread cutbacks in the number of animals raised for food. So does the current credit crunch. 

A recent report by the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts recommends a phase-out of intensive confinement, which would force additional cutbacks. For the animals and caring consumers, such cuts are long overdue.

The 10 billion animals killed for food in the U.S. each year have no life before death. From birth they are caged and crowded, deprived and drugged, manhandled and mutilated. At the slaughterhouse, they may be scalded, bled, skinned, and dismembered, while still conscious. Although 93 percent of consumers condemn such abuses, no state or federal law prevents them.  

Recent undercover investigations by humane organizations have documented egregious animal cruelty at California and Iowa slaughterhouses. The resulting media coverage has led consumers to examine their own role in subsidizing extreme animal cruelty with their shrinking food dollar.

This is why, on or about Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday), 400 communities in all 50 states and two dozen other countries observe World Farm Animals Day with public education events (see www.WFAD.org.) The purpose is to expose and memorialize the cruel treatment of animals raised for food and to promote an animal-free diet. 

It’s a great opportunity for each of us to reject cruelty and to embrace a healthful, cost-saving plant-based diet.

Elijah Hennison, Eugene



HEINOUS ACTS

It appears that the Republicans have some collective amnesia. George Bush and Dick Cheney did not dig this deep hole that our country finds itself in alone. The Republican majority legislature, and all those who perpetually defend this administration and this occupation of a sovereign country, are complicit in a collection of heinous acts against the citizenry of the U.S.

Why would anyone believe anything that Republicans say after this past eight years of death and misery? It is stunning to think that there is even any question as to who needs to take the reins in order to move our country back into a direction that regards the interests and security of this nation’s citizens.

Here’s a reminder of just a few effects of the past 8 years under Republican dominance:

• Election Fraud

• The worst attack on U.S. soil ever

• Deception into an occupation on a sovereign country for profit (costs taxpayers $341.4 million/day)

• More than 4,000 troops dead

• 18 Iraq veterans commit suicide every day (Iraq Veterans Against War)

• Rendition & torture

• Loss of Habeas Corpus

• Illegal surveillance of law-abiding citizens

• Media manipulation (propaganda)

• Highest gas prices in history

• Enormous job losses

• Unaffordable health care

• Unsafe food and toys

• Katrina victims perpetually displaced

• Politicization of our Justice Department

• Nationwide deterioration of infrastructure

• Trillion-dollar deficit

Unless you want to perpetuate the pain, Vote Democratic!

Rita Babauta Kiley, Eugene