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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.23.08




R-G OCTOBER SURPRISE

The Register-Guard has me confused. In May it editorially said: “Voters should re-elect Kitty Piercy” as Eugene mayor. But now, in October, it says: “Eugene voters should elect Jim Torrey.”

 The paper never even admits changing its mind from May, much less explain why! Was it a sign from Heaven? Or a signal from a higher power in the Chad Drive office? New insights written on the wind? Or on Chamber of Commerce stationary?

 The October Surprise edit says Torrey could do a better job handling the bad economy. But in May the paper wasn’t sure he could deal with “economic uncertainty” better than Piercy.

 In May it said he probably couldn’t do anything about a “divided City Council which controls the real political power in the city.” Well, now it conjures his magical ability to “arrive at a compromise that would attract five or six votes,” not those bothersome 4-4 ties.

 Right, and he’ll probably walk on the Willamette River en route to council meetings.

 And the paper now says Torrey will be able to get Eugene cops to quit disobeying the civilian review law, in part because the police union gave his campaign big bucks. Isn’t it usually the other way around? Contributors want politicians to do things the contributors’ way. 

 Meanwhile, under Piercy’s leadership: More streets are being fixed and potholes patched. (Nice that Torrey finally discovered potholes — for his potshot ads.) Headwaters of the Amazon are protected — for the whole city. (Torrey blew a chance to buy them cheap.) A deal with the county has kept more money in public safety for prosecutors, jail beds and keeping Buckley House detox open. The downtown pits are to be developed. Santa Clara will get parkland.

And that’s just in the five months since the R-G endorsed Piercy.

The paper was right in May, woefully wrong in October. Voters should re-elect Piercy and disregard the R-G’s unexplained and inexplicable surrender of its editorial soul.

Don Bishoff, Eugene



CORPORATE MOUTHPIECE

 I suspect any right-wing endorsement from our city’s daily newspaper may anger more people than it pleases. That should be the case with its support for mayoral candidate Jim Torrey, the mouthpiece for corporate money.

 It’s important readers be exposed to the political wisdom that results in EW supporting a vastly superior candidate, Kitty Piercy.

Urge your friends to vote, and to not be deluded by the self-serving who want Torrey to ignore the public, and to do only their bidding.

George Beres, Eugene



CONNECTING THE DOTS

I have noticed on the R-G editorial pages lately that somebody has written lavish endorsements for both Bobby Green and Jim Torrey. Perhaps they are sincere but let us not forget that both Green and Torrey are pro development at any cost types. Local developers and wannabe developers back them both with big bucks. The R-G owns significant real estate holdings at the end of Chad Drive and along Old Coburg Road. Is there a connection? You decide. 

This letter most likely won’t see the light of day on the R-G ed page.

Norm Maxwell, Lorane



EUGENE IS FORTUNATE

Through my work on sustainability and climate protection, I have had the opportunity to work with elected officials nationwide. What always stands out to me is how lucky the residents of Eugene are to have Kitty Piercy as mayor. She is at the top of the list among the nation’s mayors. She understands that future business and job growth will be centered in sustainable industries. She knows that green businesses will generate the capital needed to foster further economic vitality, the tax revenues needed to support government services, and the practices needed to protect social well-being and the environment. She avoids sound bites that feel good but mean little and she works in the trenches to improve Eugene. 

Kitty Piercy is my choice for mayor. We need more elected officials like her.

Bob Doppelt, Eugene



CLEAN HOUSE

News and slant in the 10/9 Weekly was strong on police/police union misconduct but weak on a solution. The solution is simply to fire and prosecute all police members who are guilty of cover-up crimes and/or other crimes, and if the district attorney will not prosecute then the DA must be prosecuted and fired if guilty. If none of this happens it will be evidence of extreme local corruption and yet another indicator of the need for massive political change. For there is nothing more disruptive to law and order in a society than cops who commit crimes and get away with them by lying to their superiors and threatening their peers and others.

Bob Saxton, Eugene



VOTE TO FUND SCHOOLS

Have you heard about Measure 20-137? Many Eugene voters haven’t yet. You may not recognize the numbers, but chances are you will remember the Yes For Schools effort from years past. As a parent of children in Eugene schools, I’ll be voting yes on this important measure this election.

Measure 20-137 is Eugene’s local option levy, providing funding for our local schools. It’s up for renewal and your support is needed to continue the funding. This is not a new tax and it is not a tax increase. It is the only tool we currently have to exercise some level of local control over funding for education.

While there is plenty of worry about the economy, maybe your own family’s economic stability, one thing you can do to strengthen our community is to say Yes For Schools. This levy is critical to keep Eugene schools the best they can be. The funding is equivalent to operating two of our four high schools for one year. 

In this uncertain time it’s more important than ever to support kids and continue supporting funding for their education. Please vote to renew the Eugene local option levy. Vote yes on Measure 20-137.

Cathryn Marsh, Eugene



WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that the city manager has come out squarely on the side of the police auditor and independent review of police misconduct by the Citizen Review Board as voted in by us in 2005, what will the police do if an arbitrator rules against their baseless grievance? Go on strike?

Of course, by law, they can’t. But the threat posed by the intransigent officials of the Eugene Police Employee’s Association (“We’ll fall on our swords over this”) to the people of Eugene is real, and it is serious.

Union workers enjoined against striking often resort to the politics of resentment, calling in sick, or staging work slowdowns. This would impact public safety in many ways; none of them good.

Individual sworn officers are going to have to rise to the occasion and take a stand against their union leadership. Willy Edwaard and Eric Humphrey were recently re-elected by a scant majority of the 230 EPEA members. They will have to choose between serving the public and serving their political masters. If Edwaard and Humphrey have their way, the current conflict will be dragged on indefinitely, until they exhaust their “war chest” or are recalled by the majority of union members who are decent and who want to get on with the job of providing public safety. 

For the sake of the civic peace they are sworn to uphold, Edwaard and Humphrey should resign.

Paul Prensky, Eugene 



UNDOING THE DAMAGE

Lest we forget, the following occurred under Jim Torrey’s eight years as mayor. The West Eugene Parkway had two popular votes and the support of City Council, but never got off the drawing board. The pothole problems were ever present. Torrey passed on the opportunity to purchase the Amazon Headwaters land for about $325,000. PeaceHealth decided to move to Springfield. Hynix moved to Eugene, received $27 million in tax breaks, and in 2001 furloughed 600 of its 800 workers. The Eugene Police Department and the citizens of Eugene were subjected to the Magaña-Lara scandals. This is not the kind of leadership we need and much of Piercy’s first term has been spent undoing the damage created under her predecessor’s tenure.

In contrast, during Piercy’s first term with a split council, we have forward progress on realistic alternatives for West 11th. Roads are being repaired through a creative collaboration with the county. Enterprise is downtown, employing more than 400 people and there’s a new incubator business in the old Rubenstein’s. We have Westtown on 8th and The Tate for housing and the Beam renovation and WG mixed-use development — all the result of persistence and focus on the future. We have a police auditor to provide impartial oversight. 

Piercy works very hard, applies common sense and treats people with respect. She’s honest and sincere. She’s accessible and it’s clear she’s proud of our community. She deserves another four years and she has my vote.

 Ellen Hyman, Eugene



WHO WILL LEAD US?

Throughout history societies have been rising and falling. The main reason for failure has been the depletion of natural resources.

 I believe that author Derrick Jensen is right with his statement, ”We live in the most destructive culture to ever exist.” Who can guide us in our endeavors to sustain life for us and for future generations?

Certainly not Jim Torrey with his conservative views. For many years he supported the Bush administration’s disastrous environmental and economic policies.

 And certainly not Bobby Green! A look at the list of his donors clearly shows the direction he will go.

Each one of us needs to embrace sustain-ability. It needs to become a way of life! It can be fun! I have done it for many years.

My support goes to Kitty Piercy. For mayor. For Eugene.

 Lora Byxbe, Eugene



VET BUSINESS?

During the late ‘70s friends and I developed and got funding for the Eugene Spay Neuter Clinic. The program was launched in 1979 and became a national municipal model.

At that time our city leaders were visionary and understood that preventing uncontrolled breeding would be cost effective. Overtime, the Spay Neuter program became a self-support service curbing our community’s animal overpopulation crisis. 

Fast forward 30 years: Without a public hearing or even a discussion at the City Council, our city manager wants “the city out of the veterinary business” and is letting his staff take the flack for his decision. I’m confused — he can’t want to be out of the “business” entirely because while de-funding the city’s program, he gave $10,000 to spay feral cats at Greenhill Humane. Who is bending his ear? 

According to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, “Sadly, each year more than 15 million dogs and cats are killed in the U.S. because of overpopulation. Altering pets through spay/neuter surgery helps prevent the unwanted birth of animals that would be difficult to place into good homes.” It is common knowledge that it is more fiscally prudent for the city to prevent pet overpopulation by offering low cost spay and neuter for dogs and cats than it is to use our taxpayer money to capture, shelter and kill unwanted homeless creatures. Thirty years has not changed the math.

We have to save the Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic!

Joan M. Walker, Eugene



BE SKEPTICAL

This letter is intended to encourage voters to realize how important informed votes are and to provide some recommendations. As recent elections have shown, every vote can make a difference even in national races. It is well worth the effort to become better informed about the voting records of the candidates, where they stand on the issues and who are their primary contributors. You can often gauge how well politicians will listen and respond to the will of people after being elected by checking on how much of their financial support comes more from fewer large corporate donors with deep pockets than from many individuals making small donations. Be skeptical of candidate endorsements by newspapers. Beware of candidates who try to use fear and divisiveness to gain votes.

The many different meanings of labels like liberal and conservative can also confuse and mislead voters. To paraphrase Jim Hightower, it’s not conservatives versus liberals; it’s usually the minority of wealthy elites on top trying to exploit the majority of us on the bottom. With hard times upon us, we need politicians who will lead by responding to all of us, lobbying for what supports the common good like electoral reform and health care for all. We are quite fortunate to have such candidates who I believe will provide that kind of leadership: Barack Obama for president, Jeff Merkley for Senate, Kate Brown for secretary of state, Rob Handy for commissioner and Kitty Piercy for mayor.

David Zupan, Eugene



LEHNER’S LAST LESSON

As he’s leaving, I’d like to thank Eugene Police Chief Robert Lehner for demonstrating that it is appropriate to refuse to release information when someone’s safety is at stake. It took courage to defy an apparently conflicting city ordinance, but his case and its risks clearly took precedence.

Following his example, we may knowingly and legally withhold information, even if being requested by someone in authority, if in our judgment, “releasing the information could have endangered someone” (R-G 10/12).

Thank you for clarifying that for us, Chief Lehner. Good luck in your new position in Elk Grove.

Wilfrid Havens, Springfield

 

 

 

FECAL OVERLOAD

For sale: a large pile of shit. Accumulated over the past seven years, beginning Jan. 20, 2001. I’ve made many attempts to rid myself of this shit, but it just won’t go away. I deal with it daily and the abiding stench can keep a fellow from both sleep and tranquility. I’m hoping someone out there will offer to haul this shit to a far-away place, like another planet, and dump it down a dark and very deep hole. But it can’t be just anyone: The winning bidder can be no girlie-man.

Why buy this sad product? Because — with the exception of Joe Lieberman — this shit is exclusive to the Republican Party. Some day it might be historical. You might donate it to the Smithsonian, although I doubt they'd take it. Remember: It's Republican shit — it contains only turkey, weasel and rat shit. May be radioactive. I’m not including bullshit, however, as that pile is so high that shipping is simply impossible. I’m sorry but I cannot warranty such a product, knowing just what components went into the messy and unspeakable process of producing it: cynicism, cronyism, corporatism, capitalism, narcissism, imperialism, greed, stupidity and hypocrisy. There may be many others, but I’ve offered this list after a cursory examination revealed only the most visible components. 

Rent a backhoe! Shoo the flies away! It's going to the lowest bidder, a person with a bad cold or an inability to smell and, certainly, with an inability to think. Bidding starts at minus one dollar and goes down.  Call toll-free: 1 Get-The-Shit

Tom Erwin, Springfield



NOT ALWAYS FRUGAL

I applaud Rep. Peter DeFazio's vote against the bailout. With the $110 billion in sweeteners added to the original $700 billion, this is now an $810 billion bill, all of which will increase the budget deficit and the national debt. Our borrow-and-spend government is bankrupting the country.

However, I must point out that DeFazio has not been so frugal when it comes to war. Recently I tracked 11 votes on bills, from December 2005 to June 2008 that included money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. DeFazio's yes-no score is 6-5.

All of the money appropriated for these wars is being added to the national debt, borrowed from countries like Saudi Arabia and China, because the voters would not allow their taxes to be raised to pay for the wars. It turns out that killing people is very expensive. Who knew?

The war funding votes, of the Oregon congressional delegation and the two presidential candidates are compiled into a table at tinyurl.com/warfunding.

I'll be voting for Mike Beilstein, Corvallis City Council member and Pacific Green Party candidate for the U.S. House. Beilstein is opposed to any funding for the two wars. DeFazio has no Republican opponent this time.

Lynn Porter, Eugene



DON’T BOTHER

Regarding the Eugene mayoral election, I think I'm going to pass. I don't like either candidate, especially the old and worn out Jim Torrey. Kitty Piercy is Torrey-lite, in drag! Piercy may think she has progressive views but the Whole Foods-parking garage fiasco proved to me she is a typical conservative capitalist, not unlike the "Democrat" Nancy "pro-developer" Nathanson. 

Piercy still believes that public funds should be made available for Big Businesses, the ones that don't need help and are too greedy to use their own funds to build structures such as parking garages. I might change my mind though, and vote for Piercy after all, if she were to pledge that she would do everything in her power to divert funds from the city's redevelopment pot to help LTD balance its next year's budget and thereby avoid the 15 percent cut in bus service. 

After all, what's more important? Diverting funds to help the greater good or diverting funds to help a select and rich few? Your choice Kitty! LTD riders let Kitty Piercy know how you feel. 

Chris Williamson, Eugene 



THE WOO-WOO YOU DO

Lorraine Montalvo (10/2) claims, “I practice Vodou — in my own quiet way.” Fernando Sonoro (same issue) is disgusted with the animal sacrifices of some Vodou practitioners, but validates those Latin American and Middle Eastern practitioners who really have “the power to call spirits and do something worthwhile with their supernatural presence.” 

Meanwhile, in Gladstone Ore., Mr. and Mrs. Beagley’s son Neil dies from a treatable disease because the Beagleys, members of the Followers of Christ church, believed that faith healing would cure him. 

Call it religion or call it spiritual practice, but in the end, it’s all woo-woo. Some woo-woo is apparently more dangerous than other woo-woo, but all woo-woo can be understood as the infinite amount of nonsense one can know about nothing. “Nothing” is, for example, a “supernatural presence.” All these folks should be equally embarrassed, but of course they’re probably not. I’m typically a pretty happy guy, but frankly, I’m sick of woo. I wish America would wake from its spell and stop the woo! “Coexist” is a cutesy slogan not even worth the price of its bumper sticker. The concept of diversity need not include diverse delusional fantasies. I’m sure that offends tons of people. They’ll insist that their particular devil is speaking through me, or perhaps that their particular god will punish me. If Palin comes into office, I’m thinking we deserve whatever Pentecostal brand of woo-inspired BS that comes our way. Sweden’s starting to sound pretty good.

Aaron Rosenberg, Eugene



LYNCH MOB MENTALITY

I grew up in Texas in the '50s. Even in our college town it was not a safe place for a black man to live. Things have changed, but not all that much. It was only a few years ago that a black man was tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged through a small Texas town until he died. 

 Racism is a scary, terrible thing, unfortunately not reserved for fringe elements of our society, and sadly enough, not a thing of the past.

 Now a man and a woman, running for the highest position of authority in this country, are leading rallies where hatred and anger and racism are used for political gain.

 An AP story on Thursday, Oct. 9, titled "Inflammatory Republican Rallies Raise Concern," described rallies in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania with people yelling "he is a bomb" (in response to McCain calling out "Who's Obama?"), and "terrorist" and "kill him," while others held up a banner proclaiming "Go ahead, let the dogs out."

 It would be scary enough if this was just a bunch of nobodies, but this was being led by two people aspiring to lead our country. Too reminiscent of a lynch mob. Too creepy to not speak out against.

Valori George, Corvallis



CLASS WARFARE

"There's class warfare, all right," Billionaire Warren Buffet recently told The New York Times. “But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Well yes, their complex financial dealings made them hard to tax. Well yes, we gave them huge tax breaks anyway. Well yes, we will now bail them out for their wildly speculative, unsustainable behavior. Well yes, "this sucker may go down" as George Bush said, without so much as a trickle-down to the losers of the war.

Richard Gross, Deadwood



MILITARY SOLUTIONS

Disturbing times demand more than slogans, half truths, and leaders who rely on appeals that rival those of American Idol contestants. Information crafted specifically to appeal to our lizard brains erodes the vitality of our democracy. Have we, as a nation, lost our ability to think critically and to understand evidence?

The threats to our security have been terribly misrepresented by a government that demonstrably lacks leadership committed to constitutional principles; principles designed to ensure the greater good. Today’s threats to our security are not from foreign countries or Islamic militants, but rather from the destruction being wrecked on our economy. The enormity of the consequences of unemployment, loss of one’s home, alarming numbers of citizens without access to health care, and upheaval in the global economies is not yet fully appreciated.

What has this presidential election done to sharpen our critical thinking about threats to our security? Claims that we are “winning the war” are empty in light of the enormous inclusive cost of our wars. The misguided Iraq War has not, although intended to, secured our oil dependent future. Afghanistan is a quagmire that cannot be “won” militarily. What have we won? There cannot be “wins” when the failure to attend to our infrastructure is bordering on catastrophic.

Do you really think that a next administration, whose leaders use the same old clichés, hell-bent on military solutions, is going to ensure our security? Based on what evidence?

Robert L. Weiss, Eugene



MEDIA MONOPOLY

Teri Kohley's letters (10/9) criticizing the media (journalists) brings up an interesting point. If the media fail in their primary function of FULLY informing the public should the protection provided by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution be suspended? Restricted? Terminated? If the media fail, what are our alternatives? Where are the checks and balances when it comes to the media — especially a newspaper with a monopoly? Should a media monopoly enjoy the same freedoms as a media with substantial competition? 

If a monopoly exists, should public access be mandatory? Public regulation or control?

Frank Skipton, Springfield



ACCOLADES FOR EUGENE

If you've been as concerned as I have about Eugene's economic progress being sacrificed for environmental issues, take a look at some of the accolades Eugene has received since Mayor Kitty Piercy has been in office. Fortune Magazine's 2008 Small Business Guide listed Eugene in the top 100 best places to live and launch a small business. Forbes listed Eugene as 36th out of the 200 best places for business and careers. At the same time, National Geographic's Green Guide named Eugene as "America's number one Green City," citing us as a "powerhouse of green industry" and focusing on our sustainable business development. Prior to Kitty Piercy's election, no such honors came our way. 

I feel optimistic that this diverse national recognition will help to draw new business to strengthen our economy. Word spreads. Since Piercy took office, I've seen her support an atmosphere of inclusiveness and balance, where the priorities of all stakeholders are heard, respected, and brought together into effective strategies. This is the kind of level-headed leadership that convinced me that Eugene has been in wise hands under Piercy's influence. Let's keep the forward momentum going by re-electing Kitty Piercy.

Lisa-Marie DiVincent, Eugene



CARE, NOT INSURANCE

Last week I watched a riveting, gut-wrenching program on OPB. The POV (Point of View) episode exposed me to the failings of our current insurance controlled heath care system. It painstakingly detailed how three different people were unable to get minimal health care because they didn’t have insurance, or had been kicked out of the insurance system. One man died, the other lost his home, and the third finally was able to get some free back surgery because of the media attention he was able to bring to his situation. All three would have been better off if they had access to basic health care sooner.

Throughout the program I was repeatedly struck by two facts:  These were hard-working, tax-paying people, not slackers; and the insurance system we currently rely on is a big part of the problem. Think about it: Insurance companies are for-profit companies and their primary objective is to make money and increase profits. To do that they must increase revenue (premiums) while cutting expenses (claims). They may pay lip-service to helping provide health care, but that is not their mission!

As long as insurance companies are between you and health care, it will be expensive and restrictive.

There is a simple, elegant solution. I was a medic in the Army 40 years ago, and I received excellent medical training and free health care at the same time. Imagine expanding the number of military medical centers around the country so that they would serve old and new veterans and others that currently have no access to medical care; while training, medics, nurses and doctors in local, compassionate, competent health care. My medical training landed me my first job and the beginning of my professional career.

Once we start thinking out of the “insurance” box, the possibilities grow.

Bill Klupenger, Eugene



SECURITY FROM VIOLENCE

Restoring our nation’s economy may take more than supporting home ownership and banks’ credit lines. It may be dependent on revising our strategies for providing security. In our vain attempt to be secure, the U.S. is spending nearly $700 billion per year on military involvement in international violent conflicts. Not only that, interpersonal violence in the U.S. (e.g., child and partner abuse, school shootings, gangs, criminal violence) drains $300 billion from government and $500 billion from citizens’ pockets per year. Violence prevention programs return economic benefits of seven to 30 times the investment, as well as dramatic improvements in the quality of life for the people affected. People who are secure from violence experience more gratitude and joy, consume less energy, are more creative at solving problems, have stronger relationships, better health, and better education. 

Legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace (HR 808) to prevent violence currently has 70 co-sponsors and would cost about 1 percent of the discretionary budget. A citizen lobbying effort is being organized by The Peace Alliance. The $1.5 trillion lost to violence in America each year could be returned to the economy when we decide to make it our priority. It makes “cents” to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace. Please let DeFazio, Wyden, Smith, Merkley, and other candidates know that it makes sense to you.

David Hazen, Eugene



DECEIVERS

George Bush and John McCain have supported tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans for eight years. Now comes Sen. Obama with a plan to let the rest of us in on the sharing and he gets accused of being a socialist. Bush and McCain have supported socialist tax policies for the wealthiest Americans and no one accused them of being socialists. Bush and McCain are deceivers. They tell Americans that it is socialist to bring tax cuts to people like me who are wage earners, make less than $250,000 per year and pay their taxes.

Bush and McCain are wrong. Obama is right. I need a tax break just like the wealthiest Americans, and there is nothing socialist about that, George Bush and John McCain.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene