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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.13.08




AMERICAN ROYALTY

On Nov. 4 we the people of the U.S. elected our first African-American president, which is a milestone in and of itself. But that is not all; he is the first political leader of my lifetime to inspire my hope and love. Now I know how the British must feel about their royalty. This is a love affair, first with Barack Obama, but also extending to his whole family. It tickles me pink to know that this beautiful black family will be residing in the White House and will be the beacon for all of America. 

Obama is the first politician that I have heard speak of love in a way that feels like it really comes from the heart. His message of unity is what we need right now, and I believe his inspiring leadership will allow the best of our country to step up and start enacting some of the changes we so desperately need. He will open fertile ground for the Peaceful Revolution. 

These are good times to be living. This feeling is enforced by our local election as well. It was close, but we can look forward to Kitty Piercy and Rob Handy forwarding the vision of sustainability in our community. Let us make broad steps into a new era.

Zan Akerson , Eugene 



IT’S ALL POSSIBLE NOW

I have a funny feeling inside — one I haven’t ever had in the realm of presidential politics. I’m happy, no, thrilled, about our new president. He isn’t perfect; I won’t always agree with what he decides, I know that, but this is the first time someone who makes me feel hopeful has won the Oval Office, and I’m excited!

Usually I’ve voted for the lesser of evils or for an independent who I agreed with but knew wouldn’t win. For years I’ve been anti-politics, seeing the entire governmental fiasco as a big sham and a hopeless mess that I didn’t want to waste my time on. I’ve prayed for revolution. I’ve been absolutely disgusted with politicians for their spin, doublespeak, lies and dishonor. I’ve come very close to permanently leaving the country out of anger. Even though I still think our system is quite broken, and I’m still ashamed of this country’s criminal misconduct around the world, today I’m feeling like anything is possible.

On Nov. 4 I felt truly proud to be an American for the first time in my life. If the people of this country can work together like they did to get Obama elected, this could really be a great country again. I’m waiting on the edge of my seat, ready to do my part.

Sandra Lee Bronstein, Eugene



EMPTY RHETORIC

The allowed parameters for thinking about society and the earth are narrow. As they should be. Of course it doesn’t hurt that $1 billion was spent electorally to enforce those limits.

In any case: Thank you, voters! Your pledge of faith in a system that so systematically attacks life in every sphere is touching. It guarantees that things will only get worse. But who could say that your continuing thirst for the emptiest of rhetoric is misplaced? (Maybe next time we can market “sustainable” eco-collapse and “green” school and mall shootings.)

You did your prescribed duty. Please stay within the limits provided for you.

What else could there possibly be?

John Zerzan, Eugene



REPAIR PRIORITIES

We all know there are many streets and roads that need repair here in Eugene and some are getting it, but what determines which ones get it first?

Roosevelt Boulevard between Chambers and Belt Line Road must have been a top priority because it is currently being resurfaced as I write this letter. I live on Roosevelt and travel it every day.

It wasn’t bad enough to warrant a top priority. There are many others that are much worse and could have been fixed before taking on a project of this magnitude.

 It must be very high priority because a great deal of the work is being done between 9 pm and 6 am when most people are sleeping and have to work the next day.

I don’t know about everyone else in the area but to speak for myself, all night jackhammering, dump trucking, heavy equipment operating and concrete cutting doesn’t do a lot to help me to achieve my finest slumber!

The more I think about it, could it be just a coincidence that the new EWEB facility is being built on Roosevelt near Beltline?

Maybe the city ought to think about having EWEB foot part of the bill for this all night circus. Because they’re just going to keep raising our rates anyways.

Michael Milosevich, Eugene



PARK & BARK

I know there are many, many things going on out there in the world, but this is one small thing that I at least just want to vent about to someone.

This is actually a letter to the people who use the Park and Ride Parking lot at Amazon Park while they are at the dog park:

Please let the people who need to use it for the bus use it for that purpose. It is so frustrating to need to park to catch a bus there and see people parking and walking their dogs to the park. I have to leave work, drive to the Park and Ride and catch a bus to a class at UO all within the time span of 10 to 15 minutes, depending on whether or not the bus is late. I have to circle and hope that someone leaves. In a perfect world I wouldn’t have to worry about the time, but I don’t plan the time UO offers classes and don’t have a lot of choice about my work hours — I am fortunate that I can leave five minutes early to try to catch the bus. Parking there is limited to start with (as well as at UO, which is why I am trying to take the bus in the first place). I have no problem with people playing with their dogs, and I don’t dislike dogs, it’s just that people trying to catch the bus are on a timetable that doesn’t wait for Fido. I would just ask for some consideration for people who are trying to use the Park and Ride for its intended purpose.

Wendy Clements, Eugene



PUP POOP POLLUTION

Thanks for your recent edition (8/28) devoted to animals and pets. Especially the story about ways to dispose of waste. Many people, especially those who don’t clean up after their pets, don’t realize what a serious problem this is.

 I direct my remarks to the 50-ish bearded man who walks his large black dog along East Amazon Drive every morning, next to the creek, at about 7:30. He represents a lot of people. I’ve observed him for over a year and a half as I bike to work in the morning. I’ve never seen him clean up after his dog nor seen him carry any equipment needed to do so.

 He also walks his dog in the early evening. This dog produces at least a pound of you know what every time he gets walked. Never been a math whiz, but I think that’s 730 pounds of you know what deposited along the creek yearly. In three years that’s more than a ton from one dog. Multiply that times the thousands of dogs in south Eugene, many of whose owners don’t clean up after them. Then there’s the rest of Lane County.

Think of the toxic bacteria from all those piles that is migrating when it rains into nearby creeks and catch basins that direct wastewater to rivers; flowing through the city and the countryside, into water plants where drinking water is processed. The number of individual particles of germy, disease-causing bacteria is a number so large that I’ll bet a name for that number doesn’t even exist!

Come on people! Clean up! You have a responsibility to your fellow citizens to not pollute community water sources.

Gary Cornelius, Eugene



DOORS FOR DEMOCRACY

I saw a most inspiring thing today. Moments ago (Sunday, 11/2) my doorbell rang, and when I opened it I found two young girls, no older than 15, standing in the rain. With bright smiles (and chattering teeth) they asked if I had voted yet. I said that I hadn’t but that I was almost done filling out my ballot and that I would take it to a drop box the next morning. Festooned with buttons and stickers proclaiming their proud presidential choice, they asked who I was supporting. I told them, and they smiled. 

As we stood there chatting, I couldn’t help but have a sense of pride and admiration for these girls who had ventured into the inhospitable world of door-knocking to ensure democracy. I thought about the war, the financial crisis and a whole host of things that weigh on us as we make these decision. But to see that beautiful spark of optimism, curiosity and hope made me realize that the darker times really bring out the best in people.

Christian Park, Eugene



COMMISH PAY RAISE

Thank you Bill Fleenor and Pete Sorenson for doing the right thing. Just because we received another check from the federal government we still need to come up with a plan as to what we do in four years. 

 This little 3 percent raise now puts the commissioner’s annual salary at more than $74,000. There are five commissioners, plus staff, plus benefits. That means that we are paying the total commission probably in excess of $500,000 per year. And where is the leadership? So far I have seen two options: Cut staff and services or raise taxes on the poor and middle class. Rob Handy is right to say it was “outrageous” that the three commissioners would vote for raises just after having laid off 7 percent of the county employees this spring. These are the same commissioners that attempted to impose an income

tax.

Bobby Green indicated that those on Social Security got a 5.8 percent increase. I don’t think so! My Social Security increase was just 1 percent.

Fleenor is right; “Leadership starts at the top; so does sacrifice.” If the five of them can’t lead us to a sustainable solution, perhaps they should do as other counties and reduce their number to three commissioners. With the $200,000 saved they could at least give back some jobs and services to those of us paying taxes.

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove



VOCAL OMISSION

Your Best of Eugene listings this year again did not include anything about vocal music. Perhaps you are not aware that Divisi, a prize-winning a capella group of a dozen UO women who can be heard around the nation and, most every Friday afternoon, on the UO campus. If you decide to list other winners, you can pick On The Rocks, the men’s equivalent of Divisi, any number of church groups in town or the Cascade Chorus.

Gil Campbell, Eugene



IT’S THE BEST

Thank you, Eugene! Thank you for recognizing the Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall as the “Best Live Music Venue” and “Best All-Ages Hangout.” Founded by members of our community, the historic WOW Hall provides a space for everyone to enjoy the arts. We pride ourselves as a premier venue for local and touring performing artists. In addition, we offer a community space for educational activities including classes and workshops. In all of our offerings, community members are vital to our success. 

As a member, patron or volunteer, we invite you to participate in the WOW Hall and help us continue to be one of Eugene’s best. Check us out on 8th and Lincoln or visit us online at www.wowhall.org

Liora Sponko, Board Chair, WOW Hall 



CAN’T HAVE IT ALL

I look forward to the day when politicians will not merely admit climate change is real — but will redirect highway expansions funds to public transit, ban clearcuts and discuss how “economic growth” is the problem, not the solution. Pentagon think tanks have released reports on the “security” implications of climate change, and that is part of the reason for the bipartisan shredding of the Constitution. See www.oilempire.us/peak-fascism.html for details.

EW’s interview with Rep. Peter DeFazio (11/6) had a lie worthy of George W. Bush. DeFazio claimed “We’re not about to begin a major new initiative of building a whole bunch of new freeways in this country” In reality, the 2005 SAFETEA-LU transportation law had 80 transportation corridors listed as national priorities, including the widening of I-5 from Canada to Mexico. SAFETEA-LU included about a quarter trillion dollars for countless bypasses, road widenings, outer beltways and the I-69 “NAFTA Superhighway” from Indiana to Texas. A map of these corridors is at www.naftahighway.org

The difference between the Democrats and Republicans on transportation is that while both want more road pork, most Democrats want road pork plus transit expansions and most Republicans just want the road projects without the transit. But the economic and energy crises mean we cannot have “all of the above.” A sincere approach to climate change and peak oil would redirect highway expansion funds to public transit, Amtrak and road maintenance (not expansion).

Politicians who get more than 80 percent of the vote and lack a major party challenger don’t have public pressure to tell the truth.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene



TO BARACK

 I congratulate you and this country. This is an important moment preserving our government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Thank you for opening the doors of the Oval Office to all persons. Gone are the days when only an old white man has the chance to serve as president of the U.S. Thank you for providing us all with the opportunity.

 I truly admire your courage, dedication, and perseverance, as well as that of the countless people who believe in you and your message of hope and change. Now that the election is over, the truly hard work begins — for you, for myself and my community, for all of us and our communities across this nation. May we all unite on that which brings us together, rather than focus on that which draws us apart. It is up to us all to create the change we seek. You cannot do it alone, but we can all do it together. Yes we can. We live in amazing times, difficult times, beautiful times, tragic times. And, there is hope.

 My 2-year-old son said on his own accord, “Barack won.” He is our hope. Your girls are our hope. All the children are our hope. Let us all strive to make this country great, this planet great for the children, their children, and for countless generations of children into our collective future. I hope your win is conformation of a new revolution, r-evolution, our evolution; one of love, peace, hope and prosperity for all.

Indigo Ronlov, Eugene



TOO EARLY TO CELEBRATE

I hear some Democratic pundits say that we should celebrate Democratic victories because real change is on its way. I think they really mean Americans should go back to their couch potato positions and sleepwalking lives so our new Democratic representatives can shirk their responsibility to enact real change.

I will celebrate when the new Congress and President Obama spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new passenger rail infrastructure throughout the nation instead of voting in 2009 to waste hundreds of billions on expanding petroleum dependent freeway systems.

I will celebrate when the federal government stops funding the logging and bulldozing of our publicly owned forests. These forests are the last best hope to curtail extinctions and slow global warming.

I will celebrate when governments abandon subsidies for food crop and forest bio-fuels as well as fuels from tar sands and “clean coal.” The creation of these fuels is far more destructive than the benefits derived.

I will celebrate when our government spends more money on conservation and renewable energy infrastructure than is spent on building weapons of mass destruction and war.

I will celebrate when corporate lobbyist are outflanked by citizens demanding changes to assure American and the world’s children that they will inherit a steady state economy and livable planet.

The only road to this reality is if average citizens force Senators, Congress, mayors, agencies, governors and President Obama through their collective shouting voices for real change starting now and for the rest of our lives.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



STUDENT ARREST

The California branch of Change for Equality (a women’s rights group in Iran) now has an opening for a researcher in Tehran. The former student vacated the position at the request of the state and was escorted to a notorious prison along the beautiful desert shores of central Iran. There were no warrants and no charges, but her house was searched and she was relieved of some of her personal, you know what I mean, things. I don’t understand how a people would tolerate such abuse on their visitors much less their own. It can’t happen here, can it? After all we live in the land of the free ride and the home of the bravado.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

GO BOBBY, GO

Soon to be ex-Lane County Commissioner Bobby Green has learned the same lesson that Anna Morrison and Steve Cornachia discovered. When Lane County commissioners ignore the little people in their district in favor of big development interests, eventually their karma will be fulfilled and they will no longer be a rubber stamp for all the lame, half baked and highly questionable land use gambits that come before the Board of County Commissioners.

Not even massive developer dollars and big name endorsements could buy Bobby's re-election. It was close but an inch is as good as a thousand feet. It is time for Bobby Green and Jim Torrey to fade away into the sunset. I am sure they will land fine jobs working for local developers. One hand washes the other. Go Bobby, go!

Norm Maxwell, Lorane



NEVER LEAVE

Why would anyone want to move away from Eugene, both "Northwest of Normal" and "Worlds Greatest City for the Arts and the Outdoors"? After much soul searching, my wife, Marjorie, and I did so last spring, opting for the city of Spokane, "Near Nature, Near Perfect," but only to be closer to our daughter, an organic farmer in northern Idaho.

Over the months we've come to like our new home, but how could we not miss our many friends in Eugene and the long list of things we love about Track Town USA? The Willamette River and Amazon Creek with their parks and bike trails, the dog park at Wayne Morse Ranch, the UO and its Ducks, LCC. We miss the First Friday Art Walk, Maude Kearns and Diva, the Hult, VLT, Lord Leebrick, Actor's Cabaret and Tsunami Book Store. 

We miss the Eugene Tree Foundation, the Middle East Peace Group, Willamette Valley Writers, Friends of the Library and the City Club. We miss bumping into Mayor Kitty Piercy at nearly every civic event — and having a chance to vote for her last week.

But one thing here makes us feel like we've never left home. According to a constant stream of letters in our local daily, The Spokesman-Review, the potholes in Spokane's streets are indisputably the worst in the nation, and the least well maintained! So we write to reassure readers of the Eugene Weekly. Potholes in Eugene? Forget it. Focus on your beautiful buttes.

Bill Tracy, Spokane



STRANDED 

Imagine a couple in their 80s stranded in the Eugene airport alone with no accessible cell phone at midnight and no one available to help after an exhausting 17 hours of flights from Budapest, Hungary, after the elderly man had been released after five days in a Hungarian hospital.

Six telephones nearby that don’t work without a telephone card and nary a phone that will accept a coin. What does a couple do? Wait and hope for a taxi?

Just as the couple is about to collapse from exhaustion, a taxi arrives after an hour.

How can this happen in the community of Eugene? How can our phone company be so misguided and greedy? I thought we had a publicly responsible state utility commission.

Jerry Copeland, Florence



REPAIR PRIORITIES

We all know there are many streets and roads that need repair here in Eugene and some are getting it, but what determines which ones get it first?

Roosevelt Boulevard between Chambers and Belt Line Road must have been a top priority because it is currently being resurfaced as I write this letter. I live on Roosevelt and travel it every day.

It wasn’t bad enough to warrant a top priority. There are many others that are much worse and could have been fixed before taking on a project of this magnitude.

 It must be very high priority because a great deal of the work is being done between 9 pm and 6 am when most people are sleeping and have to work the next day.

I don’t know about everyone else in the area but to speak for myself, all night jack-hammering, dump trucking, heavy equipment operating and concrete cutting don’t do a lot to help me to achieve my finest slumber!

The more I think about it, could it be just a coincidence that the new EWEB facility is being built on Roosevelt near Beltline?

Maybe the city ought to think about having EWEB foot part of the bill for this all night circus. Because they’re just going to keep raising our rates anyways.

Michael Milosevich, Eugene



PARK & BARK

I know there are many, many things going on out there in the world, but this is one small thing that I at least just want to vent about to someone.

This is actually a letter to the people who use the Park and Ride Parking lot at Amazon Park while they are at the dog park:

Please let the people who need to use it for the bus use it for that purpose. It is so frustrating to need to park to catch a bus there and see people parking and walking their dogs to the park. I have to leave work, drive to the Park and Ride and catch a bus to a class at UO all within the time span of 10 to 15 minutes, depending on whether or not the bus is late. I have to circle and hope that someone leaves. In a perfect world I wouldn't have to worry about the time, but I don't plan the time UO offers classes and don't have a lot of choice about my work hours — I am fortunate that I can leave five minutes early to try to catch the bus. Parking there is limited to start with (as well as at UO, which is why I am trying to take the bus in the first place). I have no problem with people playing with their dogs, and I don't dislike dogs, it's just that people trying to catch the bus are on a timetable that doesn't wait for Fido. I would just ask for some consideration for people who are trying to use the Park and Ride for its intended purpose.

Wendy Clements, Eugene



PUP POOP POLLUTION

Thanks for your recent edition (8/28) devoted to animals and pets. Especially the story about ways to dispose of waste. Many people, especially those who don’t clean up after their pets, don’t realize what a serious problem this is.

 I direct my remarks to the 50-ish bearded man who walks his large black dog along East Amazon Drive every morning, next to the creek, at about 7:30. He represents a lot of people. I’ve observed him for over a year and a half as I bike to work in the morning. I’ve never seen him clean up after his dog nor seen him carry any equipment needed to do so.

 He also walks his dog in the early evening. This dog produces at least a pound of you know what every time he gets walked. Never been a math whiz, but I think that’s 730 pounds of you know what deposited along the creek yearly. In three years that’s more than a ton from one dog. Multiply that times the thousands of dogs in south Eugene, many of whose owners don’t clean up after them. Then there’s the rest of Lane County.

Think of the toxic bacteria from all those piles that is migrating when it rains into nearby creeks and catch basins that direct wastewater to rivers; flowing through the city and the countryside, into water plants where drinking water is processed. The number of individual particles of germy, disease-causing bacteria is a number so large that I’ll bet a name for that number doesn’t even exist!

Come on people! Clean up! You have a responsibility to your fellow citizens to not pollute community water sources.

Gary Cornelius, Eugene



PAYPAL HELL

I want to warn the community, and anyone you may know, that if you use PayPal for online financial transactions you're risking going through your own personal PayPal hell. I wasn't aware of the potential risks and unfortunate policies of PayPal until recently when my account was used for unauthorized transactions amounting to more than $522 (28 transactions at $13.76 and one at $137), by transaction "spoofing." I mistakenly felt secure because PayPal has fraud protection and I never considered that I would need to use it. I was even further surprised by their handling of the incident and that they do nothing to minimize the negative impacts to their customers. 

I was informed, during my third call trying to get my money back, that they have up to 10 business days starting the day you report the unauthorized use of your account to refund your money. They also send you an email apologizing for the inconvenience and advise you that you're responsible for resolving any overdraft or over-limit charges that may have occurred with your financial institution. 

My personal PayPal hell that started earlier this month will drag into next, and while I'd like to give more horrifying details I'll spare myself further personal embarrassment. I've only used their service a few times to buy a couple of gifts online and unfortunately now I know their service is not worth the risk. See www.paypalsucks.com

Jody Bleisch, Eugene