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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.30.09




FAIR FAIRNESS

Eve Cienfuegos (letters, 7/16) uses a broad brush to paint the Oregon Country Fair after-hours as something from the gates of hell. Any time people gather, you get a microcosm of society in general. That includes bad behavior by a few but certainly doesn’t represent the many.

I’ve volunteered at OCF for more than 20 years and believe in the vision of bringing art, crafts, entertainment and alternative ideas to this one special place every July. Money spent stays in our communities; the philanthropy of the OCF supports education, art and environmental causes year-round.

Camping at OCF can be claustrophobic. But these “instant neighborhoods” work when everyone works together. My grandchildren attend, are supervised and have a great time each year.

The OCF philosophy on garbage: “pack it in — pack it out.” Recyclables get recycled; compost from paper and food waste nourishes the gardens that feed volunteers. It’s a full circle thing. Yes, you’ll find those who just don’t get it.

Lots of folks don’t need drugs or alcohol to have a good time. These are personal choices. Let’s not tear down the amazing coalescence of talent and hard work based on one person’s perceptions. An incredible amount of energy and love go into making the OCF an enjoyable experience for volunteers and fairgoers.

No matter what Cienfuegos’ perceptions are of OCF, the offer of camping wristbands was certainly generous. Most of us earn ours with hard work and dedication. 

Ruth Pomplin, OCF Ambience Coordinator



MANAGING DISSENT

The letters section of the Weekly has been filled lately with a series of bitter, venomous attacks against Eugene’s much-maligned “protesters” — see “Be Polite, Protesters” 7/2, “Environmental Crime Hypocrisy” 7/16 and “Of Protesters and Police” 7/16. The authors shriek incessantly about the protests being “irresponsible,” “unsafe” or “violent.” But in my experience the only people who are endangered by protests are the demonstrators themselves. One wonders if they would react with equal outrage to the abuses of the police or secret services.

These questions about safety are raised not out of any legitimate concerns people may have but rather to try to shift the arena of debate away from the issues the protesters are trying to raise (the environment, poverty, etc.) towards the conduct of the protesters. Moreover the authors seem to be completely out of touch with the values of this community, damning rather than celebrating dissident culture. 

Violence has occurred and may occur in the future, but even the most devout pacifist must have trouble condemning people who are acting to defend that entity which gives us life: the Earth. It’s a little bit funny that so many self-proclaimed patriots conveniently forget, in their haste to denounce popular ferment, that this country was founded on the use of political violence. The time for idle chatter is over. We are nearing what scientists call the “tipping point,” that time when global warming cannot be stopped, and the fate of our entire species and all life on Earth rests in our hands. 

Johannes Pedersen, Eugene



GIVING GRATITUDE

My name is Mark Zolun, and I was co-owner of the restaurant Iraila in Eugene. Last October I was diagnosed with bladder cancer — a scary thing to face for any small business owner with no insurance.

Through several benefits (thank you, Cosmic Pizza and Koho Bistro and everyone who helped organize!), Eugeneans rallied and were incredibly generous — but it doesn’t end there. My sister lives in Rockwall, Texas. Donna and Steve Boback are her best friends. They wanted to help an organization or person instead of buying gifts for each other at Christmas. When they learned of my situation, they felt it was a no brainer as to whom they would help. Then Misty Rapp, who owns a small business in Rockwall, decided to honor a relative’s cancer survival and held a fundraiser. The combinations of these generous gifts allowed me to visit my sister and brother, the best healing gift once I finished my radiation.

I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still waiting for the “cancer free” signs, but with the love and familial support from the people in communities like Eugene and Rockwall, my healing is advancing quickly. I also have to thank the great folks at the Willamette Valley Cancer Center and Oregon Urology Institute. These communities and institutions are an inspiration to us all, and I can't thank them enough.

Mark Zolun, Eugene



Recession Restaurants

Here in Eugene, dozens of restaurants have closed in the last couple of years. The restaurants that remain have had to adapt to a very harsh economic climate. When times are tight, the luxury of going out to dinner is one of the first things people cut. Local restaurant menus have changed, store hours or even days have been cut, staffs are smaller and owners are cutting costs anywhere they can to keep their businesses open. But we as customers should be helping to keep our favorite restaurants open as well. Here are a few suggestions on what we can do to help out.

1. Keep going out to your favorite restaurants. Even going out for appetizers or drinks helps, and most restaurants have a more affordable lunch menu.

2. Make reservations (even last minute). With many restaurants short-staffed, knowing what kind of business in coming is invaluable. Backup staff can be called and more food prepped ahead of time. Large parties should always call ahead.

3. Be understanding. Changes to menus or hours may be disappointing, but may have been necessary. If you do have to wait for a table, be glad the restaurant is still in demand. If there is an unexpected wait for your food or a drink, give the staff the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to create the best possible offering.

4. Feedback is one of the most important tools in the service industry. When informed, any restaurant’s staff will do what they can to maintain satisfactory food and service and improve issues brought to their attention.

5. A good mood and smile are contagious. Being the customer to make your server’s day just might make your day.

Rigel Ross, Eugene



NO MERIT BADGE

Dear Eve Cienfuegos (letters, 7/16), I guess the Great Council of Hippies is going to have to rescind your hippie merit badge. Instead of us continuously demeaning each other based on matters of choice, and rather than dividing us into stereotypical groups, it would be far more productive to concentrate on big issues like the environment, war, hunger, human rights, etc. These things solved would plant the seeds of a trickle up or down (depending on your perspective) model of respect for life and nature in all people. 

I blame the indoctrination of our people by a shallow and greedy hierarchy for our lack of respect for each other and our planet. I thought the first tenets of being a hippie were that you don’t judge people, you are non-violent, and you believe in love, peace and happiness. I’m guilty of saying and thinking similar things on many issues but I’m finally learning that I get a more positive result when I address my concerns through tolerance rather than cynicism. I’m afraid your letter didn’t make me too happy. 

Dave (Papakadubi) Woods , Eugene



RAILROADING THE TRAINS

Whew! Now I can sleep at night knowing that our county officials are hard at work. They have finally nailed that "bad guy" Ray Robinson for his hobby railroad. The railroad will be dismantled! No matter that it has given families countless hours of wholesome fun. No matter that Robinson transformed the land into a fantastic nature and wildlife oasis. No matter that it has taken 10 years and thousands of hours of labor and love by Robinson along with too many volunteers to count. No matter that this property has been nationally televised. No matter.

Lane County officials have won. They have wielded their power and have broken the little guy. Ask yourself, is this what we want our government to be? Why should we worry about what is happening in Washington, D.C., when it begins right here?

I guess in the end it’s only death and taxes that matter.

Andrea Cabral, Eugene



ANIMAL AMORE

I have been working at animal shelters my whole adult life. What I love about my current position at Lane County Animal Services (LCAS) is that we have entered the modern age of progressive sheltering. I cut my teeth immersed in a culture of blaming the public for all of our pet overpopulation woes. Now, instead of pointing fingers, we extend a helping hand. 

All of the shelters here in the Willamette Valley have one thing in common: Too many pit bulls and bully breed mixes are homeless orphans. They exhaust shelter supplies and are often challenging to adopt out. Rather than throwing up our hands and passing the blame, LCAS has teamed up with the Eugene Spay/Neuter Clinic and Greenhill Humane Society to curb unwanted litters of bully breeds. A small unexpected windfall of cash has been dedicated to offering vouchers for the altering of pit bull-type dogs. We are focusing on low-income folks who cannot otherwise afford the surgery, and we are targeting female dogs that are likely to reproduce. Bully litters usually are 10+ puppies, so every spay is a huge victory. I gladly hand out vouchers for in-heat and pregnant dogs, knowing their accidental litters face a scary, uncertain future. 

We make it easy to obtain a voucher — just call me and explain your situation! We are here to help. And help is exactly what they need. Folks will call up, with unsure voices. “I saw this ad? About pit bulls? Uhmmm … do you think you can help me?” The relief and joy in the voices of these bully caretakers is palpable. Many of them wanted to do the right thing, but their kid got sick. The boyfriend went to jail. They were laid off, recently disabled. 

Please, if you are able to donate

just $40 to our voucher program

(www.co.lane.or.us/animals), that is another female spayed — another 10 puppies that don’t have to roll the dice in an animal shelter; another shelter kennel empty

instead of housing a lost, abandoned, homeless pit bull. And frankly, another litter of pit bulls that are not running loose and causing the kind of havoc that gives the bullies a bad name.


Kylie Belachaikovsky, Lane County Animal Services Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator

 

FUN FAIRNESS

In response to Eve Cienfuegos’ (7/16) letter about the Oregon Country Fair, I must say that in 18 years of attending the Fair — my entire life — I have had a vastly different experience than the one she describes. The Fair isn’t a camping trip. It is a community of volunteers who work hard to create a place where people can express their creativity with freedom while having fun. It is also one of the cleanest and safest public events I have ever attended. 

While there are drugs and sex at OCF, that is not the greatest attraction. I myself have never once done any sort of illegal drug or even smoked or drunk. The Fair is an exciting place with interesting people, good food, great art and fantastic music, but I guess you only see what you look for.

Stewart Boyatt, Eugene



LOUDER NOT BETTER

I was so excited about the Riverbank Path Promenade July 19! The poster invited everyone, especially neighbors, to "participate, share your talents, share your thoughts" and to "stroll, play music, show your artwork." As a musician and recording artist, I went to the Promenade with my guitar and my original songs (including one called “Whiteaker Girl”). I was so disappointed when I got there and found canned music blaring from huge speakers. Yes, there was a band, but they were on break, and they were using their break to sell their new CD. I thought that surely they would agree to turn it down at some point during the day so I could play a couple of songs acoustically and share with my neighborhood. The band, ironically called Common Ground, refused. I wonder how many other musicians did not get to share, as invited.

To the Whitaker Neighborhood Association, who would not step in, and to the band Common Ground: shame! The neighborhood missed something special and ended up with a loud band that was there because of ego and money. Louder is not better for this kind of event: Volume ruins the intimacy because people have to sit farther away or it is too loud. I still love my neighborhood. I don't believe the true spirit of the Promenade was reached, though, and I hope the volume level is considered next year, so everyone can really share.

Corona Hats, Eugene

 

 



NEW ’N’ NATURAL

Just 360 trees to go: Cutting trees for the new (I-5) bridge, but it’s OK because they are a nonnative immigrate species whose legal status has yet to be verified. They will be replaced by native trees at a ratio of 2:1, thus insuring that there will be little room for any aliens trying to sneak into our land of plenty. The downed trees will be dedicated “to build up other natural areas” such as the canoe canal. 

For those of you who question the use of the word “natural” in reference to a man-made waterway, remember, this is Eugene; it’s an organic canal and will be used only by vegan canoes.

Vince Loving, Eugene



MANUFACTURING DOUBT

 Opponents of health care reform are trying to create doubt and confusion by distorting legislation that would empower seniors to talk with their doctors about end-of-life care choices. 

To create fear, these opponents claim section 1233 of House Bill 3200 will promote euthanasia. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Distortion: The government will force seniors to seek end-of-life counseling, and require them to sign a directive they would not otherwise want. Truth: Patients are free to choose for themselves whether or not to talk to their doctor about end-of-life care. And they are free to embrace any level of end-of-life care from extraordinary measures to hospice, in keeping with their personal wishes and values. 

Distortion: The government will pressure or encourage doctors to counsel their elderly patients about euthanasia. Truth: Out of more than 1,500 words in the bill, not a single one references suicide, aid-in-dying, or euthanasia. 

Distortion: The legislation mandates that doctors counsel seniors about ending their life every five years. Truth: No counseling of any kind is mandated. The bill gives all the power to patients, so that if they choose to consult with their doctor about end-of-life matters, their doctor will give them the quality time they need, knowing that his or her time will be covered by Medicare. 

AARP Executive Vice President John Rother, has responded to these attacks as well, saying the criticism misinterprets legislation that would actually help empower individuals and doctors to make their own choices on end-of-life care.

Most Americans trust their doctors and trust seniors to make their own decisions. Pew Research Center surveyed adults nationwide in November 2005. When asked “Do you approve or disapprove of laws that let patients decide about being kept alive through medical treatment? an overwhelming 84 percent responded “yes.” 

We need a health care system that pays doctors to talk with patients about all available treatment options at the end of life not one that pushes these conversations aside because doctors cant bill for them. Sincerely, 

Tina Rosa, Deadwood



THE MISSING DICK?

If no one has noticed, I’ll point out that former vice president Dick Cheney has returned to his aforementioned “undisclosed location.” Which is to say, Dick, where are you? Dick was out there in full throated voice demanding that his opinion was just as valid as the elected president of the U.S. And now that it has become clear that Cheney obstructed the lawful activities of the Congress by directing employees of the CIA to mislead and misinform the Congress, Dick has vanished and is not available for comment. 

The neo-cons have an agenda. It is the destruction of the Obama administration, no matter the cost to Americans or America. They have it in their heads that they are still right: we need to have a “holy war” and a “crusade” against the Islamic terrorists and prove to the world that the neo-con version of American democracy is the only acceptable way to govern any nation on Earth. 

God help us and God preserve President Obama from these extreme neo-con right wing nut jobs!

Gerry Merritt, Eugene 



SURVIVOR’S CONCERN

If you are suffering from pain in some part of your body, especially a joint, or from dental work, you doctor or dentist is very likely to give you a prescription for hydrocodone to help ease the pain. It is frequently prescribed here and also in other countries. It has several “trade” names, the most common of which is Vicodin.

Recently a federal advisory panel recommended that Vicodin, hydrocodone and its close relative Percocet, oxycodone, be banned because of the possible damage to the liver caused by one of the ingredients, acetaminophen, most commonly known as Tylenol (NYT 7/1/09). However, you are probably unaware that hydrocodone, a powerful narcotic drug, can also, because of its narcotic ingredient, sometimes be fatal. Hydrocodone, oxycodone and the like are highly addictive. These morphia derivatives often block the lower intestinal tract, causing severe constipation that may require hospitalization.

As the chairman of the federal panel noted, experts have been warning of the dangers of Vicodin, hydrocodone, and Percocet, oxycodone for years. If you are prescribed hydrocodone or oxycodone, be sure to ask your doctor or dentist about the possible side effects of the widely given but dangerous narcotics.

Judy Forell, Eugene



GANJA REALITY

All this ganja smoking I do implies that ganja is a reality within me, on the level of mind and feeling. Enthusiasm is the power that transfers the mental blueprint into the physical dimension. I may get what I want through hard work and stress, but that is not the way of awareness. Jesus gave the key to the creative use of mind and conscious manifestation of form when he said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Joseph Canfield, Springfield



BEATING UP THE BULLY

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, I remember this: When the local schoolyard bully finally got his nose punched in, he’d always back away howling while resorting to pathetic name calling and maybe a few squawks for “mommy.” He knew the jig was up; his reign was over. 

So I’m laughing as our big Republican bullies keep howling and holding their bloodied noses — they just got walloped by a skinny new kid and can’t find mommy. Soiled pants fallen to their ankles, they trip comically about the schoolyard spouting excuses about how that new kid cheated, how he won’t fight fair, how he’s just so sneaky and — oh, hell — where’s my mommy? 

But the jeering kids will tell ya: Man, that kid is quick; he sure can dance; he can jab and land combinations anywhere. And best of all, he’s smart and cool and fast and makes those bullies look so big and fat and ugly and, you know, like totally dumb.

It’s been a dusty playground lately, with big Dick, fat Rush, ugly Newt and dumb Boehner grabbing their bloody noses and crying foul, their knees wobbly, the schoolyard crowd hooting and clapping as their soiled pants finally trip them into a comic fall, fat legs flailing as they park their bottoms with a squishy thud.

Gwacious! Whadda sight! A skinny little kid put those big bullies down!

So crybabies, go on home. Find mommy. Wipe your bottoms. Watch TV: The Kid’s popularity is 65 cents. Yours is two stinking bits.

 Tom Erwin, Springfield