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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.5.09




STUNNING HYPOCRISY

We on the City Council say we want an independent police auditor, then we diminish the auditor’s authority by a hundred little cuts in the ordinance amendments and surrender parts of that authority to the police chief, the city manager and the municipal court judge.

We say we will support the auditor, but we question and demean the professional and personal integrity and competence of our first two auditors.

We say we want capable, experienced people to serve on the Civilian Review Board, ones who will do rigorous, thorough analysis, broaden the discussion, make us think and tell us inconvenient truths; and when we’re lucky enough to get what we say we want, we discard them.

We say we want a strong, nonpartisan auditor/civilian oversight system, and we do our best to diminish its credibility and ensure its failure.

Our hypocrisy is subliminal, unspoken, subconscious.

Our hypocrisy is stunning.

George Brown, Eugene City Councilor Ward 1



PEACEHEALTH DOGMA

In October, my medical office was told by PeaceHealth Laboratories that it would no longer perform any laboratory testing for our patients. In my 40 years of practice in a variety of settings, I have never had a laboratory refuse me or my patients service so, needless to say, my curiosity was piqued.

Ran Whitehead, the CEO of PeaceHealth Laboratories, explained that one of the protestors in front of my office had seen a PeaceHealth courier visit and had complained to PeaceHealth. Whitehead had then researched my practice on my website, www.drbours.com He learned that I offer abortions and vasectomies, practices at odds with the mission of PeaceHealth. 

I told Whitehead that I had a seven-year relationship with his lab, primarily to diagnose tubal pregnancies, a life-threatening condition of early pregnancy. I questioned whether he would be adopting a similar policy toward other physicians in the community performing abortions and vasectomies. While I did not receive a direct answer to that question, Whitehead did seem particularly perturbed that I would openly discuss my practice on my website. Perhaps he favors a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

PeaceHealth may be so blinded by its mission that it fails to recognize the well-established public health fact that the legalization and improvement of abortion care has had a greater positive benefit on the health of women in our country than any other advancement in health care in the past 50 years. I am proud of the role that I have played in this process.

This sorry episode demonstrates the danger of allowing religious institutions to control a significant portion of the health care market when they prioritize dogma over patient care.

W. A. Peter Bours, M.D., Eugene



THAT KEVIN SMILE

The Oregon Country Fair mourns the loss of our dear family member, friend and colleague, Kevin Dougherty (story, 10/29). Kevin was our advertising coordinator, resident graphic artist and former Bus Crew coordinator. We will miss his utter devotion to the Fair. His willingness to share his enormous artistic talent and creativity was a treasured gift for us.

Kevin had many, many friends among OCF Family. Our hearts are aching. We extend Fair Family love to Jack, Sarah, Daniel, Holly, Jane, Aria and all of Kevin’s wide circle of family and friends. We know right now he’s dancing at the biggest Fair of all and smiling that Kevin smile.

Norma Sax, Oregon Country Fair



ATTACK ON GAYS

Tonight (10/24), my partner and I were walking through Eugene and had a very interesting confrontation. We ran into bigots who decided to discriminate against us because we were two men holding hands. We walked past them for the first time, ignoring their ignorant comments about our sexuality. However, we had to walk past them a second time in order to get to where we were going, and they attacked us. It is instances like this that happen on a daily basis. Ignorance causes us to be discriminated against on a daily basis. Frankly, my partner and I are sick of the remarks that we get walking down the street, but to be attacked by 10 straight men is over the edge. The fact that this happened in Eugene is inconceivable. A liberal town that accepts almost anyone. My partner and I are planning on pressing charges against the attackers; however, the Eugene Police Department cannot do anything about it because there are no severe markings of attack on either of us. We are sick of being discriminated against and will rise in revolt if nothing is done about it. Sen. Wyden, Sen. Merkely and Mayor Piercy have been informed of this issue. Let’s make sure that discrimination like this does not happen again in Eugene.

Derek Nix , Eugene



TIME TO LEAVE

Officer Judd Warden, the same officer who tased Ian Van Ornum, was just revealed as the officer who tased a non-English-speaking UO exchange student in his own apartment. Warden was also named Officer of the Year. With the Eugene Police Department asking for more officers to carry Tasers, all I can say is, I am moving to Portland!

Christopher Hughes, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: PDX cops also have their issues. You might Google “Portland police brutality” before packing your bags.



CONTEST FARCE

So, the Eugene Weekly holds a music contest that turns out to be run by the sales and marketing department, and lo and behold, the contest turns out to be a farce. We entered the Next Big Thing contest thinking it would be a good way to let some people hear our music that otherwise wouldn’t. Within a few days our song “Parade” rises to the top of the list. We then decide that maybe there’s a chance for us to win and start a heavy campaign to our fans and friends to get the votes that we’re told we need to win. It works; we spend two months in the top five voted songs, gather over 1000 votes more than any other song, and end up in the top spot when the voting is over. Then, we’re told that judges will be deciding the winners. The vote counts and ratings didn’t matter in the end as the winners and finalists are chosen and we, along with other top voted acts such as Don’t Encourage the Wind, Crooked River, Steve and the Make-Believes, Ingredients the Band, Opal Creek, Fancy Bandits, EWAG and Go Engine Now, are all excluded from the finalists list and the upcoming compilation CD of the top 15 songs. If votes didn’t matter, why did the Weekly encourage us to get our fans to vote for more than two months? And why didn’t they tell us that judges would ultimately have the final say, not the voters? The Eugene Weekly has stated that they made over $13,000 on this contest. It is hard not to think that money was the main driving force, not finding the fans’ favorite songs. 

Congratulation to all the winners and everyone who participated. There was a lot of great music in this contest; it’s just unfortunate that the EW so blatantly ignored the consensus of the fans.

basin & range, www.myspace.com/basinandrangeband

EDITOR’S NOTE: Though the judging criteria were spelled out in the rules, we will certainly take your feedback into account for our next contest. Our sales manager says that EW spent more money than sponsors gave on the contest and that after CD production, mastering and promotion expenses are paid, artists and composers will get 20 percent of CD compilation sales.



KIDS NOT THAT EXPENSIVE

I read your recent article (10/2) on the state of foster care budgets in Oregon with great interest and increasing frustration. While I appreciate the work these foster parents are doing, some of the numbers really surprised me. There are numerous quotes throughout the article about “not being in it for the money” and complaints that foster care funding doesn’t cover the real costs of raising a child.

Now, I have no experience with older children, but as a mother of two kids under age 4, I have a pretty good grasp of what it costs to raise little ones. I (and five of my friends whom I’ve discussed the article with) feel that $400/month is more than enough to meet all the needs of a young child, and the recent increase to $640/month seems insane (and yet, is still seen as “only cover(ing) the most basic of budgets”).

The increase is explained as being given to cover clothing and diapers. $240/month? I don’t spend that in a year on clothes for each of my kids. “Big ticket” items like highchairs can be found for $20, and decent second-hand bikes are readily available for $50 to $100. Pizza for a large family costs $100? Are they going to PRI? Try Pizza Pipeline or Little Caesars instead.

I guess it makes me a “conservative,” but I don’t want (and can’t afford) an increase in my taxes. My family makes a very modest income, and we make it work, without feeling deprived in any way. Perhaps some of these foster parents could benefit from a budgeting class.

Katie Aaberg, Eugene



CELEBRATING FETISHES

So the Weekly has decided to celebrate fetishes (cover story, 10/8). The last time I heard, a fetish is an obsessive-compulsive disorder, a serious mental illness. Your story should not only have included locals with fetishes, but also famous historical figures. Let’s see, how about Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Aztec and Mayan priests. How about celebrating their fetishes?

Who convinced the editor to take the A train to Fetishland? You guys at the Weekly should make sure that your ink vials are screwed on tightly before you sit at your desks in the morning. Dem fumes are pretty nasty for the brain! 

Juana Garcia, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ink is sexy.

 

IT’S ALL NORMAL

For your Oct. 8 cover there was a contro-versial picture of a man spanking a woman. Though many people found your cover to be inappropriate and offensive, I did not.

I can see why people would find this inappropriate. Many of the Weekly’s readers are concerned parents who don’t want their children exposed to human sexuality. However, children are already exposed to similar things every day. Every time you check out at a grocery store, there’s a People magazine with a cover of Britney Spears in a skimpy swimsuit and the cover says something about how Britney got hot again. Lindsey Lohan is another perfect example of a childhood icon gone wrong; however, somehow she’s still considered a role model. What about half the advertisements on television today? The other day I watched a Carl’s Jr. commercial on local television which had an attractive female eating a burger talking about how she had to sacrifice certain foods to look that hot, but she wouldn’t sacrifice that burger. Are these any better for children?

My point is all of this is a normal part of society. Besides, when children are that age, they don’t care about that stuff anyways. They’ll forget about it the next day. Children have their own priorities such as toys, coloring and ice cream. So even with the exploitation of human sexuality, children will continue to be children. Until they grow up.

Also, if you’re gonna bash the cover, please refer to the writer. Her name’s Camilla Mortensen. Give her some credit. She’s responsible for ruining the lives of tens of thousands of children.

Robert Roel, Eugene

 

Downtown Survey

I am writing to give you accurate information about a recent downtown survey (News story, 10/29).  As you probably know, downtown revitalization is a City Council goal and an essential component of our focus on economic development. At council’s direction, the city manager has aggressively pursued a variety of options for consideration.  We are as tired as the public of looking at pits and empty store fronts.

An independent, random sample phone survey was conducted as one method to help gauge community interest and support for downtown revitalization and potential projects the City Council could consider.  Surveying is a very useful tool that the city has used to help us understand the public’s views on important topics such as funding for road repairs, and potential options for a police station and city offices.  Phone surveys are a common method of reaching a broad spectrum of the community, including individuals who don’t often come to public forums or workshops or write emails to council or letters to the editor.  It is standard practice to include questions about the credibility of the organization or body conducting the survey, and about various aspects of the issue that could influence the respondent one way or the other. 

The city manager obviously did not conduct a “secret survey.” Interviewers informed respondents that the survey was being done for the City of Eugene. The City Council was notified that the survey would be conducted and received full information in public work sessions about the survey results.  

We all share a desire for a vital, thriving downtown that we can enjoy and be proud of and that can support our efforts to provide more jobs in the community.  In fact, results in EW’s recent “Best of …” awards, found that the number one “best way to improve Eugene” was to “improve/revitalize downtown (fill pits, build a park, more shops).” Surveying is one useful tool in determining how to move forward with strategies and projects that the community as a whole supports. 

The City Council and I will continue to carefully consider how best to achieve downtown revitalization. We are determined to move forward. Another work session on potential downtown projects is planned before the end of December. We welcome your interest and involvement.

Kitty Piercy, Mayor, City of Eugene



CORVALLIS LOVE

I wanted to write to thank you for running “This Modern World” and other alt comics. They are definitely my favorite part of the Weekly. Thanks also for delivering papers up here in Corvallis. We love ya!

Dan Crall, Corvallis