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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.26.09




CURE FOR GREED

On Oct. 29 I was reunited with my sister for the first time in 40 years. Yesterday, she was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Thursday we will find out if has spread to her brain and how much time she has left to live. Had the cancer been detected sooner, she would have been a candidate for surgery and cancer treatment. 

Being indigent, my sister, like so many others in this country, only goes to the doctor when she can’t cure herself with over-the-counter medication. Monday we will meet with my sister’s doctor to find out how we can make her comfortable in the time she has left. She will leave behind three children, six grandchildren and a sister who barely got to know her. 

It’s too bad there isn’t a medical cure for greed and inhumanity, as it has seemed to reach epidemic proportions in this country, especially in Washington, D.C. How Congress can adjourn for the holiday season without passing real health care reform is a sad state of affairs for this nation.

Linda Jiler, Eugene



IDENTIFY BIG MONEY

Sam Porter wrote well (Viewpoint, 11/12) about how our would-be democracy is held hostage to the corrupt ruling that enables big money to bribe candidates with massive campaign contributions. What he also needed to do was name names — leaders of the munitions industry, tobacco, Israel, auto industry and pharmaceutical industry. Without names, readers will not waken from the slumber that leads all of us to destruction at the hands of plutocracy.

Names must be named. Some of them operate right here in Eugene. We must become angry and personal to get real campaign reform.

George Beres, Eugene



FRINGE TAKEOVER

Regarding Sam Porter’s “Soft Despotism” (11/12), the problem is not out-of-control campaign spending by the “aristocracy.” The problem is disengaged, apathetic voters who can’t (won’t) see the forest for the trees.

Middle-class Americans have not connected the dots that neither major party represents them. They keep sending members of both parties back to office and expect things to change for the better. They vote on sound bites and name recognition without taking the time to understand the issues or the candidates.

Now that fringe elements have taken over both major parties it is increasingly apparent that we have to drain the cesspool in Washington. I’m hopeful that the Internet will level the playing field and we can get some decent, moderate independents for replacements.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



RAGE AT THE TASE

Where is the rage? Two college kids Tasered by the same police officer, on very questionable grounds. It’s disgusting! And even more despicable is not just the decision by the EPD to absolve Judd Waren, the officer responsible, but to give him the “Officer of the Year” award. Since when does shocking an individual because he was exercising his right to free speech or, in the more recent case, simply sleeping in his own home, deserving of an award?

In my opinion, officer Judd Warren should immediately be stripped of his badge, his dignity and his weapon. Tasers are a highly dangerous and potentially lethal weapon (if you don’t believe me, what about Brett Elder, a 15-year-old boy in Michigan who was killed by a Taser last March? Or Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who was Tasered to death by Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Vancouver National Airport in 2007?). Any officer or police force that has no qualms about using Tasers so indiscriminately should not be out patrolling our streets. They’re certainly not doing a good job protecting our safety and, if anything, are actually making Eugene a more dangerous place.

But what really angers me is not the fact that we have a trigger-happy agent on our hands, but rather the fact that no one in our community is particularly outraged by these incidents. Aside from the few letters and articles I have seen in the local papers, there has been no action whatsoever on the hands of citizens to stop these despicable acts. Have we become so apathetic that the physical abuse of our peers causes us no disturbance, anger, shame or surprise?

John Sheehy, Eugene



NOT FOR YOUNG MINDS

I am not a prude. I am not overly conservative. I’m not opposed to consensual sex between adults of any flavor, race or color. I did think your cover picture (“Festish Fun,” 10/8) was both irresponsible and inappropriate. I have read letters to your paper before against sexy advertising and columns like “Savage Love,” and every single time I thought to myself “freedom of the press,” “Give the readers what they want” and “Well then, don’t read it, buddy.” I feel it’s your right to address adult topics inside the pages of your magazine and on the back cover.

A newspaper box outside the public library at the eye level of a 5 to 7-year-old with a picture of a bound woman being paddled is simply not appropriate. When you place a newspaper cover like that in public, family-oriented spaces, you take my ability to supervise what I expose my child to. I have the right to take my child to all public venues without having to explain what bondage is, or in what situations it’s appropriate to bind and wallop people.

EW, please consider that while your regular readers do love your racier stories, I feel that you really crossed the line with that one. The story was good, the picture was lovely (for the inside), but I resent the fact that my son, among other young children, was exposed to that picture.

Melissa Hicks, Eugene



PREDATORY CAPITALISM

Bob Doppelt, writing in Eugene’s daily paper, bemoans people’s unwillingness to make the necessary lifestyle changes to stop global warming. He seems to expect us all to spend a lot of money buying hybrid cars, even though my 2000 Honda Civic gets better mileage than a Toyota Prius. Well, that depends on whether I am making 20 four-block trips a day or driving to Corvallis once a week. This is where the lifestyle choice comes in, not in our willingness to buy an expensive car that most of us can’t afford. 

The real problem is predatory capital-ism. This causes most of our problems, including global warming, air pollution, water pollution, swine flu, out of control insurance companies, out of control drug prices, out of control hospital charges, out of control lending practices, out of control college costs, attacks on workers’ wages, inflation of living expenses for poor people but a refusal to recognize the cost of living increase because, after all, plane tickets to Europe, fancy wines and luxury cars are cheaper than ever. So the cost of living is falling, see? 

So no raises for the poor. Instead, our paid hours are cut and we are expected to work for free. Instructional aides in the Eugene schools (4J) have had their paid hours cut from 30 to 15 per week, but they are still expected to complete 30 hours of work. This reduction in paid hours eliminates their eligibility for health insurance, and there is no sick leave, so if they get sick, they have to keep working. This is a glorious way to make the whole population sick during the worst flu epidemic in 40 years. Your barista and waiter also have to keep working when they are sick. I hope you have had your flu shots.

Ann Tattersall, Eugene



FEET ON THE STREET

After 20 years overseas, I began a return to Eugene last year and conducted an independent survey of the downtown — still a hot topic after all those years! I was working as a “de-confuser,” and this unresolved issue fascinated me. I have come up with food for thought about healing “the heart of our city.”

Instead of waiting for “them” to fix the downtown, let’s create a central social district. Many efforts in this direction have and are being made but no one person or business can do it alone. We need feet on the street. There are already 15,000 people working each day indoors and another 5,000 living in four blocks, plenty of people but mostly indoors.

Now is the time to get feet on the street. I’ve identified 15 great places for street performers and another 15 for day, evening and weekend activities. If you’re an individual/group, plan on doing something outside downtown next spring and summer. Did your 5th grader participate in a play at school? Why not put that performance on downtown as well? Pass the hat, give 20 percent to the city and keep the rest. If you belong to a chess club, set up tables, charge $2 to play, give 20 percent to the city and keep the rest. If you’re a 14-year-old magician, put down a hat for nickels and dimes, give 20 percent to the city and keep the rest. 

Eugene oozes with an abundance of creativity. Let’s do 2010 things between April-October next year, all over the outdoors of downtown.

Anyone interested in having me speak to their group about how we can revitalize our downtown at no cost, create a greater flow of our nickels and dimes, and finally heal all the wounds can contact me — Wintergreen (yes, that’s my name)  at 515-6682.

Wintergreen, Eugene



SOLAR’S PAYBACK

In response to Warren Weisman’s letter “Save Your Energy” (10/15) and Alan Pittman’s News Brief (11/5) questioning solar electricity as viable for our region, I feel both have taken an oversimplified approach. Weisman refers to the carbon footprint and lack of recyclability for PV modules. He cites wind, solar thermal, biogas, gasification as true carbon neutral solutions though they also heavily depend upon the same fossil fuels for manufacture and transportation of components and have intermittency issues as well. 

A quick Internet search also turns up numerous solar companies creating cradle-to-cradle programs for the lifecycle of all types of PV modules. Every kilowatt generated by a solar electric system has no fuel cost and displaces greenhouse gas-producing energy sources. 

Pittman takes on payback of a solar electric system in “cloudy” Eugene, but his linear extrapolation is incorrect. Eugene’s annual solar resource is equal to or better than the majority of the nation. 

Multiple studies show that diverse climates from Maine to California all have PV module energy paybacks averaging two to six years. While it’s true that EWEB uses mostly hydro, dirty coal is responsible for about 40 percent of the electricity generated statewide. It will take multiple approaches to address the impending energy crisis, and solar electric certainly has a role to play. Residential and commercial solar electric production is distributed generation, meaning it is generated at the point of use. 

Furthermore, if mature fossil fuel industries were not still heavily subsidized upfront by the government (read: your taxes) and we paid the true cost of energy, including environmental and societal costs, then solar electric would be viewed by the consumer as cost-effective today.

Brendan Lynch, Eugene



SHRINKS INTO KINK

Fetish: a) an object of abnormal love or passion, source: The New American Webster Dictionary; Third Edition; b) an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion; c) an object or bodily part whose real or fantasized presence is psychologically necessary for sexually gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression, source: Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.   

Now, Ms. Nikitins (letters, 11/19), what part of the above don’t you understand?  I do understand Ms. Garcia’s point of view (11/5).  You, however, are locked on the sexual part of the definition.

Hilter’s “obsessive devotion” was to his idea of the fatherland and the destruction of all non-Aryans. Most religions are used for control, the domination of the masses. What about the Catholic priests and nuns who physically and sexually abused children? The above definitions of fetish fits perfectly with those actions. 

Don’t rely on the dictionary that therapists use. It’s widely known that people who take up the profession of psychology do so to find out answers to their own mental abnormalities. Shrinks into kink!  I would image the production of “snuff” films would be acceptable to you.  Do you find that fictitious Sopranos character Ralph Cifaretto appealing? How bizarre!     

EW would be better off if it practiced more muckraking  journalism. It would help in increasing your circulation, and you would then be able to hire another full time reporter. It is tough to muckrake with only one full time journalist. Fluff is cheaper to print, I guess. More journalists, not fluff-meisters!

Chris Williamson, Springfield

EDITOR’S NOTE: We actually have six full-time writers/editors on staff now, and most of us do investigative journalism, including probing the undercovered local fetish scene.