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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 2.11.10




ABYSMAL ART SUPPORT

Hooray for some coverage of the arts (cover story, 1/28) in our sad gray town. Were it not for the corners of Broadway where cool art enhances the scene, downtown would be even more boring. For a City Council that agreed to the preposterous “Greatest City of the Arts” slogan (aspirational?) the actual support of visual arts and artists is abysmal. The slogan is meant as a “branding” tool? Well, folks, sombody’s got to round up something to brand. I applaud the commercial galleries still operating for hanging in there and the buyers who look downtown first, rather than going to Portland or the coast. 

A few years ago the national nonprofit Americans for the Arts sent a rep to town for a workshop that explained the actual dollar value of the arts on a downtown. It’s real, folks. According to national study that posts all its data online, Oregon ranked ninth in the nation in arts businesses per capita in 2005. There were 507 Dunn and Bradstreet arts-related businesses in Eugene Springfield employing more than 2,700 people, plus many others not listed in D&B. 

I, for one, am not listed in D&B, nor am I in Eugene any longer. I rented studio space in Corvallis and have gallery representation in Cannon Beach (first sale to a Belgian tourist!) and, much as I love downtown Eugene, it is not user-friendly for artists. And, if you want to talk about attracting people, for any reason, why not paint some lively colors over that ugly gray concrete government compound and satellite parking structures. 

 JoAnn Chartier, Corvallis



FREEDOM FROM FEAR

I’m writing in response to the recent act of hate that occurred on the UO campus. To quote President Lariviere’s statement, “It is reprehensible that such a hateful, cowardly act occurred on the UO campus.” I echo this sentiment and add that it is reprehensible such a hateful, cowardly act occurred in the city of Eugene. The preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear.” This one sentence speaks directly to the current conditions and climate in Eugene and begs diligence in our reaction to such heinous crimes. 

The U.S. has yet to sign the UDHR, but members of the city are committed to its values. Surly our own Constitution implies we should not condemn a specific group or individual based on their speech or beliefs, but neither can should we presume that human beings will ever stand by and let anybody take away their right to enjoy a life that is free from fear. 

It is often the right to free speech that hateful people cower behind as they speak their words and attempt to rob others of their freedom to live free from fear.

I believe perhaps it is prudence that placed these freedoms together in one statement. How people react to ignorance and hate speech defines our character. Reacting with unity, outreach and support shows those who would use fear as a weapon that there is strength in our community’s belief that we are strong through diversity.

All human beings deserve to live in a world free from fear and I support and applaud the LGBTQ Alliance, the UO, community groups and community members for joining together, embracing our differences and standing up to fear. 

Mat Beecher, Eugene



NO HOPE FOR AOCC

To the Lane County commissioners: Today (1/21) I attended the Association of O&C Counties meeting in Salem at the Phoenix Grand Hotel. I was the only unexpected attendee, so far as I could tell, out of the 20 or so people present. I was not representing any organization and identified myself as a Lane County resident. There were several non-AOCC members present, including a representative from BLM and one from Fish and Wildlife.

You have erred in believing that AOCC will attempt to conform to the conditions you required in order for Lane County to continue membership in the AOCC.

This is not a public meeting. I was asked by President Doug Robertson to leave the room for a period of one hour while certain agenda items were discussed. No one else was asked to leave. I asked if this was because this was executive session, and Robertson replied “more or less.” It obviously was not as the room was filled with many people not on the executive board.

Many topics of discussion had nothing whatever to do, in my opinion, with plans and strategies to obtain SRS funding, supposedly the AOCC’s primary objective and the only thing we want AOCC to do for Lane County (as Commissioner Bill Fleenor stated in his presentation in Cottage Grove). 

AOCC has failed to abide by Lane County’s conditions of membership, and I respectfully request that you rescind Lane County’s membership immediately. County commissioners are public servants, and, as such, have no place in secretive organizations.

Mora Dewey, Cottage Grove



EPIDEMIC OF LYING

Regarding the cover story, “Are You a Cop?” (1/21): The strategic and judicious application of deception is a legitimate and time honored tool used to build cases against criminals. A criminal — according to the dictionary that came with my computer — is “somebody acting illegally: somebody who has committed a crime.”

According to the above definition, if you choose break the law, i.e. buying pot for reasons other than those presently legally allowed, even if you are “normally a totally law-abiding citizen, with barely a speeding ticket to your name,” you are choosing to become a criminal. Finding “justifications” for your criminal behavior doesn’t change this.

Now, if you are engaging in criminal behavior for reasons of conscious, i.e. civil disobedience, “direct action,” etc., more power to you. But if this is the case, know and be willing to accept the consequences of your actions and avoid whining if you get arrested, even if a cop lied to you in order to do it. It just makes you look naïve and arrogant.

If you’re not willing to suffer the consequences of your actions, don’t break the law. If you don’t break the law (or engage in any otherwise dubious and/or suspect behavior) cops won’t lie to you. It’s a pretty simple rule.

For future reference, I’d love to see an article about the epidemic of criminals lying to cops!

David Pirie, Eugene



TIME FOR DAFFY

It seems as though the UO is going through a metamorphosis. New arena, an expanded stadium, multi-colored high-tech looking uniforms. Gone are the days of the “old green and yellow.” Phil Knight has transformed the team from a cellar dweller to a powerhouse through his impressive endowments. Since we are changing the Oregon Ducks so dramatically, let me chime in.

As an alumnus of the UO, and growing up in Eugene, I have always thought that Daffy Duck seemed like the wild crazy fighting duck that should represent the Oregon Ducks (heck, who can understand Donald anyway.) That wild Daffy bounces off the walls like a maniac. What’s Donald do? That’s right. He just jumps up and down in place, and throws a tantrum. And his shirt — don’t get me started.

So who is with me? Donald is so “old” Oregon Ducks. Robo Duck was a miss-fire. Daffy Duck is by far the winning choice for the UO. Lets get him here.

Eric Miller, Eugene



CHRONIC INSENSITIVITY

After reading Dr. Sarah Hendrickson’s Viewpoint Jan. 28, I was particularly struck by the insensitivity of her final paragraph. I have lived with someone who has the collection of symptoms known as “chronic Lyme,” and I can guarantee that these are not “background complaints of a vague sort” that will be helped by regular exercise, exposure to sunlight, sleep, substance avoidance, or “focus on the healthier parts of your life.” Rather, these are debilitating symptoms that can make it impossible to lead a normal life for months on end.

I agree with Hendrickson’s points that the link between these symptoms and Borrelia infection is weak and that some alternative treatments can be dangerous. As a scientist myself, I feel strongly that more science is needed to understand the cause of the suite of symptoms known as “chronic Lyme” in order to discover useful treatments. What is not needed, however, is for doctors to tell patients that their illness is not real or is “all in their head” simply because all of the tests come back negative.

I can cite numerous examples, including one in my own life, of cases where conventional medicine has repeatedly failed to correctly diagnose a real problem. In some cases alternative therapies have helped, while in others the symptoms remain. Human bodies are not like cars, for which a mechanic with sufficient knowledge and experience can correctly diagnose any problem. Even with our advanced state of medical knowledge, many afflictions of the human body remain a mystery. It is hubris therefore for a doctor to suggest that a lack of a positive diagnosis for a known condition means that no problem exists or that the problem is somehow psychological. 

Mark Luterra, Corvallis



ENABLING BAD AIR

It was encouraging to see EW and Oregon Toxics Alliance (OTA) not giving-in to Seneca timber company plans to build the wood-burning (biomass) plant (story, 12/24). Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, which approved the Seneca plan, has its mission statement posted at www.lrapa.org 

“To protect public health, community well-being and the environment as a leader and advocate for the improvement and maintenance of air quality in Lane County.”

While the agency has done some commendable things to promote clean air quality, its efforts have been aimed at uncontroversial violations and individual lifestyle changes. However, it seems we are caught in a zero sum game with LRAPA. When questioning the agency director’s decision to approve the “Seneca Sustainable Energy” wood-burning plant, and how that complies with their mission, I was told that air pollution from other sources, especially autos, has diminished, so the pollution estimated from a biomass plant now falls within EPA limits.

In other words, if responsible people reduce or eliminate air-polluting activities, such as driving automobiles, we enable companies such as Seneca the opportunity to fill the pollution gap. 

Under LRAPA rules, title 13-005(2d) the Agency “Shall establish by rule [air quality] standards … which set forth the maximum amount of air contaminants permissible. … Such standards may be changed from time to time by the Agency following public hearings.” LRAPA policy is to hold hearings if 10 people request it. Until then, maybe we should call them by their pre-greenwash name, Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority. Phone 736-1056, email lrapa@lrapa.org or comment at board meetings at 12:15 pm on the second Tuesday of the month at 1010 Main St., Springfield.

 Jan Nelson, Crow



GOOD SHOW

I enjoyed going to the Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show very much. I was particularly impressed by the Neighborhood Leaders Council on Sustainability, a committee made up of 15 of Eugene’s 19 neighborhoods.

Also creating resilient neighborhoods: great ideas on blending neighborhood watch, emergency preparedness, and permaculture, all working together. Seems like a really good fit and we should make the best use of it.

Great to see neighborhoods working on being more green; this is going to be more important as time goes on. We really need to value these kind of programs and should make every effort to protect them from budget cuts.

Sandra Juliano, Eugene



PACIFICA OBNOXIA

With its oft-reported white separatist orientation and equal-opportunity bigotry with virtually no minority group spared their scorn, Pacifica Forum has become increasingly obnoxious to most of us, including the “Anti-Hate Task Force” which monitors it. The recent “Sieg Heil” salute by a small cadre of attendees — possibly intended as a deliberate thumb-in-the-eye of their watchdogs — was the last ludicrous straw. But it has been taken seriously enough to arrange a January meeting with UO administrators to review policies permitting use of UO facilities. 

We hope in this process that all racist programs on campus be given equal scrutiny, especially those targeting Arabs and Muslims since this racism is demonstrably deadly — not decades ago in Nazi death camps and Mississippi lynchings, but today in the killing fields of Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza which depend upon racist saturation of the public mind. 

The U.S. press and public seem little concerned with more than a million Iraqis killed, the 1,400 Palestinians massacred in Gaza a year ago, or the recent, unconscionable rejection of the Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Pacifica Forum programs by alleged Holocaust deniers have been vigorously protested, but what of Nakba denial — erasure from history of the 1948 ethnic cleansing and multiple massacres of indigenous Palestinians upon whose land Israel was established? 

Last year a highly racist film was shown on campus, sponsored by Hillel and Stand With Us. The Case for Israel egregiously distorted historical facts to deny the Nakba, describing the Palestinians as “cruel” and “barbaric” and Arabs in general as irrational fanatics.  All Arab governments were declared undemocratic, with Israel “an island of sanity in a sea of totalitarianism, dictatorship and extremism.” 

 Jack Dresser, Springfield



EASY DECISION

Pacifica Forum has been listed as a “White Nationalist Hate Group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. PF uses the façade of education, debate, and free speech to cultivate white nationalist hate, ideals and oppression. Threats have been made during their meetings. I feel like this should be an easy decision. PF is a hate group. UO doesn’t support or tolerate hate. Therefore Pacifica Forum is not welcome. UO should stand in solidarity with students. This isn’t a theoretical situation. This one is in the functional world, and by allowing PF to stay, UO is declaring support of racist hate groups.

Eliza Crunch, Eugene



RIVERFRONT YUPPIETOWN

It appears that the city of Eugene and the UO have conspired to hide the fact that they are going to turn the riverfront, including the current EWEB property, into a yuppie big business mall. Publicly owned land will be turned over to developers to satiate Kitty Piercy, the Chamber of Commerce, UO and the developer’s pipe dreams of a high-end mall on the riverfront. 

It’s sad that Eugene is becoming such a corrupt pit beholden to the almighty dollar and corporate interests, thanks to the corrupt and shallow leadership of the local powerbrokers. Their actions speak louder and more profound than their rhetoric. Now, what are the citizens of Eugene going to do about it? Maybe some aware citizens will start speaking truth to the powerbrokers and their puppets to stop this corruption? 

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



TEMPLE OF NIKE

The new separatist athlete learning center at UO seems to actually be a religious building. The book Who’s Afraid of Niketown? questions whether Nike is a company, a religion or a cult. It is worth reading and is available at the UO architecture library. The Nike “urban interventions” discussed in the book relate to the Walnut Station arena district speculative development scheme planned for the area just east from the UO campus. The new urbanism the city of Eugene planners promote there is actually a Nike urbanism concept centered on the arena, development at parcels surrounding it and future residents living a branded lifestyle. 

Big brands like Nike and Disney are all about theme parks. Gradually, they seek to import the destination mall experience to our neighborhoods and universities. Disney even built an entire city in Florida.

As the temperature rises, it will be interesting to see what UO will do to keep the serene reflecting pool around the new UO Temple of Nike from becoming a drunken dorm duck wading pool. The Nike campus outside Beaverton has a huge man-made lake — but swimming there is not allowed. Going to school in a highly regulated sports theme park may not mix with well with lingering elements of Eugene Animal House culture.

 Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene



IN DEFENSE OF PHIL

I’m writing in defense of the Republicans, the timber barons, the banks, the rich corporations, Oregon’s favorite sweatshop pioneer Phil Knight and all of their government-hating minions who worked tirelessly to stop Measures 66 and 67.

Let’s remember that we are all working for the common good; we just have honest disagreements about how to get there. Really, I mean it. This was never about greed or dogmatic anti-government ideology. It was always about making Oregon a better place to live. Really, I promise. 

Sure, $700 million or $800 million in cuts to the already underfunded vital services essential to our state’s well-being sounds like it would be disastrous, but think again. Historically, at least from a FOX News type of perspective, larger classroom size and shorter school years actually improve the overall quality of life for everyone. Funding education, public safety and health care may seem smart, but it actually ends up coming back to bite you in the ass. Trust me. 

In future political debate, no matter how despicable they seem to be, no matter how much it looks like these people don’t care about essential public services, about the well-being of ordinary Oregonians, please remember that they are truly interested in the greater good. Really, honest, I mean it. 

Don’t forget this, because if ordinary Oregonians recognized that these people aren’t actually interested in the common good, it could really put Phil and friends at a disadvantage, and fundamentally alter Oregon politics for the better. 

Joshua Welch, Eugene



FUCKING EXPLETIVES

Shit. Apeshit. Bullshit. Horseshit. Ass. Assholes. Ass-holish. Fucking. Motherfucking. Theses are just a few of the expletives that could have just as well been deleted from Rick Levin’s cover story, “Mad Love for the Ducks” (12/31).

Although Mr. Levin — and EW editors — may think that such words make his writing more scintillating, they are for many of us completely unwanted irritants that create a negative impression of both the prose we’re reading and the writer who wrote it.

Whitey Lueck, Eugene



AVOID EXPOSURE

Our Lane County Public Health Officer Dr. Sarah Hendrickson appraises the threat of Lyme disease in Lane County as relatively minor (Viewpoint, 1/28).  People suffering from the symptoms she mentions, “terrible PMS, gastrointestinal upset, mood disturbances, hormonal symptoms,” etc. might also try to avoid chemical exposures as a way to improve their health.

Lynn Bowers, Rural Eugene

 

 

 

(2-11 web-only letters)

CALL THEM OUT

The Pacifica Forum has been on campus since 2003, bringing in speakers to regularly talk against a “Jewish conspiracy’” against an immigrant invasion, different members targeting Racial Minorities, Feminists, Jews, Muslims and Homosexuals, their language and presentations were described by the previous UO president Dave Frohnmayer as “gutter bigotry.” While they have the right to speak and say as they please and nobody disputes this, we as students and members of the community have the right to call them out on their hate speech. We are not protesting their right to speak, we will protest the content of that speech, which even conservative Frohnmayer agreed deserved “summary censure.” 

In December they hosed a presentation by Jimmy Marr, which amounted to a “pro-Nazi rally” — Billy Rojas speaker. The Forum has invited Marr to come back and speak. He has in turn invited members of the National Socialist Movement (formerly American Nazi Party). While this presentation may not represent every member of Pacifica Forum, it will be a platform for individuals to spread Pro-Nazi propaganda. 

We feel this community can do better. Our community should not be absent while hate spreads. The forum gets the room for free, but should pay the same as everyone else. We will be present on Friday at 5 pm in front of Agate hall, with prayer, a teach-in and music. We will not be silent while others are “Sieg Heiling” around us. 

Cimmeron Gillespie, Breaking Bigotry, A Coalition for safer communities



STUPID STATES?

In the Jan. 27 Register-Guard that came out just after the results of the Measures 66 & 67 were finalized, state GOP chairman Bob Tiernan expressed his opinion in regards to the concept of the Oregon measures being a "roadmap" for other states to follow, where the wealthy are required to chip in a little more during this economic downturn. Tiernan's comment of "I think only the truly stupid states would follow that model" sums up his opinion of the majority of the electorate nicely. 

Way to go, Bob! I guess you'll be one of the first to hightail it out of here to one of the more intellectual states. California maybe?

Jeff Innis, Eugene

 

 

INSPIRING LEADERSHIP

In the past few days President Obama has addressed the nation during the State of the Union address, the Republican Party at a House members meeting and the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. The reasoning abilities that the president displays are both remarkable and refreshing, given the tone of the conservative backlash against him. I watched the president listen intently to the questions of Sen. Bayh (Indiana) and Sen. Lincoln (Arkansas) and then parse through the question to the real life consequences of the options facing us. 

President Obama’s clear statements of what has happened to the national economy and his honest expression of what choices we have before us as a nation continue to inspire me to have more confidence in President Obama and more faith in the vote I cast for him.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



BPA AND CANCER

Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been implicated in many health issues. Oregon Environmental Council supports legislation to ban BPA in some products, HYPERLINK "http://www.oeconline.org/"www.oeconline.org, but it’s urgent that women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer know BPA can interfere with its effectiveness. Although I just discovered this, it isn’t exactly late-breaking news. The New York Times reported (10/9/08) that a team from the University of Cincinnati studying human breast cancer cells found that BPA acts on cancer cells similar to the way estrogen does — by inducing proteins that protect the cells from chemotherapy agents.

“It’s actually acting by protecting existing cancer cells from dying in response to anti-cancer drugs, making chemotherapy significantly less effective,” said Nira Ben-Jonathan, who has studied BPA for more than 10 years, according to the university press release. For more info including a link to the NYT article and others, go to OEC online and search "chemotherapy." 

Meanwhile, Environmental Working Group found BPA in about half the canned goods they tested. Yet a BPA-free canning process is available, so far used exclusively, to my knowledge, by Eden Foods. 

My family no longer buys canned goods other than those sold by Eden. I surveyed a number of producers of canned goods (including organic) in making this decision, and none but Eden reported using the BPA-free process. But manufacturers should be encouraged (or in my alternate universe, required as a condition of staying in business, without prejudice to liability for past conduct) to use the BPA-free process. 

Robert Roth, Eugene