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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.22.10




JERRY RUST’S RECORD

What a contrast! It was truly inspiring to hear West Lane County Commissioner candidate Jerry Rust’s presentation at the April 12 candidate’s forum in the River Road/ Santa Clara area. 

Rust provides a detailed economic recovery plan for Lane County, a wealth of experience, a warm, responsive presence, and he is justifiably proud of his 20-year record of service as a commissioner.

During those years, he strengthened human services and law enforcement; protected farm lands and waterways; saved historic covered bridges which would otherwise have been destroyed; and brought an open door and listening ear to the courthouse. 

Rust’s deep roots in Lane County are well known. His tree planting and creation of 2,000 reforestation company jobs here are legendary. He reaches out to the wider world of national policy and international trade, understanding the importance of these relationships to our wellbeing in Oregon. 

The other candidates operate in smaller spheres — either focused almost entirely on one issue or relying on public antagonism toward government. For example, candidate Jay Bozievich said in a contemptuous tone, “We don’t need a white paper.” Actually, what we don’t need are his negative clichés and generalities about the evils of government, with no sense of planning or positive governing experience. Bozievich’s pose as the choice of a business community is deceptive. Future debate forums could present more direct questions to reveal his far-right, extremist views. 

Voters are entitled to know whether he acknowledges a libertarian and pro-Tea Party orientation or denies it.

I hope that west Lane County voters will hear upcoming candidate debates, and look for the contrasts — positive proposals and proven performance versus negative rhetoric, a hidden far-right agenda and no constructive or apparent plan. 

Elaine Weiss, Eugene



EXTENSION’S BENEFITS

Do you know what the OSU Extension Service in Lane County can do for you? The Horticulture Program has trained Master Gardener Program volunteers available to answer your plant disease, insect and gardening questions Monday through Thursday. A state funded faculty member is available for the complicated questions. The faculty member also provides multiple educational programs throughout the year. The information you receive will be impartial and research-based.

The 4-H/Youth Development Program provides learning enrichment opportunities for youth outside the classroom. Although a moderate fee is charged for participation, no youth are turned away based on financial need. Youth development is a core component of 4-H, which is accomplished through hands-on activities, leadership training, individual project responsibility and life skills learning. The state funded faculty member provides programmatic leadership and oversight, volunteer management and develops collaborative programs and projects in our county.

The Family & Community Health programs in Lane County have been limited since the loss of county funding support for Extension in 2008. Presently, only one program remains, Master Food Preservation (MFP). With the recent increase in food gardening, the availability of a food safety resource is imperative. The state-funded faculty member supplies the practical research-based training, volunteer management and food safety/safe food handling instruction. As harvest begins this summer, safe food preservation should be a priority in Lane County.

Now that you know what the OSU Extension Service in Lane County can do for you, give the office a call at 682-4243 for more information.

Karren Cholewinski, OSU Extension Service, Lane County Office 



FEEDING TROUGH

Sen. Wyden’s Biomass Extraction and Logging Bill, SB 2895 is the best legislation that the forest biomass and timber industry can buy. The bill would allow the forest service to offer 20-year contracts to extract forest biomass and log trees up to 150-years old.

The timber industry realizes the housing industry’s fiber demands may not come back. Thus they are lobbying for billions in taxpayer subsidies as well as state and federal public lands as their feeding trough to supply new forest biomass power plants across the west.

Similarly Gov. Kulongoski has convened a Biomass Working Group stacked with corporate representatives to plan the extraction of fiber from Oregon’s state forests once the forest biomass energy infrastructure is built.

Whole communities of mammals and birds as well as whole ecosystems maybe sacrificed if these naïve bureaucrats and politicians are allowed to make this a horrible reality.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene

 

 

DOGWOOD DISEASES

As a supplement to Rachel Foster’s discussion (Gardening, 4/8) of the various types of dogwoods, your gardening readers might like to be aware that there are two types of anthracnose that can manifest in dogwoods. Cornus florida seems especially susceptible to both! One is the very serious one she mentions. There is another type called “leaf-spot anthracnose” that is essentially cosmetic. About mid-summer, leaves start to show red or brown spots which become progressively bigger until that leaf falls off. More and more leaves fall off so that even before autumn the tree looks sparsely foliaged. Surprisingly, this type of anthracnose does not seem to actually effect the plant’s overall health, although it does make it look pretty awful for the second half of the summer.

I had a young cornus florida that had leaf-spot anthracnose. Every year when it bloomed beautifully, I decided to keep it, and then when it became ratty I would lean towards taking it out. Fungicide sprays are among the most toxic of pesticides, so I looked for aspects of cultivation that might help. One suggestion was to not allow the leaves to compost under the tree, as they re-contaminate the plant annually. I tried putting a layer of shade cloth under the tree when the leaves started to fall so that I could collect and remove the leaves easily, and this seemed to help somewhat. But basically it is essential to give these trees the conditions they want. They are naturally a sort of forest-edge tree — they would prefer not to bake, but do like some bright light. Don’t plant where the roots get soggy. Don’t allow plants to become too dry in the summer. Make them happy! I wound up taking mine out since it was getting too wet in winter and was in a summertime hot spot.

Carlis Nixon, Eugene



CUT TO THE BONE?

Mona Linstromberg (4/15) claims that the public sector has had to “cut to the bone.”

Let’s see: $2 trillion of new federal debt and tens of thousands of new federal bureaucrats being hired; $4 billion added to the state budget and nearly 2,000 new state bureaucrats being hired; $250,000 found for a Beltline rename.

The public sector has a long way to go before it even reaches the tendons.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



TIME TO RECONNECT

As a new resident of Eugene, it was wonderful to read about the city’s goal of increasing recycling as a way to reduce greenhouse gases. As I read on, I was disappointed to learn that Eugene’s recycling rate has not increased in 10 years! This concern correlates with the article printed (4/8) about Waste Connections, the California-based corporation that recently bought Sanipac. Selfishly, Waste Connections might not be so gung-ho on contributing to Eugene’s city goal. Recycling creates less waste for their removal, which in turn lowers their profits. 

What about focusing on the original goal here? We need to educate and engage our local residents and youth in what is best for our community and Earth, not how to make profits with an egotistical approach. 

A step in the right direction is to reconnect with our community through participation in local events and efforts. Northwest YouthCorps in Eugene is teaming up with School Garden Project to offer a summer gardening day camp for children 9-13, called YouthGrow. Kids will have valuable opportunities to reconnect with nature by working in gardens to plant and cook their own food, visiting local farms, and learning to reduce and reuse their waste products. Educating our youth will contribute to altruistic actions for our community.

To learn more about YouthGrow, visit www.youthgrow.org or call 743-8594. 

Tere Mitsch, Eugene



THE MADISON COUP

Nike’s new line of sweatshop shoes will not be sold at the University of Wisconsin due to Nike’s default on terms of its contract concerning the labor rights of workers in Honduras. The movement is alive. My congratulations to the United Students Against Sweatshops. I’m inspired, and as an alumni of the UO and the Summer of Love, I am reactivating my activism to support our local chapter. Unfortunately they have an unlisted number, but I’m sure there is widespread support at Oregon to sever ties with Nike. It’s time to face the Black Knight on his home turf. (No pun unintended.)

I don’t know if the University of West Virginia has a chapter, but if they start one they have the advantage of not even having to leave the state to monitor slave rights in their own mines. 

 Vince Loving, Eugene



PTSD PROBLEM

Hundreds of thousands of troops have already returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan to face everything from an economic recession to homelessness, homicide and suicide, with hundreds of thousands on the way behind them. America can expect a minimum of 300,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), at a cost of more than $600 billion, rivaling the cost of the wars themselves. Ten to 30 percent of the 25 million vets from past wars and seven to eight percent of all people in the U.S. will likely develop PTSD in their lifetimes.

There is groundbreaking FDA-approved research being done to treat PTSD with MDMA. The FDA-approved study has shown an 83 percent cure rate for PTSD. Some daring out-of-the-box thinking is not only desperately needed, but required.

Please check out the facts at http://wkly.ws/gg and http://alternet.org/drugs/76576/ 

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain



ALWAYS A TRADE-OFF

I have been an advocate for local and state public schools for almost a decade. Moreover, I have two children in public schools. I venture that there are very few people in Eugene who have worked harder than I have for as many years and as many hours to secure better funding for schools.

So I find it particularly distressing to hear arguments that this [Downtown Urban Renewal District extension] will harm school funding. As a school advocate, I completely support using the current URD to fund the LCC project.

It is true that in the long run, some property taxes are diverted from schools. However, as you know, the state is able to make up for almost all of this. Does that mean that we are taking money that rightfully belongs to the state school fund? That argument doesn’t wash. We need property taxes for many local services, including police, fire, City Hall, and community colleges. It is always a trade off. 

The question is — is LCC a good and reasonable and needed investment of property taxes? Absolutely yes. It will help economic development, make education more accessible, and make a significant improvement to the quality of our downtown. 

This is good for our community, and I ask that those who use the excuse of school funding to think again. There may be a way you think is more perfect to fund this proposal, but if we wait for perfection, it will fall through. Then we’ll be stuck with the pit and who knows when it will be filled? 

This school advocate urges you to be less unyielding, and to do the right thing for downtown, for the community college, and for everyone who lives in Eugene. 

Joy Marshall, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was Joy Marshall’s testimony to the Eugene City Council April 19.



TAXING TROUBLES

Having completed the annual ritual of filing out federal and state income tax forms, I discovered that current Oregon income tax law limits the federal tax deduction to a maximum of $5,850 for filing status “single” as well as “married filing jointly”. Oregon is thus imposing a “marriage tax penalty” of up to $5,850 x 0.09 = $526.50 on two individuals who happen to be married. (And, in case you wondered, “Married filing separately” gets only half that — $5,850/2 = $2,925 deduction.) Since the federal tax law has virtually abolished the marriage tax penalty (since about 2002), it is shocking that Oregon has not followed suit.

I hope comments and membership in a recently created facebook group, “Stop Oregon Marriage Tax Penalty!” will convince Oregon lawmakers to take notice and fix this now! 

Graham Kribs, Eugene

 

 

TO SARAH PALIN

Hi Sarah! I heard you are coming to speak here in Eugene this week. I wish I could come but golly I've got to work and anyway I don't have that much money, ya know? 

Anyway a lot puzzles me about you. I know what you are all riled up about but I haven't heard exactly what you would do to fix it.

Gee. I guess the one burning question I have for you is: What is it about Barack Obama having been a community activist that you don't like? During the campaign you made a lot of disparaging remarks about his background as a community activist and got lots of cheers from your followers. Just in the last few weeks I heard you say again that he didn't qualify to make decisions about nuclear issues because he had started out as a community activist.

I thought being active in your community was a good thing. It seems he worked for voter registration, college prep tutoring programs, and job training. Aren't these things positive?

I know people who are community activists and I admire them for their energy and dedication to making a difference in our town. Just yesterday there was a segment on TV about people banding together in my neighborhood to make it safer. Another group was getting together to try to keep the state from spending money to change the name of a local freeway when what it really needs is repairs. Gosh Sarah, can you tell me what I'm missing that makes them worthy of your jeers? 

Maybe you could answer these questions while you're here.

Barbara Rubin, Eugene



WINNERS TAKE RISKS

About 86 percent of Americans think our government is broken, according to CNN. That is exactly what the right has been striving for. Growing numbers of extremists have been marching lock step with one thought in their minds: bring down the government. They have successfully shifted political debate, labeling Bill Clinton “liberal” though he governed to the right of Richard Nixon, and calling the notoriously even-handed Barack Obama “socialist.” Right-wing extremists now openly pervade Congress, the Supreme Court, and, until recently, the White House. 

It’s true Americans are conservative. For millennia, conservatism has equaled survival. Beyond fight or flight, the most natural reaction to danger is huddle and hope for the best. Fear binds individuals into communities, which bend their knees to the powerful above them. 

Our founding fathers were not conservative. They saw the world as ever-evolving and knew that clinging to the status quo was the opposite of revolution, even for gentlemen. Winners took risks or became irrelevant. The beauty of capitalism lay in the way it structured that reality. And the beauty of government was flexibility the fathers could control. 

Today, the elite uses conservatism to get what it wants from democracy — freedom to do as it pleases. The elite creates fear; people huddle and seek reassurance that the elite are happy to provide.

Success has whetted the elite’s appetite. When in power, its retainers appoint agency heads who sabotage regulations. They cut staff and wages, making sure government workers can’t do good jobs. Today in Congress, they tangle bills in contradictions, unanimously obstruct passage, or do both, as with health care. The goal is to make people distrust their government and weaken the only force that keeps the elite in check. This is subversion at an all-American level, and boy, is it working.

Douglas Brown, Eugene



DEFEND THE CRITICS

In your letters page on April 8, Dee Dee Moriarty makes the following distinction: "There is a legitimate debate about Israel’s inception. There is legitimate disgust at and discussion about the actions and events at the Pacifica Forum." So ethnic cleansing is debatable, whereas “actions and events” (Dee Dee doesn't say what they are) make her feel disgusted. 

Powerful groups started trying to close down the Forum before the Forum discussed the Holocaust. They certainly see a clear connection between freedom to discuss the Israel/Palestine question, the Holocaust, the origins of World War II, and so on. If you think Israel treats the Palestinians unfairly, you can hardly avoid being concerned about Jewish power in the U.S. Unless you are a coward, you listen to and defend the rights of all critics of this power, left, right, Muslim or whatever. 

Jay Knott aka Roderick McLaughlin, Portland 



BIG BRAIN, BIG EGO

It happened about 150,00 years ago: Homo Sapiens: you, me and everyone else. For those who study DNA and fossil evidence, it's obvious that we evolved from the same path as chimpanzees. When it comes to DNA, we're 98 percent the same as chimps, and 90 percent the same as mice. 

Of several closely related species, our brains had the best development for language and reasoning. The other six species that we know of went extinct before or not long after we came into existence. Now, the almost seven billion humans alive are 99.9 percent the same. There is truly only one human race, regardless of color or place of origin. 

With our advanced capacity to think and communicate, we developed an extensive social and personal conscience. It's not surprising that each different group of humans develop their own way of thinking, speaking and believing. There are many different religions, most believing they're the only right one. 

As we developed our sciences, we learned how to build cities, roads, airplanes and such, as well as medical advances that helped us live longer and more comfortably. Those same advances told us about where we came from as a species. It showed us that all the religions were just attempts to explain our meaning and existence given their abilities at the time.

We are just another animal, with a big brain and resulting ego. Let's give up religion and embrace what most profess — love, cooperation and respect for one another and the natural world.

Patrick Bronson, Eugene



STUDENT ASSISTANCE?

I have just been informed that the Oregon Student Assistance Commission announced that the Oregon Opportunity grant will not be given out to any students that filed after Jan. 21. I see that the committee has all ready not done its proper duty according to the words in their name: student assistance.

This might have been the decision of Oregon representatives such as yourself, and by making this decision, you are by no means doing your job as a representative.

The economy is making it difficult for everyone. We all have to make tough decisions. But by taking money away from the students who are unable to entirely support their ability to go to school through their own financial means, you not helping the community, or its financial crisis in any way.

Like most of my fellow students, I was not informed of this decision until after I filed my financial aid in March, which in all of my previous years, has been early enough to receive full funding. No where on campus did I see any information about the state’s decision. Students had no way of obtaining this information, and had virtually no opportunity to apply in time, in order to receive the Oregon Opportunity grant. Students were tricked to believe, by a convenient absence of critical information, that they would be receiving the same funding as always. I, like many others, had no chance to speak, and exercise our rights as citizens, before the decision to take away funding was made.

Because of the new financial hardship, many students will have to drop out of school. This will leave them in a more permanent state of poverty. This means the previous student population will be more desperate in its struggle to strive. Poverty always increases rates of crime, and the money you save by taking it away from schools, will be over spent in jails, probation, addiction recovery, housing and other social services.

We need students in Oregon to be financially stable, spend money here, and pay income tax here in order to keep the economy from plummeting further.

Laurel J. Brand, Ashland