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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.13.10




PROVINCIAL SYMPHONY

Concerning Brett Campbell’s well-taken criticism of the Eugene Symphony’s stodgy programming (EW 4/22) and ESO Executive Director Paul Winberg’s needlessly personal response to Campbell (EW 5/6): Winberg claims the symphony takes programming seriously, but next year’s schedule presents the music of only one living composer. Not saying that all the dead guys who will be performed weren’t wonderful composers. Just saying that they’re all dead.  

It’s not the job of a professional music critic to be a sock puppet. And Winberg’s implied message that Campbell and EW should not criticize his symphony was heavy-handed and provincial.  

Tom Manoff, Classical Music Critic, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered



IGNORANT CRITICISM

I just want to publicly thank Paul Winberg for his excellent “Viewpoint” response to Brett Campbell’s ignorant article about the Eugene Symphony (Music: 4.22.10). Whatever Campbell’s actual knowledge of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra may be, it was truly disheartening to see him use the programming of Play! A Video Game Symphony as a platform to randomly deride the classical music industry as a whole.  

As a 20+ year veteran of the industry, I can say with authority and experience that some of the issues Campbell describes do exist, to some extent, in some organizations; however, in the many orchestras I’ve worked with, the Eugene Symphony Orchestra stands out as an organization that is well managed, mindfully supported by an active board, and consistently appreciated by enthusiastic and diverse audiences.  The problems Campbell so blithely associates with the ESO are not germane to this organization.   

Lydia Van Dreel, Assistant Professor of Horn, University of Oregon School of Music and Dance



MATTER OF POLICY

Around and around it goes. And outward, too, if Eugene, like Springfield, buys into the mythology that it needs to accommodate growth by expanding its urban growth boundary. But in fact growth cannot be accommodated, and it is not inevitable. It is a matter of policy, a matter of choice.

Species grow within certain physical constraints. Growth beyond those limits sickens both the organism and its milieu. Intellectual development, however, is limited only by one’s education, experience and imagination. It’s past time that we use some of it to recognize that the unlimited use of limited resources by unlimited populations is a perilous path to a dead end.

Some believe that growth can be smart. But “smart growth” is an oxymoron, an elaborate shell game forcing a Sophie’s Choice: Do we increase density and destroy the architectural integrity and quality of life in historical neighborhoods, for example, or do we urbanize and suburbanize farm and forest land and natural areas? Failure to recognize limits to growth feeds the same old paradigm that has made poisoned air, water and land a worldwide crisis — even as we continue to produce more of us to administer the doses.

Until we get off the growth machine and expand our minds rather than our beltways, we’ll continue to chase our tails, digging a deeper hole in the pursuit.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



EXTENSION’S VALUE

I urge a yes vote on Measure 20-158 to support OSU’s Extension Service here in Lane County. The Extension Service has been labeled by some people as a “hobby enterprise.” This is not the case. Their services include teaching skills essential to our local food safety and food security.

The Willamette Valley is a prime agricultural region. As recently as 40 years ago, local growers produced close to 50 percent of the food consumed by Lane County citizens. Currently less than 5 percent of our food is grown locally. Continuing the Extension Service will help reverse this dangerous trend. 

By extending education and assistance to our community, the Extension Service offers programs to train hundreds of volunteers each year who then work with people eager to learn agricultural skills. Staff is there for answering questions, teaching safe food preservation and inspiring youth and adults to be involved with growing their own food. 

Lane County voters approved serial levies for the Extension Service in several past elections. Then in 2008, budget cuts eliminated almost all local financial support needed to match federal and state funds for the service.

For a small fee of $6 to $10 per year for the average homeowner, we will continue to support this vital service. 

Please vote yes on Measure 20-158. 

Cary D. Thompson, Eugene



PICK KUTCHER

A pragmatic leader, a man of rare insight and deep conviction, Gary Kutcher earns my hearty endorsement for East Lane County commissioner. Having known him for several years, I’m impressed with and can personally testify to his honesty, integrity, intelligence and dedication. 

In his many affiliations as a longtime community activist, he has worked tirelessly and displayed a deep understanding and knowledge of the critical challenges facing Lane County today. With his long-standing record of environmental stewardship, there’s not a more qualified candidate. He’s personally dedicated to environmental sustainability and is a living example of a true green visionary. He is fiscally conservative and a smart, innovative thinker and will work for creative win-win solutions to the social, economic and ecological challenges we now face. 

Faye Stewart may have the incumbent advantage and very deep pockets, but Gary comes to the table equipped with a fresh viewpoint and sound, workable solutions.

Gary Kutcher would be a positive addition to the board and will represent east Lane County with great strength and solid fortitude. We can breathe life into our sagging economy without sacrificing environmental safeguards or our remarkable quality of life. Help restore confidence in government again. A vote for Kutcher will ensure that.

Betsy Blume, Eugene



TWO GOOD ONES

We are so lucky! We have some experienced and community-involved candidates that will make an effort to fund our county schools, health and human services and safety efforts. Jerry Rust and Pat Riggs-Henson are dedicated public servants willing to work hard as county commissioners for the many citizen benefits we have been losing the last few years. They understand from years of experience how to make the changes necessary. Do give them your vote!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



RIDICULOUS BUDGET

City Manager Jon Ruiz’s budget cuts and changes are all so ridiculous, self-serving and quirky that what needs to be cut is either Ruiz himself or the entire city manager position. 

Bob Saxton, Eugene 



EXCEPTIONAL PROF

In the last several weeks, interest in the issue of professor Ken Debevoise’ employment has generated articles in The Daily Emerald, Oregon Commentator, Ethos and even The Oregonian (http://wkly.ws/jk). 

 This coverage has focused primarily on Debevoise’s talent for teaching and his unusual popularity among undergraduate political science students. The tougher issue is less personal and more institutional: whether or not the university administration has a responsibility to respond to student and alumni concerns about the quality of their undergraduate education. The Johnson Hall administration has stepped up to the challenge recently, meeting with students and taking sincere steps towards a meaningful solution. 

Let’s hope that the university community and the Political Science Department realize what is at stake before the UO loses an exceptional teacher.

Myles Couch, Eugene



HICKS WAS A DICK

I was a longtime, big-time fan of Dan Hicks, had all his albums and wore them out. Several years ago, in 1994, he came to Newport for a show at the Performing Arts Center. I bought tickets the day they went on sale and thus had front-row seats. Imagine my distress when he stumbled onto the stage two hours late and began berating the lighting man to turn the spot and stage lights down, then off, until the stage was so dark we could barely see his face from our front row seats. When someone mentioned that fact (OK, maybe it was me) he got furious, began cursing and unzipping his fly, then dragged his private parts out and began to wave them at the audience (which did contain some children, BTW), saying “So ya want to see me? Here, is that good enough?” or words to that effect. I was not trying to be a heckler. I just felt like we deserved to see where the music was coming from at a live performance. Call me crazy. If it was Leon Redbone, I probably would have kept quiet.

All I can say is, 16 years later, the scar on my psyche hasn’t disappeared, and as much as I used to love his music, I don’t think I could enjoy his show even if he’s lightened up on the booze and drugs. I’m actually a little surprised, after the way he dissed Newport, that he has been scheduled for three shows in Oregon. I guess everybody has forgotten, but unfortunately I never will.

Mike Fulmor, Yachats

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dan Hicks is booked in Eugene Saturday, May 15, at The Shedd.



CREATIVE CROWD

I’ve been following the story about how the Eugene police chief wants another million dollars to purchase more Tasers to shock our sleeping students and environmentally aware protestors. But having made many long stroller walks on foot throughout Eugene with my toddler son most everyday, I have yet to feel threatened by the seemingly imagined “menacing thugs” the cops and cloistered rich people complain about allegedly inhabiting downtown. 

I have witnessed several meek and polite, downtrodden people holding signs that say, “Need Socks” and “Anything Helps.” I have encountered a gang of pre-teen, female skateboarders with multi-colored Manic Panic streaks in their adorable punk haircuts. I’ve seen many charming kids in goofy clothing, those trademark Eugene layers, maybe a studded belt from Hot Topic. Some old raver, furry, green, floppy hats, pajamas, etc., playing hacky sack across the street from the library. Conscientious moms with dreadlocks, affectionate dads with Mohawks and piercings. Lots of street musicians. 

I’ve also witnessed stellar human beings employed by the Eugene Public Library effectively interacting with these creative young people by setting a positive example, communicating, almost serving as guidance counselors: a stout-hearted guy named Greg in his black uniform, protecting and serving the people of Eugene outside the library each day, and probably for a tiny fraction of what those brutes get paid to Taser our college kids.

Visiting the stores and galleries, restaurants and library in downtown Eugene is a joy, a privilege. Saturday Market is a thrill. Astonishing. The people here are friendly, imaginative, kind and compassionate. I love you, Eugene. Stay weird, stay beautiful! Don’t believe the hype. Ban Tasers in Eugene!

Jay D. Smith, Eugene



TRIPPING TO ARLO

Arlo Guthrie’s Corvallis performance sounds worth the trip (Calendar, 4/22). However, one hopes that concert-goers do not follow your instructions to head south, or they will have a very long trip to get there!

Carlis Nixon, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Been up so long it seems down to me.



HONOR NATURE

This oil spill could have also been a nuclear disaster, running out of fresh drinking water, using our last bit of topsoil, a global meltdown or an E. coli epidemic. We cannot build enough “safety valves” to protect the environment and our children’s future from our disrespect of nature. 

Indigenous cultures should be our advisors on nature, not our victims. They have always known our only path to true prosperity: to honor nature.

Mike Meyer, Eugene



HALT ORI PROJECT

The UO intends to begin construction of a suburban-style office complex on the banks of the Willamette River in the open space adjacent to Autzen Footbridge under a plan developed in the mid-1980s. The first increment of this development, primarily for the Oregon Research Institute (ORI), will be a four-story private office building surrounded by a sprawling 200-car surface parking lot on the riverfront.

Within the past few months, major university groups have declared opposition to construction under the outdated plan. These groups include the University Senate, the ASUO Student Senate, the faculty of all of the departments in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts and the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. The resolutions have passed enthusiastically because of the administration’s historical and current disregard for the voices of the greater university community regarding this issue, and the use of development and ecological principles from the last century to construct on our riverfront today.

With this challenging situation, our new UO president has an opportunity to begin working towards a relationship of mutual respect and collaboration with the university community. President Lariviere should call a halt to riverfront development plans while the 1989 Master Plan is updated through a transparent, meaningful and participatory process to match our current values and development standards. In the interim, alternate sites are available for ORI’s new building that are not on the riverfront.

Lariviere can singlehandedly turn this into a winning situation for all.

Information and a petition asking the UO president and ORI to engage the community before moving forward under a 1989 riverfront development plan can be found at www.ConnectingEugene.org 

Paul A. Cziko, UO Grad Student