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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.27.10




GREASED AUDITOR

When I learned of Deputy Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds’s termination, I was deeply saddened, not only for Reynolds herself, but for the state of police oversight in Eugene as well. She has been a constant and dedicated public servant in spite of the many obstacles thrown her way by the city government.

As in the case of Rick Brissenden, the outspoken advocate for EPD reform whom the City Council refused to reappoint to the CRB last October, the squeaky wheel gets greased in this town. Reynolds saw through the haze of city politics and always tried to do what her position asked of her. While I have nothing against the current police auditor, Mark Gissiner, his lack of legal background makes him ill-equipped to confront a reluctant police union and his conciliatory approach holds little hope for true change in law enforcement tactics.

I am confident that Reynolds will find a position in which her training and experience will be much more appreciated and utilized. I only wish that my outlook for police oversight in Eugene was equally optimistic.

Michael L. Quillin, Eugene



OBNOXIOUS ANTICS

Your article (5/20) on the “sport” of urban freeriding proves once again that humans can make anything obnoxious, even the bicycle. Oy, what a species!

Bill Deemer, Eugene



PLEASING CONNOISSEURS

It seems from his words and his tone that Brett Campbell (5/13) considers himself something of a connoisseur. Whatever my issues with the ESO may be — performing 200-year-old music in a style that is really only appropriate for music written after World War II, a narrow selection of repertoire even within the canon, providing insufficient opportunities for technically competent young cellists, etc. — I do recognize that the ESO is a specific kind of ensemble with a specific goal, and that goal has nothing to do with pleasing connoisseurs. It is to their credit that the ESO performs quite a few compositions by living, breathing composers, but that is not their main function. Their main function (and the main function of all modern American symphony orchestras) is to assemble programs from a relatively short list of compositions written in the past 300 years or so (the aforementioned canon). 

It is worth digressing for a moment to point out that, whatever the medium for which they happen to be composing, people like Koji Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu are talented living composers and clever craftsmen and deserve to be recognized as such, not to mention the thousands of graphic designers, writers and musicians whose incomes are nicely supplemented by video games. But it occurs to me that the main function of the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, of which I am a founding member, is to do precisely that — to please the connoisseur and give living, breathing composers a voice.

Now, as real connoisseurs are rare, our audiences tend to be rather small, and I’m not certain, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mr. Campbell attend one of our concerts. Maybe Mr. Campbell should put his money where his mouth is — oh, wait, did I mention that all ECCE concerts are free to the public?

Ralph Stricker-Chapman, Eugene cellist



DEAD, BUT FRESH

On the controversy over Brett Campbell’s Symphony review: Of what conceivable consequence is it that a composer is “dead”? If some young genius composer dies at age 30, is his music suddenly less programmable? The truth is that there is plenty of tremendous music by dead composers that would be completely fresh to audiences if it was ever played. 

Dan Athearn, Eugene



MARRIAGE IS OPTIONAL

In response to “Another Penalty” (letters, 5/6), I just want to make sure I understand: You chose to get married, now you are whining that your food stamps benefits have been reduced. I’m going to guess that no one prevented you from doing any research to discover whether or not this would be the case. I also assume no one forced you to wed. Marriage is a privilege that is extended only to straight couples. It ensures, amongst many other things, that if your husband is in the hospital, you will be able to visit him. I believe this is worth a little reduction in food stamp funds, but if you don’t, you can always divorce him. You see, for you, marriage is optional! If you don’t want your privilege, I’ll take it off your hands. I would love to have the option to marry my partner. If you want to complain about being penalized, try being a queer.

Chandra Cagle, Eugene



HIDDEN DANGER

I was concerned when I was reading the article (4/15) entitled “Toxic Receipts.” I had no idea that I could be compromising my health every time I am handed a receipt made of BPA-coated thermal paper. With possible health problems such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, I believe this is an issue worthy of attention. 

I spoke to many people about this industrial chemical and found that most didn’t even know what it was. My wife is a part-time server, and has been for the last nine years. She handles thermal receipts all the time and had no clue until I had her read the article. She then asked her employer about BPA; and again — no idea.

So, how is it that the toxicity of BPA has been suspected since the 1930s, but is still in use today? It’s because no one really knows about it, so there’s no demand for the simple (and quite obvious) solution of substituting BPA with a non-toxic chemical. It does serve as some comfort to see that your publication is doing its part to educate the ignorant, and I thank you for that. 

 Stanton Burris, Springfield



COPY ALL RECORDS

Simple permanent long-term solution: Duplicate all public records.

In the old days, preparing a duplicate of all public records was not feasible. Today, all you have to do is program the computers to produce the second set at the same time as the original and transmit it to a location where the public would have access.

That way if anything was missing the bureaucrats would have to provide a specific citation for the authority to exclude the records. Perhaps the ability to exclude certain records should be put in a organization outside of the government. As things are now the procedure is backwards — like so many things in this country. And all city, county and state records should be on one central computer — no exception. The state auditor should like this.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

 

ACROSS THE BRIDGE

Springtucky, the place where:

• Citizens blame the metropolitan daily newspaper for reporting whistle-blower’s revelation of long-term racist emailing on the city network, thus making the offenders “scared to death.”

 • Resident diversity advocate reminds concerned citizen from neighboring city that locals prefer “supercilious” nonresidents stay out of their business.

• Mayor, now running for county commissioner, says that these abuses “give the impression” that the city is not a welcoming place and that this is the time for the people to trust their leaders.

• City community relations person touts that half of the callers say firing the offenders “won’t solve the problem.”

• Editorial in metropolitan daily newspaper presumes such abuse is common in many other local institutions.

• Shielding from view any disciplinary process is public employee union advocacy for rank-and-file offenders and confidentiality of any treatment of offending manager.

 • Liberal in supposedly progressive neighboring city says that wanting the offenders fired is analogous with, ironically, vindictiveness against young criminals from the underclass.

• Acquaintance says that being “too close” to the offenses, i.e., having a Latina wife, is the reason for being offended by the on-going employment of the abusers.

• Offenders in a city government job receive what would be special treatment in a private-sector job, where threat to organizational integrity often results in immediate termination.

• Recurrent unsavoriness continues to prevent many people from feeling safe or wanting to work, live, or contribute to the quality of life there, or even near there.

Robert Beal, Eugene



THE ROOT CAUSE

One of the more common themes of your letter writers is sustainability, or more accurately, lack thereof. I agree with those concerns. Our Earth simply cannot sustain current trends.

What I virtually never see from these writers is an acknowledgement of the real problem. We technical and engineering types like to talk about root cause analysis. The root cause of the sustainability problem is the exploding worldwide population.

No degree of conservation measures or lifestyle changes in the industrialized nations will overcome the tsunami of human numbers in the long run. Getting back to root cause, in the developing and third-world nations it’s birthrate. In the industrialized nations it’s immigration.

These same concerned folks who cry the loudest about sustainability tend to also be the most vocal opponents of any measure to stop illegal immigration and cut back on legal immigration. Well people, you can’t have it both ways.

I’ll ask a simple question: How will it benefit our nation if the U.S. population doubles in the next century? That’s what will happen if current immigration rates continue. Answers, anyone?

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



GIMME SOME SPACE

People! You have got to stop pulling out right in front of cars on the Northwest Expressway! The average speed cars are traveling is 50-55 mph and unless you can speed up fast enough, please try to be patient. Twice this month I had to pass cars that pulled out in front of me — luckily there was no oncoming traffic, or I would have ended up in the ditch to avoid rear-ending them. I drive the expressway every day and every day I witness many impatient folks endangering not only themselves, but others. In my case, I have my young daughter in the back of the car whom I love very much. It gets worse the farther north you drive — I always get nervous as I approach the Beltline on and off-ramps near Irving. 

May I suggest leaving earlier if the reason you feel that it’s necessary to drive so recklessly is because you’re in a hurry? Please consider others and their love for their lives.

Sheree Walters, Eugene



IT’S JUST WRONG!

Of all the pressing problems facing the world right now, none is so important as inaccurate journalism. In the brief write-up of Nas and Damian Marley, you wrote that Nas is a former member of the The Fugees. Wrong! The Fugees were composed of Wyclef, Pras, and Lauryn Hill. Nas was briefly a member of a hip-hop group called The Firm, which included Foxy Brown. They only released one album however, and disbanded shortly thereafter. Regardless of the factual details, Saturday’s show will be phenomenal and I will be there with dancing shoes on.

Krystal Sundstrom, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nas played and recorded with Lauryn Hill of the Fugees but was not a member. 



GET DIRTY

 Many of us want to live in a more sustainable, healthier world. We want our food grown by people who are treated fairly, and of course it should be local and organic. We can make better choices, like composting, recycling, and shopping at our farmers markets. But one of the best things we can do now to create this reality is get our kids’ hands in the dirt, growing their own food and cooking it up. Not only will they have fun and a sense of accomplishment, they’ll also learn to appreciate fresh, organic food, the amazing farmers that grow it, and the Earth itself. 

This summer I’m serving as an AmeriCorps member at Northwest Youth Corps helping to create a new gardening summer camp called YouthGrow. I’m proud of the work we’ve done designing this camp. We’ll be teaching organic gardening from soil building to seed saving, and cooking using freshly picked produce. We’ll be visiting farms, and maintaining learning gardens at up to 30 schools in the Lane county area through our partnership with The School Garden Project.

So far our biggest challenge has been getting the word out about this camp, so I’m writing in hopes that some of you Weekly readers will help us spread the word. For more info, visit our website: www.youthgrow.org, or give us a call at (541) 743-8594.

Sandra Lee Bronstein, Eugene

 

ARCTIC FOLLY

The American people have been watching with horror as one of the worst oil spills in American history continues unabated, and millions of gallons of crude oil now threaten our nation's vital Gulf Coast ecosystem. This latest national environmental crisis reaffirms the oil industry's history of consistently underestimating the risks of drilling - and their tragically ineffectual clean-up history. 

In light of the crisis, President Obama recently called for a timeout on new offshore drilling, but shockingly, didn't specifically include the Arctic Ocean. Despite the fact that there is clearly no way to clean up a major oil spill amid the Arctic's broken sea-ice conditions, "exploratory drilling" is slated to begin in the Arctic Ocean in less than 60 days. 

If the oil industry can't even stop a spill in the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by all of its infrastructure and technology, how will they ever stop one at the top of the world?

K. Binder, Eugene

 

TRY THIS

Drain a gallon of oil out of your car’s crankcase.

Pour it into your swimming pool.

Add some fish, turtles, frogs,

A few water birds, a puffin?

Maybe an oystercatcher. 

Some shore birds, 

An alligator, 

A string of oysters for good measure. 

Oh yes.

Then add a mammal or two

A dolphin 

Or a seal pup

A small whale, will do nicely.

Leave it for a few days

What do you think you’ll find when you return?

Take a look at the evening news.

You’ve created a mini Gulf of Mexico

And you’ve done it simply by taking oil from your car

And dumping into the pool.

Don’t you just love the connection?

Yes, we are so desperate and pathetically connected to our motors

That we are willing to trust a company,

That exists solely to make a profit,

By complacently allowing it to drill holes in the surface

Of the earth

A mile deep — through a pristine body of water

In order to feed our need to travel solo in our personal petrol burners.

And now we have the Gulf of Misery ...

Jerry Rooney, Corvallis