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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.24.10




Don’t Jail Mentally Ill Homeless

It was with great sorrow that I read the article in News Briefs in the June 3 EW titled: “More Cops Won’t Help Downtown?” The article states that a lot of money is about to be spent to round up the mentally ill homeless and put them in jail and in some cases back to prison.

If our true desire is to find a solution to the growing crime issue downtown, one needs to make a thorough examination of the proposed solution before determining that it is in fact the correct response.

When we send a mentally disabled person into prison, we send them, mentally, into the worst possible hell. The prison environment sends them into such horrible places in their minds, places that you or I can never imagine. And they go through these horrific psychotic experiences while spending long times in solitary. It’s a torture unimaginable and unconscionable.

The biggest objections to placing the mentally disabled in prison comes from the Departments of Corrections themselves. They know first hand that they are not capable of dealing with the outrageous breakdowns people suffer in response to the prison environment.

PBS: Frontline produced the documentary “The New Asylums” (released May 10, 2005) at the invitation of Reginald Wilkenson, director of Ohio Corrections. Wilkenson is candid in his statements against placing the mentally ill in correctional institutions (pbs.org). 

Before we make the choice to pull out the paddy wagon and round everyone up, let’s do our homework. Here are a few good places to start (both of these articles can be found at psychiatrictimes.com): “Guilty of Mental Illness” and “Pending Legislation Addresses Mental Health Treatment in Prison.”

A simple Google search will bring up many articles, all articulating the same thing: Mentally disabled people in prison are more likely to be preyed upon by other inmates; mentally disabled people spend more time in solitary because of their disability; the prison/jail environment triggers mental issues, exacerbates them and contributes to further delinquent behavior upon release including increased drug abuse.

We do a lot of harm to a human being, one of the more vulnerable and fragile members of our community, when we throw him or her behind bars.

Katina Andoniadis, Eugene 



STOP PUMPING

In talking about stopping offshore drilling, it sounds as though environmentally disastrous oil spills can only happen during drilling, not pumping. Shouldn’t we also be talking about stopping pumping, thereby also reducing a later and much larger disaster? If not stopping pumping right away, let’s each of us at least admit to some of the responsibility and create a carbon tax that will help to control our addictions to more pumping.

Dan Robinson, Eugene



EMX ALTERNATIVE

What LTD/EmX has done for us lately:

1. Lots of capital expense for EmX.

2. Cancellation — because of cost — of some outlying bus service routes, with more anticipated.

3. Battling with the mature residential and business communities from downtown to Seneca about accommodating extra lanes, lost trees and limiting residential street parking and business access.

 4. A net improvement in “going home” time of 6 minutes from this EmX expansion.

 Consider this:

 1. Keep “local” service as it is, with bus stops every couple of blocks between downtown and Seneca (and beyond?), not several blocks between stops as proposed; no widening for “special lanes” or loss of trees; NOT using monster articulated equipment, but equipment we already have.

2. Add “express” service during peak traffic hours only, am-inbound and pm-outbound, with park‘n’ride and satellite hubs at Seneca and Beltline areas. Use monster articulated, high-capacity equipment for the express runs only, with the express equipment running in traffic like everybody else but without the need to stop at all stops, compromising traffic flow, until they get to the satellite sites.

3. Use smaller, cheaper buses (20 passenger?) to serve those outlying routes from the satellites — Bailey Hill, Bethel — maintaining the goal of rider service and cost avoidance.

4. Develop a flexible system to determine all bus service support based on monitoring ridership continuously so that as volume changes, the system can adapt without the reinvention of the bus-wheel.

Don’t let fed money sell us bad planning!

Tom Snyder, Eugene



EWEB PLAN

EWEB’s Community Advisory Team (CAT) did the expected of a group representing business and real estate interests: promoting our riverfront as a commodity.

Jerry Diethelm (EW 6/17) gave us what you wouldn’t expect from someone knowing better: a lightweight response to the CAT’s master plan, which pushes a commercial street unacceptably close to the river.

The most disappointing aspect of Diethelm’s column favors what he identifies as a ped/bike bridge to Alton Baker Park. It just happens to line up perfectly with a redesign of E. 8th Avenue. The city keeps trying to get it into a plan even though the DeFazio Bridge lies a quarter-mile to the west. Why?

It’s a disguised motor-vehicle bridge. LTD once paid for a study to convert the Autzen Footbridge to carry motorized vehicles.

Yes, said engineers. No, said advocates for parkland.

Here we go again. Tear into riparian trees on the Willamette’s north bank for a bridge carrying buses past the Alton Baker Park picnic shelters? No.

We need a comprehensive analysis of all plans which degrade the south bank of the river and threaten to spread impacts across to the more pristine north bank.

David Sonnichsen, Eugene



Tacky, Trashy

I thought your Summer Guide cover (6/3) was tacky and  trashy;  which, I imagine, is exactly what it was supposed to be. And while the baby pool and beer do look tempting, I’m not about to go buy a pack of smokes and start littering. I’ll probably even keep wearing sunscreen though there wasn’t any shown in the photo. So what’s the difference between my reaction and that 10-year-old Indigo Amarys? Discretion. I’m an adult who makes lots of thoughtful, rational, adult decisions every day. I can read the EW without feeling compelled to buy every brand of alcohol advertised or try everything Dan Savage mentions. C’mon, parents, take some responsibility for what you’re allowing your kids to read — I’m betting the EW isn’t a homework assignment.

The day you start catering to elementary school students is the day I stop reading.

Dana Crawford, Albany



MAJESTIC CRAP

Josh Laughlin’s quote in the June 3 issue, “Oregonians want to hear the howl of a wolf after a 60 year absence, not the sound of gunfire killing these majestic animals,” is really quite a load of majestic crap.

With the exception of the idealistic voters along the I-5 corridor, the majority of Oregonians want no part of this unrealistic clueless delusion.

And, now that the true results of the wolf recovery program are becoming apparent, more and more Oregonians are seeing that there was a good reason that wolves were hunted out of Oregon 60 years ago.

Erwin Roberts, Corvallis



LIGHTEN UP

I have been following with interest your new “lighten up” mini-columnist, Rafael Aldave. Interesting and diverse subjects such as 1) cops painting futile signs on sidewalks; and 2) Phil Knight placing great emphasis on the primary mission of the UO — the care and feeding of athletes and their adult helpers.

Gil Campbell, Eugene



NUDIE ROCK EXPOSED

In both your article a year ago about nude spots in the Eugene area and in your publishing of Richard Reitz’ letter to the editor last week, either your staff has not done its research or you are willfully ignoring the fact that the property is privately owned. 

It’s one thing for a spot to be known by word-of-mouth, but it’s irresponsible for a publication to essentially promote the overuse of a very small natural space that has no facilities to support a large number of humans — naked or not.

My parents own a house within sight of “Nudie Rock,” and while this was good for bragging rights when I was a teenager, as the spot gets more traffic there have been a number of issues that have arisen, notably: trash and human waste; drug use, including IV drug use; and fire danger, because of cars parked too close to dry brush near the road or fires lit by visitors down at the water’s edge.

Up to this point, the owner has not developed the property nor taken measures to limit access (beyond posting “No Trespassing” signs, some of which have been torn down). But with Eugene Weekly’s publicizing and with increased numbers of people on the property, potential liability issues (particularly injury liability, as the path that was specified in Richard Reitz’ letter is very dangerous) can no longer be ignored and the owner may take steps to prevent access. There’s something to be said for keeping a location “under the radar.”

Webster Colcord, Emeryville, Calif. and Eugene 



NO MORE PEOPLE

One sentence in particular of Eve Cienfuegos’ letter in the June 10 issue demands a response. She states, apparently in all seriousness, “It’s not like the U.S. is overpopulated.” 

Yes, the U.S. is overpopulated! That is the whole problem with continued immigration, illegal and otherwise — we have too many damn people in this country competing for rapidly diminishing resources. More people means more water use, and much of the world, and much of the U.S., is facing a water shortage; more people means more waste and trash is generated, polluting our land, water and air; more people means more housing is needed, which of course calls for lumber which of course means cutting down forests; more people means more vehicles on the road, burning fuel and fouling the atmosphere; more people means more competition for disappearing jobs, the result being a large portion of the population unemployed and depending on government charity, and on and on and on. Most of this nation’s problems are the result of out of control population growth, and I say close the borders to ALL immigrants, legal, illegal, white, brown, yellow, Swedish, Mexican, British, with the exception of all but the most serious humanitarian and political asylum cases.

The argument that we are a nation of immigrants is no longer relevant. Throughout most of our history, we were able to absorb and accommodate immigrants, but that is no longer the case. The country and its infrastructure is bursting at the seams and we must stop taking people in and concentrate on making life good for the people already here. Yes, it does affect my life that much. It affects all of our lives very much! 

Spud Smith, Westfir 



WISHFUL BROMIDES

When will mass society become green and sustainable? The answer is never because techno-industrial society is itself the problem.

Global warming got its measurable start 200 years ago with the Industrial Revolution. Every successive increase of aggregate production is a further step of (now ecocidal) warming.

Recycling makes room for more production, hybrid cars have the same devastating impact to build as any other car, “alternative energy” means continuing to fuel that which shouldn’t have been begun in the first place.

“Green and sustainable” is a lie and a sedative. The answer cannot be found by continuing to assume/endorse the techno-industrial model for life. Facing up to putting an end to that model is required, not empty, wishful bromides.

John Zerzan, Eugene



HEAD START AT RISK

Congress may not approve President Obama’s budget request for Head Start and Early Head Start for fiscal year 2011. Considering the great strides early childhood education has made with the help of the Recovery Act, we are asking that you support the president’s budget for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2011. 

According to the 2001 census, 24 million children (close to one half of the child population of our country) have at least one of seven risk factors in their life. What does this mean? Families in our county — and in counties across our nation — need our program. Thanks in large part to ERA funds, Head Start programs nationwide were able to create new jobs in the middle of a recession. These funds also enabled us to expand our services to include an Early Head Start program, a goal that had proven elusive for decades. ERA funds gave us the ability to expand prevention services to children not yet born. 

If we don’t receive funds at the president’s budget level, Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the country will lose recently created jobs and have to cut at-risk children and families from our programs. The large investment made in trying to secure the nation’s future will be lost, and what’s more — there will be that much more waste fiscally — millions upon millions of awarded monies spent for nothing, monies that never had a chance to help children and families to reach their potential.

Head Start staff works with families to set goals that will improve their quality of life — we teach parenting skills and assist families in obtaining appropriate housing, employment, and education. 

Please do your part to honor the commitment Congress made to Head Start and Early Head Start’s community by continuing to fund the program at a level that does not require cutting jobs or families from services. Call your senator, your congressman, your local news channel — your grandmother. Stand for children. Before the scales tip and American children once again fall short of achieving their dreams because of risk factors that are beyond their control. 

Kathryn Albert, Eugene resident, Family Advocate/Site Supervisor Kids and Company of Linn County

 

CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

 If I were a White House political advisor, I would recommend that President Obama throw off his opponents by attending and addressing a Tea Party event or other events that he would not normally attend. If he did this, it would do the following:

• It would be a valuable fact-finding mission and he would most likely find that the majority of people are concerned citizens from a multiparty background and not so much a group of right-wing fanatics.

• Like a good chess player he would completely throw off his political opponents. That's the last thing they would expect. To win at chess you need to be witty and plan at least five moves in advance, sending your opponent thinking in an entirely different direction. He could gain respect and more potential voters from a segment of the population that he might not otherwise have had.

• The media and the world would be watching. From his position he can't lose and if they (The Tea Partiers) are the fanatics some claim them to be, then this occasion would prove it with a world wide global audience.

• It would show that he has courage and is willing to listen to people, even those who have differing views. By doing this, it would show concern for all the people of the nation, not just his wealthy supporters or the more left wing radicals in his own party. 

Tom Bush, Eugene



OUR BEST SHOT

The Save Lane Extension Political Action Committee would like to thank more than 38,000 Lane County residents who voted “yes” on Measure 20-158 and supported our cause in so many ways. We also want to thank Lane County commissioners for referring Measure 20-158 to the ballot and allowing voters the opportunity to decide this matter.

Although the election didn’t turn out as we hoped, we gave it our best shot. We took the “high road” throughout the campaign, and each person who endorsed or contributed to the effort should be proud of the role he or she played.

As we said during the campaign, the defeat of Measure 20-158 leaves the Oregon State University Extension Service without adequate local funding to continue existing operations. It is now preparing to reassign Lane County faculty members to other locations, lay off local support staff members and shut down all local programs that are not financially self-sustaining.

In reaction to the defeat of Measure 20-158, numerous individuals and community groups have asked what might be done to restore local funding for Extension programs and services in Lane County. A new group is forming to explore potential options and we invite you to follow their progress and discussions at  http://facebook.com/SaveLaneExtension.

Save Lane Extension PAC, John R. Crosiar, publicity chair



NO TIME LIKE NOW 

After the terrible tragedy that’s hit the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, I can only hope and pray that the importance of "green" technology will become more prominent in not only the mass media but people’s minds, and the backlash that will follow the spill will only prove the need more for a safe and environmentally friendly energy. There are sure to be growing oil prices, mass devastation to the Gulf's ecosystem and its inhabitants and a mass amount of debt that will follow the clean up, once [the spill] finally does come to an end. 

I have never heard of a "winds spill" or "solar spill." The sirens have been sounded, and the potential for destruction has shown its face. There is no better time then now to start pushing the importance of green technology further and further into people's minds.

Christopher Brown, Eugene



PRECIOUS BETS

I dreamt that God said, "It has come to My attention that the world is run by gamblers. I am tired of the late-night prayers. Half of you are playing because you have bet something too precious, and the other half of you play because the game feels too good to stop. I only have one miracle left to show you." And then, He set the Gulf of Mexico on fire. 

Gavain U'Prichard, Eugene 



WHY SO DEEP?

There’s an untold story surrounding the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: There’s a reason why an oil company would drill a 35,000 foot well — including going through a mile of sea water — with all the danger and technological challenges involved. The reason is that oil fields on land and in shallower water are producing less and less oil. We have harvested the low-hanging fruit. We are now standing on a wobbly ladder on uneven ground trying to harvest the more inaccessible fruit. (In comparison, the famous Lucas Gusher at Spindletop, Texas, in 1901 produced 100,000 barrels per day and resulted from drilling 1,139 feet on dry land.)

The human family has already passed the all-time peak in world oil production. Within five or 10 years oil production will be declining by about 5 percent annually — at which rate, we’ll need to come up with another Saudi Arabia worth of production every three years just to stay in place. Thus the dangerous practice of deepwater drilling.

If we don’t get serious about voluntarily reducing our consumption of oil, the uncompromising science of geology will do it for us. But not without first creating situations like we now have in the Gulf (the Gulf of Mexico and the Persian Gulf).

Robert Bolman, Eugene



START BAILING NOW

Beth came over tonight and explained to me, from the point of view of a geophysicist, the ramifications of the Gulf oil spill.

She said she can't stop watching the pictures. Today she saw sea turtles get hit. "It's bad. It's bad on bad," she said. "I've looked at satellite photographs. This is going to fill the Gulf, and they have no idea how to clean it up." There are all sorts of notions but there is a bureaucratic bottleneck at BP. No clean-up plan is in play, it’s all in development.

What to do? I sit on my porch and watch the cars go by.

How long can we continue to ignore where our oil comes from? If personal accountability does not start now, when does it? So easy to scurry about doing your life, seeing who said what on Facebook.

We are on the Titanic, and the engine room just blew. Do we go to the bar till the party is over? Do we stand on the deck wringing our hands? Is the little we can do, too little too late? Perhaps, but we do what we can, because we must. And what we can do now, in any shape or form, is to bring our best spirit and start bailing with teaspoons. Hopefully we'll find friends who'll bail and sing with us.

The clean-up crew needs us right now; this is not the time for idea development. Everything must be about healing right now. Everything.

Lola Broomberg, Eugene



NOT AT ALL HAPPY

I noticed your comment (Slant, 6/3) on "Are you happy? Why are you happy?" Well, I am not happy with endless traffic, endless cars, and endless highways, freeways, clogged roads, clogged town and, because of that, endless smog and pollution. It stinks.

We need what is called "limited growth," meaning, "no more growth." If we do not enact that, we are sunk. This town is already so unlivable ’cause everyone crowds in here without concern for the "ecosystem" you guys like to brag about.

Frankly, the way Eugene and Lane County are is unsustainable. It will turn "green" with decay. It's going to go the way of overcrowded, freeway jerking, polluting, cement-paved, badly stressed and unlivable California. The only "green" you will be seeing is the color of people’s faces. I'm disappointed ’cause no one is honest enough to come out and say, "No more growth now!” 

D.H. Bucher, Eugene



IT’S AN OILY LIFE

Our dependence on oil goes beyond the fuel we use to power our motor vehicles. Petrochemicals — chemicals derived from petroleum — appear in products as diverse as pesticides, plastics, household cleaners, personal care products and fragrances. We apply these chemicals to our bodies, discharge them into the air and rinse them down our drains, often without thinking about consequences to ourselves, other people, and other living organisms. 

The consequences of the BP disaster are obvious and dramatic. As unrefined crude oil pollutes aquatic habitats and shores, we witness its devastating effects on wildlife. However, scientists and journalists are studying and documenting less obvious and dramatic — yet still troubling — effects of petrochemical use. 

Mounting evidence suggests that petroleum-based substances play a role in various ailments, including cancers, fertility problems, obesity, genital deformity and autism. Petrochemicals threaten health because of estrogenic effects that disrupt the endocrine system of animals — both human and nonhuman.

In decreasing our petroleum use, we need to think beyond fuel consumption. We must consider the chemicals we use in and around our bodies, homes, and businesses; firmly put them aside; and choose nontoxic alternatives that do not damage life.

Christina Bellini Ipri, Eugene



LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows, with priority given to timely local issues. Please limit length to 200 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to letters at eugeneweekly.com fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.