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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.2.10




INTELLIGENT FAITH

Seamus Corbett’s letter (“Subjective Mysticism,” 7/29) defines faith as “irrational belief.” It may be true that faith does not rest exclusively on logical or material evidence. And it may also be the case that faith can be blind or irrational (i.e. accompanied by the loss of mental clarity and good sense). But when balanced with intelligence, faith gives us the energy and commitment to pursue our highest values. We can all benefit from intelligent faith, for it is not possible to support ultimate concerns simply with logic or material proof. As Teilhard de Chardin put it, “Faith has need of the whole truth.”

We would like to invite Corbett, and all others who might be tempted to cast all faith in a negative light, to join us for the 6th Annual Interfaith Community Breakfast on Tuesday, Sept. 21 (International Peace Day), at the Hilton. UO President Richard Lariviere will be our guest speaker on the topic of “Dharma & Karma.”

For more information, call 344-1425. Purchase tickets online at www.interfaitheugene.org

Lane Institute of Faith & Education (LIFE) Steering Committee, Dan Bryant, Ruthann Duncan, Len Hockley, Barry Nobel



SOUL OF THE CITY

I just finished reading the “Drawing the Line” (8/19) cover story. It was good to see the exclusion zone exposed as the atrocity it is. But let us not confine ourselves by characterizing the exclusion zone as an aberration. Instead we should recognize it as part of a systematic campaign of gentrification carried out by certain elite sections of Eugene’s populace (i.e. the business class, the City Council, etc.). Its ugly purpose is not the bolstering of “public safety” that its supporters claim, but a concerted effort to suppress unruly sections of the population. Once they are gone, the rest of us undesirables can be sent packing quietly. 

It is time for us to be honest about what has been happening in this city. This is not just a battle over one law; this is a battle over the very soul of the city. The question is: Do you want to live in the Bohemian artists’ paradise Eugene’s reputation would have us believe it is, or do you want to live in the yuppie coven City Manager Jon Ruiz is hell-bent on creating? What can we do to resist such a transformation? One thing is for sure. The old hippie philosophy won’t do; we need to mix up some sterner stuff to fill our Molotov with. But I have faith that if we put our trust in the power of our collective action, we can overcome whatever challenges the future holds.

Johannes Pedersen, Eugene



CORE NEIGHBORHOOD

In reference to your cover story of Aug. 19: We not only “come downtown,” we live downtown. Some of us are retired, some with limited incomes. For the most part, though we are cautious, we are not intimidated by the inhabitants of the downtown area. Some of us try to be helpful by volunteering at medical or food bank facilities, or by giving financial aid to people we know to be in need.

However, we would appreciate a downtown where we do not have to side-step dogs, nor bodies — a downtown that is pollution free: no garbage, needles, bodily excretions, smoke, cigarette butts nor foul language.

The focus of your article undermines the efforts of the arts, business and residential communities to make the downtown a safe and pleasant place for all people.

And, yes, we are a neighborhood.

Barbara Hottle, A.K. Hottle, And five others



SAFE FROM WHOM?

Regarding the Downtown Public Safety Zone: It all sounds good on paper, and obviously some people are feeling safer, whatever that means to them; and the adults seem to be speaking for the kids, claiming the kids are all right.

Here’s what really makes me feel unsafe: the deep history of white supremacist attitude and legislation in Eugene. Think it’s not relevant? You must be white.

I was shopping at the Kiva grocery, one of my favorite stores, very downtown, just a few weeks ago. I was walking out the door which leads right onto Olive Street across from that white box, and there, a big pickup was revving its engine and squealing tires; the young men inside glared at me — all I could see was the huge Confederate flag flying from a very tall pole over the bed of their truck, just right in front of me and literally in my face. I stood my ground right there and did not walk towards my car because I’m experienced and I know better. After all, I’ve lived in Lane County since 1983. The truck moved on, slowly, and took a right, then another — just cruising the area, getting the message out, leaving me, a strong woman, shaking in my flippies. I saw the same truck last week, cruising West 11th. Guess nobody’s ticketed or excluded these guys. 

And I have to tell you, I’ve never ever felt unsafe from the usual gaggle of folks who hang out downtown, who might ask me for something but are generally respectful. I have sympathy for the business owners to a point; aggressive customers or pedestrians are either breaking the law or not. I trust the CLDC and their assessment of the issue and the context. As citizens, we should be insisting on a different strategy.

Jane Waite, Eugene



NECESSSARY STEP

In response to Rick Levin’s cover story “Drawing the Line,” the extension of exclusionary zone should be viewed as an unfortunate but necessary step in cleaning up downtown. As a 23-year Eugene resident, I’m sad to see that our downtown is still not the safe, vibrant place it should be. Levin is right to say that the exclusionary zone might not be desirable for the people being excluded, but why are their rights more important than the rights of business owners and citizens? Excluding individuals who commit crimes and inhibit commerce is not akin to “Orwellian governance,” and using such analogies only serves to sensationalize an issue that has nothing to do with “government control” and everything to do with turning a new page on a fledgling downtown. 

Ian Baldwin, Eugene



THROUGH THE BOX

I walk from the Eugene Library to SELCO Credit Union several times each month. The shortest path is along 10th by the bus station. It takes me through the stenciled box that says “Do not block public right of way.”

Before the stencil was put in, the sidewalk was often crowded and awkward to try to get through. Now there are people sitting between the box and the street and maybe a few between the box and the bus station, but there is a clear sidewalk that I can use.

Not blocking a sidewalk is no different from not parking your car in the middle of the street. Pedestrians deserve a clear right of way too. Reminding people who might forget seems like a reasonable move by the city of Eugene.

Nancy Nichols, Deadwood



RETHINK EMX

I am compelled to respond to the Slant piece on LTD July 29.

LTD and now EW are definitely on the wrong track. I attended an LTD meeting in June. The first comment I heard from the panel was, “Eugene has a history of bad planning.”

There are many restrictions on how the federal funds can be used. Burying utilities is not allowed. LTD and the city covet this money so badly, 58 different plans were conceived.

I’ve spoken with business owners on West 11th. These are the employers whose payroll taxes fund Eugene’s public transportation. All of them enthusiastically support public transportation and embrace truly progressive ideas for improvement. All face loss of property. What is progressive about taking away people’s property?

Slant states, “If EmX proves to be successful.” What if it proves to be another short-sighted plan?

Recently bus service on West 11th was cut back, and right now the streets are being resurfaced.

West 11th is not Franklin Boulevard. More time needs to be spent on identifying the real problems and developing the correct solutions. This issue needs more thought.

Please contact your city councilors and ask them to rethink the West 11th EmX plan.



Robert Rubin, Waldport



THE ART OF DYING

Everybody dies! This is a fact of life. More reliable than taxes. No one is immune. No one can buy out. No one can ignore it.

Ben Fogelson’s article, “Taking Mom Home” (8/5) was a selfless, insightful description of one very courageous and determined woman who knew what she wanted and had the means and support to coordinate her final moments as she desired. Most Americans do not have that option. Whether living in another state (only Oregon and Washington currently have laws allowing self-determined death), or for reasons of religious, emotional or philosophical constraints, most people will simply wait until their time has come. Then they will face that good night with any dignity their background allows or support system provides.

We, as a society, have lost most of these skills, the fine art of dying. Dying is no longer a common part of our life. We sanitize it. Tuck it away in hospitals and nursing homes. We pretend it doesn’t happen. A hundred years ago Grandmother would spend her final days in her bedroom on the ranch surrounded by family. Grandchildren would run and play outside her door. Everyone was a participant. Not so today.

In the past 30 years, hospice has evolved to guide people toward a good death. Trained professionals — nurses, social workers, CNAs, chaplains, massage therapists and others — team up to teach people how to die. In reality, dying is usually the easy part. Once symptoms of pain or anxiety are addressed, most of a hospice nurse’s time is spent educating the family. Normalizing the dying process is what we do. Assisting and supporting the family, the caregivers, in caring for the dying individual is a primary focus of our job. We cannot stop death, but we may be able to make the process easier. We can make it less forbidding.

Hospice is for those of us that, for whatever reason, cannot do what Susanne Schumann did but also understand that hospitalization and aggressive therapies are likely unrealistic options. When you are ready, talk to your doctor. Hospice can help make dying a normal part of living.

Dale Mostkoff, hospice RN, Eugene



THANKS, MARY

This is undoubtedly the easiest letter to the editor I’ve ever written. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all Mary O’Brien’s work in defense of the Earth, and more specifically, her tireless work and writings to keep what’s unspoiled in the American West. O’Brien’s “Three Generations Go Backpacking” (EW 8/19) is her latest in intelligent, economical, concise eco-essays.

The picture of O’Brien splitting her time between Eugene and Castle Valley, Utah, warms my heart. To have her and Terry Tempest Williams as neighbors can only mean good things for the neighborhood. I’m a friend of SUWA and McKenzie River Trust and O’Brien inspires me to want to do more. As a teacher, I believe the picture of O’Brien’s wisdom and ethics passed on to (and through) younger generations is as hopeful a picture as there is in these times of eco-irresponsibility. RFK Jr., TTW, O’Brien. We are ever fortunate to have these people in our midst. Thank you, Mary O’Brien, for all your good works over the past 30-plus years. Keep it going.

Andy Traisman, Eugene



NOT A DONE DEAL

Thanks for the article (cover story, 7/22) about biomass burning and the Seneca facility. My disagreement is the characterization of the plant being “a done deal.” With this defeatist attitude, we’d still have field burning.

Why oppose biomass burning?

Air pollution — why add more pollution to the compromised air quality of Lane County? Next to a low income community, the facility will hurt children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems.

Forest health and biodiversity — the majority of life lives not in the trees but on the forest floor. Removed slash is unable to fertilize damaged soils. Logging chemicals contaminate the soil. Generators may turn to raw wood.

False solution — this taxpayer giveaway to timber and energy companies emits more pollution per ton than coal plants. Congress is about to subsidize timber companies $20 billion for “green energy.”

Most of the energy will be exported, so California can cheat on meeting climate energy goals.

The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency has stated that now citizens have cut back on personal air pollution, industry can increase theirs.

Eugene Rising Tide has made a fun, informative video explaining biomass burning, naming the politicians, governmental agencies and, unfortunately, environmental groups supporting it (www.youtube.com/cascadiarisingtide).

Scott Fife, Eugene



HELP TAMARACK POOL

 I am writing this letter in regards to The Tamarack Wellness Center pool. This therapeutic hot saltwater pool is the only one like this in the Eugene/Springfield area. My wife has had a numerous amount of surgeries and is in pain 24/7 from her fibromyalgia, which is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, tenderness and stiffness of muscles associated connective tissue structures that is typically accompanied by fatigue, headache and sleep disturbances. Due to this she is not able to do regular exercise, but this pool allows her to do water aerobics. 

My wife’s family doctor and mine prescribed this pool to her to help get her exercising. We have seen an improvement in my wife’s health and how she feels on a daily basis since we have been attending the water aerobic classes at The Tamarack Wellness Center. If the pool was to be closed down, this would mean that there would be no place for my wife or for many other elderly people in her condition a place to relax and get a little bit of helpful exercise in there routines. Your help in keeping The Tamarack Wellness Center pool open would be greatly appreciated by all of those who attend.

Noble Leon Rackley, Eugene



MONEY SERVES LIFE

The purpose of an economy is to secure just, sustainable and joyful livelihoods for all. A sustainable economy does not waste enormous resources on things that reduce the quality of life such as war, financial speculation, energy inefficiency, suburban sprawl and advertising. In order to live in balance with the environment, we must eliminate the things that are bad for our well being.

Money serves life and not the reverse. Wall Street uses money to consolidate power. This quest for power knows no bounds, has no moral code and destroys the very essence of community. Community uses money to link underutilized resources with unmet needs. Clearly, from an accounting standpoint, we have the money to meet the needs of our national community. The federal government just needs to make the appropriate accounting entry as when the big banks received billions in bailout money. If a business does not serve the true needs of a community, then it has no useful purpose.

Greed is not virtuous. Sharing is the foundation of community. Make the choice for community and connection and read the book An Agenda For A New Economy by David Korten.

Christopher Michaels, Eugene



HANNA ANTI-BUSINESS

Rep. Bruce Hanna recently showed up in a Comcast Newsmakers spot on YouTube where he said, “All of our efforts ought to be aimed at how do we create that atmosphere where people want to come to our state and where the businesses who are here want to or can afford to stay.” When asked if Oregon is business-friendly, he said, “We continue to put impedement (sic) in front of business; we continue to say things to business that it’s more difficult to get going here.”

Yet the reality is that Hanna voted no on the Access to Business Capital Act, which gives Oregon businesses more opportunities to borrow money. (Meanwhile, many banks are refusing to lend to small businesses.) And why did he vote against HB 3698, which provides grants to businesses that create new full-time jobs in Oregon? And what about SB 1055, which reduces the red tape for wineries that want to boost business by holding special events — why did Hanna vote no even though the law will only last for three years as a trial period? 

Despite his claims, Hanna’s record shows that he is an impediment to small business in Oregon. I’m ready for a change in Salem. I’m voting for Sara Byers for House District 7. 

Leslie Rubinstein, Cottage Grove



EDUCATION LAST

Kids and their teachers come last.

$270 million for improving the Coburg I-5 intersection, more millions for Beltline but not enough dollars for schools and kids. Billions for war. I’m sick to read a group of Eugene leaders have decided that kids can learn on their own with online classes, large lecture halls and lower paid instructional assistants. Really!

If our country is going to reverse our downward spiral, we are going to have to make kids a priority

No wonder Superintendent George Russell is resigning.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene 



CAT SKELETONS

Alvin Urquhart’s distress with free-roaming cats in Eugene (8/12) reminded me of ads for a product sold in the U.K. Made of the urine and dung of big cats such as lions and tigers, it was guaranteed to keep pesky critters away from gardens and such. I asked my Brit friends about this, and they swore it was well known and reported to be effective. Maybe Urquhart could import some, or get some help from the Portland Zoo. The Seattle Weedland Park Zoo sells “Zoo-Doo” manure. Worth a try, and a lot easier than fretting over the behavior of cat owners.

Thea LittleBear’s frustrated con-cern in the same issue with Lane County Animal Service’s inability to immediately respond to her daughter taking home a stray dog struck a chord. I’ve been worrying for years now that the local fire department no longer rescues kittens from trees as they used to. It was such a relief to see those horses galloping up the street, smoke belching out of the fire engine’s boiler and mustachioed firemen erecting ladders to rescue the little felines! Nowadays we just see those little cat skeletons up in the branches as we walk along our beloved Eugene streets. Doesn’t anyone care for kittens any more? Oh, I guess they were free-roaming: Paging Alvin Urquhart!

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene



 

(9-2 web-only letters)

BLOCK UO SPRAWL

Do not expect any information about the proposed land purchase from KLCC, EW, or the R-G. Do expect the R-G to eventually run a editorial that will describe this deal in overly simplistic terms and will urge the council to do what certain UO officials want immediately. 

On Sept. 20 the Eugene City Council will consider public testimony about whether UO should be allowed to expand its boundary with new land that is southeast from the main campus (an area near 17th and Villard and Moss Street). The Sept. 20 hearing will be held in the City Council Chamber. If the sale to UO is approved by the council the decision may be appealed to LUBA (like the Bowers vs. UO case was) for a $250 fee. 

UO and the UO Foundation are eyeing the land for future dormitory development, surface parking, parking garages, and possibly a $30 million to $40 million indoor track. UO development schemes in Fairmount and on the Eugene riverfront have been divisive, costly, and have helped to create a mounting traffic gridlock and a degraded riverfront greenway. 

A great number of Eugene and Lane County residents need to come forward at this hearing and direct the City Council to deny the sale of this public land to UO and redirect UO development towards rehabbing existing UO buildings or new construction in downtown Eugene.

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene



COZY WITH UNIONS

I attended a town hall with Rep. Phil Barnhart in Creswell recently. Turn-out was small, maybe 15 people, but that was OK with me because I had a few questions and felt more comfortable in a small crowd. 

Barnhart and his two sidekicks spoke for more than an hour, all the while explaining questions would be taken afterward. Questions had to be submitted beforehand and read by another Barnhart person. I submitted five questions. I waited while three questions were asked and it was announced “Time up.” None of my questions were asked and I seriously doubt any one else’s questions were asked either. 

What is Barnhart scared of? Voters? After being asked again and again by one unsatisfied listener (voter) it was admitted that one of Barnhart’s sidekicks was from the SEIU. Maybe that is why the Lane County budget is $10 million to $17 million dollars in debt: Barnhart’s cozy relationship with the unions. 

For me it wasn’t a total loss. Barnhart did answer one question for me: Kelly Lovelace for District 11.

Joanne Rate, Creswell



MORAL SUICIDE

 An article in the R-G by one of our national pundits the other day said that if congressional Democrats voted against the war funding they would be committing “political suicide” because Congress would be leaving the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq on the lurch.

Our entire country is committing moral suicide, funding unbelievable atrocities against civilian-men, women, children, elders, while we teach our young men and women to kill on order, leaving aside their deepest conscience and international law. It is hard to believe that there are not adequate funds in the pipeline to bring these young men and women home. We need to welcome them home, nurture them, provide them with public service jobs, health services and quality education, so that they can re-enter society as productive citizens.

Peace will never come from war-making, war profits, war preoccupation. It will only come when we as a country and others are willing to devote our attention and our hearts to caring for the Earth and for the people in it, for funding human decency, local sustainability around the world and within our own families and cultures. When will we learn this lesson?

Peg Morton, Eugene



EDUCATION IS SOLUTION

I share Arnold Ismach's fears (Viewpoint, 8/5) about the decline of quality journalism, but I suspect most EW readers were already aware of this problem, and the editorial fails to identify the causes of the problem or to propose meaningful solutions. New media do not threaten democracy or community cohesion. The real threat to our democracy is a lack of effective education. Citizens need the skills to consume media critically and selectively. A lack of consumer demand for quality media cannot be solved by railing against YouTube: It can only be solved through education.

As a writing instructor at Linn-Benton Community College, I see some students who are proficient at analyzing the quality of news stories and data on the internet, but I see many more who have inadequate experience doing this type of analysis. Nearly all proficient students have a good deal of reading experience, read for pleasure, and read to find out the answers to questions that concern their lives. These healthy reading habits are best developed during a quality K-12 education. If we want newspapers to survive, whether in print or on the web, we need to educate our citizens to be readers.

George Zamzow, Eugene



EDITORIAL CHOICES?

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in your choice to not to feature the Northwest World Reggae Festival (NWWRF) on the cover of EW yet again this year. I am an extremely hard working volunteer who has no financial connection to the festival. 

Over the course of the summer, I have seen you feature almost all the other local music and festival events on the cover of your paper. I’m not sure what you have against the NWWRF, but it is evident in your editorial choices that you have a major bias against this festival. The reggae music community in Eugene is very strong and prevalent. The access and quality of reggae music is what brought me to the Eugene area to live. 

The NWWRF is the largest reggae festival in Oregon and it brings in world-renowned acts. This environmentally conscious festival has great camping, a wide variety of food choices and incredible music. I am saddened and disappointed in your choice not to feature the NWWRF in your paper again this year. The small article that does cover the festival placed in the middle of other music information does not do the festival or the local reggae music community justice. 

Hilary Schloss, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We haven’t featured any music festival on our cover in recent years. We did run a “teaser” headline about the NWWRF on our cover that week.



NUKES AND BIOMASS

 I’d like to challenge the environmentalists: How-and-where are the energy needs of the future going to be met, and how are they going to be paid-for? As “Joe Blow” off the streets, I have no viable solution to this problem, but since you seem to be such experts about everything that is wrong about any possible means of generating power perhaps you should tell us how to go about it! No solution is going to be perfect, whether conventional or not.

Personally, based on the limited knowledge and information I have, nuclear power generation seems to be the only solution, given the available technology at our disposal. However, after living for more than 20 years about 3.5 miles east of the now-defunct Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on Long Island, and seeing 99 percent of the protestors flocking to the site from everywhere in the country except locally, I know that that will not be allowed! 

In the current situation, would anyone have even dreamed of using biomass to generate power if you environmentalists hadn’t proposed it as an alternative in the first-place? Now that someone is thinking “outside-the-box” and actually doing something unconventional, instead of just proposing it, you are jumping down their throats because of all of the negatives involved with the process. You never do mention any negatives when you propose something!

C’mon environmentalists, give us some viable solution for our energy needs, something credible, not just some wild ideas about future concepts that we don’t have the technology for!

Todd L. Bone, Junction City



IN PRAISE OF CMT

I would like to say thank-you to the good folks of the Cascade Medical Team for their free health care clinic July 24-25. I attended on the 24th and walked right through with no significant waits at any of the stations. I received a short term supply of blood pressure medicine and a prescription for pain medicine for a bad hip, and I made an appointment with Volunteers in Medicine so that I can be evaluated for care with VIM. 

I found the entire experience to be great. The people were friendly and professional, and the facility that was used, the clinic built by Monaco for their employees in the heyday of their business, is a beautiful little clinic. I hope that it continues to be utilized more in the future, either by CMT or someone else who can provide health care to the community. Great job, Cascade Medical Team! Keep up the good work.

Lonnie McCulloch, Eugene



FLASH MOB RACISTS

For the 10,000th time in my life I am ashamed to be an American. 

This phony right-wing trumped up outrage over plans to build a mosque near “hallowed ground zero” would be laughable. But a poll showing that 70 percent of the American people oppose building the mosque just shows how much our American people can be brainwashed into trashing the freedom America was founded on. Why aren't these same people outraged over the titty bars and sex shops within two blocks of the hallowed ground? 

America has become nothing more than a flash mob taking its directions from a handful of deviant Moral Majority talking heads.

Yes, I am ashamed to be an American.

Michael Hinojosa, Eugene 



KUDOS

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the raw, honest, tender and amusing “Taking Mom Home” (EW cover story, 8/5). I was deeply touched and inspired. 

Laura Zuke, Springfield



SUPPORT DISCLOSURE

The DISCLOSE Act came up just one vote short of passing the Senate in July, but it’s coming up for another vote in September. Please write to your senators and ask them to vote for the DISCLOSE Act.

Chuck Schumer, Patrick Leahy, and Russ Feingold are all among the senators who are supporting the DISCLOSE Act, a bill to regulate corporate contributions and force tighter disclosure of corporate spending in the wake of the recent Supreme Court’s ruling.

One of the first tests of this new ruling came from Target. If you’ve ever shopped at Target, the money you spent on toothpaste might be part of the $150,000 Target donated to run TV ads for an anti-gay, anti-minimum wage candidate in Minnesota just recently.

Now when you buy toothpaste, the money you spend can be used directly for television ads attacking people or causes that you believe in without you even knowing.

Rita Castillo, Springfield



PARK OF THE FUTURE

The new Park Avenue: New Hampshire to sell one of its state park mountains to Eastern Mountain Sports. The T-shirt selling sporting goods emporium is promoting “park of the future” contests to encourage young outsider enthusiasts to think up new ways to mess up the planet. The UO recently went public and I pity the poor students if Uncle Phil buys the whole university and all enrolled must wear sneakers between classes throughout our long, wet winter term. 

Vince Loving, Eugene



ROADKILL NEWT

Newt Gingrich's political career died of moral, financial and political corruption and hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, media still call on him to be a spokesman for “conservatism.”

His grayed appearance emphasizes his moral death. Words come from his mouth like flies from a roadkilled skunk.

He lies, attacks his betters and calls names. Anything he says should be scrubbed with Lysol and the public should not be subjected to his hateful pollution.

Jerry Smith, Eugene



MAMA GRIZZLIES

There's been a lot of talk in the political world about women becoming Mama Grizzlies. From the moment I gave birth to my daughter 21 years ago, I knew I would protect her with my life. This would qualify me as a Mama Grizzly, but I think what I would consider worth fighting for might be different than the recently proposed definition.

I believe everyone should be treated with respect in our country: gays, straights, blacks, whites, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, young, old, the rich and the poor, women, men. My daughter came out as a lesbian during her teen years, and through her coming-out she gave this Mama Grizzly an inside look into how we Americans easily hurt and discriminate against one another. 

I'm fighting for the right for every human being to be treated kindly. I want what every mother wants for her daughter: The right for her to marry who she loves and wants as a life partner. I want my daughter to have access to a solid education, an excellent job and to be able to create a family. When Measure 36 passed in Oregon, I cried tears of anguish. When Judge Walker in California overturned Proposition 8, I cried tears of joy. My daughter recently ended her first long-term relationship. This relationship showed me that some time in the future, I will gain another daughter and in a loving relationship. It's the love and not the gender that matters.

I believe in family values, and though not all families are the same, these families deserve the same rights and privileges. As an American I am ashamed of the hatred we are showing Muslims and African Americans as well as gays, at the scapegoating we are giving illegal Hispanic immigrants, at the weight of importance we give to people without credentials or experience. True Mama Grizzlies are needed to stand up on their hind legs and roar: Enough divisive speech! Time is running out; our species may become extinct unless we can see and recognize love in all its forms.

Victoria Koch, Eugene



DEAR PHONE BOOK PUBLISHER

It's the 21st century. Al Gore invented the internets. You may have heard that our fingers do the walking on the keyboard now. At least when we need to find people who have managed to hang on to land lines. Remember when phone companies used to charge us for NOT publishing our number? 

Anyhoo, stop littering my porch every six months with a phone book under the presumption that I either want it, need it or have some obligation to do something responsible with it when it becomes outdated. It's just a useless pile of dead tree pulp wrapped in a plastic bag that competes for space with the old cell phone chargers in my kitchen junk drawer. I would rather you leave me a paper bag with dog poo in it. At least that will compost. 

I have decided as punishment for your presumptuousness not to patronize any of the advertisers in your tome masquerading as a utilitarian medium which in reality is just a platform for advertising revenue.

Davy Ray, Eugene



ONLY WITH OUR HELP

I am writing this to ask any or all who can to donate to the Tamarack Fitness pool so that it can remain the wonderful resource in our community that it has been will continue to be only with our help.

It has served many disabled, seniors or folks who are recovering from an injury over the years. My elderly father was helped after a stroke and I have been helped this summer after a very disabling broken ankle to regain strength and ease pain and stiffness in the pool. I see many young and older persons unable to walk who get lifted into the pool and hot tub with their aides moving them through the water so they can experience movement and the soothing warm air and water. They get the exercise in a facility unlike any other in Eugene and will not have that if the pool is no longer available to them.

If we fail to keep this facility open it will be a huge loss to all of us. One never knows when they will be in need of such a pool so please donate to keep this great resource alive and well.

Jane Germani, Eugene



OSPIRG DECEIT

I once worked for OSPIRG as a canvasser, and since then I've occasionally given them money. No longer. OSPIRG is using contaminated eggs to urge passage of U.S. Senate Bill 510, which would put the Food and Drug Administration in charge of telling farmers how to farm. OSPIRG is being deceitful, because the bill specifically exempts egg production from FDA production standards!

Food contamination typically comes from large producers, but it's small farms that would be driven out of business by the legislation. It would force farmers to comply with different production standards for each crop grown. For example, last Summer the FDA proposed separate guidelines for melons, tomatoes, and leafy greens. Easy for a farmer growing many acres of only one crop; next to impossible for a small farm that intermingles many crops for pest control, fertility management, and other considerations. This would mean the end of most CSAs, and who would remain to sell at farmers markets? Yet OSPIRG paints opposition to this bill as coming from "mega-farms" and "big processing plants."

OSPIRG is lying. Opposition to this bill comes from people defending small farms and local, healthy food. OSPIRG will not get any more money from me, and I urge anyone who has been supporting them to stop. Instead, people should call Sens. Wyden and Merkley, and ask them to insist that the legislation include Senator Tester's amendments, which would protect small farmers from the FDA.

John Flanery, Eugene



BAD EGGS

Several hundred people have come down with salmonella enteritides poisoning, leading to the recall of 380 million eggs from 17 states by the Wright County Egg Company of Galt, Iowa (http://bit.ly/963hx5). According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100,000 Americans suffer from egg-borne Salmonella infections each year. Common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. 

Salmonella infection is only the most publicized health effect of egg consumption. An average egg contains loads of fat and 213 mg of cholesterol, key factors in the incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer and type II diabetes.

Incidentally, those 380 million eggs were the product of nearly 1,500,000 birds suffering for a year in tiny wire-mesh cages that cut their feet and tear out their feathers. Their waste was dumped into a nearby stream, contributing to massive pollution of the Mississippi River, and eventually to a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico three times the size of the BP oil spill.

The good news is that our local supermarket offers a number of healthful, eco-friendly, delicious egg replacers. More details are available at www.chooseveg.com/vegan-substitutes.asp

Elijah Hennison, Eugene



YELLING AT BEGGARS

I've lived near and worked in the downtown area for more than 12 years. During this time, I've either commuted by bicycle or bus. I think the box around the LTD station is awesome. I believe that, unless you're catching a bus, working at or patronizing a downtown business, there's no reason for you to be loitering downtown. There's a nice river that runs through town in addition to many parks established for the very purpose of congregation. Why not hang out somewhere nicer?

As for the indignant ire of some of those interviewed for the article who imply that it's unfair for police to cite people for public defecation, drug possession, and littering — think about it this way; if you're a small business owner or a downtown employee, would you really want to be greeted with that first thing in the morning? Because I've come across all of it more times than I can count. And, yes, those people who are ticketed for those violations because they've been caught in the act should be excluded from downtown for a period of time. 

Now, I realize the exclusion zone is a delicate topic. Since it's wrong for police to exclude people simply on suspicion of wrongdoing, I think, if the powers that be really care, what the city should do is establish a better street outreach program. Since many of "undesirables" being targeted downtown are homeless people who are obviously clueless regarding the services available to them, there ought to be more proactive steps taken to help the mentally ill, the disenfranchised youth, and the irritating panhandler. Yes, I yell at these people (with the exception of the "crazy" ones) when approached, but I would gladly vote for a tax initiative that would fund an outreach program. I don't understand why I never see any social workers or even religious organizations down there trying to help out. That speaks volumes about our priorities as a community. 

Eve Cienfuegos, Eugene



MEDIEVAL BELIEFS

Listen to the bloody rhetoric spewing from conservatives these days. You have to wonder, is there any difference between Tea-Baggers and Taliban?

They share Medieval beliefs about society, education, science and economics. Unlike the Taliban however, the American right has access to the media, who amplify the voices of intolerance and bigotry. The controversy over the proposed Cordoba Center in New York is a good example of this. 

Pundits who denounce Islam as a bloody religion conveniently ignore the Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Jews, and in our own time, the pedophile priests. You can't have it both ways. If Muslims must answer for al-Qaeda, then all Christians are responsible for terrorists who open fire in abortion clinics and the holocaust museum, crash planes into IRS offices, and blow up buildings in Oklahoma City.

The problem is fundamentalism. Without reflection or compassion, dogma perverts religion from a source of comfort to an instrument of coercion.

They say that love is blind, well so is hate, so when some tells you to hate something it's time to open your eyes.

Brook Adams, Eugene 



BLAME RADICALS

This country was founded on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The behavior and attitude towards the Islamic center in downtown New York directly undermine all of our wonderful country's values and ideals. Muslims didn't bomb the towers. Some radical members of a terrorist group did. Hating the Muslims who had no part in 9/11 is like hating all Christians for the Inquisition or hating all Germans because of the Holocaust. Just because Jeffrey Dahmer was white, doesn't make all white men psychotic serial killers!

Booker T. Washington said, "I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him."

To draw so much negative attention to them and to publicly show so much hate is unjust, it's not morally right and it's not setting a good example. I am ashamed that those who would denounce these rights call themselves Americans. We need to be the bigger person. What makes us any better than the terrorists if we, also, condemn the right to religious freedom and we do not practice good ethics in spite of what was done to us?

James Baldwin said, "I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." I suspect, as far as 9/11 is concerned, that is true for many families. It doesn't make it right. The individuals who bombed the towers were speaking out against religious freedom and freedom of speech. Why on Earth would one ever want to lower oneself to their level? Our country is supposed to be civilized, developed and a leader in human and civil rights. Behavior like this coming from Americans would cause others to believe otherwise.

"Somehow our devils are never quite what we expect when we meet them face to face." Fortunately, public attitudes about Islam change dramatically when people know an individual American Muslim. I would encourage people in our city to get to know American Muslims in our community.

Hilarie Hope, Corvallis