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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.23.10




EMPTY SUIT

Just got back from my eye-to-eye with Chris Dudley and Bruce Hanna at the meet and greet at Stacy’s Covered Bridge Restaurant (in Cottage Grove). Dudley is literally a 7-foot empty suit, draped over skin and bones. That was my trivial first impression as he entered the room and stood by me. The dining room was well filled with local hard-core supporters, sipping on ice tea and wine. I was having a stiff g&t, putting a little fire in my belly. 

Local State Rep. Hanna hogged the mic for the first 35 minutes. “We are a minority, we need to take over for freedom, blah blah blah.” Dudley gave his 10-minute stump and started taking questions.

After the questions tapered off, I raised my hand and asked, “You say you are for promoting business in Oregon. Forrest Paint, a local paint manufacture, has put on the market a superior deck oil product. Their only problem is that they have to import hemp seed oil from Canada to make the deck oil. Last year Oregon overwhelmingly passed SB 676, which legalizes cultivation of commercial hemp. The grass seed industry is hurting. Will you help or hinder the promotion of Oregon’s hemp industry?”

There was an awkward silence, as what I just said in this crowd of conservatives sunk in. Dudley stammered something about not knowing anything about it and awkwardly passed the ball to Hanna.

Hanna gave a flippant response about how it’s hard to keep up on all the bills he has to vote on. I responded by reminding him that he signed it and it passed. I walked over afterward and shook Dudley’s hand and told him I did not appreciate his non-answer. He said he was sorry, but he had no knowledge of the subject. I handed him a copy of SB 676 and told him, “Now you do.” I shook Hanna’s hand and told him I did not appreciate his flippant response. He said he was sorry for his answer, shifted into his political sincerity and promised to look into it.

There you go. An empty suit and his pointless guard, trying to get elected.

Michael Hinojosa, Drain



DUDLEY DO-WRONG

Chris Dudley is wrong for Oregon.

With a $2.7 billion deficit, Dudley would take the opportunity to slash and burn social services. Laissez faire economic theory has been an abject failure over the last 30 years and we cannot afford more of the same. What we need is to tax the rich and wealthy property owners, which Dudley would never allow. 

This is a man with so little regard for Oregon that he moved to Vancouver while making a large salary to avoid paying Oregon taxes. Do the right thing for Oregon and vote against Dudley.

John Adams, Eugene



FROM ALDER TO THE RIVER

Ruth Bascom’s legacy as an advocate of bicycling for recreation and transportation is well deserved. Unfortunately her vision of a network of bicycle routes linking the different parts of Eugene is not fully realized.

Among the many elements of her vision for which we are thankful is a safe and convenient passage under the railroad tracks leading to the river paths, the Frohnmayer Footbridge and Autzen Stadium. In the early 1970s the footbridge was built across the Willamette River but was gated shut because people walked across the railroad tracks to get to the bridge and the bike paths in Alton Baker Park. Bascom advocated for an underpass but met considerable resistance. She persisted and eventually it was built in time for the 1972 Olympic Trials for a mere $45,000.

Forty years later there still isn’t an adequate connection to the river from the densely populated West University Neighborhood. Alder Street carries more bicycle traffic than any other road in the city, yet getting to the river from Alder Street is both hazardous and inconvenient. A safe, direct passage is needed.

An underpass like the one to the east could be built readily, except the UO plans to construct a building along the Willamette River, making a direct route nearly impossible. We could help realize Bascom’s vision by insisting that no development occurs that impedes a safe, convenient, and direct connection from Alder Street to the riverfront path that bears her name.

Howard Bonnett, Eugene



MORE TAXES?

I read Alan Pittman’s article (“School’s Out,” 9/16) with a stifled yawn. Same old playbook. Classroom crisis = more taxes needed.

Let’s take a fresh look. Let’s have all the school district employees publish their wages and benefits. And while they’re doing that, explain who got a raise this year and why. Maybe we can make some cuts there.

Leslie Noxon, Eugene



FRIEND OF LABOR?

It’s ironic that the day after Labor Day, John Kitzhaber, a “friend of labor,” joined his opponent Chris Dudley in calling for teachers, firemen, police and other state workers to accept cuts in wages by shifting the pension and medical insurance costs to them and their families. This, after most of these folks took pay cuts during the last couple of years through furloughs and other forms of givebacks. At the same time Kitzhaber called for the state to invest more in education and other “investment” areas. What hypocrisy!

Kitzhaber joins Republicans and some Democrats in perpetuating the myth of the “wealthy” workers who teach our children, save lives and work on our highways. The idea that people go into teaching or fire fighting for the money is ludicrous. The beginning teacher in Eugene with a bachelor’s degree is paid $32,731 and a beginning teacher with a master’s degree makes a whopping $36,500. 

According to the U.S. Census finance data, government spending for state and municipal employees (non-federal) is as follows: 28 percent for wages and salaries, 6 percent for employee retirement and 66 percent for “other.”

Meanwhile our dynamic private sector in 2008 rewarded the top 25 hedge fund honchos $25 billion, enough to hire 658,000 entry-level teachers. Many of the same people who want to balance budgets on the backs of public employees are also the ones who don’t want to go back to pre-Bush tax rates for the rich.

It’s not right.

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene



SAVE 13TH FOR BICYCLES

In my last letter (8/26) I sounded like the rabid, idiotic cyclist that I am. After all, I have ridden a bicycle around the world and across the country both west to east and north to south. I have been hit by cars so many times even my mother says, “Again?” I have a lot of bicycling experience, so let me try to be more eloquent.

The majority of the human traffic in the area of concern is pedestrian and bicycle. This street (13th Avenue) essentially ends at campus where a left turn is required; the street is not a thoroughfare for automobiles, but is for pedestrians and bicycles. Thus the need for more pedestrian and more bicycle space, not less.

Every traffic designer will tell you that automobiles and bicycles should not be in the same area. The proposed design is totally contrary. The proposal for back-in parking is because a motorist backing out of a parking place is to put all bicyclists in harm’s way. But stopping the car, then backing up is almost as hazardous because the bicyclist is designed to be right behind the car. Also, backing into a parking place will increase the risk of damage to adjacent cars.

The street should be primarily for pedestrians and bicycles. Because of the dire need for other forms of transportation in the area, the street should include public transportation that would serve many people.

Simply put, safety first, then moving as many as people as possible with private privileges taking a back seat. Bicycle lanes in both directions, wider sidewalks, bus lane down the middle.

If this plan is approved by the city, knowing full well that there will be cases in which a motorist backs into a bicyclist, the city is culpable and thus will be sued by the injured party. In addition, the supporters of this plan are also culpable. And, following this logic, the motorist could sue the city and supporters, too!

Gregg Ferry, Corvallis



EASY OIL IS OVER

The untold story behind the development of Alberta’s tar sand (“Rage Against the Machines,” 9/2) is the same as with the Gulf oil spill. There’s a reason why corporations would use huge amounts of water and natural gas and environmentally devastate a whole region to turn black, gooky dirt into something resembling crude oil. It’s the same reason why an oil company would drill a 35,000-foot well — including going through a mile of sea water — with all the dangers and technological challenges involved. The reason is that oil fields on land and in shallower water are producing less and less oil. The days of easy-to-access oil are over and oil companies are now having to go to greater lengths to meet demand and keep their profits flowing.

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 interest in developing Alberta’s tar sands with all the harm that entails.

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 environmental disasters in Alberta, the Gulf and elsewhere.

Robert Bolman, Eugene



UTTERLY UNQUALIFIED

A recent editorial in this area’s sole daily newspaper attempting to portray Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley as political equals duking it out in the race for Oregon governor would be laughable if not such a mis-portrayal of the honest facts.

The only essential facts are these: Kitzhaber is an Oregonian with 20 years of experience in state government, including two distinguished terms as Oregon governor; Dudley has zero years experience in government at any level and hasn’t been in Oregon long enough to get his feet damp, let alone understand what it is to be a Webfoot.

We must all do our part to prevent another immigrant from taking an Oregon job by rejecting the candidacy of the semi-celebrity Dudley, who is completely and utterly unqualified for the office he seeks.

C.W. Russell, Springfield