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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.30.10




STOP THE KILLING

In light of the eight deaths (six murders, two post-murder suicides) that have occurred in a span of 63 days, between July 20 and Sept. 21, reported in The Register-Guard, I offer this letter, this plea:

Dear fathers/ step-fathers/ foster fathers/ husbands/ ex-husbands/ uncles/ brothers/ lovers/ ex-lovers/ partners/ ex-partners: 

Please stop killing. Please stop killing your daughters and sons, step-daughters, step-sons, foster children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Please stop killing your wives, ex-wives, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, mothers, step-mothers, partners, ex-partners.  Please stop killing yourselves.

Your actions have killed our friends, family members, lovers, acquaintances, neighbors, scientists, professors, teachers, presidents, council members, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, librarians, and all the future possibilities these children held. Please help us provide a safe present and future for us, our children, our loved ones, and our community.  

 Please stop killing. 

 Cass SkinnerLopata, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Resources include Lane County Legal Aid Domestic Violence Clinic at 485-1017, Womenspace at 485-6513 or (800) 281-2800, SASS at 343-SASS or (800) 788-4727, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE.



GOOD COP, GOOD COP

All too often I read about Eugene police and how they are abusing their power, harassing innocent citizens and generally defacing truth and justice.



I would like to use a recent personal experience to speak to the contrary:



I’m a mild mannered white guy, pierced, tatted, with a gruff “beard” (if you can call it that; more like an 8 o’clock yesterday shadow), multiple piercings in my face, tatted across my hands (knuckles) and done nice with ink on my wrist. I drive an old (1993) Subie station wagon that I treat like a second garbage can, thoughtfully adorned with plenty of stickers.

I was recently stopped for “failure to maintain lane.” Not only was I under suspicion of a DUI, I also was not carrying my proof of insurance, my registration card in my wallet was from another vehicle and my license was from another state, though my address was a Eugene address on all other documents. The officers had every opportunity to enforce the law regardless of politeness or comfort and my appearance suggested “very low life.”



I was not only treated with respect, I was allowed the space and time I needed to compose myself for the roadside tests. During the ride to the station I was assured that my concern about making it to work in the morning was not a problem. When I expressed concern about a particular item in my car, it was brought to the station instead of towed with the car. Thanks to the keen eye of the officer(s), the possibility of me hurting myself, destroying property or, even worse, hurting someone else was mitigated. 

At the time I thought, “Why are the doing this to me?” Now in hindsight I realize it was because they were doing what they were sworn to do “serve and protect the public.” The two officers I was involved with did this in a manner that deserves recognition.

These folks have an incredibly hard job, and the officers I interacted with did it very well, to say the least.

David Errington, Eugene



EXPOSE THE TRUTH

Is it corruption when the Oregon Board of Forestry and Department of State Land sells off thousands of acres of State School Fund land to large timber companies in Lane, Coos and Douglas Counties without notifying the county commissioners?

Is it corruption when the current governor appoints an official who overspends hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars for a state run emergency radio system almost identical to one that New York state recently abandoned?

Is it corruption when millions of dollars are spent on constructing the new Jasper-Thurston highway and paving gravel roads like the north bank road along Lookout Reservoir to a boat ramp while schools are laying off teachers and closing schools?

Maybe some newspaper will expose the whole truth and shenanigans someday soon, but I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath waiting for it.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



SACRED TO BOTH

Mariah Leung’s recent letter (9/9) suggested that Temple Beth Israel is a congregation that strongly supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish homeland. Yes, we do. For years we have affirmed the rights and needs of Jews and Palestinians to each have a state in this land sacred to both peoples. We do not deny the suffering of Palestinian refugees, nor do we deny the suffering of countless Jews and Arabs in the region, resulting from the failure to achieve peace. 

We disagree, however, with the one-sided distortion of the conflict that is presented by the Al Nakba Awareness Project (ANAP). It’s unfortunate that Leung objects to local Jewish community members using free expression to question and critique ANAP’s materials. We also found disturbing the demonizing and conspiratorial tone Leung used to describe Jewish community members and Jewish organizations who care about Israel.

We have compassion for the suffering of Palestinians who carry the memory of the Nakba. We’re disturbed, however, by ANAP’s lack of recognition of other key elements of the conflict, such as the 750,000 Jewish refugees who fled Arab lands, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and safety in part of their historical homeland. 

Palestinians and Jews are spiritual descendants of Abraham. We pray for a future in which both peoples enjoy blessings of peace and well-being in the land sacred to both. A two-state solution offers both peoples self-determination and mutual recognition, and the most realistic possibility for peace. 

Rabbi Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin

Rabbi Maurice Harris, Eugene



SELF-DETERMINATION?

Craig Weinerman makes some interesting statements in his recent letter (“Demonizing Israel,” 9/16). He supports a two-state solution in the Middle East, and claims that radical groups will not live side by side in one Israeli-Palestinian state. History shows otherwise, as for hundreds of years Palestinian Druze, Christians, Muslims and Jews lived peacefully together on shared land. It was only when Jews recently emigrated en masse, dispossessed three quarters of a million rightful owners of their homes and systematically continue expanding undeclared borders that trouble began.

Weinerman also states, “While Leung had the right to express her view that the Jewish people have no right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland.” Self-determination is OK, I suppose, but what about Palestinian self-determination? Palestinians are oppressed, murdered and moved out of the way to satisfy Zionists’ so-called self-determination. And as Mariah Leung’s literature clearly shows (letters, 9/2), the land was not ancestral only to Jews. In fact, Jews have been a historical minority people on the land they now claim sole rights to.

Two-state will never bring peace, as hundreds of Israeli settlements with more than half a million armed and dominant Jews have turned what was to have become a Palestinian state into a non-contiguous group of island bantustans.

Contrary to what Weinerman charges, Leung’s informational display at the Eugene Celebration was a valuable asset for those who seek understanding of both sides of this critical issue.

David R. Evans, Vancouver

 







TURBINE TRASH

During a recent visit to a favorite place in north-central Oregon — where the ruts of Oregon Trail wagons are still clearly visible for more than a mile atop a plateau just west of the John Day River — I sat down amid the bunchgrasses and wildflowers to enjoy the peace and quiet. I had gone there many times before just to listen to the meadowlarks sing and let my eyes wander across a vast treeless landscape unencumbered by human-built structures. Unlike many landscapes in Oregon, this one had remained mostly unchanged since the first pioneers began to pass through the area in the 1840s.

But change has now arrived and it is change that, for some of us, is completely unwelcome. Giant wind turbines now peer over the brow of a low hill nearby, their rotors turning slowly in the incessant wind.

If these huge structures were steel oil derricks located along our beloved coastline, Oregonians wouldn’t stand for it. But perhaps because they’re located in a little-visited part of our state and are “simply harvesting the wind,” most people seem to accept them.

No campaign by the Eugene Water and Electric Board or any other utility, however, is going to persuade me to purchase wind power. I’ve seen what it’s doing to our lovely state — and to one of its most historic treasures, the still-visible remains of the Oregon Trail — and I refuse to help pay for the desecration.

Whitey Lueck, Eugene



‘MODEST’ PERS

In reference to the article in the Sept. 19 Register-Guard concerning the PERS issues, Rose Wilde of Eugene's Department of Human Services office is quoted whining, "It isn't fair to ask newer state employees to bear the cost of decisions previous administrators made, when we ourselves have a much more modest retirement package."

Welcome Ms. Wilde, please join the hundred of thousands of taxpayers who have had no voice in any of the decisions made by your administrators, and who will be paying those higher taxes, while watching our schools and social services cut just to pay your "modest" PERS cost which are project to jump 10.9 percent in 2011-13 and 15.8 percent 2013-15.

So do like the rest of us will have to do, button your lip, tighten your belt, and get on with it.  The bad news is it will get worst, the good news is, you will be retired.

 Dick Walker, Eugene



WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

As Republicans, and even some Democrats, continue to promote the idea that tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is good for the economy, I can't help but remember that the same argument was used to convince Americans that these tax cuts were a good idea in the first place, nine years ago when George W. Bush first enacted them. We were told, with great assurance, that these "across the board" tax cuts would stimulate the economy, and would be, in fact, the best and only way to create jobs in this country. The argument was, of course, nothing more than a re-wording of Reagan's famous, and failed policy of "trickle-down" economics.

The obvious question, it would seem, and one that I do not hear the president, or any other Democrat asking is, "Where are those jobs?" If tax cuts for the wealthy is the Republican solution for creating jobs and building a strong economy, why do we even find ourselves in this economic mess? It's been almost a decade since Congress enacted Bush's "welfare for the wealthy." If the idea worked at all (and I think history has proven that it doesn't), how long does it take? Another decade? Two more? I want John Boehner and the other thieves who call themselves our representatives to answer this simple question: If tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs, where are all the jobs they should have created by now?

The answer, of course, is that they don't. And here are some numbers to prove it:

1. The U.S. unemployment rate in August of 2001 was 4.9 percent, the highest it had been in four years. Some of Bush's campaign rhetoric addressed this issue and promised his planned tax cuts would be the cure.

2. The current U.S. employment rate, as of August, is 9.6 percent, down only slightly from a high of 10.1 percent. Neither of these figures actually represents the number of unemployed Americans, but reflects the number who are currently receiving unemployment benefits, leaving out the millions who haven't applied, or whose benefits have already expired.

3. During that same time period, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans helped themselves to an additional 3 percent of America's wealth, from 39.7 percent in 2001 to 42.7 percent in 2010. According to Bloomberg.com the wealthy have historically tended to save, rather than spend, money gained from tax cuts. Just think of that. One percent of Americans control nearly half the wealth of this country, all gained from our resources and our labor.

Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice from 1916 to 1939, and a great advocate of social justice once said, "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." 

Any questions?

Henry Snow, Eugene