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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.07.10




ILLEGAL VEGGIES

This letter is to notify the city of Eugene and River Road community that Jen Hornaday’s 11-year-old organic sunflower, veggie gardens at the end of East Maynard Avenue are being put to rest.

The city of Eugene’s new encroachment policy has demanded the removal of these gardens that are located on public land adjoining the side of my house. With fines of up to $500 a day for growing vegetables, we’ve decided to dig up our plants and move on. The city has not only insisted on the removal of the gardens but the area will also be graded and reseeded with grass. The date the gardens go back to grass is Oct. 31.

The city has stated that a letter of complaint was sent out more than two years ago, but as of now we have not received any such letter. A follow-up from the city would have been thoughtful.

We would like to personally thank our local River Road community friends and neighbors for all the letters of support to try and save these beautiful organic gardens. We would also like to invite you all to come by and see the gardens and say your goodbyes one last time. Please feel free to pick a sunflower and plant the seeds in your own garden at home.

Also, if there is anyone in the River Road area who has any sunny garden space available for us to plant marionberries, raspberries and/or garlic, please let us know.

Jen & Doug Hornaday, Eugene



DOG OWNER

I am a “newbie” in Oregon; I have only been here for 12 years. I am writing about our Congressman Peter DeFazio. My favorite store is our Bi-Mart in Springfield. I was shopping around and there was this guy, in the dog food aisle, with coupons in hand searching out the specials. Since I had the same coupons, I began to talk with him about the cost of things. 

As we talked like two ordinary people I thought, “I know this person.” So, I finally asked, “Do I know you?” He said that he was Peter. I said, “Congressman?” He said, “Dog owner.” We laughed because we both knew: They own us. 

I must say that he is just a great guy, real, human and so much in touch with us regular people. We talked about our dogs, about the cost of human food, about the forests and the watersheds. I am so impressed with his depth and knowledge about, and concern for our life in this land we call home. Although I called Ohio home for most of my life, I love Oregon, and I really love having Peter DeFazio representing me in the House of Representatives.

Karren A. Lansky, Springfield



TEMPORARY FIX

The article “School’s Out” (cover story, 9/23) discusses one solution for closing the giant budget deficit for 4J schools — higher taxes. What isn’t addressed is the underlying sustainability of the educational system itself. How long will it be before District 4J is again in trouble and needs further financial assistance? How high can taxes go?

One solution that was not given nearly enough discussion is to change the system itself, as suggested by the report from the Thought Leaders Group. Innovative schools that change the traditional model of education are springing up across the country, using ideas similar to those in the report, such as high school students taking college courses, internships, independent study and online coursework. In fact, there are high schools in some states that are 100 percent online.

There are also new ideas cropping up that did not appear in the report — for example, the idea of a teacher-led school, which is essentially a school in which the teachers, as a group, serve as the leadership team. Having visited many of these schools, two things struck me — one was the sense of empowerment and pride that I saw in the teachers, and the second was that every single school was showing a budget surplus. This idea is starting to get national attention, as evidenced by recent articles in the Christian Science Monitor and Huffington Post.

We can only hope that the district leaders are open to these ideas and take decisive action to bring innovation and change to 4J schools.

Mark J. Van Ryzin, Eugene



RAINBOW CITY

I want to acknowledge the lovely landscaping and flowers on the “mall” in downtown Eugene, and the person(s) responsible for them. This summer, as well as today (9/17), I was wowed at the lively color schemes of the thoughtful flower arrangements in beds and hanging baskets. I can’t remember the last time downtown looked so charming and appealing as it does now.

Along with the beautiful blooms on the mall, I also became aware of the quirky, colorful and well-kept shops and galleries, etc. Add to this the mosaic of lawyers, street kids, artists, police officers, mommies with babies, punks, government officials, pets and wildlife, bus riders, business owners, lovers, college students, tourists, etc. all going about their day. I believe the combination of these diverse elements complement one another and are representative of our quirky, colorful city. The mixed bag of people, commerce and aesthetic forms a rainbow that is uniquely downtown Eugene, Oregon.

 Jennifer Farina, Eugene



CROSSWALK OBLIVION

This is just to let everyone know that downtown Eugene is not safe. I just got hit (9/30) by an SUV in a crosswalk on Willamette. I had the walk light and he turned left into the crosswalk.

Our culture seems to have spawned a whole lot of people living in some kind of personal dream world, oblivious to everyone around them, always in a hurry, multi-tasking, dangerous.

From now on I’m not using any crosswalk that a car could turn into. For the future, I can only hope that peak oil and high gas prices force a lot of people off the road like the young man who hit me — and that next time he hits something more solid that will eliminate him from the gene pool.

Lynn Porter, Eugene



ICE AGE POLICIES

Hey, Art Robinson: I have received your letter asking for money. You assume that since I own a business and have a conservative voting record, I will support you.

Fact is, for first time ever, I’ll vote for Democrat Peter DeFazio. Here’s why.

Your websites say public education is tax-financed “socialism,” that schools are “evil” dens of “child abuse” which produce kids who are “permanently retarded.” You say public schools should be “abolished.” Not even the Taliban go that far.

Worse, you fail to mention that you earn a living — not as a scientist — but by hawking a cheap home-schooling program, and that the reduction or elimination of funding for public schools could put millions in your pocket.

In contrast, Peter DeFazio has provided more than $319,000 from his personal after-tax salary to fund scholarships for students here. Moreover, DeFazio consistently votes against wasteful spending. And as a senior member of Congress, he has brought thousands of jobs to our district.

Art, you talk about taking America back to the 1950s. Your positions on education, global warming and nuclear waste will take us back to the Ice Age.

Steve McNamara, Eugene



EW DOESN’T KNOW SHINOLA

To those in the know (aka music fans), EW’s incompetence at covering local music is nothing new. As members of the local music community, we have learned that we must look to other sources (mainly word-of-mouth and online networking sites like Facebook) to find out what’s going on in this town because we cannot rely on EW for accurate information. Unfortunately, many people look to the Weekly first to find out what’s happening, and never really experience the vibrancy of the local music scene. Rick Levin reached an all-time literary low in his preview (8/26, “Fascinating Wankers”) of The Budos Band at the WOW Hall.

“Too many horns create a traffic jam.” In Beethoven’s Eroica symphony (No. 3 in E flat Major, Op. 55), which you cited as a shining example of instrumental music, there are no fewer than 13 horns. And in Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, your other example, there are 21.

“Instrumental music is better when you have something else to focus on, like dancing, drugs or sex.” So what you’re saying is you don’t listen to music.

Why would you have someone who clearly knows nothing about music write about music? We don’t understand calling the Budos “wankers” in comparison to ... Steely Dan!? Ahem. Did you actually listen to any of their music?

Judging by the turnout at the WOW Hall, other Eugeneans, like us, have figured out that EW doesn’t know shit about music.

Basin & Range, Mark Macomber, Johnny Schlea, Dan Mahoney & Phil Allen



EASY TO FORGE

Add my kudos to Randy (Ellis) for 40 years on the force. But it was interesting to note that ALL of those who signed the 40th anniversary letter (full page ad, 10/30) did so with a signature that is extremely easy to forge. Ask any handwriting expert. 

Frank Skipton, Springfield



BEST TEAM IS HERE

PeaceHealth’s Board of Directors has approved moving several hundred hospital and clinic jobs to the Vancouver, Wash., area. Targeted areas include health improvement development, patient financial services, health information management, accounting/finance and human resources.

PeaceHealth is trying to merge with Southwest Washington Health System located in Vancouver. After an expensive study performed by Deloitte, PeaceHealth was told they would save money by creating a centralized service center. We were offered up as a bargaining chip by PeaceHealth to entice Southwest. Some PeaceHealth executives have already sold their homes preparing to move to Washington. Sounds like it’s a done deal.

Our community will be greatly affected. Hundreds of people will lose jobs or might relocate, if they are offered positions. More homes will be on the current glutted market. This affects LCC’s health professional programs. PeaceHealth will not be hiring those graduates: hence, more people looking for jobs in Lane County — where jobs are so plentiful, aren’t they?

The PeaceHealth Board believes the Vancouver labor pool is more viable than Lane County: A centralized service center better fits Vancouver’s growth needs.

The departments targeted to move currently are managing regional hospitals and numerous clinics as well as supporting PeaceHealth’s Alaska and Washington regions. The employees entrusted to take care of PeaceHealth patients repeatedly have proven to be the biggest and the best. They do more work with fewer employees. Why destroy the best team? Why not make Oregon the service center?

Carol Borders, Eugene 



SOLIDARITY LACKING

Camilla Mortensen reports hope for “a government-run health insurance plan that competes alongside private insurers” (cover story, 9/23). An item Sen. Ron Wyden inserted in President Obama’s health care bill “that lets states waiver out of the national health care bill and come up with their own plan” provides hope.

But, in addition to Rep. Phil Barnhart’s “big ifs” and opposition from Republicans and insurance companies, there is a deeper challenge to the solidarity necessary for public health insurance: individualism. For example, the growing focus on economic prosperity and my own ambitions.

Such individualism produces a horrifying utter lack of a sense of solidarity. You could tell an American, or an Oregonian, that there are 40 million people without health care and they’d say, “Well, so?”

If that’s the reaction, public health care is toast.

So how do we — in the face of this kind of individualism — recreate a sense of solidarity?

We cannot insist on one particular political ideology, philosophy or religion. But if ­ another big but crucial “if” — all the different spiritual and political families find the solidarity within themselves to recreate their sense of dedication to the society of which they are a part, public health may have a chance.

Sam Porter, Eugene

 







THE NAKBA REQUIRES JUSTICE

Rabbis Harris and Husbands-Hankin stubbornly persist in misrepresenting our project in their letter of Sept. 30. One misleading twist of language is their assertion of “Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish homeland.” Nations don’t have “rights,” but people do. Among these is the right to live anywhere you want for any reason, sacred or profane, as long as you gain legal title by legal means. But nobody has the right to seize property at gunpoint from its legal owners as Israel has done to Palestinians for 62 years, producing more than four million refugees with the right to return or just compensation. In The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine Israeli historian Ilan Pappe identifies this as a crime, and crimes require legal remedy, not negotiation with the thieves over how much stolen property to return. Nevertheless, the Palestinians have generously agreed to allow Jewish citizens to remain if they simply honor Palestinian rights under international law and numerous U.N. resolutions.

The good rabbis declare their “compassion for the suffering of Palestinians who carry the memory of the Nakba.” For many that memory is as recent as yesterday, since the Nakba remains ongoing in attenuated form under the same grandiose rationale of biblical entitlement. Much more than compassion is needed. Germany not only had remorse for its crimes and compassion for its victims, but withdrew from all occupied lands and has paid restitution ever since to its individual victims and more than $60 billion to the state of Israel.

The good rabbis invoke the supposed “750,000 Jewish refugees who fled Arab lands.” Most such emigration was recruited by Israel over two decades to increase its population through “ingathering of the exiles” who, moreover, received stolen land of dispossessed Palestinians. Yes, some were expelled from alarm over Zionist aggression. Some were stampeded by false flag Mossad operations, and some were expelled by Egypt when invaded by Israel in 1956. But most importantly, they have not been denied the right of return and were publicly invited to do so by Egypt and Iraq. Jewish refugees unjustly deprived of property certainly have the right to return or compensation, but this does not negate the same right of Palestinian refugees.

Finally, the good rabbis advocate the “two-state solution” which sounds good in theory but, as currently proposed, evades international law and fundamental human rights for Palestinians within the occupied and blockaded territories (http://wkly.ws/tn)  and living under discriminatory laws within Israel (http://wkly.ws/to). This model does not allow full Palestinian self-determination, which cannot be sacrificed on the altar of Jewish self-determination as it has been for 62 years.

Jack Dresser

Co-Director, Al-Nakba Awareness Project



IMAGINARY CRUSADERS

You are traumatized, so I have to give up my freedom of religion. I have to give up my freedom of speech because you're "sensitive." 

People say what they feel about the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and no one tells us we don't have the right to speak, even if we upset people who fought in those wars. But if we say everyone has a right to worship God in their own way in the company of others, suddenly people's eyes bug out and they become hysterical. Oh my God, Muslims might actually pray! We have to stop that! 

Get a grip. 

All you allegedly traumatized Christians are just having a mass hysteria event because you all imagine you are fighting the Crusades Against the Infidel all over again, seven centuries later, and you are unable to think or reason. 

Why do you have the right to run our country? 

Ann Tattersall, Eugene



TALKING NAZIS

In talking to a friend at the coffee shop today, in speaking with him he referred to another friend as a Nazi.

Language has changed for Americans.

When we hear the word “Nazi,” this can point to any person who wishes to impose their will on us.

When we hear the word “socialism,” we may be talking about any social system in which individuals are forced to think about other people other than themselves.

I think this whole Tea Party movement is the popular voice of an American nation that has, for both good and bad reasons, enjoyed great leisure of life and the freedom to follow their own pleasures without considering the welfare of other people in their own communities and other nations. It is an expression of a far larger sincere anxiety in the masses of “America,” an anxiety that comes from their feeling that the easy life might soon be over. This makes us sensitive, ready to and lash out with at anyone who seeks to mention, much less force, them to consider a world after an American supremacy that allowed Americans to live in the cocoon of their own self satisfying pursuits.

For such people anyone who calls to them to think of someone else but themselves is a “Nazi” in any society in which they can no longer pursue just pleasing themselves is a form of “socialist” tyranny.

Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove



NO LIES OR DISTORTIONS

Just who is this Art Robinson running against Congressman Peter DeFazio? Who is he, and what does he stand for? What are his positions on the issues? Go to www.whoisartrobinson.com where quotes by Robinson are backed up with sources. No lies, no distortions, just the words by the candidate himself. How does he stand on child abuse, Medicare, education, the environment, energy, radiation, Wall Street reform and more?

I'm confident that reading the words of Robinson will help you to make an informed choice in the coming election. Peter DeFazio has done a tremendous job representing a very diverse and extremely large district of varied people, occupations, trades and industries. He has stood up to special interests and even party politics to do what was right for our district. Vote for DeFazio.

Richard Davison, Reedsport



FACE THE TRUTH

 One of the biggest problems dealing with climate change and peak oil is it isn't on most people's list of concerns. By the time it is, it'll be too late to make a comfortable transition to other energy systems. 

This means things will have progressed to such a level of chaos that planning will be for immediate survival. Human psychology is very similar to the rest of the animal kingdom. Immediate threats get immediate results. A burning building, people run out, call for help.

Global warming, peak oil, unsustainable growth, species extinction and pollution, are all major problems that seem far off here in the Pacific Northwest. However, many parts of the world are dealing with these issues today. Here in Oregon, we are still living a life of plenty. If the threat is not imminent, it gets ignored. Science has allowed us to see into the future. The future is not pleasant at our current trajectory. Business as usual is destroying life as we know it. It that clear enough? What can you do? Grow your own food, support local, organic small family farmers, mass transit projects and conserve energy. Stop shopping for entertainment. Demand action from our legislators. Be part of the re-localize movement. Check out 350.org and get involved with the 10-10-10 Global Work Party. Come hear climatologist James Hansen at the UO on Oct 16. Be informed, face the truth. Don't wait until our home is burning out of control.

Pamela Driscoll, Dexter



NOT ENOUGH PAIN

The voting public wants more pain, as evidenced by the fervent and much published predictions that the Republicans will route the Democrats this November. What an incredibly short memory! Why, it was just a few short months ago that the voters were all about booting ‘W’ and all those morally dubious GOPers from their lofty perches in the Congress. The economy had tanked thanks in large part to unregulated Wall Street debt speculation. The GOPers in charge began writing checks to every out-stretched Wall Street hand. Then millions upon millions of workers lost their jobs; lost their incomes; and some lost their homes to Wall Street speculation.

And let’s not forget the national debt. During the reign of “W” we racked up billions and billions of unsecured debt for huge tax cuts for the wealthy, two unpaid for wars, and a Medicare drug plan that also went onto the national debt. So, the middle class really thinks that putting the GOP back in charge will change any of this? Not likely. What is more likely is that the GOP will do the bidding of those who bought them with Supreme Court allowed anonymous unlimited donations from corporations. They will continue to transfer as much debt and taxes to the middle class as they can. 

While they undermine the integrity of the middle class, they will continue to transfer as much wealth to and remove taxes from the rich and super rich as their time in office will allow. Eventually, the public will react again and revolt but only after additional pain and suffering has been administered by their currently popular choice of master.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene 



HITLER METHODS?

I was at the Eugene Saturday Market recently, over on the courthouse side where the political tables and the drummers are. There was a new table there that had a large hand-made sign in front of it talking about the dangers of Islam and opposing the “mosque” at Ground Zero. I stopped to have a little chat. There were two older men, one wearing a red, white and blue flag hat. I do not like anti-Muslim hatred posing as patriotism, and I let them know. Things got a little hot.

They were from a group called “Act! For America.” They told me that Islam was a dangerous religion and it had to be stopped. They said that Muslims wanted to kill me. I asked what should be done and was told that A) America must allow no more Muslim immigrants, period. B) All Muslims must be deported. I asked about myself. I said I was born in California, as were my parents. If I became a Muslim, would I have to be deported as well? They said yes. I said, deported to where? They said, deported to a Muslim country.

I asked them where were their shiny black boots and arm bands, and the guy with the flag hat said “Hitler methods” are called for in this case. To find out more about “Act! for America” go to http://wkly.ws/st

This is a free country; we allow people to have ideas and express them, no matter how repugnant. But the line of thinking that these two gentlemen were espousing was very troubling. Especially when “Hitler methods” were suggested. I strongly recommend that if these people show up again at the Market, or at different locations, people engage them. We should not believe that they will simply go away if ignored. Freedom of speech also means the freedom to challenge bad ideas. These are dangerous times indeed.

Jim Page, Eugene