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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.21.10




IN MEMORY OF KEVIN DOUGHERTY

It doesn’t seem possible that almost a year has passed since I was told the shocking news about Kevin. It is still so fresh in my mind. I’ve heard and read about parents losing a child through war, accident, drugs or illness. I have always felt a certain amount of sympathy for them. I never realized the extent of their pain until I experienced this myself. 

A child is a being who formed slowly inside you and then with the help of God breathed life. When you lose this child you also lose a part of yourself. 

I was comforted by the accolades paid to Kevin by people who knew and loved him in his adult life. They knew him better perhaps than his parents or siblings as he moved a great distance while still quite young. He made infrequent trips back home. I’m happy and comforted that over the past few years these visits were more often and longer and we got to know and love him and his children deeply. 

We are told life goes on, and so it must, but you realize it will never happen for this child you love. The pain in me is so deep it will never go away, but I’m grateful to God for allowing me to experience a mother’s love.

Frances Dougherty, Inwood, N.Y.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An informal gathering of Kevin Dougherty’s friends and coworkers is planned from 4 to 6 pm Thursday, Oct. 21, at the EW offices, 1251 Lincoln St.



REBUILD, NOT WRECK

Wouldn’t it be nice if candidates for public office were to offer-up honest, truthfully and commonsense solutions to some of society’s most vexing problems, rather than just practicing the politics of social destruction?

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of promoting the use of a wrecking ball in the junk yard of social, economic and governmental disarray, candidates would roll up their sleeves and roll out a plan to rebuild and restore our society to its highest and greatest potential?  As Abraham Lincoln said, “Any mule can kick down a shed, but it takes a real carpenter to build one.”

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could get past the jackass politics of personal destruction, and work together to find honest solutions to real problems?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start rebuilding our society, using virtue, truth, honesty and hard work?

Please vote for those candidates who are willing to build us up rather than just continue tearing us down. Let’s stop kicking down the shed, for a “real” new direction.

Bill Fleenor, West Lane County Commissioner



CORPORATE TOOLS

I was not surprised to see that the “alternative” weekly in Eugene suggested (10/14) voting straight down the Democratic ticket, given that they posted a frightening image of Republican domination on the cover. The other reason I was not surprised was the failure of EW to contact me for an interview despite the fact that I am on the ballot as the Progressive Party candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Perhaps if your readers knew that there was a real alternative to Demican and Republicrat corporatists in the Senate, they would ignore the self-fulfilling fallacy that voting for a third party is “wasting” your vote. In truth, voting for a corporate tool who will not challenge his Puppetmasters is wasting your vote. We cannot afford continuing to accept Democratic half-solutions to problems that continue to get worse. Perhaps if a few of them lose their jobs, they won’t take the rank and file for granted. That is why I left the party after 34 years.

The only way to take back America for the people is to reject party labels and vote for anyone who is willing to introduce a Constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood and challenging other senators up for reelection to declare whether they support democracy or corporate domination of government, which some might describe as fascism.

Rick Staggenborg, MD, Coos Bay



TAKE ACTION

As a mother to two elementary school children and the wife of a 4J teacher, I recognize I am more directly affected by the continued budget slashing that is happening in our district, but you fool yourself if you think these cuts don’t affect each and every Eugene citizen. My husband received a letter from the district this week warning him that he and basically every other first and second year teacher in 4J might very well be laid off as of Dec. 17. Happy Holidays! 

With 4J’s teacher force reduced by 10 percent, classroom sizes will grow (yet again), schools will close, teachers will suffer increased stress levels, students will receive even less individualized help, test scores will drop, students will drop out, our population of downtown daytime teens with nothing to do will expand, families with investments in their children’s education will move to communities with better schools, good young fresh teachers will move elsewhere, businesses will suffer. The entire community of Eugene will bear the scars as we repeatedly slash at our school budget. 

Ask yourself if my long list of threats seem likely and if you want them to happen. If not, then do something! Write some letters, support taxes for schools, send the union and the district your ideas for cost reduction and funding. Take action, Eugene! This is our town. Don’t drive us out of it.

Mari Livie, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: See our cover story Sept. 16 on how Eugene could pass an income tax on wealthy individuals to support public schools, similar to Oregon’s Measure 66 which Eugene voters favored by 73 percent. 



REIN IN THE GREED

Our democracy is threatened by destructive corporate interests. Whatever their political beliefs, Americans are outraged when they learn that anonymous corporate attack ads are now legal according to the recent Supreme Court’s “Citizen United” decision. They correctly see the ads as an affront to even the barest standards of fairness. In fact, Republican leaders have long argued that so long as people knew who was paying for campaign ads, there was no need to regulate them through campaign finance reform. Yet since “Citizen United” opened the floodgates for monied interests to drown out the rest of our voices, Republican senators have prevented requiring corporate interests to at least put their names on their ads. Consequently we are bombarded with thousands of dollars worth of such untraceable advertising on local broadcast media outlets.

Frustrated as voters are with the state of America, including with the Democrats’ own frequent capitulation to corporate interests, most still don’t want our government to become the wholly owned property of BP and all the other corporations (including foreign ones) who can now buy our elections without people even knowing they’re involved. It would be a big mistake to sit out this election to teach them a lesson. We need to get past our broken hearts to help elect the best possible candidates. If we work well enough at explaining why the money matters, it could tip race after close race and help us begin to rein in the power of unaccountable greed.

David Zupan, Eugene



DYI MUSIC CRITICS

The way I see it, the authors (“EW Doesn’t know Shinola,” 10/7) have two choices. First, since they are so certain that EW is lamer than their parents, it is obvious there is missing from the Eugene music scene a music critic. Therefore they can fill that void by becoming the voice in the Eugene music scene. They do that by starting their own website. This can be done for $5 a month. They can marry their journalistic skills with their technical and marketing skills to create the ultimate media experience for the discerning Eugene audiophile. 

I can see now an article (video?) describing the shows, along with video clips, art, etc. And because everyone finds the information so important to their lives, advertisers flock to them and beg them to take money for a few pixels on the site. They are so good that the audiences in Portland plead with them to review all of the shows there. Their careers are launched, using Seattle as springboard: New York, London, Paris! They will have to fill in just a couple holes with their own creativity. (Dose of reality: It might be that the Eugene music scene can’t support even one music critic, let alone a half dozen.)

Second, go back down by the river and smoke a couple dubes. The fact that I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Eugene music scene doesn’t mean the authors couldn’t do something really positive for themselves and their community. Just forgoing a joint a month, they could make an awesome site by turning their passion and creativity into something that will be a benefit. Don’t whine about it. Do something better!

Gregg Ferry, Corvallis



RUST HAS INTEGRITY

If you live in the district for the West Lane County commissioner, you probably received the mailing from Keizer, Ore., which purports to be an unbiased survey of who you plan to vote for, with business reply mail postcards for you to send back to express your opinion. The wording on the postcards is exactly the same as a purportedly unbiased telephone survey I was subjected to earlier. 

Does Jay Bozievich really think that we voters are so stupid that we can’t see instantly that this is part of his campaign? Do you want to elect someone to represent you who insults your intelligence, uses such underhanded campaign tactics and takes money from these anonymous, out-of-county donors? I encourage you to send back the postcard for Jerry Rust so they will have to pay the postage (attach it to something heavy!) and then vote for this experienced, honest, and hardworking candidate. 

Unlike his opponent, Jerry Rust has integrity!

Sharon Blick, West Eugene



VOTE FOR HOYLE

Almost one in five or 62,000 people (including 9,000 children) are uninsured in Lane County. Access to affordable health care, prescriptions and health insurance are critical needs in Lane County across all socioeconomic, age, and geographic groups.

Val Hoyle is the Director of United Way’s 100% Access Health Care Initiative, a group of private businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and community leaders working together to bring high quality health care to more people at less cost.

Hoyle is also the representative for House District 14, which includes west Eugene and extends north to Junction City. She is working with leaders on this issue on both sides of the aisle and in all sectors of our community. She has been endorsed by The Register-Guard, the Oregon Nurses Association, and many others.

Hoyle’s experience, leadership, commitment, and vision will serve us well. I encourage you to vote for Hoyle as state rep.

Harriet Merrick, Eugene



DOWN TO EARTH

Now is not the time to change our choice for congressman in Washington. Peter DeFazio has worked for decades representing progressive Oregonians and has made real change.

He has advocated for the middle class and for women. He has protected our Oregon wilderness as senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He worked hard to get health care for 47 million more Americans. And let’s not forget he was against the bank bailout, and he stands in the fire time after time for his ideas. 

DeFazio’s opponent Art Robinson is another right-wing Tea Party candidate who has old ideas. Did you know that 90 percent of Robinson’s campaign donations have come from outside of Oregon? He wants to extend the Bush tax cuts to the rich. Do you even know someone who makes more than $250,000? I don’t.

There is much to lose in this election. We could lose many valuable seats in Washington, and DeFazio’s is one seat we should not lose. Be sure to vote and have your voice heard.

DeFazio has represented us for 12 terms, and we should not let him down. He works well with both sides of the isle in Washington, D.C., in his down-to-earth, fairness-based approach. He has earned his place in Washington. Let’s re-elect DeFazio. He knows what he’s doing.

Diane Devillers, Eugene



JUNK WRITING

While reading your Sept. 23 issue I came across Rick Levin’s “Squawk: Sports and Shit” column. Being a sports fan, I dove in to read about Oregon’s best sports team, the UO football team. Not even halfway through I found he was right in his title: This was SHIT. Next time you guys decide to write about sports maybe you should find someone who knows what they are talking about.

Instead of alluding to the moral implications of the game, maybe he should have read the stats. He would have found that the team that got a “Neanderthalic beating” proved to fare better against the Ducks than the Lobos of New Mexico, holding the Ducks to 668 yards of total offense, and pushing 140 yards out of the nationally ranked Duck defense. Nobody bitched about the 72-0 score of the Lobo game who I’m sure got paid to play the Ducks as well. Bottom-line is the Ducks played better than the Viks did.

For those of you who say it was impossible for them to win, that’s what thousands of Texas fans thought before unranked UCLA came in and gave #7 ranked Texas a beating on their home field. And did this guy just quote Jesus and compare Eugene’s beloved football team that regularly sells out it 50,000-plus seat stadium to the poor people in the Bible? Who does this guy think he is? Someone who writes this junk should not be allowed to write about the team that Oregon loves so much.

Joshua Harris, Creswell



PAT’S THE RIGHT CHOICE

It is easy to feel frustrated by our local economic situation. Searching the internet for unemployment figures, I found every number between 10 and 13.2 percent. I then questioned if those numbers reflected those community members who have exhausted their benefits.

You do not have to do a computer search to see the economic impact in our community. Simply take a walk in your neighborhood and count all the Realtor signs. Check the help wanted ads and notice how few family wage jobs are listed. Ask any employer how many responses they receive to help wanted listings.

In a very short time we can use our votes to promote change. I plan to start on a local level by voting for Pat Riggs-Henson for Lane County commissioner. She is in touch with local concerns and challenges. Her 20 years experience working with dislocated workers, youth and underemployed workers gives her the motivation and insight needed to create change. She served 14 years on the LCC board and 25 years as chief financial officer of the Lane County Central Labor Council. 

Pat Riggs-Henson came out of retirement to seek to serve as county commissioner and will be accessible to her constituents. She’s is in touch with the unemployed, underemployed and the working poor. Pat Riggs-Henson is the right choice for Lane County.

Shirley Gauthier, Springfield



JUDGE FOR YOURSELF

Congressional candidate Art Robinson and his supporters would have you believe that his positions on certain topics have been exaggerated by his opponent, from abolishing public education to advocating that nuclear waste in our homes and drinking water is good for us. I invite readers to judge for themselves by reading and watching Robinson explain his fringe positions in his own words, by visiting www.whoisartrobinson.com. There, I think you will agree, you will find Robinson’s positions as shocking as I have.

Jason A. Kilgore, Junction City



SCHNITZ FIT

“J-Schnitz”? What is that all about? It drives me nuts every time I see it in print! I’ve come to accept it on Suzi Steffen’s Facebook posts because, hey, it’s the internet, who cares, right?

But on the cover of the Weekly (9/23)? And multiple times in the article on the Vasi show? It’s just ... awful. It makes Steffen sound like an older, uncool person trying to be hip. It comes across as affected, and in combination with the lolspeak (“sekrit iPad keyz”?!) in the sidebar, downright unprofessional.

I don’t know if she’s been told to use a more “accessible,” “urban” or “youthful” style, but it’s really bad. I can’t be the only one who finds it completely grating on the nerves (in fact, I know several employees at the JSMA who hate it). May I suggest using the full name of the museum, or if there is a need shorten it, calling it the Jordan Schnitzer, or the JSMA? (The latter has the fewest characters of all, making it best for Twittering.)

Katie Aaberg, Eugene



DOOR-TO-DOOR

Jobs and health care are top concerns of Pat Riggs-Henson, candidate for county commissioner and just about everyone I talk to.

Rigg-Henson is going door-to-door with her campaign to find out what Springfield citizens want to happen. She is one of the top longtime leaders in the community for job development. I think her idea-in-progress to lower the age limit and extend health benefits for those who wish to retire early is brilliant. It would open up a lot of higher paying jobs to new employees and lower the cost of health insurance.

Riggs-Henson’s 14 years on the LCC Board have given her important insight on how LCC job development benefits those seeking skills necessary for Springfield’s future.

Do vote for Pat Riggs-Henson for county commissioner!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



REAL SCRUTINY

Regarding Slant (supporting LTD and EmX, 9/16): Scrutinize is a good word. Some definitions are: to examine closely, observe with great care, and look at details.

If EW really wants scrutiny of the West 11th EmX plans, why don’t you assign an unbiased reporter to accurately compile the facts. This might clarify the misinformation, and omission of information campaign LTD is waging now with EW’s assistance. This could help educate your Slant writers as to what is really going on.

Mass transit is absolutely in our future. There actually is excellent mass transit operating now on West 11th. It is underutilized and has not nearly reached capacity.

Please stop making repeated ridiculous generalizations in support of LTD’s flawed West 11th expansion plans. Your readers aren’t stupid; please don’t treat us that way. Examine the short- and long-term benefits versus costs. Scrutinize where the funds are coming from after the FTA grant. The city has $10 million or more in matching fund responsibilities.

The operational expenses will increase, while the proposed bigger buses will make less stops. Does EW really support the mass private property condemnations necessary to achieve this goal?

Why does LTD operate in the red each year? Where does this unbudgeted money come from?

Eugene’s population has doubled in 40 years. Please examine this issue with the intensity and interest you put into the cheerleaders’ cleavage-display differences. Then maybe you will see why the EmX West 11th expansion is not appropriate. 

Robert Rubin, Waldport



YES ON 76

Ballot Measure 76 will continue vital funding for parks, wildlife habitat and cleaner water. I volunteer with three local watershed councils — pulling out blackberries, ivy and other invasive plants alongside streams and rivers. I have planted willows and other trees and native grasses to improve water quality and habitat for fish. I have gone back and seen the improvement along these waterways. Lottery funding makes possible the coordination of volunteer efforts. It also provides living wage jobs for restoration projects and outdoor education activities. With this funding, kids are growing seedlings, planting trees, and learning to be good stewards of the land. 

In the past 12 years, these lottery funds have restored more than 3,000 river miles, educated more than 5,000 school age children, provided more than 2,600 Oregonians with family wage jobs and protected more than 40,000 acres of natural areas. Vote yes and continue the efforts to protect clean water, provide good jobs and preserve Oregon’s special places.

Donna Riddle, Eugene



IGNORANT BUNCH

So while Sens. Merkley and Wyden, with the help of John Kitzhaber, propose sensible plans to ensure health care for all Oregonians, Chris Dudley suggests we should have athletes educate children and parents on the importance of exercise and healthy diets. Maybe he can hire LaMichael James to head up his domestic violence team and Plaxico Burris to educate kids on gun safety. He could ask Jeremiah Masoli to come back and head up an anti-theft task force.

This shows the ignorance of the current Tea Party bunch. Dudley also suggests tax cuts for business will bring jobs. OK, tie tax cuts to jobs. For each job created, give the business a tax cut that is tied to the wage level of that job. If a business ships a job to India, raise their taxes. 

Dudley and crazies like Art Robinson have about as much chance of really bringing jobs to Oregon and Dudley did bringing an NBA title: none.

Christopher Klein , Cottage Grove 



CHANGE THE RULES

As a new UO skateboarding student and seeing the masses of other skaters flying around campus, I was curious about the rules and regulations of the city’s skateboarding laws. Initially, I assumed that skaters were free to roam anywhere with their boards as long as they are not defacing school property. However, after reading this article (News Briefs, 9/9, and Slant, 9/16), I am truly surprised about the unfairness and unclearness in the rules. In my short time I have spent on campus, my skateboard was always with me. I have yet to receive a warning but would be just as upset as Tyee Kyvelos if they threatened to take my board. 

I believe a skateboard to be pretty similar to a bike as they both have wheels, a driver and ways to stop. Skateboarders should be allowed to ride in bike paths. The sidewalks around Eugene are not nearly smooth enough to skate anyway. Giant cracks and uneven concrete on the sidewalk are the reasons for the scrapes all over my arms after my wheels locked on a ridiculous gap between cement slabs. The police need to understand that sidewalks need to be left for walking pedestrians only and skating in the street is the same as, if not safer than, riding a bike. Unless the city is willing to repave the sidewalks, fund a separate skateboard path or change the rules, skateboarders around town will continue to put themselves at risk by breaking the law. 

Marshall Gustafson, Eugene



WORDS SAVE LIVES

I have long felt that Dan Savage saves lives. I recently found out he and his husband, Terry, started the “It Gets Better” site on YouTube. I know this will save lives, so thank you for carrying “Savage Love.” 

Sue Theolass, Eugene



ART OBFUSCATIONS

I am growing a little concerned about Dr. Art Robinson’s misrepresentations. I can’t help but wonder: If we the people elect this guy, what else will he gloss over or obfuscate?

As a science student, I am concerned that he represents the research that he did in the early 1970’s as “recent.” In fact, the research journal he cites changed its name more than four years ago. I plan to go read his papers at the UO science library to see if they are worthwhile, but the fact is that they are nearly as old as I am. In the game of biochemical science his findings are ancient, and anything dated post-2000 is self-published, which means that it is not peer-reviewed.

I also have to wonder why, if he was such a valuable associate of UC San Diego and continues to do research independently, he is not listed as an emeritus professor of theirs?

In addition, he claims that multi-culturalism is a creation of a socialist government (ours) and cites Ebonics as an example of ways in which his major competitor for students, the public school system, is messing up. Two things wrong with this: Eugene definitely does not need to be represented in Congress by a racist in denial, and the Ebonics debate is 14 years old. Think I’m making this up? Do your own research. It’s all there on Robinson’s own website.

Ariana White, Eugene



GIVE NEEDLES VALUE

I first want to commend Jim Evangelista (letters, 9/16) for his approach to his concerns about discarded needles/syringes in Scobert Park. We would be a far more informed and accepting community if more people were willing to openly ask questions and seek information as he was when confronted with a disturbing issue like used needles in a place that’s supposed to be safe.

Many cities have done studies to see if the incidence of discarded needles changes appreciably when they start needle exchange programs. The logic is that if needles are now worth something for exchange, then they will be more likely to be turned in for a new one rather than left in a park. Every study I have seen says that indeed these cities find fewer needles lying around when these programs exist.

There is actually quite a bit of research showing that our initial concerns about needle exchange are not borne out by research — in fact, most studies show a very positive impact in the communities where needle exchanges operate. I encourage you to check out http://wkly.ws/s5 as a good source of evidence-based information.

Heidi Schultz, Eugene

 

Kitzhaber for Gov

Dr. John Kitzhaber is a sincere, honest, hardworking and intelligent man who knows how to be a governor. Chris Dudley is an insincere, dishonest, stupid man who has never held an honest job in his life and doesn’t know how to do anything, except pretend to play basketball.

If you vote for a Republican such as Dudley, you are voting for people who hold up getting more money than anyone else as the greatest good and who judge the poor as subhuman because they lack money. This is the party that portrays themselves as good Christian Americans and portrays everyone else as anti-American and anti-Christian. They have persuaded half of Americans that wealth is a sign of God’s favor. That it might really be a sign of God’s scorn is beyond their comprehension. The Oregon Republican Party’s biggest donor is Loren Parks, a man who calls himself a sexual hypnotherapist because he allegedly hypnotizes women and then has sex with them [see Common Cause story at http://wkly.ws/un]. I guess this is what Republicans refer to as “a good Christian man.”

The criminal class supports Dudley. He will make them even richer than they are now, smothering them in ill-gotten riches because they are his friends.

The Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy against America. A vote for a Republican is a vote for mass suicide.

Your choice is clear. Vote for John Kitzhaber, a physician who cares about our health and welfare, and wants to serve Oregonians. Or vote for Chris Dudley, a sneering fraud who can’t wait to enrich himself and his friends at our expense.

Ann Tattersall, Eugene



THE RUCKUS

The year was 1995. Our football team was undefeated. As in previous football seasons on game days and the night before, more than 100,000 people would amass like a mob outside the stadium and around campus, making a general ruckus. There was even widespread underage drinking going on everywhere.

Not a policeman or police car in sight to deal with the pandemonium! The place was State College, and Penn State University was undefeated. And of course later that year when Oregon and PSU met at the Rose Bowl, PSU won. 

The moral of the story is that Oregon’s football program is inferior to Penn State. The second moral of the story is that PSU is totally more chill than the UO. State College and Eugene are roughly the same size, population-wise. However, I don’t think the police in State College even have riot gear. I know they don’t have an armored vehicle.

The third moral to my story is that this place needs get a grip on reality and not respond to over-exuberant student gatherings with police in riot gear and armored vehicles because I think that just makes the situation worse. We still have a constitutional right to freedom of assembly — even the freshmen. It is also not clear to me whether the property destruction occurred before or after the jackboots arrived. I would like more info.

I could be wrong on that. Either way, the UO will never beat Penn State.

Jack Schaeffer, Eugene

 

 

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL

In their letter, “Sacred to Both” Sept. 30, Rabbis Husbands-Hankin and Harris assert the following: “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.” On face value, these assertions seem reasonable until one looks beyond rhetoric that implies balance and justice when there is no balance nor justice.

What kind of states would respective parties have? To date, every proposal Israel has made would guarantee that Palestinians would forever be controlled and dominated in small, non-contiguous Bantustans surrounded by Israeli Jewish militarized colonies. Israel would control all airspace, waterways and commerce. Expelled Palestinians could never return home, and those still living in Israel would lack equal rights. This isn’t just.

The suffering of both sides that the rabbis write of implies balance, when in fact it is only Palestinians who are denied travel and medicines, and it is Palestinians who have had their children slaughtered in numbers hundreds of times greater than Jews. Less than 20 Jews have died in 10 years of Palestinian rocket attacks. Jewish F-16 rockets sometimes kill more than that number in one airstrike.

One Israeli-Palestinian state with equal rights for all citizens regardless of religion is just and balanced. Anything less will never bring peace.

David R. Evans, Vancouver



ANTITHETICAL TO AMERICA

Comments by Jim Page in the recent online letters (“Hitler Methods?” 10/7) cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. His side of the story grossly misrepresents Act! for America, a registered lobbying group in Washington, D.C., and features outright fabrication of remarks made by Barry Sommer and Billy Rojas.

Although we were not mentioned by name, we are the two individuals directly referred to in the letter to the editor.

Mr. Page approached our information table in what is best characterized as an argumentative frame of mind and proceeded to try and bait us with questions that, it is safe to say, reflect a Leftist political perspective. In the letter he put words in our mouths that, from every indication, where what he assumed right-wingers must say, as if we had said them. But we are political independents and our views are not right-wing or remotely neo-Nazi, as Page falsely imputed. It was Page, not us, who brought up the subject of "Hitler methods," which we reject unequivocally, and we greatly resent his malicious false attribution.

We are committed to the general outlook and values of Act! for America, founded by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian journalist, now an American citizen, who knows, first hand, the terror which has befallen non-Muslims throughout the Mideast. Both of us have professional-level knowledge of Islam and precisely because of this fact, in common with a growing multitude of Americans, we regard Islam as antithetical to America's core values and as a subversive presence in our country. 

People like Mr. Page, and probably most people with left-wing political views, are almost universally ignorant of even the basics of Islam and don't know what they are talking about. Page ended with a call to try and shut us up through public censure. As a modest suggestion, Page might consider doing some actual research into the Quranic sources of Muslim criminality before seeking to deny us, or any other critics of Islam, our legitimate free speech rights.

Billy Rojas & Barry Sommer, ACT!4America, Eugene/Springfield



ANTI-AMERICAN THING

Voting Republican is the most anti-American thing anyone can do. If the Republicans win a majority in Congress they will try to push through their "Promise to America." This is a recipe to dismantle the government. My understanding of treason is any work that goes towards overthrowing the government. The effects of "The Promise to America" will mean by 2020, just 10 years from now, there will no money for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, funding schools, highways, etc. No more National Parks, they will be sold off to mining and logging interests. No more environmental oversight. No more highway funding. 

Don't forget, it was the Republicans who were in control for the previous eight years. When they seized control they had a budget surplus and a healthy economy they dismantled with their shortsighted policies. After eight years they created the highest deficit in our country’s history by starting two wars while simultaneously lowering the taxes of the wealthiest. This is like spending all your savings on a never-ending party where all your friends take home even more cash; all while charging the whole thing to your grand children’s credit account.

Chris Dudley and Art Robinson are no more than puppets of the chamber of commerce (i.e. organized business - not too different from organized crime). Both candidates are hacks who want to take this country back to the days of Ozzie and Harriet.

Any conservative who can add 2 plus 2 can see that the gorilla in the china shop is the never-ending military spending conservatives love to ignore. The Republicans even have a term for it, "non-military discretionary funding." Military funding is their sacred cow that cannot be sacrificed.

Jonathan Seraphim, Eugene



MOB GOES APE SHIT

In the shadow of statues, the Free Speech Square scene and other idolatrous hippies: If anyone is so inclined to see the local scene of hippies go apeshit over nothing, try putting a bungee cord and stringing a rope between the Wayne Morse's statue's neck and a light post for the purpose of displaying art. On Sept. 11, our beloved national crisis day, I tried just that, and it didn't take long for the regular drum-banging zealots to become the self-appointed citizens’ auxiliary police, rudely screaming in unison, "Take the rope down, take the rope down" in total mob mentality. There was even one weird tweaker trash lady waving her cell phone camera in my face and calling me every obscenity imaginable. 

My God! With all the attention directed against a bunch of homeless youth and the exclusion zone, you'd think there would be some coverage of the craziness that goes on down in that little corner of drama. 

In a weird twist of irony, later that day there were a bunch of punks congregating around Ken Kesey's statue. One of them was sitting on old Ken's head and probably farted on old Ken's head. Where was the passion to defend Ken Kesey? When did hippies all of a sudden get all biased over Wayne Morse?

Karl Lehman, Eugene



DEFAZIO GETS MY VOTE

I believe in public (or private) school education for the majority of our youth. A democratic society needs an educated populace. In today's sometimes two-working-parents households, home schooling is probably not a reliable option.

Peter DeFazio and I do not believe we should have unregulated Wall Street, banks, and BP-like companies. Recently we have all seen how the unregulated foxes are watching the hen houses! All regulations are not bad; many safeguard society.

Peter and I believe that Social Security, Medicare, and VA programs are necessary. Many folks can barely get by as it is, saving nothing, and will have very little for their old age, if it were not for these programs, which are mainly funded by mandatory deductions from the workers' wages.

We have asked youth to go to war on our behalf. Many of us or our family members did their duty in past military, at home or abroad. Veterans deserve to be properly cared for — without bankrupting their families — when many return with terrible injuries.

DeFazio has been passing on his congressional pay raises to scholarships for many in his/our district. Many displaced workers, unemployed due to mill closings, fishing and forestry downturns, have gone to be trained and/or retrained for new occupations. Thus they secure wages to support their families and add to the well being of society besides! I applaud DeFazio for this.

I hope you will join me in voting to reelect DeFazio this November, or better yet, as soon as you get your ballot!

 Joann Olstrom, Reedsport



STOP THE HYSTERICS

Chris Dudley and his wealthy Republican and corporate donors don’t want us to know that:

“A new study funded by big corporations found that Oregon has the second lowest state and lowest taxes among all states” (Council on State Taxation). The study states that some 600 big corporation and multi-state businesses should be paying at least “$1.6 billion dollars annually in taxes and Oregon will still be in line with state and local taxes nationwide.”

“Two-thirds of the U.S. corporations paid no federal tax between 1998 and 2005, according to a news report from Congress” (AP). 

“In the economy at large, wages have risen only 1.7 percent last year, while corporate profits are up nearly 40 percent” (Economic Policy Institute).

These big corporations have contributed very heavily to the inexperienced Chris Dudley. I wonder where his allegiance will lie if elected? These are the same big business Republican groups — along with the lies FOX-TV promotes — who manipulate the news and financed the likes of Bush, Jr. — and now advertise and finance the parroting Palin and Tea Party.

When the hysterical yelling ends, who has the practical solutions to solve these economic, political and educational messes? Will we just have another big business rip-off, or will the unemployed and middle-income Americans actually receive the help to survive their recession and joblessness?

Bob Rubinstein, Eugene



DATA POWDER KEG

Grassroots buzzing grows about the recent $23 million investment into Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, by the stewards of the Microsoft enterprise. With that much of an investment, the Gates will probably want to do things like attend shareholders meetings and further their philanthropic agenda? 

At 500,000 shares, that's only a 3.3 percent stake in the company. Doesn't even put them on the board with the top 50 owners, which are near exclusively fund management firms. As one potential investor put it, Monsanto sits on a powder keg of suppressed negative GMO agriculture industry data that they are the proprietors to, and wouldn't touch it. La Via Campesina stands as the indigenous voice to that GMO data and advocates the better alternatives. Denouncing the Gates Foundation may be their way of engaging them. 

Thomas R Estes, Corvallis



BREATHE DEEP AND DRIVE SAFE

I consider myself to be a very safe driver. I am 45 years old, and in my 30 years of driving, I have had only two tickets and one car accident that was not my fault. I use my turn signals. I keep a safe distance between my car and the car in front of me. I obey speed limits. I slow down in school zones. I stop at cross-walks for cyclists and pedestrians. 

For being a safe driver this week, I have been flipped off and/or honked at more times than I can count. Once for not jumping right on the gas as soon as the light turned green ­ and a good thing I didn't, as a car from the opposite direction ran the red light. Once for daring to allow a runner to use the crosswalk before I turned onto West 11th. The list goes on.

I realize that there is a lot of road construction going on all over our fair city; that people are in a hurry to get where they need to go; that it's an annoyance to have to slow down and be cautious. But c'mon, people. Leave your home a few minutes earlier. Or, better yet, and this is just a suggestion, drop by the DMV and pick up a Driver's Handbook and review basic driving rules. 

I promise you'll get to your destination. And you will get there safely and hopefully with a lower blood pressure if you just slow down, breathe deeply and show a little patience.

Emily Hart, Eugene



TWO TONS OF METAL

How interesting to see the letter by Lynn Porter (10/7) where she describes being hit by a car in a crosswalk, as I was just thinking of writing a similar letter myself. I too have been hit by a turning car when I had the walk light and clear right of way. More than that, I am threatened by being hit nearly every day as impatient drivers insist on beginning their turn while I'm still in the crosswalk.

Drivers: Will the second or two you save get you to your destination any quicker? Is it worth risking injury to a pedestrian, and the accompanying legal and financial hassles? Even if you don't hit the person, I can tell you from experience that it creates a lot of stress to see a two-ton hunk of metal coming at you as you try to simply cross the street.

I would love to see people like this get busted by the cops for not giving pedestrians our right of way (and sometimes, endangering our lives), and I would also love to see these drivers try walking now and then to see what it's like (and as a bonus, stop being such a drain on our dwindling natural resources). But in the interim, please just have a little patience and compassion for other human beings. It costs you nothing.

Kate Winter, Eugene



WHAT DID YOU DO?

“Drums of Peace” is a sign that has covered the word “Federal” at 7th and Pearl every Sunday from 2 to 4 pm for nearly eight years. Since the week after the midterm elections of '02 we have been practicing rhythm not rhetoric to support the sign. It is no accident that Drums of Peace has the same initials as Department of Peace.

Since Easter or so, we have been honoring a hero, Charles Dowd, who died suddenly of cancer. Mr. Dowd's fondness for a piece by John Cage 4:33 has inspired us to set up to play yet allow the drums to remain silent. We will continue in this fashion for 33 weeks.

Anyone with a beating heart is a drummer. Hopefully Drums of Peace will supply a worthy answer to the question “What did you do during the war?”

 Jim Guthrie, Eugene 



SHORTED FOR SHORTS

The headline read; “Veteran’s family denied White House tour because of shorts.” I read on, this wasn't just any veteran, but the winner of the Medal of Honor! But wait, there's more, he was the last surviving black WW II veteran awarded the Medal of Honor for rallying the troops of his all-black unit to an amazing series of heroics when their white commander (no surprise there) deserted. But wait there's more: he was denied his award for over 50 years because he was black. Now this genuine hero's grandson is denied a scheduled tour of the White House because he is wearing shorts when he has come to pay homage to his fallen grandpa. 

A thought enters my mind and I Google the famous photo of another youngster who had come to the White House to pay homage to his fallen hero veteran father. His name was John Kennedy Jr.; and he was wearing shorts.

Robert McCarthy , veteran, not a hero, Veneta



REVERENCE FOR LIFE

Albert Schweitzer said, “We are life which wills to live in the midst of life which wills to live.” This “reverence for life,” like all truths, is simple; and from it comes acts of compassion for animals. Today, in Lane County, there is a great need for people with this philosophy to join and create a fund for emergency veterinary care, a means of paying for medical assistance when pet owners cannot.

Alexis Madison made some excellent points in her letter of Aug. 19 (“The High Cost of Emergency Veterinary Care”). While the Emergency Veterinary Clinic has done “a lot of pro bono work,” it must meet its own expenses to keep operating. So too, must all veterinary hospitals.

But that is little comfort to a suffering animal and the person responsible for relieving that suffering. Our county has wonderful private, non-profit, and municipal animal welfare professionals; all agree that money for emergency care is desperately needed. But these men and women are overwhelmed with work they already do; they cannot be responsible for creating and maintaining such a financial resource.

 A group of people is working to build an organization that will establish and manage just such a fund. This organization will be a non-profit corporation under the Statues of the State of Oregon; it will have bylaws, and it will be administered with accountability. All investments of both spirit and money on behalf of animals deserve nothing less.

 If you have thoughts to share and abilities to contribute to this organization, we welcome your help. Email annmason24@gmail.com or call 686-2246. We will provide more information.

The saying is true; “If you are going in the right direction, great forces will come to your aid.” Those forces await all of us who share a reverence for life. Please join us.

Kathryn Mason, Eugene



WASTEFUL BACK AND FORTH

Hooray, Obama's going to put solar collectors back on the White House. I'd go for the front yard also, or at least with "food not lawns." But this represents a basic problem with the two-party system, creating a lot of waste by the government often having to switch modes back and forth, politically and domestically. It would make more sense if we had a ranked voting system, which would discourage parties and keep us closer to the political middle ground, while adjusting that general focus when possible.

Dan Robinson, Eugene



KNOW WHERE HE STANDS

I never heard of Art Robinson until his signs began popping up all over. Who is he? Where does he stand? I looked up what his position was about education, and found a lot more. And was I shocked! Here’s a quote from his 1997 Newsletter, Access to Energy: “Public education (tax-financed socialism) has become the most widespread and devastating form of child abuse and racism in the United States. Moreover, people who have been cut off at the knees by public education are so mentally handicapped that they cannot be responsible custodians of the energy technology base or other advanced accomplishments of our civilization. These ignorant people vote and their votes are beginning to destroy our way of life. Can this problem be corrected? Yes. Can it be corrected by improving the public schools? No — only by abolishing them. “ 

And he said it again just last year in his speech at the International Conference on Climate Change, March 2009. See the clip on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53AXhbo7YT0 Art Robinson: I think the public schools should be abolished."

Is it any surprise that he made lots of his money in selling home school textbooks? Do you think this might color his opinions? I don’t know a thing about his textbooks, but he has some crazy ideas and he honestly scares me! The following is all documented with sources and videos at HYPERLINK "http://www.whoisartrobinson.com/"www.whoisartrobinson.com: Radioactive water from California should be used for drinking in Oregon! Sprinkle nuclear waste over America and dump it in the oceans! Abolish the Department of Education. Eliminate ALL taxes for oil and energy companies. These are just a few of his radical, extremist positions. 

Now more than ever, research the candidates really well. Know who you are voting for! We know Peter DeFazio and what a good job he has done for us through the good times and bad. My vote is going to DeFazio.

Beverly Posedel, Reedsport



RAILROAD ALTERNATIVE

Coos Bay has long been looked at as a major container shipping port if only it could get those containers inland. The current dilapidated Hauler Train between Coos Bay and Eugene could barely handle one train a day when it was alive. At full capacity with 400,000 containers per year, the single rotting rail line will need to handle one train each hour, 24/7, round trip.

There has long been the desire to build a new coast to I-5 highway. Route 126 connects the “retirement” community of Florence to Eugene and is 50 miles north. Coos Bay is a major coastal industrial town deserving direct access to I-5, the American railroad network, and the inland markets.

The West-Pac nations currently trade through various west-coast ports and are looking at Coos Bay as the next port to expand. Presently, the taxpayer is footing the bill to wastefully rehabilitate a limited hauler train. I offer a solution that will cost the taxpayer nothing while allowing our coastal area and Oregon to tap into the business of global importation/exportation.

China is our major West-Pac trader and they have the American dollars needing reinvestment. They could build a toll road turnpike from Coos Bay directly to I-5 with a dual high-speed rail line running along side. Oregon has the authority to eminent domain for infra-structural development and the local communities have long wished for the development of this corridor. China should be approached to pay for it, use the turnpike and rail fees to repay the cost, and benefit both China and Oregon by creating a new major artery between the markets of both nations plus the substantial number of Oregon jobs to build and operate this corridor.

Keith Stanton, Florence



CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

Speed limit? What speed limit? I have been driving professionally for many years. I am appalled with all the drivers who refuse to follow posted speed limits. County and state government officials say they are short of funding; that they will need to make cuts of 9 percent across the board. You must be kidding me. Wake up. Everywhere you look there is a money tree waiting to be plucked. Countless lawbreakers just waiting to be taxed for their right to evade the posted speed limit. 

So council members, legislators, go ahead and vote your raises in. But first expand the public safety budget and allow them to tap into that endless revenue stream. You government masters wish to control what we eat, what we smoke, where and what we build. How about doing the job we've elected you to do: provide public safety. Speeding drivers endanger lives, burn excess fossil fuels, and simply disregard those precious laws that you have set forth. 

I urge you to act now. Imagine all those speeders banding together and deciding to fulfill Thomas Jefferson's recommendation "that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government." Until you decide to protect your PERS pensions, I will not be obeying your posted speed limit, just try and catch me. Please!

Jeffrey Bode, Santa Clara