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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.4.10




AS THE GARDEN GROWS

When I was released from prison after a lifetime of taking from the community I was given the opportunity to semi-volunteer to help build a community garden, pushing hundreds of wheelbarrows of leaves with a bunch of college kids and other volunteers from entry court. Planting seeds in the “fed” garden also planted seeds in me. As the garden grew, so did I. Pulling weeds from the garden helped me pull the weeds that were smothering my true nature. Watching food grow to be given away to whoever needs it has set a pattern for the rest of my life. Saying “thank you” to all the people who have supported me, encouraged me, given me the confidence that my inner garden is also growing, are two small words that do not even come close to the magnitude of my gratefulness. 

Tracy Gann aka Guardian of the Garden, Eugene



REVENUE FOR SCHOOLS

To City Councilor George Brown: I endorse the position outlined in the Sept. 16 Eugene Weekly cover story (see http://wkly.ws/v7), which recommends that the city of Eugene institute a high-bracket personal income tax as revenue for schools. Having been out of town with the Northwest Youth Corps until mid-October, I missed this story until the editor referred to it in yesterday’s edition.

Previously I had brief communication with two county commissioners (to whom I sent copies of this e-mail) about instituting such a tax at the county level. At that time, the Frohnmayer-Tate report was imminent, and we were awaiting any fiscal recommendations from that panel. I have not had follow-up with the commissioners on this subject.

Robert Beal, Eugene 



REINSTITUTE DRAFT

It may sound like an oxymoron. But the only way to end our involvement in war is to reinstitute the military draft. During the Vietnam conflict, we had a draft that went after everyone, and college students were on the frontlines of marches against war. Today, without a draft, the college kids are quiet. They sit cozily back home while the poor and blacks not in school are induced into the Army to fight needless wars.

Revive the draft to make everyone vulnerable, including the protected children of legislators who orchestrate war. When their own skin is on the line, we’ll see the lazy college kids wake up, and march to demand an end to war.

George Beres, Eugene



PAY ATTENTION

It seems that most folks have forgotten basic civics, considering the many complaints and letters to the editor stating, this representative, senator, governor or president didn’t do this or that. The truth is, no one person can change the sorry way our current government works. What we have is a result of ALL of us not paying attention and/or being involved for many decades! So talk/pay attention to your elected representative, not once or twice but during his/her entire term, and continue this until we regain one person/vote instead of $1/vote, and they are working to improve the quality of life for ALL of us or are replaced until they listen to us.

To paraphrase: You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free; the truth is NEVER on TV.

Consciousness is necessary for thought to occur, but thought is only a minute aspect of Consciousness.

Randy Nowell, Pleasant Hill



DON’T BULLY NURSES

Cascade Health Solutions is a local, non-profit, provider of health services, including hospice and home health care. CHS is probably best known for the Festival of Trees, which it sponsors each Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, CHS may soon be better known as a bully and union-buster.

CHS recently picked a fight with the 18 nurses who provide the agency’s hospice and home health services. These highly-skilled nurses are represented by Oregon Nurses Association. I was their union representative from 2004-2008. During that time, we negotiated two contracts and both bargaining sessions were conducted in a respectful and problem-solving manner.

This year, CHS has taken an aggressive, anti-union approach to negotiations. They hired a labor relations consultant to represent them. They have rejected all the nurses’ proposals. And when the nurses question CHS’s proposals, the CHS bargainers routinely resort to reading scripted responses.

CHS wants to eliminate the contract provision that requires each nurse to pay a fair share of ONA’s representation costs. If implemented, this proposal would eventually de-fund the union. The nurses have had fair share in their contract for over 20 years. Nearly 100 percent of them support its retention. Still, CHS insists on its removal.

This is not an economic dispute. CHS is simply tired of working cooperatively with its nurses. CHS wants more control and they’re willing to bully the nurses to get it.

CHS claims its mission is “making life better” for people. If that’s true, then they should stop attacking these dedicated nurses and their union.

Kurt Willcox, Eugene



ALCOHOL AS FUEL

I heard David Blume, author of Alcohol Can Be a Gas, speak at the university Friday before about 50 people. The book is currently checked-out from the UO Library. In his book, Blume wrote that carbon dioxide (the leading greenhouse gas) levels can actually be reduced by switching back to alcohol as fuel.

This cannot be accomplished, however, with industrialized monoculture.  The switch must be through small-scale fuel stills for no more than about 1,000 people. Accomplishing the reduction in CO2 includes growing at least three different fuel crops, rotating the crops yearly to deprive pests of their food, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for poisonous pesticides.

Rockefeller paid to have Prohibition passed, to eliminate the distillation of mash for alcohol fuel.  His former waste product of gasoline thus no longer had its major competitor.  Big Oil has been promoting turning cellulose into fuel.  But utilizing cellulose is much more difficult and uses much more energy, than turning high sugar crops (corn is included but is not the best one) into alcohol.

Fodder beets can produce over 1,000 gallons of alcohol per acre. Then the mash left over is excellent feed.  Yet again, this works only on the small scale.  If the feed should be transported many miles, it must be dried first, using up a large percentage of the fuel. Alcohol still plans are in the book or on Blume’s website.

Kevin Russell, Eugene



EXPLOITING EUGENE

As noted by the Eugene Weekly (Slant, 10/21), the Envision Eugene process virtually assures “some kind of compromise involving UGB expansion and infill” that will enable more “sprawl and destruction of farmland.” The antidote, however, is not, as the Weekly suggests, infill or reclaiming brownfields. It is saying no to growth.

To do that requires: a) recognition of overpopulation and over consumption as the root causes of environmental, economic and social degradation and b) repeal of the state law accommodating growth by mandatory population projections and 20 year supplies of residential, commercial and industrial land.

Envision Eugene begins with the premise that growth is inevitable and that it can be accommodated. Neither is true. Like Region 2050, The Big Look and other such greenwashing, consensus-driven collaborations, Envision Eugene is a developer’s dream, an officially-sanctioned growth facilitator guaranteeing the lowest common denominator: continued exploitation and depletion of our natural resources and our quality of life.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



THINK BEFORE PINK

I would like to thank you for not succumbing to the trend that has, once again, pinkwashed so many this month. In honor of the annual façade that is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), everything from shoes to booze to buckets of abused, genetically modified chicken are now covered in pink, not to mention the sexual innuendos that have crept from Facebook status’ (I like it on the floor) to the t-shirts of teenage girls. It seems we’ve lost sight of the fact that cancer is a disease, not a joke. Furthermore, the hypocrisy of the NBCAM promoting “preventative” drugs and mammograms (the radiation from which can actually cause cancer) has me wondering whether or not the industry is concerned with cancer prevention, or in fact cancer recruitment.

In the wake of this pink tradition one would think that breast cancer “awareness” would result in less breast cancer, right? Wrong. Women today in the United States have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with the disease, an increase from only 25 years ago when the campaign began. If women are not benefiting or profiting from the campaign, then who is? NBCAM has become nothing more than a swine merchant, the money hungry daughter of the Cancer Industry, and friend of Big Pharma.

We don’t need cancer-inducing drugs shoved down our throats as a means of preventing cancer. Breast cancer can be prevented naturally. We need an honest non-profit organization to inspire healthy lifestyles and educate; no more corporate agenda, no more exploiting our breasts and sexualizing women in the name of awareness. Education is prevention. Think before you pink!

Brittney Arlint, Eugene



Drinking Water

Having read letters to the editor against Lane County’s proposals to protect drinking water and the floodplain and then read details about the proposals and arguments in support, I can only state that the ordinances are just common sense. “We the people” (through our governing bodies) need to have protections (ordinances) for our common well being. We all need clean drinking water, free of pollution and water-borne threats to health. Everyone needs to breathe the same air. These common needs require that regulations be developed and enforced for the protection of everyone. This, by default, may mean that someone may find there is some personal ‘sacrifice.’ 

I, as a person with property, have the responsibility to control activities on my property so that my neighbors aren’t negatively impacted. If I have a dog that barks excessively in the middle of the night, if my wood stove pollutes the air or if I use pesticides when it is windy or when they run into streams, I can expect that I will be required to bring my activities back within bounds and probably pay a penalty.

These proposed ordinances bring a balance of community protections with significant compromises for farmers, wood lot owners and basic property maintenance. I do know that when homes have been developed along the coast or up the McKenzie and the winds and water have undermined them, there has been a hue and cry for “government” to prop them up physically and financially. I want regulations to prevent building in locations that are inappropriate in the first place. It seems, all too often, that people interpret this as a “taking” of their property rights. You can’t have freedom to do everything you want and then expect others to bail you out when something goes wrong. 

I strongly support the two proposals to adopt the amended Lane County Floodplain Ordinance and the establishment of an overlay zone to protect our watersheds producing our drinking water. I urge our County Commissioners to vote to adopt both proposals.

Carleen Reilly, Eugene



Homeless Exclusion

The city of Eugene excludes three homeless individuals for every two people fortunate enough to afford housing. The city’s renting jail space in other cities to house the overflow of those who violate their banishment, possibly for such a small infraction as riding in a car through the exclusion zone. For the past two years the city of Eugene has carried out this covert campaign, and now despite “no drop in criminal activity” in the downtown exclusion zone, Eugene will continue on this course for another 18 months. This is not my opinion but pure journalistic fact, à la Alan Pittman!

Christopher George Hughes, Portland