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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.11.10




4J’S BUDGET CRISIS  

As many know, the 4J District has had many troubles within the budgets that affect the classrooms, sports, activities and staff paychecks. Classified and certified staff within 4J schools are told not to work because the employers don’t have enough money to pay them. The furlough days affect the students by limiting their education. This is a horrible situation, and a lot of pressure is put on the administration by students and parents to fix it. The 4J website states that the district faces a projected deficit next year of about $20 million to $27 million or 19 to 27 percent of the budget.

Most students are being affected by this crisis. The budget for sports and activities has been cut almost in half. Teams have to come up with money for supplies, equipment, buses, etc. Time is taken out of our day to fundraise, and that time taken away is time that we could be used to practice sports or do homework.

 Students who are really serious about their education are being the most affected because of fewer school days, and the supplies used in the classroom have been cut. A more valuable education in high school means college and a successful career. 

District 4J has many really amazing teachers; they don’t deserve to be laid off due to the budget. There is no one to fully blame for the loss of money and jobs. The economy has been in a deep fall in the last few years, which puts all schools across the nation in a struggle. The people within 4J should be aware of this crisis and volunteer in the schools to help.

Leila McElroy, 11th grade, North Eugene High School

 

WRONG PRIORITIES

I’ve been a resident up the McKenzie for the last 36 years. I have a few facts to point out in regards to this water protection controversy.

1979 — EPA Environmental Quality Profile shows that the McKenzie River has the highest water quality index value of any river in the state (p. 8).

1990 — EWEB’s water source protection plan identifies a pentachlorophenol plume under Weyerhaeuser migrating towards the McKenzie at a rate of between 170 and 330 feet per year. 

Since discovery, Rainbow Water District has put in an extensive carbon filtration system while SUB watches. The EWEB water protection coordinator has stated to me, “SUB and Rainbow are the canaries in the in the coal mine.”

1995 — EWEB’s report on environmental risk assessment for water supply states that fish hatcheries, powerhouses, large manufacturing plants, forest activities and agriculture pose the greatest continual threat to water quality. On page 48, Weyerhaeuser is identified as #11 on highest ranked risks yet first identified on page. However when EWEB identified recommendations, they did so alphabetically, thus Weyerhaeuser is last. 

And now they want to put the focus on our private property and our responsibility? Why don’t they clean up their own backyard first? Then show us the way.

Craig M. Patterson, McKenzie River



COOLER HEADS NEEDED

So the Lane County Board of Commissioners has now voted 3-2 (Peter Sorenson and Rob Handy in opposition) to cancel the upcoming public hearing on the proposed regulations on 7,500 McKenzie River landowners. Holy cow! Why cancel the hearing now?

I do not believe any of the county officials present at the first meeting would knowingly provide a less-than-adequate venue if they could have predicted 500 deeply concerned constituents would attend. One of the affected landowners could have given the county a heads-up on the numbers issue. Government needs to work both ways. 

There are two notions that may apply here. One, “You can catch more flies (commissioners) with honey than vinegar.” Two, “Cooler heads prevail.” I hate to listen to this kind of rhetoric. But the older I get, the more often I give these pearls of wisdom the nod.

This process needs lots of cool heads. Anger is one way to get attention. But it should be leavened with hope for a successful remedy. Water always gets where it wants. Let’s help the commission and the McKenzie River folks get to a destination we can all live with.

Dan Dubach, Eugene



PRESERVE CLEAN WATER 

The property owners and the developers want to make their view of their view known about the water protection proposals up the McKenzie. If you want to view the river, get off your kiester, walk a few hundred feet and view it in person. It’s the most beautiful river. Let’s preserve it for the good of all, including the fish, instead of the property value judgment of the elite. 

Vince Loving, Eugene



USUAL BIAS

Pardon, but EW’s “slant” is showing. In the Nov. 4 news story regarding the Oct. 26 public hearing on the drinking water overlay proposal it is insinuated that “folks who really wanted to give the commissioners feedback” got drowned out. The opinion piece then devolves into the usual name-calling to which liberals resort against those who disagree with them.

Does that mean that the hundreds who showed up did not “really want to give the commissioners feedback?” Or is it that only the supporters’ viewpoints matter? I suspect the latter.

Between the multitude of opponents and EWEB pulling its support, I’d say there’s been plenty of feedback. Unlike the fiasco with the last county income tax proposal, this time a majority of the commissioners wised up and listened.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



NON-VOTERS BRATTY

Student voting is an extremely important issue especially in a town such as ours. But this little article does exactly what student non-voters do, pushes the blame on someone else. These students admit they aren’t educated on the topic so what do they do? They blame the university for not educating them; they blame the candidates for not coming to their campus. They admit that they just don’t care enough to bother voting, so why should we care? I am 25 years old and a college student myself, and I have participated in every election since I turned 18. It just burns me up when I hear these entitled bratty kids who are too cool to vote, too apathetic to even bother being shown as victims! It is not the school’s fault, it is not the candidate’s fault; it is no one’s fault but their own so own up to your own apathy already.  In the article you mention Amelia Botteron who did actually vote, and you mention how she had to do her (gasp) own research to come to her own conclusions about how she wanted to cast her ballot. Why was this shown in such a negative light? As an American citizen, it is your duty and right to vote, and hey, it’s kinda fun too! So stop making excuses make your voice heard, even if it is an apathetic bratty one.

Ashley Allegro, Downtown Eugene



SEPTIC DRINKING WATER

Matt Cooper’s front page story in The Register-Guard on 11/4 (“County backpaddles on water protection rules”) speaks of “criticism ... from hundreds of rural property owners” and says the hearing was rescheduled, “after hundreds of property owners turned out to the county building in Eugene, overwhelming the facility...”

It would be astonishing if the R-G could provide a sign-in list with addresses, and evidence that these hundreds of people do in fact own riverfront property. No evidence of such information or research appears in the story. No hundreds responded to the prior notices of the proposed changes that were published by the county.  

It seems unlikely that all or even most of the people in Harris Hall that night own property along the rivers.  More likely the event was staged during election time by political organizers eager to paralyze the board and promote certain candidates.    

If the problem was excluding property owners, then why not schedule another kind of meeting to hear and include people who own riverfront property and would like to speak on this issue? 

Commissioners Pete Sorenson and Rob Handy voted to give the planned hearing process a second chance, hoping that listening would move people to understand each others’ views and needs.  They were outvoted — and now a much-needed plan for long-term safe drinking water has been deferred.

New commissioners will decide the fate of our land and water. They need to understand that all residents, with or without title to land, benefit when rivers are safe from septic systems, soil erosion and toxic chemicals.        

Elaine Weiss, Eugene



PAY-TO-PLAY POLITICS

Should we call it moneyocracy? This surely wasn’t an election in a true democracy. Money flowed secretly from all parts of the world into campaigns with no way to discover who would benefit from the candidate being elected. We need some big changes!

The League of Women Voters has stated that secret money and incivility leave a lasting impact. They call on Congress to fix secret cash in American elections and say it is a recipe for scandal: “Voters were overwhelmed by millions of dollars in negative ads but didn’t know who paid for many of them. Pay-to-play politics won’t change until we know who the special interests are who are pouring money into our elections.”

Do join their call to our elected Congress members and demand a change in election funding.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



BEST DEER SIGN

My name is Bob Olsen, and I am the person who placed the deer sign on Dillard (Best of Eugene staff picks, 11/4). The sign plus some other warning lights have significantly reduced the deer kill. There is an interesting story behind the effort if you might be interested. It involves me, the county and ODOT. Last year there were no kills near the signed area. Before that there were about six kills in three-month periods during the autumn and many car crashes. The county claimed that they were helpless, and so I took the problem on.

Bob Olsen, Eugene



PINK MONTH OK

In response to “Think Before Pink” (letters, 11/4): You need to think before you write. I also have problems with October being “Pink Month,” but not for your anti-corporate reasons. I have stage IV breast cancer. Stage IV survivors don’t get much of the donation money because most of it goes to paying for early detection and women who can’t afford mammograms. But does this mean I’m against Pink Month? No. I think using a disease that’s killing me to sell pink knick-knacks is troubling, but I also know that without those free mammograms many more would be in my shoes and I know that’s wrong. 

Buying pink products means someone out there breathes a sigh of relief when the results come or when the doctor pronounces them cancer free. I’ll never be cancer free, but if buying a pink bracelet means someone else will be, then ring it up.

By the way, I had the lump before I’d ever had a mammogram, so mammogram radiation didn’t cause it. Breast cancer does not run in my family, and I was active before fatigue and pain slowed me down — I rode my bicycle to work and school; my cousin and I enjoyed hiking the Skinner Butte or Silver Falls — so it wasn’t caused by lack of exercise, another myth. Oh, and I didn’t take any Big Pharma drugs that “caused” my cancer unless you count Tylenol, but if that’s the culprit, then I guess everyone’s in trouble. 

So, here’s a reality check for you: A “healthy lifestyle” may help you get through treatment, but it won’t save you from getting cancer. Before you sucker into that load of garbage talk to an oncologist or, hell, give me a call, I’ll tell you what cancer’s really like.

Karen Hart, Eugene



BEYOND REPAIR

It’s property tax time again. This year the Lane County assessor dropped our taxes by $10 for a property that has fallen in value for the third straight year.

I am no Tea Party fan, and I don’t mind paying for school funding, but I get pretty damn irked when I know that my tax dollars are paying salaries and retirement benefits to people who do very little to make our streets safer for pedestrians or bicyclists, continue to push $500 million-plus worth of new freeway widening projects and other taxpayer funded boondoggles. How about those salaries of the county commissioners, city councilors and mayors who are afraid to expose the corruption enacted by Lane County’s elite or preparing the citizens of Lane County for the future economic and petroleum crises?

Is this the best these public servants can do with our taxpayer money in Lane County or all of Oregon for that matter? Where are the vision, the ethics and connection with reality by our taxpayer paid public servants? Is the whole local government system so corrupt that it is beyond fixing?

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



THE DEMISE

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat here at the intersection of Olive and Broadway. I used to come relax at one of the four chess tables near the round pool of the fountain. It was nice to be amongst old people, the elders, and watch flocks of pigeons swirl around in the air, swooping down for breadcrumbs and soaring up again to the roofs. The sound of the splashing water and the sight of people concentrating on their chess games was calming and delightful. 

That fountain was the first thing to be destroyed in the city planners’ design to improve downtown. The chess tables were next, leaving only Woolworth’s with the breakfast counter for the old folks. Then Woolworth’s was demolished. When the Willamette fountain and the children’s playground were removed, downtown workers and people with kids had no place to rest or play. 

I sit on the edge of a stone ledge that has had a metal fence built down the center of it so people won’t sit here. The benches downtown are all gone. Cars rush noisily through the intersection on their way through the empty corridor that is downtown. In this inhospitable landscape the only reason to linger here is you have nowhere else to go. Or you want to pause for a moment and remember how nice it was to be amongst the old and the young in a warm welcoming downtown.

Kari Johnson, Eugene