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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.18.10




GANGS NOT WELCOME

As an evening cab driver, I see a lot of what’s right about Eugene: folks getting together to share food and drink, or a show, others celebrating a Duck’s win or meeting with friends just for fun. Students who study hard during the week, then relax a bit on the weekends. I’m also faced with the unsavory side of our town. 

Last year driving down 6th Avenue, I saw a guy pepper-sprayed in front of me as a brawl tumbled into the street in front of the Blueprint. “Trouble-makers from out of town,” I heard later. When the Blueprint closed this year, I wondered where all the “gangstas” (and wannabes) were gonna go. I got my answer last night (Nov. 12).

Driving by Aminata’s on Willamette, I saw the throng of gangstas, their attitude, pimped out cars and fine looking ladies. An hour later, tons of Eugene police, state police, and county sheriff deputies (along with aid vehicles) were all over the area as red crime scene tape was being rolled out. A couple people had been shot, with witnesses reporting up to 15 shots fired between two groups of people. Cars and local businesses were also hit.

Gangstas: Get the fuck out of our town! Take your attitude, weapons and violence back to PDX, L.A. or wherever. We’re peaceful here, and you’re not welcome. 

Jacob Swearingen, Eugene



FIGHT FOR EDUCATION

As a student in an Introduction to Human Services class at LCC, I was urged to go to the Bijou in Eugene and watch the movie Waiting for Superman. What I saw had a profound effect on me. I realize now that I took my education for granted. I acknowledge the fact that Eugene is a far cry from the inner city of New York where this film was made, but the same problem exists. If we as a community don’t begin to fight for educational funding instead of cutbacks, we are heading inch by inch towards the same outcome. When was it decided that cutting back on our children’s education was a benefit to our future? These children are our future. If we don’t begin to invest in their education, I am terrified to even consider how bleak our future may look.

I believe that it is critical for our community to take action with regards to the education crisis. We have again voted. It is time to have our elected officials be held accountable for their campaign promises. It is my hope that every citizen write to our mayor, senator, and congressman to let our voices be heard and to tell them that it’s time to pay attention to the desperate cries of our youth. Education is the key to a world of possibilities. Let’s not nail it shut for the generations to come.

Trina Kanewa, Eugene



UNDERMINING TRUST

One of the quickest ways for an institution to undermine the public’s trust is to talk about the importance of public involvement and then close off all meaningful ways for the public to become involved.

Students and faculty leadership have voted again and again seeking an opportunity to weigh in on the use of public lands next to the Willamette River before any development occurs. While UO President Lariviere speaks about transparency, accountability and partnerships he simultaneously allows his administration to push forward with plans to develop the riverfront that violate existing agreements requiring public involvement.

If the university really wants to build trust with the community it must act with utmost integrity and uphold its promise to involve the public before building on the riverfront.

Nathan Howard, Eugene



UNDERSTAND POT

The fact that Measure 74 failed to pass in Oregon does not change that fact that FDA-approved research needs to be expanded. People deserve to have a better scientific understanding of what the medicinal properties of marijuana are before they will consider expanding the medical system, and only through federal approved studies will the issue medical marijuana be settled nationally.

Privately funded FDA-approved cannabis research is, at present, hampered by a government monopoly over the marijuana supply, held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Even after obtaining FDA approval, researchers must contend with NIDA’s review process to obtain marijuana. Given that NIDA’s mission is to explore the abusive potential of illicit drugs, it compromises their objectivity and has resulted in researchers being denied cannabis if they were looking into marijuana’s remedial characteristics. An additional source of marijuana is needed stop deterring researchers from studying this issue.

A DEA law judge found that it is in the public interest to license Dr. Lyle Craker at UMASS to cultivate marijuana, but this recommendation was rejected by the acting DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart.

It’s time to ask why the DEA is upholding an obstructive federal monopoly.

Stephen Morseman, Eugene



BUILD A RAFT

I have an idea for what to do with the thousands of car magnets that rich guy in New York bought for Art Robinson: Build a raft with them, float Art and all his supporters out to the middle of the ocean and start a new colony. Good riddance.

Kevin O’Brien, Eugene 

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hear Art Robinson is telling his supporters to hang on to those signs for 2012. This might be the first time he has ever advocated recycling — other than nuclear waste and 19th century ideas.



WHY FEAR A PLANT?

I want to express my utter disappointment in the fact that Measure 74 did not pass. It personally does not affect me, but I have been thinking of those it does affect. I know that the current medical marijuana laws are very helpful to those in need. My concern comes up when I think of sick people having to grow their own marijuana or find someone to grow it for them. I don’t understand why, if it is indeed a medicinal plant that is legal to consume with a prescription, people have to grow their own. Every other medication is available at the local pharmacy and can be purchased using health coverage. It seems harsh to expect someone suffering with cancer, HIV/AIDS or another debilitating illness to grow or find a grower and then wait for the plants to become harvestable. This seems like an unnecessary burden to someone already suffering. 

Having medical marijuana dispensaries would make it possible for everyone to get the medication they need to have a decent quality of life. I know politics dictate this particular issue, but it seems to be an issue of compassion to me. I can’t understand being so afraid of a plant that has already been legalized as a medication that we won’t vote to make it more available to those in need. I am dismayed and want to apologize to those still unable to receive their medication due to our collective fear.

Kaija Jones, Eugene



OH NO, MR. BILL!

This letter is regarding The Best of Eugene Awards Show Oct. 29 at the WOW Hall, which I attended to support the very talented finalists competing in EW’s Next Big Thing competition. All four finalists — Anna Gilbert, Endr Won, Adventure Galley, and Jameson and the Sordid Seeds did an outstanding job! On the other hand, whoever gave Bill Shreve a microphone and the responsibility to host this award show should be fired immediately. I would have rather had a colonoscopy than watch that man on stage. He not only embarrassed himself, but he disrespected a few of local legends in the hip hop community. Hey Bill — DJ Footstomp? It’s DJ food stamp. DJ Techneck? It’s DJ Tekneek. Endr Juan? It’s Endr Won. 

I know you had a little piece of paper with everyone’s name on it, and I also hear you are some bigwig at EW, but seriously, you did a piss-poor job. It was suppose to be a celebration of Eugene’s local artists; you could have at least taken 10 seconds to ask the correct pronunciation of their names. Or did you? And maybe you are just an illiterate dumbass. Either way, you made yourself look like a real ass and I hope next year they find someone who actually cares and appreciates all the hardworking musicians of this city.

Kathleen Konrady, Eugene



NO CONFIDENCE

As two nonvoting students we felt compelled to respond to an article in the Nov. 4 issue of EW. The story focused on reduced voter turnout on behalf of the student population. The purported cause of this decline is general apathy amongst students. We view this as an inaccurate representation of popular sentiment. Our grievance with this is based in the understanding that voting itself is an act of apathy. Its purpose is to surrender your right to participate directly in governance of your own life. For many young adults, refusing to participate in the electoral process is an act of no confidence.

The election of officials to “represent” a constituency necessarily involves the alienation of the citizen from the decision-making process and disempowers the masses, creating an elite body to make our choices for us. This runs contrary to genuine participation by the citizenry in civic affairs.

We feel that the emphasis placed on the ballot distracts from the realities of our political system. The ugly truth is that we live in a plutocracy. Wealth and capital are in the saddle and calling the shots. The lines between the two ruling parties have become increasing blurred with every war they co-sponsor and every ocean they drill. We can no longer afford to turn to others for the solutions to our problems. Hope lies not in the false promises of politicians, rather it rises from direct, collective action on the part of everyday people.

Cameron Kennedy and Johannes Pedersen, Eugene

 

NATION OF MORONS

Well now that America has made its opinion known, I fear we will get exactly what we deserve. America is filled with morons who think that everything will be better once the Republicans take over again. Our country is filled with a populace of racist and ignorant morons. 

The Tea Party was created by the Koch brothers, who have a long history of racial bias and neo-conservative beliefs. Yes, the same neo-con belief system that started the war in Iraq and believed that we would be received with flowers and cheers and laughter. The same neo-cons who believed that we could pay off the war with oil revenues. Never mind that the oil was actually the property of Iraq.

How anyone could think that giving the control back to the Republicans could improve anything is well beyond my understanding. It's a given that the Tea Party are neither fiscally conservative nor have any intention of shrinking government (no fiscal conservative would ever cut taxes while spending billions on two wars, the numbers don't add up — but morons are never very good at math). Now they will pursue an agenda to criminalize a woman's right of control over her own body, such that they want to erode away the FDA, EPA, and Department of Education and replace them with agencies destined to monitor every pregnancy in the country to full term, as well as industry driven agencies destined to serve only their respective industries, not protect the American people from their greed. 

Jonathan Seraphim, Eugene



VOTE FOR, NOT AGAINST

Looking back on the election, I find that the results reflected that when I voted, I did not know what I was truly voting for. I think that it is vital to know the different candidates and their positions on debated issues in the community, along with having the propositions properly and clearly explained. Voter education is very important, and I feel that as a college student it would be helpful for me when filling out my ballot.

In politics, every error is exposed, every possible fact dug up by the opposition. Candidates do not focus on what they believe in but on how to most efficiently take down the person standing opposite them. This is degenerative to our political voting system. Voters see the negative side of each nominee, and when they vote, they are voting for the person they disagree with less. America was founded as a representative democracy, and we need to change the way campaigning works so that voters can properly choose someone to represent them. To be a land for the people, we need to focus on what we are going to be gaining by appointing a candidate, not what we should be preparing for when they let us down.

Rachel Milowe, Eugene



FOLLOW THE MONEY

Follow the money; follow the money. It cannot brought up enough when deciding who is the best candidate for Oregon in elections now that campaign funding restrictions have been thrown out by the Supreme Court. We must ask who is giving lots of cash and why?

A case in point was the reelection campaign of Peter DeFazio (the best person Oregon has in Washington, D.C.). A New York hedge fund operator bankrolled the campaign of his unqualified Libertarian- Republican opponent in the hopes of ending Peter DeFazio's quest to end abuses by the Eastern financial community. 

We know there are unmovable segments of both the Republican and Democratic parties who don't vote across party lines. But what matters is the mass of voters in the middle who will vote for both or neither Republican and Democratic candidates depending on their qualifications and current prominent issues. That group decides Oregon elections, and in future elections hopefully they will not be swayed by car door sign purchasing, non-resident money put forth by those who care little about Oregon values or problems. Those outsiders would get rid of one of our best elected officials so that those out of state self-interested persons can avoid restraints on practices our representative believes are not for the common good. 

The TV advertisements for candidate Art Robinson were noticeable and professional but grossly devoid of substance. And again, they were partly paid for by someone who likely wouldn't shed a tear if Oregon fell into the sea.

In the governor's race we had a similar situation. Chris Dudley's campaign was financed by those who would give Oregon a revolution, one not in Oregon's best interests but one in the interests of those who would likely throw out our land-use laws and who would let sprawl and resource waste reign supreme.

But on the other hand, the more money out-of-state fat cats spend in the state to undermine our people here and in Washington, D.C., the more our economy is boosted. So let the outsiders spend; let them spend as long as we independents aren't too dumb to be influenced by car door signs and vacuous TV ads.

Since the Supreme Court threw out spending restraints we must investigate who is giving the money to understand motives. It sadly will probably not lead to goodness or that which makes Oregon special. That money will likely lead to a campaign for degradation and privilege at our expense.

 Brent Thompson, Gold Beach



US + IRAQ = US + CUBA?

The U.S. helped free the Hawaiians from Spain only to take control of Hawaii themselves, which is very similar to how they helped free Iraqis from Saddam Hussein only to take control of Iraq themselves. It seems as though the U.S. has come up with very clever ways to imperialize other countries while still being seen as a hero. Sure there are people who didn’t want to be free from Saddam Hussein and who didn’t want to be free from Spain but the majority of the people wanted liberty, right? So isn’t it perfect that America just happened to be the source of that liberty and people didn’t even care if the U.S. took over because they were promised freedom, which in the end is all they wanted. 

On the other hand, when the U.S. invaded Iraq they only controlled the government for a short period of time before helping them create their own government, when they invaded Hawaii their intentions were to annex Hawaii and claim it as American territory, just as their intention in Cuba was to claim rights to Puerto Rico. The U.S. helped Cuba create their own government the same way they helped Iraq create their own government. After the U.S. left Cuba the government fell apart and they ended up with dictatorships and chaos. How do we know the same thing will not happen in Iraq when the U.S. leaves? Only time will tell.

Rebekah Fraser, North Eugene High School