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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.2.10




BUS TO WALMART?

Alan Pittman did a reasonably good job of addressing many of the criticisms of the West 11th EmX line, (“Green Dragon Bus” cover story, 11/24) but he didn’t address what, for me, is the most perplexing issue.

Looking at a map of Eugene, it’s easy to tell where the residential housing is. West of Garfield there is very little housing in close proximity to West 11th. By comparison, there is far more housing in the Bethel Danebo, River Road, Santa Clara and Coburg Road areas. So it seems that the reasoning behind the West 11th EmX line is not about bringing people into Eugene’s perennially struggling downtown. It’s more about providing those people unfortunate enough to find themselves in downtown Eugene with a fast and easy way to get out and go shopping at the obvious place: The various big box stores that keep getting rubber stamped out West 11th by our “how-can-we-revitalize-downtown?” city government.

So, my question for Pittman and for LTD is: Why West 11th? Is EmX about serving people or serving Walmart? Or have our “leaders” so fully screwed up downtown that they are now resigned to letting it stay that way?

Robert Bolman, Eugene



THE LOUDEST VOICES

Anyone who drives down West 11th has noticed an overwhelming presence of “No Build” signs regarding LTD’s EmX system. 

The EmX is a 60-foot bus which can seat 44 passengers and hold a total of 100 people. It has its own dedicated lane, avoiding the costly time other buses spend in traffic. It currently runs between Eugene and Springfield and, depending on your route, can take less than half the time (and bus transfers) to reach your destination.

So you may find yourself asking, “Why would businesses be against such a valuable public service?” It’s not because they don’t care about public transportation; they just value their wallets more.

When you compare www.ourmoneyourtransit.com to the LTD website it becomes clear that not only is the business community exaggerating the effects of EmX, but intends to be misleading, such as the implication of increased taxes and use of city, county or state funds, which LTD has stated it won’t use.

Further, a large portion of funding comes with a federal grant that’ll go somewhere else if we don’t use it.

After the recent bailouts businesses seem to think they’re priority number one, and their needs supersede everyone else’s. I do see that there are some problems, but if the West 11th EmX is blocked, it should be for a good reason, not because the blockers are the loudest voices in the room.

Brent Gardner, Eugene



SPLINTERED BONES

I am typing with my non-dominant hand because my right arm is currently immobilized. Nov. 17 I was struck from the side by a cyclist as I was biking along the Amazon path by SEHS. Two witnesses came to my help, and one called 911; a fire truck responded. I was taken to Sacred Heart and diagnosed with a broken shoulder and other injuries, with months of expected recovery time.

What concerns me is that no officer was ever dispatched; no one arrived to take a statement, record names or keep the peace. Had this been an auto incident, or an on-road incident, insurance and/or criminal negligence would come into play. Prolific as bike paths are around here, as a public way they lack legal definition. Although I was struck while riding in the Eugene city proper, my bones splintered on the hard pavement of legal mercury.

So it would seem, on a dark and rainy night, an ill-equipped (no lights, no reflectives) phantom rider can fail to yield to a pathway, recklessly hit someone and later take off — leaving the injured rider (who had lights and right-of-way) to figure out how to foot the bill while unemployed and uninsured?

And as if finding employment were easy before this incident, the sling and the fog of painkillers I’m suddenly in aren’t helping. So to you who hazard our bike ways anything less than fully-prepared: Stay on the road. At least then if you’re hit, the cops will show up.

A. A. Ellis, Eugene



SNOW JOB

As if there aren’t enough closures in our schools already, add half an inch of snow to the list of reasons to further deny basic services to our children! Seriously? This is Oregon, right? 

When I called the superintendent’s office I was told that it had been decided that the roads were “too dangerous for buses.” LTD, on the other hand, seems to think most roads are fine and will continue service with only some delays. Go figure.

Well, I call it bulls#*t! Budget cuts are a challenge for sure, but 4J administrators have a responsibility to ensure that our children have access to the education they need. And canceling school for mild winter weather conditions represents a failure to perform that duty. I encourage all parents who care about their children’s education to submit a complaint so our schools don’t start closing for such serious weather as drizzle and morning frost!

C. Colin Houck, Eugene



ODE TO A WATER FOUL

Wake up, Eugene! Ducks (human and fowl) make doodoo, and surface water processes many things (including floaters). Thank God for EWEB! They are always testing and treating the water before it gets to your faucets. But why aren’t you guys agitating for a change in the charter to prohibit EWEB from entering the arena of regional water sales? Judge Karsten Rasmussen has just granted them carte blanche to start selling off your most precious asset.

Thus far, we people of the drainage are less than zero. We were eliminated from the “process” in the latest (incremental) takings of our rights and property (the Drinking Water Overlay Plan) and (under the banner of health and safety) we get no compensation for what you want from us. We could develop community drain fields, pay for new septic tanks and create conservation easements along the 200-foot setback zone.

I personally find its sad Eugene gets all dried up and dusty in the summer because we’ve been taught water conservation. The irony here is EWEB claims more water rights than the city can use, so it is “forced” to sell water to preserve its claim. I hear water is the gold of this century, and the McKenzie is rated as excellent (in spite of all the water fouling we drainage people do). We want our pot of gold, duckies!

Bill Goodpasture, Vida



A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

By any other name it would smell as sweet. Call it what you (they) want. Just don’t call it too late to exercise the purchase option!

Thanks to the clear vision of our mayor and city councilors, Eugene is in the process of acquiring 315 acres south of LCC. It will be a wonderful addition to our city’s open spaces. These spaces are vanishing quickly — and they won’t be making more of them — so let’s commend their action, which is in our community’s current and future best interest.

The ills of the recent Papé/Beltline re-naming adventure were mostly due to a lack of public input and an ill-defined process. Our mayor and councilors have wisely healed those hiccups by inviting public comment on this action, and by establishing new policy guidelines. Let’s take advantage of the former to address the latter.

Does the proposed Suzanne Arlie Park meets the new policy guidelines? I think it does. The purchase option comes at a favorable price to the city, and includes recovery of $600,000 that would otherwise be lost in the Arlie & Co. bankruptcy proceedings. We have the land acquisition money available, and it’s a great deal! Also, Suzanne Arlie is known for her participation in Eugene charities, so she should arguably meet that guideline as well.

So, crank up your computer and send a message to our mayor and councilors at: Mayorandcc@ci.eugene.or.us offering pats on the back for making Eugene’s quality of life even better with this terrific decision. On behalf of the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees — and the citizens of Eugene — let’s thank them one and all!

Benton Elliott, Eugene



HUGE UPHEAVAL

Dear 4J School Board: I’m writing because I learned recently that board members do actually read their emails, and I’m hopeful you might consider voting down the proposal to close five area elementary schools and combine to the K-3/4-8 reconfiguration. I strongly feel this is not based on any research, and it would negatively serve my two young boys just starting in the school system. I understand there is a serious budget crisis which is not going away, but I feel that we could better weather that crisis at our current school, Crest Drive Elementary, with the families we know and the teachers we know, instead of such a huge upheaval. 

While homeschooling is not a long-term option for us, we would consider private schools. And more importantly, for the first time in my life I would lose faith in the public school system.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to what is not an enviable job right now!

Amy Vellutini, Eugene



TAMING WILDERNESS

I want to thank you for printing Shannon Finnell’s informative article (10/21) about ODFW’s cougar plan. However, the photograph chosen to accompany it was unfortunate. People may see it and react with fear for these magnificent animals. Fear is their worst enemy. In this photo, the cat looks frightened. It may have been taken at the moment this cat was being chased by dogs to be gunned down by the ODFW. It may have been a mother who would leave behind kittens who would then starve. Or a mother whose young male offspring had not yet learned from his mother and older, wiser adult male cougars to keep to his place and do what experienced cougars do, stay as far away from us as possible.

When we kill cougars, we seek to control something we know nothing about. We seek to tame an astonishing wilderness by removing the very creatures that make it wild, that make it astonishing, that make it beautiful. The ODFW does this on public lands to make room for livestock. Our wilderness becomes fenced, the native plants over-grazed into extinction, the rivers and streams polluted by their excrement. The ODFW asserts that killing cougars helps sustain balance and helps to manage deer and elk populations when quite the reverse is true. Their assertion is artificial, mindless and brutal. Thousands of cougar tags were sold in 2009.

Cougars and other predators keep balance and health in the natural wilderness. They govern themselves, they teach their young. The forest is empty without them.

Jane Hedden, Eugene



THE RIGHT TO RULE

I read the letter by Michael Yeager (11/24) and couldn’t, unfortunately, agree more with the conclusion. I say unfortunately because of the severely partisan environment that has been evident in Congress. Our elected representatives are supposed to be running the country; but instead we are getting watered down or no legislation through Congress because the Republicans are following Rush Limbaugh’s desire to see Obama “fail.” I believe that the primary purpose of the opposition party is to prevent the party in power from overreaching, not to force everything to a standstill and failure. Some political commentators have written that the Republicans act as if they are the only party with the right to rule. This would seem to be the case.

Before elections I prefer to read and hear what all the candidates are saying and make my mind up based on that. But as long as religion, hate and teabags control the Republican Party I will “never, ever” vote Republican.

And, by the way, to Senator John McCain: Thanks a lot.

Ken Grimes, Roseburg



AMAZING CREATURES

 “It’s men like you that make women like me feminists!” This is a statement from a woman who works a stressful full time job, goes to college full time, takes primary care of the children, cooks the meals, cleans the house, does all the laundry and plans the family outings, and all while pregnant. She pays the household bills, buys the food and supplies and pays for any extra needs as they arise. She then gets told, “It’s not enough,” or when she finally asks her husband for help, he responds, “Why can’t you take the trash out yourself?” He believes that household chores, taking care of the kids, and cooking are a “woman’s job”! 

Why is it OK for men to demand this from women? I thought times were supposed to have changed. Is this the change: On top of the already expected “traditional womanly duties,” women have to be the providers for the home, too? That’s not fair. 

Women are amazing creatures; their strength can amaze and outweigh even the strongest men. But because of their fragile side they get taken advantage of, mistreated and not respected. Men, even society sometimes, take women for granted. So next time you see a woman working hard, thank her. A woman frazzled or stressed — lend a hand to help her. Even a woman who’s sad — share a few kind words or just a smile. Don’t be afraid to say, “I appreciate you.” Your act of kindness can go a long way.

Jennifer Roppe, Eugene



SAVE YOUR MONEY

I just saw the new “exposé” movie at the Bijou. Perhaps I had too high a hope for Inside Job, perhaps a Michael Moore take on the financial collapse. But alas, the movie is simply way too shallow and doesn’t add anything of any substance to the discussion. It starts with the financial deregulation of the 1980s and goes forward, totally neglecting the social devolution that proceeded this. Had this been a double bill with the TV movie/special The Economic Meltdown by Richard Wolff as a primer and Inside Job as an example of the total destruction caused by our constant need to accumulate as a measure of our value — then you would have had a great starting point for some heavy discussion. Unfortunately, this was just a big-screen version of what you’ve all seen on the TV screen and I doubt there were many in the audience at the Bijou who felt they had been significantly enlightened about the issues for having seen the movie. Save your money — you probably don’t have much left!

Don Clarke, Eugene



FADING FROM VIEW

Student activists and shrimpers — one would imagine these two groups rarely interact; however, incredible circumstances eradicate all social norms in situations of dire need. On Saturday, Nov. 20, I had the privilege of spending the seven-month anniversary of the seemingly forgotten BP oil spill with vigilant student and adult activists alike at Seattle University. I attended this awareness event on a whim of curiosity for lack of hearing anything of the oil spill since summer. I was confronted with far more information than I bargained for. 

The audience was presented with tidbits of a documentary in process created by Project Gulf Impact, a team of students who dropped everything they were doing to document the largest oil spill in human history. To the audience’s disbelief, many horrors still plague the Gulf to this day. A fisherman shared his moving story of his son who has been hospitalized three times for ailments from kidney stones to respiratory failure since his exposure to Corexit, a chemical used to disperse the oil in the gulf which is causing an unprecedented health crisis in the gulf. All the fishermen present unanimously agreed that citizens are suffering silently.

Why is the U.S. turning a blind eye to the suffering people of the Gulf, and how come no one knows about it? I encourage every reader to look up the nonprofit Project Gulf Impact and spend a few moments educating themselves about this devastating public health issue that’s been silently swept under the carpet. 

Rachel Lytton, Eugene