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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.16.10




GOOD & BAD NEWS

Good news. The Oregon Dungeness crab industry is now certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, and more Willamette Valley farmers are growing food crops. Wikileaks is the best thing to happen to this country and the world to expose illegal government operations and corporate corruption since the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. 

Bad news. Three Lane County commissioners are being bullied by one of the wealthiest people in the county, Aaron Jones, owner of Seneca Sawmill. (Just intimidation?) EWEB and some of its bumbling bureaucrats are claiming they have a right to keep secrets. Rep. DeFazio keeps the asphalt pork rolling in to build new “parkways” and pedestrian bridges to nowhere, Delta Ponds and Gateway Mall. I haven’t heard much about “pork” going towards a rail line that would get you to Portland at least as quick as driving, nor towards bicycle/pedestrian bridges over the most dangerous intersections and bridges.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



NOT A BLIGHT

Recently, my family has been considering moving to Missouri, a state that is politically hostile to us liberal radicals, but which offers the chance to live in a community of people who have devoted their lives to service, in the manner of Francis of Assisi, and also to a small ecological footprint. 

Eugene lost my vote of confidence when I received two notices on my school bus motor-home that declared we were illegally “camping” on a public street, and that we had to remove our vehicle from the area within 24 hours, or face fines and towing. We are not indigent. We are college educated. I am a professional, licensed holistic health practitioner, trained in permaculture design, traditional and alternative construction and gardening. I am, as well, a writer and musician. We are raising children. 

We have chosen this lifestyle of radical simplicity deliberately, in light of the excessive and unsustainable nature of our disposable culture. We interact with money as little as possible. We wash our dishes with refilled gallon jugs of water, using about 4 gallons a day for a family of four. We cook in the small galley in our bus and use shared resources for our personal washing needs.

Eugene was one of the few places in the country that seemed to recognize that people can live nomadically (we moved every 72 hours, as required) for good reason. City Code 4.815 may suggest otherwise, but I know that we were an asset to, not a blight upon, our community.

Gavain U’Prichard, Eugene



CHRISTMAS IN MY FACE

Here we are at the most wonderful time of the year again. People getting worked up into a frenzy to shop, shop, shop til they drop, drop, drop. Feeling pressured to scurry around buying things for just about everybody they know. (Whether or not these people really need or want these gifts.) How senseless! Money and energy would be far better spent by helping people in our community who really need help.

Christmas is in the air and in our faces just about everywhere we go this time of year. Christmas trees, religious music playing, baby Jesus in his manger, all praising the birth of our Lord and Savior. Well, Jesus is not everyone’s Lord and Savior, and it would do well for people to realize that not everybody in this country is Christian.

Public places and businesses should be welcoming to people of all religions and beliefs. Get Christmas out of my face! Maybe some businesses should simply hang a sign on their door: “Christians Only.” But then that might affect the bottom line.

Allan Grossman, Springfield



CONFUSING MESS

Sorry to say, Alan Pittman, your EmX myth-busting article (11/24) is a confusing mess, just as the LTD EmX plan is. First, West 11th is not congested! I can confirm what the city consultant reported. One can drive the strip from Garfield to Bailey Hill in 3 to 4 minutes and another 3 minutes to Beltline. Congestion on West  11th is the same myth/lie used by developers promoting the infamous West Eugene Parkway.

The fallback argument is that with population growth, West 11th will be congested. Your own News Briefs (11/24) reported Lane County grew only by an estimated 860 people last year. I have been traveling the road for 23 years. It still is not congested. It’s obvious EmX supporters do not know our area.

Your first Fact Check says “LTD … would remove almost all of the dedicated bus lanes.” Then Fact Check 3 states “75-90 percent [are] dedicated travel lanes and exclusive transit-ways.” So which is it? Building dedicated lanes is the same as building a new road. I oppose building roads. And, since West 11th is not congested, we do not need dedicated lanes. I do support bus stop pull-outs, shelters and wheelchair ramps — good ideas anywhere.

We already have buses here. It would be great if everyone working and living out here would use them. The only time buses are even close to being full is winter rush hours and December shopping season. Many hours a day West 11th buses are lucky to carry five passengers. How efficient is that?

Your article gives plenty of reasons to use public transit, but this pork barrel bus from our King of the Roads congressman is not appropriate for West 11th.

Jan Nelson, Crow



GREENER THAN AUBURN

In October the Environmental Protection Agency had a contest aimed at getting universities hosting football games to get the fans to throw away less, recycle more, etc., (search Wastewise EPA). I wanted to congratulate the facilities maintenance and the recycling people at the UO for their showing: Out of 75 schools we got a third, fourth and 15th ranking. In those same categories Auburn came in 46th, 42nd and 73rd. I am positive this means something, but I’m not sure what. 

Unfortunately, we also came in 69th in “Per Capita Waste Generation” so there is lots of room for improvement. Though here again, Auburn was 73rd. Eat that, Cam Newton.

 Kevin O’Brien, Eugene



CHOOSE A SIDE

Mayor Kitty Piercy organized a community forum Dec. 14 to deal with the budget shortfall of $30 million facing our schools. Who will step up and save our schools?

So far, 4J teachers, cooks, bus drivers, janitors, etc., have stepped up and taken pay cuts for two years in a row in form of furlough days and frozen salaries. They gave time and millions of dollars to our kids and their education. They have sacrificed enough. 

Now is the time for others, wealthy individuals and businesses, to do their part. They have just received a huge federal income tax break from Congress, lower tax on capital gains and dividends as well as lower rate on estate tax. 

They have argued that they needed these tax breaks in order to stimulate the economy by creating jobs. Here is their chance to save local jobs of more than a hundred teachers, secretaries, bus drivers, aides, etc. They can use the money given to them by Congress and for the next two years invest their savings in the local economy. 

A temporary 3 percent city income tax for individuals and businesses making more than $250,000 should be enacted starting in 2011 and dedicated to Eugene schools. Eugene can strike a blow to the income inequality that’s destroying our country. We can become a model for others.

No school closures, no teacher layoffs or pay cuts and a full school year for our kids. The choice is clear Eugene. It’s time to decide, “Which side are you on?” 

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene



MAGNITUDE OF TALENT

It was my great pleasure last weekend to experience first hand the claim that Eugene is “A Great City for the Arts & Outdoors.” Friday night’s Art Walk took me past many lively galleries — Woodpecker’s Muse among them with an exemplary exhibit of nudes and mixed media by UO’s Sarah Refvem. 

And speaking of UO, what about those Ducks! Saturday night I started the evening at Cozmic Pizza where there was a benefit for African children that featured the beautiful voice of Shelly James and musicianship of Cal Coleman — talk about your “Dynamic Duo”! Kudana’s marimbas and singing couldn’t have been more inspiring. What a treasure! 

I finished the night at Sam Bond’s with rousing jug band sounds of the Blair Street Mugwumps — just plain fun! And Sunday found me in the Hult Center audience at Eugene Concert Choir’s holiday offering, “A Celtic Christmas.” From the first chord of their first song, “The Voice,” it was a perfect musical experience. And these are all local singers and musicians! These are the same people we work with, stand in line at the grocery store with and meet in countless other ways in Eugene. 

I’m blown away by the magnitude of talent in our community.

Bobbie Cirel, Eugene



JUST WALK AWAY

Regarding Jennifer Roppe’s letter (12/2) about women: I agree. Women are the most amazing creatures roaming the earth, but if her friend can do all these wonderful things, there is the one big problem. She can’t walk away from an abusive relationship. Yes, abusive. She sounds like she has abused-woman syndrome where one stays despite the abuse. Due to some “ rational” reason, she stays. Have her get some professional support, leave the low-life and have her meet one of the many “knows-what-a-partner-is” guys in the area who would love to be part of someone’s life like hers.

Richard T. Foley, Springfield



EMX CORRECTION

As a follow up to my previous letter, “The Loudest Voices” (12/2), I would like to apologize for some outdated information. I have been closely following the West 11th EmX expansion issue since September of this year.

I said the LTD stated it wasn’t going to use state funds, which was incorrect. I had based this information on a statement from LTD, which was given in September and has since changed. As anyone who has been following the subject has seen, LTD will be applying for a portion of the Oregon state lottery funds. I did notice that my information was incorrect before publication but unfortunately it was after any changes could be made. 

While there will be state funding involved, the federal grant will absorb the majority of the cost. And as the Weekly pointed out, the West 11th EmX expansion will save the state government and Eugeneans money in the long run. 

So please remember my previous letter for the point, not the mistake. Don’t let yourself be overtaken by the loudest voices in the room, or because there are faults with LTD and its supporters/customers, namely me. Make your decision by what’s best for Eugene, not just businesses or bus riders.

Brent Gardner, Eugene



DON’T CUT ANY TREES

From Alan Pittman’s green dragon article (11/24): Myth: Many large trees will be cut down for EmX. Fact: The LTD design options will remove 98 to 288 trees that are more than 8 inches in diameter. I don’t get it. How does this fact make the preceding statement a myth?

Someone’s brain doesn’t consider a minimum of 98 trees to be many trees? One tree would be too many.

I could make this the longest letter ever written but people who don’t get the situation on planet Earth by now aren’t going to no matter what. So this letter is just to remind everyone else that if it comes down to it, these trees’ lives are going to need to be defended and saved.

First do no harm. 

Genelle McDaniel, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our understanding is that very few, if any, large and healthy trees more than 50 years old are in danger of being cut.



SHE’S NOT PRETTY

A friend mentioned to me that they saw a letter in EW about my car being an eyesore. I haven’t been able to find the letter, and I’ll admit that there is a large possibility that the letter doesn’t exist and that my friend was slyly dissing my car. However, the discussion has prompted me to write a letter about said vehicle. 

I call her the Little Blue Pill. She is a 1993 Ford Festiva. There are several Festivas in Eugene, but mine is probably the most noticeable. She is blue with a gray fender on the passenger side and no driver’s side fender. You can hear her coming from a few blocks away.

A lot of people in Eugene like to stare at the Pill disapprovingly, especially downtown. I think if people knew why I kept her around, maybe they wouldn’t be so upset. She gets 45 MPG in town and around 48 on the highway. After a tune-up and an oil change she will likely get over 50 on the highway. I pay $280 for an entire year of insurance. Because of good engine maintenance, I hardly have to put money into her for repairs. Plus I own her outright, so if excrement hits the cooling device at least I’ve got a mobile shelter. 

She has served me well for many years and yeah, she isn’t pretty, but she is a testament to endurance and fortitude in the face of a crappy economy. Too often people throw out things because they are no longer aesthetically pleasing even though there is a lot of use left. I think now is the time people should think about keeping things around a bit longer.

Kristina Fyrewof, Eugene



GRATEFUL WORDS

Just writing to say a few words of thanks. Thanks to UO for providing a place for our class to meet on Tuesday nights. The class is the DIVA Center’s “Behind The Lens” seminar hosted by Tom Blank. The class is also a non-credit course offered through the LCC Community Education program. Next movie will be shown on Jan. 4. Call 344-3482 for more information. Also, thanks to the city of Eugene for changing the parking situation in the downtown area.  

Martin E. Williams, Eugene



LEAVE PEOPLE DOWNTOWN

The greenwashing article on the EmX (11/24) missed some key points. One of the reasons that small businesses are opposed is for the very reason you falsely pointed out as a benefit. The EmX will leave downtown and move rapidly with few stops to big box stores out West 11th, bypassing small, locally owned businesses. The people should be left downtown to support small business around the LTD transfer station. And make more frequent stops along the way to local small businesses.

I don't recall reading anything about operating funds. There is more to EmX than just building it. Who will be taxed to meet operating expenses? I haven't seen anything that guarantees that the EmX will be self supporting.

If cars are allowed to use the EmX lane to make turns or merge into the traffic lane, how is the bus going to get by that stopped car that can't turn or merge due to traffic congestion? 

Gary W. Cook

Eugene



PARENTS SHOULD PAY

Well, that's one idea. You have kids in school, you pay for the schools! Then the retired, seniors, people on disability, unemployed and people whose homes are getting foreclosed are not going to have to pay the new sales tax Mayor Piercy wants to fix the schools. "Throw money at the problem," where have we heard that before? 

People with kids are already deciding to put them in private schools, home schooling, and charter schools. They are sick of our school system here. Rob DeHarpport of Westfir, says "the PERS system is gobbling up our children’s education," and no one will fix that problem yet. He also says, "Oregon school districts spend approximately 85 percent of their budgets on employee wages and benefits." No school or state official is willing to tackle that problem.

So, should we put through a new sales tax, or new school tax? No, we should not. I know plenty of working people here who cannot afford to live on their meager incomes as it is. Mayor Piercy's idea of a new sales tax, or new school tax, is ridiculous and insulting to the intelligence of the taxpayers.

D.H. Bucher, Eugene



INFRARED IS BETTER

As a taxpayer, would you spend $160,000 on a scanner that exposes you to radiation, produces a view of your naked body and causes a boycott? Or would you rather spend $60,000 on a infrared scanning device that produces no radiation, no naked body image, scans from up to 100 yards away and also scans for travelers with infectious diseases? See http://wkly.ws/xk 

It seemed like a no-brainer to me, but not to Rep. Peter DeFazio and the other politicians who have appeared to have succumbed to the pressure of the full-body-scanner lobbyists, who include former HSA Chief Michael Chertoff. 

Why is it that our safety is always sold to the highest bidder? See http://wkly.ws/xj

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain



SEXISM BOTH WAYS

If a man were to write a piece about sexism on men, he would be ridiculed. However, if a woman were to write the same piece about sexism on men, she might get listened to. Why is that? I don’t think it’s fair. Women supposedly want to be equal but it seems as if in wanting and pushing for that they are taking away men’s rights. 

If a woman were to openly come on to a man in the workplace no one would say anything. If a man even looks at or compliments a woman in the workplace, he’s getting accused of sexual harassment. It’s not right. It almost seems as if the women are striving for dominance and total control rather than equality! 

I don’t believe men should be allowed to treat women with cruelty, disrespect or “differently” because they don’t share the same “dangly bits” between the legs. But I also don’t believe men should have to bow down to women and be disrespected because they do have the “dangly bits.” We are all human, so aren’t we all essentially the same? 

Everyone should treat each another with respect and equality no matter the color of skin, economic status, religious beliefs, or what they were given at birth.

Jennifer Roppe, Eugene



PROTECTING VALUES

Part of the WikiLeaks shows that the Vatican objected to the Irish commission investigation into decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy on the grounds of "sovereignty" of high ranking churchmen. The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican condemned these leaks and stated that the Vatican and America cooperate in promoting universal values. It's interesting to see that the U.S. State Department and the Vatican view the butt-fucking of minor children as a universal value that needs protecting and promoting. 

Note that in the end the Irish government decided not to press the Vatican to reply, so the cover-up by high ranking Vatican officials continues. We all know the Catholic clergy is a safe haven for child butt-fuckers and the U.S. government is morally corrupt, but it is interesting to see via WikiLeaks how the Unholy See and the U.S. government complement each other. 

Julian Assange needs to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Daniel Schlender, Springfield



FEAR OF CHANGE

A common science fiction theme is where communication is enhanced by reducing secrecy, by telepathy, by distant viewing, computer hacking, etc. But the story usually ends when that condition of openeness is established because it's hard to imagine how society would evolve from there. Do we fear Wikileaks because we don't feel able to predict the result of changes, and we assume any change will be for worse?

What would be your scenario of the future if much more information was revealed, about present and past behavior of the powers that be, at all levels? I tend to see the greatest good being first the good of the greater community, ultimately Gaia (the biosphere) in which we're all interdependent. Would Gaia, humanity and lesser communities be harmed, in the short term and beyond, by more openness, or would we evolve global consciousness for the betterment of all levels?

Dan Robinson, Eugene



REDUCE, RE-USE, RECYCLE

Many people know the words for the symbol that stands for Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle but few take those words as far as others. For the past nine months I’ve taken those words and applied them to my everyday life. 

As I watched the housing market crumble, my own job taken by the economy, I knew that if I couldn’t make more money I had to use less. I’ve never been a good saver of funds and my living situation has never felt truly stable. All this was about to change my life forever. 

Reducing my bills was the first step. This meant not paying some bills at all and cutting ties with corporate America. No cell phone contract, no energy bill, no water bill, no rent contract, and owning my own place. Reduce, Re-use and Recycle were the words that made it all happen. I sold some items I had bought over time and managed to put together $450 and bought a rotted 1972 20-foot travel trailer. This would be my home and was the building grounds for the project I call Energy Star Eco-trailer. My father generously allowed me to move the trailer onto his property and rebuild it for no rent until I found a place to move it to. I also got lucky and landed a job working night shifts for $8.50 an hour at a locally owned bakery. 

I gutted the trailer down to bare aluminum walls. I left what items I could that were intact and useable. I knew being energy efficient would cut my costs, as well as going off- grid, but I’ve never been a very green person. The internet became my hunting ground. Searching through ads for free items, garage sales, and how-to ideas and information on building and going off-grid. Everything started coming together in my head and made total sense.

I now live in a beautiful area near Dexter Lake. I have a work-trade rent agreement with the people who own the property. I have a $10 cell phone and pay $20 every month or two for minutes and text. My hot water, heating, some cooking (and eventually my electricity) are done by propane, which costs me $15 to $20 a month so far. I have a small solar system which powers the trailer’s 12-volt system and eventually will help power the whole trailer. Almost all appliances are Energy Star rated, including the insulation and paint. The whole trailer runs off of a 15-amp power cord equivalent to a single household plug-in. 

My debt is nearly all paid, I already own my own place and have almost no regular monthly bills. By 2012 I should be debt free with the trailer fully off-grid and mobile. The words Reduce, Re-use and Recycle made it all possible. 

Timothy Dinnel, Dexter