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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 1.13.11


As a dog lover who has had companion dogs for the last 25 years, I am thrilled that the pit bulls in the Jan. 6 EW found good homes. As a pedestrian and parent, I'm terrified.

On two occasions in the last several years, I've been threatened by pit bulls in my suburban driveway. The first time, a guest of a neighbor let his dog out of his car and the dog decided that my driveway was its territory. The second, two pit bulls were on an early morning journey of exploration through my neighborhood. In both cases, thanks to a small bit of knowledge about dog behavior, I was able to safely retreat from the threat. My child would probably not have been as fortunate. The majority of dog attacks are perpetrated by pit bulls, and many children have been mauled and killed by this breed of dog.

Victims of serious dog attacks often suffer acute damage, which may require $250,000 to $1 million in specialized medical care. Reconstructive surgery, such as skin grafting, tissue expansion and scar diminishment, often requires multiple procedures over a period of years. As the dog owner, are you prepared to help pay these expenses? Loving and providing for them is wonderful, but before you consider getting one of these dogs, please ask yourself if you are capable of controlling the animal 100 percent of the time. Anything less, even 99.999 percent control, can be devastating (source www.dogsbite.org).

Steven Shapiro, Eugene


There are two sides to all stories, and your recent cover story (1/6) about pit bulls certainly portrays the breed in a different light than I have witnessed. Please ask yourself why this breed of dog has been outlawed in certain jurisdictions. Please ask my dead pet llama and rough-castrated other llama if they see the breed as your article portrays. They were attacked by pit bulls in the early morning while they slept.

There certainly are other breeds who will meet your readers' need for companions without putting others at risk. I trust that lady expecting a child whom you interviewed will be careful with her newborn around her pit bull.

Fred Hamlin, Eugene


Last year, Nevada Senate candidate Sharon Angle suggested "Second Amendment solutions" to the political situation. Sarah Palin put a map on her website showing rifle-scope cross-hairs to indicate Congress members she wanted to unseat (I don't buy her lame excuse that they were just a graphic). An insane follower of Glen Beck was stopped in California before he could murder people working for the Tides Foundation. This week, the Republicans and their PR outlet, Fox News, are spinning madly to deflect blame for the tragic events in Arizona this weekend.

The left is being accused of "politicizing" the discussion. Well it should be. I heard one pundit over the weekend say that "both sides need to tone down their rhetoric." That's wrong. During eight years of the Bush administration, no credible spokesman for the left advocated violence. In the last two years, you could fill a book with examples of disrespect, bigotry and incitement from a broad spectrum of politicians and media personalities on the right.

Now that a "Second Amendment solution" has been tried, we see the Republicans scrambling to repudiate their hate speech. I won't accept that. I believe they share responsibility for what happened, but they lack the courage and the moral conviction to admit it.

Brook Adams, Eugene


To the Oregon Department of Forestry: The idea to consolidate and organize a better budget program for our school system is valid and years overdue. The idea to fund it with the cutting of the irreplaceable Elliot State Forest is nothing short of a brainless "bake sale."

Let's pretend that we would like our future graduating classes to help amend our past environmental mistakes and learn to manage our planet in a more intelligent and caring way.

It would seem extremely self-effacing to continue with your current plan when the very sector of society which you are professing to assist would suffer the most by its passage. The environmental devastation created by this plan would be irreversible for generations to come, and the opportunity to teach our children how to preserve the legacy of nature, lost forever.

Evidently, any past educational system funding provided by public land depletion has not served us well.

Terry Richardson, Springfield


For the growing homeless population of young people it is especially difficult. Our kids grew up here expecting more job opportunities.Until we figure out how to make jobs we must provide shelter, food and basic needs.

Our newly formed Homeless Action Coalition (email homeless-action@yahoogroups.com) appreciates the effort of many to provide food and shelter when it is freezing outside but we need funding to provide basic needs, counseling, job training and opportunities.County and city funds have been cut. Now the community needs to respond with donations and more citizen involvement. Money alone won't solve this challenge — we need everyone working to reverse growing homelessness and not allow it to continue with so little hope for change.

Visit or call St. Vincent de Paul/Egan Warming Centers, Shelter Care, Catholic Community Services, First Place Family Development Center, Eugene Service Station, Hosea Youth Center, Looking Glass, Centro Latino, White Bird, Eugene Mission, St. John Bosco House.

The year 2011 must have a new beginning! Donate and/or volunteer!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


I have two daughters in the 4J School District. During winter break in December, I was trying to come up with ways of "finding" the "optimistic" $22 million needed to continue to give our kids a high quality education next year. The worst solution is to cut teachers. I have great respect and admiration for teachers, and they are the key to the education of our children.

A concurrent solution was to cut administration staff. Time and effort need to be focused on reconfiguring/ consolidating administration staff, instead of schools. I suggest that we start at the top with the superintendent. In the shadow of a $22 million budget shortfall, now is the time to be nontraditional and unconventional.

I propose that administration staff department heads report directly to the School Board. This has several benefits.

1. Nearly $200,000 in annual salary, benefits and bonuses can be redirected back into the budget to help our schools maintain quality allowing our schools to stay open a half day more for learning by our students, or teacher training time.

2. The School Board is elected by the voters. Ultimately, the administration staff will be more accountable to parents and students, instead of a district superintendent, found and hired by a search committee.

3. The time, effort and money expended by a search committee to hire an outside search firm can be redirected to the actual "stakeholders" of our school district and schools, i.e. our children/ students.

Mark Callahan, Eugene


In the year 2008 Eugene developed many crosswalks meant for just pedestrians, in hope of a safer crossing spot for all people. I am writing on behalf of Dave Heying, author of "Holding the Bag" in the Jan. 6 letters.

I do not own a car, so most of my transportation is by walking and taking the bus. My walking experience around Eugene has not been only a bad experience, but also very dangerous and frightening. In 2008 when these crosswalks first developed, I was on my way home from school, and I had to cross at River Road. A car with a family in it did not see me and slammed on its brakes and at the last second saved my life. After the driver came to an abrupt stop, there was a three car pileup, with only minor injuries. The sound of the hitting cars sounded like gunshots and has permanently made me avoid crossing busy streets.I was 15 at the time.

My experience, and I could imagine many others, just like Heying's, has been very traumatic. The officers involved in accidents like this one should be more sympathetic towards the pedestrians because that's the reason the crosswalks are there. Drivers who abuse and pay no attention to the pedestrian crosswalks should be punished for it. I hope more drivers are aware of this problem and try to avoid it as much as possible.

Leila McElroy, North Eugene


I was intrigued by the recent (1/6) News Briefs: "Eugeneans Concerned for Bahà''s In Iran." After brief research on the Bahà''s and their latest messenger from god, Bahà'u'llàh, I've come to the conclusion that these folks, along with other "faith" believers, are developmentally disabled adults.

Iran's persecution of these unfortunates is the one thing we should all agree is wrong. However, gathering for a day of fanciful prayer with other illusioned sects and their religious-selling leaders accomplishes nothing, except to make them all feel good. Watching Bugs Bunny cartoons also helps people feel good.

Perpetuating and supporting the childlike beliefs of developmentally disabled adults in the 21st century is a major step backward in true spiritual growth. It's a cop-out, and it explains one of the reasons our Earth continues to be trashed. The worshipping hordes — Christians, Jews, Muslims and Bahà''s — are looking for eternal bliss in heavenly realms at the expense of our planet.

The reality is that these people, and all other personal god adherents, are practicing a cruel, submissive, make-believe game. And of course, our corporate/military handlers wholeheartedly approve of this game.

Until we can all unite behind one another, leaving these incredibly insecure gods to rot alone by themselves, we are doomed.

George Carlin once said: "War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. If this is the best God can do, I'm not impressed. Results like this do not belong in the resume of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude."

Amen, George.

Robert Simms, Eugene


I felt a little jealous as I read EW's Eugene B. Good section in the Dec. 23 issue. It identified the community's most deserving charities as chosen by EW's staff. My jealousy didn't last long, and it wasn't because they would benefit from the Weekly's recommendation but just that the Red Cross wasn't mentioned and wouldn't be on givers' minds.

I hope next year we will be included.

As I read, I recognized that all those agencies receiving an assist from EW provide desperately needed support to many desperately in need. Their efforts are 24/7 and are certainly bound to continue as long as the no-economy prevails and as long as innocent people and animals are made victims.

It is important for everyone to know that your local Red Cross provides shelter and emergency assistance on a local disaster event basis. It is there 24/7, but thank goodness the events are infrequent — there were 10 fires in the Eugene Springfield area during December in which individuals and families lost everything they owned. We helped them as best we could.

Red Cross sent a volunteer regardless of the time of day or night to assist the victims and provide them with emergency shelter and clothing. It incurred all the cost of the assistance without a penny of government support.

The cost of providing nights in a motel and replenishing supplies of blankets and sweat clothes is a major expense. Red Cross operates on a minimum overhead. It is a great steward of the donated dollar and stands ready to help anyone in need regardless of race, religion or political ideology.

Red Cross does need financial and material assistance from the local community. It also needs volunteers to help provide the timely assistance to fire victims. Get involved if you can. Call 344-5244 and ask for Katey. You may also find Red Cross online at http://oregonpacific.redcross.org

Jeff Simons, Emergency Services, ARC Oregon Pacific Chapter, Eugene


According to Rich Peters in the Dec. 30 issue, Christians, a group I am not a part of, should not be participating in Christmas because it is a pagan holiday, and evil, as the Christian church branded all things pagan in origin and said that birthdays are to not be celebrated. He mentions that Christians should not heed the word of the men in charge of the church, because they are just men and don't know the true word of God. However, what about the fact that the Bible, which he claims to be the word of God, is actually the work of men? Since God needs to remain so secret and all, and cannot reveal himself, where do you think these men got the idea that they were writing God's law? Probably by drinking.

Rich Peters, really, the hypocrisy kills me. It's so great to judge people for following the word of some man rather than the word of God, isn't it?

Tiemo Norman, Eugene


Recently my husband and I were dining out in Eugene. A few tables over was a family of four. The younger of the two children began an intense wailing, which continued for a long time.

My husband and I were attempting to have a conversation but the wailing was loud and nonstop, and conversation was impossible. People all around were in obvious distress.

After 15 minutes, I went over to the table to inform the couple that our attempts at conversation were impossible because of the noise and asked if it would be possible for them to step outside with the child until he calmed down. I was told absolutely not as it was cold outside.

This type of behavior is a societal problem and it is becoming more prevalent with the rise of poor parenting, lack of manners and concern for others. Children who misbehave should be left at home. How can the parents enjoy themselves? Children need to be taught this type of disturbance is unacceptable. Why subject other people who work hard and attempt to have a rare evening out to your child's tantrums? Bundle the child up and step outside until it's over. Please have concern for your fellow diners.

Lori B. Havas, Eugene


LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows, with priority given to timely local issues. Please limit length to 200 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to letters@eugeneweekly.com fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.