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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 1.20.11


Hundreds of new apartment units have recently been constructed all over the UO campus neighborhood but neither solar water heating nor thermal heat pumps are being incorporated. This is not to mention the huge energy sucking coliseum and new athlete worshiping palaces of Nike University. St. Vincent de Paul seems to be the only entity in Eugene or Springfield that is actually incorporating real green solutions like solar water heating and heat pump technology in their new retail/housing complexes.

It is ironic that an entity that helps more poor people than any other and has the least resources to spend on infrastructure is setting the standard for building green in "green Eugene." Does the university, EWEB, city, county and state need to be shamed into actually living up to their green rhetoric? It regretfully appears so. Perhaps a little shaming will convince them to implement real green building practices before it is too late.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene


Kudos to Joseph Lieberman (News Briefs, 1/13) for the best analysis of the tragic Arizona shootings I've seen.

The far left got its butt kicked in November, and its agenda is being rejected in America. Like spoiled children, the leftists are using this tragedy to lash out and vent their frustrations in a blame game targeting just about anyone who doesn't agree with them. Lieberman instead provides a credible and well-reasoned evaluation of the shooter's motives.

Had it been a conservative legislator taking the bullet we'd probably have never heard boo from these folks.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield


I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful and positive coverage (1/6) of pit bulls and their owners and rescuers. Pit bull owners are a highly stigmatized group. Even though informal surveys show that middle-class white females or married couples are the most common owners and rescuers of pit bulls, many people still associate pit bulls with crime, poverty and drugs, and often speak in xenophobic or racist terms about pit bull owners.

I can identify with all of the women profiled in your article. Some of the portions of their interviews could have come straight out of my own mouth. It almost felt like I was the one being interviewed! I started out hating pit bulls like everyone else. Then I had an abused pit bull dumped on me. I soon fell in love with pit bulls. Now I am deeply involved in education, training and rescue.

I greatly appreciate this article because it encourages people to rescue and adopt pit bulls, and it "normalizes" the pit bull by showing the dogs with normal, respectable owners. Normalization and humanization of the pit bull is essential if we are to put a stop to the rampant abuse and neglect that this type of dog experiences. When the pit bull is reframed as a normal, friendly, family dog, it will no longer be desirable to the thugs and druggies who seek out and create vicious dogs — which also has the effect of creating a safer community where pit bulls are raised with the love and care that any dog needs and deserves.

It really made my day to read such a responsible, educational article. Thanks again, from a Texan who happened to be in Eugene this week.

Jennifer Thomas, www.happypitbull.com , www.stopbsl.com


I loved Camilla Mortensen's piece (1/6) that profiled pit bull owners. Through personal accounts, she defended and acquitted a much-maligned breed of wonderful dogs.

For me, Mortensen was preaching to the choir. My grandchildren have raised, loved and been companioned by pit bulls for nearly 20 years. They are intelligent, affectionate pets that do not deserve the irrational fear and bad press that has been created around them. These wonderful animals were raised and bred as companions/pets for rational, socially responsible owners.

At the risk of exposing another type of irrational fear, I would suggest that the roots of the pit bulls' unfair image are not unlike those irrational fears expressed by vocal anti-gun folks. My firearm was designed and built to protect me and my family from those who do us bodily harm. It is only as dangerous and deadly as I cause it to be. It has no influence over me. It is inanimate and will not function without direct action on my part.

I would challenge EW to acknowledge that, just as the pit bull is an innocent, harmless companion — unless taught and directed otherwise by its owner — the firearm is a harmless tool unless misused or negligently managed by its owner. Those who would ban the ownership of either promote irrational fear within our society.

Stephen Roberts, Eugene


I hope all the good, decent people in Eugene will join me in boycotting every business with an anti-transit sign posted on West 11th. We need EmX transit in West Eugene and these clowns want to stop it.

Ralph Wombat, Eugene


I remember when success was beating the Beavers and the Huskies. And then success became having a winning season.

And then it became going to a bowl game. Then it was winning a bowl game. Then it was getting to the Rose Bowl.

Then it was finishing in the top 25. Then it was finishing in the top 10. Then it was getting to a BCS Bowl game. Now it is winning the national championship.

Every time our expectations were raised there were Monday morning quarterbacks on every corner ripping Brooks or Bellotti apart for their decisions when those expectations weren't met. I want to apologize to Chip and staff in advance for the criticism they are already getting from all those experts in our fair city who are clearly much better college football coaches than they will ever be.

Kevin O'Brien, Eugene


As the owner of a sweet loving pit bull I am deeply saddened when I hear stories about dogs that have killed or harmed people or other animals. These are real tragedies but the fact is any dog with the physical ability to maim or kill can be a threat — Dobermans, Rottweilers, chows are all breeds that have records similar to pit bulls when it comes to vicious attacks.

But rather than refute misleading statistics about which dogs are the most violent I want to draw attention to the story of the abused and neglected pit bulls kept for dog fighting by former NFL player Michael Vick. Author Jim Gorant tells their amazing story in Lost Dogs; Michael Vick's Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. Of the 51 dogs rescued from Vick's property 47 of them were rehabilitated. In spite of the terrible abuse they suffered, these dogs have proven themselves loving gentle companions to those who have adopted them. Their story shows this breed is capable of exhibiting excellent temperament under extreme circumstances. It also reinforces the fact that all dogs not matter what the breed, are domestic animals that rely on people to breed, raise and handle them in a responsible manner.

As a human society that has domesticated the Canine, we all share the responsibility to ensure they interact with others in a safe manner no matter the breed.

Claire Syrett, Eugene


W. Shane Kiser's utopian vision (Letters, 1/6) that Eugene residents "synchronize" around "diversity" is pretty limited: "We do that on Ducks' day or for that matter the whole year round ... If we can agree on the Ducks, then why not our celebrations and our diverse choices of worship?"

Kiser should try wearing an OSU shirt in Eugene, especially in the fall, and the week before the Civil War, before thinking that this city celebrates "diversity" in all things. I will say though, that despite all the dirty looks and muttered insults I've received, I've also seen a lot of discrete smiles and "thumbs ups" from OSU alums who live here but have to hide their sports loyalties. I guess it's news to some, but not everyone worships at the House of Knight.

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene


I cannot understand the accounting system by which burning wood is counted as a way to reduce global warming.

When plants die, photosynthesis stops. When a forest is cut and the plant material is burned or decays, carbon begins to be returned to the atmosphere. Rapid deforestation has contributed to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 200 years. It's probably 20 to 30 percent of the human contribution to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

When a forest is replanted after logging, CO2 removal from the atmosphere by regrowth of the forest is rapid, then eventually it is balanced by respiration, but the quantity that has been removed remains in the regrown forest, not in the atmosphere. Thus, existence of a living forest is a carbon sink. Cutting down that forest releases the stored carbon back to the atmosphere.

Burning wood increases global warming by increasing the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere. This is true whether we burn whole logs or limbs and small trees. If we didn't remove these, they would become fertilizer and soil conditioner for the next generation of trees. If we remove them, we will have unhealthy, stunted forests, or no forests. If all you care about is where your next million dollars is coming from, you will destroy the forest. If you care where the future forests will come from, you will protect the forest.

Ann Tattersall, Eugene


My thoughts on the tragedy in Tucson: The "prevention" of violence is what we as a society should really focus on. I don't believe ordinary citizens need guns for protection like the Wild West days; however, guns aren't the problem. Take away the guns and you still have angry, rageful people.

We need to begin listening to our children on a daily basis from infancy on, before they grow up violent. You may say that is impossible. I say not only would it benefit us to know what our children are feeling inside, but more importantly the children would benefit from being heard by compassionate people trained to listen to them.

My solution to violence begins with the children. Please read my article at http://dock.net/woodchip/endtoviolence.htm you will find my well thought-out plan that could be implemented with the support of everyone of us to end rampages like the one by Jared Loughner in Tucson.

Karen Fenton, Marcola


Whether she likes it or not, Sarah Palin is now associated with mass murder. Like a dog with cans tied to its tail, Palin cannot go anywhere, anymore, without the disruptive clank of her history behind her. As such, she seems a microcosm of that larger paradigm her party and its cheering fans have created for all of us: politics as veiled threats, finally morphed into mass murder, regardless of the muddled mindset of the shooter. It's pretty tough fighting propaganda when the propagandists change the rules of engagement. Tougher still when a rigged political system welcomes propaganda with opened, multi-tendriled arms, as ours does since the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

Our mammoth mass media feeds the Palin mindset to all and sundry in its 24/7 news cycle. Palin maintained her website gun-sighting of Rep. Giffords until after Giffords had been gunned down. But now she's sorry. Sure. But I'll wager she checked her bank accounts before she felt bad.

Republicans have predictably already gone on the attack: Lamar Alexander claiming foul for the audacity of horrified citizens to point the finger at the presumptive provocateur. But Alexander gives the lie to his sincerity when he craftily omits mention of the evidence Palin so swiftly removed.

It's not often that one party enacts what it fantasizes but rarely admits. Bill Moyers, speaking of the Bush administration, once said: "We are in the fight of our lives." Well, he hadn't envisioned that literally, had he?

If Republicans escape this round of outrage, let us remember Jan. 8 as America's Kristallnacht, when one party decided it had the right stuff to start shooting.

Tom Erwin, Veneta


No one wants new taxes but there is a time when we mustpay if Oregon is to be a desirable place to live. An income tax, we all know, is the fairest tax and it is desperately needed now if we are to educate our young people, including my grandchildren.

Schoolsnow have cuts in physical education when we haveincreasing obesity, cuts in school days,classes with more than 40 children, teachers buying school supplies, little counseling when kids need help.This is today! Further cuts!This is unacceptable!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


2010 was not a good year for the meat, dairy, and egg industries. In January, ABC News provided extensive coverage of cow abuse by the dairy industry. The BP oil spill in April calledattention to an even larger Gulf "dead zone" caused by the massive amounts of animal waste dumped every day by the Mississippi River. A month later, a U.N. report urged a global shift towards a vegan diet to reduce world hunger and climate change.

In June, FDA asked factory farms to stop routine use of antibiotics that lead to drug-resistant bacterial infections in humans. August witnessed the largest ever recall of more than half billion eggs harboring salmonella.

Finally, President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to replace fatty animal products and other junk foods in school lunches and vending machines. According to the School Nutrition Association, 65 percent of U.S. schools now offer vegetarian lunch options.

For a New Year's resolution, we should all consider following suit. I found a great website at www.LiveVegan.org with recipes and tons of other useful info.

Elijah Hennison, 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.