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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 3.17.11




GIVE CIVIC A CHANCE

For decades Civic Stadium gradually deteriorated as the owner (4J) hoped the tenant (the Ems) would keep it in good shape. Though the Ems did manage to make Civic usable, they let the big stuff go. When the Ems left Civic in 2009, 4J surveyed its condition and their finances and put out an RFP to be rid of it.

But Dennis Hebert was not one to let Civic simply slip away and neither was Natalie Perrin. In 2006 Dennis founded Save Civic Stadium (SCS); Natalie got Civic listed in the Register of Historic Places in 2008. As it turns out Civics timbers are sound, and largely as a result of the tenacious activism of Dennis, Natalie and SCS, the rescue of historic Civic Stadium (built in 1938 by the WPA) and its rehabilitation are now possible.

SCS responded to the 4J RFP with a comprehensive plan to rescue the landmark and become a tenant with a stake in being good stewards of Civic Stadium. Anchored by a professional soccer team, Civic would host all variety of sports, concerts and other entertainment. Local sports teams would have a fieldhouse for indoor practice and Civic as a memorable place to play tournament games. And, as suggested in EWs Slant (2/10), there would be room on the site for both the rehabbed Civic and a new YMCA.

Under SCSs plan, 4J would receive a steady income from lease revenues that equal or exceed what they got from the Ems. Meanwhile SCS would take full responsibility for upkeep of the site. Eventually SCS would purchase the property at the (almost certainly higher) market value at that time. See more about this good deal for 4J, SCS and the community at www.savecivicstadium.org

Yes, the stadium is an eyesore now and the committee screening RFPs has recommended the proposals that would demolish it. But the 3,700-plus people whove expressed their support for saving Civic Stadium urge the 4J School Board to give Civic Stadium a chance by bucking the screening committee and accepting the SCS proposal. It would be a win for all of us.

Jim Watson, Eugene



PICKETING KIDS

Last week (3/8) was the opening rally for Eugenes school levy at Kelly Middle School. Because of the horrendous cuts on schools by the state, Eugenes city government is asking citizens to vote to provide for some of the teachers that are to be cut in the Eugene school district.

State funding cuts in education and human services have left Oregon schools at the bottom, and our children the hungriest in America.

Eugene teachers and parents spoke of cuts year after year. We were meeting in a library with no librarian and a projected 25 percent teacher cut at Kelly. Parents and friends were crying. A business owner with three children in Eugene schools said that she may have to move her company to an area with better public schools for her kids and the children of her 75 employees. In the school library everyone was moved to support the needed school levy.

Outside a small, rowdy picket line chanted "no more taxes.” I spoke to one of the picketers. He and several others wore new white T-shirts over their business clothes with the slogan "Americans for Prosperity.” He looked prosperous. I told him that he is chicken-shit (rotten) to picket kids and families who want to help troubled schools.

The rich have tax benefits and profits we dont have. Yet they oppose taxes for our public schools and services.

Jerry Smith, Eugene



EMX NOT THE ISSUE

Have you ridden an LTD bus recently? If so, you have likely noticed how hardworking and important LTD is in our community. If you travel by any means in Eugene you have also likely noticed that LTD has become the victim of a well-funded attack.

Professional graphics, billboard advertising and signage requires time and money, especially money. Whoever is organizing and funding the attack on LTD has deep pockets. My guess is it isnt all coming from small businesses on West 11th.

EmX has been 15 years in the making; the time to impact that decision was over a decade ago. My simple guess is sour grapes from the failed West Eugene Parkway motivates this attack. Perhaps the real goal is to create a political issue to aid an as yet unnamed candidate during the next election cycle. Campaigning for political candidates is a legitimate part of our democracy.Attacking essential not-for-profit community services is not.

I invite those funding this marketing campaign to publicly identify themselves and their goals. Lets openly debate the real issues instead of scapegoating Lane Transit District.

Teresa Damron, Eugene



BIKES HELP, BUT Ä

Alan Pittman missed the point in his March 3 "Going Green” article on Eugenes draft Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. It mentions bicycle issues more than 50 times and pedestrians just twice! It is typical of Eugenes bicycle-centric active transportation community. Yes, 22 percent of people may commute on bikes in 20 years, but 80 percent of people could cut their car use next week by walking and using the bus for some trips!

Walking is the simplest form of transportation. It requires no special equipment and is part of every trip, even those made by bike, car or bus. Walking makes neighborhoods safer, encourages human interaction and is good for business and jobs.

While I admire those who choose the bicycle way of life, it will not get most people out of their cars! Even less so as our population ages and our mobility needs change. Bicycles can be part of an inclusive, integrated transportation system, but pedestrians, using public transportation, will be the main way we move away from a car-centered culture. There are just far fewer people willing take the safety risks or "gear down” to ride a bike, even among those who like to be active. Much less for the inactive, elderlyor alter-abled.

Completing the west Eugene extension of EmX is key to cutting citywide trip times. This will increase ridership and make it attractive for people to leave all their vehicles at home both the two-wheeled, human-powered variety and those with four wheels burning gasoline. Walking is Eugenes future!

Tom Schneider, Member of Eugenes Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

 

MALIGNANCY OF WAR

March 19, 2003 had a massive effect on millions of people. Consequences have been largely hidden from the people in the U.S. ã a little about the suffering of our troops, limited coverage of the financial costs to U.S., essentially nothing about the Iraqis suffering.

Sept. 11, 2001 transformed the U.S. and the world. The U.S. invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003. There was no connection between Iraq and the events of 9/11. The U.S. administration used three main reasons to argue invading: The men accused of the events of 9/11 were Saudi Arabian, not Iraqi; WMDs were the lies of a defector called "Curveball”; and no "yellowcake” went from Niger to Iraq.

Eight years later, more than 4,000 U.S. personnel have died, tens of thousands have been injured. PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and suicides are alarming the "brass.” Poor medical care and support for veterans and soldiers shook up Congress. This will be a malignancy of future generations.

Between 50,000 and 900,000 Iraqis died. More than two million are refugees. And the infrastructure is in shambles.

Corvallis will recognize March 19 with a procession of coffins. Gather in Central Park on Monroe at noon. Please wear black.

Joan Noyce, Corvallis



CONNECTING ON ICE

I am fairly new to the Eugene community and looking for an alternate new source that provides balance and a bit of honesty when it comes to news stuff. The latest whack job out of The Register-Guard came from an article regarding the Ice Center authored by Matt Cooper March 8.The article is filled with inaccuracies and distortionsby not telling the readers that many improvements were made to the gates, dasher boards, ice slab, and a Freon detection unit was installed for safety. More importantly, the usage at the center has increased putting them on target to end the ice season making a profit.

As for the future, the Ice Center needs the support of our community and elected officials to overcome the obstacles of raising additional funds when there is no commitment from the Lane County Board of County Commissioners that the Ice Center and the rest of the Fairgrounds will continue to exist in their current location. As a financial supporter, hockey fanand outside observerof theIce Center activities, I see both sides of the story.

Please write about the diversity of ice sports and benefits of physical or mental development of our youth through hockey, ice dance or figure skating, etc. Participation in community activities and events builds community connectedness. The more events and activities (sports) people participate in the bigger the positive changes are to their community connections. Please help by supporting positive community connectedness through your reporting.

Calla Taylor, Eugene



KILL DEATH PENALTY

This past week we all received the news that Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois abolished the death penalty. Apparently, the state of Illinois worked for 10 years in an attempt to fix what was broken about their capital punishment system, but in the end it was clear that the system couldnt be fixed. Instead of continuing to send inmates to their death, perhaps innocent and wrongfully convicted, the governor signed into law that other alternatives need to be found.

Our state should follow suit. As a practicing Christian living in a nation that identifies itself as Christian, I believe we need to find our humanity and respect each other as children of God.

Charlotte Nuessle, Ashland



RACIST OPERA

Many peopleconsider TheMikadoa racistmusical show, so why did the Eugene Opera put it on (March 11-12)? Itis based on stereotypes of Japanese culture.Although many have tried to rehabilitate its controversial history,themindset ofGilbert and Sullivanwasmade clear in theoriginal version:The character Ko-Ko sings asong about the "little list” of"society offenders”who "if executed would not be missed. " On theexecution list arethe"n******serenader” and "others of his race.”

Im sure some will come up with the old "teachable moment” argument. There are many wonderful shows to put on. A better teachable moment would be to skip this one.

Kali Star, Eugene



WASHING BRAINS

Its extremely refreshing to read that, after 25 years of lying about college athletics, George Beres (letters, 3/3) is now admitting how foolish he was in, "brainwashing gullible fans into thinking football was part of higher education.” Were all hoping that it doesnt take him 25 years to realize how foolish hes been in trying to brainwash foolish EW and Register-Guard readers into thinking that the conflict in the Middle East is all Israels fault.

Dave Taube, Eugene



EVICTED FROM DIRT

For several years, Ive maintained a plot at the Lincoln School community garden. As a disabled person suffering form the effects of the removal of a brain tumor and my pituitary gland, tending this plot has given me hours of pleasure and a feeling of purpose, and I have a doctors letter attesting to the therapeutic benefits gardening provides. My life isnt easy to manage due to the effects of my disabilities, and my garden is one of the few places I feel content.

Now Im being evicted from the garden. Despite difficulties, I make every effort to get out to my plot as often as possible, sometimes with the help of friends. Ive received many compliments on my garden. Some folks at the community garden have several plots, many of which are much more overgrown than mine. Ive been unfairly singled out, despite having sent letters describing my situation. This seems like discrimination. They know that plot is important to me, but refuse to work with me on remedying the situation.

I was born in Eugene, attended Lincoln School and lived the most of my life in the neighborhood near the garden. Now a group of people who fail to recognize my disabilities is ostracizing me. Theyre telling me to be out of the garden by March 12. An important part of my life is being taken away from me, and I dont know what to do.

Joseph Lesiak, Eugene

 

WASTED EFFORT

As a small business owner and citizen of this fine little city, I have some observations regarding the ballot measure for an income tax as a temporary aid to our schools.

Personally, I would love to see a ballot measure win. But it is a waste of time and money to throw something out there that has no chance; or, if it does win, will win by such a tight margin that a costly challenge will ensue.

I see three problems with the measure being discussed. People under a certain income level are exempt from this new tax, as are people outside Eugene who have students in our schools. Also, PERS recipients are exempt. It will not take outside agitators to defeat this.

Suggestions: remember we are all in this together, from the richest to the poorest. If there is a progressive tax, there should still be a minimum tax. A $10 annual tax is affordable to the poorest. If you dont have it, your child can do some chores for someone who does. Likewise, if your children attend our schools from outside the city, stand up and chip in. To you PERS recipients, many of you made your money within the school system. I feel certain youd accept paying a fair share of this tax.

If these issues are fairly solved, I will put a big sign up on my business property in favor of a tax measure. And we will win the day.

Scott Landfield, Eugene