BENEFITS ARE NOT FREE
I am just one living example of Robert A. Olsens Viewpoint ("Union Busting,” 3/17). I am a 55-year-old former public employee from another state. I worked very hard to earn my lower middle class hourly wages and "benefits.”
While a public employee, I also put myself through university on my own time and at my own expense. In addition, I was an unpaid volunteer (working neither for money nor college credit) during some of my off work hours (helping mostly Hispanics to learn English).I was also fortunate enough (or so I thought) to contribute to both local and other charities. Now, all that is lost. My public employee pension is at poverty level, as I was forced to take early retirement. Of course, I have no health insurance and, sadly, can give very little to any charities I believe in.
Thank you very much, upper class corporate America! This country really makes me laugh when they talk about spreading "democracy” globally!
Diane Van Orden, Springfield
THE SEXY BLUE VIAL
Really? People are still talking about blue vial vs. boob issue ("Its a Dildo” letter, 3/10)? Which one offends the most? Huh? I dug the issue out of my recycling and gave it a realstern second look to make sure I hadnt missed something I should be concerned about .... nope nothing. If anything the blue vial resembled the bottom half of my electric toothbrush ã eew ã and, Iwould see more cleavage on any given day walking by the local high school.
I find it curious that thereis always a percentage of extremely bored individuals who see obscene words in the clouds and claim mushrooms look phallic. I for one have never seen any man partsshaped likea fungus;however, thatwould be cause for concern!I did see a rock thatlooked like a penisthough. Mental note to self ã in the event of needing a personal ego boost, complain like crazy and have that rock torn DOWN! Penis rock must be stopped!
Oh, save the children! I say again, really? Perhaps Im just simple minded because I still dont understand all of the hooplah.Legal cleavage and blue food coloring areworthbitchingabout,say the Mcgrumpy pants out there, but my daughter cant legally marry her longtime girlfriend? Ah, what a world.
JeanMarie Indell, Eugene
I just received word that the 4J School District has finished reviewing RFPs for Civic Stadium and surrounding property. In their infinite wisdom, they have denied the only proposal that would ensure the preservation of Civic as the community asset for which it was intended. I should probably mention that the money from the sale, even by the most generous estimates, would not even cover one year of the districts current budget shortfall. I would like to take this opportunity to urge anyone and everyone with a sense of community and history to honor the spirit of this historic treasure.
Please get involved and let 4J know that they have a responsibility to this community to be good stewards of this piece of local history and failing that (which they have), to ensure its transfer of ownership to an entity that will.
To put things in perspective, what would the public response be if I were to propose the razing of the historic Shelton-McMurphy-Johnson house to build a Walmart in order to raise tax revenue to fill a few potholes in the citys streets?
Aaron Waghorn, Eugene
March 8 marked the official kick-off of the Strong Schools Eugene campaign for a temporary, local income tax to hold the line on class sizes and reinstate lost instructional days in the 4J and Bethel school districts. More than 100 people showed up in support of this measure, which is desperately needed to address economic shortfalls in educational funding from the state.
Strong Schools Eugene is a grassroots effort to develop a local strategy for dealing with the massive ongoing budget cuts facing our schools. An amazing number of people have stepped up over the past few months to ask what they can do to help. We know that many more have followed our progress in the media, but have yet to get involved. If you believe that our schools are at the tipping point, and that we can no longer wait for the state to address the critical needs of our schools, now is the time to volunteer your skills.
You can endorse the measure, make a donation, deliver information to voters, make phone calls, go door-to-door, host a house party or informational event at your home or business, provide in-kind donations (printing, phone banks, campaign materials, etc.), or share your passion for our schools and neighborhoods with a lawn or window sign.Wherever your talent lies, we have a job for you!
To learn more or to download window signs and information sheets, or to volunteer go to www.strongschoolseugene.org
We have the power to make a difference in Eugene.Volunteer your time and vote yes on May 17.
Samantha Brauner, Volunteer coordinator, Strong Schools Eugene
Clarice Smarts vitriolic and sexually explicit rant against Mark Harris (letters, 3/3) betrays a confounding lack of foresight.
While professor Harris scholarship, contribution and wit remain unimpeachable, who will she blame for identifying herself by name as a therapist to avoid?
Shed have to sue herself for restraint of trade.
Lori Kasprzak, Eugene
In response to Jerry Smiths letter (3/17) about school taxes, not everyone opposing this tax is rich, as his letter would imply. I certainly am not rich and believe in supporting the schools, but not this particular tax bill for a number of reasons:
First, it allows individuals to vote to tax others although they will be exempt from the tax if they are state retirees or earn under a certain income level.
Second, it does not make those who live outside the city limits pay anything although they have children in the school system.
Lastly, and most importantly, it is not written clearly enough to stipulate exactly how the money has to be spent.
If it passes I will have to pay although I currently pay over $2,500 a year in property tax which helps to support the schools, although I have no children and never have had children in the school system (and dont tell me it was my choice to be childless because you dont know that to be the case).
I would support a tax only if the responsibility is shared because as so many have pointed out, the benefits are shared by all.I would also support it only if it were clearly defined as to exactly how the dollars were to be spent, and also if anyone who had a child in the school system would have to pay it as well.
F.D. Ford, Eugene
PICK ANOTHER SITE
As the UO and Oregon Research Institute jointly move forward with plans to build a private office building and parking lot on public lands next to the Willamette River, the Associated Students of the University of Oregon acted decisively to begin a student-led process of creating a new vision for the future of the universitys riverfront property.
Using special funds, the ASUO recently granted $56,000 to host lectures and workshops throughout the coming year, providing opportunities for students and the public to learn how communities around the world have protected and restored urban riverfront land and an opportunity to create a community vision for our valuable riverfront.
The grant will also allow faculty across disciplines to offer courses and sponsor research using the riverfront as a classroom. This could include gathering ecological data, writing projects, or preparing an economic impact study. Students are hopeful that these events and classes will provide the basis for a new vision for the riverfront once the current plan expires in 2012.
Unfortunately, the city of Eugene issued a building permit to allow construction of a parking lot for the proposed ORI building.If constructed, this building will foreclose on unique academic and recreational opportunities that students are seeking.
It is time to prioritize the education of students and the needs of the community by selecting another site for ORI.
Zachary Stark-MacMillan, ASUO Student Senate President, Climate Justice League Co-Director
FromDuck hoops to Elton John to monster trucks to professional bull riding, the incredible Matt Knight Arena has something for everyone. Yes, even class-envyingliberals who despise the "evil, filthy rich” people thatmade it happen.Thank you, Phil Knight and family.
Don Richey, Eugene
Japan, it is said, was well-prepared for the massive earthquake, but technology can only do so much to mitigate devastation. But it is the general march of technology that in fact greatly magnifies earthquakes effects. Death is multiplied by big buildings, cars, mass transit and the overall dependence on modern systems.
Last week (3/10) Robert Simms "Foot Power” letter advocated walking paths over whatever latest industrial transit plan is on offer, calling for the "energy and freedom of movement” of using our own feet. Speaking of energy, we know that techno-industrial life must be preserved at all costs. Whether its nuclear power in Japan and elsewhere, or biofuels that that bring morepollution and starvation by growing energy rather than food, the priority is plain.
Preserve that which never should have been done in the first place ã or undo it?
John Zerzan, Eugene
Ive known Mark Harris for 25 years as an activist, troubadour, philosopherand ã with Cheri Turpin ã our best (only?) historians who tell the sorry tale of race relations here in Joseph Lanes county.
If Clarice Smart (letters, 3/3) intends making a greater impact on our community than Mark, I look forward to that very much.
Its interesting to note that the best public forum made available to Mark and Cheri to present their cultural history of Eugene was Orval Etters Pacifica Forum.
Marks last Weekly column (2/17) ã which seemed to have struck Clarice the wrong way ã was, to my privileged white male point of view, the most inspirational prose Ive read in any local publication.
I wonder where he got that wheelbarrow ...
Fergus Mclean, Dexter
WHERE WERE YOU?
Last Thursday, March 10, I had an opportunity to make a difference in my world. Around 6 pm, as I was driving on Coburg Road I noticed an older man struggling as he tried to get his walker/shopping cart up onto the curb. He had just crossed Coburg Road near Albertsons and was headed towards the bus stop. After I parked my car I walked back to make sure he was OK. He was sitting on the curb, his walker had tipped over and his groceries had fallen out of the bags. People just kept driving by!
As I helped him up, I noticed he had a huge bump on the side of his forehead from where he had fallen. He found his glasses but the frames were bent. As I stood steadying the man, another woman came to help, and a third woman stopped in the turning lane, offering to call 911. I got ice from Carls Jr. and helped him limp back just as his bus came. Thank you to the two young women who thought to help! What about the rest of you?
Betsy Ragland, Eugene
VISION OF JUSTICE
Envision a world without nuclear catastrophes and toxic spewing incineration waiting to destroy us, where decentralized electric production is located at every structure with a power line, where each home, office and school is retrofitted with solar thermal capturing heat pumps for space and water heating needs, where the most beneficial technologies are shared with all people regardless of financial resources to channel us away from the biological holocaust we are committing against all life.
Envision gardens in every yard to help feed us and our neighbors (birds, pollinators and humans), a small decentralized governing body that protects the people from harms via corporations, the elite, psychopaths, as well as manmade and natural disasters. Imagine where people depend on their neighbors, friends, and local farmers for their health and happiness, where the hoarding of money in bank accounts and the stock market is not a necessity for ones future wellbeing.
Why isnt this vision of culture and economic justice a reality to us in this country? It does exist in various forms around the globe. Why not here? Who is conspiring to stop us from achieving what Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy called our dream of justice?
Shannon Wilson, Eugene
In the EW lately there seem to have been more writers faulting such events as extensive logging, tax cuts for the wealthy, the flight of jobs overseas, the lack of public in-put on property uses, etc. I wondered if these writers understood that they were attacking the basic economic system of our Country, capitalism. Have they explored what other things would have to change to achieve the goals they so vehemently favor? The drastic curtailing of present economic motivations, for one; the instituting of severe population curbs for another?
Its very satisfying to fulminate. I do it. But economic systems tend to come in packages; i.e., you cant just change one thing. It so happens that I agree with these writers viewpoints, but we all need to consider carefully what we would give up if we abandoned capitalism, inescapable though such a change may turn out to be. What would replace it, to move us to do the worlds work? This needs a lot of serious thought.
Don MacQueen, Eugene