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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.21.11




GLAD ITS OVER

Many people have expressed concern to me about the lawsuit that was filed against me. Id like to make a few comments, now that the court has allowed us to talk about this process.

First, Id like to say Im glad that its over. Its been a huge stress on me, my health, my family and the community. So, its a good thing that this lawsuit is over. I agree with Federal Judge Michael Hogan, who assisted the parties in reaching the agreement, that we took the "high ground” in putting this dispute behind us.

Second, many people did not know that I was facing financial ruin. I could have faced nearly three quarters of a million dollars in financial liability, and I faced the very real possibility of having my property taken from me. Id like to reassure the public that as a result of this settlement Im not facing financial ruin. I signed a settlement agreement and I admitted no wrongdoing and I will be voluntarily contributing $20,000 to the county taxpayers to partially offset the settlement.

Third, I want to make it clear that I am opposed to the taxpayers paying $350,000 to the people who brought the lawsuit and the hidden special interests that they were fronting for. To be clear: I did not vote to authorize the payment of $350,000 in taxpayer funds. Because the county would not appeal the trial courts decision, I was left with little practical choice but to settle.

Fourth, this lawsuit accomplished nothing but harassing duly elected officials. The heart of the lawsuit sought to prove something that never happened.

In the end, the lawsuit was shown to be the politically motivated lawsuit it was and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Im glad its over.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner



BEHIND THOSE EMX SIGNS

Many businesses displaying anti-EmX sings along West 11th are not actually against EmX. After publishing a letter calling for a boycott of West 11th businesses displaying these signs, I contacted those businesses where I had been a customer. Remarkably, only one ofnine saidthey were actually against EmX! Some businesses said their landlords were responsible for the signs, others said the signs were placedthere illegally,and the owner ofthe parking lot placed the signs atoneshoppingcenter.

So once again we have the wealthy elite in our community having an unfairinfluence in decision-making. Real estate owners are placing signs to make it look like their tenants are against mass transit.Signs are being placed illegally which explains why porn shops andvacant lotsare against EmX.

While there is legitimate grassroots opposition to EmX, their numbers are being inflatedby thosewho do not hesitate to bend or break the rules. Theactual business opposition is much more limited than it would appear.

Thenext timeyou see ananti-EmX sign, dont think about grassroots efforts to stop big government, but instead recognize the pretense ofa small, elite group who are trying todiminish democracyin our community. I implore the citizens and decision makers to end this charade: Fund EmX in west Eugene.

Chuck Areford, Eugene



150 YEARS OF BIAS?

Regarding your Slant column April 14: Although the predecessor to the R-G was founded in 1862, the 1927 photo at http://wkly.ws/11v well illustrates that Eugene hardly "sprawled” until sometime after World War II. In 1930, the west city limit was Chambers Street and the airport was at 18th and Chambers, and south Eugene barely extended to 24th Avenue in 1927.The area north of the Ferry Street Bridge was farmland.Urban growth boundaries were not required until the statewide land use planning law was enacted in 1973.

The R-G, like virtually every other newspaper in the country, no doubt was in favor of economic development and "progress” throughout its history, but this is hardly "150 years of pro-sprawl bias.” In any event, two wrongs never make a right.Assuming the Guard has a "pro-sprawl bias,” should the Weekly be "anti-sprawl biased” in its, using the term loosely, "news” columns? You folks, and reporter Alan Pittman in particular, havent yet figured out that the facts will usually speak for themselves, and readers dont need to be bludgeoned into the "correct” opinion in "news” articles.

Jenny Moos, Eugene

EDITORS NOTE: Sometimes biased reporting is necessary to overcome outdated thinking. Most stories about child abuse today, for example, talk about the psychological damage, injustice and hidden costs of child abuse. A "balanced” story would include equal discussion about why kids need to be regularly beaten: Spare the rod, spoil the child, etc.



SHILLS FOR CONSUMPTION

At the recent Public Environmental Law Conference, Sierra Club member and keynote speaker Bruce Nilles touted the work his organization has accomplished in shutting down numerous coal-fired power plants and stalling some of those in line. In their place, he said, we must support large scale wind and solar projects. Others, including the president, promote nuclear energy as a viable replacement for fossil fuels.

What do these perspectives have in common? In their desperation to avoid root causes, they give the lie to intolerable effects. Large scale wind and solar, even biomass and nuclear, are advocated as "clean” and "green” alternatives.

Miles of 400-foot wind turbines (with parts made from oil) kill bats and birds, destroy habitat and sense of place, and even advance into iconic landscapes like Steens Mountain, bringing roads and transmission lines with them. Bulldozers scour deserts for solar panels and mirrors in projects of 7,000 acres each, plundering fragile soils, habitat for endangered lizards and tortoises and arid land as a place and a concept free of our meddling. In the air, biomass particulates join radiation from nuclear meltdown and waste.

Instead of supporting and promoting limits to growth, those who pretend to be environmentalists have been the shrillest shills for massive alternative energy plagues masquerading as panaceas. Until deluded greenwashers seriously confront overpopulation and overconsumption, rather than enable more of the same, theyre merely tilting at windmills.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



TAX OTHERS

What exactly was your point in printing Alan Pittmans cover story (3/24) about the proposed school tax measure? About three quarters of the story could have been summarized by saying that we need good schools because childhood education is important and good schools attract people to Eugene. The other quarter of the story was about the conservative/Republican/ Tea Party backgrounds of a few people who are against the measure.

Your story would have been far more useful and poignant if you had actually discussed the measure, unless you are afraid that people will vote against it if they know what it actually says. For those not familiar with the issue, the May ballot measure is a proposal to tax some people who live in Eugene, while not taxing others. For example, PERS recipients and those earning under a certain income are exempt from contributing to our schools. Moreover, 24 percent of the students who attend 4J schools and 18 percent of the students who attend Bethel schools live outside city limits and their families will contribute nothing to our schools.

Unlike the impression that Pittman tries to give, the people who are against the measure arent right-wing Bushophiles. Theyre people, like myself, who are educated liberals, and who have supported every previous school ballot measure. Theyre people who drive hybrid vehicles and voted for Obama. Theyre people who, just like the pro-tax contingent, know the importance of a good education, but our side refuses to support this measure because half of those using the schools wont be contributing to the cause.

EW tries to come across as politically correct. Stereotyping people who are for or against something is anything but politically correct.

Dave Taube, Eugene



BASEBALL FIRST

Id like to support 4J schools; I believe that our good schools are basic to the good of our community. I want to vote yes in support of this proposed tax; however, I also believe that Civic Stadium is also basic to the good of our community.

So I have this to say to the School Board: Youll get my vote if you do the right thing which is: ensure Civic remains a community asset! Not razed and replaced by a shopping mall!

How the School Board handles this issue will determine, for me, how I vote. Are there perhaps others out there who agree?

Baz Freedman, Eugene



SOLUTIONS NEEDED

Last month, Lane County commissioners approved the final selection of contracts with nonprofit human service programs that are administered by the Human Services Commission by awarding contracts for access to services. The previous board approved the majority of awards in December including a community review committees recommendation that did not include funding a proposal for funding the Family Shelter operated by ShelterCare.

The proposed fiscal year 2011-12 county budget will be presented at the end of April by the county administrator. The decision to not fund the Family Shelter did not have to do with the county board deciding to fund public safety services, as presented in "ShelterCare Housing at Risk” (News Briefs, 4/7). The current annual amount available for award to nonprofit human service agencies represents a projected $1.47 million, or a 28.7 percent reduction in revenues available in fiscal year 2010-2011. Revenues have declined from local, state and federal governments.

The services funded through HSC resources will continue to help address the needs of adults and children in poverty, yet there is much more work to be done in our communities. We will work in the coming months to bring faith, private nonprofit organizations, civic organizations and community members together to creatively address the funding and service challenges we face.

If you are interested in contributing your ideas, resources or volunteering in the effort to find community solutions to help our neighbors in need please send an e-mail to hsc.info@co.lane.or.us

Steven Manela, Human Services Division manager, Lane County Health & Human Services



WTF, LANE COUNTY?

Thanks for the article "ShelterCare Housing at Risk” in the April 7 issue. It helps me in my ongoing quest to figure out WTF is going on around here. Here are the takeaways from the article:

Facts: Lane County spends $102 million on discretionary funds; 6 percent of that is spent on public health and welfare; 63 percent goes to public safety; commissioners slashed $300,000 (thats just 5 percent of the aforementioned 6 percent for public health and welfare) in funding for ShelterCare, a local nonprofit that does a whole lot to get homeless adults and children into stable, long term housing.

Opinions: That is a good thing that everyone should want; and since Commissioners Bozievich and Leikin clearly got beaten up too much in high school they want to throw more and more money at public safety, thinking this makes them look like tough guys.

Summation: Starve a nonprofit that helps keep kids and adults off the streets, thus creating more criminals, thus making your argument for more jails and cops a slam dunk.

Fact: This blows.

Kevin OBrien, Eugene



EYESORES

I have to say, I was deeply disappointed in some citizens of our supposedly compassionate city when I passed the I-5 overpass near Franklin Boulevard and saw the people who had made it their home being evicted and having their belongings thrown away. I rode past the area most days for the last year, and every time the "bridge people” smiled and waved. They were never anything but friendly, and I never saw garbage littering the area, only a couch and the occasional bicycle, which one can see on a good portion of the lawns downtown.

But some people took it upon themselves to report them and they are now on the streets again. Strange, it seems the city would rather have them sleeping in doorways and parks than gathered together in an unused spot on the outskirts of town.

The news report said that residents deemed it an "eyesore” but the only thing there that was eye-catching were the green and gold flags that had been hung up. If Duck colors are an eyesore, why arent we evicting every frat house in the city? Speaking of, one of the biggest eyesores Ive noticed in this city are the piles of empty beer cans and other trash that pile up on the lawns of fraternities and dorms on campus. Does no one report this or does no one care so long as its well-to-do students and not the misfortuned homeless? Either way, its sad to see people who had respectably made use of a dry area for over a decade being thrown back onto the rainy streets.

Jesse Holum, Eugene



BURIED GARDEN

Springis the right time tostart a vegetable gardenwithprices rising.So Ientered the lottoandscored a plotat Mathews Community Garden along the Amazon Trail.Theformer tenantsplantedperennial herbs and astrawberry patch, althoughresident gardener Kurt Koivusaid the berries"dont do very well here.”

A couple weeks later I arrived toerect a small greenhouse and found a sheriffs work crewdigging upthe plot anddumpingcity leaves laced withrocks and pine cones on the spread. My strawberrypatchwasgone and the herbs were tossed aside.Fresh cigarette buttssproutedin their place.

I protested.Thedeputypulled outhis map of vacant garden plotsslated forspecialtreatment.Our whole outer row was on it.Costing the city$850 a day, they hadreceivedorders to "dous a favor.” How could I complain? The city needed to get rid ofits old leaves, andwe didnt exist.

So, Ill look fora small rototiller to shredthe matted leaves that should have been appliedlast fall. Then Ill makeraised beds and post a Keep Out sign for slugs, snails and sheriffs gangs. Now I can see why Koivu said strawberries dont do very well around here.

Chris Piché, Eugene



EUGENE SLUTWALK

On April 4, women in Toronto, Canada marched in a SlutWalk after a member of their police force publicly stated women could avoid rape if they didnt "dress like sluts.” I participated in a small SlutWalk in downtown Eugene donning panties, fishnets, a garter belt, and a T-shirt with "SLUT” written on it.

I discussed the term "slut” with people in the community and learned some things. 1) Slut is rarely used to describe how many people someone has slept with. 2) It is often used to describe how a woman dresses, moves, talks, etc. regardless of how many people she has slept with. Its used to police and shame womens bodies, choices, and actions. 3) People from many backgrounds slut-shame, including those who claim to reject the religious rights tendency to discourage sex outside of marriage.

It was empowering to reclaim the word slut, but more importantly, clothes do not equal consent to any or every sexual act with whomever comes along. "Yes” equals consent to one specified sexual act and can be retracted or extended any time. Lets focus on policing rapists rather than "slutty” women!

Casie Clausen, Eugene



OVERSTEPPING BOUNDS

Regarding the county lawsuit settlement (Slant, 4/7): Standard lawyer blackmail ã they should have appealed all the way. The state Legislature must settle this issue and not accept this blackmail. This was not an interpretation ã it is nothing but legislating from the judicial branch of government ã and clearly unconstitutional.

I ask you ã who do you want to be governed by? Lawyers in black robes or your elected representatives?? It is definitely time to prohibit lawyers from having anything to do with the judicial branch of government. Nothing in the Constitution mandates that "only” lawyers can hold positions in the judicial branch of government. The practice of law, which is a "for profit” occupation, should be totally separate from the judicial branch of government ã which is owned and paid for by the people ã not the lawyers. Lets put scientists and engineers in every position in the judicial branch of government. Lawyers are not scientists.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

 




PRIORITIES

I found out that I had breast cancer seven years ago. The first thing that came to my mind was, "I just want to see my kids grow up.” I love my kids. Theyre my priority.

When I found out that I needed surgery, the first thing that I thought was, "I want life to still be as normal as possible for my kids.” I emailed my kids teachers and let them know that Id be having a lumpectomy. After surgery, the teachers let me know the kids were doing well emotionally as well as academically. My kids teachers truly cared about my kids. The kids are teachers priorities.

When kids have a relationship with their teachers, they learn, they thrive, they can reach their academic and personal potential. When the class size is so large, the best teacher cant attend to every childs needs, and there is loss in personal and academic connection. If our community does not pass Measure 20-182, there will be fewer teachers, and the average class size in Eugene will be more than 30 students per class in the elementary, more than 35 in middle school, and high 30s in high school. Oregon kids already have the second-shortest school year and some of the largest class sizes in the nation. Kids will be left in the cracks.

Today, as we face enormous budget cuts and see the huge need, we have a chance to help by voting for Measure 20-182. And once again, I find myself asking: Is quality education in Eugene a priority?

Jeanne Nagayama Hall, Eugene

 

END NUKE MADNESS

I was involved in the anti-nuclear movement in 1978-79 helping to shut down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which lies on an earthquake fault line near the ocean. Despite large protests and civil disobedience the plant proceeds to operate to this day. There is no way we can prepare for a disaster ahead of time. If Three Mile Island was not enough of a wake up call for America, I hope we will learn from the Japan disaster. Incidentally, the Japan plant is also near the ocean, like Diablo, and has high levels of radiation leakage into the ocean from the cooling system failure. It is time to revive a widespread anti-nuclear movement like what took place in the 1970s.

There is no safe or clean nuclear power. To continue to use nuclearenergy in spite of facts like very high levels of plutonium well into the thousands above the safety level resulting from the Japan tsunami,damages from Three Mile Island, high cancer rates resulting from nuclear radiation, etc., is nuclear madness.

Ceila Levine, Eugene



WOMEN VS. WALMART

Yes, Walmart is guilty of treating men better than women, and of course they are guilty of paying women less than men. But so are all us Americans! I say this not to defend Walmart but to open the eyes of America. We are the ones who drive to spend less, and get more; hence Walmart.Yes, if you spent money at Walmart, then you too are guilty. You promoted their sales and turned a blind eye to their business practices.

Hopefully, Americans will walk away from this lawsuit learning a few lessons. The lessons being: 1) If you spend money at businesses with questionable practices then you are promoting those practices; 2) the product is worth a few more dollars in exchange for better business practices; and finally 3) know your businesses!

David Convirs, Eugene



OBAMA NEEDS SUPPORT

I have been some form of progressive or leftist my entire life, and I am shocked at the failure of leftists globally to rally behind the struggle of the Libyan people to free themselves from dictatorship. I do not like to see foreign armies on anyone's soil, but where are we? Couldn't there be an Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Libya? Did anyone even try? Or did we just sip our microbrews while the Libyan protesters begged the world for help? As long as struggle is won with relative ease, as it was in Egypt or Tunisia, we say to them "go further, go further.” But when the enemies of democracy break out the guns, we are nowhere to be found. So, they get the NATO bastards. When you have something better for them, give them a call.

This is not Iraq or Afghanistan. The international community is intervening in Libya to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Gadhafi has promised rivers of blood in retaliation for the uprising, and the lives of every family of every courageous Libyan who made the call for freedom. The U.S. has a long history of imperialism spite for democracy where money is concerned, true. We have a long history of backing dictators when it's to our advantage, true. That changes nothing about the current situation.

I was not one of the Obama loonies who thought that he was going to be anything but the moderate Democrat he always has been. But I am going to say something I never thought I'd say in my lifetime: The U.S. has a job to do, and our president needs our support.

Robert Slaughter, Eugene



WORLD AT WAR

I looked forward to seeing Anne Frank's story performed by the Oregon Ballet. We can't get enough holocaust education. But in Joseph Lieberman's review in your March 24 edition, his recollection of listening to Richard Burton's World at War in the 50s is at fault ã it was made in 1973.

This minor correction should not, of course, be read as an attempt to cast aspersions on any other aspect of his memory, or anyone else's.

Jay Knott, Portland

Editors Note: It was the playwrights memory that Lieberman was referring to, but indeed, World at War was from the 70s.



GODS TRUTH

This is a letter in answer to Mr. Brad Hershel (letters, 4/7) who penned "Outdated Views," a truth which has not changed since God inspired his word.

It's amazing to me that so many people, people who know nothing about God or about the people of God, yet comment as if they do. The nonbeliever comments on the sins of others or Christians of which he or she knows nothing about. The fact is my sins and your sins dont look so good when someone else is doing them.

Many nonbelievers think that Christians should be perfect and not sin, or act or behave a certain way. This misconception is without merit because there are no human beings without sin.

The only difference between a Christian (which simply means follower of God) and a nonbeliever is that a Christian acknowledges his sins and imperfections yet continue to strive in their pursuit of God likeness.

Homosexuality: The Bible says those who practice these things are already condemned. Marriage is an institution of God and thus can only be between a man and a woman. The word of God also says we are to love all people as we love ourselves. As a Christian, I am to help others and to be friends with all people as God has commanded. Friendship yes, fellowship no.

In most churches today its taught to take what you want, and leave the rest. People who profess to be Christians and choose what they want from the Bible and leave what they dont, are not Christians at all. They are following their ways, not Gods.

Scott McDougal, Eugene



PROTECT YOUR POOCHES

For 14,000 years dogs have shared and enriched our communities and households with love, loyalty and protection. Their duty to us deserves no less in return. Unfortunately, Lane County Animal Services fails to meet this duty with their door-to-door "licensure compliance” intrusions without providing the rest of the story. Licensure requires rabies vaccinations and medical ethics require "informed consent” from patients, a duty falling upon the humans who love them.

Among several disincentives to licensure is the requirement for "current” rabies vaccination despite research evidence that rabies vaccinations can cause health-compromising or even deadly complications and should be administered no more often than necessary. Veterinarians, like other medical professionals, are bound by ethical requirements to obtain informed consent and must provide this risk information to mitigate their liability risk, see http://wkly.ws/11z

Complications can include life-threatening hypersensitivities (with a 5.5 percent death rate), potentially carcinogenic inflammatory responses, seizures, allergies, autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, muscle weakness and incoordination, skin diseases, and behavioral abnormalities. A study published in 2008 identifies the percentage of dogs suffering each of these side effects (http://tinyurl.com/3nxb7k2).

Information to monitor and document your dogs reactions to vaccination can be found at www.dogs4dogs.com/truth4dogs.html. It is important to document both the short and long term reactions of your dog to a vaccination.

Studies have identified breed-specific differences in vulnerability and find that dogs may typically remain immune five and possibly seven years post-vaccination. Please support ongoing Rabies Challenge Fund research to confirm these findings at http://wkly.ws/11y

This might change antiquated laws and yet protect both dogs and their humans.

Mariah Leung, Eugene



NO MORE TOWN MEETINGS

I appeal to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wydens professed reverence for democracy. In doing so I am compelled to point out that holding town meetings is an insufficient commitment to democracy.

What is essential is that he get off the centrist, Third Way fence and pick a side. It is perhaps unfortunate but true that the U.S. Senate is polarized to the point that occupants of that high office are either corporate-statists ã or in his case, and putting it more indirectly, corporate Democrats ã or they are social democrats, with a small "d,” including the one democratic socialist.

Trade policy as presently configured is a primary mechanism of corporate-statism, and it is a direct threat to household and community stability and security. Regardless of the supposed inevitability of a flat world, there are clear alternatives to trade policies that are heedless of their Main Street impacts ã see http://www.citizen.org/trade/tradeact

At his recent South Eugene High School town hall, Wyden, chairman of the International Trade Subcommittee, asked me for facts supporting non-ratification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. More important, however, is this opportunity to try again to bring his awareness to the fundamentally anti-democratic motivations, underpinnings, and effects of current trade policy, which benefits a few at the expense of many.

Above and beyond the senators electoral track record will be his legacy, either pro-democracy or anti-democracy. Until he makes a strong move on trade policy, he is only casting the Chamber of Commerces shadow.

Please call his offices (see www.citizenstrade.org/orftc.php).

Robert Beal, Volunteer, Lane County Fair Trade Campaign, Eugene



DEAR EUGENE DRIVERS

This letter is inspired by a man who thought that the blinking, 1-watt headlight I have on my handle bars was "outrageous" and essentially suggested being a visible cyclist on a rainy Eugene night was less important than the slight strain his eyes experienced as we sat on opposite side of the street at the 11th and Willamette intersection. I, for one, find this a telling example of the attitudes many Eugene drivers seem to exhibit towards any and all who choose to bike instead of drive.

I occasionally drive a car, and understand the role they play in people's lives. The point I want to stress is car etiquette, specifically towards those who choose to bike through town.

It is spring, Eugeneans. That means it is getting sunnier out, more people are using bikes and their feet to go places, but also that there is rain.

Now, because I have driven a car, and I understand how easy it is to forget when you are in a vehicle while it's raining, that those who are not in a like situation can actually feel the rain on their face, hair and clothes. When your car becomes a sauna because the heat is at full blast, it's easy to forget that rain is cold and accompanied by wind. And when you are so nicely sheltered from the elements, it becomes easy to forget just how goddamn uncomfortable they can be for those who aren't.

So maybe when it's raining it would be nice for you to try a little harder to avoid the water-filled pothole or clogged storm drain so I don't get drenched as you blaze through it. It might make my day if you decide not to pass recklessly by me as I am riding down 10th on my way to class, or if you decide to wait the few extra seconds it takes to let me exercise my right of way in a bike lane instead of turning in front of me and risking my life and your paint job.

Most of all, it would be nice that as a driver, you take a second to stop and think about how you drive your vehicle and the attitudes you hold while driving. It is easy to see other vehicles as steel boxes with no feelings, but when it comes to things like bikes and the people who ride them, when you hit me, I have feelings, and chances are I won't come by with a small dent and a higher insurance premium for being in an accident.

A. Petsch, Eugene