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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.26.11




GROWNUPS HAVE SPOKEN

On May 17, the voters of this community sent a clear message that they couldnt care less about your future. This was not done by crackpot politicians elected from other states to the federal government, or even by people from a different part of Oregon. It was the so-called grownup population of Eugene, people you see in your neighborhood every day, who had the opportunity to save something vital about our schools, and who enthusiastically kicked it down. That had to hurt.

During your many coming "furlough days,” you might want to go have a look at some of the fancy houses in the Cal Young area and on the edge of town. The decision was made to make your schools suck so that the people who live there could continue to live in luxury without paying taxes. you're not allowed in those houses. And now, so that they can stay in the lifestyle to which theyre accustomed, you wont be allowed in your schools as much either.

The job outlook for our community just took a big hit too. There arent many employers who will go out of their way to set up in a community with a poorly educated workforce, and we already have as many Wal-Marts as we need.

However, our community has not forgotten you entirely. When you're given a diploma and set loose with no education, no marketable skills, and no job outlook, the people who voted your school measure down will spare no expense to see that your prison cell is ready for you.

Andrew Ross, Eugene



ORI BAD TASTE

I am a former masters student at the UO, and I continue to make my home in Eugene after leaving the university. I plan to be here for the rest of my life, and I use and love the riverfront bike trail dearly.

The originally proposed site for the new ORI parking lot (and building) is not in the best interest of the people planning this development. In light of the huge outpouring of pubic disapproval, if they continue to push the original plan through, they are going to leave a bad taste in the mouth of Eugene and the UO community for years to come. This taste is not easy to get out.

I would encourage the people planning the proposed ORI building to choose a different, more suitable site that isnt so controversial. It seems that 1700 Millrace Drive ã a huge open lot within an already existing office park ã would be an ideal location.

I came previously from Cornell University, where a strikingly similar affair took place over a proposed parking lot to be built over a small patch of historic woodland. The administration there refused to listen to public outcry, and sued and sued until they got their way. The affair became national news, the university was very publicly embarrassed, and still its memory lives on.

I would ask the UO president, the head of ORI, and the developers to please consider whether or not they want to repeat this sad story in our town.

Ethan Rainwater, Eugene



WOOD WASTE

I built houses for nearly 20 years. Houses are big, so instead of making them in a factory, they are made on site using factory mass production techniques. Contractors are paid by the building, meaning you make more money the faster you are. An essential element to all this is dimensional lumber, because like McDonalds, uniformity means speed. So 8-foot sheets of plywood and 8-foot sheets of drywall land perfectly on studs and joists. It used to be that carpenters actually had to know how to cut rafter roofs. Now only engineered truss roofs are used, which require hardly any skill whatsoever. Only thing missing is the ketchup and fries.

The end result has been a degree of waste that has wiped out 98 percent of the forests that were here when Columbus landed in return for a sea of tacky, disposable houses that arent even interesting enough to call campy. At the sawmill, large parts of trees and those with defects are wasted to get the choice cuts for dimensional lumber. On the job site, theres a massive pile of cut-off lumber ends and plywood. It makes no economic sense for a $20-per-hour carpenter to waste time sorting through. This leaves the question, why attack Seneca for their biomass power plant? The Recession has nearly killed the lumber industry; why not pursue the advantage? This time in history could be better spent making Americas urban centers beautiful and vibrant places to live and work in concrete and steel mid-rise mixed-use buildings.

Warren Weisman, Eugene



INCOME TAX FAILURE

The city income tax did not fail because of a "mountain of obstacles.” It failed because most voters have never, ever, lived in a city that imposed such a tax, and they did not want to start here.

Mike Kopf, Eugene



ELECTION COVERAGE

For a great example of excellent journalism, I highly recommend The Register-Guard editorial from Thursday, May 19. The newspaper editor analyzed the vote for and against the new city school tax measure in a concise, well-written and totally objective manner.

In contrast, read the cover story or any of the editorials written by Alan Pittman in the Eugene Weekly. Pittman pushed his pro-measure agenda with a cover story and several editorials that were published in three consecutive issues of the Weekly. All of these pieces were blatantly one-sided and painted the anti-measure group as a bunch of rich people who dont care about the education of our children. Looking at the election results, its obvious that more than rich people voted against the measure. By almost a two to one margin, a lot of people across the spectrum thought the measure was a bad idea.

While Pittman loves nothing better than to write snide remarks about The Register-Guard, it wasnt until his third and final editorial that he casually mentioned that Art Johnson, part owner of the Eugene Weekly, was the biggest donor supporting the tax measure. It wasnt until the Register-Guard editorial on May 19 that it became publicly known that Hillary Johnson, the chairwoman of Strong Schools Eugene, is the daughter of Art Johnson. In the name of journalistic integrity, Pittman should have disclosed in his first editorial the almost incestuous relationship that the Eugene Weekly had with Strong Schools Eugene.

Im happy to note that the Weekly had very little, if any, influence on the way people voted.

Dave Taube, Eugene

Editors Note: Hillary Johnson is the daughter-in-law of a part owner.



SCHOOL VOTES UNEQUAL

As a supporter of Bethel Schools, I am saddened, as are the 36 percent who voted for it, at the defeat of Measure 20-182. That said, Im equally upset to read that 4J was able to not only pass their own school bond measure, but apparently to craft it in such a way that it will free up money for teacher salaries and other operating expenses, in addition to providing for certain capital expenses. A reasonable person might ask, why wasBethels board unable to do the same?

It is even more upsetting to realize that Bethel will have to wait three years to put another bond ballot measure, which would undoubtedly have passed, by overwhelming majority as 4Js did this time around, before the voters. One might also question whether adequate canvassing of the voters was done in regards to the tax/bond issues, specifically would they support either/both in the election, something that 4J seems to have done accurately. There is an old saying that a "bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Well, 4J has its bird; Bethel is left with the bush. I believe that in the main, Bethel is a well run district, but that this was a defeat by omission that need not have happened.

Jack Jepson, Eugene



RICHARDSON PRAISE

Congratulations to Lianne Richardson and to the county commissioners who appointed her. Lane County residents can be assured that in her, they have a bright, conscientious and caring individual at the head of county government. Ive known Richardson a long time and she has ears that listen, a mind that can sort and prioritize, a heart that cares, and an unassailableethical standard.

Speaking to an R-G editorial, what I know is that if the new county administrator appears to side with the majority, it wont be "siding”; itll be because thats the right direction to go. Lianne Richardsonhas the skills, courage, sense of service, and ethics to be a really good administrator. She will probably need all she has,and I wish her, the commissioners, county staff and Lane County citizens much good luck. Onward!

Judy Moseley, Eugene



CHOIR TEACHER

Because of the budget cuts to 4Js music program across the board, some hard decisions are having to be made. Jobs are shifting and not enough thought is going into the process. We need to have an expert choir teacher at South Eugene High School. Kimberly McConnell, the current choir teacher,has this expertise. The choir program is a fundamental part of our childrens education! Basing assigned teaching positions only on degrees and seniority is not enough to make this decision. Here are some skills needed to teach SEHS choirs: 1. Expert level at teaching large concert choir technique, theory (sight reading) and able to pick appropriate level pieces for choirs, festivalsand competitions. 2. Expert level at teaching jazz (close proximity microphone) choir technique, soloing, improvisation, theory (sight reading), picking repertoire to challenge choir andknowledge of piano, drums, bass and guitar accompanying techniques. 3.Organizational skills and appropriate contacts to fundraise and plan trips for competitions and festivals to enhance the level of performance of all the choirs. 4.Knowledge of musical theater and the techniques of auditioning and rehearsing a chorus, small groups and soloists... I could goon!

Please consider the skills it takes to keep our quality ofeducation in 4J! Thank you for your consideration.

Doralee Ann Hansen, Eugene



SUPPORT PATIENT CARE

May is Huntingtons Disease Awareness Month, and I am writing to strongly urge my Representative to cosponsor the Huntingtons Disease Parity Act (H.R. 718), and to my urge Senators to cosponsor the Senate companion, S. 648. If passed, the Huntingtons Disease Parity Act would make it easier for people with HD to receive Social Security Disability and Medicare Benefits.

Huntingtons Disease (HD) is a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HD slowly diminishes an individuals ability to walk, talk and reason. Eventually, every person with HD becomes totally dependent upon others for his or her care. HD profoundly affects the lives of entire families ã emotionally, socially and economically.

My dear friend Jans husband has Huntingtons Disease, and has been in a hospital for over two months unable to be placed into a care home. He has been affected in many ways. He has to be restrained ã so hard for everyone. Jan is holding down a job, and doing all within her power to help with Reggies medical care, all the while fearing maybe having to make monumental changes in her life to make ends meet. We need this bill passed and soon. Reggies daughter has also just been diagnosed with Huntingtons, as well as other family members. Reggie is a veteran, and Jan was a Roseburg local. Thank you for helping us bring attention to this disease, which I had not heard of until my friends husband was diagnosed with it. So tragic.

By co-sponsoring the Huntingtons Disease Parity Act, members of Congress can show their support for not only for this family, but the nearly 1,000,000 Americans who are touched by this terrible disease.

Sharon Lee, Roseburg



NO ZOMBIE JESUS

I am a Weekly devotee since its inception and always look forward to my Thursday issue. You have done so much to enrich life in Eugene and Lane County. That said, I have two areas of concern:

1. The article "New Electric Car Unveiled” (4/28) really did offend me with its poorly written first sentence "Easter weekend marked the return of Zombie JesusĔ I am somewhere between atheist and secular humanistÄ nowhere near ChristianÄ but please! What happened to respecting all faiths? We have a landscape company and many of our clients are liberal yet go to progressive Christian churches. This is a way to alienate all those open minded readers, as well as just being inane. Up your inclusiveness!

2. I was also disappointed in "The Fungus Among Us” (4/7)which was a waste of print. Mushroom lovers and foodies were probably as excited to read the article as I was when we saw the cover art. But the author knows absolutely nothing about mushrooms, and even food. In the future there are plenty of people to contact on this topic... Cascade Mycological Society and great local chefs (Michael Lansberg, King EstateÄ).

Cathy Boucher, Eugene



Civic Plan

There really is room for both Civic Stadium and the Y on the 10-acre site. In the spirit of Envision Eugene, where we densify rather than sprawl and rely on use of mass transit, bicycles, walking, and carpooling, we can include a transportation hub and transfer station for buses, bikes, and cars. The master plan with its full stoplight interchange at 20th and Amazon Parkway would back up southbound traffic on Pearl all the way to 13th and northbound all the way to 24th, more than the normal 2 or 3 blocks they already back up. But opening up 20th Avenue for southbound buses turning right-only off Amazon to drop off civic spectators, Y participants and pick-up passengers heading to disparate parts of town would work as well as it has for years with the LTD shuttle service to UO games, allowing traffic on the Amazon Parkway to flow freely.

A bike/pedestrian overpass from the north/south bike path and the high school could cross over Amazon Creek and Parkway to a plaza level above the parking lot that could contain a huge bike parking area and connect to the 2nd floor of the Y, the field house, the restaurant, the top of the east grandstand and whatever other compatible commercial and nonprofit establishments are up there. Use of the two north lots for a parking structure topped by Y indoor tennis courts, and faced with small business outlets would provide an attractive solution of where to put the cars. This is doable! Ä if Save Civic Stadium gets the proposal (or none of the above), a grand synthesis is likely including a Y (without student housing), and Master as the developer (without Freddys).

Tom Halferty, Eugene



TAX DODGERS

Now that the emotional, upsetting, divisive ã us-against-them ã school election is over, I would like to repeat something I related in the EW of February 3rd ã Oregon income taxes are stupid. Especially when one considers income taxes are so easy to avoid paying and all businesses pass all taxes through to the consumer. If you want government then pay taxes. The business community demands all kinds of government services ã but there are hundreds of businesses in Oregon that dont pay any (income) taxes. I think its time to conduct a simple test that everyone can understand. Take the telephone listing of all Oregon businesses and have the Oregon Dept. of Revenue see how many of these businesses do not pay (income) taxes. If the business paid no income taxes send a form letter askingã why not? Then do the same thing in the state of Washington and see how many dont pay (B&O) taxes.

The results will astound you. If you do business in the state of Washington you are going to either pay business taxes or go to jail. Not so in Oregon.

Frank Skipton, Eugene



READY FOR WAR

Has anyone ever heard the government say that they dont have enough money for weapons and war? No.

Has anyone ever heard the government say their health care insurance is too expensive and they can no longer afford to pay for it? No.

But every day, we hear or are experiencing first hand, school closures and cutbacks for teachers and administrators. No money will be taken from the war fund to support the education and future of our children and grandchildren. Of course, those "higher ups” will need our dear sweet children to fight their sickening wars at some later date to help keep them and their precious families living in their castles in the sky.

I find it interesting that schools are in part supported by the military. As the "No Child Left Behind” act states, each school must supply the name, address and phone number of every student who reaches the age of 18, so their information can be supplied to some pushy, abusive recruiter.

Lets just close all the schools now, put the kids to work so they can make plastic products we dont need, and allow them to play endless video games that teach them to kill virtually so they never have to feel its effects. Lets prepare them for the new next war, teach them to shop for useless things, allow them to watch endless hours of television and feed them drugs to keep them from being children.

Karen Hazelwood, Florence



WINE FOR THOUGHT

While your headline article, Bleeding our Government to Death (4/14) was informative and vexing, I found the column by wine journalist, Lance Sparks ("Sleepless Wines,” 4/14) profound. I dont even drink wine but always read his words because I enjoy his writing.

Last week, in very few words, he succinctly stated the current USA situation and mirrored my and many others feelings about it. I dont know where were headed from here, but job well done, Mr. Sparks.

Lynn Morris, Eugene