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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.9.11




EVERY DAY COUNTS

Last year 13,129 children in Oregon spent at least one day in foster care. These abused or neglected children depend on the child welfare system and the community to ensure that they live in safe, healthy and permanent homes.

Although every month should be, May was National Foster Care Month. The Citizen Review Board (CRB) consists of community members like us who give their time to review cases of children in foster care to ensure that every child has safe, loving and permanent homes. We see how resilient foster children can be. They have an extraordinary capacity to overcome many challenges ã but only if they have the support of caring adults who are willing to advocate for them. Without permanent, nurturing relationships with adults, foster children are far more likely than their "non-foster” peers to experience homelessness, poverty, compromised health, unemployment, incarceration, and other adversities after they leave foster care.

To all foster parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates, CRBs, mentors, and those who help in other ways, wed like to thank you. Your caring commitment is critical for ending the cycles of neglect, abuse, or other family crisis issues that often prevent a child from reaching his or her full potential. We appreciate your dedication and hope you recognize, as we do, the valuable role you play in building brighter futures for Americas next generation. We challenge the rest of you to find out how you can become involved. Every day counts in the life of a foster child.

Ellen Hyman & board members:

Peggy Bellinger, J. Norton Cabell,

Nancy English, Nancy Johnson, DVM,

LouAnn Martin, Joy McDowell,

Dr. Daniel Phillips & Roz Slovic

 

DISTILLED ISSUES

Oh, thank you for Gordon Lafers sassy, knowledgeable Viewpoint piece in the May 26 EW. I hope you will invite him to contribute regularly. I felt so satisfied by the way he framed Jennifer Solomons absurd claim to be "tapped out,” and I think he distilled the issues nicely while avoiding the (sorry) bland, proper intellectual style of so many EW contributions.

Heidi Schultz Haider, Eugene



ORGANIC LEGACY

Three years ago May 31, David Minor was killed in a most unfortunate bicycle-automobile collision at the corner of Willamette and 13th. A ghost bike memorial still stands there in his memory, as a reminder to all to keep eyes and awareness open for bicyclists on the street.

The week that he died, Davids family started a memorial fund with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition (WFFC) to honor his passions for local food and social justice. To date, $15,000 has been raised in Davids memory. Awards have been made to local projects and programs that increase access to locally grown foods for families in need.

In addition to supporting WFFC staff time in the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative (a collaborative project of the Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth and DariMart), awards have been made to Victory Gardens for All, FOOD for Lane County Gardens Program, Huerto de la Familia, and the Thats My Farmer Low-Income Fund. A contribution from Davids fund was also made to the UOs Food Justice Conference in February. This week $1,000 will be given to the Courthouse Garden Project, which teaches gardening skills to individuals in transition within the criminal justice system, gives hands on experience in running a community garden to UO landscape architecture students, and produces food for the community and the Relief Nursery of Lane County.

To read more about Davids organic legacy, or to contribute, see lanefood.org

Lynne Fessenden, Executive Director Willamette Farm and Food Coalition



GLENWOOD IS PRIME

Glenwood. Anyone driven through there lately? Hasnt changed in about 40 years. Jeff Simmons brought it up in his letter to the editor in the June 2 issue in relation to a new Fred Meyer. Ive been contemplating it since I started driving through there daily for the last eight months.

Its prime riverfront property that is being underutilized, and is poorly developed and unsightly. EMX already running there successfully. It is accessible to the University, Eugene and Springfield. Its on a major highway andhas freeway access, and theres room for plenty of parking, too. So lets build the new up-scaled Fred Meyer store there, the Veterans Administration clinic can be central without disturbing downtown, Oregon Research Institute can have their waterfront site close to the University, the YMCA can build there, too. We could even move the Civic Stadium there and the city could sell the current site for something more in tune with that neighborhood. Hell, Id even go for moving the Matt Arena there ã it feels so crammed in where it is (why did that ever happen, anyway?). And I believe Planned Parenthood is already thinking of developing an up-to-date site there ã and it doesnt extend urban growth boundaries.

Can you imagine the results if we just did this? Wed have to find some other urban growth issues to complain about.

Ellen Perlis, Eugene



ASUO AT CITY CLUB

City Club of Eugene, which meets on the 12th floor of the Eugene Hilton June 24, will focus on important issues relating to UO students and faculty and the wider community. The outgoing ASUO President Amelie Rousseau will discuss her recently completed term as a student leader. The audience will be allowed to ask questions for the second half of the program.

I am hoping that the ASUO will eventually become a Eugene City Club partner and that ASUO members be involved in the work of the Program Committee. That is one of the reasons this forum was scheduled. Another reason is just to get the public all of the details about what is going on at UO.

Can you remember every hearing anything from a student leader at the Eugene City Club? Bring questions and friends to the program or at least tune in to KLCC on the Monday evening after the event to hear what was said.

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene



TALENTED LAURYN HILL

Though I disagreed, I wasnt planning to respond to the May 26 EW music review on the brilliant songwriter and musician Lauryn Hills appearance in Eugene until a friend asked me about the concert, noting "it got a bad review.”

There are few performers whose music fans continue to listen to regularly 10 or 15 years after it first appeared-this phenomenon is reserved for the greats and Lauryn Hill is among them; the EW writer did acknowledge her "cultural icon” status but her appeal is much, much wider than the "conscious hip hop generation” (to which he referred and does not define me). I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see her live in a place like Eugene ã most of her concerts are in major cities.

It was not a great concert. She arrived late as usual. The sound system was very bad, the band didnt seem to get that they were playing to support her. It was very difficult to hear her if you werent close to the stage. In spite of this, she still came across as the remarkable talent she is, and there were many present who seemed to agree. The front section was crammed with wildly enthusiastic fans and no one in this section left early. There was a slight drizzle/mist for most of the night which might have accounted for some in the back who did leave early.

I wouldnt have missed it.

Lia Gladstone, McKenzie Bridge



WE ARE OREGONIANS

As a first generation Latina student attending the UO, I understand the struggles students of color face getting through high school and the even greater challenge of attending an Oregon university. Oregon is in crisis and is losing some of its best and brightest students after high schools because they cannot afford to continue on to college.

Senate Bill 742, Tuition Equity, will allow all students who have lived in the U.S. for a minimum of five years and attended an Oregon high school for three concurrent years, graduated from that high school or received their GED, and committed to working towards residency to pay in-state tuition regardless of documentation status. Right now theyre charged triple the cost and are not going to school.

Tuition Equity is the best way to capitalize on our investment already made in Oregon students. In a time of budget cuts, more Oregon students bringing in more money to the university system can only benefit our state as a whole. In a state like Oregon where the demographics are changing, equal, affordable tuition should be there for all Oregon students. In a state like Oregon this bill is a must! I thank our legislators in support of Tuition Equity for continuously fighting for our right to education as we are all Oregonians and for standing with us all as Tuition Equity makes its steady but successful journey to a House Floor vote this week. Further more I encourage legislators to have the strong will and courage to create change to open the doors of knowledge to all Oregonians.

Lucero Casta¿eda, M.E.Ch.A. Recruitment and Retention Director



CONTEMPTABLE BILL

HB 3664 is a travesty and should be denied a hearing. Its an issue of privacy rights, and denying the will of the voters:

« By providing the personal information associated with registered marijuana grow sites to police without reason is a clear circumvention of Federal HIPAA laws and an underhanded manner in which to deny Oregon residents their constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment rights. This billis the very definition of unreasonable search and seizure.

«The prominence of the additional fees indicates a contempt for the patients, and a disregard for the concepts of providing ones own medicines without the financial constraints and atmosphere of intimidation that is the pharmacological industry.

«By opening up the personal information of growers to the state police you discourage growers from participating in the OMMA and consequently there will be an explosion of clandestine growers who will only be further inclined to grow beyond the six-plant limit, as they wouldnt be registering anyway, they would be more inclined to grow as much as possible.

«This bill, crafted in secret, without the normal cooperation, and sent up through mysterious "priority” channels, devoid of proper committee investigation and ample open debate,is a circumvention of the will of the voters of Oregon.

«The further background checks, constraints on minors, and reduction of maximum allowable cards per residence are equally insensitive, particularly the last point as a majority of persons have chosen or have been forced into communal living as a direct result of economic stresses and growing harmony with sustainability. This bill would tear homes apart.

Jason Rosselet, Eugene



PEOPLE OR PROFITS?

A large percentage of our tax revenue is misused, as with bank bailouts, the huge military budget, and subsidies for mega corporations. Those who care about the whole would like society to be more equitable.

It is wrong and should be fought against that corporations destroy forests, pollute our rivers, oceans, soil, and air with toxic chemicals and other poisons, like manure from Controlled Animal Feeding Operations. They cage and confine our brother and sister animals, with whom we share most of our DNA, in inhumane and abhorrent conditions that we do not allow for pets. Likewise, the evils our military perpetrates in the name of democracy, freedom, and fighting terrorism, abroad and also on our own soil, are not acts of civilized humanity.

There are good uses for our taxes, and we should not allow there to be too great a disparity in the wealth of our population. Capital gains taxes are one of the best ways to apply the principles of progressive taxation ã wherein the more you have, the more money of yours is thrown into the common pot for health care, schools, care of the elderly, and plant-based organic food.

Federal capital gains tax rates are at a historic low. I hope opposition to SB 883, which would cut Oregons capital gains rates by half, prevails in Salem. Greedy demands to cut capital gains tax ratesare holding hostage attempts to reform our states taxation system. Who will rule: people or profits?

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene



COPS BAD EXAMPLE

I wasnt surprised to hear recently that Eugene and Springfield are risky places for pedestrians. I also wasnt surprised to see that none of the TV or newspaper articles talked about Oregons pedestrian laws. Under Oregon law there is a crosswalk at every intersection and if there is a pedestrian waiting to cross you must stop your vehicle. I rarely see cars stop for pedestrians at crosswalks in Eugene-Springfield. When I stop Im frequently honked or yelled at and occasionally get the digitus medius.

The other day a policeman blew by me while I was stopped on a two-lane, one-way street in Eugene waiting for a pedestrian. Fortunately he didnt run over the person passing in front of my car into his lane; presumably that would have been an inconvenience for him. Not only do some of our hardworking police fail to set the example of good driving, Im guessing they will tell you that budget cuts prevent them from enforcing the law.

The state and others need to make a greater effort to remind drivers of the rules. The UO could start by setting the example. Around many campuses across the country you can find signs reminding motorists that is the law to stop for pedestrians and that failure to stop could result in a large fine, but no such signs exist around UO. Maybe a little funding for pedestrian safety signs could be tacked on to the next lavish UO building budget.

Eric T Jones, Eugene

EWS TWO MISTAKES

Its seems to me that the editorial staff made two mistakes in their endorsements of the West Eugene EmX line, and of Rich Cunningham when he ran several times for political office, latest being EWEB commissioner.

Regarding the EmX line, $100 million can go a long way in increasing LTD bus service system wide, even if it were spread out over a 20 year period. The argument that the money can only be used for capital projects is true; but Congress can re-authorize it for use for operating expenses if it chose to. What would be needed is some intense lobbying on the part of city and county officials and Congressman Defazio, even splitting the funding 50-50, half for road maintenance and the remainder for LTD.

As for Cunningham, the Weekly happily endorsed this guy for various posts in the past. Now that hes elected to the EWEB Board he now has permission to censor another board member, Joann Ernst, who, as a private citizen demonstrated against Seneca Jones and its proposal to clear-cut old growth trees in the McKenzie watershed. You guys, it seems endorsed a wolf in sheeps clothing. You definitely have to do a better job in vetting prospective political candidates in the future. Just having an "Im a Progressive” sign around ones neck doesnt cut it any more.

Lou Andrews, Newport



 

THE MASTER PLAN

I recently spoke with Steve Master, developer for the Civic Village project that is one of the ideas for Civic stadium. I should be honest here: I like the idea of Civic Village, so I am somewhat biased. But let it be noted, that this is not one of those black and white issues. Instead of having to pick the lesser of all the evils, this is picking the best of many good ideas.

Saving the stadium. I know this is a big deal to those like me who have watched the Ems play there. I wish there was a way to keep all my childhood memories alive somehow, but unfortunately money is tight right now. But it seems that Steve Master has a plan to include most of our needs. Or as Envision Eugene puts it, all the seven pillars.

The Master build is willing to move the stadium, a cost that Master is willing to throw at least $250,000 towards. Does it really matter where the original stadium is? I would hope not.

Not every bit of the stadium would be moved, according to Master, there will still be much to use throughout the build. A Civic Stadium themed pub, and more, like an outdoor amphitheater which can be used for evening movies and other community activities.

Some have said the traffic is going to be a problem, personally I think the Ems games were worse because everyone showing up and leaving at the same time. This proposed project will just be a constant flow of people. Even so, this build has thought of the traffic. A new light on 20th, and extending 20th farther. Again, well thought through.

Many think this is just going to be a Fred Meyer, but there will be over 15,000 to 18,000 sq. ft. of commercial space available for other businesses that could be hair salons, pizza parlors and more. The River Road Freddy's has a liquor store in it. This proposal will also include housing available to anyone; perhaps seniors will find it appealing as Freddy's is mostly a one-stop place to shop.

What will this build do for our community? Well, first, if the 4J School District either doesn't own it, or is leasing it out it will relieve the taxpayers of the burden of maintaining this property. If sold, it seems the price would be $3.8 million, if leased about $260,000 per a year. Additionally this will add 300 jobs to Eugene, even more than Cabela's. It will add $8 million dollars to our community annually. According to Master this should provide around $450,000 to the general fund annually. Bonus.

According to Master, Fred Meyer has "a billzilion dollars" to do this build, they will not need any extra incentives, or taxpayer money to complete this build. To me this seems to be again, a home run for our community. Again, this is not one of those black, and white issues, but I think this build will be the best for our community at this time. A home run as it were.

Michael Weber, Co-founder of LCCRG.org

EDITORS NOTE: The School District June 1 rejected all three proposals for the Civic Stadium property. It may be some time before the future of Civic Stadium is decided.



VISION OVER MONEY

Dear 4J Superintendent Russell: Just think about what a brave, bold choice it would be, as your parting gesture for the Eugene community, to rethink your choice for the Civic Stadium property and select the Y option. A handsome new building facility for the Y, to replace the hard-used and greatly loved current YMCA, and new student housing with parking which is an ever growing need close to campus.

Oh sure, youd take a bunch of flack for not making the most money possible for 4J, but think of the wisdom shown by choosing to nurture and support the health of children through sports and physical activity not to mention the many adults, alter-abled and senior citizens who maintain their health on a daily basis at the Y. Thats the "big picture” vision you can take with you as you move on to your new life. You chose to support a long term investment that gifts health and housing for Eugenes future rather than another Mecca for lesser needed commerce and consumerism. There are more important things than big money. Please choose "vision” over money. Be brave and bold.

Martha Snyder, Eugene



BRUTAL OCCUPATION

George Mitchell quits in disgust as Middle East envoy and the Palestine papers clearly expose the sham misrepresented as an Israel/Palestine "peace process.” How can Palestinians under brutal occupation ã routinely bribed, bullied, arrested, imprisoned, terrorized and silenced ã be expected to negotiate with those unwilling, like all colonial occupiers, to voluntarily give up power?

Yet President Obama still blithely states, "Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action." But even were this possible, which Israelis and which Palestinians?

Some 20 percent of Israel's population are Palestinian. Voiceless at the peace table, they have long called for a democratic constitution and legal equality, transforming Israel into a country for all its citizens.Instead, they are governed by a separate set of highly discriminatory laws (http://tinyurl.com/3cajw9y). Asserting Israel to be a "Jewish state” is as racist as calling the U.S. a "white” or "Christian” country.This is a recent (2009) demand by Netanyahu, echoing a request to be so recognized in 1948 that Truman rejected (http://tinyurl.com/3l3rc8c).

The 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza, 80 percent of whom are refugees, are also unrepresented in negotiations. As are Palestinians in UNRWA refugee camps elsewhere.As are several million Palestinians scattered throughout their worldwide diaspora.Under Articles 13 and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as U.N. Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and Israels own pledge as a condition of its 1949 admission to the U.N., all of these populations have the right of return to their homes and lands stolen from them in 1948, 1967 and relentlessly ever since.

These Palestinians have an inalienable, non-negotiable right to go back to their homeland, not just to an Israeli-approved Bantustan on some 20 percent of their original land. To deny that Israel is the homeland of the Palestinian people is Nakba denial, as repugnant as Holocaust denial, attempting to erase the history and culture of a people. Please see http://palestineremembered.com for pictures and descriptions of 530 towns and villages with Arabic names that were ethnically cleansed and either destroyed or renamed in Hebrew. The once-Arab community of Najd, for example, is home now to exclusively Jewish colonies Sderot and Or ha-Ner (http://tinyurl.com/4xyy4kk).

President Obama, please remember that human rights under international law require enforcement, not negotiation.

Mariah Leung, co-director, Al-Nakba Awareness Project



CHALLENGING MEAT

USDAs new MyPlate dietary logo illustrates graphically the shrinking role of meat and dairy products in our national diet. It replaces meat with a tofu loaf, and shunts dairy off the plate.

The new logo provides a fitting conclusion to a 30-year record of the Dietary Guidelines recommending replacement of animal products and other fatty foods in our diet with vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains (see www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines).

The recommendations reflect widespread concern with the growing epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other killer diseases.

There is an historic reason why health authorities have not taken a stronger stand against meat and dairy, as they did with tobacco products three decades ago.

CHALLENGING MEAT

USDAs new MyPlate dietary logo illustrates graphically the shrinking role of meat and dairy products in our national diet. It replaces meat with a tofu loaf, and shunts dairy off the plate.

The new logo provides a fitting conclusion to a 30-year record of the Dietary Guidelines recommending replacement of animal products and other fatty foods in our diet with vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains (see www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines).

The recommendations reflect widespread concern with the growing epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other killer diseases.

There is an historic reason why health authorities have not taken a stronger stand against meat and dairy, as they did with tobacco products three decades ago.

In 1977, the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published "Dietary Goals for the United States,” recommending reduced meat consumption. The meat industry forced the committee to destroy all copies of the report and to remove the offending recommendation from a new version. It then abolished the committee, voted Chairman George McGovern out of office, and taught government bureaucrats never to challenge meat consumption again. (Food Politics by Marion Nestle, 2007).

Elijah Hennison, Eugene