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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.18.11




WE STRUGGLE ON

“What are “human rights” in our present time? 

In Oregon, there is no institutional racism or sexism, unless you count the religions, several of which make sexism a “gift from God.” While there are those who fight racism and sexism battles on a individual basis even today, government and business must respect human rights as regards skin color or gender.

It is my impression that the average voter would vote against giving human rights to others based on poverty. They would say there are rich and poor and that will never change…that there is no human right to a public shelter if you are homeless, or a right to a job if you cannot find a private company to hire you. If Eugene/Lane County has no public shelter system and you are destitute and sleeping in the weeds, that is not their problem. Suck it up and die like the poor have always died, with platitudes of the rich ringing in their ears.

If the very poor have no human rights, then neither do the rich and powerful. If the law doesn’t do much of anything for those without anything or anyone, except perhaps give arrogant assessments of their character via the downtown police, then the law is more than an ass, it is illegitimate. If we are not at least struggling to hear the voices of the poor and the lost, then our own voices are not worth hearing. And if human rights efforts don’t work for the economic and social needs of those in the weeds, then they are just another co-opted series of meetings. 

I look at the past and despair for the future. Some warlord thousands of miles away gets the human rights; our poor get the weeds. The Eugene police get a “Country Club” palace of a new building, the poor get … hopelessness, unless you think the timber jobs are coming back. Or that you think the hearts of those in power will open to the concept of real human rights for the poor.

Hugh Massengill, Eugene



WHITEAKER LET-DOWN

Maybe I’m just not cool enough to live in this neighborhood — still walking on broken glass, dodging dirty syringes in the street (and my mailbox!), and covering my nose as I pass by the heaps of garbage left over from the Whiteaker Block Party (besides having had to hose down my yard several times to clear away the smell of human excrement left behind after partygoers ripped my fence apart looking for a restroom). 

I thought this neighborhood was known for being “progressive,” “green” and “artsy.” I’ve lived here less than a month (and maybe we got started off on the wrong foot with the BP leaving a bad taste in my mouth) but thus far the Whit has been a big let-down full of pseudo-intellectual, angry drunk/junked-up burnouts dressed up as “hippies” because, well, it’s hip!

This neighborhood does not have soul, nor a single original idea coming from it. It’s simply a collection of burned out assholes calling themselves artists because they’re too lazy and stupid to get a real job. Go back to Los Angeles, a-holes!

Julie Bonaduce, Eugene



HYPOCRISY

I appreciated the cover story (8/4) that brought to light the consequences of sex trafficking, but was disappointed to see yet again the classified ad for “dating services” with a thinly veiled offer of prostitution. The well-written article made it clear that prostitution is not a victimless crime. How do you reconcile allowing the ad?

Thanks for thinking about it.

Lisa Fincher, Eugene



CUSTOMER DISSERVICE

Regarding “Problems with the ’PUD” (8/11) I found this article to be interestingly appropriate as I have just endured several consecutive months of extremely poor EPUD customer service including being held responsible for my landlord’s (illegal) auxiliary “clubhouse” bill. Also I recently attempted to find out the actual billing cycle dates for my own rental. I have seldom if ever been on the receiving end of such nonsense as I have experienced from EPUD “customer service” (dis-service probably should be being spelled “DISS” service!) both in person and on the phone including being told that they cannot provide the billing cycle dates unless I come in and “identify” myself (not accepting that I have the service address and my account number). They seem obsessed with strange and ineffective privacy concerns at the customer service desk — yet the meter inspector in the field freely gossiped to my barn help about my account! I finally got my question answered when I demanded to speak to a supervisor. Then and only then was customer service willing, hurriedly so, to disclose my actual billing dates. I’ve dealt with public utilities for the last 40 of my 60 years — IMO, their “customer service” is at best clueless — and abusive at worst. I do plan to file a complaint with the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

Jan B. Baldwin, Coburg



RECKLESS WORDS

A philosopher at the UO has alerted me to the fact that you have falsely reported (Slant, 8/11) that I “posted rumors as facts in this case, mistaking confidentiality for cover-up.” This mischaracterizes the post in question, which did not report “rumors as facts” but reported allegations from a graduate student at Oregon, and reported that two faculty members confirmed those allegations. The posts in question are at http://wkly.ws/13h and http://wkly.ws/13i 

I can only assume you got the reckless language from Bonnie Mann, who has used similarly reckless language.

As a lawyer, I choose my words carefully in matters like this. I trust you will print a prompt correction.

Brian Leiter, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago

EDITOR’S NOTE: Leiter blogged that two faculty members confirmed the allegations of sexual harassment and also confirmed a “member of the faculty urged quiet about this incident,” but the UO says the harassment has not been substantiated, and Bonnie Mann says the implied cover-up was nothing more than respecting confidentiality. But there may be more to the story.



NOT ALL MASOCHISTS

The writer (“Intelligent Provocation,” 8/4) who suggested that nonviolent protesters should do more to encourage violence against them, made plenty of good points about the way violence has swayed public opinion — in the past. While you may not see it every day on the news, nonviolent protesters in this country are met with considerable violence on a regular basis, it just doesn’t mean the same thing to the general public any longer. The tree-sitters in the in the Elliott State Forest were fully attacked by a piece of heavy machinery, and then had their lives threatened by armed officers who come equipped with Tasers, guns and chemical weapons that they use against people on a regular basis.

I invite the previous writer to consider the difference between a water cannon or baton at ground level, and an untrained hand and knife at 130 feet or higher. The reason this type of activity isn’t heavily covered or considered in mainstream media is clear, it just isn’t very exciting to people any more, no one is getting blown up, guns aren’t used when the media is there, and thankfully, there usually isn’t a resulting death. 

To this modern society, a lack of these components means a lack of violence, and to them, also a lack of excitement. If people want to see the violence committed against peaceful activists in this country every day, they should contact their favorite media outlets and demand coverage of it, not make the ludicrous suggestion that peaceful activists aren’t experiencing enough of it. After all, we are activists, not (all) masochists.

Jason Gonzales,  Cascadia Forest Defender,  Walton



WHAT ABOUT WINK?

I have just finished reading the Aug. 4 edition. A comparison of the “People for Sale” and the Wink personal ad section in the back of the paper leads me to wonder: Do you do anything to screen the Wink ads before publishing them? Sure looks to me like a great way for trapping unsuspecting innocents by sex traffickers.

Gil Campbell, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: As an alternative newspaper we tend to do minimal censoring of our content, but we never knowingly advertise illegal activities.



 

 

NOT FUNNY

Contrary to the issue title (7/28 “How to love your dog, cat, or piranha”), the popular cat video (with photo) was titled “Very angry cat — FUNNY” and it clearly was not. This poor animal has obviously suffered abuse and sadly, has not been loved. People? Have a heart for all innocent victims.

 Linda Blossom Wagner, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The word “FUNNY” is part of the title of the video, and not a word we added.



URGE TO THROW ROCKS

Drivers in Eugene: Please be careful when you are driving in residential areas! I live on 12th Avenue, and I assume because it is sandwiched between 11th and 13th that people want a short cut. However, please remember there are kids all over that street, elderly folks walking down the street! When you zip down the street going 40-plus mph you are putting a lot of people at risk. Just today a guy in a black Mercedes went by my house at autobahn speeds while was standing in the front yard with my 4 year old ! I made the gesture to slow down and all I got back was the middle finger! Really? I’m standing there with a child? What kind of loser are you? Hey, if you want to be a man about it, stop and have a conversation with me instead of telling me to f$%# off! I would love to talk. 

Please be courteous to kids, elders and speed limits. If you cut through on 12th or streets like it, remember the speed limit and I’ll do my best not to throw rocks at you if you flip me off. Have a nice day.

Patrick Kavaney, Eugene



WANING SUPERPOWER

The U.S. may be the last remaining superpower, but its power has been in decline. The U.S. project of global domination has three weaknesses: 1) The U.S. does not have enough military personnel, 2) the military, in both peace and war, costs a lot of money, and 3) political events in the Middle East can cause the price of oil to rise.

People in the U.S. need to accept the fact that the power of their government has limits. In global warming negotiations, India and China also have power, because they can refuse to go along with a worldwide agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and without their participation, climate disasters might cause death and destruction on the scale of a nuclear war.

India and China need to agree to limit their economic development goals, but would expect corresponding sacrifices on the part of richer countries. Middle class people would not think that they ought to consume less without the richest people feeling an impact. One possible step would be taxing the rich to pay for green jobs, such as in public transit.

Milton Takei, Eugene



GIVE OBAMA A BOOTH

Since the election of our first president who is not a caucasian, as far as we know, we have been subjected to overt and covert racist rhetoric directed against him in the guise of political criticism. At the same time, we have the worst economy since 1930, except of course for the boys on Wall Street. No president has ever taken office with so many elements working against him. He has made lemonade out of lemons so many times in the last two-and-a-half years that we should give him a booth.

After the purposeful destruction perpetrated by the Bush administration, Obama has tried to make the American government work, bringing the philosophical concept of wise naiveté to bear in an amazing way. I find the short-term thinking of my fellow citizens disappointing, and I urge you all to read the actual debt ceiling bill. Barack has to address the horrendous debt which was created by the Bush administration over eight years of off-budget spring vacation credit card madness, which he has restored to the official budget, at the same time dealing with an absolutely obstructionist Republican Congress. This is why he is taking heat for the deficit. He is a captive of the long betrayal begun by uber-capitalists many years ago. The murder of JFK was nothing to them but a correction of course.

It seems to me Obama is standing at the gate for the rest of us, along with many members of Congress. If our President has not done what you think he should, then help him by getting out and electing a true Democratic/progressive majority in 2012, which could give us a new and prosperous economy, if we accept the concept of collective self-interest, as represented by public works and new industries.

Kelly J. Ray, Eugene



GO SOLAR

There’s no downside to PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy). We hope our congressional delegation will restore the PACE revolution by voting for HR 2599.

Lauren Russell, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: This legislation would prevent federal housing regulators from adopting policies to override established state and local PACE programs. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has objected to local governments holding first liens on PACE homes.