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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.1.11




FUND LCAS

It is very sad that every time governmental budget cutting is mentioned, homeless people and homeless animals, the most vulnerable of us, suddenly leap to the top of the list.

Lane County Animal Services has made tremendous progress in improving care for homeless pets. Adoptions, spay/neuter, foster program, cat program, volunteer program, vet, behaviorist and vet tech — to name a few. 

It is the responsibility of cities and counties to protect their animals as well as their people, and all these improvements ultimately do both.

We cannot afford to lose what we have gained from so much effort and ingenuity. Taking funds from LCAS to give to other programs makes no sense. 

We have, and we need, a caring animal shelter that helps all adoptable and treatable animals and that is answerable to the citizens. We must not “cheap out” or push the responsibility onto people not directly answerable to our citizens.

Rita Castillo, Springfield



RETHINK THE UGB

I have an occasional ironic LOL moment while reading EW, and your page four last week (8/18) was a side-splitter. Two contrasting pieces told the deeply confused story of our community. On the left is Dan Armstrong’s view of how our society might improve if we localized food production, while Julie Bonaduce’s letter on the right describes her awful experience of the abusive crowd in my neighborhood (the Whit). 

How could it ever be possible for more of us to grow our food if we are confined to tiny little yards inside the urban growth boundary? Surrounded by large trees, my yard grows nothing but piles of leaves and spiders, not to mention the tremendous amounts of cat shit and flies. Armstong makes it sound as if local farmers or consumers are not doing enough, when in fact we find terrific organic produce all year long at every farmer’s market, in every natural foods store and now even in conventional supermarkets. Armstong  asks the question of how we “relocalize” and his answer is to reverse the trend of building sprawling suburban neighborhoods. What a crock of shit. 

The obvious answer to both the problem of more people taking responsibility for their food and of overcrowding in our dense urban neighborhoods, is to rethink the urban growth boundary (UGB). Fifty years ago, limiting residential construction to the inside of an artificial ring around urban areas was a good idea. Now however, we have too many people in too small a space. They cannot garden; they cannot breathe; they spend too much of their income on housing because it is artificially limited, and they are elbowing each other in the face as evidenced by the social problems and misbehaviors that continuously wrack my neighborhood. Stand on the corner of 4th and Blair for an hour or attend a supercharged public meeting about something utterly daft if you really don’t get this. 

I want nothing more than to move to a sprawling suburban neighborhood where I have fewer neighbors and some garden space to nourish my soul. Obviously, those who still stand and shout about the UGB live outside of it, and absolutely do not want the “burnt-out assholes” Bonaduce describes as neighbors out in the county where they live. LOL. 

Den Ramsey, Eugene



MAKE IT FREE

Once again, the Eugene Celebration blocks off a large chunk of downtown streets and sidewalks to all but those able and willing to pay $12-$15 per person. I grew up in a city where we had a similar downtown festival every summer — eclectic parade, several stages of music, vendors, food carts — and it was all free, open to everyone. It was truly a celebration of the city and its residents. Whereas the EC is exclusive rather than inclusive. It’s not for you if you’re one of the 10 percent who are unemployed, or the much greater number who are underemployed or otherwise financially struggling these days. It’s not much of a celebration for businesses in the EC zone who see most of their patrons shut out (apparently without compensation from the city for lost revenues). And it’s just a hassle for anyone trying to get to their downtown workplace, or the bus station, or the Saturday Market during this weekend. 

There’s a lot of talk these days about revitalizing downtown; maybe we should start with a celebration that welcomes everyone to see what downtown has to offer, rather than putting up blockades to keep them away.

Kate Winter, Eugene



ROGUES BOWL

Oregon football will take part in its first-ever early season Bowl Game it its opener this Saturday (9/3) against LSU. It is the “Rogues Bowl” in Dallas, Texas (aka Cowboys Classic).

Do not confuse it with the traditional Rose Bowl in Pasadena at season’s end. Without having played a game, both teams have the type of players to justify starting this new Bowl Game. Their rosters are cluttered with players who have been arrested in the past year, or who are accused of having been recruited illegally.

It would have been embarrassing for either school to play this game at home. Dallas provides a big city venue more consistent with two teams of lawbreakers, neither of which can expect to emerge a “winner.”

  George Beres, Eugene



NO BOVINE BLISS

As an animal rights advocate, I was happy to read (cover story, 8/18) of the good fortune of the cows in Jon Bansen’s dairy. Their lives are so much better (and longer) than those of the great majority of dairy cows. However, I’d like to point out a few reasons that make it unlikely that true bliss (bovine, that is) can be achieved even by dairy farmers willing to go to Jon Bansen’s lengths.

1) It can hardly be denied that one of the most pleasurable aspect of a cow’s life is nurturing her calf. Yet this is a pleasure denied by the dairy industry (completely denied, I believe). This must be hard for cow and calf and leads to my next reason.

2) What is the fate of male calves? I feel certain that Jon Bansen does not make his male calves into veal calves, but what does he do with them? And if they are castrated to become steers, is this procedure done with anesthetic? This is not the usual case.

3) Steers are slaughtered and even old dairy cows who can no longer bear calves can hardly expect to live to an advanced age, so perhaps your writer should have described this aspect of dairy cattle’s lives. How humanely is the slaughter handled in Jon Bansen’s dairy?

4) Finally (and not a reason), are there no organic dairy farms closer than Monmouth that practice humane treatment similar to Jon Bansen’s?

We really need to know the whole story of dairy cattle’s lives.

Alice Pueschner, Eugene



LOCAL DISC GOLF

For years, disc golfers of Eugene have had only one local nine hole course where they can play disc golf in town. Most disc golfers drive a 40-plus mile round trip journey to golf at Dexter Lake, causing undue expense, pollution and time expenditure. Both courses are over populated due to the popularity of disc golf. Please see http://wkly.ws/13m for more information regarding America’s fastest growing sport. 

The city of Eugene currently has a plan to install an 18-hole disc golf in Alton Baker Park. After a very successful test period and feedback process, one elite minority group of runners has both the city and newspaper discussing a reconsideration of this desperately needed disc golf course. Disc golf is a sport that is played by the young and old, males and females, ethnically and economically diverse people and beyond. It is extremely affordable, healthy and great for the family. The people of Eugene should not have to spend $8-$10 on gas to drive and pollute their way to Dexter in order to put money into their economy when they could be supporting local and riding our bicycles to play this most wonderful game. If you support diversity, the environment and healthy activities for both adults and children, I implore you to please write or call the mayor and your councilor and ask them to to please support the current plan, as is, to install this course in Alton Baker Park. 

Contact the city’s Parks and Open Spaces Division and/or the Eugene Disc Golf Club to get a fair and balanced opinion regarding this important decision. Disc golfers have been trying and waiting for years to get a local 18-hole course and with your help and support, we may finally be able to realize our dream. 

Mat Beecher, Eugene



A LITTLE LOVE

Did everyone see the hundreds of foreclosures listed in the R-G newspaper recently? Over half were because of health care costs and over 80 percent had health insurance. There will soon be more families on the street in Eugene and I hope we can find in our hearts a place for them to stay during our cold winter rains. Instead, I understand more cuts in the county and city budgets are coming for the few services we provide. 

Maybe we could understand their plight by reading the newspaper written by the homeless, The Oregon Vagabond. Every month this last year David Gerber, a UO graduate with a masters in public administration, has gathered the writings of Eugene’s homeless to express their hopes and dreams and gain a better understanding how they live in our community. I was interested in Gaylord Otis Dodge’s call for a “Civil Defense Homeless Day” to prepare for any disaster. It would have everyone live at least one day homeless and “would condition even the most powerful and wealthy folks to communicate better with people who routinely cope with poverty.” 

Donate a dollar to a homeless vender downtown at Saturday Market and read their life stories. All souls need love and compassion and a lot of understanding and support during these difficult times.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



THE SELFISH RICH

I praise Hugh Massengill’s lead Aug. 18 letter, “We Struggle On.” It makes me think that the very rich who spend more money on political bribes than on donating to homelessness prevention are simply selfish rich assholes without a clue to what decency really means. There are plenty of unoccupied homes. Occupy them.

Bob Saxton, Eugene



MAJOR THREAT

The Keystone XL pipeline threatens our entire planet. 

To harvest tar sands oil in Northern Alberta, oil companies clear-cut entire forests. Then, to process the oil, they suck up an astounding 600 billion liters of water each year, all of which is left behind as poison. Dumped into holding tanks so hazardous, birds that land on them die instantly. What does not go into the tanks is dumped into toxic lakes that can be seen from space. Since 2005, the tar sands’ carbon emissions have increased by 62 megatonnes — warming our planet and damaging our atmosphere. 

Downstream, local communities are finding cancer clusters in 4-year-olds. Alberta’s government claims it is all a coincidence and refuses to shut down the operation. 

And while things look grim in Canada, we in the U.S. are faced with an opportunity to help change course. The Obama administration is currently evaluating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. Rejection of this pipeline will severely cripple tar sands expansion and lay the groundwork for a clean-energy economy. The decision to deny this pipeline is that of Obama alone without any interference from Congress. 

For this reason, it is essential that Obama withhold approval for this pipeline, and follow through on his promise that his election “was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Manny Garcia, Eugene



WHY OUTSOURCE DESIGN?

Your profile of the UO’s next edifice complex (“New Plans for Old Dealership,” 7/14) did not mention that the Lorig company (which will design it) is the genius behind Broadway Pepper Spray Place, a development that has never had full commercial occupancy. Has EW lost its institutional memory?

Why is You Owe ignoring talent they allegedly have in the School of Architecture? Is it a message that aspiring architects should move to Seattle to work for a Big Shot firm there if they want to design condos in Eugene? 

It is inappropriate for You Owe to outsource architecture work when the taxpayers of Oregon funded an institution there to teach architecture.

Lane County didn’t shift to the right, the true state of affairs is merely clear now. Disillusionment means removal of illusions, which is a good thing. 

Did anything shift when the liberals allegedly controlled the County Commission majority? Ideology is not the same as courage to look at structure. 

Entrenched bureaucracies run city, county, state and federal governments. No one should be disappointed with Biden and that other guy. As CIA director Allen Dulles said, “that Kennedy, he thinks he’s president!” 

I’m glad it’s Mayor Piercy praising the police auditor for sabotaging outside investigations of police abuses. Perhaps Eugene liberals would be more upset if it was a Republican giving this guy a hundred thousand public dollars a year to thwart accountability. Thank you sir, may I have another. Good cop, bad cop. Lucy’s football.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene



RIVER HAZARDS

With the welcome progress on the I-5 Wilamut Crossing bridge I would hope that some thought might be considered toward improving water safety as within the scope of the project. For many years the manmade low head dam and riprap just upstream from the I-5 bridge have posed a significant public safety hazard for both experienced and recreational boaters floating down the river. It seems this major bridge project with its environmental sensitivities might also devote a small fraction of effort to mitigate some minor but significant improvement around and through these hazardous barriers on the river. It would seem to be a shame to make such noble improvements for public transportation, bike paths and the environment and yet neglect a clear opportunity to reduce the nearby river hazard as well.

Mark Murphy, Creswell



GOT GAME?

Four years ago, we moved here for a job in the game industry, choosing Eugene as the place to put down roots for our family. We were drawn by its independent spirit, natural beauty and warm faces. This is a town full of people doing what they love, making their own way. That encouraged us to follow a dream of living sustainably by doing what we’re passionate about: making video games! Now we’re on our own, and we’d love to get your help in keeping it that way.

The project is a game called Ninja Baseball. It’s fun and quirky, taking its artistic cues from cartoons, neon ‘80s colors and rubber ninjas. We aren’t going to investors to get it funded, but to our community, both here and across the internet. Using a “crowdfunding” campaign on a website called Kickstarter, we have 30 days to reach our funding goal. If we fail, folks who contributed get their money back, and we’ll have to brush ourselves off and try again.

Please take some time to check out the site. If you think it sounds awesome, you can back the project, but if you are just as broke as we are, just sharing it with your friends is a huge boost to us. We’d rather feed our chickens than eat them!

Ted & Heathir Brown, Eugene



BEYOND AESTHETICS

I am a student at the UO studying interior architecture and urban planning. I have dedicated six years of my life to the study of design and the implications it has on our society and world as a whole. This past summer I interned at an architectural firm where I learned that interior designers are misunderstood and not utilized to their full potential. Through my experience in the workforce and by attending local industry events, I have learned that firms and clients will benefit more if HB 2491, the Commercial Interior Design Practice Act, is passed. 

Our job is more than applied aesthetic; we are educated professionals who can positively contribute to healthy and functional environments. We have an understanding of how to apply building and fire code to design solutions, design for disabled populations and specify nontoxic building materials. The Interior Architecture program is consistently ranked among the top interior design programs in the United States. 

A Practice Act will help consumers distinguish between the various design professionals. I urge Reps. Paul Holvey and Val Hoyle to support a Practice Act for Commercial Interior Design.

Emma Silverman, Eugene



PRIMARY CHOICE

Although I was an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy, I have reluctantly concluded that a credible challenger needs to step forward to contest the 2012 Democratic nomination.

I appreciate that President Obama found himself caught in a vice created by his predecessor. Pinched between a near-cataclysmic economic meltdown and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he inherited an economy hemorrhaging jobs and a rapidly draining treasury (exacerbated by Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy). Given such dismal realities, I did not expect miracles.

But I never imagined President Obama would abandon the middle and working classes, the poor and the elderly, as he has done over the past month. He has proven too willing to compromise Democratic ideals, not to mention sound economic and fiscal policy. Disastrously, he allowed Tea Party extremists to trap him in what became a figurative hostage-taking on the debt ceiling. I fear that he is setting himself, and our nation, up for Bush redux come January 2013.

I recognize that even a serious, progressive challenge might not prove successful. But it would allow Democratic voters to decide whether they truly want President Obama to represent them — and their party’s philosophy — in the 2012 election. And it could well force the president to reconsider the rightward course into which he allowed himself to be maneuvered. A strong challenge might even force the president to revisit his decision to seek reelection, thus passing the Democratic mantle to someone with a better chance of winning.

Keith A. Eddins, Eugene



FAILED ASPIRATIONS

The peak oil community has become increasingly disappointed with President Obama’s lack of leadership on this imminent challenge, and his support of 3 percent GDP growth, which drives up energy demand eight-fold in 70 years. Peak oil activist Michael C. Ruppert recently endorsed Ron Paul. Perhaps he will give us a desperately needed gold standard and steady state economy and acknowledge the energy crisis the way President Carter did. On April 18, 1977, Carter said “The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out in spite of increased effort … During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind’s previous history.” 

That’s a shocking statement, but all it means is that demand growth was 7 percent a year. Oil demand growth in China and the Middle East is now 9 percent a year. On July 15, 1979, President Carter remarked, “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning … I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.” The year 2000 came and passed with solar at one 400th of 1 percent.

Zachary Moitoza, Eugene

 

 

AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL

The Washington, D.C., kabuki theater has played out its latest drama, metamorphosing a non-issue — the heretofore routine raising of the federal debt ceiling — into a material threat to the American people.

By their votes, elected representatives of both corporate parties expressed their contempt for the seventy-plus percent of citizens who, according to polls, felt that the appropriate way to deal with the “debt crisis” was to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and to reduce military spending.

President Obama allied himself with the radicals of the Republican Party to promote the interests of Wall Street, CEOs and millionaires over the interests of ordinary citizens; and in customary fashion, Democratic legislators rolled over to hand the fate of the social safety net to a “Super Congress” — little more than a reincarnated “cat food commission” — shielded from meaningful accountability.

One effect of this plan is to drape a sheet over Social Security, the better anonymously to stab it to death.

We propose, with no hint of modesty, that the seventy-plus percent of citizens who were not taken in by this charade should recognize that they are part of that class of people famously ridiculed as “the professional left” by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last year. These were people who were insufficiently grateful to Obama for all of the “accomplishments” of his administration.

We invite all of you who recognize the failures of this administration to change your voter registration and join the Pacific Green Party of Oregon, where your views will be received with consideration and respect.

Charles Newlin & Mike Van Handel, Pacific Green Party of Oregon



HOW TO FIX IT

There’s lots of angst about America’s deficit spending. And even more political paralysis. We could throw up our hands in despair, or we might do something like this: Replace private health insurance with Medicare For All, return to 2001 military spending levels, end corporate welfare, allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, and lift the Social Security wage cap.

Estimates will vary according to political perspectives, but I think analysts of all stripes could agree that these changes would result in almost $1 trillion in annual savings to close our current spending gap and put our country on a short path to budget surpluses, and provide additional revenues to shore up Social Security for future generations. As important, these changes expose and correct previous bad policy choices that have harmed America and driven our profligate spending. And along the way, they provide health care for all Americans, reduce collateral damage to our fellow human beings, require that corporations and the wealthy contribute their fair share, and ensure that we all have skin in the game.

Can we just do it? Yes we can.

Benton Elliott, Eugene



MORE ON PLATES

Oxymoron? It's not a play on words as much as much a contradiction of ideas. I don't know what kind of moron to call the DMV’s idea to advertise alcohol on Oregon’s vanity license plates? Maybe wineymorons.

Vince Loving, Eugene