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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.13.11




HARM REDUCTION

Wet beds (EW 9/29)? Why not dry beds? That is what seems to be needed. As a newcomer to Eugene, I did not know what services might be provided for addicts on the street, but the need for shelter of any sort seems acute. To deny shelter to people who are in great need is clearly both inhumane and counterproductive. The question of “harm reduction” for those who really cannot help their state is forcefully expressed by Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Gabor Maté in his book, In The Realm Of Haunted Ghosts. To make miserable human beings even more miserable, and at large public expense, has never seemed a very ethical or practical response.

If the powers that be would provide a coherent structure for service, I have no doubt that the citizens of Eugene, a really decent city, would contribute, not only for the sake of their unfortunate fellows, but also for the image of the city itself.

Patricia Spicer, Eugene



SADLY INHUMANE

Thanks to Alan Pittman for drawing attention to this issue (Wet Beds, EW 9/29), which Eugene has ignored for far too long. It is sadly inhumane to see the number of people on the streets because they suffer from the disease of addiction. The idea that addiction is a “moral failing” is an archaic concept, and nowhere is that more true than in the AA and NA programs. Better review your basic text, Norman Riddle, before you imply that 12-step programs and proponents of “hard-core abstinence” would prefer to see people dying in the gutter instead of giving them a warm bed. Or for that matter, a wet bed.  

Christina Blake, Springfield



EPD BREAKING LAWS

Earlier this week I read an R-G article about the EPD’s “trash downtown” program. I was disgusted with the tone of the article, which was crowing proudly about how our smart and thrifty officers had come up with yet another way to thwart and harass those pesky streetfolk. Usual drivel from the regional mouthpiece of big business. It was hilarious to see the city’s hasty about-face yesterday, unlocking and hauling away all those bikes! Another instance of law caught breaking the law. But I digress. I am writing a call to awareness for all Eugene’s leaders and elected officials. 

Hear well that we, the public, are very aware that the EPD and other branches of city government selectively ignore, arbitrarily enforce and regularly break the law to pursue their agendas. This has been abundantly obvious for many years, done blatantly for all to see. We, the public, observe that city agendas are not really in the best interests of all of us. We do perceive which side of the bread is getting buttered. But listen well that we, the public, resent our hard-earned money being boondoggled away. We are sick of debts racked up in our name. We are tired of corruption and graft. We are outraged by criminal police. We are fed up with all these atrocities. It is evident that the city, especially the EPD gang, is governed by the morally bankrupt. 

Wake up and smell the new breeze blowing, you corporate kleptocrats and tin-pot mafiosos. We, the public, can see you, and we know you are our mortal enemy. The day comes where the public no longer has a place for your destructive games.

Michael McFadden, Eugene



SAVE THE COWS 

When the final solution comes, doesn’t every member of a family deserve to meet that moment of despair together? That wolves are released back into the state and then single out a roaming cow from a herd for eating causes irreparable, emotional damage to the cattle left behind. A profound sense of loss will be felt by the mother, father, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles of the cow, as they prepare themselves in a distant feedlot for eventual slaughter.

I say to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Don’t let that happen! I implore you to make the compassionate choice by not releasing wolves. Keep those bovine bonds of family together, as they jointly prepare for their eventual stunning by electricity, bludgeoning, gassing and then cutting of their blood vessels at the neck. Thank you.

Bob Berman, Cheshire



REVOLUTIONS

When General Thomas Gage sent 700 elite redcoat soldiers off to Concord, Mass., April 19, 1775, to seize and destroy illegally stockpiled gunpowder and weaponry, he was utilizing force to attempt to quash provincial disobedience. At stake was the issue of who should govern, who should have the power to determine how the people of the province were to exist.

Massachusetts was an English colony, a possession, a capital asset. The land and its people were profit-making resources. The king and parliament were willing to wage war to preserve their power to dictate.

Occasionally, oppressed people, unconscionably exploited, attempt to take away that power. Dictators fall, revolutions occur, corrupt political parties are voted out of office, corporate behemoths are broken up or vigorously regulated.

Our century’s Lexington and Concord time has come. We, the people, must wrest the power to govern away from our greedy capitalists and their bought politicians, who profess to own us. Like King George III, our rulers are determined to maximize their power to exploit. We must be vigilant; we must be vociferous; we must support courageous demonstrations like Occupy Wall Street. We must neither permit ourselves to be deluded by dishonest characterizations and deliberate falsehoods nor be fearful nor be divided in purpose by social, racial, ethnic or religious wedge issues. We must win back the constitutional levers of governance designed for us by our forbearers and then utilize them to generate the blessings that a free, empathetic nation bestows.

Harold Titus, Florence



DEAR SUPER COMMITTEE

I am a disabled citizen in Lane County. I voluntarily serve on the advisory board of the Community Health Council (CHC). We advise two federally funded community CHCs, Charnelton in Eugene and Riverstone CHC in Springfield. CHCs are vital resources for our uninsured and underinsured. CHCs provide high quality health care, dental care for school children, prenatal care and care for patients with chronic medical and behavioral health conditions. 

The Pledge to America states, “Joblessness is the single most important challenge facing America today.” So why are House Republicans cutting jobs at health centers, which are in low income, underserved communities? Because of the $1.3 billion cut to the Health Centers Program for FY 2011, 127 health centers will close nationally. These 127 CHCs employed 7,434 individuals. These CHCs provided the MOST cost-efficient health care to over 3 million patients, who now are forced to either go without care or seek it at costly emergency rooms. For Oregon 78 or more professional positions were lost. More than 62,000 citizens receive less or no services and lost revenue is over $2.9 million. Yes, the budget needs to be balanced. But, in my opinion, to do so at the cost of cutting affordable medical care for the poor and eliminating necessary jobs and revenue in the communities at the same time is both misguided and immoral.

      You representatives of the people of the U.S. must support these essential programs so they can continue to grow.

David Parker, Eugene



MARXIST LEFT

Clearly, millions of low-IQ Americans have been hoodwinked by the Marxist left into believing that “the evil rich” pay a smaller percentage of federal income tax than a secretary.

According to IRS statistics for 2008 (most recent), the top 1 percent of taxpayers had an average tax rate of 23.3 percent. The top 10 percent of taxpayers had an average tax rate of 18.7 percent. The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers had an average tax rate of 2.6 percent.

The top 1 percent paid 38 percent of all federal income tax revenues, and the top 10 percent paid 70 percent (http://1.usa.gov/o9Y7vG).

To anyone with an average IQ, it’s obvious that “the evil rich” are already carrying the water for the bottom 50 percent, meaning our country has a spending problem instead of a revenue problem. And since class-envying liberals hate “the rich” so much, maybe they should just run them out of the country for the high crime of being wealthy.

But then who would pay 70 percent of all income-tax revenues?

Don Richey, Eugene



CONCERNED PARENTS

“Class War From Above” by Gordon Lafer (EW 9/29) was both significant and engaging.

As concerned parents it is upsetting to witness the intense level of hostility and aggression directed toward teachers who educate the children of our McKenzie River community. The Sept. 21 McKenzie School District school board meeting was filled with antagonisms that are not beneficial to our children’s educational opportunities.

The school board has refused to meet the teachers’ proposals. These proposals are reasonable and less than is deserved. Of importance is the FACT that the McKenzie School District can afford to meet the proposed one-year contract. This will, among other things, bring back: one half-time elementary, one high school business elective, one high school math class and one middle school technology class. 

There can be no question that a return of these services is beneficial to our students.

It is egregious that the school board has already spent thousands of our district funds to pay a lawyer’s fees rather than spend $3,700 to meet the proposed one-year contract. We feel this has violated the community’s good faith.

Comments from the board about the labor of certain district employees being more “valuable” than others and anti-union rhetoric have no place in a school board meeting. For a board member to suggest that “if the teachers don’t like it, they can move,” is an embarrassment to the board, our district and an affront our community.

Superintendent Sally Storm’s bloated salary is an assault on the educational opportunities of children from our largely low-income community. Outrageously, too much of our district finances is being directed at disproportionately funding (Storm’s) wages and benefits package, rather than offering our elementary students full-day access to licensed educators, or offering our middle school and high school students access to classes they may need to attend college! This cannot stand. For the administration and school board to regurgitate the hardships of budget cuts while available funds are mismanaged is offensive and disingenuous!

Parents and community members have been outspoken at board meetings and in private meetings with administration; we have compiled signed petitions against laying off teachers and combining grades; we have contacted the media. Our efforts will continue to strengthen and grow until our children’s education and their educators are given what they deserve.

Christopher Mayes, Emily Withalm, Heather Corona, Jennie Hawthorn Mayes, McKenzie Community Coalition for Quality Education





PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Men and women of all ages come to Planned Parenthood for an array of low-cost, preventive health services in a supportive and nonjudgmental setting. Fortunately, a brand new Planned Parenthood health center is being built in Glenwood so an increasing number of patients can keep getting the high-quality care they have counted on for years.

 This major construction project will boost the local economy and help the environment with a LEED certification that exceeds Oregon state standards. The health center’s location on the EmX bus line makes it convenient for women from all over the area and will encourage rejuvenation of the Glenwood area.

 It’s a win-win for everyone in the community and will continue to be a positive and trusted resource, not only of clinic services but also of education for parents and youth. People in Oregon are lucky to have Planned Parenthood at a time when other states are taking away funding for birth control services. Please stand with Planned Parenthood to make sure people can get what they need to keep themselves healthy and safe.

Kristen Brandt, Eugene



A MORE SERENE EUGENE

The other morning I opened my windows to listen to the sounds of the neighborhood slowly waking up: the chatter of birds and squirrels, the first joggers racing up and down the hill and neighbors working on their gardens. All too quickly I closed them, as a host of mechanical devices — leaf blowers, edgers, trimmers and such — roared into deafening life.

All too often the serenity of Eugene neighborhoods and the quality of their air is ruined by the choice to use such devices, and at all hours. Leaf blowers, for example, create both noise and air pollution and pose a serious danger to pedestrians and, in particular, bicyclists when thoughtless leaf blower operators blow a spray of dirt, leaves and who knows what else into people’s faces, choking and even blinding them.

While many of these gas-operated, mechanical tools can be helpful at times, older tools such as rakes and brooms can be just as, if not more, effective, with none of the pollution and danger. How often have I seen someone using a leaf blower to chase a few leaves down a street for endless minutes, disturbing the peace and polluting the environment for little or no good reason?

As fall approaches, consider using other tools in the garden, and if you employ people to do your gardening for you ask them if they could do the same. Your neighbors will heartily thank you for it.

Brenna Wardell, Eugene



JOBS OR WARS

Mitt Romney’s recent speech at the Citadel in South Carolina struck the wrong tone for the challenges we are facing in America today. Promises for a century of American “dominance” and “supremacy” seem sorely out of date, as well as out of place, in our present environment. They also smack of a jingoistic call to arms that overlooks the really pressing concerns of the day — financial security and the vast disparity between the very rich and the rest of America.

Of course, financial security is about more than money. It’s about the opportunity to not only survive, but to advance and prosper. It’s about evening the playing field and giving the rest of us a fighting chance. With a nation on the brink of another recession, it’s more important to look at strengthening from within rather than how we can solidify our position as a global leader in defense.

And, frankly, America’s position of dominance in terms of military might hasn’t really changed. We are still the strongest nation in the world, although we continue to dissipate that power through the long, drawn-out wars that we are fighting, with questionable results. 

I believe strongly in a strong national defense. I support the troops who are serving in harm’s way. But I believe we need to find solutions to solve our nation’s internal security before we worry about the “supremacy” and “dominance” that Romney promises.

Jake Gariepy, Eugene