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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.20.11




SHARED TEACHER

McKenzie Elementary School has a similar classroom situation to that described in Lowell in Gordon Lafer’s viewpoint Sept. 29. McKenzie’s fourth and fifth grades share a teacher but not a classroom — the kids I’ve talked with are suffering the consequences, and these children are usually a teacher’s dream, not whiners. Their mothers just want the administration “to set examples of positive behavior, to be role models for our kids.” 

Isn’t this kind of a perfect microcosm of what’s going on with the protests on Wall Street. The executives must have their perks and inflated salaries even at the expense of health care for teachers and reasonable student/teacher ratios.

Lia Gladstone, McKenzie Bridge



WALL STREET ANARCHY

I love what is happening on Wall Street and elsewhere. It’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in my lifetime after a different kind of wall coming down in Germany. Occupiers might benefit from knowing this isn’t the first time Americans have protested the evil practices of the subhuman parasites on Wall Street and their co-opting of the American political process. Whether by design or coincidence, the Occupy Wall Street movement began on Sept. 17; on Sept. 16, 1920 a bomb went off on Wall Street in front of J.P. Morgan’s bank, killing 38 and wounding more than 100. Tragically, Morgan was not one of them. The bombing was one of the last acts of “propaganda through deed” committed by anarchists during the harsh government crackdown that effectively ended organized anarchism in the U.S. 

I hope the Occupy Wall Street movement maintains its beautiful, diversified, vibrant anarchist roots and doesn’t become just another worthless reform movement. Representative democracy is inherently vulnerable to corruption and needs to be replaced with something better. Like the mutual aid societies people have lived in since Paleolithic times connected together by voluntary mutual aid agreements where everyone has a say in government and we can be responsible for our own administration and public services at the neighborhood level, even in the biggest cities. Where there are work-at-home and cottage industry opportunities for people to not have to be wage slaves. A system that can never be hijacked by any self-appointed superior minority. 

Warren Weisman, Eugene



VACUOUS REPUTATION

How threadbare is the sham of Eugene’s progressive reputation? The idea that we live in a supposedly liberal community is an increasingly absurd notion. Articles like Alan Pittman’s “Wet Beds” Sept. 29 just add further evidence as to the emptiness of Eugene’s reputed commitment to progressive politics. 

We have no problem dropping $2 million on City Hall blueprints that never get used, but we definitely cannot afford to keep our neighbors from freezing to death on our streets. 

Someplace I once heard that the mark of a virtuous society is found in how it treats members of its lowest ranks.

 Let’s not play pretend that there exists within this allegedly liberal town anything but the most empty rhetoric regarding homelessness. We are far more concerned with remaining “Track Town USA” than we could ever be about saving bums from exposure. 

Our priorities are completely in order. Actually important funding priorities include enforcing our constitutionally bankrupt Downtown Exclusion Zone, or making sure our cops are free to Taser anyone they please, or making sure our police are out there making us all super-fucking safe by harassing the homeless for dangerous camping infractions, or god forbid, panhandling on the wrong street corner. 

Drew Furor, Eugene



KEEP THE BOUNDARIES

Among the foundations of our representative democracy is the notion of equality: Each person gets one vote to determine who will represent his or her interests in policymaking.

The two most fundamental threats to our democracy undermine this principle. One is the legal fiction that corporations are persons, with the right of free “speech” including unlimited, anonymous contributions to political campaigns. That effectively gives some people more than one vote.

The other is gerrymandering, the practice of drawing electoral boundaries to favor one political perspective over another. That deprives some citizens of having a vote that matters.

A public hearing was held Oct. 5 on whether to maintain or change the boundaries of the commissioner districts for Lane County. But it’s not too late to express your views by email, phone or in person (details at http://wkly.ws/14k).



Democracy is therefore generally best served by changing electoral districts as little as possible, to avoid gerrymandering by those currently — and temporarily — in power. 

I understand that in the last 10 years population growth was even, within 1 percent, across all commissioner district boundaries. If that’s correct, then there would seem to be no good reason to change them; and it’s hard to see how any major changes to the current boundaries could be other than politically motivated.

A decent respect for democracy therefore appears to require that the current commissioners leave the existing Lane County districts intact. 

Robert Roth, Eugene



HOST THE HOMELESS 

If you’re a big fan of the homeless prove it: Invite them over to your place and enjoy their company. Your invitation should be nice and early, say 6 am. First you can let them root around your lawn for anything not nailed down or locked up, because spare change only goes so far. 

After scrounging up enough money from that, it should be about 9 am; a perfect time to go get some malt liquor with your new friends! After that highly important errand let them hunker down on your front lawn and enjoy the sweet sounds of violent confrontation between two people who had been drinking buddies only minutes prior. Once everyone becomes too drunk to buy more camo have them toss their empties in your lawn and let out a self-satisfied sigh while watching them fall into a peaceful slumber wherever they may lie (the lucky ones get your front steps). 

I feel far too selfish keeping these wonderful people all to myself a few days a week, so give EPD a call and ask them when they plan on harassing street people with such oppressive tactics as: asking them to move along, citing them for public intoxication, or generally just trying to make taxpayers actually feel comfortable in their own neighborhoods; and let them know that you have a safe, secure place for these poor people to get drunk at. 

Oh wait, I forgot that Eugene doesn’t support drunk, belligerent litterers. Or is that only the case when they’re paying for an education? Man, this town is confusing.

Drew Mohr, Eugene



OBVIOUS PLOYS

I like to stick to the issues and avoid ascribing self-serving intentions or hidden agendas to someone’s actions. Still I am at a loss to account otherwise for the astonishing behavior of one county commissioner at the county redistricting hearing Oct. 5.

A crowd of well-informed citizens, having studied all seven redistricting proposals before the board that day, turned out (even at the inconvenient early afternoon hour) for the public hearing portion. Several dozen regular folks gave impassioned testimony as to why the current plan — in force for the last 12 years — still works fine. There was an overwhelming consensus of 99 percent that “it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it!”

Several of the proposals were obvious attempts at gerrymandering; that is, stacking districts in such a way that the next elections would unseat one of our two remaining liberal commissioners. Adding insult to the entire process, Commissioner Jay Bozievich waited until after the public hearing process was over before introducing yet another, unseen-by-the-public proposal having the same effect.

Commissioner Pete Sorenson was quoted in the daily paper: “an outrage ... (that will) increase the cynicism... about people who are in power.” No, Pete, I have not lost faith in our elected officials entirely; just the ones who pull dirty tricks, and their fellows who roll over and play deaf to the citizenry. And these days, they all happen to be Republican or right-of-Republican. Their methods are frankly disgusting, and are anything but democracy in action.

Vip B. Short, Eugene



EXPOSED BRAINS

Bravo, EW for publishing two pictures of bicyclists without helmets in your Back to Campus issue Oct. 6. “Hey sailor, new to town? No prob, check this out!” On the cover we have a young man in a snappy yellow cap. On the first page of the article, we have a young lady with a fashionable hair-do, or is that some kind of wrap? Can’t tell due to the shitty picture. Yep, both of those looks will keep you safe from a head-first skid due to the falling leaves, etc.

Is the message you want to convey to newcomers: Go chic — no need for helmets here?

Clap … clap … clap!

Jeff Albertson, Springfield



TELEVISE THEM

Oregonians have a right to have public meetings televised and placed into the public domain on the internet. The technology is not cheap, but if public bodies want support from the public for the work they do, those public agencies should conduct their meetings with the full glare of television.

In our state, the Oregon Legislature has had many of their sessions (floor debates) and committee meetings televised for years. When I was a state senator I was often assisted by people who had seen a particular meeting on TV and gave me some thoughtful advice. 

Similarly, as the senior member on the Lane County Board of Commissioners I’ve seen in our meetings, which have been televised for many years, that the members are more respectful toward each other, knowing that they are being watched by maybe 20,000 Lane County residents. Also, good ideas can flow in from people who catch a replay of the board meetings. 

Those who oppose televising meetings can be expected to use money as a reason to shut off public access. I reject this idea, because the benefits of televising meetings are very strong.

Thanks to you who support televising public meetings!

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner



SHAMEFUL CLOSURE

The recent closure of the Boys and Girls Club due to lack of money is more than just shameful. As a positive, safe and healthy place, the club has provided supervised programs and activities that not only keep kids engaged and out of trouble, but served as the only responsible option for many working parents. Those parents are now left with no choice but to leave their young kids with a house key and the hope that things will be okay until the adults get home from work.

If this were a contentious political campaign, hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been raised for a cause or candidate. I hope that enough money can be raised to reopen the Boys and Girls Club. Surely Eugene wants to show other cities that it has its priorities straight.

Les Weinstein, Eugene

 

 

TRUE REBELLION

After an SUV was burned Wednesday night (10/12), "organizers" from Occupy Eugene announced that "we are a peaceful group and do not condone any acts of violence, vandalism, and/or destruction of property." On whose authority? They do not speak for me.

A key reason that wars and the rest of this scandalous racket of a system go on is that opposition is always neutered by self-proclaimed leaders. In this case the sanctimonious peaceniks who demand that everyone follow all the rules and respect property. Their ritualized gestures are no resistance whatseover. In fact, they are a part of the set-up they moralize against, enforcing its rules and demonizing any actual acts of rebellion.

John Zerzan, Eugene



SQUEEZING THE SNAKE

These clowns protesting Wall Street and the wealthy crack me up. If you don't like billionaires hogging all the wealth you shouldn't give it to them. Like you buy a bottle of snake oil you sound stupid grumbling about the medicine man who squoze the snake.

Take the merry Koch brothers, for instance. These boys derive huge profits from paper towels, disposable diapers and toilet paper — produced by an industrial process which devastates the ecosystems. (Don't take my word for it. Go up and breathe the air around their Wauna plant on the Columbia and soak in the pristine ambiance .)

The Kochs calculate their fellow United Statians aren't gonna quit swabbing their butts with inexpensive pulp because of some silly environmental sentiment. These Kansas cowboys take the donations from your private moment on the commode and. after juggling their oil and gas interests, purchase influence in Washington, D.C., that brothel of democracy where power resides in the currency supposedly being circulated. This is why many citizens feel they can't wipe the shit off their sphincters without getting fucked. They can't.

More effective than protesting avaricious money grubbers is reinventing the culture wherein such materialistic worship thrives. Paper, for instance, is simple to produce. The grass clippings from a modest lawn could yield sufficient fiber to swab a family of four. It is the industrial installations and operations which make such deep and irreversible impacts on the planet. If I were an energetic youngster in this day and age I would be pouring out my soul into reverse engineering the Industrial Revolution, avoiding like the plague any industrially produced food, garments or building materials. Then these billionaires would simply fade off into oblivion.

David H. Tyson, Eugene



WOLVES NEED TO EAT

I am writing in response to your story “Oregon to Kill Wolves” (9/29). Although I am new to this state and town, there is one thing that I have noticed about Oregon; and that is the beauty of Mother Nature and its wildlife that surrounds this state. When you live in a state that is surrounded by wilderness then you are bound to have numerous amounts of wildlife, such as wolves and other animals. 

All wolves need to eat, so they will do whatever it takes to feed their babies and themselves, Even if they have to go onto someone’s farm and to chow down on some cattle. Wolves don’t know that their dinner belongs to someone and they are not allowed to eat them. All they know is that they are hungry, and they will do whatever it takes to survive in this world.

This act may cause the ranchers to be upset at the wolves and may wish to harm the wolves, when in reality the ranchers should be upset at themselves for letting their cattle be harmed. For every problem there is a solution.

Before trying to run and maintain a farm, the ranchers should consider the fact that they live in Oregon, which is surrounded by wildlife. When a farm full of animals with no protection is surrounded by wild life, then something bad is bound to happen sooner or later.

So before these farmers get mad at the wolves, maybe they should be trying to do everything they can to keep these wolves and other animals away from their farm. Such as maybe putting up an electrical fence instead of having someone keep an eye on the cattle, or maybe just move away from the problem. Like for an example to a place where there isn’t much wildlife, such as California. I can guarantee that the farmers will have fewer problems in California then if they were to stay here. By either choosing option number one, which is to put up an electrical fence and safely securing their animals away from harm; or option two, by simply just moving their farm somewhere else away from the wilderness, that way everyone can be happy.

By either making one of the two simple decisions, this can help our wildlife survive this world.

Jake Suarez, Eugene



SCHOOL SPIRITS

I have a proposal for a new UO fight song:

Hey hey we're the Drunkies,

People say we're drunk all the time.

But we're too busy bingeing,

To pay them any mind ...

Then comes the new cheer: "Hey! Whatta you lookin' at?"

Let's show some real school spirits, er, spirit.

 Ron Ramsey, Eugene

 



POTENTIAL HAZARDS

I’m deeply concerned about the possibility of EWEB installing so-called “smart meters” in Eugene. Alan Pittman’s article of Sept. 15 did a great job of highlighting the possible high cost and all for what benefit? I’d like to expand upon his reference to concerns re: potential harmful health effects of the smart meters. The smart meters that EWEB is proposing to install on our homes are wireless, using radio frequency (microwave) radiation for signal transmitting and receiving.

With only a little research on the internet, one can find a lot of credible information about the potential health hazards of smart meters (HYPERLINK "http://emfsafetynetwork.org/"emfsafetynetwork.org is a good one to check out). One can learn of independent, respected research scientists who are speaking out against the installation of smart meters and who are writing to such places as the California Public Utility Commission to voice their concerns. There are reports of people feeling ill (headaches, tinnitus, insomnia, nausea) after smart meters have been installed at their residences. The World Health Organization earlier this year reversed its decades of reassurance that wireless technology is safe. It has now classified non-ionizing, radio frequency radiation to be a possible carcinogen. Throughout the country, citizens have been protesting the use of smart meters. In California, there are over 40 local governments who have banned the smart meters in their jurisdiction.

 Yes, the RF used is the same as in cell phones, but unlike cell phones, one cannot turn them off. Proponents of smart meters will tout the limited amount of time in a day a meter is actually transmitting (about 45 seconds). What isn’t mentioned is that the meter is pulsing on and off throughout the day — putting out a very intense spike of radiation about every five seconds. This pulsing action in itself is of particular concern to research scientists in terms of potential harmful effects.

Why the push toward these so-called smart meters? Why the plan for them to be wireless? (Wired technology is available and is utilized in Europe). Why be advocating for something of high cost with questionable benefit that may be harmful to our health? Why not exercise the precautionary principle and allow more time for all the facts to be gathered? (There has been no pre-market safety review). Why ask us to be the guinea pigs? Really, what is the rush?

Sarah Wylie, Eugene



HOODWINKED

In response to Don Richey (letters, 10/13): He refers to “millions of low-IQ Americans being hoodwinked by the Marxist left." I was just wondering how Mr. Richey is privy to so many Americans’ IQ scores.

Desri Gilmore, Eugene 



DON’T TAX INCOME

Regarding Deb McGee’s letter Sept. 15: An “income” tax on corporations — or anybody else — is stupid! (All businesses consider all taxes as an expense of doing business and a cost of goods sold. Therefore consumers pay all taxes.)

If you want to tax the rich — or anybody else — tax their activities — not their income. Like the tax on gasoline.

Low-income people don’t have a lot of “activities”—therefore won’t pay a lot of taxes.

Rep. Peter DeFazio had a really great idea—put a tiny tax on each securities transaction — stocks, bonds, futures, commodities, etc. A graduated rate, if properly structured, would raise a lot of revenue, force the securities industry to pay for all of the government services they demand, and best of all could substantially reduce speculation and misuse in the securities industry. And these types of “activity” taxes apply to everyone — everywhere in the world. 

Failure to pay the tax would void the transaction — by operation of law. Pete’s idea died a very fast death because the members of Congress — who are suppose to represent their constituents — don’t have the guts or backbone to upset the obscenely rich securities industry.

Frank Skipton, Springfield



GOOD HAIR PERRY

Maybe someone can help me out here. By most accounts the Tea Party can be characterized by a call for fiscal responsibility and smaller government. Tea Partiers are also generally white, better off and Christian. Here’s where it gets whacky. If you listen to Tea Party backed GOP frontrunners, what you hear is a constant mantra to repeal “job killing” corporate regulation and the removal of social safety nets. This, of course, is the result of massive lobbying primarily by big oil and big pharm.

Ironically, this is an extension of the Washington dynamic that main street Tea Partiers are so fed up with and is, actually “larger government.” Make no mistake, politicians — as Molly Ivins was fond of saying — “dance with what brung them” and continue marching in lockstep with special interests under the snow job of “listening to call” of patriotic, god-fearing Americans.

As Tea Partiers continue to drink the Kool-Aid, untaxed corporate profits continue at breathtaking levels while jobs continue to head overseas, the health of the planet is being criminally devastated and more folks continue to suffer. Not surprisingly, the Tea Party is now lining up behind an even worse Texas governor whose state ranks first in folks without health insurance, fourth in people living under the poverty level, first in the nation in cancer-causing carcinogens released into the air, first on toxic chemicals released into the water and first in the amount of hazardous waste generated. 

Well, at least he is a Christian and has good hair.

Harper Keeler, Eugene



SPREAD JOBS AROUND

With budget cuts and technology eliminating more and more jobs on a global scale, I propose a solution to more jobs for all households everywhere.

Work communities (including those here in the U.S.) should limit one full-time paying (with full-time benefits) job per household. If both persons in a two-adult family household wish to work, divide those two careers 50/50.

If communities followed this one full-time job per household rule, parents would have more time to participate in their children's education and do other valuable community-building volunteer work (especially helping needy seniors and persons with severe disabilities).

This commonsense job-sharing rule seems to me a fair way to spread job growth in communities everywhere. Fair and equal access to livable wage work should be every household's right, not just the lucky few, in a democratic society.

Diane Van Orden, Springfield



U.N. MY DONKEY

One thousand and one hundred new homes in east Jerusalem. For anyone who still believes that Netanyahu and Israel really want peace, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell.

Philip Dietz, Springfield