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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.22.11




STEPPING UP

Dave Taube (letters, 12/8) questions whether supporters of the unsuccessful Measure 20-182 — which would have provided much-needed supplemental funding to the Eugene public schools — have really stepped up and contributed to the Eugene Education Fund (EEF). 

While I can’t speak for everyone who voted to support our schoolchildren and teachers, I can offer my personal perspective. Yes, my wife and I have donated a sum more than equal to what our additional income tax share would have been if the measure had passed. And yes, we fully intend to make a similar contribution each of the next four years (and, most likely, beyond), given our commitment to public education. I realize not everyone can do this, but I hope those able to do so will continue to use EEF to donate to the Eugene schools.

Moreover, the fact that EEF — for the first time in its history — went over the $1 million mark in receipts after Measure 20-182 failed suggests that we were not alone in increasing our contribution. And I know the donations made to my daughter’s school via EEF saved at least one teaching position. Not much, admittedly, when you consider the scores of other 4J teachers and staff who lost their jobs due to the draconian budget cuts that were forced upon our students and our schools. But at least those of us who supported public education in May have the satisfaction of knowing that we tried to address the ever-worsening budget reductions our schoolchildren face.

Keith A. Eddins, Eugene



SHOCKING DISCREPANCY

This is about the “class war” that we lost. The economist David Cay Johnston in his book The Fine Print has a great deal to say about how inequitable our economy is. We all know there is a wide discrepancy between incomes now, but few know just how wide that is. David’s description is really shocking.

He says that for every $1 that the 99 percent of us earn, the top 1 percent earns $7,500. He didn’t tell what the 1 percent just below them earns, but he did have a nice graph to show the earning curve. These are the people that the GOP says are the ones who create jobs. I wonder why they are not doing that. I think the government ought to take some of that money away from them and create jobs by building bridges and funding other worthwhile projects.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene



UNSAFE TRAPS

In August, Maggie, the beloved dog of the McCurtain family died a horrible and unnecessary death just feet from her yard in Gresham. Maggie was strangled to death, her neck broken in a lethal conibear trap. The trap was set with our tax dollars by the USDA’s Wildlife Services Division to kill nutria. See predatordefense.org for more information on Maggie’s story. It could have happened here.

In January 2010, EWEB used the same lethal traps to kill nutria along the canal at the Walterville Pond, a popular dog-walking spot and an area with several homes with children and pets (see EW 1/21/2010). According to Predator Defense, “nationally, Wildlife Services reports killing approximately 500 dogs and 1,325 cats in 2010, but claims these animals are unowned and feral.” Predator Defense believes the number of pets killed by Wildlife Services is grossly underreported. Conibear traps are inhumane and indiscriminate and should be outlawed.

Lyllian Breitenstein, Springfield



FORGOTTEN PIZZA

Any self-respecting pizza debate must include Mezza Luna. Best crust, creative toppings, nicest staff. Plus, customers don’t give you dirty looks for bringing your kids. PRI tries too hard and for me, La Perla will always be overshadowed by the memories of ice cream sundaes, a bass drum and a whole room of strangers singing “Happy Birthday.” RIP Farrell’s.

Kevin O’Brien, Eugene



IMAGINE IF YOU CAN

Imagine: A market for all, regulation as protection, corporations are not people, real food and sustainable agriculture, the moral and social role of unions, offsetting global climate change, protecting and preserving nature, more funding for ending hunger and homelessness and for all levels of education, rebuilding infrastructure and establishing an alternative energy grid, making all nations secure through diplomacy, goodwill and right human relations and not through endless wars, health care for all, a moral democracy, practicing the Golden Rule, embracing what unites us and what we share in common, equal rights and living wages for all, the resources of the planet belong to and must benefit all people.

There is enough for everyone if we all practice the principle of sharing along with intelligent and respectful public discourse. Imagine working for these ideas and supporting those who do. I wonder if you can?

Christopher Michaels, Eugene



TWO MORE R’S

I don’t know if the “Black Christmas” article that followed the Gear Guide (12/8) was purposeful or ironic; either way the articles were well placed. The latter tempts us to continue being a good consumer while the former reminds us what self-defeating assholes we have been on this planet. Both reaffirm the contradiction of our human ways and how we do not really consider all the species with whom we inhabit this place called home. 

All of us can talk up sustainability and “green”-ness all we want; yet, as anyone who pays attention knows, actions always speak volumes over words. If we do not bring greenhouse gases down to the 350 ppm ASAP, not by 2020 or 2050 as proposed, we are on the path of no return. Every time a person chooses new over used — which means incentives to cut down or dig up resources — that is self-destruction, period. And how many of those products advertised added to 350 as they came from halfway around the very planet they are helping to kill? Ask yourself: What do you really need to be happy?

In the book Your Money or your Life, the authors essentially ask readers how many life hours are you willing to work in order to acquire a thing. When considering buying a thing, how much time do you have to invest in order to acquire it? And what is the impact in that decision?

I would ask readers that along with the simple task of reduce, re-use and recycle, there are two other mindful options: reconsider and refuse.

Sean S. Doyle, Portland



ABSURD CITATION

Passive urban parks function as a place of respite, leisure, rest and contemplation. Landscaping an urban park usually incorporates plant materials to create a desired effect and hardscape such as walkways to accommodate areas of intensive human use. Low walls are often constructed as design elements and to create separation of space within a park. A low wall of sitting height in proximity to a walkway is often intended by a designer as an invitation for the user to rest and contemplate the park environment. 

In a recent incident, a sitting park user was cited for “engaging in an activity or conduct which is disruptive or incompatible with the appropriate use of the premises.” That citing of “violation” is truly absurd as the user was in fact engaging in an activity that the park is intended for — a benefit specifically stated in Eugene’s Park and Open Space website that such a space was intended for “relaxation and rest.”

It is the ticketing officer who is in fact in violation of those park rules. When said officer ticketed the park user he was interfering with a lawful use of that park. Of course the days when we saw officers of the law actually held accountable to such laws are well behind us. To further claim that it was a matter of public safety is truly laughable. Perhaps we simply have an overstaffed and over-budgeted police department as officers feel need to pursue such frivolous and unwarranted activities.

Daniel Schlender, Springfield



PREPOSTEROUS OMISSION

Thanks for your consistent coverage of Occupy Eugene, forest defense and local politics (which consistently demonstrate that our “democracy” has failed, and will continue to demonstrate that fact, as accurate reporting will). Thanks for printing so many letters; I genuinely appreciate this, although maybe it’s time to drop the back and forth about KLCC programming already. 

Thanks also for the zombie list (11/23), though the 11-year-old who wrote in (12/1) seems to have a better understanding of the realities of zombie apocalypse than Dante (Zuñiga-West) does, but hey, at least he tried to help people be prepared. Maybe he will even turn out to be a decent reporter one day. 

I also appreciate your ceasing to print “¡Ask a Mexican!” Seriously, thanks for that. However, for the third time you have left “Red Meat” out of the Weekly. This is preposterous and you should feel ashamed of yourself for trying to sneak this out of the paper by pulling it sporadically so that those of use who read it aren’t sure if we should complain or not. Shame on you Ted (Taylor). Shame on you. 

Jason Gonzales

Walton



SENSELESS FEAR

It seems to be senseless fear that would close rather than fix Occupy Eugene’s campsite. Maybe a senseless hate of victims causes us to want to hide the poorest, sickest among us.

Poor people are homeless because there are no services available to take them. Shelter Care is wonderful, but it has long waiting lists and no vacancies. The Eugene Mission is filled with its regulars and does not accept people with disabilities, while many homeless persons are disabled. Couples at the Mission are separated from their help-mates and do not feel safe at the Mission.

Programs for kids are filled, and the school districts know of more than 2,000 kids who are homeless. Programs for families with kids are filled. If there were vacancies, homeless people in Eugene with no money and no options would have already taken them.

Lane County Mental Health is very short-staffed and turns away people every day. Our hospitals take people for just a few hours and has no place to discharge them when they are released. Jails are underfunded and overcrowded, dumping known criminals into homelessness in Eugene with no shelter, no place to go.

The Occupy camp is like no other homeless camp that was briefly allowed in the past. The camp is a community that teaches communication, shared responsibility and nonviolence. It is more than tents and spaces. In any case who with any goodness or faith thinks that homeless people should be denied tents and legal safe places to be. The plan had been to keep the Occupy camp until better services could be developed.

Dumping the homeless back into hiding throughout Eugene is a plague on Eugene. Dumping sheltered homeless people back outside in a hard winter is an act of official terrorism. It seems to me that it is also a hate crime, aimed at people with no money and no options.

Jerry Smith, Eugene



A HUMAN RIGHT

What a great cover and Camilla Mortensen’s well done story (12/8) on the “Health Care is a Human Right” campaign, which brought out the crowds last Thursday (12/15)! They came all the way from Vermont to visit 11 communities in Oregon.

“Whether or not we save money with a single-payer system, our focus must be on providing health care as a human right.” This comment by Mark Roberts summed up Thursday’s well attended Health Care for All Oregon gathering at Harris Hall. The guests from the winning campaign in Vermont told us step by step how they did it. The speakers brought their enthusiastic effort to a welcoming crowd who have often experienced the present uncontrollable health care costs. 

With 30 cents of every medical dollar going to administration, either at medical offices or insurance company offices, this must change. We were reminded that Medicare administration is less than 3 percent and Veterans Administration approximately 2 percent. We were also reminded that 50 percent of bankruptcies are related to medical expenses. 

With all this expense shouldn’t we have the best health care? Far from it. We rank 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for female adult mortality, 42nd for male mortality, 36th for life expectancy and 37th for overall health care in the world. Over 50 million are uninsured in America with 72 million having coverage too flimsy to provide protection from major expenses. About 50 percent have health care paid by taxpayers. What are we doing? Our statewide campaign with Jobs with Justice will visit every community in Oregon to educate and become the second state to have health care as a human right.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene