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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.29.11




MISDIRECTED ANGER

For those who look at the Occupy movement with disdain, look deeper. This is a case of misdirected anger, with lots of help from mainstream media. Eighty five percent of college graduates are moving back in with their parents due to lack of employment. People are losing their homes because they can’t afford medical bills or have lost their jobs. Yet government bailed out the big banks which helped create many of these problems. We subsidize the fossil fuel industry which is making more profits than any in history. Most legislators are in the back pockets of the wealthy, afraid to change this corrupt system. 

Applaud the Occupiers, join them, become one of them. We are at a crossroads in history where the path we choose will determine the fate of life on Earth. The economy is intricately connected to the natural environment. Wildlife habitats are being destroyed, climate change is accelerating and humans are consuming resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate. We need to occupy these truths in order to change our course to one of sharing, compassion and love for one another. 

Pamela Driscoll, Dexter



PARKS FOR THE POOR

It’s gone but not going away. Lauren Regan, Occupiers and no-choice homeless: Thank you all for being a force for the betterment of American Life.

Going back to the history of struggle in the late 19th century is Jacob A. Riis, an immigrant from Denmark who was homeless for seven years. He is considered the father of the small park movement. Parks were meant for poor people.

 Riis fought for housing for homeless and got it with the help of Theodore Roosevelt. He also fought for pure water, schools and against child labor and corruption. If we must go backward, let’s go forward.

Riis’ parting words were “We can and will right our wrongs in an orderly way or the republic is a mockery.”

Steve Trimmell, Veneta



ERRONEOUS CLAIMS

Isn’t it ironic when you read a letter to the editor from someone with a “research” background who throws around a lot of figures and analysis, but has failed to do the basic research? This is the case with the Dec. 15 letter in EW from Michael Lee regarding EWEB’s plans to upgrade technology and install new digital meters, aka smart meters, in 2013.

Let’s set the record straight. Contrary to the erroneous claim that the project will cost $50 million, past and updated estimates have established a project cost range of $27 million to $32 million. Certainly not a small figure, but still almost half what Lee claims.

Next, Lee claims the supposed $50 million project would cost every customer $500. Not true. Basic math: $50 million divided by 142,000 electric and water meters equals $352. EWEB doesn’t plan to charge a meter fee to customers and the project cost is in the $27 million to $32 million range, so Lee’s poor math is irrelevant.

Lee challenges whether EWEB’s 19 meter readers drive 100 miles a day to read meters. That would mean each meter reader drives only about 5 miles a day. EWEB reads 142,000 meters each month, spread out over 21 work days, in a geographic area that is 235 square miles in size, from Greenhill Road to the west and Vida to the east, from North Coburg Road to Spencer Butte. EWEB knows how many miles each vehicle is driven, each day. We’ve got the numbers. Why anyone would speculate by grabbing inaccurate numbers out of the air is puzzling.

Lastly, EWEB’s digital meter project would replace all of the utility’s aging mechanical meters. The cost of the project would be offset by eliminating the expenses associated with manually reading meters. In other words, customers wouldn’t see any noticeable impact on overall rates.

Lance Robertson, Public Affairs Manager, Eugene Water & Electric Board 



YEAH, BUT

It seems like our New York and Chicago delegates in recent letters both agree with me that PRI and Pegasus are overrated. They simply are old favorites of UO alumni and current students alike. As for the others, Sy’s kind of gets it but the best kept secret in Eugene is the utterly fantastic organic made-from-scratch pizza found at World Cafe/ New Day Bakery in the Whiteaker. This hard-to-please lifelong Philadelphian (’til ’06) is verrry impressed!

Glenn Leonard, Eugene



WILDLIFE DISSERVICES

Thanks for publishing Debra Merskin’s article (12/22) about the government Wildlife Services Department and their mass killing of nonhuman animals — both intentional and unintentional. Please continue to interrogate this destructive government agency that does not provide a “service” to wildlife, but rather to certain industries. 

Carrie Packwood Freeman, Atlanta, Ga. (formerly of Eugene)



GETTING TO THE POINT

I’d like to suggest a new EW convention that each letter to the editor begin with a clear and concise topic sentence.

The problem as I see it is that typically EW letters ramble here and there without ever getting to the point, leaving the reader guessing to the end what their purpose might be. They might talk about a childhood pet or the neighbor who won’t prune the fence roses, or perhaps complain about the underhanded behavior of some distant governmental functionaries, before eventually settling on the real issue: the lack of proper bike lanes downtown or the way the sun gently brightens 10th Avenue in the late afternoon. Or a beautiful bus stop face seen in passing or the sofa-clawing thrill of discovering a $2 micro-draft happy hour. Everyday community events, in other words.

Which brings me to my point. I love Eugene radio. We are blessed in this town with three wonderful community stations, KRVM, KWVA and KLCC. Wherever I go at any time of day or (more often) night I can generally count on finding excellent, unpredictable music on at least one of them. Most communities in the world do not have that luxury. That’s their problem, but it may become ours if a member of one of those outside communities rises up and claims power. Then we have a non-musical head of state, someone who will never appreciate a beautiful bus stop face seen in passing. Then suddenly it’s our problem. 

And that’s the problem as I see it.

Belle Springs, Eugene 



ADD UP THE COSTS

My comments are limited to the quote in your cover story on Oregon health care (12/8): “Rogers says that in the U.S. more than 30 percent of health care spending goes to administrative costs, not actual health care.”

As an accountant with extensive experience in examining the records of doctors and health-care facilities, I see this 30 percent figure as way too low. The total administrative cost would easily exceed 130 percent. The only fair way of determining the total administrative cost of health care is to add up the administrative costs of everyone: all medical personnel, hospitals, patients, Medicare, insurance companies and everyone else involved, especially the patients and their families. Just the costs to patients and their families would be a substantial amount of time, effort and money.

 Medicare will tell you their administrative expenses are less than 10 percent and the insurance companies will tell you the same thing. I say to all of them: bullshit! Go to any medical facility and count the number of doctors, nurses, technicians and laboratory personnel. Then count everybody else — they will easily outnumber the medical personnel. And even then, the doctors, etc., will spend a lot of time protecting themselves against lawsuits, dealing with Medicare and insurance companies, etc. — more administration.

 The only long-term permanent solution is to get the insurance companies out, get all governments and politicians out, get the lawyers out. Put the entire health-care system in a single-payer nonprofit organization with strong oversight and transparency, lots of public participation and volunteers, and dispute resolution by non-lawyers and non-medical people. Allow all medical personnel to “provide medical care,” not politics or bookkeeping.

Frank Skipton, Springfield



HORRIFIED NEIGHBORS

Named for one of Dexter’s early settlers, Parvin Butte has both historical and geographical significance. It is one of the landscape features that distinguishes Dexter from, say, nearby Lowell or Creswell or Cottage Grove. And no doubt it’s borne the footprints of many locals, Indian and settler alike, attracted by the all-points view its top provides — and by the seclusion it offers for those seeking a closer view of their climbing companions.

For Greg Demers and the McDougal Brothers, however, it’s no more than a pile of rock to be crushed and then transported to the coast for various construction projects. A new site on Greenhill Road for transfer of Parvin basalt to railcars, and other sites owned by their company or companies along the soon to be upgraded rail line from Eugene to Coos Bay, have the full support of Oregon State Sen. Floyd Prozanski.

So weak is the law and so anemic its enforcement that, having already clear-cut the trees on it, Demers/McDougals are daily removing a local icon without a county site review or permit, within close view of horrified and frustrated neighbors and beside Class 1 Lost Creek and its endangered Willamette spring Chinook. After the butte is flattened, these scofflaws intend to chop what remains into residential lots.

For the McDougals and Demers, who own thousands of acres all over Lane County — and the McDougals, at least, own thousands more throughout the Western states region — landscape destruction is standard business practice, as are the public costs: clear-cut and eroded soils, polluted streams, devastated neighbors and wildlife and further global warming. Demers/McDougals are also partners in Willamette Water Company, a quasi-municipal water source seeking to supply and control the water going to Goshen, Creswell, Cottage Grove and vicinity, whether or not they want or need it.

The butte owners have appealed the minor fines the county has assessed for their illegal mining. A hearing is scheduled for 2 pm Thursday, Jan. 5, in Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



BLAMING VICTIMS

I camped with Occupy Eugene for 12 days until the city evicted us. Letting the homeless stay in nature is the opposite of corruption, so homeless camps are wholly compatible with the protest. The long-term homeless don’t pay rent by working for companies which aren’t free of corruption. Nature is the healthiest environment. More neurons grow in nature. Healthier people have less need to carelessly use drugs, some of which are natural trauma remedies when used wisely. Trauma or stress comes from unhealthy biorhythms. 

The city forced very unhealthy air pressure waves on occupiers by imposing very noisy generators to power floodlights. That noise blocked cries for help to prevent the fatal fight that closed the camp. Floodlights also attract stragglers at night. They make it look like a lit-up, inviting party. The people who imposed those safety hazards blamed their victims. That’s the height of corruption, which means going along with the prevailing group even when it can’t clearly discern what’s best for the whole. Giving people truly free choice enables the most harmonious nervous system functioning. Each occupier’s presence enabled the others to live there too. Such mutual appreciation is healthiest, as ECGs and EEGs can prove. The city didn’t care to measure the unhealthy effects of noisy generators. 

When vulnerable people yearn for protection, it’s a shocking betrayal to realize how ineffectively police and cities care. Poverty emerges when companies and governments take over people’s homes in nature. Nature freely gave food from plants and trees, and clean water in streams and dead wood for energy. People who work for such companies enable the corruption. That’s the real problem. 



Irene Cardenas, Eugene





WHAT WOULD JESUS OCCUPY?

The organizers of Occupy Eugene took on a huge and risky task in trying to meet the needs of homeless people. It made sense, though, since the structure of our economy and Wall Street dominance to which the Occupy Wall Street movement object inevitably cause increasing homelessness. So my sympathies are with the occupiers and the homeless. 

Writing Christmas and Hanukkah cards last weekend, I began thinking about Jesus of Nazareth, said to have been a Jewish carpenter. Nowadays, carpenters may be reasonably well off when the economy is doing its job. But in Jesus’ day, artisans like carpenters, along with prostitutes, beggars and bandits, were among the destitute, driven off the land by the commercializing Roman Empire, as foreclosure replaced practices like forgiveness of debt.

If Jesus were with us bodily today, where would he stand on the Occupy Wall Street movement? If he were living in our community, what would he say about Occupy Eugene? Wasn’t he, during his public ministry, among the homeless of his time? The Son of Man had no place to lay his head.

You may have a different perspective on Jesus’ life and teachings. But I believe his first concern was systemic injustice, with which our society and economy are rife, and that he stood with the destitute against the empire of his time. There’s no room for it here, but I develop this theme in more detail at www.healingjustice.wordpress.com 

Robert Roth, Eugene



BLESSED ADVENTURES

To all insightful citizens of Eugene and beyond: We have survived thus far. Let us continue with hope for more confrontations with the many worlds we encounter along such blessed adventures, journeys and missions such as going to the Kiva and facing the fictional facts that may arise at any moment. 

I'm only joking when it comes to smoking sincerity and taking for granted the seriousness of our situations as diverse as they truly are. Granted that these 200 words would be meaningless without a proper point in the general direction(100.001 percent) of true peace and shalom for all of mankind; therefore, allow me to recount or at least take into account what injustices have been blessing me ever since the loud music was not to the liking of innocent victims "down the street." 

After some time I have decided to cry to the public in regards to the so-called police and their exorcism of power to play with my emotions and make me a stronger individual, realizing self-control and embodying new qualities that are benefiting my day-to-day life. And all I have to do is pay $100 for communicating valid feelings (performing street music) on the corner of 13th and Kincaid where the crows watch over the students and the scent of wonder jogs your memories.

Power up the pieces.

Liam O'Grady, Eugene