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Letters to the Editor: 4-18-2013

A BINDING ORDINANCE

To clear up misinformation regarding the use of the proposed city service fee, the duration of that usage and the low-income exemption, here is the ordinance language.

Section 2.2010(2): “All revenues from the city service fee shall be deposited in a separate fund. Use of the revenues shall be limited to (a) paying for fire and police service, homeless and human services, and quality of life services such as libraries and pools, (b) establishing reserves for these purposes, and (c) the billing, collection and administration of the city service fee ... The city service fee shall not be used to pay for any other function of the city.”

The council and staff will not be able to appropriate or spend revenues from the fee for any service not included in those authorized uses. The ordinance is binding on both council and staff for its duration.

Section 2015 (4) provides specifics regarding low income financial assistance: “The city council shall establish by resolution a program that (a) partially or wholly waives the city service fee for low income individuals. (b) provides financial assistance to such individuals to partially or wholly offset the fee paid by those individuals, or (c) helps in some other manner to reduce the financial burden of an additional fee on those individuals. The resolution shall be adopted prior to the time that the fee is first billed.” 

A community panel is currently preparing the financial assistance program so that it can be implemented immediately. 

Kitty Piercy, Eugene mayor

 

SINGLE PAYER BEST

Recognizing Obamacare’s (ACA’s) inadequacies, Vermont commissioned a study to identify how best to finance true universal health care. After studying three plans, it concluded that single payer (SP) would provide the best, least cost coverage. Vermont legislated SP implementation for 2017. Over 20 studies across the U.S. have had similar conclusions. Most recently, Vermont, population 626,000, determined it would need $1.3 billion in new taxes to support SP and would save $1.9 billion in insurance premiums or $958 per person annually. Pennsylvania’s Economic Impact study showed that with SP implementation, its 12.7 million people would each save $1,000 annually in insurance premiums, and that it would generate 120,000 new jobs from increased health care spending and reduced overhead for existing business and startups.

 Oregon’s HB 2922, with 21 sponsors, would establish SP in Oregon, providing all medically necessary services without deductibles or co-pays, while covering the entire Oregon population. The plan would also apply for certification as a Medicare Advantage provider, expanding Medicare to include dental, eye, mental and alternative care, without co-pays or deductibles or further cost to the recipient. This would also automatically provide for situations where the recipient leaves Oregon.

HB 3260 would authorize a study of at least four different mechanisms for financing health care to guide Oregon toward what would be the most advantageous.

With HB 2922 enacted, and amended with a financial plan based on HB 3260, we could establish universal health care in Oregon saving people $3.9 billion annually in insurance premiums while revitalizing its economy.

Marc Shapiro, Health Care for All Oregon, Eugene

 

EPIDEMIC OF ASSAULT

April 21 starts Sexual Violence Prevention Week locally. To use a recent and frequent reference, all of us need to be “all in” on this matter. It is not just an issue for women, the military, campus, civilian, legal or any other subgroup of us. It is about violence and abuse of power with resulting damage that radiates beyond the perpetrator and victim.

The writers of this letter have been working locally to inform people about the alarming extent and viciousness of the epidemic of sexual assault within the military. Our goal is to be part of the national pressure on Congress and the military to take the necessary steps to stop the sexual assault epidemic.

Please come to the next local showing of the Oscar-nominated documentary film The Invisible War at 6:30 pm Monday, April 22, in Room 175 at the Knight Law School, at 15th and Agate. It is free and open to the public and part of the UO’s Sexual Violence Prevention Week activities.

Come, increase your knowledge about military sexual trauma to a deeper level by viewing this important, impactful film. Then join the effort to get the change needed from Congress and the military to stop this abuse of power.

Carol Van Houten, Community Alliance of Lane County Shelley Corteville, Lane County Veterans for Peace

 

STRANGE INDEED

The “Strange Bedfellows on City Fee” news brief by Shannon Finnell (4/11) reveals how “progressive” ex-bureaucrat Bonny Bettman McCornack has found common cause with the most shameless defenders of privilege and inequality (9.12 Project Lane County, a motley group of right wing-nuts generously described as “Glenn Beck fans”) to oppose a fee designed to save, amongst other things, some of the most vital services for low-income, homeless and mentally ill members of our community; you know, the type of people Glenn Beck fans think are mainly responsible for the problems of the world. The fact that Bettman McCornack has warmed herself to them should make EW cringe, but apparently that’s not the case.

According to EW (Slant 4/11), “red flags are popping up all over this fee proposal, and so far the arguments in favor of passing it are pretty superficial, all about how much we need the popular services that are threatened.” Apparently EW, which became anti-tax conservatives this month in a brazen show of spontaneity uncharacteristic of their tame publication, is more convinced by the arguments of Bettman McCornack and her followers. 

Bettman McCornack speaks as a jaded former politician hell-bent on giving the city government grief. Her arguments are laden with bureaucrat language that must be carefully decoded to be understood. The supporters of the city fee speak in simple, tangible terms: These services are essential and must be saved or our problems, fiscal and otherwise, will worsen. Why EW is choosing to listen to followers of Bettman McCornack/Glenn Beck instead of their usual friends at the Democratic Party or Mayor Kitty Piercy or social service providers is beyond me.

There are other strange bedfellows at work as well. Mayor Kitty Piercy is joined by former mayor Jim Torrey in supporting the fee. The Eugene police and fire departments, who hardly embody liberal touchy-feely values, are joined by more left-leaning social service providers in supporting the fee. People who are actually invested in the health, safety and well-being of the Eugene community support the fee. Quasi-fascist tea-baggers and washed-up “progressive” former city councilors may be too blinded by their own narrow agendas to do what’s best for the community.

Rudy Golden, Eugene

 

DON’T BE FOOLED AGAIN

Last week I went to a well-attended meeting of the Jefferson Westside Neighbors (JWN) where there was a “debate” between proponents of the city fee/tax (Councilor Alan Zelenka and Stephen Johnson) and opponents (Bonny Bettman McCornack and Councilor Greg Evans).

Like me, most JWN residents are generally progressive and supportive of funding government services. So, if the reaction indicated by questions and comments from JWN members that night is representative of other progressive voters, this fee/tax is goin’ down, baby!

I may be biased — this will be the first ever local government revenue measure I’ve voted against — but the reactions of most of my neighbors in attendance ranged from skeptical to hostile towards the fee/tax.

Zelenka and Johnson did the measure no good by their condescending comments, portraying people who question the measure as “cynical,” “conspiracy believers” and “uncaring.” 

Bettman McCornack was in her usual form, incredibly well-prepared with the facts to counter Zelenka’s and Johnson’s squishy “we care” pitch. And you had to love Evans, whose real-world experience with struggling families in his ward was a lot more persuasive than the “what’s a few dollars” disconnect of Johnson and Zelenka.

The final nail in the coffin was when Zelenka defended the extra $3.5 million giveaway last year to Capstone — over and above what Capstone said they needed to have a viable project. Now we’re supposed to toss more money at this city administration based on a councilor who shows that utter lack of due diligence?

Today I find myself humming the tune to The Who’s lyrics: “Take a bow for the new revolution / ... I’ll get on my knees and pray / We don’t get fooled again.”

Fellow progressives: Don’t be fooled again. Vote “no” on Measure 20-211.

Paul Conte, Eugene

 

OM-COMING

Well, the Dalai Llama will be visiting us in a few weeks [5/10]. Since the event is at Matt Court we have a perfect chance to meditate together. I am thinking a good series of om’s. I think we have the “O” part down (think of any basketball game where fans put their hand together and chant O) and adding the “mmmm” at the end should be a piece of cake. I hope we can do it in a respectful way and if we are lucky maybe everyone will join in.

Nima Dinyari, Eugene

 

LACKING CONTEXT

The latest Register-Guard broadside of Rob Handy, “An Absence of Humility” [editorial 4/5] is amusing in that, while the editors want to spend their time scolding the former commissioner, they have achieved a complete absence of objectivity. 

While claiming that the political sentiments changed and made Handy and Pete Sorensen the minority commissioners, those editors failed to mention that powerful special interests and money led to efforts to unseat Handy, including gerrymandering his district, which had no public support and was vigorously opposed by Handy’s constituents. 

And while the R-G wants to play bookkeeper and keep a tally of Handy’s legal costs, it is this same editorial piece which neglected to mention the costs of that redistricting, or those incurred in a lawsuit filed against Handy days before the election, that was subsequently thrown out by the Oregon Department of Justice.

The worst thing that a newspaper can do is to display a lack of rigorous thought when they form their opinions. The R-G has done just that. Handy upset the Lane County powers that be, including the R-G op/ed section. That is no sin, but a virtue

Charlie Rojas, Eugene

 

STREET RAGE

Oregonians, who the fuck taught you how make left turns?! You do not start turning left the second your street/driveway/etc. is in sight. You do not make a 45-degree laser beam for your destination. You do not cut off the lane of oncoming traffic. 

You do pull halfway up to your destination so as to make a 90-degree turn, therefore giving opposing traffic and oncoming traffic a fair shake.

Don’t bother telling me to go back to where I came from. I’ll do that when you give your land back to the Kalapuya.

Jeff Albertson, Springfield

 

FREE ELECTICITY

With all the new technology on solar energy, I was wondering, being that solar panels, to be cost effective, need a large area in which to set them. How about designing a round solar panel, lets say 1 to 2 feet in diameter and maybe 6 to 8 feet high. Then to create the area for them, how about installing them on the existing electrical poles in this country. There must be quite a few million. The electricity created could be connected direct to the existing electrical lines, creating, after the cost of the solar panel, free electricity for our community and country. 

By the way, the solar panels could be created and installed by local community firms, creating thousands of jobs. Just an idea.

Gene Okins, Eugene