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Letters to the Editor: 5-9-2013

NO, YES, ONE TERM

Having just read the city of Eugene Voters’ Pamphlet, here are my opinions.

Regarding the city services fee: I have friends voting both ways. For me, with a business and a residence in Eugene, I will be subject to $480 in new fees that my low-wage, uninsured, single status will likely not exempt me from having to pay. And if I cannot pay — and I can’t — it’s the city’s intent to contract with EWEB to have my sewer service cut off at both home and business, which is against the law to do to a prisoner in jail.

Regarding the school bond measure: Buildings will be upgraded. In related news, the personal touch known as “teacher positions” will be eliminated.

Regarding the Lane County levy: Sorry folks, here I was thrown totally off-topic by first-term County Commissioner Jay Bozievich’s paid statement. Two examples, of several: “the audit will be reported to the Board and the public by the Sheriff.” Why are “Board” and “Sheriff” capitalized, and “public” is not? Perhaps an oversight, perhaps an insight.

And, “I do promise that I will continue to work towards improving our economy, and bringing family wage jobs back to Lane County.” And I thought we were talking jail funding. This, folks, is an unrelated campaign promise full of I’s. Such off-topic self-aggrandizement is certainly unethical, and possibly illegal as this Voters’ Pamphlet is intended.

In conclusion, my predictions: No, yes, and one term only for Bozievich.

Scott Landfield, Eugene

 

MIXED MESSAGES

EW says vote “no” on Ballot Measure 20-213, because it provides “only a nod to prevention and rehabilitation.” EW asks readers, “Where’s the support for all the services and programs that keep people from ending up in our overcrowded courts and prisons?”

Yet EW also encourages a “no” vote for Ballot Measure 20-211, which would fund preventative services such as CAHOOTS and Buckley House and Looking Glass and Mental Health Court, which are in jeopardy if Ballot Measure 20-211 fails.

EW complains that Bonny Bettman McCornack is being “blasted” in the press for meeting with “Tea Party folks,” as if such a partnership shouldn’t be disgusting to anyone who claims to be “progressive.” If it was enemies of EW meeting with the quasi-fascists at 9.12 Project Lane County, EW wouldn’t hesitate to expose them. 

Bettman McCornack and her co-conspirators from 9.12 Project Lane County, and others opposing Measure 20-211, are the same people who are going to be complaining about how long it takes for police or ambulance services to respond when they have an emergency, not realizing that their own efforts guaranteed that cops and paramedics are going to be tied up dealing with drunk, high and mentally ill people because services like CAHOOTS and Buckley aren’t available to deal with them.

If Bettman McCornack and friends have their way, there’s not going to be any jail beds or alternatives to them. 

Rudy Golden, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: EW was the only publication that ran the story about Bettman McCornack’s 9.12 meeting.

 

MAJORITY BACKS FEE

Paul Conte’s rabid letter against the city services fee, “Don’t Be Fooled Again” [4/18], appealed to the Roger Daltry fan in me, but repulsed the caring neighbor, sensible citizen and responsible community member — the part that protects the livelihood of our people. Eugene may be where “old hippies go to die,” as Conte has joked, but it’s also where many who grew up here have chosen to work and live.

Opponents have it out for the city, but their hostages are first responders, pools, youth and mental health services, public spaces — foundations for community and civilization.

Canvassing our Jefferson Westside Neighborhood, we’ve found a healthy majority that supports Measure 20-211. The activists at our neighborhood meeting approached it with open minds; when Bonny Bettman McCornack (falsely) conflated Capstone with the measure, though, Conte is right — the court turned kangaroo.

Many distrust government by default, and low-income exemptions don’t make this thing progressive, but it’s the only workable plan offered to date. The “burn it down!” impulse of some ’60s activists attempted to eradicate social ills via destruction and reconstruction, but services in question were jealously protected then as cornerstones of flourishing communities, and prerequisites for functioning democracy.

We don’t want you, Conte, “to just f-fade awayyyy,” but Eugene’s progressive activists categorically support the fee, and beg you to “try to d-dig what we all s-say.”

Robbie Cunningham, Central Committee member, Lane County Young Democrats

 

RIDICULOUS TAX

Everything has its price, and all the prices have been fixed by bankers (see Rolling Stone story, wkly.ws/1gs). Well, we suspected that. The problem, from my point of view, is the cities have decided to make their poorest inhabitants pay for it. The state has decided to make retired teachers pay for it. Eugene has decided to cut off our connections to the city sewers if we don’t pay their head tax (“city service fee” my foot)! 

Evidently, we need to threaten the city with the prospect of all the people whose sewer connections have been cut, emptying their chamber pots on the floor of the council chambers. (Rental companies should expect a brisk business in backhoe rentals.) At the very least, all those municipal chicken farmers should be saving up chicken manure, composted or not. We’ll need it to properly compost the city government. 

Read your Voters’ Pamphlet. It really does say they will cut off our sewer connections if we don’t pay their ridiculous head tax. And it is a head tax. And head taxes are illegal in Oregon. One got voted in, in Portland, but as far as I know, they haven’t threatened to cut off sewer connections for non-paying households in Portland. The Eugene City Council has. The threatening councilors include our supposedly “progressive” Ward 7 City Councilor Claire Syrett, who says she “loves” the Whiteaker neighborhood, apparently for its value to investors and land speculators who want to tear it down and replace it with something more profitable.

Ann M. Tattersall, Eugene 

 

RE-ELECT STILES

Vote to re-elect Sharon Stiles to the Lane Community College Board of Directors: skilled, experienced, committed advocate for resources and policies supporting all LCC students.

 John Minter, Florence

 

IMPROVE OREGON

Our legislators have a lot to accomplish in the next few weeks and they need to hear from you! They have a chance to change our state into the healthiest and best educated state in the nation. They just have to support important measures: HB 2922 to provide health care for everyone and save the state billions, and the governor’s early education bills HB 2013, 3231, 3232, 3233 and 3234. 

Unfortunately, the increased funding House Bill that would have made a big difference for schools failed without support from two Republicans. If you can persuade any Republican legislators to join the Democrats to support public schools, maybe our kids could come out on top! Please don’t have them repeat their suggestion that waste or lower salaries or bigger classes will makeup for needed school funding. 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

PAVEMENT SPREADS

On Feb. 25, the Oregon House voted 45-11 in favor of $450 million toward the Columbia River Crossing, a $4 billion widening of I-5 (up to 16 lanes on the Vancouver side). On March 4, the Oregon Senate voted 18-11 for the funding. Only two House Democrats voted “no” and one Senate Democrat voted “no.” All of Lane County’s state representatives and senators voted “yes” except for Republican Bruce Hanna.

Oregon plans $20 billion on new and expanded highways even though traffic levels peaked in Oregon in 2002. See details at peaktraffic.org/oregon.html

Lane County’s Regional Transportation Plan includes $1 billion for bigger roads. Mayor Piercy and Councilor Alan Zelenka joined conservatives to vote “yes.”

Cascadia’s fuel mostly comes from the Alaska Pipeline, which has declined three-quarters since its 1988 peak. Is there a “Plan B” after the pipeline closes due to low flow? 

Meanwhile, Gov. John Kitzhaber and Rep. Peter DeFazio want to give public lands (managed by BLM) to timber corporations so they could be clearcut and sprayed with poison.

I hope “climate” groups will decide that politicians who promote highway expansion and massive clearcutting are not environmental champions. This might require these leaders to wean themselves off grants from Rockefeller (Exxon), Pew (Sunoco) and similar foundations. Admitting climate change is real should not be a “get out of jail free” card to exxon-erate one’s promotion of pollution. As Ed Abbey said, “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”

Mark Robinowitz, SustainEugene.org

 

HARD BODIES

Congratulations, the fashion issue [4/25] was your best ever. The neat threads, the hard bodies (mostly); I tell you, I seriously considered canceling my online porn subscription. I’ll gladly endure your weenie politics in exchange for content like this. Now, when can I expect the EW swimsuit issue?

Mike Kopf, Eugene 

 

PAIN PILL PROBLEM

The opiate addiction problem does not just fall into the category of “these addicts”; rather, it is also an issue among people like you, who have a rightful prescription from a doctor to support a chronic disease. “These addicts” have a disease just like yours, only mentally, not physically and it takes courage, determination and strength for them to go into detox and recovery, just like the disease such as alcoholism. 

There are many reasons why or how the addiction came about, be it because of the individual’s genetic addiction history or of whatever the wide range of circumstances he or she may be, from social to economic to personal health issues. But whatever the circumstances are, the addiction problem is there and the individual feels pretty much helpless unless there is a support system available. So the fact is that for the people who just want to “get their fix,” there are many complications and no easy solution. Only positive support is needed for them rather than negative outcries from people who may happen to have legitimate access to a prescription.

Bottom line, addiction is a disease, but for this type, the right cure is a delicate issue. 

Gerrit Strand, Eugene 

 

BERKELEY VS. EUGENE

I’ve been in Eugene for about seven years. This town and the people are the weirdest people in this nation, with the exception of Berkeley, Calif.! Actually, Berkeley is almost the same as far as weird people!

I got to get out of this town. 

I moved to Eugene from Stockton, Calif. I got tired of looking over my shoulder and carrying a gun! I lived in Stockton since I was 8 years old until I left in 2005 when I moved to Eugene.

Why am I telling you this? Because your paper is the most honest, most individual and progressive newspaper I’ve read in recent times. As much as I like you guys, the people in Eugene are not right by a long shot! 

Anyway, good luck to you and your newspaper.

Robert Jacobs, Eugene

 

 

BILL ME LATER

A proposed legislation in Oregon would retroactively hold ex-coach Kelly civilly liable for recruiting crimes i.e. violations committed while employed by the UO. Even the sponsor scoffed,   “It would require additional analysis.” It should add in a clause for the “crime of influence.” It could call Phil Knight out the bill to include the true financial backers in the scheme. If Kelly is found guilty he should be banned from all sports and Knight banned from filling any sports athletic shoes.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

 

 

AG-GAG LAWS

“Despicable, unconstitutional, ridiculous, immature, idiotic, and mendacious.” And that’s just how Tennessee newspapers characterized the state’s “ag-gag” bill now awaiting their governor’s signature. 

“Ag-gag” bills criminalize whistleblowing that exposes animal abuses, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on factory farms. Instead of encouraging whistleblowing and preventing these violations, ag-gag laws ensure that consumers and regulatory authorities are kept in the dark. 

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Utah have enacted ag-gag laws, but such bills were defeated in eight other states, thanks to a strong outcry from the public and newspaper editors. In 2013, new ag-gag bills were introduced in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming. The language has been invariably drafted by the infamous anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). 

Thirty newspapers and 60 national animal protection, workers’ rights, civil liberties, public health, food safety, and environmental conservation organizations have recently gone on record as strongly opposing ag-gag bills. 

Our government must never restrict our right and obligation to know where our food comes from. For a recent update on the status of ag-gag bills, visit http://wkly.ws/1gz

Elijah Hennison, Eugene

 

THE ‘PEOPLE’ SPEAK

The disgust I understand, but why are people seem surprised by the fact that the Senate voted down the idea of background checks? After all, the Senate is obligated to follow the wishes of the people they represent, and they did that to the letter.

What’s that you say? Ninety-two percent of the people of the U.S. are in favor of background checks (including 85 percent of NRA members)? Oh, well then you may have misunderstood – when I said people, I meant “Corporations are people too my friend” people, not the moocher class, riff-raff, unwashed, hoi polloi to whom the doors of power are forever banned. A hundred Newtowns would not convince the Senate’s kind of “people” to actually do something about the slaughter of innocents, after all, none of those dead “children” were campaign fund-donating corporations now, were they?

This would all be so clear if you welfare-dependant parasites would just disabuse yourselves of the misapprehension under which you are laboring that you (or your children or your neighbors) mean anything, anything at all, to the boorish, stupid, incapable-of rational-thought, slavish, sycophantic donation-sluts you keep electing. 

To the corporate running dog whores you keep voting for, you are like something nasty they stepped in. They care about as much for you as they care about cavemen riding dinosaurs. (Well, actually, they care more about the cavemen). 

As it says in Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” 

 Jamie Selko, Eugene