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Letters to the Editor: 6-27-2013

A TALL TALE

In his June 20 letter to the editor, “Join the Fight,” Jason Gonzales grossly exaggerated the impact of HB 2596. Rather than giving the timber industry “unfair” rules, the bill simply allows the prevailing plaintiff in a forest practices case to collect reasonable attorney fees and costs.

The allowance is neither unprecedented nor special. Under ORS 20.080, a prevailing plaintiff is already able to collect attorney fees in certain small tort claims cases.

What Gonzales further failed to include in his letter was mentioning the fate of HB 2595, the companion bill to HB 2596. That bill would have created the felony crime of interference with state forestland management. After passing the House with little opposition, it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. As the chair of that committee, I determined HB 2595 to be more likely than not unconstitutional since it would have treated one type of political protester (forest protection advocates) different from another, e.g. abortion clinic protesters.

In nearly as many words as Gonzales used to rant about HB 2596 and “lunatics” behind it, he should have just provided it for your review (available on the Legislature’s website at  www.leg.state.or.us) instead of weaving a tall tale.

Floyd Prozanski, State senator, District 4

 

PROSECUTE BEE KILLERS

A few days ago, 50,000 bumblebees were poisoned by pesticides applied to blooming linden trees outside a Target store in Wilsonville, effectively wiping out hundreds of bumblebee colonies. The Oregon Department of Agriculture determined that Safari, a neonicotinoid insecticide containing dinotefuran, was responsible for the poisoning. Application of pesticides to blooming plants visited by bees is contrary to product labeling, and hence an illegal activity. 

This incident exemplifies the problems that honeybees and native pollinators face in the age of neonicotinoid insecticides. In this case, the trees were sprayed on a Saturday and bees were still dying almost a week later. Neonicotinoids are designed to translocate into plant tissue and cause the plant itself to become toxic. Frequently these pesticides are applied as tree injections or applied in the soil so that the tree will take up the toxin from its roots. These methods also kill bees just as dead, but without the drama of them dropping out of the branches into a parking lot. Instead they fly back home and spread the toxin to others in the colony before succumbing to its effects, dying without notice. 

When professional pesticide applicators don’t obey label instructions, they should be prosecuted. The rest of us should not be able to buy these extraordinarily toxic compounds at retail outlets. Increasing popularity of neonicotinoid insecticides for home and ornamental use is making our urban areas unfit habitat for honeybees and native pollinators, where once they had a refuge from the chemicals in agricultural areas. 

Gary Rondeau, Oregon Sustainable Beekeepers, Eugene

 

TEACHING TO THE TEST

It seems like most politicians, administrators, school boards and the media agree that more testing equals more learning. Since competition is a big part of high-stakes testing, perhaps a local testing sweepstakes is in order.

Ready for the categories? First: Test Them Until They Drop. In one of Eugene’s schools, some 8th graders had to take 15 standardized tests this year: the easyCBM reading and math (fall, winter and spring); ACT Explore; and Oregon OAKS (math, reading, science). Did your school beat 15 standardized tests?

Next category: Back to Basics. How many kids in your school were kept out of music, art, PE and electives in order to spend their “extra” time in test-preparation classes? Next bracket: Library Access. How many days was your school library closed to student readers because it was turned into the school’s testing center? Next category: Big Bucks. Which school generated the most profit for the big testing corporations?

Then, the big time category: Pressure Cooker. Which school’s administrators put the most pressure on their teachers for test scores? And, even better, which school’s teachers put the most pressure on their students for test scores? Next, a related category: Body Chemistry. Which school had the most kids showing physical symptoms of test-taking stress and anxiety?

The last category is, of course: Well-rounded Education. Which school lost the most days of creative, interesting, quality teaching in order to teach to the next test — and for the students to have to sit there and take it? 

Roscoe Caron, Eugene

 

CIVIC LESSON: IT’S DEAD

In response to the “People Want Stadium” letter [6/13], I would disagree that a majority of people are in favor of saving Civic Stadium. Civic Stadium sits on prime ground and is currently an embarrassing eyesore. It was a great place to watch Ems games, etc., but now needs to be razed and replaced by something better suited for the majority of people in this community.

Unless School District 4J can get fair market value for this desirable 10-acre parcel from a group with aspirations of renovating it to its old glory, I think we need something usable there and not the rotting weed pit that sits there now. 

Get over it; Civic is dead. 

John Carlson, Eugene

 

MOSTLY HEAT & SERVE

We want to respond to Kerry Delf’s statement, “We do offer healthy, fresh meals and foods in our schools,” from the June 13 article “No Delivery of Bento at 4J.” We recognize the progress that School District 4J has made to increase the amount of local produce served on the school salad bars, but the fact remains that 80 percent of the food served to 4J students is heat and serve, essentially USDA-approved fast food. Our organization is working to provide every 4J student with fresh, minimally-processed and nutrient-dense food that optimizes learning and health, supports our local economy and protects our planet.

Stacey Black & Steering Committee, Kid Food Matters, Eugene

 

A STRONGER VOICE

Joann Ernst is running for East Lane County Commissioner, and I think your readers should know.

I met Ernst as a coworker, but her obvious fervor for animal rights, human rights and support of the rights of the individual versus those of the corporations made her stand out. When I heard she was running for East Lane County Commissioner, I was only disappointed in the fact that I wouldn’t be in her district. 

Along with being an activist and volunteer, Ernst has also served on the EWEB board as a commissioner, has been on a variety of committees and has been a business owner. She has worked in animal shelters and with the homeless, and has already created great changes for Lane County.

In this day and age, we don’t need more of the same. We need a qualified, hardworking person to bring a center point back to the Lane County Commission, and Ernst is the right person to do that. She is dedicated to listening to the people in her district and wants to give them a stronger voice.

I hope that you will print this letter, so your readers know that for more information, or to contact her directly, they can go to her Facebook page “Joann Ernst — Candidate.”

Jessica de Leon, Harrisburg

 

A TRUE DEMOCRACY

Michael T. Hinojosa’s Mussolini quote in his letter on June 13 is worth repeating: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” While his definition is accurate in today’s situation, we do have an option: We must change the structure of law to refute corporate/government dominance.

We have forgotten who we are. In a true democracy, the people are the dominant body of governance. Freedoms of speech, privacy and equal protection intended for blood and guts human beings have been usurped by fictional corporate entities at our sacrifice. Do you remember who we are? Reminder: Section 1 of the Oregon State Constitution: “We declare that all people when they form a social compact are equal in right, all power is inherent in the people and all governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness and they have, at all times, the right to reform, alter or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.”

About 150 communities in eight states have successfully passed local rights-based ordinances which return rights to the people. We can reclaim our communities, reinstate democracy and re-empower the 99 percent.

To join the process, plan to attend Kai Huschke’s workshop at 6 pm Tuesday, July 2, at LCC’s Forum Building and visit the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s website (celdf.org).

Richard Gross, Deadwood

 

FOUNDATION OF LIES

I worked in the concrete foundation business in western Massachusetts. It is true that pouring concrete is “temperature-sensitive,” but it is critical to failing due to freezing temperature, which is why the foundations had to be dug three feet deep to get below the frost line. The warmer it is, the faster the cure time. If the Capstone engineers don’t know this maybe they should retake Sandbox 101. 

If they offered free rent to the local affected tenants during the construction there might be less noisy verbal ordinance objections. 

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

NO BAG DEAL

Why are people crying about how “the poor” can’t afford to pay 5 cents for a bag at the grocery store. Hello? How about they use one of the million they already have or find a free one or buy a 50 cent reusable cloth one at dozens of thrift stores nearby! The poor aren’t as dumb as everyone’s making them out to be. Some people just hate change and make any excuse to stop it.

The ban was enacted because, like other people on this planet, Americans need to take some responsibility for the massive amounts of plastic trash floating around the oceans where it’s entangling and killing wildlife by the millions and does not break down for generations, if ever! Have you heard of the Pacific Gyre? I’d personally like to see all plastic bags banned! So get real, people. 

Now, let’s move on to other important issues, like EWEB’s scary “smart meters.” OK?

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene