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Letters to the Editor: 7-25-2013

HELP FOR HOMELESS

There’s good news to report for the homeless. St. Vinnie’s is adding capacity to its Service Station on Highway 99. This was one of the recommendations from Mayor’s Committee on Homelessness and it’s great to see it happening. 

As always we thank St. Vinnie’s and we’re pleased to partner. The $189,000 remodel is funded by a Eugene block grant. There will be more places to sit, shower and do laundry. The kitchen improvements mean more fresh food can be served in the 115,000 annual meals provided at the station. A commercial dishwasher will keep over five tons of waste from the landfill by making it possible to have reusable cups, dishes and utensils. Executive Director Terry McDonald has always been a leader in our local reuse/recycle efforts. 

And St. Vinnie’s will build overnight storage spaces for 125 clients. This has been identified as a big need for those who are homeless and have to carry everything with them. This storage option along with the showers and laundry options help people better prepare for job opportunities or other appointments. 

You can help out by making donations of dishes, utensils, cups, glasses and paper towels and napkins — and by thanking St. Vinnie’s and Terry McDonald. 

Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene

 

EEEWW

EW does a good job promoting the local dining industry, notably with the periodic publication of the CHOW insert. However, the important issue of relative facility sanitation gets overlooked.

The July 10 edition of the Fern Ridge Review, a local weekly, devoted an entire half-page of very fine print to divulging the health inspection sanitation ratings of dozens of local restaurants surveyed in June. These results are fascinating; many restaurants that appear to be greasy spoons get the full 100 score, but some glitzy and expensive businesses are shown to have deficiencies in the food prep areas. Some food carts and vending machine distributors got a flat zero. It takes a minimum of 70 sanitation points to pass inspection, which seems a pretty low bar.

Publishing these sanitation ratings would be a service to your dining readership and perhaps stimulate some restaurants with sanitation problems to improve after being publicly exposed. 

Max Smith, Junction City

 

AN INCOMPLETE PICTURE

Regarding “Electric Eugene” [cover story, 7/18]. What? An article about local electronic dance music, and no mention of Every Element Productions, other than a brief listing of the Human Nature Festival? Every Element has been a driving force in the Eugene electronic scene for almost seven years now, throwing both underground events in warehouses and outdoor locations and events in established venues like WOW Hall and The Granary, many with unique themes that involve the greater Eugene artistic and performance arts communities, not to mention booking hundreds of local, regional and national EDM artists in the process.

The Human Nature Festival, while being the largest and most notable thing Every Element does, is far from the only thing they’re responsible for. EE has hosted a weekly radio show on KWVA 88.1 FM for the last three and a half years, featuring a different local DJ every week. EE has been a strong supporter of local up-and-coming talent, as well as bringing in huge acts like Emancipator to Eugene. EE is also doing a stage at the Kaleidoscope Music Festival in August, has done stages at the Whiteaker Block Party going back several years and produced LCC’s end-of-the-year concert, Lanestock, from 2010-2012.

You do a good job of mentioning all the old-school crews and hyping Kaleidoscope, but you do your readers a disservice by leaving out Every Element, and not accurately describing the current climate of EDM in Eugene.

Kyle Marx, Every Element Productions

 

SEEKING RESOURCES

To whom it may concern: I’m wondering if you know of any other people in the same boat I’m in. I’m homeless but I’m getting back on my feet. Now I have an address to get mail but it’s not my residence. I needed an address to be able to get a job. I don’t make enough money to rent a place of my own. I live in an RV, all I can afford now. 

My concern is that a Eugene attorney is taking me to court for a debt that I claimed on a bankruptcy several years ago. I’m barely getting by and this attorney is going after me for money written off in bankruptcy. I have no money to defend myself or go to court. I’m just now getting back on my feet. Is there anyone else that you know of in the same predicament that I’m in?

Rich Ascherl, Elmira & Lincoln City

 

EUGENE’S LOOKING GOOD

This is just to say how happy I am whenever I return to Eugene and Lane County to visit. I lived there in the ’90s, but now live outside Asheville, N.C., (Eugene’s unofficial sister city). I visit every other year or so to attend the Oregon Country Fair, and this year in particular, I am impressed with how downtown seems to be thriving, and how well the city parks have been maintained. 

I also commend you on your balance between generating attractive development and preserving the many various landmarks that I know go back many decades. I think just about all the local businesses where I worked — The Kiva, KLCC, KRVM, OSLC and MycoLogical Natural Products — are thriving, which tells me Eugene definitely supports her (his?) own.

Not that I’d expect anything different; Eugeneans have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to preservation, sustainability and quality of life. Hats off to you. I look forward to my future visits.

Martin Anderson, Saluda, N.C.

 

THE BEST SOLUTION

It is a simple fact: The reason there are accidents on Willamette Street is because drivers go too fast. For many reasons drivers are distracted and do not pay attention and exceed the speed limit, a sure recipe for an accident. If there was a major effort with “Slow Down” signage and increased police monitoring, then traffic would move slower and there would be fewer accidents.

Making the 24th through 29th stretch of Willamette two lanes with a center turn lane will not solve the speed factor. With the two-lane option, do we want to reroute 100 to 500 cars per day to adjacent streets, so that impatient drivers can rush through the neighborhoods, or do we want to put bike share-ways on Oak and Portland Streets, where presently there is little car traffic?

The best solution for Willamette Street for all involved parties — commuters, business owners and their employees, property owners, bus riders, pedestrians and bike riders, LTD buses and first responders — is to monitor speed on the street, connect the Amazon bike path with Oak and Portland streets and make these streets shared bicycle and car routes.

Keep Willamette Street a safe, four-lane thoroughfare and a hearty business district intact.

David Nelkin, Eugene

 

DESTRUCTIVE CODE

I’m Gordon Armstrong, a human being. Recently my human rights, civil rights and my constitutional rights were attacked, defiled, raped and murdered by officers of Lane Transit District. 

I am a man of color, disabled and have a disabled bus pass. I have survived four strokes and, a year and a half ago, a coma. My obvious disabilities are speech and mobility. My diabetic blood sugar levels affect my coordination — and combined with neuropathy, degenerative disc disease and one leg longer than the other, plus slurred speech, I look drunk! 

The Americans with Disabilities Act is an answer to the closed-minded, destructive code of prejudice, racism and bigotry. The ADA promotes acceptance in a national campaign to educate, enhance and help reduce the stigma and discrimination of the disabled. Reasonable accommodation is a civil right not given to the disabled, though demanded through eminent domain. 

I’ve stood up for my rights so many other people can stay silent rather than risk retaliation for speaking openly. “In Our Own Voice” through NAMI Lane County (email office@namilane.org) has testimonies, journals and accounts of survivorship that are ever increasing as education, awareness and acceptance triumph. Diligence must be pursued lest we lose the ground we have gained. 

Gordon Armstrong, Eugene

 

DOUBLE STANDARD

David Simon [Slant, 7/18] expresses dismay over the Zimmerman verdict and expands his dismay and outrage against white-on-black violence in general. OK, I get that.

But where is his outrage over the rampant and tragic black-on-black violence and murder in Chicago and other large cities? Why doesn’t he note that when OJ Simpson walked, cities didn’t burn?

Double standard? Oh yeah.

 Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

GUILT OR INNOCENCE

In Eugene, we don’t have a large percentage of blacks. Let’s analyze Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman for our locale: If I were to appoint myself a neighborhood watch vigilante and roam the streets at night with a knife (I don’t own a pistol), I could go up to people who my deficient psychology deems suspects and follow them. If I were responsible enough to call the police and ask if I should follow this “suspicious-looking kid” they would tell me, “No! Don’t do this and let the police handle it.” But emboldened by the night and my weapon, I heckle this innocent man. He is afraid and calls a relative but by then I am upon him. I want to kill this man, so I get into a physical confrontation with him.

Regardless of whether I receive a bloody nose or have the kid “use the concrete floor as a weapon,” I kill the night stroller, who actually had just gone to the store to buy candy and is returning to his family’s home.

Who did go out of his abode looking for a fight? Who had a weapon? Who approached the other person aggressively? And finally, who ended up dead?

I think the question of guilt or innocence (of me) should be an open and shut case. I should receive the maximum sentence. Three blacks and three whites (some of them men) should be the jury of peers.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene

 

PREVENT SUCH KILLINGS

The verdict in the case against George Zimmerman is part of a tragic event that could have easily been prevented. There is sharp disagreement over the verdict, but there can be no disagreement over the reason why Trayvon Martin is dead. George Zimmerman had a gun that night, and the state of Florida allowed him to carry it virtually anywhere despite a violent history. Virtually anybody roaming our neighborhoods with hidden handguns is the gun lobby’s vision, but it is not the vision of the rest of the American public truly committed to safer communities. 

We will work as long and as hard as it takes to prevent more tragedies like Trayvon Martin’s. We recognize, at the end of the day, this is an enormous tragedy and a young man lost his life. Our sympathies continue to go out to Trayvon’s family.

 Curtis Taylor, Eugene

 

CLOUDY REASONING

So, if I understand this correctly, if you stalk and confront someone in the dark — get close enough to make them afraid enough to attack you out of fear of what you are doing — you can then shoot them for attacking you, and you get to call it self defense.

To clarify what might be seen as murky reasoning, in some parts of our great U.S.A. you can instigate a situation where you threaten any people and when they try to defend themselves you get to shoot them. You might even call it “standing your ground.” The dead people do not get to call it. They tried to stand their ground and lost.

By similar cloudy reasoning: Don’t shoot the person you are following if you are dark skinned; it doesn’t work well the other way around.

 Leigh Henry, Eugene

 

MORE FESTIVALS GOOD

I have read the letters about music festivals at Eugene Meadows. As a young adult in the early 1970s, the letters evoke memories of music events I attended both large indoor and outdoor festivals with attendance sometimes over 20,000 people. 

 The Oregon Country Fair attracts people from all over the world and has been a boon to our economy. Over the years there has been good and bad publicity about the Country Fair, similar to the same issues about the new festivals at Emerald Meadows. The Fair continues and thrives. 

Why should we deprive our children the opportunity to do what we did when we were their age? Have any of those who are complaining taken the time to check with the organizers of these festivals and asked questions about the things that worry them? 

Please, before you focus on what you perceive as the negatives of inviting and welcoming festivals to Lane County, do some research. With the current economic state of affairs in our county, festivals will bring money to the parks system and the local merchants.

Remember, some of us older folks were once fortunate to attend music festivals despite the complaints. Don’t our young adults deserve the same opportunity? Before you form an opinion, do your homework. Look at the websites for events at Emerald Park and ask questions about your concerns. I encourage you all to have open minds and explore both the positive and negative aspects of these events before you form an opinion.

Cyndee Haines, Eugene