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Letters to the Editor: 11-14-2013

SANE WILDLIFE POLICIES

I want to set the record straight on Congressman Peter DeFazio’s efforts with regards to wildlife management. DeFazio has been a staunch supporter for sane wildlife policies for decades. In the early 1990s he fought against aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska. 

Just this September DeFazio sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell opposing the delisting of wolves — for all the right reasons as well.

Even more importantly, DeFazio has shown leadership for decades in his continuous efforts to rein in the outlaw federal agency known as Wildlife Services. The euphemistically named Wildlife Services spends taxpayer dollars killing wildlife, including wolves, coyotes, bears and other top carnivores. 

When it comes to wolves and other wildlife, we can be thankful DeFazio is in Congress giving voice to those beings who do not have a voice. 

George Wuerthner, Eugene

 

DEFAZIO’S INTENT

Andy Kerr [Viewpoint, 11/7] provides a sharp-eyed political analysis of the O&C lands situation. Perhaps his most penetrating insight is that Rep. Peter DeFazio’s position functions to keep timber barons off his back. If Kerr backs his claim with empirical evidence it will devastate DeFazio’s political vocation.

It’s equally possible that Catholic social teaching motivates DeFazio, who has a Catholic background, to care about people in small rural forest communities — not power. But intent is difficult to establish.

Thinking harder about providing viable, alternative ways of making a living for those in ecologically untenable industries may better serve the environment.

We have a social responsibility to our fellow human beings as well as an environmental responsibility to the environment on which we depend. The challenge is a democratic, egalitarian and just integration of the natural and social ecologies.

Still, I fear if DeFazio’s plan is carried out as Kerr construes it, O&C forestlands, already heavily logged, will become deserts. The world history of forestry shows forests have only so much resilience. We need to consent to limits. We must give those lands the Sabbath they deserve. 

DeFazio should respond to Kerr. As the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles said, it is through conflict — and sometimes only through conflict — that we learn what our ends and purposes are.

Sam Porter, Eugene

 

AVOID THE CHARIOT RACE

According to your staff pick “Best street to get run over on your bike” [Nov. 7], 18th Avenue looked like a very bad place to ride. A couple of pages away was “Best way to improve South Willamette Street” (throw in some bike lanes and a center turn lane). I hope you realize that what you are advocating for South Willamette is exactly what is now configured on 18th. 

The push for bike lanes on Willamette is a recipe for disaster, especially when it’s dark and raining and too many cyclists refuse to wear reflective clothing and/or proper lighting on their bikes. In a collision, regardless of who has the right of way, the cyclist loses. The inordinate number of approaches on Willamette only exacerbates the potential danger. Getting rid of the redundant driveways will not cut down on the number of vehicles trying to get into and out of the parking lots (and possibly cutting off the cyclist as a result). My guess is that it would, instead, create a myriad of choke points for cars, and as a result, up the ante on frustrated drivers in a hurry to get on their way. Not a good environment for cyclists.

Take to the side streets, wear reflective clothing, attach lots of flashing lights on your bike, ride defensively and stay away from that chariot race down on Willamette.

Bob Silfies, Eugene

 

A TASTE FOR VEGGIES

In Karl Stout’s letters [10/13 and 10/31] he raises an important point about food waste in cafeterias. He rightfully points out that “wishing and dealing with reality are two very different things.” Our Farm to School Program, the School Garden Project and forward-thinking school district food service departments are dealing with reality by working with children from a young age to increase preference for fruits and vegetables. And we’ve found that these programs work! Students who have been through our programs are more likely to eat fruits and veggies when offered to them at lunch! And we’re working with their families so it continues at home. 

Because of limited funding we aren’t reaching all students in all schools; however, we do believe we are making a difference to address exactly the problem that Stout is concerned about. 

Megan Kemple, Farm to School Program Director, Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

 

BASIC CIVILITY

In 1938, the mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia, proposed an amendment to New York State’s Constitution to help those in need, and LaGuardia got the voters to adopt it.

It reads, Section 1: “The aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions, and in such manner and by such means, as the legislature may, from time to time, determine.”

Subsequent litigation (Callahan v. Carey 1979) established the right to shelter under the amendment. 

In 1972, the Supreme Court decriminalized vagrancy. In the ’60s and ’70s, throughout the U.S., mentally ill people were released from mental institutions on the promise of local treatment — treatment which has never materialized to meet the need. In Oregon, the untreated and simply homeless numbers have grown.

The myths advanced today in Oregon to demonize the homeless are without foundation. Should they just “get a job”? As of today, there are 11.3 million unemployed and 3.8 million available jobs [Bureau of Labor Statistics 11/10/12]. Only one job available for each three unemployed!

“Get a job!” is a sick response.

It is basic human decency for the government to provide shelter for the homeless. 

Tom Giesen, Eugene

 

DEFENDING WILDLIFE

I want to call into question the Viewpoint “DeFazio’s Devolution” by Andy Kerr that appeared in the Nov. 7 issue. Kerr was wrong when he insinuated that Peter DeFazio’s involvement in trying to stop the gray wolf delisting is simply for political purposes to appease environmentalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

My history of working with DeFazio on these issues began around the wolf in the early 1990s. He was involved in the boycott campaign to stop the aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska, and succeeded in restricting the aerial gunning of wolves during that time. He also introduced a bill to provide protection for wolves and other wildlife on public lands. Since then he has been consistent in his efforts to stop the delisting of the gray wolf. 

More than any other member of Congress, DeFazio has taken on the USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS) lethal predator control program. This widely criticized program has trapped, snared, aerial gunned, poisoned and otherwise killed over 3,430 wolves in the last 10 years, with annual kill numbers tripling by 2012. Of the millions of animals killed annually by WS, more than 100,000 are coyotes, bobcats, wolves, foxes, otters and other wildlife.

DeFazio has taken serious hits from the ranching community within his district for opposing WS, while not receiving much support from mainstream conservation organizations for these efforts. DeFazio has taken on unpopular causes without any political upside. His ongoing support of wolves and other wildlife is irrefutable and, sadly, largely unappreciated or acknowledged. 

Brooks Fahy, Executive Director, Predator Defense 

 

A HEAVY BURDEN

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Mariah Leung for her steadfast courage and willingness to research and report unpopular truths about the state of Israel. Sometimes knowing too much can be a heavy burden to carry, particularly if one’s conscience does not permit one to remain silent.

It’s one of current history’s funniest paradoxes that opposition to Israeli policies is more freely expressed within the boundaries of Israel than here in “the land of the free.” Unfortunately, the joke is on us.

Fergus Mclean, Dexter

 

WOMEN ON STAGE

I appreciate the covering of such a taboo topic, especially on the front page [“Where are the GRRRLZ?” 10/31]. But I found this article to be self-deprecating (“It’s difficult for women to work with all women,” “I avoid naming a female act in fear of not being taken seriously”); and contradicting (“No artist interviewed said that she’s experienced sexism from bookers” vs. “I had a few different experiences of older men in positions of power, whether they were booking guys or venue owners”).

The graph at the bottom seems to be misleading. I don’t believe the gender of an act should be determined by the lead singer. Artie Shaw is the leader of his all-male big band, not Billie Holiday (not to discredit her amazing talent and what she brings). What about bands that girls play instruments in, but don’t sing? Instrumental groups with no vocals whatsoever? Tia Fuller? Terri Lyne Carrington? The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the first integrated all-women’s band of the 1940s, would’ve been a “male act” if a male vocalist ever sang with them, which I’m sure happened on multiple occasions. What about Scarlet Fever? Ceelo Green’s all-female backing band. The Dirty Projectors? Polyphonic Spree? 

Lead singers do a lot for us, but assuming that a woman has to be the singer in order to gain the respect of leading a band is an association I dislike. To this girl, I get excited and hopeful just seeing a woman on stage with a bunch of men, especially if it’s for her mad music chops and not strictly because her voice is a nice contrast to the men’s. As a professional bass player who’s experienced the sexism of the music world, I know for a fact the “side members” contribute just as much, if not more, to the success of a group and cannot be discredited. One final note! The three all-girl bands I’ve played in have always had beers during rehearsal.

Hannah Rose Dexter, Valencia, Calif.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hannah Rose Dexter was in Eugene recently, performing in a house concert.

 

TO WHAT DEGREE?

UO to offer a program for “Sporting Goods Product-Management” to better prepare our students to advance in what Oregon does best. “If the Shoe Fits” degrees will soon be available. Students pursuing “Professional Football Performance” accreditation will have this option as a minor, as opposed to specializing in “Insurance Sales.”

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

The situation is that institutions and enterprises are increasingly deleterious on the ecosystems; systems, worth noting, upon which those institutions and enterprises are founded. Embedded in the Anthropocene, the human campgrounds will collapse as the ground falls out from under them. And the icecaps melt.

Two equally critical steps could forestall such a consequence: 1) illegalize fossil fuels, 2) decentralize production.

But of course our institutions and enterprises and culture of consumption are incarcerated in a gulag of weltanschauungs for which such survival strategies are taboo.

David Hugh Tyson, Eugene

 

 VETS WHEELING HOME

Few remember when Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day. I do, and I remember a jaunty song that went with it: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.”

Not all Johnnys came marching home. Some were wheeled home, sightless and limbless, others in caskets. Such a song had to seem calloused for mothers who had a gold star hanging in a window for a son killed in action in World War II.

It is no different today as we prepare to greet returnees from Afghanistan and Iraq. We will hear that song whose last line is: “And we’ll all be glad when Johnny comes marching home.” But awareness of the price paid should cause us to say instead: “And we’ll all be sad when Johnny comes wheeling home.”

Reality of war and unreality of our patriotic songs should strike us, finally, as we see its victims — our sons and daughters — wheeled before us without eyes to see and limbs to walk. They will remain among us as terrible reminders of how easily we patriotic singers forget the price others pay in unnecessary war.

George Beres, Korean War vet, Eugene

 

BUYING THE HEADWATERS

Simple solution for the purchase of the Amazon Headwaters: 10,000 people agree to a charge of $5 a week to a major credit card to raise the $2.5 million. Or 5,000 people at $10 a week, or? The money could go directly to the owner of the property, with the title of the property held in escrow until paid for. When paid for, the title would be transferred automatically to an entity agreed to in advance.

Frank Skipton, Springfield