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Letters to the Editor: 1-16-2014

WHAT THE FRACK?

“Does that burger taste funny to you?” Recently I learned that fracking chemicals might be in the meat and produce being distributed to a grocery store near me and near you.

“On a North Dakota farm, five cows died after fracking began in 32 wells within three miles from the farm,” according to Food and Water Watch. In New Mexico, petroleum residues were found in 54 out of 56 animals tested. Some cows lost their tails!

Fracking occurs now in almost every state and is quickly expanding into California’s Central Valley, home to farms producing much of our nation’s fruits and vegetables. We’ve all seen clips of tap water catching fire. I wonder how that water affects growing vegetables?

But the government’s protecting us right? Wrong! Currently the FDA doesn’t check our food system for fracking contaminants like methane, polymers, phthalates and glycols. The Bush-Cheney administration exempted the fracking industry from the Clean Water Act. Does that make sense to you? We can’t deny the increases in asthma, obesity, cancer and heart disease among our friends and family. Think there’s a relationship? What we know for sure is that “corporate people” are allowed to poison actual people for their profits. Why? Who gets to decide what’s in our air and water? We the people? Or the corporations?

Let’s call on the FDA to test for fracking contaminants. And what the frack? Let’s ban fracking! And tar sands oil, pipelines and coal mining too. It’s too late to stop both poles and glaciers from melting, but perhaps we can stave off some other disasters?

Come to the first 2014 local 350 Chapter Meet-Up for some timely community organizing from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Jan. 23, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive. Bring your best thinking. We’re ready to do something!

Deb McGee, Peaceful Valley, Subsistence Farmer

 

LISTEN TO TEACHERS

EW should be commended for the Education issue Jan. 9. It was great to hear Peter Bauer, a Bethel teacher, share his personal experiences as a student and a teacher in underfunded Oregon schools. It was also inspiring to hear about Jeff Hess and Peter Hoffmeister’s class that integrates outdoor skills with language arts despite a top-down, unpopular decision to change high school schedules. And Amy Schneider’s piece on Common Core was excellent in that it included a parent’s voice as well as the voice of the president of the teacher’s union. These are voices from people who are intimately involved in our schools under difficult circumstances.

It’s time for teachers to be heard. It’s also time for students and parents to be listened to. For too long, politicians, corporate big shots and “educational reformers” have shaped the debate around public education and have created policies without input of the educators, students and parents. Many of these policies have been counterproductive and have not improved the quality of education for our students.

EW has stepped up and offered to provide space on a regular basis for educator voices to be heard. Students and concerned parents should also take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the issues that affect them. “Reclaiming Public Education” should be a regular feature of this publication. It will complement the series of public forums on education, by the same name, sponsored by the Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE).

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene

 

CHECK YOUR FACTS

I found interest in a Dec. 5 article by Camilla Mortensen discussing the merits of Sen. Ron Wyden’s forest bill. The article mostly focused on one particular section of the forest bill that may authorize the sale or exchange of suitable lands between the BLM and private or state entities, but only if the (Interior) secretary determined it was in the public interest to do so. There was a clear insinuation this was just another attempt by industry to acquire access to old-growth forests.

Andy Stahl was quoted [in the article] as saying that “timber interests such as Seneca whose lands border the O&C forests would again stand to benefit from an O&C land exchange and would ‘get old growth under the guise of consolidating lands.’” For the record, Seneca does not consume old-growth timber in any of its manufacturing facilities, and to imply such is just a continuation of the “fear-based” messaging by environmental organizations as they know they can’t stand behind the truth.

In the future, please check your facts.

Todd A. Payne, General Manager, Seneca Sawmill Company

 

MORAL CONCERN

In regards to Robert England’s letter Jan. 9 [“Moral Obligation,” concerning Civic Stadium], I say “Hear, hear!”

Beverley Ann Mowery, Eugene

 

SECRET KILLERS

Thank you EW for the balanced and truthful cover story “(Out of) Animal Control,” [1/2]. I’d like to clarify a few points.

The lawsuit filed by the fired whistle-blower, Heidy Hollister, was settled for what Hollister’s attorney called “a substantial amount of money.” Greenhill paid up rather than divulge further discovery, such as medical files for certain animals.

Greenhill is not a no-kill shelter, even though they sometimes claim they are. Their statistics are self-reported and undocumented; they are suspect. Greenhill flatly refuses to release any documentation. They continue to kill adoptable/treatable animals in secret.

There are $500,000 reasons Greenhill should be transparent and accountable and in compliance with the contracts, yet they are allowed by our elected officials to continue to thumb their nose at the taxpayers. Most of the Lane County Animal Shelter budget was union wages and benefits. Greenhill’s employees’ pay is far less. The $130,000 gap isn’t as big a deal as they would like you to think.

No Kill Lane County can be found on Facebook, and our documentation regarding Greenhill is on our website, NoKillLaneCounty.org.

Tamara Barnes, No Kill Lane County

 

FIGHTING OVER ANIMALS

We don’t know which story was more heartbreaking — that thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned animals go through Lane County’s Animal Shelter, or that the wonderful and compassionate people who love animals are using up their precious energy to fight each other over the care of these animals. 

We stand in awe at the strength and tenacity in which each of you (both sides) possess. You roll up your sleeves and make a difference in the lives of these adored creatures. You get down in the trenches. We love animals, yet find it almost unbearable to even go to the shelter and volunteer. We give money, donate food and support any fundraiser that comes our way. 

So, when we read how those of you who are waging such a good fight for such a good cause work against each other, it is just as heartbreaking. We want to give you whatever tools you need to continue this battle without seeing you turn on one another. It’s a new year and I encourage all of you who love these animals to allow yourselves to wipe the slate clean. 

Let’s come together and start monthly meetings for animal lovers, join hands with both sides and make a circle of love and protection for these four-legged friends! We could build donation boxes and put in supplies as needed. Greenhill and 1st Avenue Shelters could put an updated request list on their website. How about “One Dollar Day?” Everyone in Springfield, Eugene and surrounding communities could give a dollar! 

 Please, let’s come together as a “village force” and focus on the real reason of this article — take a moment and look into the eyes of those dogs in the photos. We did, and this is what moved us to write this letter. And if you need another reason to further honor Madiba’s life, reconciliation would be the antidote. 

Jaye and Stephen Dibos, Eugene

 

DOG TURD BRATS

Regarding the letter by Caitlin Joy Jan. 9, my wife and I have experienced the dog turd situation in our regular walks along the river. We even see bagged turds on the ground that the owners were unable to carry to a trash barrel. Too much effort, I guess.

However, I don’t agree with her options on solving the problem. Option 1 (put out posts for scooper bags) has been tried and failed. Option 2 (signs advising grown-ups to clean up after their animals) are everywhere. Option 3 (pay people to clean up after slobs) is ridiculous. Why should our tax dollars go there? Option 4 (dog owners clean up after your animal) is right on. 

It is my opinion that dog owners are about the most inconsiderate people on earth. Do they feel because they are so special to own a dog that others should clean up after them, like spoiled-brat teenagers? Grow up and be responsible!

Thomas Kopriva, Eugene

 

DEMORALIZING GAMES

The Mapleton School Board is expressing our outrage at the very real problem of vast point disparity in girls’ basketball contests, as evidenced by Regis’ trouncing of Waldport 100-7 on Jan. 3 and Triangle Lake’s pummeling of Mohawk, 109-16 on Jan. 7. This is a national trend affecting both girls’ and boys’ athletics. It must be not only addressed, but resolved. Wherever actions occur that do not uphold basic standards of proper conduct, i.e., good sportsmanship, it is the responsibility of the “adults in the room” to appropriately solve the problem.

John Johnson, communications director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association, states, “The primary purpose of public school sports is to educate kids. That’s what makes us different from colleges and the pros. There is nothing to be learned in these blowout games. No one should be embarrassed in high school.’’

We will no longer remain silent, thereby tacitly endorsing this glaring reality that undermines healthy competition. We remain committed to working with the Oregon Student Activities Association (OSAA) to develop a solution that ensures resolution, acknowledging our mutual responsibilities as advocates for all students. Neither winners nor losers benefit from the results of such poor and demoralizing behavior. We can and must do better.

Michelle Holman, Mapleton School Board Chair, Deadwood 

 

HORRIBLE AGREEMENTS

Regarding Jerry Ritter’s letter of Dec. 26: If you are concerned about there not being enough “illegals” in the U.S. you can blame the Obama administration. It deported more people than all previous presidents combined.

I personally care that Latin Americans, for example, are able to stay in their own lands. Because of NAFTA (Clinton) and the war on drugs, which sprays herbicide on Colombian food crops just to get the peasants off the land, there has been an artificial mass migration. The same goes with Mexico and other countries.

We should all attack the so-called “free trade” agreements (we now have to combat the Trans-Pacific Partnership). Sen. Ron Wyden supports these horrible, disgusting “agreements.” Find out the details about this. Information on them has been published before often enough though that might not stop “fast tracking” of them. Democrats pushed through the Korea FTA two years ago.

As far as Kitzhaber making it easier for rich foreigners to come to Oregon to study, why doesn’t he worry about Americans who are in debt up to their eyeballs because of continuing privatization and tuition rise?

If you want people to have jobs, stop mechanized robots from clear-cutting and only take out the sick, dead and overcrowded trees manually or with minimal machinery. Growing hemp, too, would help things.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene 

 

I DREAM OF MURALS

I really enjoyed some of the “dreams for Eugene” in the Dec. 26 “I Dream of Eugene” issue. A few of my favorite visions were: a hardware store downtown, more awnings, increasing diversity, improved public services, an indoor public market and supporting local artists.

While these are all super great ideas, none of them quite articulated my most prominent dream for Eugene: murals! Why doesn’t Eugene have many more murals? As an artist, I greatly appreciate aesthetics and believe the more public art a city has the better. Public art attracts tourists, brightens our (sometimes dreary) surroundings and can be a great way to support our aspiring local artists.

Seattle and Victoria have great noteworthy public art projects (bus stops and light poles respectfully). And in traveling there I was amazed how small public art projects greatly enhanced my enjoyment of those places.

So Eugene, join me and world famous street artist Banksy as we “Imagine a city ... where every street was awash with a million colors and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business.”

 Sherman Sherman, Eugene mural artist 

 

HELP TO GET HIGH

I see by the newspapers that on opening day of Colorado’s legal marijuana sales the price reached $500 per ounce. To a casual observer of agricultural practices it appears to be a classic example of “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.”

James L. Whetstine, Eugene

 

THE STORY OF O

The UO marches on to new conquest in the Midwest. A little high school has a logo similar to Nike’s O and is being forced to dismember it. Even though their O is maroon, the heavily favored Oregon colorblind fan base in Okoboji, Iowa, has to be protected from any possible exploitation of the trademark that would possibly tarnish the corporates’ good name.

Vince Loving, Eugene