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Letters to the Editor: 5-8-2014

GROSS DISREGARD

As I read Bill Fleenor’s letter in last week’s EW [5/1], I was returned to the same enraged state as 2012, when the politicians unnecessarily redistricted Lane County through the passage of Ordinance 9-11. This gerrymandering was accomplished despite overwhelming opposition through public comment of the scenario that was chosen. I was part of a group opposed to this gerrymandering, and we tried to gather signatures to put this issue on the ballot. We were denied a petition number by the county clerk, at the direction of the County Commissioners Jay Bozievich, Sid Leiken and Faye Stewart. They claimed that this gerrymandering was an administrative rather than a legislative decision, and thus not subject to a referendum. 

The lack of a petition number meant that we could not gather signatures to put this issue on the May 2013 ballot. Although we took this issue to court, the county delayed matters long enough that the suit was eventually mooted (dismissed) due to the fact that more time had passed since the date of the ordinance than was allowed by law. The law allows no extensions, even when a suit has been filed.

What this whole thing means is that the conservative commissioners believe they can do anything they please in Lane County, and by denying a referendum, avoid any possibility of the voters rejecting their actions. I urge all voters to vote against Commissioners Bozievich, Leiken and Stewart to punish them for their gross disregard of the will of their constituents.

Duncan Rhodes, Eugene

 

ALREADY COMPROMISED

Bob Warren’s Viewpoint (4/24) looking back at two memos from 1991 ignores an important piece of the puzzle that should have informed his conclusion that environmentalists are missing the opportunity to compromise in the current round of pro-logging legislation in Congress. That missing piece: Our forest ecosystems and fish and wildlife habitat were logged nearly to extinction leading up to the early 1990s. 

The 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, now 20 years old, was a huge compromise by environmental interests — it set aside some areas for protecting and restoring old-growth forest habitat devastated by logging while allowing continued logging in other areas, including mature and old-growth forests. Since the plan was put in place, logging of public lands in Oregon has continued to generate nearly 400 million board feet a year (on average) to the timber industry. Much of this has been thinning in young, managed plantations that most environmentalists don’t oppose. Hardly a zero-cut position, and generally a win-win for our forests and economy. 

In the current push to up logging on our public lands, it’s simply inaccurate to describe the environmental position as being unwilling to compromise. The fact is our forests, clean water and wildlife can’t afford any more political compromise. 

Chandra LeGue, Western Oregon Field Coordinator, Oregon Wild

 

A POSITIVE FUTURE

After following the Lane County commissioners’ actions for the last few years, I’m thoroughly disgusted with the bias towards the clearcut logging and mining industries that Faye Stewart and Jay Bozievich have promoted. Here in Dexter we had absolutely no help from those two commissioners to stop the destruction of Parvin Butte by a gravel mining operation in the heart of our community. Marc Kardell, the county attorney, and Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson spoke out for us and the need to change the flawed land use laws that allowed this injustice to take place. 

The push to clear-cut 1.6 million acres of public forests on O&C lands is absolutely the opposite direction we should be going in light of climate change and species extinction. Deforestation is the second-biggest cause of global warming. There are sustainable methods of logging that create profit and maintain healthy forests. 

The shady tactic of gerrymandering voting districts has also shown their true colors. There are many alternatives to create revenue and jobs in Lane County that do not contribute to the harm of future generations. We need to elect Kevin Matthews and Dawn Lesley and work toward a positive future.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter

 

MATTHEWS FOR COMMISH

I support Kevin Matthews for the nonpartisan position of East Lane County Commissioner. Kevin’s diverse educational and occupational background has given him a comprehensive understanding of the many important issues county commissioners must tackle. 

His preparation includes several unpaid governmental positions, including service on the BLM Pacific Northwest Secure Rural Schools Resource Advisory Committee and the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency Budget Committee.

He has spent countless hours in such volunteer activities as working with Eugene’s Southeast Neighbors to protect the Amazon Creek headwaters from inappropriate development and participating in “Conversations on the Forest,” a series of public discussions seeking to find equitable and sustainable solutions to effective timber management in Lane County.

The impressive number of individuals and groups endorsing his candidacy demonstrates his broad appeal. He has run an energetic and positive campaign, appearing before numerous groups and visiting thousands of households in the district he seeks to represent.

Kevin will work collaboratively with fellow commissioners to increase the transparency and accountability of Lane County government, and work to improve Lane County’s economy while protecting the environment.

Please visit friendsofkevinmatthews.org for more information about Kevin and join me in voting for him!

Helen Hollyer, Creswell

 

MORE THAN JUST A SCHOOL

Southeast of Eugene lies my hometown and the small community of Pleasant Hill. The town is small but holds many dear memories to the town folk. The high school is where most of us made those lifelong memories, either at football games, barbeques, the always exciting Mr. Billie, or even just having fun in class. Honestly, that building is more than just a school; it’s where many teenagers developed lifelong relationships and where the core of those touching memories originated. I would strongly urge a “yes” vote on Ballot Measure 20-221. The school district deserves it.

More than just memories, the school has provided many young teens with a very high quality education. College classes are now offered at Pleasant Hill, along with a wide range of AP classes. The friendly staff and faculty are definitely a blessing to the kids. The renovation of this school would make the already high-quality education even better. The high-quality education is offset by the poor quality of the facilities.

Last year, as a senior, I completed almost two semesters of college at Pleasant Hill High School. With this bond, the school can be technologically updated, and be provided with more than just a handful of computers for its growing enrollment. I would strongly encourage a vote of “yes” on Measure 20-221. 

This school has provided a lot of young teens with an exceptional education and lifelong friends and memories; let’s give back to this outstanding community, and continue the excellence of Pleasant Hill High School.

Daniel Finfrock, Pleasant Hill

 

CONFRONTING OPPRESSION

I have been to Eugene’s Take Back the Night march for the last five years. It is a space for survivors to empower themselves and stand against oppression. It is unfortunate that cops are present, because many marginalized people are triggered by cops, including many people of color, survivors, women, gay, queer and trans folks, houseless folks and those who have been incarcerated. Regardless of whether individual cops have good intentions, cops are part of a larger institution that upholds capitalism, white supremacy, transphobia and victim blaming.

For these reasons, I brought a sign reading “Cops perpetuate patriarchy” to the march. I was told by the safety team that certain people were “uncomfortable” with my sign and it was causing “hurt feelings.” I was informed that I needed to remove the sign or myself.

Cops at this event makes me more than “uncomfortable,” and the oppression that many cops perpetuate does more than hurt my feelings. Holding this sign was a small and reasonable way of empowering myself and confronting oppression in an otherwise supportive space.

Whose needs does the safety team prioritize? The thousands of victims of police brutality every year? The sexual assault victims who are shamed, blamed and ignored by police every day? Or a few feelings hurt by a sign?

 Jennifer Donovan, WE RESIST, Eugene

 

THE REAL WORRY

My web comment on Bob Warren’s piece earns a print response from Slant last week [5/1]! How cool is that?

Slant says I didn’t mention the Great Recession, foreign and domestic competition and “the continued exports of logs” as contributing factors to Oregon’s timber harvest level being “two-thirds of what it was before the spotted owl era.” Taking the last point first, log exports increase Oregon timber harvest, not the other way around. The logs that are exported first have to be logged. Thus, more log exports mean higher, not lower, harvest levels.

The spotted owl-related drop in Oregon harvest occurred in the early 1990s. The Great Recession started in 2007. The two events are not related (although, I should note, in 1991 a timber industry economist predicted that protecting the spotted owl would cause the collapse of Western Civilization). Annual log harvest has increased in Oregon over 1 billion board feet since the 2009 low point. Of course, demand for wood products affects logging levels. But to suggest that low demand means that logging would not be higher if federal timber sales increased stretches the data beyond recognition. As for competition in the log market, there has always been competition. That appears to be the nature of capitalism.

Slant also misunderstands Bob’s political concerns. It is not “conservatives” taking both houses of Congress that worries Bob, as Slant believes. The pending O&C forestry bills are sponsored by Oregon Democrats (Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden), endorsed by Oregon’s governor (a Democrat, too), and supported by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. When environmental activists are not even willing to talk to their elected friends, that’s what concerns Bob, and me, too.

Andy Stahl, Eugene

 

A HEALTHY OREGON?

After reading many articles and letters regarding the aerial spraying of pesticides on Cedar Valley's residents and their resultant health complaints (some still ongoing), I have serious questions and concerns.

How many more poisonings will be allowed, without consequences, before the state of Oregon will take responsibility to protect its people? Cedar Valley, Triangle Lake, LaPine, the list goes on. There is no requirement to protect human health in Oregon’s Forest Practices Act. ODA, the primary investigative arm of Oregon’s Pesticide Analytical Response Center (PARC), does not investigate how or to what degree people are exposed to pesticides, nor is it required to. Applicators are not required to file with any agency their records of what herbicides they used.

Where was the Oregon Health Authority in Cedar Valley’s investigation? Their vision is “a healthy Oregon.” A core value is “integrity” by “enhancing public trust.” How does the OHA protect Oregon’s children who are most susceptible to the detrimental effects of pesticides and herbicides? 2,4-D, triclopyr and glyphosate, all found in Cedar Valley samples, cause and/or have a high correlation with endocrine disruption, reproductive problems and neurological disorders. 

State agencies must be held accountable and pesticide laws need to be re-evaluated to protect human health. 

Carla Hervert, R.N., M.S., Eugene 

 

GIVE OREGON A RAISE

The Seattle mayor recently announced a plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The plan is a product of a 24-member committee and enjoys strong support from the business community, labor leaders and city lawmakers.

Oregon cities currently lack the power to legislate a living wage. There appears to be a growing interest in changing that next session. However, there’s no reason that Gov. Kitzhaber and the state Legislature can’t craft a similar plan. 

I’ve contacted the governor numerous times inquiring about his position on this issue. Is he happy with the status quo, where millions of full-time workers aren’t paid enough to make ends meet and require government assistance? His staffers continue to claim they have no knowledge of the governor’s opinion. I hope the governor will change his mind and demonstrate some real leadership on this vital issue.

Raising the minimum wage to a living wage would lift thousands out of poverty and off government assistance, stimulating the economy, creating opportunity and prosperity. Ultra-rich corporate welfare queens like Walmart, whose low-wage employees require government assistance, don’t deserve to be subsided by taxpayers.

Prices of some products and services will go up. I saw one study that found if Walmart paid their lowest paid employees a living wage they would only have to raise their prices marginally. Regardless of the variable price increases, the right thing to do is to pay the worker a living wage and empower them to make their own consumer choices. 

Joshua Welch, Eugene

 

HOMELESS PETS, TOO

As upsetting as the eviction of the Whoville homeless camp in Eugene was, I do believe our community needs to be just as enraged about another homeless issue. This issue is the homeless dogs and cats in our community, but sadly instead of just being evicted they are murdered for not having a home. Every day both dogs and cats in Lane county are being killed just because they don’t have a family that cares.

The first and most important thing we can ALL do to help save innocent life is to spay and neuter. For every puppy or kitten that is born and sold, one homeless dog or cat is being murdered. We have low cost spay and neuter clinics such as WAG, Eugene city, Veneta Veterinary Hospital, and I am sure there are more. 

The other way we can all help stop the homeless pet problems are to not buy a dog or cat, adopt. Eugene and surrounding areas have great rescue groups. When you adopt from most of these groups the pet you adopt is spayed or neuter, has had some if not all of their shots and may have a microchip. This is a great way to save a life.

I call to you all to help save homeless dogs and cats and stop the senseless murder of them just because they don’t have a place to call home.

 Jennifer King, Eugene

 

MISSING GENRE?

Hello Eugene Public Library. I’m concerned about the Friends of the Library bookstore called Second Hand Prose. There is no section for metaphysical, New Age, meditation or modern spirituality books.

On three different occasions (and with three different volunteers) when I inquired as to where to find it I was met with coldness. I felt like I’d walked into a Christian Bookstore and asked for the Devil’s home phone number. They pointed to “Self Help” and “Religion” and said that’s all they have. But nothing — not a single book on this hugely popular topic.

A town like Eugene would have all manner of books donated to it by patrons. But this topic is nowhere to be seen and not one makes it to the shelves. I inquired (I thought humorously) if when they get those books, do they just throw them away? That’s when it got very uncomfortable. I didn’t get a straight answer but I didn’t get a “no” either. Maybe they should inform patrons not to donate that genre because books will be trashed unless they are straight Christian or scientific materialism.

Donna Waago (aka Oshara), Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We checked with the library and were told by Customer Experience Manager LaVena Nohrenberg that Second Hand Prose does have a “Religion/ Spirituality” section that includes more than Christianity, but there’s not much in it because those topics are very popular in Eugene. Got books to donate? Call 848-1452 or visit friendseugenelibrary.org.