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Letters to the Editor: 5-22-2014

SPORTS VS. DECENCY

I want to know why the three basketball players are not being prosecuted for rape. I find it unfathomable that their word would be taken over the victim’s. Could it be because they are men playing a sport at UO? Just as Josh Huff, UO wide receiver who, despite being clocked at 50 mph down 18th, and having a urine sample that came up positive was acquitted of all charges — and picked up at the jail by a former UO chief of staff.

It looks like sport is more important than the law or human decency. The players think that they can do anything – that any woman’s body is theirs for the taking. We are all being given this message.

Why? So the UO can get more federal funding? So they won’t be said to be negligent (like taking player Brandon Austin who was suspended by another university and is being investigated for sexual assault)?

Our educational institutions should be the first to combat the insidious mind set that perpetuate the war against women in our society where women are underpaid, objectified, and brutalized on a regular basis. But that’s not all. Eugene Weekly publishes ads like American Apparels’ Valentine “gift” to Eugene, full page,  so every man, woman and child could see it — and get the message that this young woman was not a human being. She was a sexual gift, free for the taking.

The Equal Rights Amendment is long overdue. We should all be outraged.

Jean M. Denis, Eugene

 

BETTER URBAN SPACES

Jerry Diethelm’s “Design Matters” column May 15 was the best written comment on the proposed City Hall and Farmers Market that I have read. I was especially pleased that he proposed opening the street in the northwest corner of the Park Blocks. That would help remind us of our connection to the original layout of the city. 

It would seem that the mayor and the majority of the City Council want to continue the policies of piecemeal urban development with little regard to the historic past or to the vision of better public spaces in the future. I think it would be better to make do with current make-shift arrangements than to commit to a second-rate City Hall and parking lots that will be with us well into the future. If the government bodies — city, county, state and federal — do not truly concern themselves with the organization of the urban spaces in downtown Eugene, then who will? Every organization, whether public or private, must consider the context of its building activity and not simply its economic costs. 

And when the city, with a planning staff, ignores both the better physical elements of its history and the future form, texture and physical structure of downtown, Eugene will continue to make “vision” statements not backed by results on the ground.

Alvin Urquhart, Eugene

 

LOGEVALL’S OMISSION

Fredrik Logevall, author of the Pulitzer-winning study of Vietnam, Embers of War, spoke in Eugene May 14 as part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series. He stressed how six U.S. presidents, beginning with Truman, began our involvement. At length, he enumerated how political considerations played a major part. 

Not once, however, did he mention the dynamic that so consumed Eisenhower, especially in his last days as president: the “military-industrial complex.” Through recession and depression, this is the entity that retains its budget, increasing its power and scope every year. In other words, Logevall ignored the 800-pound gorilla in the lecture hall. 

Jayme Vasconcellos, Eugene

 

PICKING AND CHOOSING

Kudos to the six members of our City Council who voted for principle over provincialism in clearing the way for a Whole Foods market in downtown Eugene. It is not the job of the City Council to favor one business over another. That’s crony capitalism. Nor is it the business of our elected representatives to tell citizens that we cannot shop at a particular store because they don’t like that store. What insufferable arrogance!

Got it, George and Betty?

 Chuck Hale, Eugene

 

RAPE POLICIES

Unfortunately the latest rape scandal at the UO represent the school policy too well — no morals are required and take advantage of someone if you can.

The law of Eugene must make its presence known. Perhaps it would be helpful of the chief of police was an elected position.

Too many people have been raped already. Unless rapists are prosecuted, students expelled and administrators fired, this part of preventing sexual violence cannot move forward.

Jamie Clarkson, Eugene

 

KEEP READING

I’m sorry that Lon Miller from Drain [Letters, 5/15] is so mired in the Old Testament, full of judgment, condemnation and “hell fire.” His Bible also has a New Testament in which tolerance, acceptance and love are taught — “Sermon on the Mount” is good reading. One can hope that Miller will read on. Meanwhile, thank you, Sally Sheklow, for your messages of inclusion rather than exclusion. Onward.

Jay Moseley, Eugene

 

STUDENTS DEFAMED

It is not illegal for UO students to get together for group sex. UO President Michael Gottfredson had no right to violate the privacy of the students involved, and it is a certainty the UO will be paying financial penalties to the three male students, if courts uphold the relevant laws.

Defamatory statements have been made against the three by publications, individuals and individuals representing institutions. A KVAL reporter tried to tell District Attorney Alex Gardner that the three should be charged criminally so that they would have a chance to prove their innocence.

Inversion of the burden of proof is a central element to the alarmist atmosphere. If a university can publicly denounce the private sex activities of these guys, then so could a right-wing president denounce the sex acts of gay students and throw them out of school for being abnormal.

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in higher ed. The sex McCarthyites on the UO campus (and many others) are getting used by the likes of President Obama who uses concocted sexual assault statistics to mobilize a voting block that will install Hillary as next killer-in-chief.

Kevin Hornbuckle, Eugene

 

UNPRODUCTIVE VITRIOL

To Lon Miller [Letters, 5/15], living in the deep woods near Drain: “Judge not lest you be judged.” Your vitriol against Sally Sheklow and others of her ilk is unproductive.

Homosexuality has always been and will always be so it would serve society better to focus your energy on something that can actually be affected, i.e., parity in education, income or housing. Try to convince your rural neighbors not to cook meth; that would really be productive.

Remember: When you point a finger, you have three fingers pointing back at you.

Annie Kayner, Eugene

 

NOTHING TO HIDE?

During my morning online surfing recently I logged on to Monsanto’s website and clicked on “Our Pledge” to see what values they hold. The third pledge under “Transparency” reads: “We will ensure that information is available, accessible and understandable.” If this is true, then why are we fighting Monsanto to label products that are or use genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? The corporation’s response is that if we were to mandate labeling of products that derived from GM seeds it would create the assumption that GM products are unhealthy and inferior to their organic counterparts.

They also claim the FDA has found no evidence to suggest that GM crops are harmful to humans and the environment so it is unnecessary to put fear in the consumer’s minds. If there is truly nothing to hide, why are they so against us having access to information about which products have GM ingredients? There was a time when the cigarette companies made similar claims. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarettes kill nearly five million people worldwide every year. Cigarettes are now labeled as harmful, yet millions of people continue to light up. The difference is we need good food to survive. Whether or not Monsanto and their “scientists” believe that GMOs are harmless, the choice should still be ours.

Monsanto needs to back up its pledge and label their GM foods. On Saturday, May 24, people in 275 cities around the globe will join together for the March Against Monsanto. Come to the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at noon. We will march to Alton Baker Park where there will be a family friendly event of music, guest speakers and a picnic in the park from 2:30 until 5:30 pm. There will also be opportunity to get involved including signing the petition for a GMO labeling initiative for the November ballot. Find us on Facebook under “March Above & Beyond Monsanto, Eugene” or call 606-7773.

Aaron P. Kubat, Springfield 

 

PLAYING WITH INVASIVES

Precious farmland is being turned into invasive plantings for dirty biomass incineration. With little rain halting food production in California and parts of the Southwest, our farmland is growing more valuable for food production. This is not a time to experiment with invasive plants. 

Portland General Electric has already planted several acres with the very invasive Arundo donax to discover if it could be burned in their Boardman plant instead of coal. They not only ignore the fact that dirty emissions would increase but that once Arundo is planted it is impossible to control and northern Oregon would be blanketed with a growing menace to farms, parkland and rivers.

To quote Judi Sanders of the Native Plant Society, it is one of the fastest-growing weeds in the world and in areas where it becomes established, it alters river ecology and drastically reduces populations of native plants and animals. She further explains that no regulations can be strong enough to prevent this plant from escaping cultivation when it is planted on a large scale for biofuel production. Portland General Electric states that it might need 90,000 acres to plant this invasive species to feed the Boardman power plant each year. With drought conditions limiting food production in the Southwest, our farmland must be protected to feed Oregonians.

 Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

A WASTFUL DIET

Would you ever open your refrigerator, pull out 16 plates of pasta, toss 15 in the trash, and then eat just one plate of food? How about leveling 55 square feet of rainforest for a single meal or dumping 2,400 gallons of water down the drain? Of course you wouldn’t. But if you’re eating chickens, fish, turkeys, pigs, cows, milk or eggs, that’s what you’re doing — wasting resources and destroying our environment.

A recent U.N. report concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. And the U.N. is not alone in its analysis. A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute. 

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from a standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against climate change than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid. And a German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse-gas emissions as a vegan’s diet is. The verdict is in: If you care about the environment, one of the single most effective things that you can do to save it is to adopt a vegan diet.

For more information, please visit GoVeg.com.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene

 

THE THREAT OF GMOS 

Genetically modified organisms qualify as biocides as well as food; some plants are Round Up resistant (herbicide) and other are pesticide producing, this means that poisons are mixed in with our food.

One of the definitions of life is the capacity to duplicate oneself: reproduce. This is a danger that even the most deadly toxins such as VX, batrachotoxin and strychnine don’t pose. Even radioactive isotopes of uranium, plutonium and radium don’t mate and have babies. It is true that their effects are very long lasting but once isolated and kept locked, they are out of commission (hopefully). 

With genetic engineering we have let loose on the planet a never-before encountered malady. Pollen drifts all around the globe and organic farmer’s livelihoods and hard work are threatened by their ignorant neighbors; These genetic engineering marketing victims are consumers of a product that makes them dependent on chemicals and patented seeds, which they can’t save like their ancestors did.

Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides kill weeds and also kill all other beneficial flora and organisms.  This also interferes with other crops that may be desired later since these type of poisons have very long half-lives. These poisons are widely promoted and used by public and private parties because of the power that the government who provides subsidies and industry who lobbies have.

Lets protect our right to know what we are eating by collecting signatures and voting “yes” on labeling.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene