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Letters to the Editor: 7-17-2014

VIOLATION OF POLICY

As anyone following my campaign for West Lane County commissioner knows, I am deeply concerned about lack of transparency at the county. It was a central tenet of my campaign, and one of the main reasons I spent nearly a year and a half working for change on the board. However, I take issue with Commissioner Pete Sorenson’s focus in the last EW on the county’s handling of the “challenged ballot” process. While indeed the decision to open the Elections Office on Saturday to give Commissioner Jay Bozievich access to the challenged ballot list could give the “perception” of a problem, I do believe the administrator’s assurances that this access would have been extended to my campaign, had the roles been reversed. We should remember that this was the first time the county was dealing with a new process, the county’s handling of that new process may not have been exactly graceful, but here’s what is more important — the way it was handled did not affect the outcome in any way

What did, however, presents a serious breach of Lane County policy (and possibly represents a statutory violation) and did impact potentially many, many actual votes was the misuse of the county logo and county-issued equipment to promote my opponent. I am referring specifically to Sheriff Tom Turner’s appearances in uniform on Bozievich’s paid direct mail and television advertisements. While it is Turner’s right to endorse candidates, it is my understanding that publicly funded equipment including logos and uniforms are not available for promotion of a political candidate. In contrast, when the Lane Professional Firefighters Association IAFF Local 851 endorsed me, they were careful and ethical to ensure that no fire engine or any uniforms were visible in any photos they took with me. 

In any election, I expect better from the sheriff and the county commissioners. The use of publicly funded county property to promote the incumbent was a breach of ethics, a violation of the public trust and may indeed have been a violation of the law. In an election won by 74 votes, with a runoff avoided by only 19 votes, voters have a right to wonder whether the outcome would have been different if Bozievich had actually complied with county policy in his campaign.

Sorenson is correct to raise questions about ethics, but his focus with these questions seems significantly misplaced. To my knowledge, neither he nor any of the other sitting commissioners have expressed objections to this clear violation of county policy by two high-level county elected officials.

Dawn Lesley, Eugene

 

THE FINAL MATCH

To Killian Doherty: What a remarkable article you wrote this week [Whutsupworldcup, 7/10] in EW. I’m from Argentina, and I moved a few years ago to Oregon because my family is here and you know how we are about family. 

Your point of view about my culture and how other cultures are seeing Argentina made a great impression on me. I always knew all that but to have the chance to read it is a plus.

I completely agree with you, and as you wrote, “Messi is the greatest soccer player of my generation,” certainly he is. 

Sunday I will be transpirando la camiseta as a #12 player, and even we don’t have the biggest reward at the World Cup, I’ll be so, so proud of my team because I know for a fact they’ll do everything and more in that final match. 

Thank you so much for your article, you made me feel not that foreign in your country. 

Andrea Lara, Lake Oswego & Eugene

 

NOT ALL ARE EVOLVED

In the ongoing discussion about sexual assault on college campuses (and elsewhere), one thread has focused on the importance of avoiding blaming the victim. As a staunch feminist, I agree with Kristin Teigen [Letters, 7/10] when she writes that “women should not be asked to change their lives to prevent men from sexually assaulting them” — with one significant caveat. I believe that all young people, especially young women, should be educated in certain basic safety precautions as they’re preparing to enter the adult world.

Among the guidelines I would pass along to my nieces (I’m not a parent) and others are the following: 1) Don’t get so drunk that you lose touch with what’s going on around you, especially in a large group that includes a bunch of strangers. 2) At a party or a bar, don’t accept a drink, alcoholic or otherwise, from someone you don’t know. There’s a tiny chance it could be spiked with a date-rape drug. Pour your own beer from the keg. If a stranger offers to buy you a drink and you want to accept, accompany him to the bar to get it. 

I am not coming from a mentality of “boys will be boys,” nor from a place of fear. I’m coming from the practical realization that until we’ve all evolved to Buddhahood, there are a very few dangerous folks out there who will take advantage of someone who’s under the influence of an intoxicant. My advice is in line with don’t leave valuables in your car, and lock your doors when you go to bed at night. 

Kelley Blewster, Springfield

 

BLAMING VS. REALITY

While the sexual assault awareness project at the UO is great for those who are really victims, it is really too late by college age to change behavior patterns. The last paragraph of Camilla Mortensen’s news story [7/10] proves that. Such truisms such as actions have consequences, nonverbal language is more powerful than verbal, and the Golden Rule are all taught by example by parents starting when a child is 18 months, not 18 years. Men and women both bear the responsibility to act civilly toward each other. 

Also, there is a big difference between a victim — who is put upon physically or emotionally without their consent, and a player — who chooses to put themselves into a situation where there is chugging, popping, snorting, twerking and grinding going on.

And in the real world it does matter what people wear, where they go by themselves and who they choose to hang out with. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s called reality. It would be great if women could put on their high-heeled sneakers and low cut sweaters and expect the men around them to deal with it, but that’s La-La Land thinking. America is not Somalia and this is not a perfect world so let’s all take a deep breath, stay in reality and use logic instead of emotion when dealing with male/female interactions.

Annie Kayner, Eugene

 

OUTSIDE THE GATES OF EDEN

A few weeks ago, a friend and I traveled to French Pete in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area about 60 miles east of Eugene. In a grove of old-growth Douglas fir it was so peaceful, quiet, alive and beautiful. The air was pure, the sky deep blue and the South Fork of the McKenzie River’s water crystal clear — and cold.

Being there feels sacred — at least sublime if not divine. The dark, green ancient forest evokes paradise, especially when shared with a good friend. The relentless deer flies reminded us we were definitely outside the Gates of Eden.

But then, on our way back to Eugene, we encounter a northern spotted owl flying as if from another reality. The owl lands on the branch of a tree on the side of a road, perching 30 feet above ground. Amazed at this rare appearance, we are compelled to pull over and look at the owl.

We know the owl indicates the ecological health of the Earth’s region in which we live and that it is a species threatened with extinction. At one point, the owl seems to bow its head as if in solemn prayer — and then turns its head looking directly at us with penetrating wise eyes imploring, “You must change your life.”

Sam Porter, Eugene

 

CROTCH FLAGS VIOLATE

Cultured debauchees flaunting the flag [cover photo and story, 7/3] are obviously products of poor parenting and public education; they look to be constitutionally ignorant, morally vague, spiritually confused and pre-diabetic. I pity their babies watching Dad down a pint. Their ancestors were probably “know nothings” who knew but didn’t tell Mom and Dad about parenting and responsibility. 

Claiming the rights of a nation by wearing the flag around your crotch is to be a “know nothing” who really does not have a clue, but! The Weekly ought to be more responsible; using the flag for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever denigrates it and the republic for which it stands. Prostituting the flag is in violation of federal law. Fortunately for the Weekly, the rule of law has been prostituted too; corporations wave the flag because they are proud, and have manipulated the fine of $50 a day to be restricted to Washington, D.C., only. 

Jon Meadow, Eugene

 

THE APHIDS ARE COMING

In response to Mike Koivula’s comment in the “Bee Kills Lead to New Restrictions” story July 3, I wanted to mention to him that linden trees (Tilia spp.) are very susceptible to aphid infestations indeed. So are tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) and northern red oaks (Quercus rubra) to name a few of the trees I witness being attacked every year. Some years are better than others but if it’s a bad year, lindens will be covered with aphids — no exception!

 Alby Thoumsin, arborist, Springfield

 

SAD DEMOCRACY

Raphael Aldave says it perfectly [Lighten Up, 7/3]. Our so-called democracy is in sorry shape. Government is all about what big business wants and not at all about what citizens need to lead healthy, productive lives. 

Georgette Silber, Eugene

 

A PAIR OF PARADOXES

Protesting plans for export of oil, coal and natural gas helps the energy companies via unintended acceptance of exaggerated reserve estimates. Energy company share values are partly based on the size of the resources they have access to, and exaggeration of those estimates boosts their values. Coal peaked in the U.S. in 1999. Conventional natural gas peaked in 1973. Oil extraction peaked in the U.S. in 1970, even if there is misleading hype that we supposedly are going to become an oil exporter due to fracking. And speaking of fracking, it is a dirty secret that fracked wells deplete faster than conventional wells. Fracking for natural gas is near or at peak. Fracking for oil has been a short term boom, but it cannot replace the existing fields that are depleting. In May, the Department of Energy admitted plans for oil fracking in California had been exaggerated and downsized the estimated resource by 95 percent.

If we keep burning fossil fuels we will continue to wreck the biosphere, but if we suddenly stopped that would wreck civilization, which could accelerate ecological destruction (how many forests would be burned for electricity, for example). Fossil fuels allowed our population to zoom from under a billion to over seven billion today.

Climate activists say if we don’t “do something” fossil fuel combustion will increase. However, we are at peak(ed) energy and cannot increase usage even if we wanted to.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene, PeakChoice.org

 

MIXED-USE PATH

When I read Ted Chudy’s letter “Bike Congestion” in the July 10 EW, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s a mixed-use area! When I was walking down there this morning I saw road bikes, mountain bikes, three-wheel bikes, those odd upright elliptical bikes, moms and dads with strollers, toddlers, children, adults, old folks with walkers, dogs, squirrels and geese. 

Rather than painting a line down the middle and then issuing citations to the dog owners when their dogs cross the line, Ted should follow the common practice and slow down when approaching groups, give warning when passing. And please use some common sense and compassion. If he wants to avoid dealing with this delightful diversity, he should go drive on the freeway and then he can complain about the people driving too slow in the fast lane.

Billy Lindros, Eugene