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Letters to the Editor: 7-31-2014

WHAT KIND OF FORCE?

I know it’s tilting at windmills, but I want to express a quibble I have long had with a phrase that policymakers and journalists alike seem to love to employ: “use(s) of force.”

The brief article about Eugene Police Department’s “‛sustained’ rate of misconduct,” [7-24] utilizes this phrase eight times. What does the speaker saying “use of force” intend to mean? The common assumption is violent force, i.e., coercive by employing pain and threat. 

It bears pointing out that “force,” in and of itself, is a quite neutral term. From physics, the word connotes the capability to create movement or change in a given system. This, under particular circumstances, could be a very good thing. It takes force to pull a drowning life form out of the water. 

Only a sustained force of some type can bring down repressive governments or oppressive cultural habits; but this force does not ever necessarily have to be violent.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that unarmed truth and love are “the most powerful force in the universe.”

Our media and community leaders have fallen into a semantic habit that eclipses our possibilities to be better as a people and as a society. If you are reporting on affairs in our various communities that affect us all, take the extra time to specify the kind of force you are referring to: Do you mean destructive, violent force, or by some chance are you actually evoking another way to both protect the populace as well as move us all forward to a better world? 

Gandhi’s satyagraha is typically translated to mean “the force of truth and love.” Real change can happen without stooping to violence and coercion.

 Vip Short, Eugene

 

MEDICARE FOR ALL

Until recently I have had no medical insurance. I’ve paid out of pocket for any care that I needed. Luckily I haven’t had any catastrophic diseases or accidents that would’ve put me in that sinking boat known as medical bankruptcy. 

In recent years my personal health care bills have averaged $1,155 annually. Obamacare has forced me to buy health insurance which is OK in theory, knowing that we all need quality health care, and it has done some good things like eliminating existing conditions denials. 

The problem is that under the current system I now have a monthly premium of $330 and maximum deductions before I get any service. Let's do the math: For one year for a very healthy person, my costs would be $3,960 plus $6,300 equals $10,260, and then the insurance plan only pays 40 percent for services. Additionally, I will still have to pay for any visits to chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists, massage therapists and urgent care facilities I may need to keep my body and brain functioning optimally. 

Wow, I could be medically bankrupt in a heartbeat. I’m way better off paying the $1,155 a year and taking my chances. 

I’m disgusted with our current system. We need a different approach, one that provides better health care for all of us at less cost. Insurance companies are not truly interested in helping “the public” — they are a huge middle-man drain to our pocket books. 

I believe we should eliminate the insurance companies and go to a Medicare-for-all system. Canada, New Zealand and all other countries which have this type of approach are so much better off health-wise and cost-wise than the U.S. 

Vicki Anderson, Springfield

 

ACA IS ONLY A STEP

Human rights of various kinds are mentioned in the news. I believe that health care is a basic human right. A study of other countries’ health care offerings indicates the notion is not new. It’s high time that health care is affordable for all. Economists have shown that a reasonable monthly premium would cover it without co-pays or non-covered procedures. The Affordable Care Act cannot do that; it is only a step in the right direction. It’s time to take this next step. 

Joan Armstead, Eugene

 

ON LINDENS AND APHIDS

I have great friends in this community who helped remind me that there are exceptions. After my comment [Letters, 7/17] stating that “if it’s a bad year, Lindens will be covered with aphids — no exception!” I realized that usually silver lindens (Tilia tomentosa) are not normally susceptible but I wasn’t 100-percent sure. As soon as the comment was public, my two good friends Whitey and Erik called me and confirmed my doubts: Aphids don’t bother silver lindens. I felt like it needed to be said; we wouldn’t want to stop planting lindens now, would we?

 Alby Thoumsin, arborist, Sperry Tree Care, Eugene

 

READING COMPREHENSION

Early in grammar school, while I was being taught to read, I was also taught comprehension. Billy Lindros [7/17] responded to my letter [7/10] about bike path safety, which indicates he can read, but I give him an “F” in comprehension.

He tells me to slow down when approaching groups and signal when passing, to use common sense and compassion, and if I don’t like it I should drive on the freeway and complain about people driving too slow in the fast lane.

I don’t know where in my letter it said that I’m a disgruntled cyclist. One paragraph stated a person looking at a cell phone walked into me while I was on my bicycle. This incident happened while that group was walking toward me, and had nothing to do with me not giving warning when passing, or being courteous.

Fact is I walk/jog about an hour every other day, so I spend around 180 hours a year on the path as a pedestrian. I’m 71 and couldn’t race along on my bike if I wanted to. I seldom bicycle the path anymore.

After 23 years of living on and using the path I’m well aware of bike path etiquette. I’m simply an observer of a dangerous situation that I believe will get worse as Eugene’s population and bike-path traffic increases. I propose a simple and inexpensive solution to the problem [a stripe down the center and arrows]. It may not be the best solution but I haven’t heard another. 

Bill, if you think the bike path is just fine the way it is, I hope you can convince Marion Kyle, the 89-year-old who suffered a brain concussion, scalp laceration, kidney injuries, fractured pelvis, broken ribs, fractured vertebrae and a broken bone in her hand after being struck by a bicycle on the bike path. (See “Perilous Pathway,” R-G, April 13.)

Ted Chudy, Eugene

 

 

VIEW FROM THE RIGHT

A couple of interesting letters in the July 24 mailbag:

Jerry Smith (“Worse Than Prison”) laments the “inhumane” treatment of the tsunami of illegal immigrant children pouring across our southern border. I’m assuming, therefore, that Mr. Smith will gladly open up his home to a few of these kids to feed, clothe, educate and otherwise provide for them. That’ll help me and all the other U.S. taxpayers foot this rapidly growing bill.

Ruth Duemler (“Stop UGB Growth”) is concerned about the loss of farmland to development. Me too. Since the loss of farmland is closely tied to population growth and since most U.S. population growth is due to immigration, I’ll suggest that Ms. Duemler — and anyone else who can connect the dots — vote “no” on the illegal immigrant driver card referendum in November.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

WHAT THE WHAT?

I am writing to express my shock and dismay that, this year, the Lane County Fair had sea lions on display who were kept in teeny, tiny pools relative to their size and needs. How is this stuff even permissible? 

Lina Staub, Eugene

 

AN IGNORED HAZARD

Take Back Your Power is an award-winning documentary that was screened and introduced by the filmmaker Josh Del Sol on July 23 in Eugene. This is a powerful film exposing and explaining all of the controversies surrounding digital “smart meters” (electric, water and gas meters). The film and other info can be accessed at TakeBackYourPower.net.

Families For SAFE Meters has served the Eugene City Council and mayor with a “legal notice and demand” with the intention of holding the council and mayor responsible for EWEB’s irresponsible plans to conduct a mass population experiment by installing untested and uncertified digital smart meters in their service area without regard for the overwhelming proof that these meters would negatively impact the health, safety, privacy and security of the people and environment of Eugene. This proof has also been presented to the council and mayor along with the film.

You will not find much information about this issue in mainstream media, including our very own EW, which has chosen to ignore the topic. For the real lowdown, do an internet and YouTube search for “smart meters.” When you see the evidence for yourself you will understand what all the fuss is about and why we must keep digita,l electric, water and gas meters out of our community. Demand accountability from your public servants!

Abraham Likwornik, Eugene

 

A FORCED PUBLIC USE

The Supreme Court of the United States cannot be ignored. In 1970, SCOTUS ruled in Goldberg v. Kelly that “welfare benefits” constitute “property” under the Fourteenth Amendment language “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In 2010, SCOTUS ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that the First Amendment protects the free speech of corporations, which reaffirmed past rulings that had granted personhood to corporations in U.S. law.

In light of those SCOTUS rulings, consider the Fifth Amendment language “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” If a welfare check is the property of a welfare recipient, then business revenues are the property of a corporation. The “private property” defined by “business revenues” is therefore protected by the Fifth Amendment and cannot “be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

In requiring employers to provide earned paid sick leave to their employees, the Eugene City Council would be requiring employers to provide the equivalent of welfare to people in need, which is a forced “public use” of the “private property” of the corporations that do business in Eugene. Consequently, the city of Eugene would be obligated by the Constitution to give “just compensation” to all employers who would be forced to provide an earned paid sick leave benefit to their employees.

Many employers in Eugene are national corporations that have powerful corporate attorneys protecting their interests. My advice is: Don’t be stupid. 

Steven A. Sylwester

Eugene