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Letters to the Editor: 9-25-2014

A ONE-TIME GIFT

Regarding City Hall, it’s important to understand that steel and concrete are inevitably desirable building materials because they are so structural. Unfortunately, they are also very energy intensive to produce. Therefore, from a standpoint of green building (to say nothing of climate change), concrete and steel should only be used as a last resort and only in the context of extreme building longevity during which the embodied energy costs can “amortize out” over time. 

In other words, you don’t build a concrete and steel building and then nonchalantly tear it down 50 years later because it’s not new and pretty any more.

If indeed the city of Eugene chooses to demolish City Hall, whatever is built in its place should be built to last a long time — not just for the reasons cited above, but because in another 50 years the fossil fuels will be gone and there is nothing on the horizon that is going to replace them in the way we’ve been using them. The fossil fuels, so central to our construction practices and way of life generally, have been a one-time gift that we’re squandering shamelessly. An unnecessary and financially dubious demolition of City Hall would be a case in point.

Robert Bolman, Eugene

 

DOING WHAT’S BEST

It is interesting to see the enormous amount of “public participation” it takes to even slow down a tiny, tiny, tiny group of politicians and bureaucrats. Reminds me of the parking lot next to the river. But remember the politicians and bureaucrats are going to do what “is best for the community.” Eugene will have a new City Hall.

Frank Skipton, Eugene

 

DO WE HAVE A PROBLEM?

I would like to thank the folks that came up with the “Best DUI Lawyer” category on the Best of Eugene ballot. As soon as I saw it, I said “Fuck yeah!” to myself. Why? Because to me, I see a sarcastic, passive-aggressive way of letting Eugene know that we might have a drinking problem. We have breweries everywhere and we can also make money off of our consumption. Fuck yeah, Eugene Weekly, for reminding us about our current position. 

And I say all this under assumption — I just don’t understand how some fellow Weekly readers are getting upset by it. Do you guys really think that EW is endorsing drinking and driving? Wow. OK. You guys have the power to think so, so kill me, but I am just trying to open some eyes, which is what I think the Weekly was trying to do — raising awareness. 

James Spoor, Eugene

 

TRASHING OUR BIOME

David Nickles is my personal hero of the summer for reporting the dumping of fireworks sand and waste by the city of Eugene to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality [News story, 9/18].

Richard Zucker showed a profound lack of judgment and understanding of the fragility of the natural environment. Perchlorate and other hormone disruptors are not to be taken lightly. We ought not to govern the health of our bodies and land by way of state regulations, but by an understanding that health is best maintained when we keep our ecosystems free of unhealthy, foreign agents.

Our land and bodies have taken a severe beating over decades of poor environmental and food health practices. Because of that, many people are vulnerable to small doses of chemicals. We also need to respect that the health of the environment and people are influenced by the vast community of microbes (the microbiome) that surrounds us. 

We are still learning what a healthy microbiome looks like, but until we do, let’s do what we can to keep our land and body’s ecosystems as pristine as possible.

Reid Kimball, Eugene

 

BETTER VEAL

Last week’s letter [9/11] urging people to boycott restaurants that serve veal assumes the worst. Yes, we all condemn factory farms that use inhumane and unhealthy methods to produce food. But free-range chickens and grass-fed, pasture-raised beef/veal are humane and healthy. 

Restaurants that buy veal from growers who feed their cattle grass and graze them in pasture are sustaining the environment as well as producing a type of meat that is highly priced by chefs and enjoyed internationally. We enjoy baby lambs so why not baby cows? Look on the menu and note listings such as Mazzi’s Northwest Free Range Veal Marsala, which comes from Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farms in Pleasant Hill.

We should patronize restaurants that feature locally raised, environmentally sustainable, organic, humanely harvested foods and hope that their success influences other restaurants and other growers.

Vincenza Scarpaci

Eugene

 

A BETTER PATH TO PEACE

I am horrified that our president and our government are launching us into more military campaigns. Will it ever end? The response is more terror and more hatred. While killing and displacing millions, we contribute to the destruction of our precious planet. Weapons industries profit hugely, while human needs are sacrificed. Just look at our annual federal budget.

 The International Day of Peace is coming up. How can we “celebrate peace” as we enter a period of unlimited military mobilization? Yet we must say “NO!” to war, to the militarization of police, to our national culture of violence.

Nonviolence offers an alternative path from the one our society is currently on. We can remember the examples from Gandhi’s India and the civil rights movement in the U.S. Both required deep trainings that exposed many people to the philosophical roots and skills of nonviolence. The imaginative actions, risk taking and the sufferings to which people were exposed moved hearts and broadened support. 

We have held many vigorous demonstrations for peace, and I hope we will continue. But as a movement, I believe we must move beyond that into expressions that rise more deeply from nonviolent philosophy. Let’s keep going!

 Peg Morton, Eugene

 

VET CAMP SUPPORT

Regarding the veterans camp off the Northwest Expressway: Even though some of us are working at minimum wage they have taken away a percentage of our food stamps. Though we try to share and pull things together we are always running dangerously low and out of food.

God’s people never have to beg for food; this I believe. He’s faithful and always brings something, although it may be days apart. 

I see it as, “You have not because you ask not.” So I will write on everyone’s behalf. We could really use items like milk, boxed dry cereals and sodas — things with a longer shelf life. Hot dogs and buns, Polish-style dogs.

It would be a great blessing if some of the fast-food chains could drop off some of their leftover food that might get tossed out, like McDonald’s, pizza parlors, maybe some upscale restaurants. These could be used as tax write-offs, I assume.

Canned good are always a good staple item, but leftover Kentucky Fried Chicken sounds pretty sweet now that it’s cooling off in the evenings.

With your imagination combined with ours and our efforts and hard work, no one here at this veterans site should go hungry. All will be greatly appreciated and none of this food will go to waste. Thank you for your warm hearts and generosity. 

P.S. If people would stop driving past our camp at late hours and honking we would be more rested for work the next day. And perhaps stop yelling, “Get a job, you bums” all hours of the day and night. It would help with some of our self-esteem.

Ron Smith, Eugene

 

A BIG IMPROVEMENT

After having carefully read Measure 91, which would regulate, tax and legalize marijuana, I think that it merits serious consideration. I am very troubled that we have cited and jailed so many people for marijuana for minor infractions. People of color are particularly singled out. 

According to an Aug. 14 Oregonian article by Noelle Crombie, 7 percent of all arrests in Oregon are for simple marijuana possession; the laws about marijuana are vague and inconsistent. Many of our young adults now have a record that makes it hard for them to get jobs, housing or student loans. How does that benefit society? 

Also, the “crime” of marijuana is taking up the financial and personnel resources of police at a time when there are violent crimes to worry about. How does that make sense?

Measure 91 is a tight, thorough, well-crafted law with the right restrictions. A very positive aspect of Measure 91 is that a portion of the tax revenue that is generated will go toward treatment, prevention and mental health programs, as opposed to having money flow to gangs and cartels. 

I urge voters to carefully review Measure 91. Know what it does: regulate, tax and legalize marijuana. It is a far better approach to what we have now. Treating marijuana as a crime has failed, at substantial cost to society. I’ll vote for the new approach.

Zenia Liebman, Junction City

 

 DISTRICT 11 CHOICE

Andy Petersen, a rancher from Camp Creek, offers District 11 voters a choice in state representative.

New to politics yet a veteran public servant, Petersen is committed to hearing all sides of any issue; he will not be swayed by special interest groups. Petersen has life experience managing natural resources and knows we can find solutions to feed our growing population, provide safe and nutritious food for our children and bolster those among us who are “food-insecure.” 

Petersen’s opponent, a seven-term incumbent, sits in Salem while Oregon lags behind the nation in recovery from the recession. Petersen believes Oregon leadership must do more to care for our most vulnerable, instead of wasting millions on stumbles like the Columbia Crossing or Cover Oregon. As a former finance officer in the Air Force, Petersen is greatly concerned about accountability and balancing the budget.

We need our legislators to be socially and fiscally responsible. That’s why I’m voting for Andy Petersen!

Heidi Christian, Springfield

 

HEART OF THE WHIT?

A recent ad for a home for sale in “the heart of the Whit” seems to me to be a blatant false advertisement. Last time I checked the Whiteaker neighborhood ends at 7th Avenue. 

So, unless Google Earth is wrong, this house is not even in the Whit much less at the heart of it. So I say to this person, as I say to everyone who wants to come down here and make a buck off of the recent gentrification of our home: Get the hell out of our neighborhood!

Michael Life, Eugene

 

GETTING EVEN

The Ferguson Police Department has two Humvees for a town of 60,000. Eugene only has one for our city of 160,000. It seems to me we need at least six to be safe to attain the same sense of security as our sister city in Missouri. 

Without the necessary ordinance, the bourgeoisie University District would be vulnerable to an armed insurrection backed by the Brewery Cartel from the Whiteaker neighborhood and could bring the East Side Story to its knees, enforcing its panhandling ideals on the resident population.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

CONTRARY DEMOCRATS

Before donating to, endorsing and casting votes for Oregon Democrat politicians, environmentally conscious voters and environmental organizations need to examine the Democrats' contrary positions — possibly without precedent — regarding an array of environmental issues.

For instance, the entire Oregon congressional delegation, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, voted to publicly fund the proliferation of nuclear power across the nation via an Oregon-based company called Nuscale. In February 2014 through a legislative rider Wyden successful suspended the Clean Water Act for the timber industry. 

Also in the 2014 Farm Bill, Democrats successfully passed a salvage logging rider (Section 8204) suspending many environmental safeguards upon 45 million acres of national forests. 

Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader and Wyden and Gov. John Kitzhaber are actively proposing to remove 2.6 million acres of BLM O&C lands from Northwest Forest Plan rules and regulations. Kitzhaber is proposing to sell off the entire 90,000 acre Elliott State Forest. Kitzhaber’s campaign received more than $70,000 in December 2013 from Oregon’s biggest timber operators, including Weyerhaeuser. 

Schrader — representing south Portland, Salem and Newport — is Congress’s largest recipient of campaign cash from Weyerhaeuser and International Paper. Based on these anti-environmental policies and the huge donations (bribes) from destroyers of the natural world, will the Sierra Club and Oregon League of Conservation Voters, as well as lessor influential entities, endorse these Oregon Democrats? If they do endorse, does this constitute negligence and malpractice as nonprofit organizations being paid to protect our rivers, ancient ecosystems, wildlife, air and water?

 Shannon Wilson, Eugene

 

A REASON FOR ‘UNETHICAL MEAT’ 

In response to Ms. McDaniel’s letter of 9/11 regarding veal, it is important to understand where and why there is veal available. Anyone consuming bovine dairy products is supporting the veal industry. The calves are byproducts of cows bred over and over to produce milk for humans. The calves are jerked away from their mothers and sent to be fattened and slaughtered. Think twice about the next glass of cow’s milk you drink. 

Alice Williams, Eugene

 

FOSSIL FOOLS

Thousands of events are planned this coming week centered around getting significant global action on the climate change crisis. While the fossil fuel industry and others has played the “doubt card,” very much like the tobacco industry did regarding the negative effects of second hand smoke, the truth is all around us. Just look out your window and see the exceptionally dry land and the smoke filled air from the intense forest fires here in Oregon. 

OSU climate scientists predict a three-fold increase in forest fires in the Pacific Northwest due to climate change in the near future; island nations are disappearing, food shortages and disease are on the rise and countless species are going extinct. We must be the ones to demand change, and it must be now. 

Most of the leading experts agree that a price on carbon which includes practices such as clear-cut logging, mining, concentrated animal feeding operations and chemical farming with all the external costs of these practices will help speed the transition to sustainable methods for supplying our needs, as explained in Paul Hawkins and Amory Lovins’ book, Natural Capitalism. This is a global wake-up call: Fossil fools, there are no jobs — or life — on a dead planet.

Pamela Driscoll, Dexter

 

PERPETUAL WAR

The most remarkable thing about President Obama’s presidency was supposed to be that he was the first black American elected to the office. Instead, Obama was, before he took the oath of office, thrust into three of the most insoluble conundrums of the 21st century: The national economy was plunged into recession by an overreliance on the invisible hand of the market; two U.S. wars were raging with no end game in sight; and politics in the Washington Beltway had left comity in favor of the most bitter of divisions not observed since the Civil War.

After nearly six years of the Obama presidency, the economy has gained much of the ground lost, corporate profits are higher than ever, but wages stagnate to 1950s levels. Obama during those six years repeatedly reached out to the loyal opposition only to be rebuffed by a small number of radicals who view cooperation as appeasement.

It has been estimated that during World War II, some 60 million humans died. One can only imagine what World War III will bring: 120 million dead or more. If Obama believes he needs to take down ISIL in order to protect U.S. lives and property, then so be it. However, we are creating the conditions that enable perpetual war. President Obama’s agenda appears to be balanced and conditional. Unfortunately, other agendas are equally as persuasive to the most violent actors inside terrorist organizations.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene

 

BAN RICE FOREVER

Regarding the Ray Rice scandal: Why does it take something so graphic as the elevator camera to finally make us have sympathy for the victim? The NFL sent his wife out to defend a blatant batterer. She said she took responsibility for her part in it. Really, what part? That her head happened to get in the way of his fist? The NFL tried to sweep this under the rug and only now that it’s gotten out in the press, do they do more than a two-game suspension.

The Raven’s coach said, “We’re not going to talk about that now. What we are focusing on is the game this week.” The bad behavior of these men, these monsters are pathetic. Of course his wife is thinking of all the money they will lose if he can’t play. Blaming herself in true victim mind-set. Don’t take it out on her, she’s been brainwashed. It’s about cronyism and the boy’s club that has entrenched itself in American sports.

He will hit her again; it’s only a matter of time. Domestic violence is more serious than racism. Clippers owner Don Sterling was banned. Rice should be banned too.

A new wave of feminism is being born. Women need to say no, we won’t put up with domestic violence. The younger generation of women who don’t know who Gloria Steinem is should take this on as their fight. See #whyIstayed or #whyIleft.

The NFL made the changes to player behavior a week ago because half of their fan base are women. Bravo to Nike for pulling products of Ray Rice. Get the message out that America will no longer tolerate domestic violence.

Why is America so in love with these athletes anyway? Don’t we have any hero’s that truly earn that title?

America, wake up and smell the coffee.

 Diane DeVillers, Eugene

 

SEEKING RESULTS

Passing through Eugene, visiting friends, I was pleased to come across the Sept. 11 issue of Eugene Weekly, complete with many letters to the editor and a section for activists. Such a vital paper provides for conversation on the issues and links to find out more and take action. 

I would offer another link: RESULTS (results.org) working to end hunger and poverty through active citizenship. RESULTS works on issues in America and globally that need attention and can make a difference when Congress acts. Volunteers are currently calling on Congress to extend the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit that keep millions of families out of poverty. 

Globally, calling for funding the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) which is creating sustainable programs with developing countries to vaccinate all children. An American pledge of $250 million a year for the next four years will inspire other donors to help GAVI reach its goal of $7.5 billion. With this funding, GAVI will make possible the immunization of 300 million new children, saving over five million lives in the process. Join your voice, by asking your elected officials to pass these important pieces of legislation. Remember: Peace begins when hunger ends.

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Wash.

 

WHAT COLUMBUS REPRESENTS

I am a student at North Eugene High School and I do not agree with Columbus Day being recognized as a federal holiday.

Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America nor did he set foot in what is now the U.S. during his exploitation of the native people of Haiti and the other lands that he sailed to. The fact is Columbus was a greedy and selfish man who enslaved the native people on the lands he visited. He tortured the natives, chopped off their noses and ears, enslaved them, and ultimately millions were murdered. He killed off and sold almost an entire race. 

Should we be celebrating these brutal acts when we have people of Native American heritage who have ancestors not that many generations back who walked the Trail of Tears? Should we celebrate the image that we have painted in school children’s heads of supposed bravery when in fact the only image that Columbus truly represents is cruelty and brutality? No, we should not paint this European man to be a picture of courage and ambition simply because he is of the majority. 

It is disrespectful to Native Americans and African Americans to disregard the fact that Columbus exploited, murdered and enslaved them. There should not be a Columbus Day which implies the celebration of one man, rather there should be a day that acknowledges the hardships and suffering that the Native and African Americans suffered and celebrate instead the outcome of exploring the lands that are now the Americas.

Renee Martin, Eugene

 

HONOR WITHOUT CREDIT

Columbus did spend countless hours preparing for his voyage. He took all of the science, drawing and astronomy classes that were required for him to be able to complete his journey. He was successful in completing his voyage, but once he got off his ship his actions were not something to admire anymore. Records show that he actually began his trip with slavery in mind as a possibility. But once he arrived in America he assumed he could take what he wanted and harm the native people to get it. 

 Personally I think the famous quote, “The ends justify the means,” does not remain true in this situation. Columbus did accomplish a long and difficult voyage, so he initially should receive credit for the discovery. But he did not “play the game” fair. Someone should not get credit and be rewarded for a discovery if they acted violently towards others to get there. Columbus enforced slavery, taking natives as slaves. One of his intentions of making this voyage was to find gold. Columbus ordered the natives to bring him gold, and when they did not collect enough, they had their hands cut off. Why honor cruelty by celebrating a holiday dedicated to the man who harmed so many lives?

I am proud to be an American. We not only stand for freedom, liberty and justice, but also the type of strength that it took for our country to be discovered. So I propose that we still have a designated day to celebrate the discovery of America and all that it represents. But we should not call it Columbus Day, for Christopher Columbus is undeserving of the title because of his cruel actions. 

Jessica Welch, Eugene

 

A MAN OF HIS TIME

What you really need to look for to find a villain in history isn’t what they did but when they did it. Christopher Columbus was not inherently evil, but in a sense, actually a good representation of Europe at his time period. He was raised on the idea of imperialism, racism, and colonialism; nothing he did wouldn’t have been done by any other explorer at the time.

Holding someone’s action in the past to modern standards can paint anyone as a monster. If we were to hold Native Americans to the same ideals, we would see that they themselves committed acts of human sacrifice, torture and murder. Wouldn’t that make them just as wrong? 

We shouldn’t celebrate Columbus Day as the eve of monstrous acts but instead celebrate the day that the world was in the midst of tremendous and irrevocable change that would inevitably affect the entire world forever. Ideals introduced by Columbus were not all bad as well, we generally focus on the poor ones brought into the world by him such as racism but he also brought the thirst for exploration, the risk taking it would require to succeed, and ability to adapt and change. All of these ideas still have a important role in American society today, in fact they are the building block of our communities, they are what we teach our children and what we aspire to be.

Cobi Coffey

Eugene

 

CELEBRATING GENOCIDE

I am a German exchange student at North Eugene High School. I ask myself howa nation that call itself constitutional democracy celebrates a man who committed genocide? How can the U.S. honor a man who enslaved thousands of Native Americans and cut their ears and noses when they don’t obey? How can this person have his own federal holiday?

When Columbus journey began he wanted to find the western seaway to India but ended up sailing a month toward the west until he reached land. Columbus ended up not in India. He discovered America and a new people, but how Columbus treated these people often gets forgotten. 

On his first trip Columbus described the Indians as “fearful and timid” people. A few years later the same man justified his actions against the Indians because they were harsh, warlike and subhuman. So why we devote this pretender a holiday?

Columbus Day honors a man who breached all the ideals the U.S. stands for and spurned. Columbus Day shouldn’t exist anymore. Instead there should be a day to remember all the victims of Columbus’ cruelty and all the lives he destroyed with his greed.

 Malte Eisermann, Eugene