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Letters to the Editor: 10-9-2014

TOXIC TRAIN HORNS

A report by the EPA Office of Noise Abatement and Control, published in August 1978 titled “Noise: A Health Problem,” states that “noise is more that just a nuisance. It constitutes a real and present danger to people’s health.” The report goes on to discuss how excessive noise affects hearing loss, heart disease, children, sleep, mental and social well-being, etc. Are the train air horns in Eugene an annoyance that is just the price you pay to live here, or are they a symbol we use to show the world how liberal and tolerant we are?

Why do we put up with this? Other no-less-enlightened communities have legislated this toxin out of their lives. Train horn rules state specifically how to mitigate the noise of train horns by establishing “quiet zones” or “no horn” restrictions. Trains do not leave the tracks to arrive unannounced and randomly maraud and kill people because there are adequate safe guards in place. We have flashing lights, alarms, closing gates and an engineer who can use that air horn in emergencies. We do not require that every car and bicyclist blow an air horn every time they enter an intersection! 

Autzen Stadium is loud. With a potential increase in train traffic through Eugene will everyone who lives here have to sign waivers, like those required for Autzen Stadium employees, so we won’t sue someone? Or, is suing the only way to get rid of this toxic noise pollution?

In the scheme of things, this particular train issue is a small thing. Just ask the people of Lynchburg, Virginia, or Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, but it’s a very big thing in making Eugene a better place to live.

Chris Shipp, Eugene

 

SETTING AN EXAMPLE

Having followed the debate about the future of our downtown area for years and thinking often about the future of this city, our country and our planet, I have concluded that we are missing a huge opportunity if we simply tear down our old City Hall and build a new one. While debates rage about cost, etc., the greater concern is about our future, including setting proper examples for our youth and providing them opportunities to learn and grow. 

Youth need opportunities to learn hands-on about how our world is built and maintained, about pride in ownership and creation, about work ethics and care. Without concrete community examples, education is little more than a pipe dream. To simply tear down a 50-year-old structure and replace it is wasteful and inefficient. To restore it may cost more money but it will provide an example of pride in our past and hope for our future. We have the opportunity to provide a real demonstration of positive values and willingness to do the hard work of restoring our failing infrastructure and to wisely shepherd limited public resources. Please do not miss out on this opportunity.

Student internships/jobs could be built into the contract for restoration i.e. the contractors need to employ/mentor a number of youth between the ages of 18-24. Or provide training for some of our homeless population. Heck, if this was done in the midst of the Great Depression, why not now? Are we less than our ancestors? 

If our neighbor town of Cottage Grove can summon the will to buy and preserve the Cottage Grove Armory as an invaluable public asset, surely our City Council can step above the fray and set a fine example by restoring our City Hall.

Mark Whitson, Eugene

 

NAKED ABUSE

In the wake of all the rape occurring on campus I heard the UO decided to curb its 20-year-plus free and open to the public Saturday nude figure study due to “liability issues” and “lack of funding for security” (UO lack of funding? ha-ha-ha) aka, “We’re under a lot of pressure here to appear as though we’re taking these mounting rape allegations seriously.” 

And because we all know artists, tasteful nudity and respectful study of the human form are the problem I would like to thank the Big O for being oh-so diligent and thorough in their duck hunt to end abuse on campus! Never mind taking a magnifying glass to the Athletic Department and/or the lady-bashing behavior that seems to be nationally accepted, even encouraged, amongst athletes (namely football, quack-quack) — we’d hate to watch those pristine Nike jerseys burn.

For those of you that would still like to partake in free figure study, Custom Cranium is a sweet new local joint downtown looking to support your lust for the human form. Give them a call at 525-9037.

Brittney Arlint
, Eugene

 

THE EWEB OPTION

A number of years ago the city pondered the idea of a new City Hall building. After much studying, there was no thought of putting the new building on the site of the present City Hall. The best place for it was the “butterfly” parking lot. The planning turned out to be too expensive.

Now the planning seems to be build new or remodel. Why do we need to keep the new City Hall in the same 50-year-old place? That building could be used for other purposes. We do own other buildings that could be used. The present EWEB building is on a beautiful site with a view of the river and overlooking our central park. EWEB staff is planning to move out of the building and then either rent it or sell it.

We already own this building, just as we own the present City Hall. We paid for it with charges on our electric bill — not taxes on our property. It has plenty of parking space and room to build any needed expansion. I don’t believe the City Council has ever seriously discussed the value of using that building as the new City Hall.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

Back in the 1990s, it seemed like this area had a thriving and vibrant, almost in-your-face LGBT community. There was something going on all the time, from imperial court activities to drag queen balls. The Hilton threw a Halloween bash every year that many of us T people would attend in our over-the-top outfits. It was all fun and lots of smiles. We had Neighbors and Perry’s and other places one could go and relax, have a beverage and visit with like-minded people of all stripes. The Actor’s Caberet hosted LGBT-themed performances that were a hoot to watch.

After a hiatus of several years, I am finding it increasingly necessary to return to my T life, make the transition and enjoy the last third of my good life as the lady that I am. Over the past year, to that end, I have been trying to reach out to local organizations and become a part of the community again. The reception has been nothing short of disappointing. 

In the 1990s, I called a group called Emergence (anyone remember Claudete? RIP) and was instantly invited to the next meeting near campus. No application process, no 20 questions in an email that must be answered, and no long wait for a response. It was just an open community for any and all to join.

 The latest response I received was from a local LGBT organization. When I finally got a response, I was treated like a potential pariah and given a battery of questions to answer before I would be given a coveted time and location of the next meeting. Really?

 After having to explain myself to the world at large for the past 40-plus years about who I am, I was not about to spend a lot of time explaining myself in an email to a group that pretends to support this community. I’m surprised anyone joins the group. Another organization didn’t even bother to return my email after a couple of attempts.

 I guess I could go play drag queen bingo at Doc's Pad or Tiny Tavern (rolls eyes) but please, someone, tell me there is more going on around here these days besides CL hookups and drag queen bingo.

 I want to go out and have fun!

Dani Davis, Veneta

 

BACK TO JAIL US

Ahhh, yes, “Back to Campus” (10/2 issue). It’s that time of year again when we empty our jails to make room for the Duck’s football and basketball teams.

Mike Quigley, Junction City

 

REASONS TO VOTE

Ballots will be here soon! EW readers should make an effort to encourage friends to vote as this is an important non-presidential ballot! My number one priority is having pesticide-laden GMO food labeled! Dr. Ray Seider’s program “The Truth About Genetically Engineered Crops, an Ecological Perspective” will be at 7:30 pm Friday, Oct. 10, at the Unitarian Universality Church at Chambers and 13th. Do attend!

 With almost one in three Americans having cancer and one in two in my family I need to take every precaution when we eat. New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo’s sister, Dr. Margaret Cuomo wrote a book called A World Without Cancer which emphasizes prevention and hopes to eliminate the need for cure! The book states that a link to cancer has not been established but we must keep a watchful eye and explains how GMOs have been labeled in Europe. Academy of Environmental Medicine studies have shown that GMOs can alter immune functions, initiate metabolic and cellular changes and generate inflammatory response. They call for a moratorium on sales of all GMO foods. Do read it and vote “yes” on 92!

 Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

MAGICAL MACHINE

Often when two musicians get together it’s lovely — and very occasionally something else happens, an alchemy that’s transporting when it feels like the music enters your body and alters your cell structure. Multiply this times five and you have an idea of what happened at the Dave Rawlings concert at The MacDonald (especially Rawlings and John Paul Jones, but also banjo marvilloso Watson and the surprising clear tenor at the end on “The Weight” from the virtuoso stand-up bass player). 

I wondered why they’re called the Dave Rawlings Machine — now I think I get it. Each musician who performed with him was stellar. Banjos (plural)! I really only knew of Gillian Welch before I went. Rawlings is backup on her albums, but last night she was backing him. Rawlings is a diamond — he’s sooo good and loves sooo much what he’s doing; with spot-on harmonies and killer licks on a 1935 Epiphone Olympic, he takes Dylan and goes to the moon with Queen Jane. The cool surprise was Jones on mandolin and then running to the other side to join Watson on fiddle like someone trying to be on both sides of a group photo.

 Lia Gladstone, McKenzie Bridge

 

MAKING AN EXTRA EFFORT

I have been involved in retail sales here in Eugene for over a decade now and have heard a thousand times, “Oh, I want to keep my money local,” just before the customer turns hypocrite and buys the product from an online or other outside source to save a pittance. Not so with Mycological Natural Products. I deal with them frequently and while they are certainly informed and practical buyers, they aren’t cheap and have proven over and over that they do in fact make the extra effort to work with local vendors. They are a pleasure to work with and are an example to follow.

 Brian Palmer, Eugene

 

SPREADING MANURE

Fall is here! The leaves are changing, football is on and Art Robinson signs  aresprouting up like noxious weeds! Do we really have to deal with him again?! I thought he would have learned his lesson by now.

He ran in 2010, a year that was ideal for Republicans. He lost. His son Matt ran in the Democratic primary in 2012. He lost. Art ran against Peter DeFazio in 2012. He lost by a wider margin than in 2010. He lost again when he sued DeFazio for highlighting his extreme and bizarre political views. Here he is again, ready to spread his manure a third time.

Art can’t change the 20 years of extreme statements like, our public schools “are a form of child abuse” or that we should sprinkle nuclear waste over our oceans to help us live longer!

No matter how hard he tries, the third time will not be the charm for old Art.

Christine Desermeaux, Eugene

 

IT’S ALL CRUEL

Regarding the veal debate: There is no ethical distinction between veal or any other animal-based product. All involve cruelty. While some have attempted to whitewash the violence inherent in the meat/egg/dairy/seafood industries by using benign-sounding terms such as “harvested,” the fact remains there is nothing “humane” about killing animals. Regarding eggs: For every hen trapped inside that abusive industry, an equal number of “useless” non-egg-laying roosters are brutally culled, usually the same day they hatch. This applies to "backyard" egg production, too.

A recent letter tried discrediting veganism by stating that wildlife is killed during soybean cultivation. Crop production does involve indirect, unintended wildlife deaths, but the vast majority of soybeans/corn produced actually goes toward fattening up farmed animals. Anyone consuming farmed animal products is thus culpable for both direct AND indirect animal deaths.

Environmentally speaking, the resources required to create animal-based vs. plant-based foods are not even in the same league. Animal husbandry requires tremendous amounts of precious water, including water needed to produce animal feed. There is nothing sustainable about so-called free-range animal production, either. There simply is not enough land available to sustain that form of animal agriculture that results in death both for the animals being farmed and for much of the displaced wildlife.

Barb Lomow, Eugene

 

WHAT LIABILITY?

As a professional artist and former art instructor who has been regularly attending the Saturday drawing group, I am deeply disappointed by the university’s decision. I live in the university neighborhood and consider the closeness of Hayward Field a troubling nuisance: noise pollution from athletic events and rehearsals of the school band, day after day, sometime late into the evenings, not to mention traffic congestion and parking problems on our street the days of events.

The free Saturday drawing group opened to the community was a venue that appeared to be a gesture towards the non- Duck followers, the not so small community of Eugene residents who don’t follow lock-step in the footsteps of Roman Empire spectator sports (give them bread and games).

If the university is so concerned for the safety of the attending students and community members, I am wondering what their concerns are for the money-making gladiators who injure themselves on the football field. The NFL has recently admitted that one out of three pro football athletes will eventually suffer from irreversible brain damage. 

I prefer to believe that nudity is not the main reason for the decision to close this very popular program. I strongly suspect (I hope that I am not deluded by giving the university the benefit of the doubt) that there are other reasons, liability being one of them. But liability for what? The acting dean’s response suggest that there are “safety” concerns. Why not be a little more specific? 

Financial reasons don’t seem to be a logical explanation. The group has offered to contribute $5 per attending adult (excluding students) but that offer was rejected by university officials.

Marco Elliott, Eugene