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Letters to the Editor: 10-23-2014

Eve McConnaughey

REMEMBERING EVE

We have lost a smart and witty lady! Eve McConnaughey always kept us enjoying life with her sharp and funny comments, her important and detailed testimony at city, county or state hearings, and with her large circle of Eugene friends. She was a true environmental and social activist along with her husband, Bayard.

Our community owes them a great deal as she served on boards and participated with the Natural History Society, Audubon, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and CALC. Some of us had the pleasure of accompanying them to the one mile of coast just south of Yachats that they watched and protected for the Coastal Coalition. They would make observations of sea-life, measure the changing river patterns and check for any sewerage outfall and dumping of trash.

 Evelyn and Bayard wrote the classic book Pacific Coast, and then she produced her specialty book Sea Vegetables. I’ll never forget when my new UO student roomer came to the kitchen with a tattered book and I asked if he would like to meet the author. I called and we had an invitation for dinner. Not only did we enjoy seaweed among the vegetables but we learned more about Bayard’s work for the UO in oceanography, and I still wonder if that influenced my student to attend the next year. 

Last Thursday night was the Eugene Symphony and I missed seeing her. Her love of classical music had her attending many musical events at the Hult and Beall auditoriums. She also enjoyed years of singing in the Unitarian Choir and was the church’s longest continuing member. We will miss our smiling friend. 

 Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

It’s been very confusing to watch the incoordinate motion about Eugene City Hall, but I think I’ve figured it out. There was a “design team” at work, and where there’s a design team there’s money to be made. This group was convened without direction from elected officials, without budget and without goals. Do you really think they would search for the most economical solution without budget constraints? Do you think they would look for a small-footprint, minimally invasive solution without direction? Not while there’s money to be made!

The whole project is out of control. No voter approval, no budget (we’ll find the money somewhere), no list of what needs to be included. I really hope we get some better answers soon.

William (Chico) Schwall, Eugene

 

GRATEFUL FOR EUGENE

I’ve lived in this delightful town for nearly a decade and enjoy perusing your periodical. This summer I spent a month in my home state of Ohio, and oooh-boy does absence make the heart grow fonder. Granted, there is room for improvement in Eugene, but there is much for which to be grateful. What follows is a list of things not readily available in towns of this size in the Midwest that some readers may be taking for granted:

• Recycling as a way of life — in restaurants, public spaces and private homes — everyone recycles (there may be a few holdouts, but I’ve yet to find one).

• Vegetarian and vegan options are readily available at the majority of restaurants — local salads noticeably bereft of iceberg lettuce.

• Several farmers markets to choose from — also bereft of loathsome iceberg.

• Organic produce can be found in markets of all types, not just remote, specialty grocers.

• Bars, taverns and breweries with a staggering selection of craft beers.

• Extensive bike paths/lanes and drivers who are comparatively conscious of cyclists. 

• Spencer Butte, Ridgeline, Pisgah and Hendricks — just a few lovely hiking spots available here in town, to say nothing of majestic landscapes in the surrounding areas.

• Good coffee — ubiquitous providers of said good coffee (I am not referring to a certain monolithic cafe — they peddle their over-roasted beans everywhere — shudder). 

• A free, local alternative newspaper (god love ya!).

 Just some things to consider the next time one hears/utters complaints of a canceled art class, a carnivore or a train whistle (oh, forevermore!). 

Elizabeth O’Harra, Eugene

 

A QUEER VENUE COMING

In response to Dani Davis [Letters, 10/9]: The feeling is mutual. Being from Minneapolis, the Gay ’90s and the Saloon are just two of the many LGBT establishments we could go to. Moving here was a culture shock for me! Not one place where we could go and feel at home. But there is hope.

My colleague Andrew Clark and I are working on opening an all-inclusive queer establishment in Eugene. We would provide a restaurant, bar and nightclub inside an over-arching community center. We look to offer spaces for groups to rent out and to be a much-needed source of work for those in our community who have barriers to employment.

What we need from our community is support. We are looking for individuals as well as organizations to provide us with letters which detail the level of involvement they would have. This can mean “I would go to your dance nights,” “I would rent out space” or even “I would like to become a community partner to your project.” With letters like these, we will be able to show the necessity of this project.

If you have questions, or would like to write a letter, please email me at jasmynhinton@gmail.com.

Jasmyn Hinton, Eugene

 

NUDITY AND RAPE

To cancel nude life drawing at the UO as a response to rape is a regressive right-wing move. Nudity doesn’t cause rape! Good grief! Blaming nudity goes along with blaming the victim. Is the UO becoming a bastion of right-wing fundamentalism? The rest of us are learning about consent, learning how to communicate about sexuality and boundaries. 

I’m pleased with the sense of openness, respect and willingness to learn about sexuality and consent that is expressed around me and in the press. When we chant “No matter what we wear, no matter where we go, yes means yes and no means no!” we mean it. And we understand it. What does the UO suggest, that women wear burqas to avoid being raped? What next, gender and race segregation? Prayer in class? Saluting the flag? 

The rest of the culture is moving along; it’s weird to have the town university be the one dragging its feet. Phil Knight’s ill-gotten money is pouring in; is this one of its effects? What will the $1 billion on its way do to our school, our town and our gender relations?

Kari Johnson, Eugene

 

GRANGE SAYS YES

Last winter, Spencer Creek Grange held a series of GMO study sessions which were  just as divisive to us as it is to Oregon in general right now. Our sessions were focused and polite as we diligently compiled our research matter, citing sources while always trying to keep open minds. 

Just for ducks, we even tried to feature non-GMO snacks while we met, which was no easy feat considering the lack of labeling. Although we each found sufficient information to bolster our original stances, I think we all made subtle shifts in our understanding of both the subject matter and one another. It seems that after all those hours of work, we still couldn’t come up with a consensus on whether GMOs were a bad thing or not. But one of the things we did agree with was labeling.

 Spencer Creek Grange joined the ranks of many other granges and passed a resolution to support a GMO labeling initiative. Let’s do it the way America always has — let the market decide! For more information on our study sessions and resolutions, go to spencercreekgrange.org, and vote “yes” on 92!

Genie Harden, Eugene

 

A SIMPLE CHOICE

Measure 92’s labeling GMOs will benefit all of us. Most importantly we will know what’s in our food. One of the things I most value in life is trying to eat healthy, naturally grown foods free of pesticides. Why would these corporations with their expensive commercials not want us to know if we are eating genetically modified food? Obviously, because it’s going to cost them money. 

Look, it’s as simple as this: Do you want to know whether you’re eating genetically modified food or not? I personally want to know and hope you do too. Knowing what I’m eating and what’s in my food is very important to me. If we don’t have labeling on food then they will be literally shoving it down our throats. It will be in everything. I haven’t noticed the health benefits of eating GMOs. 

If you vote “no” on Measure 92 you’ve been duped by big money and the corporations that run our country into convincing you it’s not important to know what you’re eating. Please vote “yes” on 92! 

Doug Hornaday , Eugene

 

HOW TO BUY ELECTIONS

Ballot Measure 90 is a serious threat to democratic participation in Oregon. Unfortunately, voters may perceive it as an expansion of electoral participation when it is really the exact opposite. Only candidates who have significant resources prior to the May primary election will have a chance to make it to the November election. It makes it easier to buy elections because primary election participation is consistently low and the opportunities to learn about candidates would be restricted to a short time. Many electoral districts would nominate two Democrats or two Republicans, or possibly one of each, but Greens, Libertarians, Constitution Party or Working Family Party candidates would never make it to the November election.

 The M90 campaign is funded by a few big corporations, lobbyists and multi-millionaire CEOs because its passage would make it easier to buy elections with big early campaign contributions.

 Organizations opposing M90 are all the people I trust. They include the Rural Organizing Project, Basic Rights Oregon, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, NARAL, Planned Parenthood PAC, Causa immigrant rights organization, the Pacific Green Party, AFT-Oregon, OEA-NEA, Oregon AFL-CIO, Oregon Nurses Association and PCUN farm workers union.

 Join me in stopping this attempt of corporations to tighten their stranglehold on political power in Oregon. Vote “no” on Measure 90.  And vote “yes” on all the rest!

 Mike Beilstein, Candidate for Congress, 4th District, Pacific Green Party

 

ROUNDUP AND CANCER

There is considerable evidence of possible harm from GMOs. Regarding Measure 92, I haven’t seen mention of the many animal studies summarized in a 330-page report, “GMO Myths and Truths,” by two genetic engineers and a researcher, released in its second edition last May. You can get a link to download the report by checking in at wkly.ws/1ty.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, remains in the plant eaten by people and animals. Jeff Ritterman, M.D., retired chief of cardiology at Kaiser Richmond and an official of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, recently reported linkages between Roundup and cancer. The full article, posted October 4, 2014 on Truthout, is at wkly.ws/1tr.

Ritterman stops short of concluding that Roundup causes cancer. But he cites a highly regarded statistics textbook for the proposition that if an illness is four times as likely among people exposed to a possible cause as it is for those who are not exposed, the association is considered “strong.” And he notes that most of the glyphosate exposure experiments and epidemiological observations show a doubling of cancer risk. 

Ritterman admits that this leaves some room for doubt. But, as he asks, who, given the science, would want to expose their loved ones to Roundup? 

 Robert Roth, Eugene

 

A BETTER OREGON

A vote for Andy Petersen is a vote for a better Oregon. Join me in supporting Andy for state representative in District 11. 

Andy is a man of integrity. One of the most honest, trustworthy and loving people I know. I know this because our families have been friends over four generations.

Andy will bring new life and experience to Salem. He served our country in the Air Force and as a veteran understands, first hand, the issues our vets are dealing with. Andy’s two children have just completed their college educations. So he and his wife, Gretchen, understand first hand the issues that college students are dealing with such as college loans and finding living wage jobs. 

Living in rural America on a small ranch but close to a larger urban area, Andy knows the issues of small farmers, ranchers and urban areas. Operating the farm and his time in the military has given him valuable experience in personal finances and governmental finances. He is the best choice for state representative in District 11.

His opponent, Phil Barnhart, has served seven terms in the House of Representatives. He has done an OK job — but nothing outstanding. It is time to put some fresh blood, new ideas and energy into this office.

Andy will do just that. Vote Andy Petersen for state representative. Andy understands the times we live in.

Dan Larsen, Springfield

 

A FAILED SYSTEM

I’m continually amazed at how our medical system fails to serve the people who need it the most. I’m very concerned about how we treat individuals with mental health disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar issues, psychosis, autism, depression, dementia, personality disorders — the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, many of these folks are homeless, live in poverty or just can’t get it together or afford the co-pays and high- deductibles that come along with the cheaper insurance plans. Without proof of insurance no hospital will take them except on an emergency basis.

Emergency room visits are the most expensive way to provide care. Who pays? We all do through taxes and higher and higher insurance premiums. Think how much better care these folks would get and how much cheaper it would be for us if we all backed an “improved Medicare for all” health care program — there’d be far fewer ER visits, fewer 911 calls and most importantly, these patients would be able to access quality referrals to the mental health services they need. Please call your state legislators and let them know we need to implement an “improved Medicare for all” program. Do this — now!

Vicki Anderson

Springfield

 

LEADERS VS. PARTIES

I do not care whether Andy Petersen is a Democrat, a Republican or anything in between. Like a growing number of Oregonians I don’t vote party line, I don’t even belong to a party anymore.

Oregonians want good leaders, not party players. We want someone who has a proven record, not in the Legislature but in his home, his neighborhood and in serving the community where they live.

Andy and I have known each other for more than 20 years. Our kids went to school together and when we moved to rural Oregon Andy and his family accepted us as part of the community right away.

I’ve watched Andy in action: the way he served my elderly neighbors year after year; I watched the time he put in at Camp Creek Elementary where our children attended school.

My children learned from the Petersen family. Every year, thousands of Springfield students visited their ranch, learning a balanced approach to farming trees.

I vote for people not parties. I vote for experience, not in the legislature but in life, in history and in serving. Andy Petersen best represents all of those things for me.

Join me in voting for Andy Petersen, a man of integrity, with experience, who knows how to get things done and more importantly, knows how to serve. 

Isn’t that what Oregon needs? Isn’t it time for a change?

Rick Dancer

Springfield