• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Letters to the Editor: 11-13-2014

GAME VS. BIKE

While riding my bicycle home from work Sunday evening, I found myself immersed in the buzz and hum of a most important event. Car after car after bus after 4x4 pickup after SUV were gleefully, if a bit impatiently and aggressively, packing the road, apparently on the hunt for a place to park to get to a big game at Knight Arena.

I always do my best to stay off of sidewalks when I’m riding, and this night was no exception. I was more than happy to risk my life and limb in the game traffic. So, I waited patiently behind the line of automobiles at the four-way intersection by the arena as the traffic police waved us through the busy intersection.

I have two headlights on my bike, one that blinks, a reflective caution-yellow vest, a helmet covered with reflective tape, reflective ankle straps and two red blinking taillights. But when it came to be my logical turn to go, the traffic cop looked at me, turned away and started waving the SUV through, even though I had started crossing the intersection. I was easily on my way when the SUV revved its engine, headed straight at me and the nice traffic policeman thoughtfully shouted at me, “That’s a good way to get hit, sir!” and the SUV driver yelled, “Yeah!” I thanked them for their consideration and continued pedaling.

Now, many cyclists might be upset about being first ignored, then treated like they had no right of way, but not me. No sir, because it was obviously a very important event, and of course the people in the cars needed to quickly find a place to park so they could get to the big game to cheer on their favorite team. I totally get it.

Go Sports!

Steven Colbert, Eugene

 

THROWING TAX WAIVERS

They’re at it again — “the Eugene City Council is interested in once again granting property tax waivers to encourage apartment and condo developments …” (R-G 10/16).

What’s wrong with these people? The Core Campus project going up on Broadway has a rooftop swimming pool and needs $455,000 a year in tax waivers to make it work? For $846,000 a year in waivers we get a hideous monolith downtown? (It has a swimming pool as well.) Local landlords are paying property taxes on vacant units and the city council wants to subsidize the competition? 

We can’t find the money to establish a “quiet zone” in Eugene so the trains keep blasting through, the parks division has $7.2 million in deferred maintenance projects (R-G 10/30), and in order to pay for an additional floor on the new City Hall, the City Council is going to raid “reserves held by three public works department operating funds — road, sewer and stormwater,” $435,000 each for six years (R-G 11/2). (Road, sewer stormwater funds for City Hall construction?)

I’m retired and living on Social Security. I just mailed my property taxes check and I can’t tell you how much it galls me that nearly 20 percent of my Social Security income goes to pay my property taxes and my City Council keeps throwing tax waivers at multimillion-dollar out-of-state developers.

Enough already.

Ted Chudy, Eugene

 

REJECTING FEAR

In sharp contrast with election results in much of the country, Democrats in the Oregon Legislature not only kept our strong majority — we expanded it.

We won by staying true to our values, like standing up for working families and making sure that women aren’t left behind. Democratic candidates for the House withstood a volley of ugly, dishonest attacks from their opponents and stayed focused on fighting for the things that matter most to Oregon families.

For me, the big takeaway from last night’s [Nov. 4] results is this: Voters in these House races rejected the politics of fear and negativity. Voters said no to outlandish, often racially charged attacks, and they discarded the outright falsehoods in our opponents’ ads.

But voters needed something to vote for, and I’m proud to say that House Democrats ran our campaigns on a clear vision of a future economy in which every working family has a shot at prosperity. This is what made the difference.

We couldn’t have succeeded in this election without the dedication of our many volunteers, who put in countless hours knocking on doors and making phone calls in support of candidates they believe in. In the last five days alone, we knocked on more than 50,000 doors in key races to make sure that voters turned in their ballots.

We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next legislative session, and we look forward to advancing an agenda that improves the lives of all Oregonians.

Rep. Val Hoyle, Majority leader

 

DEFEND STUDENTS, TEACHERS

All movements for fairness and justice need those leaders who are the first ones to go out front. Jesse Hagopian has been such a leader in the struggle against the overuse/misuse of high-stakes testing. He was instrumental in organizing the unanimous test boycott last year at Garfield High School in Seattle. That brave action by students, parents, teachers and community members resonated across the U.S.

We have the wonderful opportunity to have Jesse Hagopian in Eugene at 7 pm Thursday, Nov. 13, at First Christian Church, 11th and Oak.

Come join us in learning from Hagopian as he talks about the Seattle boycott and the many, many actions being taken across the U.S. in mobilizing to defend students, parents and teachers. Jesse Hagopian is inspirational, articulate and brave. 

Please consider making the most of this opportunity and please consider bringing students with you. They are the ones most directly impacted by the testing madness. Ultimately, the fight to reclaim public education is a civil rights issue that affects us all.

Roscoe Caron, Eugene

 

STUPID DUI CATEGORY

So everyone should “calm down” about the shameful “Best DUI Lawyer” category in the Best Of Eugene ballot? Would you say that to someone whose loved one was killed by a drunk driver?

You wrote, “We were pointing out that drinking categories are among our most popular, and if you are going to drink, you need to be safe and legal.”

False DUI convictions are rare. If you need a DUI lawyer, it is already too late. You have gone ahead and committed a dangerous and illegal act. And given your logic, there ought to also be a vote for “Best Date Rapist Lawyer” — because date categories are “among our most popular,” and if you are going on a date, “you need to be safe and legal.”

Contrary to what you imply, drinking does not inevitably lead to drunk driving. In countries where the lawmakers have recognized the true seriousness of the offence and accordingly mandate severe penalties, the incidence of drunk driving is much lower. For instance, the Finns will drink you under the table every time, but most would never think of driving while under the influence. 

It goes without saying that drunk driving kills thousands of innocent people every year. This will continue until society stops treating it as a generally harmless and unavoidable side effect of having a good time. Instead of trying to defend a stupid and indefensible decision, you should have removed the category and apologized. 

A.P. Volkonsky

Eugene

 

CIVIL RIGHTS ATTACKED

Unknown thugs spent election night making a mockery of the democratic process by smashing the countless "No Industrial Pisgah" signs along Seavey Loop, causing over $1,000 in damages and destroying the very symbol of the residents’ unity against an expansion of Springfield’s urban growth boundary that would place an industrial zone near Mount Pisgah.

Red, green or blue, pro or con, this was an attack on the very foundation of American values: the right to petition the government. Preventing citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights is not a prank — in this case it might be considered a Class C felony criminal mischief in the first degree with a penalty of up to five years in state prison and fines reaching $125,000.

Let’s show the world that such vandalism will never be tolerated in our community. Tax-deductible donations to pay for replacement signs can be sent to LandWatch Lane County, P.O. Box 5347, Eugene 97405 with the memo: No Industrial Pisgah.

 Charles Stewart, Seavey Loop Road

 

PERSONAL AGENDAS

I know the election is over but I can’t help but comment on the recent letter to the editor [10/30] in which EPUD Director Penny Jordan endorsed Director Patti Chappel. I have to seriously question the credibility of any public figure who would endorse a director with Chappel’s track record. 

Unfortunately, I have long witnessed the unhealthy alliance that exists between Director Chappel, Jordan and Kevin Parrish that plagues the EPUD board. For example, Jordan wrote emails to other directors begging them to vote in favor of a motion that would have reimbursed Chappel almost $5,000 for personal legal expenses. During the same meeting that Chappel requested reimbursement, Parrish requested to have his budget increased by $6,000. While Chappel, Jordan and Parrish predictably voted in favor of each other, Ron Davis and Katherine Schacht refused to vote for these expenses. 

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Schacht is constantly under scrutiny by these very three board members. Nor do I think it’s any coincidence that these very same board members would go to such great lengths, like recording and listening to private telephone conversations, to try to discredit those whose votes consistently keep them from achieving their personal agendas.

Emma Higley, Springfield

 

CURB YOUR BEHAVIOR

I have to ask, just what do the drivers in this area think the yellow curb stripes mean? Hint: It doesn’t mean, “Hey, it’s OK to park here!”

Bill Smee, Springfield

 

DEBUNKED ARGUMENTS

Besides sending a message that couldn’t be more clear, the thrashing of Measure 88 provided a textbook example of how some on the left react to being on the losing side of a debate.

“Rednecks!” “Bigots!” “Xenophobes!” “Inbred pieces of white trash!” “Stupid racist a__holes!” “Racist pieces of s__t!”

These are some of the invectives, repeatedly hurled in print and online against the opponents of the driver card measure. Did anyone see any of this vitriol from the opponents against the supporters? If so, please forward to me.

Faced with “inconvenient truths” that debunked their central arguments, some M88 supporters resorted to name calling as expected. These are the folks who preach the loudest about “tolerance.” We see time and again that’s true only if you agree with them.

Measure 88 was not a right vs. left issue — it was a right vs. wrong issue. Even in deep blue Oregon the voters recognized that.

 Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

WEAKENED PROTECTIONS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers have released draft rules and a background report that address headwaters and groundwater, which provide the foundations of water quality that the larger downstream rivers and creeks depend on. The report’s purpose is to educate five members of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding connectivity in headwater streams with main streams. The 13-page executive summary provides an outstanding watershed hydrology brief.

The full report is titled “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence.”

Headwaters and groundwater were protected for the first three decades of the Clean Water Act, but two Supreme Court decisions severely weakened these protections. They are essential building blocks that, when protected, provide higher water quality for downstream waters. Impacted are millions of acres of wetlands, critically important trout and salmon spawning habitat in headwater streams, lakes and drinking water.

My graduate research covered the analysis of surface flow and groundwater. Most of my 37 years of water resources engineering work addressed the water quality and hydrology aspects covered in the report. Without adequate water quality controls on groundwater and the sometimes dry headwaters, our drinking water and aquatic ecosystems are seriously threatened.

A few centuries ago we didn’t have many people, industries or agricultural chemicals, so such rules were not essential. It’s a different world now, and the rules should be implemented!

H. Tom Davis, Sisters

 

JFK’S INTENTIONS

Maya Lin, the architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will speak in Eugene on Nov. 20. Her design is different from most war monuments, not triumphalist nor militarist, and it is a respectful recognition of the American lives lost.

This memorial only commemorates a small fraction of the victims, since about three million people were killed if one includes the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians. A wall listing all their names would stretch from the current site to the U.S. Capitol and beyond.

Official histories of the war on Vietnam ignore the inconvenient truth that President Kennedy issued National Security Action Memorandum 263 in October 1963, an order to start withdrawing U.S. “advisors.” If this order had been implemented, nearly all of those 58,000 American and three million Asian deaths would have been avoided. His decision was immediately reversed by the new president after Kennedy was removed from office on Nov. 22, 1963.

The website jfkmoon.org/vietnam.html has links to primary documents plus commentary from RFK Jr., Wayne Morse, James Galbraith and an interview with the son of (North) Vietnam’s General Giap. Unfortunately, the aborted withdrawal from Vietnam remains a radioactive topic for academia, and few professors dare discuss it.

What would the “legacy of the sixties” have been if the war on Vietnam had ended in Kennedy’s second term? Would our country have used the resources for endless war for peaceful purposes? Maybe we would have heeded warnings about ecological overshoot when the world had only four billion people.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene

 

HELP WANTED

Last winter we had deep snow, biting record temperatures in single digits, plus the usual wet and windy weather. Again this year we expect an increase of individuals in need of critical services, including utilizing the 24-hour warming center.

Albany Helping Hands provides three meals a day, 365 days a year, serving over 75,000 meals annually to homeless, low income and the community at a cost of $4.50 per day per shelter guest. Everyone is welcome for meal service, even those not registered with the shelter.

The shelter provides 24/7 emergency housing for an average of 70 people daily throughout the year, at a cost of $13.88 per day or $429 per month per person housed.

We also provide a warming center during winter months, GED training to the whole community, housing searches, counseling, job programs, mental health referrals, clothing, furniture and more.

Albany Helping Hands would like to thank those for past generous giving and assisting in our mission. We are now asking, please, for immediate help from good people who do care. Your generous donation, big or small, is greatly appreciated.

To help, please make your check out to Albany Helping Hands and mail your donation to P.O. Box 2252, Albany 97321. If you prefer, you may make a secure credit or debit card donation by phoning 926-4036.

Pastor Bill Lane, Chairman, Albany Helping Hands

 

POLLUTED MINDS

The majority of Americans think money allocated to education is a positive way to spend a portion of one’s taxes and donations. We seem to view education as learning experiences benefiting the open minds of children, adults and society in general. We give little thought to the preconceived notions already existing within the minds of individuals.

For example, how can people grasp new concepts when their minds are constantly being polluted with outright lies, absurd ideas and Orwellian analyses from salespeople having their own agendas?

The products, politics, promises and diversions offered by corporations, politicians, religious cults and the entertainment industry control most of us to the extent we’ve become Pavlov’s dogs.

We let rewards and punishments, approved by the global corporate elite, rule our lives. Yet we’re expected to have the ability to make rational decisions about what’s healthy for our wellbeing.

Both sides of the same propaganda coin include: the Bush family and the Clinton family, environmental destroyers and the EPA, Jews and Muslims, Christians and Santerians, FOX News and NPR News, the History Channel and any sitcom, human-caused climate change rhetoric and anti-climate change rhetoric, and so on.

 Before more money is spent in attempts to educate the public, nano-sized raw sewage treatment plants need to be installed inside the conditioned brains of we the people. Research and development could be left in the capable hands of scientists favoring transhumanism.

 Robert Simms, Eugene