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Letters to the Editor: 2-12-2015

HARMFUL TESTING

Recently I wrote a letter to the 4J School District concerning my decision to opt my children out of the Smarter Balanced state tests. My reasons are that I think the potential harm that taking tests in which over 60 percent of students are likely to fail surpasses any possible benefit that my children will derive from participating. I reserve my right as a parent to make the decision to withhold my children from participating in these tests.

However, apparently district 4J believes it can usurp my authority as a parent and force my children to take this test. In a document published on Feb. 4, the district maintains that parents cannot opt their student out of testing unless exempted due to disabilities or on religious grounds. Parents should be clear that they retain the parental right to opt out their child regardless of what school district policies attempt to dictate. It is my position that the district should provide educationally enriching activities to those students whose parents chose to opt them out of testing. Students should not be denied a day of instruction due to their parent’s determination that these tests are potentially harmful to their development. 

Geoffrey Barrett, Eugene

 

CAMPING BAN ‘SOLUTION’

What does enforcement of the no-camping ordinance accomplish? It doesn’t reduce homelessness. It criminalizes people for engaging in necessary life-sustaining activities like resting and sleeping. It ties up police on far less important tasks of preventing and solving crimes that directly harm residents and their property. It creates criminal records for people who are cited and arrested but can’t afford to pay fines or answer warrants. These records make it even more difficult for people to persuade landlords to take them in or for employers to hire them. 

It demonizes those who are homeless and makes them more likely to be subject to intimidation, harassment and serious hate crimes. It is more expensive, when considering police time taken up, involvement of the court system and the contributions it makes to health problems that must be addressed, than simply leaving people alone or allocating money to put them in apartments. 

The camping ban is not a “solution” to homelessness. It is ineffective, unproductive and expensive to enforce. We need to stop criminalizing homelessness and provide people with more safe and legal places to be sheltered and to self-shelter. Most of all, we need to get people into permanent housing.

Ken Neubeck, Eugene

 

VIOLATING WHOSE RIGHTS?

Amendment violation my butt! Practice what you preach before you write an article like Art Bollman, a member of the Occupy Eugene Library Committee, did in the Jan. 29 Mic Check! column. People’s First Amendment rights are being violated, says Bollman. His focus was over the privatization initiative that gives tax-paying business owners the right to purchase a vending permit that allows the jurisdiction and say over what happens on the sidewalks bordering their establishments.

Bollman says, “At best downtown will be the home to the rich and out-of-state students, and the closest thing to a cultural event will be a Ducks rally.” He says this because he believes it forces the unhoused, the buskers, street artists and the craftspeople to leave downtown. It is usually self-entitled people with no sense of American value that so freely spout off with a self-righteous badge of activism on their chest, that their rights are being violated. Unlike your so-called artists, craftspeople and homeless, these tax-paying business owners have the right to say what goes on in front of the establishments. Your artists, craftspeople and homeless don’t help pay for these establishments’ rent.

 Want some truth? You can’t try to infringe upon the rights of tax-paying business owners and at the same time say that your rights are being violated. What makes you or the people you are defending so special?

Philip. B. Goss, Eugene

 

NICE WORK, ODOT

If you haven’t taken an urban walk or bike ride recently, I encourage you to venture to the east side of Eugene and stroll or peddle the new extensions of the bike paths going under the wonderful new I-5 bridge. When you do, take time to read the historical/cultural information on the signs there and admire how the whole area has been transformed. 

I live in that part of town and appreciate the final outcome of the years-long I-5 bridge project. What the Oregon Department of Transportation accomplished was much more than constructing a lasting bridge. They improved habitat, incorporated public art, beautified public space and created a pedestrian link between Eugene and Springfield.

Andy Small, Eugene

 

CORRIDORS OF HELL

Some 260 trees will be murdered [West Eugene EmX expansion]. Perhaps this horrific criminal act has already begun. I don’t know as I’m taking pains to avoid the area until I can die, as this level of local evil is the last straw for me. 

There is a flyer being sent out that says they will be “replacing the trees.” The humans, if they are, who make these decisions are extremely unintelligent and deadened. You can’t replace a tree just like you can’t replace a person. (Except dead souls with chainsaws and the short-sighted idiots who hire them. Those types are a dime a dozen.) If I had a family to support I’d move them under a bridge before I’d murder living beings for remuneration. This is a tragedy of enormous proportion. It will take decades for any shade to be replaced on those routes. Meanwhile dogs and people will have heatstrokes and 6th and 7th avenues will be corridors of barren hell. 

Trees feel and react and have wisdom that most humans don’t bother to investigate. Their gifts are endless, and their presence is holy. Each one is a lesson in grace and nobility. There will be negative repercussions. Crime will go up in the area. When a tree is being murdered, the nearby trees lean away. 

 No one will convince me bus service out to the land of consumer crap, 80 percent of which people and the planet would be better off without, could not have been improved without killing any trees. They always choose to do things in the most wasteful and expensive way. Psychopathic behavior amongst the decision-makers is off the charts on this planet, and Eugene is not immune.

Gena Young, Eugene

 

THOUGHTLESS PLANNING

If you rent a house or apartment from the UO and live at the northwest corner of 17th and Moss you are likely to get some sudden bad news about having to move this summer. UO planner Chris Ramey informed me last week that residents have not been warned about the project that will be demolishing all the homes and trees located there. When I suggested to Ramey that UO should hold a public hearing about his proposed $45 million dormitory project he just acted irritated and dismissive. He also informed me that the stalled UO “central kitchen” project located about a half block south from 17th and Moss will soon move forward too. Ramey claims that the parking and traffic plans for these two projects do not exist yet.

It is discouraging to see how students, faculty, student government, reporters, editors and even campus activists are all oblivious to the unnecessary and insidious demolition cycles UO perpetuates. How thoughtless you all are. On my way to send this letter in I picked up a copy of the pathetic Emerald, which contains an article with some silly and entirely inaccurate references to this idiotic proposed dorm. The article is titled “New Dorm, Stadium Part of UO Vision.” 

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene

 

STONED & HAPPY 

Sure, stoners are easy-going pacifists. Seriously, when was the last time you got in a fight with a stoner? Stoners don’t like to fight. It’s all good. A live-and-let-live mindset is in stark comparison with your average heavy drinker who’s ready to dropkick your face because you stared at his wife too long.

Medical marijuana patients are stoners, so a shift upward in the collective ego’s perception is always needed — not just some of the time. And don’t expect stoners to sell out; stoners aren’t rats in a cage. We live in a world that embraces stepping on each other’s backs to get to the top. You know, grabbing that brass ring at all costs. Isn’t it nice to know some people (you can say stoners) are just fine watching the wheel go round and round.

Stoners, also known as medical marijuana patients, keep it simple. A happy stoner wants very little in life. I know I don’t require all the silly attachments of a materialistic society. I use what I need sparingly, but comfortably. I was a tune-up happening within me. I want a tune happening within me. My external world is reflected by my internal world. Present moment awareness — nothing like it.

There is a price to pay for this freedom fighting. I lived in ShelterCare for more than two and a half years and am now getting raked over the coals for smoking pot in my apartment, when I have been doing it for two and a half years. Stay tuned, boys and girls.

Joe Canfield, Eugene

 

MAKING MASSACRES EASY

Following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, every news network brought on terrorism experts to discuss and analyze the event. These discussions illuminated an inconvenient truth about the state of the union.

These terrorism experts were asked many of the same questions. One being: “How vulnerable are we here in the U.S. to religious terrorist attacks like we saw in Paris?” Most experts answered by providing a couple basic facts about America. 

On one hand, America’s Muslim population is much more moderate and less likely to commit acts of terror than the European Muslim population. However, there’s something fundamentally different about America, which makes it much easier to carry out these types of mass shootings: easy access to weapons of war.

In America, there are hundreds of millions of guns, i.e., killing machines, strewn throughout our neighborhoods. Under these conditions nearly any idiot, child or mentally ill person can get their hands on one and slaughter large numbers of people in a very short period of time with little thought or effort required, e.g., Sandyhook.

Great thanks to the GOP, the NRA and their minions for helping to create a more dangerous and destructive society. Heckuva job! 

Joshua Welch, Eugene

 

THE TRUE CRIMINALS

I don’t mind the random homeless, buskers and street poets downtown. If the police really want to enforce some laws in a way that would improve my quality of life, they can strictly enforce the “Do Not Call” regulations and anti-phone-scamming laws! I’d like to see them go after Carmen from Cardholder Services so that skank isn’t robo-calling me every few days to offer my last chance (oh, don’t I wish!) to reduce my interest rates (translation: have my accounts hacked, if I were to be so stupid as to give any account info to random telemarketers). At least the Microsoft tech support weenies from Mumbai are actually real people, instead of recordings, so I can cuss them out for the lying scam artists they are before slamming the phone down.

Seriously, we are the ones paying for our phone service. Why can’t the phone companies serve us rather than making it easy for scammers and phone spammers to target us and impossible for us to stop them?

 AmyCat, aka A. Carpenter, Eugene