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Letters to the Editor: 3-26-2015

RADAR MEN JIGGLE, TOO

Thank you ever so much for the fabulous promo last week for the JELL-O Art Show. However, I have been taken hostage by the Men of the Radar Angels, who insist upon their rights to be equally recognized as people who wear kooky tights, ruffles and short skirts on the stage of the show (or anywhere they want). They have me tied to the mast and are threatening to keelhaul me if you don’t print a correction and give them their due. As you can imagine this would be highly inconvenient and prevent me from getting my jiggle on [5 to 8 pm Saturday, March 28, at Maude Kerns Art Center, 1910 E. 15th Ave.]. Thanks again, and help!

Diane McWhorter, The Queen of JELL-O Art, Eugene

 

THE CASE FOR CARBON TAX

“A Case for the Climate,” by Camilla Mortensen March 5, reports that Peter Frumhoff, Richard Heede and others are seeking to hold large corporations responsible for global warming. Frumhoff and Heede’s line of reasoning invites middle class people to think that the actions of individuals such as themselves are not to blame.

The world’s more affluent people need to change their lifestyles so that less greenhouse gas emissions result from their behavior. A revenue-neutral carbon tax, such as the one the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is proposing, would cause those consumers with larger carbon footprints to pay money that the government would then redistribute to those people with smaller carbon footprints, and fossil fuel corporations would sell less of their products.

Many people would behave differently, provided that they are sensitive enough to higher prices. A majority of the U.S. population would at least break even. Giving money to the poor would create jobs, stimulating the economy much like food stamps.

Milton Takei, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mortensen asked Frumboff this question during the interview. He said, “If you will excuse me, that’s a silly response. Of the seven billion people on the planet, some of us have access to information, and there’s a small fraction that can make decisions that dramatically reduce the carbon footprint.” He told EW that the companies producing these products have been taking major actions to affect our decisions and fund misinformation about climate change. “It’s not that we are not responsible, it’s that the companies’ responsibilities are very large.”

 

NEW KENNEL NEEDED

As a dog walker at the First Avenue Shelter, I appeal to the residents of Lane County to support the construction of a new public animal shelter. The current building is not a shelter, it’s a pound, like the ones you imagine from the ’50s and ’60s. Inside, you’ll find cement, claustrophobia, noise and stress. Above all, stress. 

Big dogs, narrow kennels; constant raucous barking; staff, volunteers and the public trying to pass through the same small doorway. Careful if you’re getting that stressed dog out for a walk — there might be a child on the other side of the door! I half expect to see the dogs banging their metal dishes against their metal doors and crying out, “Is this the best you can do for us?!”

 The only “shelter” part of First Avenue is the dedicated kennel and cattery staff who care deeply about the animals and work their tails off to keep conditions as livable as possible. But neither their efforts, nor those of the volunteers, can overcome the constant atmosphere of stress. The animals and the people of First Avenue deserve much, much better than this. They deserve — and desperately need — a safe and healthy place to live and work.

 The beings who reside at First Avenue are wonderful souls who ended up there due to human carelessness, negligence and, in some cases, cruelty. Let’s show them that we can indeed do better by providing them with the quality shelter they deserve. 

Together we can do it!

Molly Craig, Springfield

 

FROHNMAYER’S HONESTY

One of my favorite memories of Dave Frohnmayer is a statement he made several years back to a small, racially diverse group. “Eugene,” he said, “is a strongly liberal, racist town.”

He was right. It still is. I honor Dave, his honesty and integrity.

Neil Van Steenbergen, Eugene

 

CAN’T BE IGNORED

Rarely would a negative point be raised at the memorial of one who has died, especially one who has been so generally admired as David Frohnmayer. But one had to be acknowledged, even silently, because the location of his memorial reminded us of one of his unfortunate acts as UO president.

Memories were shared in the Matthew Knight Arena, which was there because Frohnmayer brought pressure on the state Legislature for the state to loan the university $200 million for its construction. That was among several of his acts done at the demand of Phil Knight. Now an empty McArthur Court remains a silent reminder of a “memorial” that recurs each year as the massive interest comes due on that unnecessary investment.

George Beres, Eugene

 

POISON LOOPHOLE

Carla Hervert, a Eugene nurse, has sincerely urged us to support SB 613, which seeks to regulate the poisoning of humans and our environment. “Timely notification” and “buffer zones” are the gist of this wonderful proposal. Progress?

Big Lumber will be poisoning your kids again. Does “timely notification” make it all right? Winds carry poisons from aerial spraying for miles, and soil and water are not discretely divided — we breathe and drink a wide swath of our environment very day. The Earth is interconnected and only seems to be divided by arbitrary lines.

How about a complete ban on aerial spraying? That’s what HB 3123 proposes to do. Sponsored by Reps. Paul Holvey and Peter Buckley, HB 3123 says, “Pesticides may not be applied by aircraft.” 

There’s a loophole in it, big enough to drive a log truck through: “except as authorized by a pest emergency declaration.” Apparently state agencies have the power to declare an emergency, under a flexible set of circumstances. But by dogging these agencies, we might get permanent reduction or even zero aerial spraying for many years.

If activists care about aerial spraying, I suggest ignoring the Senate bill and working to totally ban the practice of exposing children and “organic gardens” to atrazine (a hormone disrupter) and 2,4-D (a component of Agent Orange). Instead, support the far superior HB 3123. Holvey, who represents rural Lane County, can be reached at 344-5636 or Rep.PaulHolvey@state.or.us. 

Christopher Logan, Eugene

 

VIOLATING THE TRUST

The environmental hazards associated with Oregon’s proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline-Jordan Cove Liquid Natural Gas Terminal underscore the need for our judicial branch of government to step in and be a check on the other branches of government.

Atmospheric trust litigation provides this check. The atmospheric trust doctrine asserts that our government holds in trust our atmosphere, water and land for future generations. Inaction against climate change violates that trust. Youth across the country have filed legal cases based on this doctrine thanks to the fine work of Oregon Children’s Trust.

Here in Oregon, Judge Karsten Rasmussen will again hear the case of Cherniak vs. Governor Kitzhaber (Brown) in Lane Country Circuit Court on April 7. Judge Rasmussen’s previous ruling on this case, put forth by Olivia Cherniak and Kelsey Juliana of Eugene, stated that climate change-related matters are the purview of the legislative and executive branches only. However, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned that decision. Olivia and Kelsey will again have their day in court.

What Congress can’t do, we the people — inspired by our children — will!

Laurie Ehlhardt Powell, 350 Eugene

 

NO ‘HUMANE’ KILLING

Camilla Mortensen’s March 19 exposé of the Bartels slaughterhouse shone a rare light into the blatant green-washing/humane-washing of the “grass-fed natural/organic beef” industry — and all animal agriculture for that matter. It hopefully has enlightened those consumers who have erroneously convinced themselves that “ethically produced” animal products actually exist. These feel-good catchphrases used by industry are nothing but a marketing ploy to help grow a pricey niche market.

Bartels’ humane-washed euphemisms such as “harvest/harvest floor/euthanize” in lieu of slaughter/kill floor/kill are perfect examples of touchy-feely attempts to sugar-coat reality and make the violent ending to farmed animals’ lives appear benign. The terms are specifically crafted to quell the collective conscience of all complicit parties: i.e., producers and consumers. Bartels’ claim that they “really just do care” is disingenuous, as is citing Temple Grandin without revealing that Grandin is a high-profile shill for the meat industry.

For any customers who view the Bartels slaughterhouse as a source of “local” meats, please note that the crowded truckload of frightened, dirty, hungry, thirsty, doomed animals referenced in Mortensen’s article originated in California, requiring a lengthy, brutal trek to Bartel’s kill floor involving hundreds of miles of inhumane conditions.

There is no such thing as “humane” animal products; “humane killing” is an oxymoron. For the animals’ sake, go vegan.

Barb Lomow, Eugene

 

ADVERSARIAL DRIVERS

Recently the Springfield City Council held a meeting, the purpose of which was to address the safety concerns of the public in light of the terrible tragedy that occurred on Main Street Feb. 22. Living just three blocks from the site of the tragedy, I have heard many proposals on how to improve safety on Main Street. Everything from more lighted crosswalk islands to a footbridge spanning Main at 54th.

The one thing I haven’t heard mention of is the real heart of the matter of pedestrian safety in Lane County. It has to do with the ridiculous way people in Eugene-Springfield drive. I live just off of Main Street, having moved here in July of last year. I have lived in six Western states and held drivers licenses in all of them. I can say without reservation that this is the worst area for pedestrians I have experienced. Much worse than places like Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas where I have lived and worked.

I have never experienced the absolute disregard that locals show pedestrians here. The attitude of drivers here is distinctly adversarial. It’s as if their destination and their time are far more important than everyone else’s. I have had two close calls myself, one as a lady blew through one of those crosswalk islands with the lights flashing. The other was clearly my fault as I had the audacity to enter a marked crosswalk with the walk light on while someone was trying to get to Starbucks.

All the safety features in the world won’t do any good if locals have no regard for them or the people using them. However, a couple of things could be utilized to slow motorist down on Main Street. First, lower the speed limit and enforce it. Second, time the lights to force drivers into lower speeds. Stopping a few times and restarting would be safer than a straight and unhindered line from 14th to Oakridge.

Or, in lieu of those measures, perhaps people could just slow down, pay attention, get off the phone and think of someone other than themselves. But I’m not holding my breath.

D.S. Hall, Thurston

 

 INADEQUATE SHELTER

First Avenue Animal Shelter was built over 37 years ago when Eugene and Springfield were about half the size they are now. I have been a volunteer dog walker at First Avenue Shelter for over two years and have some idea of the deficiencies and problems there.

The poor condition of the building and small size of both the cattery and the kennel adds stress to the animals and makes the job of the staff and volunteers even more difficult. The only reason it is successful finding homes for so many dogs and cats is because of the heroic efforts of the staff and volunteers. Everything about the building works against them.

The size of the kennel and cattery are inadequate and there is no suitable place for potential adopters to meet a dog in a quiet and clean setting. The only place to meet a dog is one of the fenced yards that are often muddy, noisy and with outside distractions.

Please go and visit the LCAS public shelter at 1st Avenue and South Bertelsen and help promote a new shelter to replace this overcrowded and inadequate structure.

 Bro0die Washburn, Eugene