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Letters to the Editor: 4-16-2015

STOP THE PIPELINE

Holy crap, a pipeline in Oregon! At last, a climate hero boldly speaking up to protect Oregonians' air, water, land rights and economy! Thank you, Rep. Peter Buckley from Ashland! Telling the truth and boldly facing reality is so very unpopular in the political world. So far, no other Oregonian elected has joined citizens opposing the fracked gas export projects two Canadian companies are trying to force into Oregon. 

These pipelines and terminals will damage our coastal waterways, old-growth forests, fisheries, 400 rivers and streams and 32 endangered species. Oregonians get all the risk and damage while corporations and shareholders get all the profits. At a time when scientists say keeping 80 percent of the fossil reserves in the ground is necessary for a livable planet, these new fossil fuel projects make no sense. To learn more and get your questions answered come to our expert panel that includes citizens on the affected front lines of this struggle.

A panel discussion on “No LNG Exports” will be at 6:30 pm Thursday, April 16, at the First Methodist Church, 1376 Olive St. Oregonians will fight to protect what we love!

Deb McGee, Eugene

 

REGRESSIVE FEE

County Commissioner Pete Sorenson’s linking the tragic deaths in February of three children in Springfield to the Lane County vehicle registration fee issue was outrageous and deserves an apology. I suspect that many people who have supported Pete in the past are surprised and disappointed by his advocacy of a regressive county vehicle registration fee. Let’s hope his position on this issue isn’t a troubling indication of corrosive influence on him by Tea Party types on the county board.

We need to raise revenue for our county roads, but it should be done through an increase in fuel taxes. Higher gas taxes discourage driving which reduces road wear, air pollution and greenhouse gases. People who drive the most and use heavier, less fuel-efficient vehicles would pay the most for road maintenance. Elderly people and others who don’t drive much would pay less. What could be more fair?

Wayne Ferrell, Eugene

 

THE ELLIOTT QUANDARY

Oregon’s Legislature is currently discussing a bill that would impact the Elliott State Forest. The Elliott has come a long way to get where we are today. Rep. Tobias Read’s bill (HB 3474) is a no-nonsense plan that will begin the long overdue process of separating school funds from logging, and stands to benefit us all. The bill will help solve the problems of unloggable trust lands, funding K-12 education and the conserving of old-growth habitat and endangered species. 

Oregon has too long tied our school funding to the cyclical timber market through our trust lands. Washington found a graceful solution to the problem 26 years ago, and here in Oregon we’re finally catching up. It makes sense to support our schools, create restoration and conservation jobs, save endangered species, increase recreation on the Elliott and build our carbon storage capacity all at the same time. 

Maya Rommwatt, Dorena

 

REDIRECTING TAXES

An open letter to the IRS: Until the priorities of our government change, I cannot pay all the taxes I owe to the IRS. I am protesting how much money that is needed desperately for life-affirming aspects of government such as education, rehabilitation, health care and eradicating damage to the environment is going towards funding wars, torture and the killing and maiming of innocent people. 

When my taxes go towards life-affirming ventures I will gladly pay all of them. Until then I will direct some of my tax money each year to organizations that have a positive influence on the world. This year I am redirecting my resisted taxes to the local organizations Community Alliance of Lane County, Sponsors, Occupy Medical, ShelterCare and 4J School District. 

Sue Barnhart, Eugene

 

WHOLE FOODS STUPIDITY

Are you freakin’ kidding me?! A Whole Foods store downtown? How is this uncontroversial? In Biz Beat last week [4/9], “the new store downtown that will take up one full block near The Shedd Institute at 8th and Broadway. Two buildings on the site will come down and the new store of about 38,000 square feet is expected to open in March 2016. This project has been relatively uncontroversial.”

What an idiotic plan this is! Bring in yet more auto traffic to the downtown area, clogging up the narrow streets designed for pedestrians and bicycles, adding more noise to an already cacophonous town that once was a lot quieter?

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I’m disappointed in you, city of Eugene, for allowing this. And Whole Foods is a big corporation, too. I once held the belief that Eugene was sustained by its small businesses — which is why I moved here. Anyone else getting the impression that it’s being taken over by big money? I am. Sigh. 

Amber Noone, Eugene

 

A CIVIC TREASURE

Unbelievable! Our Civic Stadium has been saved for our kids and theirs and the city has gained a special treasure. I can just imagine the fun and healthy recreation that will take place in this community center, and we owe a great deal to those with this vision for tomorrow’s youth. A special thanks to the Johnson family. Will there be a special celebration on the field this summer? 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

BOND MEASURE SOLUTION

Most people who live in Eugene consider it to be a progressive community, and yet we lack a decent facility to house our homeless animals. County budget cuts to animal services were so seriously cut, they barely exist.

It is appalling that the First Avenue Shelter does not adequately provide nearly enough space or shelter — the building is a dinosaur. The staff and volunteers are terrific, but the facility is so antiquated it is depressing and shameful.

Eugene desperately needs a new public shelter centrally located and with room to expand for future needs. Greenhill should have zero involvement in a public shelter. They should continue doing what they have always done — fundraise for Greenhill (a very private facility).

We as a community have an obligation to provide the proper care and space for our most vulnerable and voiceless residents. Maybe it’s time for a bond measure to ensure that we will have a public shelter that we can be proud of.

Cheryl Byer, Rural Eugene

 

TESTING, TESTING

I totally agree that the new Common Core test is too much for students to handle. While there are already many exams for all lessons in class, a test that takes approximately seven to eight hours with only English and math sections is meaningless and stressful for students because “new tests and standards set a higher bar, students are expected to do poorly at first, but performance will improve over time.” [“Too Much Testing” cover story, 2/ 26.]

Instead of putting money into more tests, improving the condition of classes and lectures and also teaching methods would be better for not only students but also the schools.

Finally, all parents should be informed about the tests with all details so that they can decide whether their children should take the test or opt out.

Hai Nguyen, Eugene

 

CARBON UNDERGROUND

April through July is the comment period for updating the forest resource management plan for our federal forests.

In Oregon we have some of the best forests in the world for carbon sequestration. We could get paid for not cutting our forests, which would help with our water quality, habitat for wildlife and many other ecosystem services. Half of the carbon is held in the soils themselves. Any significant disturbance in the forest floor upsets the entire forest’s health and takes decades or longer to repair. 

Forests that are older with diverse species are more resilient and fare far better in wildfires. Normally there is a 100 percent mortality rate in same-age, same-species forests from forest fires. On natural, diverse forests there is about a 40 percent mortality rate. We are facing larger, hotter and more frequent forest fires here in the West due to global warming. A forest management plan that doesn’t take all this into account should be soundly rejected. Transitioning from wood to alternative materials for building such as Hempcrete would create more jobs.

Get more information and find ways to help out at the 350Eugene meetings. Participate in the Earth Day event at 2 pm Saturday, April 25, at Alton Baker Park in Eugene.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter

 

A CLEAR CHOICE

We need a new public shelter. This is clear to anyone who visits the First Avenue facility. But the solution is not to build the new shelter on Greenhill private property, as our community’s animal services divisions have been discussing. We need a new, centrally located, taxpayer-owned facility sited on public property. In 2010, a piece of county-owned property on MLK Jr. Boulevard was considered for just such a building. We should revisit that plan again.

Private ownership puts the public at risk of Greenhill dropping the contract and cutting off access to a private facility. Public ownership of the facility would also allow for the possibility of future public management of animal services. 

We should be considering all options that will be the best for our community now, and into the future, and that means a publicly owned facility on public property.

Sarah Peters, Eugene

 

CENSUS OF SENSUS

In Alabama in 2009, a Sensus engineering employee named Don Baker was fired for repeatedly alerting his management to dangerous defects in the smart meter they were manufacturing. He filed a report citing serious flaws in design and functioning that could lead to electrical danger, overheating and/or fire. 

Customers are reporting flames shooting from outlets, burned out appliances and fires after installation. Portland General Electric is replacing 70,000 residential Sensus smart meters. 

An Arizona utility is replacing 50,000 to 60,000 Sensus smart meters. Meter fires have also occurred in Reno and Sparks, Nevada. Sparks Fire Chief Tom Garrison says, “Meter fires are concerning because they start outside of the house. The occupants inside may not know the house is on fire.” 

The Canadian province government of Saskatchewan’s SaskPower removed 105,000 Sensus smart meters and Florida’s Lakeland Electric replaces more than 10,500 Sensus smart meters and Pennsylvania recalls 186,000 Sensus smart meters after fires. 

Word of California’s smart meter nightmares have spread across the country and around the world, prompting utilities to place smart meter plans on hold. This is the beginning of a widespread recall of wireless smart meters. 

In an unjust, uncaring abuse of the truths that lay before them, EWEB, our citizen-owned utility, is to sign a contract with Sensus to be the manufacturer of wireless smart meters to be used on our homes! EWEB, we tire of rolling this boulder up a hill. What are you thinking? 

Eve Woodward-Shawl, Eugene

 

PERMANENT WAR

Peg Morton in her “Way Towards Peace?” letter April 2 comes from a Christian heritage and I come from a Santa Claus heritage. But I seriously doubt Jesus or old Santa can help us achieve a peaceful world.

We’ve been living in a permanent state of war for decades. If we “speak out for a transformation of our government policies,” who is listening? Many of the people running our federal government — the executive, legislative and judicial branches — are psychopaths. They don’t care what we say. They don’t care if we decide to “not voluntarily pay our federal taxes.”

Just as the big banks never needed to worry about bailout money — war contractors, arms dealers, Israel and our military budget will always receive preferential treatment. 

The advice given in the Declaration of Independence tells us what we must do. Unfortunately, most Americans are delusional, selfish and easily pacified.

However, let’s not despair. Eventually our original god, the Sun, will erupt with tremendous solar flares. EMPs will wipe out much of our war capabilities and other inhumane technological advances.

 After a time, we might even regain our humanity.

Robert Simms, Eugene

 

DROUGHT DOUBTS

Gov. Kate Brown used Oregon’s drought as a reason to impose new biofuel mandates, which will increase our cost of food and fuel. Is Brown correct? University of Washington climatologist Dennis Hartmann stated that “it could be just another natural variation in ocean and atmosphere temperatures, similar to the El Niño-La Niña cycle.”  Geologist James Kamis believes that a “sub-sea volcanically induced giant warmed (water) cell is acting to alter normal California climate patterns and inducing a long-term drought.”

There is little evidence to support Brown’s claim that the drought is caused by atmospheric CO2 levels.  Even the IPCC admits that there has been no over-all global warning for about 18 years.

The scientific method requires thoughtful reasoning and accurate measurements, not the mindless repeating of political myths.  Wildly blaming every negative event on man-made climate change, from droughts to tornados to your child’s asthma, as President Obama has done, is not science at all.  Ancient literature is full of stories of droughts, floods, storms, and plagues, yet we know with 100 percent certainty that none of those tragic events were caused by cars and trucks.

Christopher Calder, Eugene

 

THE CURE FOR RELIGIONS

The world is plagued by extremists who have hijacked religions to promote hate. The Muslim religion has been poisoned by Wahhabi jihadists using the Koran as a false excuse to kill “nonbelievers.” The Christian religion has been poisoned by fundamentalist Teahadist zealots, using the Bible as a false excuse to hate and fear anybody who isn’t a heterosexual. 

Sexuality is not a choice but is determined in the womb. I am left handed. I did not choose to be left handed, living in a right-handed world, sitting in right-handed desks. Left-handed people have contributed much good to the right-handed world, just as homosexuals have contributed much good to the heterosexual world. 

If it weren’t for the mathematical wizard Alan Turing, a closeted homosexual, who defeated Hitler and saved 12 million lives, I would not be writing on this computer. Turing did not receive thanks and praise, but was arrested and chemically castrated to cure him of his “sinful” “choice” of sexuality. Unfortunately we still live in this dark age of a religious zealot plague. 

The only cure for religions is to choose to teach and practice the Golden Rule of civility.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain

 

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Commissioner Pete Sorenson, I’m disappointed in you and I’m one of your biggest fans. How can you in good conscience support to burden the poor with a vehicle registration fee? I thought you were on our side. Taxation without representation is one thing but taxation with representation doesn’t seem any better. Why not increase recreation fees for boating, RVs and the like? 

There’s still time to reform and come to your senses. You still get my vote.  

Vince Loving, Eugene