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Letters to the Editor: 6-11-2015

DE-GREENING EUGENE

I haven’t read anything about the trees downtown that are slated to go down this summer. The one by the Eugene Public Library on Charnelton is doomed, but there are 10 trees on 11th and Olive, across from The Kiva, that will go when the bulldozers come to demolish Musgrove Mortuary. One of them has already been dug up and moved.

 Maybe the community missed the architectural drawing of the Hilton that's going on that property. No trees or landscaping are in the plan. I can see the tops of some of those trees from two blocks away. That’s a lot of pollution filtering that will be missed, besides the shade advantage.

We're losing a lot of our urban landscape.

If you've ever turned left at 13th and Charnelton in the afternoon on a sunny day and had your window down, you would have felt the heat radiate from the new Capstone student housing project. Not a lot of noise was made over the proposal for that project either.

I recall that there was a huge outcry when the city wanted to take down the trees beside the WOW Hall. Maybe you could have one of the staff writers do an article on the possible demise of the trees (e.g., the “de-Greening” of our town) or suggest that the Mighty Eugenean Placard Carriers and Marchers do their magic thing to save the trees of 11th and Olive.

Maybe the plans for the Hilton could be modified to retain the patch of green by the sidewalk and the lovely trees. Yeah, sure, I know that's a stretch, but Mr. Hilton doesn't live here and we do, so we need to step up and let our needs be heard.

Shadra Lewis, Eugene

 

RESOURCES AVAILABLE

In response to the May 28 cover story “Dragged Through the Mud,” I want to share with readers important information about the free legal services offered by UO School of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic. The clinic has an attorney, funded by the federal Victims of Crime Act, who provides legal representation to student survivors of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking. 

The attorney can represent a student survivor in the student conduct code process, help the survivor obtain a civil protective order, inform the survivor of her rights as a victim of a crime and provide other emergency-related legal services such as providing assistance with housing or employment issues. Students’ conversations with the lawyer are protected by attorney-client privilege, and the attorney is not subject to mandatory reporting under Title IX. The student’s information is not disclosed to anyone without the student’s consent or a court order. 

Any student survivor who would like a consultation with the attorney can call 346-8619 or email dvattorney@uoregon.edu.

Kasia Mlynski, staff attorney, Domestic Violence Clinic, Eugene

 

ENFORCING A BAN?

The problem, as I see it, with Mardel Chinburg’s call for a tobacco-use ban in all public areas of Eugene (she wasn’t entirely specific) is two-fold [Viewpoint, 6/4]. 

First, tobacco is a legal product, established, taxed and sold around the city in literally hundreds of locations and used by thousands of users. Banning its use indoors/outdoors in any public location will be onerous in the extreme for the local police. Secondly, one need not wait until the new pot law goes into effect to encounter the smell (hence smoke) of marijuana in many public locations in Eugene now. In fact, one is far more likely to encounter the smell of the ganja than tobacco already. Are we to believe it will magically disappear in July? Of course not, and I’m certain Chinburg is not so foolish as to think so either.

While I certainly sympathize with Chinburg’s call for an end to tobacco smoke in public places where that smoke can reach into another’s breathing space, I seriously question any ability to enforce an effective ban of both it and marijuana citywide — not without a very draconian police force dedicated to doing little else. I am also quite certain this is not what the good people of Eugene, on both sides of this issue, want to see happen to their city, Chinburg included. I guess it’s one of those things that sounds good but is entirely impractical. 

No disrespect to Ms. Chinburg, but unless the ban can be equal and effective on all forms of offensive smoking odors, any law to ban tobacco not inclusive of other objectionable and unhealthy odors would be unfair and most likely ineffective pitting otherwise peaceful citizens against their own city government and law enforcement agencies.

Pete Stingley, Ash Valley, Oregon

 

TRIGGERING IMAGE

Your cover story for the May 28 issue (“Sexual Misconduct”) draws much-needed attention to an absolutely vital issue facing students on college campuses across our nation. However, I fear that you neglected to consider the impact of your cover photo on those directly affected by sexual violence. Such images can be triggering (provoking an unwanted emotional response) in persons who have experienced sexual and/or violent trauma, and it is inconsiderate to place this image in public view, without warning of any kind.

I would suggest that, when/if you choose provocative cover images in the future, a different cover be displayed in the glass front of your paper boxes, so that readers can choose whether or not to expose themselves to potentially triggering material. Wouldn’t your readers be just as intrigued by the promise of a cover image that was too powerful for casual view?

There are many in our society who have lived through traumatic events, such as military veterans and those in emotionally abusive relationships, and it is important that their stories are heard! But, this cannot be at the expense of those most affected by the issues. The ends, in this case, do not justify the means.

John Watts, Cheshire

 

SECOND-HAND POT

I support Mardel Chinburg’s Viewpoint June 4; however, her comment that “proposed regulations prohibit pot smoking and use in public places — indoors and out” seems to me somewhat naive. In the years I have lived in this community I have never seen any attempt to curb public pot use. I suggest anyone take a stroll through downtown Eugene to smell what I’m referring to and observe the gendarmerie turning a blind eye. 

I sincerely doubt there will be any change as “regulations” simply won’t be enforced. In Colorado and Washington, public pot use is prohibited — their laws aren’t enforced, either. Eugene is now and seemingly always has been pot central, so in my opinion it’s doubly doubtful anti-public-use laws here will be enforced.

When even kids are allowed to set up cookie sale tables immediately adjacent to the entry of a so-called medical marijuana dispensary (see media reporting on last spring’s Girl Scout cookie sales efforts), the attitudes in favor of any and all kinds of pot use are clearly so entrenched that no “regulations” are going to change those attitudes. 

Once July hits, I think Chinburg and everyone else can count on encountering increased pot smoke in the elevators and lobbies of office buildings, in and around retail establishments, in public parks and parking lots, on buses and even inside some workplaces. For those of us severely allergic to pot, it is every bit as much of a challenge as avoiding secondhand tobacco smoke. For those of us whose asthma triggers include pot smoke, we live daily on a wing and a prayer that we won’t need our rescue inhalers during any given outing.

Sarah Katherine Moore, Coburg

 

A CORPORATE TOOL

Jerry Ritter of Springfield [Letters, 6/4] seems to misunderstand the meaning of what Ann Kneeland wrote on May 21 when she spoke about “local communities deciding what’s best for themselves.” She was speaking about the people who live in a community being affected by state preemption (cancellation of locally enacted laws) as a corporate tool, not about local government actions, per se.

All governments are certainly part of the overall problem, but you and I — the people living in an area who could be directly harmed by some harm coming from outside — are the real community, and should be able to have a direct say in how we are affected by it, don't you think?

Recent examples of harms include the Seavey Loop sellout by some county commissioners, the leveling of Parvin Butte, Lane County Commission giving away water for business profits during a drought, the state preempting anti-GMO laws, and I could go on. We see it every day, and as far as I’m concerned, local people must take back the reins of government and its subservience to corporate interests. Community Rights Lane County is a group of ordinary citizens working to address these issues. Please visit us at communityrightslanecounty.org for more info. 

 Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene

 

PRESERVING HISTORY

An open letter to the Eugene City Council: On behalf of the city of Eugene’s Historic Review Board, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your support through this year’s purchase of Civic Stadium by the Eugene Civic Alliance. We truly appreciate the efforts of you, Mayor Piercy and the individuals and groups involved with the alliance on the successful purchase of the stadium property from 4J School District!

For over 40 years the seven-member Historic Review Board has been involved in setting preservation goals for the city of Eugene. Many of us on the current board feel the council took great strides forward in helping the city meet the preservation goals advanced by the board with the advocacy of Eugene Civic Alliance purchasing Civic Stadium. Civic Stadium is a positive example of a local, historic resource that will continue to provide a positive and meaningful service within our community. It is for this reason that we are so grateful for your partnership and financial support in preserving Civic Stadium for use by the Eugene Civic Alliance.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the historic preservation of our community. 

 Heather Kliever, Chair, Historic Review Board, Eugene

 

FOOD YES, CIGS NO

I advocate for the homeless and I have no problem with the kids on the downtown mall. Terra Williams’ claim [Letters, 6/4] that the smoking ban is a form of classism might be very valid, but I have to cry “bullshit” on the bit about the reason for smoking is because they are hungry. Yes, cigarettes may be an appetite suppressant, but I know what cigarettes cost, including the generic ones, and that money could be going for food instead. It gripes me to see people standing on a corner begging for money with cigarettes in their mouths. I’ll happily give you money for food, but not to support your smoking addiction. 

Cenya Eichengreen

Eugene

 

GREENHILL HELPS, SERVES

As volunteers for Greenhill Humane Society, we feel we can best directly help the largest number of homeless dogs in our community. We have been Greenhill volunteers for over three years and together total over 10,000 hours. We see the daily routines of the dog kennels at both the Greenhill Road and 1st Avenue locations. This includes the feeding, kennel cleaning, yard breaks, walks, medical attention and training. We know firsthand how good the care is, despite the outdated buildings and limited budgets. 

We have worked with Greenhill dogs that were adopted out in one day and some that were in the shelter for over a year before finding their forever homes. Whether the dog is a puppy or an abandoned and blind 13-year-old, they get the care they deserve in a safe environment with caring staff and volunteers.

 We work with wonderful dogs and many good people, people who are motivated by being on the front lines of the shelter world and are proud of it. We support and appreciate each other and the hard-working staffs, often in stressful conditions. The camaraderie is real. Since July 1, 2012, over 1,200 dogs have been adopted from GH and over 700 adopted from 1st Avenue. Over 1,600 dogs were returned to their owners from 1st Avenue. This is a record that speaks for itself, and Greenhill Humane Society deserves our support.

 Brodie Washburn, Kristen Kaminski, Eugene

 

MORE THAN A MISTAKE

Memorial Day has once again passed without truth telling about American wars of the last half-century beginning in Vietnam. Our political ideology and its press stenographers remain awash as always in euphemisms including decriminalization of our state atrocities. As presidential aspirants gather at the starting gate, they are stumbling over themselves to disavow previous support of the Iraq War as simply a “mistake.”

It is a tragic, well-known and too oft-repeated reality that the casualties of war vastly exceed those killed directly by bombing, shelling and bullets. In 2006, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health conducted a careful epidemiologic study in Iraq using cluster sampling methodology and in-person interviews conducted by Arabic-speaking physicians, with over 90 percent confirmed by death certificates. Peer-reviewed and reported in the British medical journal Lancet, it reported some 655,000 Iraqi deaths exceeding pre-invasion rates.

In Fallujah, we committed unspeakable atrocities, mass murdering residents with flesh-melting white phosphorous and destroying 36,000 homes, 9,000 shops, 60 schools and 65 mosques. One correspondent wrote, “There has been nothing like the attack on Fallujah since the Nazi ... shelling and bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, the terror bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940.”

As later repeated in Libya, we wantonly destroyed an orderly, secular, modern socialist society with advanced public services such as free universal, high-level education and health care, leaving enraged survivors who now make up the core of ISIS.

The Nuremberg Tribunal defined waging aggressive war as “the supreme international crime,” for which German and Japanese leaders were tried and many executed at Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials. Ours was far more than a “mistake.”

 Jack Dresser, Ph.D., Co-director, Al-Nakba Awareness Project