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Letters to the Editor: 7-16-2015

MUPTE IS MISDIRECTED

I appreciate George Brown’s call [Viewpoint, July 7] for modification of MUPTE to include a meaningful and significant workforce housing component. But I would prefer that we end MUPTE all together. In my view, MUPTE is as unnecessary as it is misdirected. Typical of these programs, it lacks robust compliance oversight. It robs our community of needed tax revenues for the benefit of well-heeled developers. The evidence of an out-of-control program is all around us (see the Capstone site, if you can stand the sight).

Eugene doesn’t need tax giveaways to attract development. Instead, councilors need to have a little faith that the many fine attributes of our community are attraction enough. Tom McCall warned against Oregon becoming nothing but a hungry hussy throwing herself at every stinking smokestack that’s offered. Words of wisdom for Eugene, too.

Benton Elliott, Eugene

 

CONNECTING THE DOTS

OK, Americans, 74 percent of us report our health care through ObamaCare as excellent or good (Kaiser Family Foundation, May 2015). Right, since many of us couldn’t afford health insurance at all before the law passed. But another report last month from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the law, created by and for the for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, is so complex that people often do not choose the best plan, and therefore pay more than they should. Guess we’re supposed to keep still and be grateful for the crumbs thrown to us ... wait a minute.

Thirty million citizens are still not insured. Rates are set to rise in 2016 by 20 to 40 percent. Something about the title of this law doesn’t ring true: Patient Protection? Affordable Care?

I’m not surprised, but I am worried. Worried that despite numerous polls showing well over half of Americans want some version of Medicare for all, our representatives fail to develop a viable national program. Why? Same reason they don’t act to stop climate instability, the schools-to-prison pipeline, the endless wars, the unconscionable commodification of the last of our beautiful planet. 

They work for wealthy corporate elites, not you and me. Get the feeling that our democracy is broken? Time to put our collective shoulders to the wheel and work together to take our country back. We could start by demanding what every other industrialized citizenry enjoys: health care for people, not profit.

Patty Hine, Eugene

 

NEW FIELD OF DREAMS

Almost everyone who has experienced the excitement of an Ems game has so many great memories from Civic Stadium. I used to take my young son to games. He is much older now with young children of his own, but I’m sure these memories are something he would certainly want to share with them. If I knew then what I know now — all it would have taken is a dropped cigarette through the seats onto the dry weeds, or kids under the stadium playing with matches. If a fire started below the seats, how many people would survive? 

I noticed the flames pouring out of every opening on the outside of where the top stadium seats would be — a favorite place to get out of the sun but certain death if a fire progressed through the structure. Odds are, escape would be futile for so many souls. 

Will this community and its priceless memories be strong enough to willfully recreate a new and better field of dreams? 

Eve Woodward-Shawl, Eugene

 

SEE AN ATTORNEY

The thoughtful column by Dan Savage in the July 9, 2015, edition points out the complexity of domestic relations law for gay and lesbian people. If you’re contemplating marriage, you need to understand the advantages and possible disadvantages of marriage, how it affects your assets, and legal issues around children and stepchildren. Lane County has many competent domestic relations attorneys. Don’t create some unintended consequences for the person you love because you can’t foresee all the legal issues you need to think through.

Sue Miller Wielesek, Eugene

 

REHAB? NO, NO, NO

In true lefty tradition, Molly Templeton (“Fade To Black” film review, July 9) seems to blame everyone for Amy Winehouse’s tragic downfall except the person who made the bad choices that led to it.

Taylor Swift is also young and “gloriously talented.” Swift has made a lot of good (great) choices within the same “celebrity culture” and “the men who run it,” all while being far more under the public microscope than Winehouse ever was.

To whom would Templeton assign responsibility in this case?

 Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

REACTION WAS FINE

In response to Stephina Brewer’s July 9 letter, “Flaunting Chief Wahoo”: Do you think your reaction was out of line? That is all that matters. If “enough” others share a perception, does that make it true? What are numbers, anyway? We gave them their meaning, and I give them the meaning of meaningless. 

Worry not about anything of the past. The past is dead. Your reaction was perfectly fine. None of us are ever “right,” and more importantly, we are never “wrong.”

Patrick Burian, Eugene

 

ACT OF KINDNESS

No one likes to be stuck with needles, so the three of us in the laboratory waiting room, expectantly waiting our turn to have our blood drawn, expressed sympathy when we heard the child crying from the back room. But you, kind lady with the beautiful, well-groomed dog sitting in your lap, took it one step further. When the mother came out carrying one of her two boys, him still shedding tears, you approached them with further words of comfort and sympathy, offering the boys pieces of bubble gum you had in your purse and even expressing to the young boy how your dog thought that the boy was so courageous. It was heartwarming to witness your act of loving kindness, a simple act that makes our world a better place.

Stephen White, Luminessence, Eugene

 

RACIST DELUSIONS

On June 18, our local NAACP held a vigil in Kesey Square in solidarity with the victims of the South Carolina church shooting. Various members of our community spoke in solidarity against racism. But American racism is not limited so narrowly and extends directly to the violence we commit and support abroad.

When Ajamu Baraka spoke at the Eugene Human Rights Commission’s 2011 Human Rights Day Celebration, he emphasized, “Our framework must be international, and we must understand the connection between the local and the global.” Today, he connects the police brutality and systemic racial discrimination of Ethiopian Jews in Israel to the ongoing struggle against racism in America.

After returning from a Palestine/Israel African Heritage delegation, he wondered “how anyone with a modicum of humanity and any sense of morality could reconcile living in that environment from the spoils of Palestinian dispossession and degradation and how any nation could support the Israeli political project.” He described it as “the most obscene capitulation to injustice on the part of the international community since 1945.”

Black organizers representing Ferguson, including Black Lives Matter, joined the Dream Defenders for another trip there. “The goals were primarily to allow for the group members to experience and see firsthand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians,” wrote Ahmad Abuznaid, co-organizer of the delegation. “We thought the connections between the African-American leadership of the movement in the U.S. and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be reestablished and fortified.”

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said, “This is an apartheid state. We can’t deny that, and if we do deny it, we are a part of the Zionist violence.”

Hopefully our local leaders will begin to understand the intersectionality of oppression and establish activist solidarity to help end racist delusions of supremacy and entitlement wherever and however they are expressed and promoted in our community.

Mariah Leung, co-director, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Eugene

 

BERNIE’S LITMUS TEST

Campaign contribution totals are in for the most recent quarter. I have seen headlines which proclaim the leading recipient of dollars to be the leading candidate. There is no analysis of from whom the money is coming or the average size of contribution. In horse-race coverage of the presidential campaign, the lead is attributed merely to total dollars gained. 

The best way to destroy this system of news coverage and influence of big money is to give an individual contribution, volunteer for and eventually vote for Bernie Sanders for president. Bernie’s contributions average $40 and do not come from corporations. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have contributed to Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

We all want a constitutional amendment which would enshrine government’s ability to regulate the influence of big money in politics. We want a future Supreme Court to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling (which allowed unlimited contributions to PACs, which are supposedly not officially connected with campaigns but do in fact work in concert with campaigns). Bernie Sanders has said his litmus test for Supreme Court appointments is the need to overturn Citizens United.

In the meantime, before we can meet these goals, the best thing to do to stop the influence of big money is support Bernie Sanders. Imagine if the highest office in the country were won through a popular campaign supported only by citizens, not corporations? It would be a great victory for democracy.

 Stephen Amy, Eugene

 

SIX MILLION DEATHS

Adel Gresham [Letters, 7/9, “Expand Vaccination”] makes a good point about vaccines needing to reach all to be effective. Thank goodness that Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was funded to reach another 300 million children in the next few years. We must make sure America honors its pledge to Gavi. 

Also, forthcoming legislation in Congress will consider passing into law reforms to USAID, the office that provides developmental assistance. These researched changes will make USAID more efficient and transparent, and they include a report to Congress that will explain the impact of the money invested. They will also focus on ending preventable deaths of children, which is currently around six million each year. 

Taking a few minutes to make a call or send an email to our representatives asking them to support this legislation will make a difference in the lives of millions.

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Washington

 

HB 2655 PROVIDES TRANSPARENCY

It’s ironic that The Register-Guard editors admonish Gov. Kate Brown in their editorial “A cop out on opt out” (6/25) for signing HB 2655. The law spells out the rights of parents and students related to Smarter Balanced standardized tests. I remember that not to long ago the R-G sued 4J schools in order to provide transparency in the dismissal process of 4J Superintendent Sheldon Berman.  

If they are so interested in transparency of the School District, why do they not want transparency for the rights of Oregon parents and students? HB 2655 shines the light on the rights that parents and students should have as it relates to standardized tests. 

The law provides for students to be notified 30 days in advance of the “purpose of the assessment … specific days (of the assessment) … amount of time required … learning targets … difference between good and poor performances … when the results will be made available to students.” That looks like important information to be shared with our children and their parents.

Also it directs schools to let parents know at the beginning of the year when the standardized tests are to be given to their children and their right to excuse their children if they so choose from these tests.

As teachers, we have always honored parent right for input in their children’s learning. Inappropriate book?  We provide an alternative. Field trip not suitable for a child? No problem, there is an alternative, etc.

Now that’s transparency! Teachers, parents, students and the R-G should support that. 

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene