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Letters to the Editor: 8-13-2015

A DOUBLE LOSS

On June 29, Eugene lost its Civic Stadium due to a thoughtless act. A terrible loss. On June 29, Eugene’s downtown core lost 10 beautiful trees due to a thoughtful act. A terrible loss.

The plan for the new Hilton residential hotel at 11th and Olive was approved without concern for those beautiful bits of nature — mature, full-grown trees and homes for birds.

Downtown has no green space, only concrete-covered “parks.” Please give that some thought.

Jane Smith, Eugene

 

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE …

I live in a wooden house off Willamette Street in south Eugene. HELP. It’s getting very serious.

Peter Tildesley, Eugene

 

THREAT TO DEMOCRACY

On July 28, former President Jimmy Carter spoke about his concern about the amount of money in politics. Carter said, “It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president.” 

The bad news is Jimmy Carter is correct. We can’t have a functioning democracy if billions of dollars are being spent to bribe political officials into passing legislation that only benefits the wealthy. Companies like General Electric, Boeing and Verizon, whose profits are in the billions, all had negative effective income taxes. This means not only are these companies not paying income tax, they are receiving money from the government.

 The good news is we have a candidate who understands this threat. That candidate is Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been outspoken about the need for a political revolution in this country in order to take on the billionaire class that currently controls our political system. Sanders promised to try to work to overturn Citizens United vs. FEC. Despite his financial disadvantages, Sanders has continued to rise in the polls by taking on the big money interests. 

Kyle Stephens, Eugene

 

WON’T BE BRIBED

Vote for your family, vote for yourself: The un-Pac Man makes his play for the presidency. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that will not accept bribes from the corporate coffers or who is influenced by the rich man’s gold. His funds come from the common people he is destined to serve. “What can I do?” you query. Register to vote for the Democratic primary and again in the general election. Bring our government back to the fold of the ordinary citizens. There are a lot more of us than them. How can we lose? This message has not been approved by anyone. 

 Vince Loving, Eugene

 

DISPLACED FROM GLENWOOD

When I was 4 or 5 years old, one of life’s defining moments happened to me. I had done something unkind when my mom sat me down and said, “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” I remember thinking deeply and decided that I was certain I would not like it. The question my mother asked greatly influences how I treat people.

Please take a moment and imagine someone having the power to take your home away. Imagine the threat to your lifestyle because of limited resources and support. Each day you have more questions than answers because the people who have the power to answer your questions are not straightforward with you. How would that make you feel?

In the past five years, I have made many improvements to my mobile home and yard. I was very excited recently to find a good deal on flooring.  When a letter came announcing the town meeting, my excitement turned to depression. How can I be excited when there is clearly a threat of loss? 

Please understand that I have put my heart and soul into my home, and it is more than just a structure that can be replaced. You say that you will offer “developer incentives,” but what about “move-out” incentives? Here is a suggestion, which I feel has potential to be a “win-win” option: an assistance program specifically designed for the displaced people of Glenwood.

My suggestion: The city of Springfield collaborates with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a program for displaced mobile home owners affected by the Glenwood Refinement Project. These displaced homeowners may purchase a subsidized piece of property (with or without a home on it). The purchase price (for current mobile homes and for the right to develop Glenwood land) will cover the down payment and closing costs for the homes. Future monthly payments are guaranteed to be comparable to current space rent payments and all moving costs paid for. We will also be granted at least a year to secure something affordable.  

Let’s not add to Lane County’s already overwhelming homeless population!

Lorie Waggoner, Eugene

 

SPEED CUSHIONS

Here’s an unnecessary and unusual way that the city of Eugene is spending tax dollars — it is installing 10 “speed cushions” on Riverview Street. Most of you will probably wonder where this highly trafficked speedway is and may have to do a map web search to find it.  I’ll help you. It’s east of the university campus on the east side of Hendricks Hill.  Why the city must install speed-slowing devices on a section of country road 2 miles long that only serves the immediate neighbors is beyond me. 

I live in the neighborhood and witness people daily stopping in the middle of the road to allow our abundant turkeys to cross. These are not the mean streets of Springfield where people are mowed down regularly. I welcome you to our neighborhood. Drive scenic Riverview and see if you don’t wonder why the city wastes resources.

Andy Small, Eugene

 

ARTISTIC LOSS

Many lament recently losing the old city hall (tear down), Civic Stadium (fire) and Southtowne Lanes (fire), yet those losses were more sentimental than aesthetic. We might soon suffer a more artistic loss. 

The former downtown Eugene Public Library at 100 W. 13th Ave., until recently home to Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers, has been leased (with an option to buy) by the huge medical firm Kaiser Permanente. As the ground floor and basement are being revamped for its clinic (the second floor remains on short lease to other tenants), let us hope Kaiser maintains one of the few gems of Eugene classic-modernist architecture. Our aesthetic environment is, after all, a factor in our personal and social health.

The 1959 building combines elements of Frank Lloyd Wright in its warm colors and use of brick and wood, with the stark lines of the “international style” (Wright himself created the greatest such hybrid with the Kaufmann house “Fallingwater” in Pennsylvania). The lobby, stairwell, streamlined reception desk, lighting details and pillars of green metal in the main room (in debt to Wright’s “lotus pad” columns in the Johnson Wax complex in Racine, Wisconsin) deserve preservation. So do the cleaned-line, handsome facades facing 13th and Olive, without adding gaudy signage. 

Let us encourage Kaiser and the city to safeguard this excellent thread in our urban fabric. After all, some things should be “permanente.” And the structure is even more appealing since a massively dull pile, basically a storage stack for student housing, was built across the street.

D.C. Elliott, Eugene

 

ADDRESS CAPITALISM

It has been interesting to follow the plurality of perspectives in response to the July 16 cover story, “Radical Predictions.” However, these responses lack a cogent social analysis and, thus, fail to provide a tenable way forward.

Population overshoot, industrialism, spiritual alienation, uncontrollable economic growth and a culture of domination are all secondary or tertiary problems. “Solutions” that address these problems — population control, attacks on infrastructure, individual spiritual practices, living off the grid and wallowing in alienation — will never be effective on their own.

If we want to cut ecocide at the root, we must address capitalism. It is capitalism that is the dominant mode of production on the planet and the undeniable cause of ecological devastation.

The transformation of the natural world into commodities through the work of labor power is at the core of capitalism. Even those of us not directly involved in production are coerced to buy these commodities and sell our labor power just to survive.

It is only by ending this relationship between labor and capital that we will be able to end the abusive relationship between humans and nature. If you want to organize with this premise in mind, contact me at kelleyvincent@gmail.com.

Vincent Kelly, Eugene

 

RIVER IDEAS

Your Aug. 6 Slant asked for more ideas on how to help keep our riverbanks clean. Here is mine:

The city should allow people to camp on unused public land that is away from the river. There are plenty of parcels of unused city, county and state land (not to mention EWEB) that could provide people with spaces to camp without impinging on our river.

For a fraction of what it spends on driving out campers, cleaning up after them, modifying our parks to be inhospitable to homeless people, etc., the city could provide port-a-pots and Dumpsters for quite a few homeless camps.

My guess as to why this hasn’t already happened is that the city pays its lawyers to tell it not to allow camping for “liability reasons.”

Steven C. Hiatt, Eugene