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Letters to the Editor: 9-10-2015

WEEDING OUT PATIENTS

Marijuana seems more illegal than ever for OMMP [Oregon Medical Marijuana Program] patients needing pain management. I have been an OMMP patient concomitantly with pain medications for five years, and I am currently on Social Security Disability. I was regularly drug-tested with THC in my system, which was never a problem. I then had to switch my primary care and was assigned to one of Lane County’s community health centers. 

 At my first appointment, I was told they did no pain management. I said I was an OMMP patient and they began chastising me for cannabis use and needlessly tested me four times in three months. They repeatedly told me there was a law against prescribing opiates with medical marijuana. This is not a law, but instead a known way for clinics to discriminate and “weed” out OMMP patients.

They referred me to a pain management clinic where I was bombarded by a brusque, loud and condescending physician. He raised his voice and demanded I make a choice, cannabis or opiates. There was a law (which he refused to debate)! I chose to find another physician. I called another pain clinic and was told they could not prescribe the opiates with medical marijuana. There was a law!

Four months after being at CHCs, I was refused my refill request for my long-term anxiety medication and told there is a law against prescribing any “controlled substance” with cannabis. No warning, no choice, no tapering, which risks seizure and even death. The doctor eventually admitted it was “clinic policy.” I ended up in the emergency room four days later and was immediately put back on my medication.

It is unacceptable that the Oregon Medical Board allows physicians to lie to patients, cut them off of needed medications and not allow them to make informed health-care decisions. This is unethical. 

M. Adler, Springfield

 

FACING AN ABUSIVE SYSTEM

Attention, city of Eugene! Four children who are believed to be responsible for playing with fire [at Civic Stadium] now stand at the risk of entering a cruel, brutal and inhumane justice system.

There have been many studies that clearly show a correlation between early juvenile incarceration and a lifetime of being in and out of jail. These four young boys, if convicted, now may fall prey to a broken criminal justice system, plagued by systemic problems of physical and sexual abuse.

How can we as a citizenry condemn our most at risk youth to be locked in a cage when we cannot guarantee their safety? Would you, as a father or mother, allow your child to be taken from you to be placed in an abusive foster home?

Louk Hulsman, Eugene

 

MARKETING OUR PARKS

After a cacophonous 2014, it’s been a quiet spring and summer in the north bottomlands of Buford/Mount Pisgah. But if the Lane County Parks Division has its way, in 2016 the air over the bottomlands — and parks throughout the system — will heave with the amplified vibrations of multiple large music events.

While a task force has been considering the appropriateness of and policies for such events, Parks Manager Mike Russell and his assistant Dave Stockdale, neither of whom list parks management or planning in their resumes, have independently and hastily concocted what they call a Parks and Open Space Master Plan that allows them to “issue as many special use permits as needed at any given time to meet the desired use.”

Replete with skewed and contradictory data, this faux document on the fast track seeks validation as a marketing tool to help establish “brand recognition for the county park system” and parks as places where local brands might be advertised.

 Unfortunately, historically inconsistent and inadequate funding has driven a public service agency to pimping for private exploitation of our county parks. Contrary to the manager’s priorities, however, public input referred to in the “Master Plan” itself consistently demonstrates that county park users’ highest priorities are “access to nature; preserving natural areas; improving health and wellness and strengthening families and communities.”

The planning document may be accessed online or in hard copy at the Eugene Public Library. County parks visitors can air their priorities at an open house from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Sept. 24, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave.

 Robert Emmons, Fall Creek

 

ROLL UP SIDEWALKS

I see (in that other paper) that Mayor Kitty Piercy seems to think that downtown loitering is getting out of hand. This comes shortly after Eugene Weekly featured homelessness on its front cover. Just what is going on downtown?

On the one hand, we have wealthy developers getting tax breaks so that affluent students can live in luxury housing, like The Hub and, to a lesser extent, Crapstone. On the other hand, we have the homeless living on sidewalks. Tax breaks for wealthy developers, sidewalks for the homeless?

Obviously something must be done: Let’s take the sidewalks away from the homeless! And while we’re at it, let’s rezone South Willamette Street so more developers can make even more money! As Piercy might put it: “Let’s make Eugene great again!”

Randy Stenersen, Eugene

 

APPALLING APPEARANCE

I agree with Mayor Piercy about the “travelers” and others who clog downtown streets. Last week after an evening movie at the Bijou Metro, I strolled west on Broadway and was appalled by the lifestyle looks of almost everyone gathered in clumps on the streets. A few were scantily dressed in an inappropriate manner. I felt an edge of potential acting out and had I been alone, I would have felt unsafe.

Yes, homeless and eccentric people have rights we must respect, but the city is obligated to keep its public places available to all. Despite Councilor George Poling’s lament that any open discussion on this difficult issue would allow “activists to come in and jump up on tables and make threats,” Eugene City Council could take a different approach.

How about having a discussion to find ways to increase affordable housing? This community, working with city and nonprofit agencies, could seek ways to encourage and fund nonprofits that focus on troubled youth and the mentally ill to station monitors in these areas who could offer alternative activities and services. How about a shuttle bus that might transport those needing shelter to the Mission or other temporary facilities?

Eugene does a lot to reach out, but the community needs to help provide funds to address this issue in a more humane and professional manner.

Vincenza Scarpaci, Eugene

 

WRONG QUARTERBACK

The new Ducks quarterback Vernon Adams was supposed to be the focus for Oregon in its opening game last weekend. But it’s evident the Ducks got the wrong QB to transfer. The most impressive QB on the field was the one who succeeded Adams, who transferred away to come to Oregon. Reality for Oregon will be depressingly clear when it faces Michigan State. Big deal. Football in Oregon is grossly overrated, as are the Ducks.

George Beres

Eugene

 

TESTING MANIA

“My child doesn’t need to be ready for kindergarten. Kindergarten needs to be ready for my child.” The esteemed University of Oregon professor Dr. Yong Zhao declared this when asked how he felt about the new kindergarten readiness assessments.

I recently spoke with a few teachers who have taught kindergarten for decades in Oregon’s public schools about these assessments. In the words of the teachers, these tests are “completely disruptive” and “a waste of time.” Kindergarteners are expected to complete these tests within the first month of school.

The beginning of the school year is an extremely important time where the teachers help students build a community and create a space that is safe for all children.

In order to complete these assessments, each student is removed from the class and taken into an isolated environment. The student then misses part of the lesson and important community building. It also disrupts the flow of the lesson when students are being escorted out of the room.

 According to the kinder teachers, these tests do not tell them anything that they cannot get through observation.

This testing mania needs to stop. Why are we wasting money on these tests? Kindergarten should be fun. It should be a time where students develop essential gross motor skills, learn how to be safe and healthy, and acquire citizenship skills. We need to trust the experts, the teachers, on how to assess their students, not a standardized test. 

 Laura Farrelly, Community Alliance for Public Education, Eugene

 

CONCERNED MCCLURIANS

Unanimous opposition from the existing residents of Oakleigh Lane and from the majority of inhabitants on McClure Lane, still stands. We are an indomitable alliance which has consistently submitted our concerns regarding the impacts of maximum density, especially traffic.

As it is, Oakleigh and McClure are considered access lanes, too narrow to be defined as streets. Cars come and go, slowly drive in single file, dodging potholes. On garbage day, the trucks beep all the way down to River Road as they back out of our dead ends. And we like it that way. Honestly, the width and condition of these lanes is an asset to our safety.

Let’s suppose the city and OMC remain deaf to the neighborly admonishments — our streets are widened, paved and connected. Bulldozers destroy the meadow, eight giant buildings, and 28 units begin to fill up with at least two drivers each. Subsequently, an adversarial imposition has just been created and there is an island settlement at the end of our streets. Longtime residents and new settlers now zip past each other with an uneasy tension. That’s when accidents occur. We respectfully implore OMC to reconsider.

Paul and Cecelia Heintz, Eugene

 

LIVEABLE NEIGHBORHOOD

I am a retired UO lab technician, and I’m one of the developers of Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing. I volunteer as a SMART reader and as treasurer of Eugene Natural History Society, and I served on the Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. I have been active in Eugene’s bicycle community, especially regarding alternative transportation planning and safety.

OMC folks are a collaborative community seeking to create a sharing, caring and safe neighborhood environment. We care about traffic safety for all modes in our city and on Oakleigh Lane. We expect to generate fewer trips than predicted through carpooling, using LTD and commuting by foot or bike. In fact, my bike is my primary transportation, so I am excited about living close to the river’s shared-use path that will allow walking and biking to my destinations. I look forward to working with our neighbors to ensure a safe and livable neighborhood for us all.

Judi Horstmann, Eugene

 

UNSAFE DEVELOPMENT

The amount of deceit, ignorance, misinformation and greed shown by the Oakleigh Meadow’s Cohousing (OMC) group from the get-go is sickening! The lack of common sense from the powers that be should give the public real pause. 

The time, money and education that this small neighborhood has had to put in to appeal the OMC project is appalling.

Our local government should be following its own codes and laws, therefore protecting the public’s rights and safety. This project should have been denied when it was first proposed. It doesn’t fit the neighborhood!

Oakleigh Lane will be unsafe, the greenway and flood plain will be filled in way above the parkland and river path. The river path, river and parkland are a huge asset to the city, citizens and visitors. 

OMC’s heightened condominium compound and the tax revenue that comes with it should not be more important than preserving the river system, the existing neighborhood, and the safety of Oakleigh Lane. 

Most people who actually come visit the lane and the OMC site can’t believe that the city of Eugene has even considered this site for such a large project. Come see it for yourselves!

Jill Buschelman, McClure Lane, Eugene

 

CLONE OAKLEIGH

Have you seen those invading California cars in Eugene, on the coast or on the way to Portland? It is a moving population, and increased housing is needed. Envision Eugene has worked to increase density without attacking our beautiful and very important farms and forests. I do have to object to the five-story buildings along Willamette as it could destroy views and maybe the population increase is too much? 

How about three stories? Oakleigh Meadows co-housing design is a different approach to density, with a beautiful design perfect for bicycle travel and an emphasis on family involvement. I would love to see Oakleigh Meadows repeated throughout Eugene. If I were starting a family, Oakleigh Meadows would be my home!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

GUN VIOLENCE ADS

Last week (Aug. 27) on the front page of the R-G once again was a story on gun violence and tragedy in America. And, in the middle of the R-G, in the advertisements that are the lifeblood of the paper, under the heading: “Pull the Trigger on These Prices,” numerous photos of semi-automatic rifles, an “auto-ordinance tommy gun” and lots of ammunition on sale to fill them over and over. We can only take deep breaths, pray and remember Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” But, it was encouraging to read in that article that the father of the slain reporter will now dedicate his life to ending the source of these advertisements in America.

Christopher Guilfoil, Eugene

 

DISTURBING PATTERNS

Recently, I was at the Blue River Lake and there was no water in it. Until we have a better idea of what we are facing with drought and climate, I think that the massive rezoning proposed for Eugene and the non-mandated population increase is unwise.

I have spoken to several people who attended the Envision Eugene meetings and no one had any idea of the scope of changes planned. 

A person can buy a home in an R1, low-density residential area and have it suddenly changed to high-density. The south-Eugene program is the “”pilot program””— if it happens here, other areas of our city will follow. Vague words are used for the program but where are the studies-the parking and the traffic studies, the projected increases to city services and schools, the projected decrease in property values to home-owners, etc. 

There is the phrase, “save our farmlands” but there is an attempt to also rezone our farmlands, for example Seavay Loop. A Eugene resident, I attended Envision Springfield and observed the process. It was tightly scripted with only a few questions proposed by the presenter. Now Eugene is facing the Envision Eugene process. The 10-year tax break (MUPTE) for multi-unit property tax exemption — how convenient for corporate developers. Residents are seeing disturbing patterns.

Cindy Allen, Eugene

 

ALTERED FORESTS

Forests equal water. They produce, store and clean water by their own natural design adapted over thousands and thousands of years. In the times we live in, this is of the upmost importance. Other benefits include but are not limited to; oxygen production, habitat, medicine, shade, temperature regulation, and of course human’s beloved recreation. At this point over 95 percent of them in the U.S. have been dramatically altered by humans, creating deserts (clearcuts), landslides and most prevalent here in the Pacific Northwest, fire fuel tree plantations. 

Native forests should absolutely and completely be off the table for cutting! Old-growth stands left alone, thinning in plantations, and post burns left to regenerate. Our timber industry needs a major and inevitable change, the problem is no one wants it on their watch. The truth is, it will just get harder and harder and more extreme the longer we wait. 

If jobs are the issue, there are jobs to be created. If money is the issue, start by getting rid of the unearned tax exemption given in Oregon to those who own over 5,000 acres of forestland. Check out Roy Keene’s op- ed two weeks ago in The Registered-Guard for more info on this. We have gone past the tipping point and it is unfair for us to continue with “business as usual” at the expense of the future. Leave them standing.

Lydia Scott, Dexter

 

THIRD PARTY DEADLINE

The Independent Party of Oregon is now the third “major party” in Oregon. We want to offer voters more choices on their ballots. 

Anyone possibly interested in running for office as the candidate of the Independent Party needs to change his or her voter registration to “Independent Party” by Sept. 10. It takes about two minutes at http://indparty.com/register. Or just search “Oregon voter register” online.

Potential candidates need not decide whether to run until the primary election filing deadline, March 8, 2016. But, thanks to the Democrats and Republicans, current law requires signing up for the Independent Party by Sept. 10, more than eight months before the May 2016 primary election.

Dan MeekCo-chair, Independent Party of Oregon, dwm@meek.net.
or
indparty.com

 

NEW RADICALISM NEEDED

Most of the positions at the UO are filled with dedicated employees despite low pay: office staff, custodians, intercultural center, dining, janitorial, website and accounting technicians, those who care for laboratory animals, preschoolers and students. After 30 years of loyalty, financial aid workers only make $17 an hour. Most Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members are paid way below $15, the lowest wage one can live on without government subsidies like food stamps. 

Tuition for students is way high. Fees continue to get bigger every term. Why then do the administrators get such high rewards? Their work is minimal and there are many more of them than needed.

When I left Rutgers University in 1990 students had taken over administrative buildings on campus demanding a freeze to tuition hikes and contracts for campus employees. On many separate occasions we “occupied” administrative offices and refused to leave so as to reach compromises.

So what can activists and advocates do here in Oregon? Deciding as groups and as individuals requires deep insight and commitment. Domesticated and civilized to the point of submission people settle for phone calls, emails and letters to the editor. We are in dire need of harsher kinds of radicalism.

On December 1964 at the Berkley Free Speech Movement, Mario Savio said: “There’s a time when the ... machine becomes so odious ... you’ve got to put your bodies upon (its) gears … and you’ve got to indicate ... that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all”!

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene