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Letters to the Editor: 11-25-2015

A TWIST ON MUPTE

If Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) tax waivers are not giveaways to developers, as City Councilor Chris Pryor would have us believe in a recent Register-Guard commentary, then they are bribes we can little afford to bestow. How many more levies will be sent to the ballot to make up revenue shortfalls because of the city’s agenda of largesse to developers? 

Capstone and numerous other tax-waived buildings were built in anticipation of student tenancy, but isn’t that population in decline? Aren’t many of the MUPTE apartments designed for the collaborative living of small groups of college friends? I doubt working families with children would choose to live in the Capstone’s ant hill. This is Eugene, not Manhattan.

One has to wonder where the value will be in these properties 10 years from now. You can bet the current owners will sell after several more years, as have others after having banked their tax waivers.

Currently there is much discussion about a growing population of so-called downtown “travelers” and other homeless people. In this regard, perhaps our investment won’t be for naught as the Capstone could become a future downtown center of low-cost housing for Eugene’s indigent population. 

 Russ DesAulnier, Eugene

 

THE TRUTH OF WAR

I am writing to say how touched I was by the Veteran’s Day special insert in the Weekly. Thank you for giving Veterans a chance to speak in their own voices, to share a glimpse of how war has changed and impacted women and men, several of whom I know in this community. This kind of personal account is rare and has been missing from my understanding of Veteran’s Day. How intimate and heart wrenching and reflective of humanity.

I felt it was the best way to honor those who served, not by glorifying war, but by hearing their account and telling their truth. 

Lorraine Boose, Eugene

 

NEGATIVITY HATE?

Regarding John O’Malley’s Nov. 19 Viewpoint screed “Wake Up Eugene, and Push Your Art Scene Into the 21st Century,”
I find it hilarious that he envisions the art shown at the Jacob’s Gallery so easily without ever having been in the place. He styles himself a “hater of negativity” — does anyone have a spare mirror for Mr. O’Malley?!

Art Kennedy, Springfield

 

ASK FOR HELP

In the wake of the Paris attacks, I am thinking about how precious our little bubble of peace is on this Earth. These suicide bombers and shooters were not allowed to dream of a life the way we can. Their life has been marked and inducted into this way of thinking since childhood. 

We are allowed to dream and plan our lives here. If we fail at something, at least we tried. Eugene’s houseless and at-risk youth need to know we care and I believe we are actively giving them this message. But we have more to do. 

I have taken in houseless people until they were able to stand on their own and some made it, some didn’t. At least I feel that I have done something when I had the ability to do so. 

The prevailing message I would like to pass on is that when we are depressed, we feel that it will always be like this. That’s how feelings can run our life sometimes, if we don’t have the tools to fight back. 

But life can turn on a dime; don’t give up on your pursuit of happiness. Work hard and ask for help. To families with depressed and angry youth: Get help, give them compassion, not guns. Teach them to build something in your backyard; using a hammer and power tools can improve self esteem and get out aggression. Help them find a healthy way to release their anger.

I was an at-risk youth in the late '70s. I was a victim of pedophiles and ran away a lot. It took a death in my family and our relatives coming together to save me. I was lucky; many are not and need your help, so do what you can.

In love and kindness we stand.

Carol West, Eugene

 

KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

I must express this or die by my own hand for remaining silent. To my dear brothers and sisters who eat meat: Do you ever consider the feelings of the animals you consume? Do you ever wonder if these fellow creatures were forced to live in their own excrement, or were violently beaten at the whims of their caretakers? Those of you who have pets in your home, can you imagine if your nonhuman loved ones were treated with cruelty on a daily basis? 

To provide the milk products for human consumption, hundreds of thousands of children and mothers are brutally separated each day (ever seen the videos?). Who deserves the milk of these mothers more than their own children? How would you feel if your own mother had been similarly forced to provide milk for others. 

Humans have shown the same disrespect for each other as they have widely shown to the nonhuman peoples. Humans can be very inhumane.

Leo Tolstoy observed that, “As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields.”

Dear brothers and sisters, I love you all very much — as much as the sun, the sky, the ocean, the Earth — as much as the next animal you will eat. May we all live with kindness and respect for each other.

Steve Steele (channeling Eerie Billy Haddock), Eugene

 

BEGGING FOR NECESSITIES

The Register-Guard suffers severely from Republicanitis. The R-G’s editorial writers claim that the poor should be ignored when they ask for money. Why do we have millions of poor Americans? Republicans sent their jobs overseas. Republicans didn’t want to pay Americans earned wages and now don’t want the government to assist them. 

However, Republicans want the government to give their corporations money in the form of tax breaks. How did so many states let Republicans control Congress, cause poverty and deny help to so many Americans?

We don’t need Republican meanness in Eugene. Surely some of the people who ask for money are trying to get enough for rent for a night, socks or personal items. Tens of thousands of people in Lane County get food stamps and have absolutely no cash income. They all need money!

Jerry Smith, MSW, Eugene

 

DOING WHAT IT TAKES

Bernie Sanders recently attacked Hillary Clinton for accepting large donations and using money from PACS. I want to remind Sanders supporters that Barrack Obama accepted large donations and PAC money, because he wanted to win. 

Clinton is pragmatic and understands what it takes to win a presidential election. She is already under attack from the Republicans. Those attacks will intensify during the general election, regardless of who the Democrats nominate. 

The Republican Party and the Koch brothers will use money from all sources to win the presidency. It is naïve to think they can be defeated without accepting large donations and PAC money. It would be like going into a gunfight using a kitchen knife. 

Presidential elections have real consequences and are not the appropriate time to “make a political statement”. The Supreme Court justices, who unleashed the current campaign finance system with their Citizens United ruling, were mostly appointed by Republican presidents. The argument that there is no difference between the two major parties crumbles when you examine the effects of Citizens United.

Sanders will most likely lose the general election because voters in the south and mid-west (outside the Eugene liberal bubble), don’t like large government programs. As a result, a Republican will appoint 1 or 2 Supreme Court Justices. This will guarantee Citizens United won’t be overturned for another generation.

Clinton is running so she can win, and to keep the Republicans from controlling all three branches of government. I fear Sanders is running to make a moral statement about our current political system, without a realistic chance to win or to change anything.

Irene Henjum, Springfield

 

PLAYBOOK ON WAR

"Naturally, the common people don't want war. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." — Hermann Goering, Nazi mastermind, 1946.

"As president, I will defend this nation, but I will do it responsibly. War must be a last resort, not the first option." — Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate, 2015.

Next election the choices are clear: A page from the playbook for continuous, never-ending war, or a path to a lasting peace.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain

 

CAR OF CHOICE

Volkswagen diesel. How those words have changed in the last few months. What can the world's largest carmaker do now? How can they possibly make things right with the millions who, like my wife and I, were attracted to the lure of low environmental impact. "Your choice of car is your biggest green decision" we read and believed. Now what?

My 2003 Jetta came with a promise of 50 mpg and it has delivered. I love it but my wife's 2014 Jetta is no doubt one of the diesels with the cheating heart. What could Volkswagen do to win back her trust and make her want to keep it?

Well for starters, they could make it run really well on 100 percent biodiesel like mine does. My Jetta runs all spring, summer and fall on pure biodiesel from Sequential here in Eugene. (Thanks for the oil, Kettle Chips!) But the 2014 Jetta isn't allowed to care for its owners’ environment. Right now Volkswagen says that using more than 5 percent biodiesel blends will void their warranty. Surely there's a way to make the newer cars burn the good stuff too.

And Volkswagen could put the full weight of their research and development behind new ways to produce clean biodiesel and make it readily available to anyone with a VW diesel. They could renew their green image and have people clamoring for their cars. When I bought mine the interest in biodiesel was so big that the seller got calls from as far away as California and even Maine!

Commit to biodiesel, VW! We'll give you the garage back and love you forever.

Joe Valasek, Eugene

 

DANGEROUS CANDIDATES

The Republicans are licking their chops. The Democrats are divided and tearing down their leading presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton doesn’t pass left-wing purity tests, because she takes donations from Democrats in the financial industry. Meanwhile Donald Trump is using xenophobic tactics to increase his poll numbers. He promises simplistic answers to complex foreign policy problems. Bomb the hell out of them; make those damn Muslims register with the government. 

According to the purists, there is no difference between Clinton and the Republicans. Really? I don’t recall her bashing immigrants or suggestion we register all Muslims with the government.

We need to defeat the Republicans. Their leading candidates are dangerous, offensive and woefully unqualified. The rhetoric from the left against Clinton could have chilling consequences in 2016. Sanders supporters who claim they won’t vote for Clinton are helping Donald Trump and Ben Carson. That is a scary prospect. I plan to enthusiastically support whichever candidate wins the Democratic primary.

Irene Henjum, Springfield

 

THE SEVEN DEMONS

Why do we allow these seven demons to cling to the back of America?

1) The normalization of callousness, 2) the applause of greed, 3) not feeling alarm at violence (in public speech, in entertainment and in foreign policy), 4) the Acceptance of bluster and bellicose posturing in the rhetoric of those men and women we are expected to look up to, 5) the expectation that those here in the U.S. who cry out, suffering from drought, starvation, joblessness, a lack of health care, a lack of education have only some weakness on their part to blame for their suffering, 6) not asking ourselves why we are so ready to believe that those in other countries who cry out, suffering from drought, starvation, joblessness, a lack of health care, a lack of education, or a corrupt governance are somehow very likely to be our enemy, and 7) not recognizing the very fact that having 90 percent of our wealth controlled by 1 percent of our citizens is of itself a form of evil.

And who is that Great Demon that follows behind them? It is thinking that things, not people, have value.

Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove