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Letters to the Editor: 1-28-2016

RADIO FOR DUMMIES?

I spoke with Don Hein, station manager at KLCC, about the abrupt pulling of Alternative Radio [see news briefs, 1/21]. In lazy defense of his decision on behalf of NPR, and giving no explanation as to its “shotgun” demise, he brushed AR off as “not political … it doesn’t question or question itself … it’s antiquated.” He went on to say that KLCC’s target audience is intelligent, insinuating that AR was for a less sophisticated, less articulate, less cultured, less than intelligent crowd. In Don Hein’s world, AR is for dummies. As antiquated as Fresh Air, Hein must mean that the people and views expressed on AR are so alternative that they’re just not fit for the increasingly, and dare I say it, insidiously conservative, corporatized bent taken by KLCC and NPR.

David Barsamian offers AR for free, so it’s not financial, and AR was popular. Hein explained that his “intelligent” crowd loved the “fluff” of Wait … Wait and Car Talk so much that he wasn’t willing to replace one twice-weekly slot with AR, although those two programs represent great costs that eat up listener pledge funds. And although Hein belligerently defended NPR, saying that it was not corporate, Wait … Wait is sponsored by the criminal bailout giant Chase Bank. Joan Kroc, heir to the McDonald’s fortune, donated $200 million to NPR.

More air time throughout the day is given to promoting upcoming news programs, primarily during news programs, yet the reverse cannot be said about what’s left of any music or “alternative” programs. Hein didn’t refute this, he was just dismissive, laughed and scoffed; to which I told him that it wasn’t funny, and that he and NPR were arrogant, insolent, condescending and plain stupid. Oh, and that I was done with KLCC.

NPR for Oregonians? Read “one size fits all.” If intelligence is more of the same, I’ll gladly take an open-minded hike.

Sean S. Doyle, Corvallis

 

FLAWED REPORTING

There is a dramatic contrast between The Register-Guard front-page article by Christian Hill Jan. 23 addressing the development of Kesey Square and the Eugene Weekly article by Alex Cipolle Jan. 21. One could assume the R-G is supporting the commercial development, while EW is acknowledging the presence of a large public opposition to commercializing Kesey Square. 

The R-G article is entirely devoted to the three proposals for commercial development and makes no mention of the flood of emails to the mayor, city manager and City Council during the last month discouraging the sale. I have attended the gatherings at the City Club and LCC downtown when the long-term use of Kesey Square has been addressed in public forums; the opposition to commercialization was the dominant sentiment among those gathered. The proposals for commercialization deserve consideration; however, the short window period of five weeks during the winter holidays for proposals for alternative public space development, with a Jan. 15 deadline, has made the initiation of such a project all but impossible. 

The facts regarding the decision making point to a manipulative process by City Manager Jon Ruiz to collude with prospective developers while circumventing the council and public review. This collusion appears to be reflected in the R-G coverage as well. This is evident in the absence of any reference in the R-G article to the “Save Kesey Square” organizing efforts (see Facebook page) and no mention of the rally Jan. 25 before the council meeting. In the name of good journalism and good government, please provide us with all the information. 

The Rev. Gary James, Unitarian Universalist minister emeritus, Eugene

 

REDNECK CHECKLIST

In the 21st century, if you use a gun and John Wayne bravado to get your way — trespass, occupy federal property, destruction of federal property, intimidate, disrupt peace, violate civil rights — you might be a redneck! And if (apologies to Jeff Foxworthy):

1) You burn your yard rather than mow it. 2) Someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle. 3) There is a sheet hanging in your closet and a gun rack hanging in your truck. 4) When you leave your house, you are followed by agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the only thing you worry about is if you can lose them or not. 5) You have spent more on your pickup truck than on your education. 6) Your family’s number one enemy is revenuers. 7) You have a hook in your shower to hang your hat on. 8) You illegally protest without just cause …

You might be a redneck!

After Bundy’s brigade is disarmed, arrested, prosecuted and have served their sentences, it will be illegal for them to possess firearms. Justice served ensures strict adherence to Second Amendment rights.

Michael Thessen, Eugene

 

OUR DULL CITYSCAPE

I am writing in response regarding the issue brought up by Alex V. Cipolle on Jan. 7. Architecture is a visual art and the buildings speak for themselves. The features of a building must have their own beauty, and people who create it must have their own creativity. Why do I say so? As we can see, most of the buildings in Eugene are all of the same shape. So, where is the value of artistry in an architect?

Instead of having one kind of building, why don’t we have different shapes that will improve the view in Eugene? This might help to enhance the dull environment in this city. As Eugene will be hosting the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in 2021, an improvement is vitally needed in this city. According to Cipolle’s article, Laurence said, “By 2021, the eyes of the world will be on us and people are here from 180 countries.” Therefore, an enhancement of buildings should be done for a better image — an image of the city that represents the citizens themselves.

Ameera Izzal, Eugene

 

A SAFE CITY HALL

I am eagerly writing a letter in response to your Jan. 14 article “City Hall Costs Go Up, Timeline Lengthens” to agree with the City Council members about investigating the new City Hall’s infrastructure to be earthquake resistant.

Most of us, as employees, could agree that being in a safe work place is first priority. Although Oregon’s term “life safety” which is defined as workers safely evacuating the building during an earthquake seems adequate, wouldn’t it make more sense to pay the extra money and have the building still be functional after an earthquake?

 If one of the major censures of the old City Hall was its lack of earthquake readiness, why would we hesitate to put in the extra money to potentially avoid a devastating blow to the new City Hall?

With the completion of this building being extended a year, the city staff should grant the building to be [more] earthquake resistant. They would be dumb not to. After all, generally, buildings that are safer are buildings that people feel better about funding.

 Michael Standring, Eugene

 

A SACRED PLACE

The people of Eugene are awake to the issue of Kesey Square. The people want to keep it where it is and to work with government and business to make Kesey Square work for all the people. We know the voice of the business community speaks loud in your ears. Please hear the voice of the people and consider their creative ideas and suggestions. The spirit of Ken Kesey encourages you to think outside of the box and soar in your imaginations to a democratic solution supported by and benefiting all the people of our community. 

We ask business and government to work with us to prepare this most sacred place within the commons.

Christopher Michaels, Eugene

 

LIFE CUT TOO SHORT

I am upset reading your article Jan. 7 about a beautiful mother dog getting euthanized at the West 1st Avenue Shelter because she was a little aggressive. The poor dog’s life was cut too short! She had just given birth to two adorable puppies; sadly, one was stillborn. She was only with her surviving puppy for about four or five days.

Several animal rescue services wanted to take her in to rehabilitate her, but 1st Avenue said no because she was a little aggressive. Scared and frightened dogs are usually a little aggressive. She may have been abused in the past, which would have made her fearful of humans.

I am pretty sure that the mother dog was just fearful for her life and the lives of her puppies. 1st Avenue is supposed to be a no kill shelter! They should have released her so she could have been rehabilitated into a loving member of someone’s family. She could have been a wonderful pet for someone. 

Shame on you, West 1st Avenue shelter!

Daphne Loose, Eugene

 

MALHEUR THEATER

Hey Tony Corcoran! I read your Malheur article Jan. 21 and I’ve got a joke for you. What have you got when you have three militiamen in a room? Two FBI agents and a sheep-dipped patsy.

Of course the whole Malheur show is a staged theater piece, and it’s being allowed a nice, long run. The question is staged by whom and to what end. Instead of parroting gibberish from the mainstream media, I would think a smart guy like you might be considering this question as well as what might be in the ground under that worthless desert — who might know it and who might want it? Not that I hold your opinions against you. You’re stuck down here in the rabbit hole like the rest of us. And disorientation is the hallmark of life in the rabbit hole.

I’ve got to say, though, when you got to the “it’s all about power, justification and self-reinforcement” part, I thought for a second you had jumped track and were talking about the Clintons. My bad.

Anyway, your stuff usually runs pretty good. But I would recommend you hold off on all the ad hominem attacks unless they’re really, really funny. And feel free to send the above joke to your friend Gov. Kate Brown. I see from the local paper she’s getting all excited about the Malheur thing, too.

Steve Johnston, Creswell

 

A FEUDAL EMPIRE

There’s something we can learn from the current lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by the company responsible for Keystone XL. Citing NAFTA, TransCanada is suing the federal government for interfering with corporate rights in response to peaceful protest of the project. While unlikely to get the pipeline built, it is part of a growing trend of corporations directly challenging the legal right of the U.S. government to be swayed by public opinion. 

We won Keystone, but how much did NAFTA weaken the government’s ability to respond to public outcry and deny permits to dangerous companies? From environmentalists touting climate change to private landowners concerned about eminent domain, folks from all walks of life are currently fighting the onslaught of fossil fuel infrastructure all across the country. 

In southern Oregon, we see a similar resistance against the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Veresen, the company proposing a liquefied natural gas pipeline and refinery/export terminal in Coos Bay. How much will the TransPacific Partnership weaken our local government’s ability to say no to these unsafe projects? The TransPacific Partnership undoubtedly marks another win for the corporate illuminati. But how long will angry citizens tolerate repeated betrayal by their elected officials? 

Alese Colehour, Eugene

 

A RIGGED ELECTION

When Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington, the local peace advocates were arrested for protesting the GE machine gun factory that was making death machines to send to Central America (guns for helicopters that were shooting at peasant villages). Sanders is like DeFazio — sounds good, but a mix of good and bad.

Bernie will win Vermont, south Eugene, east Portland and similar places. The Clintons will put nice rhetoric in the party platform for his supporters.

The presidential “election” is like televised wrestling — a bruising contest that is rigged in advance. 

I voted for the Clintons in 1992 and then got arrested protesting their hazardous waste incineration scandal in 1993. You can find the details at oilempire.us/wti/html.

It is a relief that the campaign of John Ellis Bush (JEB) has evaporated. Trump is playing the role Sarah Palin played in 2008 — so ridiculous that the imperial Democrat looks good in comparison.

Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space says, “It is my belief that since the JFK assassination the secret government, the CIA and the [Military Industrial Complex], have been running the show. They have not allowed anyone to become president, from either party, that was not under their control.” 

Obama has a CIA background. In Arkansas, the Clintons played a role in Iran-Contra (in cahoots with the Bushes). Sanders does not have that connection, so he won’t be allowed to “win.” Sorry.

None of the above is an honorable choice.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene

 

ON WAGES AND PRICES

We tend to have a split personality when it comes to spending money versus earning it. We demand cheap prices on everyday items like food and household goods, yet we want to have the grocery clerk, the farm laborer and everyone in the supply chain making a “living wage.” Pick one or the other — you don’t get both.

It is a great idea that every adult working 40-plus hours a week should have a living wage. Is mandating $15 per hour the right thing to do? It sounds great, but how will it affect local small businesses, which are barely hanging on? The real problem is the cost of living. How come we never discuss alternatives like lowering the cost of living? Probably because it is too difficult of an issue to discuss, and just giving people more money is easy.

If you believe that people deserve a living wage, stop spending your money at big box stores. Support small businesses, call the owner and tell them you will support them if they pay a living wage. Once the store raises prices to accommodate a living wage for its employees, you must continue shopping there. Don’t complain about the high prices.

Allen Hall, Eugene

 

SEEK REAL JUSTICE

The official rate of youth unemployment (16-19 years old, all races and ethnicity) in 2015 is 14.8 percent. For whites it is 13.1 percent; for Asians 12.2 percent; for Hispanics it is 17.2 percent; and for African-Americans it is 22.4 percent. Those U.S. statistics show that unemployment for African-Americans is 71 percent greater than for whites.

But that is just the official story. If you work at all, you are counted in federal statistics as employed, even if it is just a few hours a week. That exaggerates the number of employed persons. It is hard getting by with minimum wage work in any case, but surviving on part-time work is very difficult — if not impossible.

As a corrective, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) included all high school graduates in its statistics if they were not enrolled in further schooling. And instead of just counting the unemployed using federal statistics, the EPI looked for “labor under-utilization.”

Using EPI analysis, African-American youth unemployment is really 51 percent. That is unpardonable. It is one of the results of hundreds of years of intense discrimination and abuse — in the first instance, as slaves, and continuing as rampant discrimination written into law, only slowly being corrected. 

Current examples include regulations restricting access to voting in a variety of ways, particularly in the old South. And the grotesque numbers of unjustifiable law enforcement shootings of blacks must end. We need a lot more success to approach real justice and equality.

Tom Giesen, Eugene