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Letters to the Editor: 2-4-2016

VALUABLE CONTENT

I am distressed and saddened that KLCC has removed Alternative Radio from its broadcast schedule. What is perplexing is the station is repeating other programs (TED Hour, Wait … Wait and Prairie Home Companion).

 Dedicated to the founding principles of public broadcasting, AR over the years has carved out an audience for its progressive perspectives. Listeners express gratitude for AR’s willingness to break out of the box of hegemonic thinking and provide diverse views usually excluded from other media, including NPR.

Here is just a list of recent programs:

Dave Zirin on “Racism, Resistance & Black Athletes,” Robert McChesney on “Capitalism in the Age of Digital Technology,” Deepa Kumar on “Islamophobia,” Tim Flannery on “Solutions to the Climate Crisis,” Steven Salaita, “The Limits of Academic Freedom,” Vandana Shiva on “Recovery of the Commons,” Osagyefo Sekou, “Faith, Ferguson & Nonviolent Resistance,” Chris Hedges on “Extraction Industries & Sexploitation,” and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on “The Other Side of Thanksgiving.” And many of you know of my work with Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Howard Zinn and Tariq Ali.

KLCC listeners deserve access to ideas and opinions outside predictable mainstream frameworks. Contact the station if you feel strongly about KLCC’s decision. Please visit alternativeradio.org and support AR.

David Barsamian

Founder/director of Alternative Radio

 

AR IS EASY TO FIND

Sean S. Doyle [Letters, 1/28] is upset that KLCC no longer carries the Alternative Radio show. I have good news for him! He can hear the show anytime he wants by going to its website. And they even offer a subscription to the service.

Anyone looking for progressive politics can find lots of online radio such as Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English, Pacifica Radio, etc. There’s a nice summary on Wikipedia under “progressive radio.” Enjoy!

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene

 

GROUNDED SOLUTIONS

Community Supported Shelters (CSS) manages three “camping villages" called Safe Spot communities. In 2015, this program served a total of 141 people, with 74 moving out voluntarily to a better situation: family, friends, own apartment, housing first-style programs, etc. 

Our cost last year to administer and maintain the Safe Spot communities was $1.72/person/day. The majority of this money came through community donations (no tax, lottery or government funding).

Homelessness is a very old, evolving and growing issue. Those camping illegally are living in survival mode. Their concerns are personal safety, staying warm and dry (or cool and hydrated) and finding the next meal. They worry that their belongings will be stolen. 

CSS Safe Spot communities provide safety, stability and support to take the next steps in improving one’s situation. The Safe Spot communities are on the path of “what-can-be-done-right-now solutions.” 

For those interested in learning first hand how these communities work, we give monthly tours of the Safe Spots. Come dispel your beliefs about these programs and meet the people these programs serve and hear their stories.

Erik de Buhr, CSS director of programs, Eugene

 

OUR WAR CULTURE

The tragedy described by K. Dunn in the Jan. 21 letter “Silence and Apathy” is indeed common (one in four women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime) and illustrates very well that we live in a rape culture. What Dunn prescribes for women in Eugene — putting lids on drinks, buddying up with others for the walk home, watching for suspicious behavior — is startlingly similar to the kinds of things people have to do in war or when they are under occupation. In rape culture, it is a war-zone environment that women are forced to live in 24/7. 

We are under an occupation of violent masculinity, and we continue to accept it! We accept that boys will be boys and that the objectification of women is just the way things are, and by doing so we passively accept that women are second-class citizens. Do we really not see how this arrangement steals from everyone? 

Community organizations must form to put pressure on power-bearing bodies and demand an anti-rape culture campaign, and we as community members must start coming up with creative ways to hold men and groups of men accountable for perpetuating a culture that is violent towards women.

Dillon Thomson, Eugene 

 

DECISION ALREADY MADE?

Raise your hand if, public input aside, you fear that the city of Eugene has already decided to privatize Kesey Square.

Walker T. Ryan, Eugene

 

DEFEND OUR LANDS

Public lands are among our most democratic institutions. They are part of our collective national heritage. All citizens, regardless of race, wealth or where they happen to live, by law and tradition, have an equal voice in the management of our public inheritance. However, our common inheritance is threatened by the militants like the Bundy Gang who were recently arrested, as well as their supporters in rural America.

While many Harney County residents apparently do not support the tactics of the militia, they do support the basic goal of allotting more control over our national heritage to local communities and industries.

Unfortunately, there is already far too much local control of these lands. Federal employees who are ostensibly working for all of us are continuously harassed, pressured and cajoled to make decisions that favor parochial businesses and people, not the national interest.

Because rural residents are able to participate in public lands decisions more easily due to their residency, they already have a disproportionate amount of power and control over what is ostensibly lands that are owned by all Americans.

Ironically, while rural residents demand more “local” control, they do not pay the bills. Taxpayers in New York, Maryland and other Eastern states pay a disproportional amount of money towards the management of these lands, yet it is local communities that get the vast majority of the benefits.

Whether it is the taxpayer-subsidized below cost timber sales, subsidized grazing fees on public lands, or simply the clean water, clean air and scenic landscapes that are available for hunting, fishing, camping or just watching clouds, rural residents in one way or another already get the bulk of the rewards from the public largess. 

Regrettably, our collective heritage is under a growing attack around the West from rural residents who believe they have a special “right” to control our lands. Unless patriotic Americans stand up and assert their love, appreciation and their claim to these lands, we may lose what is the envy of many other nations — and the birthright of all Americans — our public lands. 

George Wuerthner, Bend

 

STUDENT STALKER

Why, why, why are you concealing the identity of this dangerous criminal [see lawsuit news story 1/28]? He has been incarcerated, but for how long? I think the public has a right to know who was living in and endangering our community and who most likely will again as soon as he is released. This is just another example of our ass-backwards system protecting the abuser. How many people have to die before we make a change? The public has a right to know whe people are so we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Michele Walter, Springfield

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lawsuit does not name the stalker. EW respects the wishes of the victim, who did not name him.

 

GROTESQUE NUMBERS

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; and for African-Americans it is 22.4 percent. Those U.S. statistics show that unemployment for blacks 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 persons truly “employed.” 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 their 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, black youth unemployment is really 51 percent.

That is unpardonable. It is one of the results of hundreds of years of intense violence, discrimination and abuse — in the first instance, as slaves, and continuing as discrimination written into law, and then continuing as discrimination in practice. 

Current examples include regulations restricting easy access to voting in a variety of ways, particularly in the Old South. And there are grotesque numbers of unjustifiable law enforcement killings or maimings of blacks and other minorities that must end. We are far from real justice and equality.

Tom Giesen, Eugene

 

SIUSLAW COUNTY

In April 2014, 75 alumni of local community programs funded by the Ford Family Foundation met. Twelve were granted $25,000 in July for a “Pathways” study of what communities west of the SR-126 tunnel in Lane County hoped for their future. Ten areas were refined through meetings held by invitation and public notice. The goal is a “vision” report, a suggested 10-20 year master-planning document, to be presented March 16 at the Florence Event Center.

Of the two forums, I attended the one in Florence last week. Those attending were asked what could be accomplished quickly toward the vision goals. Key focus areas mostly consisted of public safety, health and human services, parks and recreation, public transportation, low-income housing, business and economic development and education. A commonly voiced concern was the debilitating denial of public services by Lane County to our area.

A quick win would be a coastal county, a fresh and fair start for the 21st century. This would incur no additional taxes, would require 5,000 registered voters to take five minutes signing a petition, and five minutes of those voting to “check” in favor. Only the voters within the breakaway county are allowed to sign and vote. The entire process and county structure are detailed in the Oregon Revised Statutes, no guessing required. The coast would have a realizable vision and the 12 percent in funds it provides Lane County would be spent on the coast.

Further information is available on siuslawpathways.com and siuslawcounty.org or by searching the web. 

 Keith Stanton, Florence

 

SPREAD THE BUD LOVE

Dear potheads, in case you haven’t noticed, recreational marijuana is now legal in Oregon to grow and possess and share with anyone over 21. 

The last time I grew marijuana, the yield was over a pound per plant. Because it is now legal to grow four plants in your backyard, most anyone could end up with 4 pounds and more next season. This puts you over the legal limit for possession of marijuana. 

Looking at prices at our local dispensaries, I see that they are selling pot at exorbitant prices that far exceed the black market value. This will only encourage illegal sales. I recommend that everybody give away your excess. It is ridiculous to be gouged for a product that is nearly free to anyone with some dirt, sun and water. (It doesn’t take a miracle to cultivate a weed.) Given the high quality hybrids now available, anyone can grow a decent product in their backyard. 

I have not purchased marijuana since 1980. There’s no reason you should either. Do not succumb to blatant consumerism. Free trade in marijuana, outside the dispensary system, will help bring down prices. Let them deal in extracts and edibles that actually take some effort and expertise to create. 

Marijuana makes a great Christmas gift. Give it away, give it away, give it away now!  

David Feinstein aka “The Cannabis Curmudgeon”, Marcola

 

YAY FOR BERNIE CARE

Already the profiteers and naysayers have labeled Bernie’s Medicare-For-All proposal as Bernie Care and are calling it a fantasy. Well, tell that to most other developed nations that have an effective national health care. And those countries are not nearly as rich and powerful as we are, but they can manage to realize the so-called fantasy of taking care of their people.

Critics are attacking Bernie’s plan on the basis of cost. But what is health care currently costing Americans? It’s a well-known fact that we spend more than any other advanced nation, but we are way down the list in outcomes. Obama Care was created to insure millions who couldn’t afford premiums, but even though well-meaning, Obama Care doesn’t effectively address costs, and costs keep climbing and out-pacing incomes.

Take out the huge costs and profits imposed by private insurance, negotiate drug costs, and Bernie’s Medicare-For-All will be a godsend to our country and our economy. There will probably be some new taxes for support, but what does that matter if our health care is fully comprehensive and costs nothing?

 The only thing that stands in the way of getting Medicare-For-All is our Congress, which is controlled by big money. But by getting rid of Citizens United and other super PACS which serve the wealthy class, a key Sanders’ platform goal, Congress might again represent us and elevate the country to the family of modern nations with a truly first class health care system.

Russ DesAulnier, Eugene

 

FUELING THE FIRE

By prematurely releasing a Zapruder-esque grainy video shot from way above the scene, the FBI has just created a martyr and a call to arms.

First of all, why wasn’t a spike strip laid out just past the first roadblock!? LaVoy Finicum refused to stop at the first roadblock, so obviously he wasn’t going to stop at another. It put all those at the second stop in danger of being crashed into.

They keep saying the film was shot from a “plane,” and it obviously was shot from a helicopter or a drone.

All those OSP and FBI officers involved had better been wearing body cams. Let’s see some definitive footing from one of those on the ground cameras.

It’s almost as if the federal government purposely created a conspiracy to fuel the fire of insurrection. The citizens of Malheur have had their lives and community forever desecrated by the actions of the armed occupiers and the incompetent actions of the government. They knew Finicum wished to be a martyr, and they granted him his wish.

Michael Hinojosa, Drain

EDITOR’S NOTE: The FBI reported Jan. 28 that a spike strip was deployed across the road near the second roadblock, but Finicum managed to drive around it before plowing into the snow.

 

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Republican primary 2016: Bozo or Chuckles?

Judy Smith, Westfir

 

FREE FROM PC

I’ve been liberated and now see the light. I no longer have to be politically correct. I can finally call Trump supporters what they really are: ignorant, redneck hillbillies. Thanks Donald, I feel better already.

Steve Tarver, Eugene

 

DELUSIONAL PATRIOTS

Because one lives in Big Sky country and sees the federal government as an enemy does not give he or she the right to occupy our country’s federal buildings with firearms or evade arrest. I think those involved should be tried and punished. I don’t think the punishment should be a “slap on the wrist” either. No one has the right to freely confiscate federal property.

That property belongs to all of us, not to a few delusional “patriots”

Stan Nachman, Asheville, North Carolina