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Letters to the Editor: 2-11-2016

FRIVILOUS LAWSUIT

Our four “conservative” (Ha ha! — “Give us more money folks, but we don’t believe in big government!”) county commissioners must be visiting the pot shops a lot these days, ‘cause they’re sinking deeper into their old pipe dream that wiping out the local forests will somehow improve life in Lane County. 

Now, emboldened by the success of the seditionist occupation of Burns and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, Commissioner Sid Leiken threatens that a similar event could occur here if the BLM won’t double the cut on local forests. But before putting out the call for right-wingnuts to bring flags, guns and chainsaws to Oakridge, the commissioners plan to spend $84,000 of your tax money to support a frivolous lawsuit against the BLM’s new management plan — whatever it turns out to be!  

Yep, if you’re an advocate for the environment in Lane County, aren’t you tickled to know the commissioners (other than Pete Sorensen) plan to hand your tax money to a timber industry lobby? 

I myself worked for five logging companies in Oregon and have nothing against responsible and truly sustainable timber harvest. But that is not what these commissioners are whining for.

Phil Robbins, Dexter

 

SLIDING BACKWARDS

Through the symbolic fabric of local art and life, EW Arts Editor Alex V. Cipolle’s writings about the closing of the Jacobs Gallery Feb. 4 describes an art community of exile and vulnerability as one after another local gallery closes. I’ve presented two solo installations at the Jacobs, been in ten Mayor’s Art Shows, as well as serving twice on the Mayor’s Art Show jury. The Mayor’s Art Show, as well at New Zone’s version of the Salon des Refuses, were serious endeavors, important to many local artists whose selected or rejected artworks are showcased in these not-for-profit organizations.

How important are these shows to artists? Most artists in Lane County are less concerned about fame or making it into the latest version of Janson’s History of Art than they are about living here in relative comfort. 

So what if the city has only a few commercial galleries, no significant art market and a small group of critical reviewers to help create a dialogue and build an informed audience? If an artist is lucky, his or her work would be accepted in the annual Mayor’s Show, and if rejected, shown in the Salon. 

And if an artist is really lucky, he or she will be invited to show at Maude Kerns Art Center, LCC Art Department Gallery, UO Adell McMillan Gallery or UO Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. If an artist is really, really lucky, his or her next exhibit might be reviewed or previewed in EW or The Register-Guard.

There has to be more, a dialogue which creates an informed audience that is buying art for more than decorative elements to enhance a blank wall. We need a community that views art as an investment fostering further growth and an understanding of contemporary visual art. 

In many ways Eugene is sliding backwards with the closing of the Jacobs Gallery and the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA) as well as the Gallery at the Watershed.

We need, desperately, a stronger sense of our own artistic history as a city. We need a sense that art made in Lane County can emerge from the sphere of private lives and take on a meaningfully public, historical dimension. This means commitment to ongoing preservation and re-examination of art exhibits, particularly those in the nonprofit and commercial sectors, to mount analytical and historical exhibits like, say, those presented at the Schnitzer Museum and Karin Clark Gallery. Finally, an excellent start toward preservation of local art history would be informative catalogs of exhibitions presented in our own community.

 Mike E. Walsh, Eugene

 

REDESIGNING EUGENE

When a local property manager and vocal supporter of MUPTE suddenly disappeared, we learned that he managed 500-plus properties and had clients from throughout the U.S. and all over the world. Unfortunately, investors seem to have set their sights on Eugene as an opportunity — especially a corporate opportunity for multi-storied housing. 

Many changes are being proposed: the proposed rezoning of 474 homes in south Eugene with 83 pages of very complicated changes — a pilot program for the rest of the city; the development of Kesey Square; the changing of South Willamette from four lanes to three, etc.

It has been good to see that attendance in neighborhood associations is at an all-time high. Eugene residents are more involved than ever in the issues and changes that could redesign our city. Capstone is a visual reminder that accountability is needed. Thank you, EW, for your recent articles.

Cindy Allen, Eugene

 

WTF?

Who the fuck is Rick Levin and why the fuck can’t he use a more creative and illustrative verb than “fuck” in the subtitle of a movie review [1/28]? Please buy him a fucking thesaurus or send him to the fucking J-School to learn some fucking new words.

This paper should be for everyone, not just the fuckety fucks. Love,

Lara Sheridan, Eugene

 

CLIMATE CHAMPION

The Weekly has done the city a service with Camilla Mortensen’s two recent pieces on climate change at the city level (“Get Your Ordinance in Order,” Dec. 31) and at the state level (“Climate Politics,” Jan. 29). Mortensen has demonstrated that we badly need capable leadership on these issues at all levels of government.

So I must say that I found it surprising that this week’s Slant on the Ward 1 race completely overlooked candidate Joshua Skov’s climate cred. Skov is a climate champion and a seasoned professional with the political chops necessary to make progress on climate change as well as other pressing issues. 

Skov serves on the Eugene Budget Committee, and he served on the Sustainability Commission for five years. Skov teaches sustainable business topics at the UO and supports better transit by serving on the board of advisers of BEST (Better Eugene-Springfield Transit) and LTD’s EmX Steering Committee.

Skov has been an outspoken supporter of wise land use in Eugene and over the last decade has appeared regularly at council to push for climate action. Skov has demonstrated that he has the drive and experience we need to move Eugene forward on many issues, including climate action.

He’s got my support for the open Ward 1 seat and deserves a close look by all who care about climate change. And keep up the excellent coverage of climate issues!

Steve Adams, Eugene

 

SERVES THEM RIGHT

The same City Council that cheated past and future generations of Eugeneans by demolishing old City Hall, now finds itself without offices in the new City Hall. Maybe they should hang out with the “travelers” and learn some manners. 

Rick Wilmath, Veneta

 

THE WAYWARD ARTS

Alex Cipolle’s excellent article on the state of the arts in Eugene neglected to mention the emergence of a vibrant art scene in Springfield.

It is true that the city of Eugene has chosen to cut its already minimal arts funding in favor of making Eugene a destination city for spectator sports such as Ducks football and the track and field championships. The idea, I assume, is that sports fans would be more interested in swilling microbrews and scarfing down some Sizzle Pie than they would be in looking at a work of art.

While this has happened, however, Springfield’s arts scene has become much more interesting. The Springfield Museum regularly has fascinating exhibits, and its annual art show and monthly art walk distinguishes itself from Eugene by having more interesting art and patrons who actually show an interest and enthusiasm for art. I cannot help but be reminded of the way that Brooklyn developed a vibrant art scene when gentrification displaced the arts from Manhattan.    

Of course, gentrification then displaced the arts from Brooklyn. This seems to already be happening in Springfield. I guess we should just enjoy the Springfield arts scene while it lasts.

Art Bollmann, Eugene

 

EPD IGNORES CODE

The Eugene Police Department has refused to issue any citations to businesses and managers of businesses who willingly and knowingly block handicapped parking. This has been the case for nearly 15 years. There has been the same person at the head of EPD for that same period.

Recently I made a complaint to the city of Eugene because of handicapped parking spots that were removed from the EPD lot. In all, there were three spots removed. Two of those spots were for staff and one was removed for the public.

My complaint pointed out that the city code makes it illegal to remove parking spots because it shows that the EPD will not hire people with disabilities. I also pointed out that removing those spots actually creates barriers to employment. These things are, in my opinion, obvious.

I was contacted by EPD and told that they were in compliance regarding handicapped parking, even though they had removed the spots. I believed them but decided to check for myself. I was astonished to find that there were actually 26 parking spots, and the law requires two handicapped spots with an unloading zone for 26 parking spots.

I am very saddened that the EPD would stoop so low for just one spot in the front; and to deny employment based on disability is, again, illegal. Additionally, the spot for the disabled that was removed in the front was legally required and was already there. The removal of that spot was an illegal action according to city code as well as state and federal law.

I was told by a city employee that all spots were removed by the authority of the police chief. Are you surprised?

Fred W. Williams, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Melinda McLaughlin, EPD’s spokesperson, tells us police headquarters has one handicapped parking space for the 24 public parking spaces “which is the code requirement.” Regarding EPD employee parking, she says only two out of 86 spaces are handicapped parking and “depending on whether the employee parking surface lot and secure underground lot are counted as one parking facility or two, we would be short either two accessible spots or one accessible spot. … We will be speaking with the building official and determining the exact number of accessible spots that will be added. … We are thankful this has been brought to our attention.”  

 

SUBSIDIZED ARTISTS?

As I read the cover story Feb. 4 on the travails of the art community in Eugene, the same conclusion keeps coming to the fore (and this is nothing new): The city of Eugene doesn’t care about supporting the visual arts, or any arts, for that matter, nor should they. It is not the job of any government entity to support artists.  In fact, for an artist, this is a very dangerous situation.  

History is replete with artists who were “supported” by governments, religions or the wealthy. Their art may have been monumental and noteworthy in the world of art history, but it (and the artist) were also controlled by the persons paying their way.
I think it’s great if dancers, actors, musicians or sculptors can organize, fund raise and support themselves, but visual artists are a whole different kettle of fish. From what I’ve witnessed over the past 50 years living around painters, their creative drive doesn’t leave them time for meetings or business details. If someone wants to promote them or pay the bills, fine. Otherwise, they’ll be found in their studio.

Eugene has a plethora of creative people living here but very few patrons with the means to lend continuous support. I’ve even had conversations with local wealthy art buyers who would rather travel to the artsy places like Santa Fe to buy art because those pieces will be more impressive to their friends than any art they could buy here from us “no-name” locals. Nice.

So, if any of you out there are driven to be a visual artist, be warned that it is a rough road. If all you want is to be famous and pay your bills by selling your art — Ha!  You’ll have to look for an honest promoter (and it won’t be a gallery — they’re interested in making money off you, not taking care of you like in the past) or a sugar mama/daddy, and don’t expect a city government to find outlets for your art. Your success is the least of their concerns. To be an artist is to be a creative hustler.
Some can do it, some can’t.

Annie Kayner, Eugene

 

KLCC IS LACKING

Public radio station KLCC 89.7 FM in Eugene is no longer serving us. Years ago they ended the local call-in show facilitating discussions and debates on local issues. The only show left that speaks truth to big-money power, Alternative Radio, has been cancelled. 

Don Hein needs to go. When I called him to talk about Alternative Radio, I asked him to give me an example of why they are ending the show. He answered: “Noam Chomsky.” Renowned political theorist Chomsky? 

If this concerns you, boycott the KLCC Microbrew Festival in February and do not donate to KLCC. Public radio should be a counterbalance to for-profit radio that is paid for by businesses and typically caters to their point of view. KLCC is not doing its job.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter

 

EDWARDS’ LEADERSHIP

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Healthy Climate Act in your Jan. 28 article “Climate Politics: Will Oregon’s Legislature Step Up?”  Senator Chris Edwards is the chief sponsor and champion of the Healthy Climate Act, which would put a cap or limit on Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions and invest the funds generated by the cap in projects to mitigate climate change and help those most affected by it. 

Edwards is working extremely hard on this bill, drafting the bill language, working with advocates and those opposed, holding hearings and working to gain the support of his colleagues in the Legislature. But the bill is facing opposition. 

Senator Edwards, thank you so much for your leadership on the Healthy Climate Act. Your constituents are behind you and appreciate all that you are doing to advance the Healthy Climate Act this session.     

 Megan Kemple, Eugene

 

TABLOID RADIO

Sean S. Doyle in his letter Jan. 28 describes his frustrating conversation with KLCC’s station manager Don Hein. Likewise, he questions the sponsorship of NPR programming by two of the worst U.S. Corporations, Chase Bank and McDonald’s. 

I’ll add the American Cancer Society to the list. The ACS might appear to be a good sponsor, but it’s not. Many people are still unaware of the widespread corruption within “the cancer industry,” and it’s doubtful we’ll hear any conversations about it on NPR.

The problem can be traced to NPR’s president Jarl Mohn, who wants to double corporate underwriting. He’s also a former executive with E! Entertainment, MTV and VH1. Is it any wonder KLCC/NPR has been amplifying its coverage of celebrity worship?

Mohn says the core of NPR’s mission is fact-based journalism. Yes, it’s absolutely essential to get your facts straight about these stars and superstars. After all, NPR doesn’t want to give the impression it’s a tabloid radio station.

Chuck Kleinhans in his letter Feb. 4 says we can get many progressive radio stations online; however, a computer or smart phone may not be accessible for low- or no-income people.

The huge corporate sponsors and the Democrat Party-dominated NPR no longer want us to hear the thoughts and ideas of certain progressives and topics mentioned by David Barsamian in his letter Feb. 4.

Small community radio stations (such as KXCR in Florence) require and deserve our support. We need more of these stations. They’re our last hope for peoples’ radio.

Robert Simms, Philomath

 

TOKE AND CRUISE

The voters have been persuaded to legalize marijuana. The Legislature has chosen to raise the speed limit to 70 mph in certain rural areas. What’s next? A new state motto: “Oregon: Get high. Drive fast.”

Edward T. Monks, Eugene

 

ANNEXATION GAME

Lane County Democrats tend to think theirs is the party that stands up for “the little guy.” Why then is Springfield Sen. Lee Beyer sponsoring Senate Bill 1573 in the 2016 Legislature, written by the Oregon Homebuilders Association and Oregonians In Action to revoke certain voting rights for nearly 600,000 Oregonians? Email secretary@ocva.org to learn more.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

STOLEN HOMELANDS

The Burns Paiute Tribe should now immediately have returned their stewardship over the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area as well as the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This putrid rotten federal government has no shame, and will never show remorse for its inexcusable atrocities until forcefully disgorged of the largesse from all its crimes! 

Nobody has ever sufficiently explained why any government ever had a legal basis to cheat the Burns Paiute people out of their ancestral homeland, death-march many of them in chain-gangs to Yakima, or grant only a mere few token reservation plots to the east of Burns. This corrupt federal government has a legacy of declaring illegal wars on First Nations peoples, murdering and decimating them in horrific pogroms which inspired Hitler, and still keeping these looted lands under a dishonest guise of “liberty and justice for all” to this very day! 

Nobody has ever given adequate reasons for why the federal government should get to continue unquestioned in its illicit “ownership” to remain in receivership of all these genocidally stolen ancestral homelands, as if the Federal Government were some disinterested neutral party with a moral authority, which it most certainly is not!

Mike McFadden, Eugene

 

THINKING GLOBALLY  

Oxfam Foundation published a report last week on the growing global wealth inequality ahead of the meeting of financial and political elites in Davos, Switzerland. They report that the world’s wealthiest 62 individuals have more wealth than the bottom 3.6 billion people worldwide.

According to the report, “Tax havens are at the core of the global system that allows large corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share, depriving governments, rich and poor, of the resources they need to provide vital public services and tackle rising inequality.”

Here in Oregon we have become the victims of this corporate greed. Our state is ranked dead last, 50th, in the overall corporate tax burden. Our children in public schools are paying the price for this corporate crime. Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are without health insurance, and many of our seniors are suffering in silence in poverty.

This year we’ll have a chance to deliver a blow to this shameful inequality. Better Oregon initiative, IP 28, will tax corporations 2.5 percent on sales over $25 million in Oregon. The initiative is headed for the November ballot. If asked to sign the petition, do so and then vote against inequality and greed next fall.

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene

 

SEEDS OF LOVE

My letter today will be best expressed through selections from the book The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, written by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.

We do not need to compare the conduct of those living in modern Western society with our prehistoric ancestors in order to find convincing statistics showing the predominance of human kindness over human cruelty. In 2004, for instance, an extensive survey conducted by the National Opinion research Center found that American adults perform an average of 109 altruistic acts a year. Multiplying this figure by the adult population at the time reveals that there were 23,980,000,000 acts of altruism performed in America that year! The same year, the FBI reported an estimated 1,367,009 violent crimes of all types, nationwide. Doing a bit of calculation reveals an inspiring statistic: For every single act of violence in America that year, there were roughly 17,540 acts of altruism!

Comparing this stunningly positive statistic with the selfish and aggressive view of human nature widely promoted in out society, it isn’t surprising that most of us have a somewhat skewed view of human nature. For example, according to the FBI, from 1990 to 1998, the national homicide rate in America dropped 32.9 percent. During that same period, homicide coverage on the network news increased 473 percent! This is not by accident. From an evolutionary perspective, there are reasons why we are much more interested in watching acts of violence on TV than acts of everyday kindness. We mentioned earlier how our (prehistoric) brains evolved to scan our environment for danger or threats to our survival, endowing us with what some people call our catastrophic brains, which are hardwired to be excellent at picking up on what is wrong in the environment — but pretty lax on noticing when things are going right. With our attention and interest naturally drawn to acts of violence more than acts of goodness, it is unlikely that the network news (media) will suddenly adopt a new programming policy, accurately representing human nature, by covering 17,540 stories on altruism for every one story of violence.

A garden sewn with the seeds of hate will only grow hate. A garden sown with love will only cultivate ... well, you get the idea.

Patrick Adams, Junction City

 

BERNIE HAS EMPATHY

As a 70-year-old mother, grandmother, strong feminist and pro-choice advocate, Bernie Sanders is my presidential choice.

First, because he is the only candidate of either party with strong empathy for all people. Bernie gets it! Second, because the younger generations get it that the quality of the rest of their lives hangs in the balance with the 2016 presidential outcome and that Sanders is the only candidate who cares first about them. Third, Sanders wisely and boldly opposed the Iraq War, correctly forecasting the dire result of the war. Fourth, he continues working to rein-in Wall Street and financial institutions too big to fail because they do not have influence over him. Fifth, he has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and has always been strongly pro-choice. Sixth, Bernie supports a living wage and a multitude of measures providing opportunities and equality for all citizens.

Sanders will win the presidency if my generation joins the strong drive of the younger generations to protect and improve the quality of all their lives. Listen to what they have to say. Do not heed the messages of the dark money media forces.

Together we can improve lives for all generations. It is a legacy we can and should leave our children and grandchildren.

Carol Louse Scherer, Eugene