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Letters to the Editor: 5-5-2016

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Today I went to my first political rally. “A Future to Believe In,” the signs read. The hour and a half in line followed by the event had me believing those words, because I got to hear Bernie Sanders and his New York accent preaching his gospel from less than 100 feet away. 

Since McGovern, we have not had a true Democrat become our party’s nominee. Bernie is the diamond in the rough, the sleeper pick to win it all, because even without multi-millionaire corporations funneling their dollars into his pockets, he raises awareness for the issues that matter: paid family leave, affordable or free higher education, taking a stand against climate change. 

It’s these issues that are often overlooked on the ballot, deemed unimportant, that can truly make a difference. In an age when politicians are thought of as dishonest, corrupt and unable to make a change, Bernie strays from the grid. The senator from Vermont is the Ralph Nader of 2016, the common sense we need in the Oval Office.

We need a president who will protect our children. We need a president who will help restore the vanishing middle class. We need a president who can stand up to the task of establishing this country as the one that will lead the charge, not one that sits on the bench, unwilling to compromise. We need change, and I sure as hell can’t do it alone. 

Come. Join the revolution. This can not be just me. It has to be us.

Ian Curtis, South Eugene High School freshman, Eugene

 

BEST CHOICE FOR COUNCIL

If you live in Ward 1 and you know why Senator Sanders is a better use of your vote than former Secretary Clinton, then you'll know why Emily Semple is the best choice for City Council. While Josh Skov and Chris Wig are both nice people and well intentioned, they will eagerly defend the status quo, go-along to get-along,  and  provide weak and ineffectual dissent to the incredulous actions of the city manager. 

I  (as well as other truly progressive current and former councilors), endorse Emily Semple because she best represents the values of Ward 1. She is committed to prioritizing essential services for funding and stopping the transfer of public resources from Eugene taxpayers to the economic elite. What is most refreshing is that she’s not an equivocator. She’ll tell you where she stands on issues like ending MUPTE and DTURD, protecting neighborhoods from destruction and gentrification, and providing meaningful support for people without homes. 

Even though she is not an "insider" like  Wig, or "coronated" by Kitty like Skov, I know that with her passion, commitment and hard work she can  accomplish a lot of good in Eugene. 

Bonny Bettman McCornack, Former City Councilor, Eugene

 

REAL SAFETY ISSUE

Dear city of Springfield:

A crosswalk post that can be found near the intersection of Mohawk and Olympic streets has a button that is falling out of place. When you press the button, it no longer beeps in response. Instead, it wiggles and bobs, and I am left to trust my instincts as I jaywalk (read: run quickly to avoid getting creamed by a car) to cross the street. It’s a busy intersection, where residential meets commercial, with Hwy. 126 just a few yards away.

This is a real traffic safety issue, not an idled motorist handing out money, socks or food to a panhandler. Perhaps it’d be a better use of your time to worry about broken light signals than sign holders. 

Terra Williams, #KillTheAntiKindessOrdinance, Eugene/Springfield

 

PLAYING GAMES

Thank you for publishing the opinion of Hayden Rooke-Ley. His perspective is welcome, though uncomfortable as he strains not to offend. 

I think it would also be helpful to include the opinion of a ping-pong player on the activities of the Supreme Court. Professional ping-pong players have a unique perspective on intelligence, and the Supreme Court is sorely lacking the wisdom a ping-pong player could provide.

Since Mr. Rooke-Ley has failed to mention the N-word, the nuclear reality that separates Israel as a unique criminal enterprise, his opinion is revealing. He appears to endorse cheating as a fundamental value.

If Mr. Rooke-Ley wasn’t so busy playing games, it’s possible his sponsors could be taken seriously. The Vatican has shown this to be an effective strategy. 

If it’s just a game, who cares?

Jim Guthrie, Eugene

 

LACKS INTEGRITY

Val Hoyle is running as a Democrat for secretary of state; she lists herself as the mother of two children and a proven leader in getting results for clean fuels to combat climate change. 

One of the most important Democratic planks for 2016 states: “We oppose the development of Oregon Coastal regions for the export of fossil fuels.” Remember the Children’s Climate Trust lawsuit originating in Eugene? It speaks to the heart of our obligation to this planet for future generations.

Val Hoyle accepted a $5,000 campaign donation from the Jordan Cove, LLC PAC in December 2015. Jordan Cove is the proposed LNG liquefaction and export facility planned for the Coos County tcoast. Jordan Cove will be powered by the South Dunes Power Plant, slated to become the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the state of Oregon if built. Jordan Cove will be dependent on fracked gas from Canada. 

Val Hoyle doesn’t represent Democratic Party environmental ideals and is willing to sacrifice our children’s future as well as her own kids’ by supporting Jordan Cove. She lacks integrity and is not the kind of leader we need and is definitely not someone who can be trusted with Oregon’s future!  

Stacey McLaughlin, Myrtle Creek

 

FALSE REFORM

With regards to your “Slant” article and the “Take Back The Night” event on April 28:

It’s an incredibly sad irony that the very peer group that you’d think would’ve been Laura Hanson’s advocates, the women in and of her sorority, decided that image and “social capital” on the University of Oregon campus were more important than Hanson’s life. Add to this the university’s lack of integrity and concern after her rape, and Ms. Hanson was victimized again.

In Brenda Tracy’s rape case at Oregon State University, she may have received an apology, yet the university “partnered with her to improve how it handles those cases.” Does partnering mean giving Ms. Tracy the “opportunity” to speak to faculty and students about her experience, yet not demanding that the four rapists do the same?! Three were OSU football players, and all four men  “gang-raped, robbed, sodomized and then re-victimized” her, according to her account.

This kind of backhanded, insincere attempt to mitigate and “reform” only entrenches the very patriarchy that offers what’s passed off as an apology.

The late author Jose Saramago once stated correctly that unless men start speaking out against women’s rape and abuse, hence in their defense, then change will be very unlikely.

Sean S. Doyle, Corvallis

 

CORPORATE POWER

On May 9, Judge Charles Carlson of the Lane County Circuit Court will hear a case that threatens the people’s initiative power in Lane County and, ultimately, in Oregon at large.

Corporate interests seek to dramatically restrict the people’s law-making authority guaranteed by the Oregon and U.S. constitutions. Lane County residents want to put an initiative before the voters to recognize our right to local community self-government, free from corporate interference. 

Before signatures could even be collected, corporate interests filed to prevent voters from having a say about the people’s right to make decisions in our own community.

To stop the people’s effort to limit corporate power, those corporate interests claim there should be greater barriers to the people’s exercise of our initiative process. However, advocates of the Community Rights Movement will argue that the courts have no power to interfere with the people’s right to pass local laws until after the laws have passed. To do otherwise would significantly weaken the people’s initiative power.

Carlson will make a decision that affects our constitutional right to write and pass laws that will protect residents from corporate harms. We must not sit idly by as the last vestige of our so-called democracy is scrapped at the request of corporate interests.

Join us May 9 at 1:30 pm in Courtroom 303, Lane County Circuit Court, and learn more about local efforts to elevate the rights of people and nature over corporate “rights” and privileges. Check out CommunityRightsLaneCounty.org.  

Michele DeLa Cruz  and Michelle Holman, Eugene and Deadwood

 

RECORD OF SERVICE

There are two Democrats running in the primary in House District 14, which covers the west Eugene and Junction City area. 

The clear choice from where I sit as a member of the Bethel School Board is Sgt.-Major James Manning (U.S. Army Ret). James has given countless hours of service to the Bethel School District as a volunteer at Kalapuya High School, two-term member and immediate past chairman of the Bethel School District Budget Committee, EWEB Commissioner in Wards 6 and 7 for the past four years, Eugene Police Commission member, board member at the Pearl Buck Center and several other boards and commissions at the state and local level of government. Not a bad record of service for a nine-year resident of our Bethel community!

His opponent in the primary, Julie Fahey, is an energetic young woman who, according to the R-G, has resided in House District 14 for the past 11 months or so. Ms. Fahey is a former chair of the Democratic Party of Lane County and, to her credit, has been active in several political organizations. She will undoubtedly make a good public official some day. 

James Manning, however, will not need any on-the-job training. He is ready to serve the people of House District 14 the day he takes office. He has a proven record of getting the job done. He is committed to funding K-12 public education according to the model established by the Oregon Quality Education Commission. 

James Manning is committed to living-wage jobs and equal pay for equal work, regardless of who or what you are. Most of all, Manning has the lifetime accomplishments on his resume that will make him one of the best legislators in Salem. 

Please join me in voting for Manning in the May primary election.

Rich Cunningham, Bethel School Board, Eugene

 

SUPPORT EXTENSION

The League of Women Voters of Lane County urges voters to approve Measure 20-239 to help support Oregon State University extension programs in Lane County. For a very small cost to property owners ($3 per year for a house assessed at $200,000), the measure will provide funding for programs that teach valuable skills to youth and adults.

It is a testament to the support extension programs enjoy that people have been willing to pay higher fees, limit access and volunteer to keep the program alive. This five-year levy will restore many of the programs that were lost due to budget cuts in 2010. It will enhance and expand the extension programs that Oregon State University now provides locally using federal and state funds.    

More kids will be able to participate in 4-H programs in their schools, and the $100 participation fee for 4-H project/community clubs will be reduced. There will be more access to educational courses in gardening, food safety and preservation, nutrition and wellness.

A Yes vote for Measure 20-239 will promote self-sufficiency and healthy eating, and teach more people both basic and advanced life skills. 

Linda Lynch, President, League of Women Voters of Lane County, Eugene 

 

RANKED CHOICE VOTING

James Stauffer asks if Oregon will adopt ranked-choice voting as a remedy for electoral dysfunction (Letters, 4-14).

Now is the time to make that happen. Our neighbor to the north, Benton County, will have a ranked-choice voting initiative on the ballot in November — but only if people pitch in. The campaign needs donations and volunteer signature gatherers. Go to betterballotbenton.com to see how you can help.

Alan F. Zundel, Eugene

 

INFORMED ON VINIS

Enough already praising Lucy Vinis. Praise and blame are all the same. They come from the personality, and they mean absolutely nothing, except maybe to the person who gives it. Ask Lucy to talk to me publicly — she knows me — and see how she answers. An election always boils down to the lesser of two (or more) evils. You, like many other people, don’t keep promises. A public chat with you would be nice. Let’s do this, Lucy. People should be more informed.

Joe Canfield, Eugene

 

SW-SAZ PROGRESS

To Eugene City Council, Mayor Kitty Piercy, City Manager Jon Ruiz and City of Eugene Planning Division: 

South Willamette Neighbors by unanimous vote of its members at our April 26, 2016 general meeting, has endorsed the “South Willamette Street Initiative: A Community-Based Proposal for Addressing the Future of the South Willamette Street Mixed-Use Area,” Sent to Mayor Kitty Piercy and the city councilors by councilors George Brown and Mike Clark on April 25, 2016. The proposal focuses on planning for a core mixed-use commercial area immediately adjacent to South Willamette Street, and a “South Willamette Street Enhanced Walkability and Accessibility District.”

In reaching our endorsement, we engaged in an hour-long discussion and debate among our members who recognized the initiative as a proposal that concentrates on the areas upon which there has been the broadest community agreement and that establishes a framework protecting all impacted stakeholders: businesses, homeowners and residents.

We thank councilors Brown and Clark for spearheading the initiative, and we ask council to move forward expeditiously toward approval of this much-needed path forward.

South Willamette Neighbors, Eugene

 

CORRECTIONS REFORM

President Obama commuted 61 drug offenders who would be free under today’s federal drug laws. Releasing 248 people is almost unprecedented. Yet it’s a small drop. Twelve-thousand drug offenders among 250,000 federal inmates still languish under rigid mandatory drug sentences. America’s embarrassing big government on autopilot imprisons 2,300,000 inmates; 14 times more than Japan and seven times more than Canada! This costs taxpayers $30,000 per year per inmate.

Locally,Holvey and Prozanski supported Oregon’s (2013) HB 3194, a very modest legislation making mandatory sentences more flexible. That might stop Oregon’s overcrowded prisons from growing beyond the present 14,655 inmates. Sadly, that’s still more per capita than any country in the world except U.S.

There is bipartisan agreement that the Sentencing Reform Act (S. 2123, Title I & House 3713) and the Corrections Reform & Recidivism Reduction Act (S. 2123 Title II, HR. 759) should get a vote in Congress. Obama will sign it upon reaching his desk.

Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio hadn’t joined Senator Ron Wyden or their bipartisan colleagues to cosponsor these bills when we contacted them on March 15. Republicans in our dysfunctional Congress like Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan should read these bills and bring them out of committee for votes! One hopes all our Oregon delegation fully supports the small steps these laws take toward reasonable sentencing and corrections reform. Thanks, Mr. Wyden! When will you join the cosponsoring queue, Mr. Merkley and Mr. DeFazio?

Lisette Ewing, Brayden Miller, Nick Prazniak, Ethen Perkins, Jacen Richards, Alyssa Smith, Nick Ghallagher, Eugene and Veneta

 

 

MEDICINAL PSYCHEDELICS

April 19 marked the 73rd anniversary of Bicycle Day — when Dr. Albert Hoffman accidentally ingested some LSD he had synthesized and took the world’s first acid trip. His account of this event is fascinating and can be found online. Today, the medicinal and spiritual potential of LSD and other psychedelics remains unprecedented, yet woefully unutilized, due to decades of fearful prohibition from world governments.

Last week, researchers from Imperial College London published the first-ever study using modern brain imaging techniques to show the effects of LSD on a human brain. This breakthrough study has begun to elucidate how formerly unconnected areas of the brain will communicate under the influence of the drug, and how areas of the brain that are not associated with vision can produce visual hallucinations.

Despite the progress being made and the new excitement in the field, the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) this week is poised to renew a prohibition-based stance toward psychedelics. At the Eugene Center for Ethnobotanical Studies (ECfES), we remain hopefully optimistic that LSD and other compounds which promise great medicinal value can continue to shed their stigma and will someday in the not-too-distant future be used in therapeutic settings to help heal our collective psyche.

Visit ECfES.org or contact team@ecfes.org for more information or to get involved.

Mike Francis, Eugene

 

FEELING OUR VOTES

In an election year, those citizens who eschew the sarcastic calumny of their neighbors are downright un-United States-ian. Like Mao’s Cultural Revolution, it is a season for denouncement. Someone, obviously, is to blame for all the nastiness, and the culprits need to have their toes held to the flame in elaborate public shaming ceremonies like debates and conventions.

Yes — you live in this country long enough and you eventually realize if no one attempts to stab you in the back, you are unloved and unnoticed.

We should be grateful if anyone expends the effort to eulogize our outstanding failings and defects because —as we learn in school — like magic you become immortal: held up as an example of the wrong way to behave, or the wrong way to be. When I was growing up, it was unwise to resemble a homosexual communist anarchist of uncertain ancestry.

Nowadays, it is a credit card carrying ecocidal consumer with all sorts of allergies and intolerances. This is the neoterrorist of the 21st century. The befuddled dupe of our global financial sector sucker schemes. Who only follows the advice of authorities authorized by the authorization commission. 

Here in the Northwest-Pacific Rim part of the U.S., we like to choose what we chew. And then we like to jabber our jealous taunts back out about the ones we really love the best.

Keeps our jaws exercised.

David Hugh Tyson, Eugene

 

TOO DAMN HIGH 

The main cause of homelessness is high rents and low wages, but the homeless are just the tip of the iceberg. The lack of affordable housing has reached the crisis level both locally and nationally, and is seriously affecting working-class renters. Even many who are housed are paying far more in rent than they can afford.

In its last session, the state Legislature passed bills to address the situation that give Eugene some tools to work with. As reported by the Oregon Housing Alliance:

$40 million in state money is now available to develop affordable housing;

property tax exemptions used by nonprofits to build affordable housing were extended;

the ban on inclusionary zoning, which “allows local governments to mandate that developers set aside a portion of new units as affordable,” was repealed;

cities and counties were given the ability “to impose a construction excise tax of up to 1 percent” to raise funds to build affordable housing. 

We need more apartment buildings in all Eugene neighborhoods. If residential zoning ordinances are a barrier to building them, zoning should be changed to allow greater density.

Affordable housing is now the most important issue in Eugene. All candidates for mayor and the City Council should be asked what their plans are, if elected, to increase such housing.

Lynn Porter, Eugene

 

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

Bernie Sanders has won six out of the last seven primary contests, some by as much as 70 percent. The establishment has rigged the Democratic race with super delegates, and the corporate media still discounts Bernie Sanders, although he has the momentum and excitement, and every matchup indicates he would easily beat the Republicans. The more people get to know Bernie, the more they like and trust him. He is trending up, but the reverse is happening to the front runners of both parties. 

By convention time, the front runners will be disliked by the vast majority, yet they will be shambling towards the finish lines like the walking dead with the most delegates. They are just running out the clock while being the most disliked politicians in the nation.

Why have we allowed the conservative Southern states to determine our candidates? The South reflects the worst impulses of the nation while progressive states like California and Oregon have little say in the process.

Both parties are heavily influenced by special interests. The rich and powerful can buy elections and bribe lawmakers, yet independents who outnumber those in both parties have no representation. 

The leaked Panama papers show us how the rich and corporations are avoiding paying their fair share. We need a political revolution to get money out of politics and restore fairness. Bernie Sanders is the only one who is not taking special interest money and is willing to help the poor and middle class.

Jerry Brule, Eugene

SANDERS FOR THE ECONOMY

Idolatry of money and corporate socialism are undermining democracy and destroying capitalism. When individuals or small groups accumulate power, both democracy and capitalism are in peril. People are the decision-makers in a democracy and capitalism requires fair competition. 

Forbes says approximately $21 trillion is in offshore accounts set up to avoid taxes. The recent disclosure of the “Panama Papers” is only the tip of the iceberg. Huge sums so concentrated eventually cause economies to collapse. A democratic capitalist society is without such staggering concentrations of wealth. Money benefits economies much more if recycled by increasing numbers of citizens with spendable incomes. 

When money is allowed to flow freely among average citizens, it’s “velocity” is increased, a benefit supported by leading economists. As a result of Sanders’ economic proposals which include a $15 minimum wage, Asher Edelman, noted Wall Street expert, says Sanders is the best candidate for the economy. 

As a democratic capitalist without the support of dark money, Bernie Sanders is our only opportunity to reclaim our government for the people and by the people before various entrenched establishment forces, including the Democratic and Republican Parties, solidify their power. Sanders’ presidency will help ensure our children and grandchildren are not pawns of the dark money, save our economy from the destruction of concentrated wealth, and stimulate healthy economic growth to be shared more broadly. Vote for a fair market democratic capitalist. Vote Bernie Sanders.

Carol Louise Scherer, Eugene

 

RENT CONTROL

As you may know, Sen. Jeff Merkley recently visited Eugene and other parts of Oregon to address the lack of affordable housing in our city. According to Sen. Merkley and his statistics, rent has increased by 24 percent in Oregon for the last few years. This is 11 percent above the national average for rent increases, and the vacancy rate is 3.5 percent. The low-income housing wait lists are either closed or have anywhere from a two to five year waiting period for those who are on them.

Property management companies are using unscrupulous methods to coerce tenants into signing long-term leases under threat of exorbitant rental increases. An example of how the greed of the local property management companies works has recently become very personal for me. The company I currently rent from is going to raise my monthly rent $236 per month, if I don’t agree to sign another long-term lease for a lesser amount, which is still very unaffordable for someone living on a fixed income.

For those of you who own your home, imagine how upset you would be if your mortgage went up that amount in one short year. How do local property management companies justify their greed with ridiculous rent hikes that prey on those who can’t afford to move because of the costs associated with moving, are on fixed incomes or who can’t find another place because there are no vacancies in their price range? 

I want to point out that this is not just an issue for the homeless, but for middle-class working people who have low-paying jobs, seniors who live on fixed incomes and students.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed locally as well as statewide.

I believe that we need to implement some sort of rent control in the short term, and in the long term, we need affordable housing built for low-income families and seniors, not just for students. I have personally contacted my local representatives and state legislators, and urge you all to do the same, or one day you may be in the same situation.

Connie LaMorte, Eugene

 

MICROWAVED CITIZENS

Physicians and scientists at Harvard and Boston University Schools of Public Health call cellular towers a radiation hazard. Delegate physicians from over seven countries declared cell towers a “public health emergency.”

The U.S. standard for cell tower radiation exposure is among the least protective in the world. European countries set standards 100 to 1,000 times lower; Australia, Russia, Italy and Toronto, Canada protect their citizens from cell tower radiation with even lower exposure limits. Switzerland, Salzburg and Austria’s limits for cell tower radiation are 10,000 times lower, and New Zealand’s radiation limits are 50,000 times more protective than the U.S.

Cell towers emit microwave radiation over 15 miles (radiation as microwaves in a microwave oven). Worldwide studies have proven even low levels of radiation causes biological damage to the body as: genetic mutations, memory disruptions, hindered learning, ADD, insomnia, brain disorders, hormonal imbalances, infertility, dementia, heart complications, muscle weakness, damage to blood cells, DNA breakage and more.

Athletes from other countries who are aware of cell tower dangers most likely would not risk their hard-earned health knowing the University of Oregon track and bleachers were being continually assaulted with intense radiation at a frequency illegal in their country.

Eve Woodward-Shawl, Eugene

 

LEABURG LOSS

At the east end of Leaburg Lake, paving at the new boat landing completed over this last month.  I live here.
This last spring, these acres were full of life, all of which was evicted as EWEB began the project no one really wanted or needed. The trees came down where none now remain. The morning following opening day, a young river otter was plainly viewable on side of the road near the Goodpasture Bridge — testament to the loss of much life here.

Following the many months of summer with no further progress on the project, it was apparent that the earth here had licked its wounds and new life began to become abundant again, only to suffer a second and final eviction.

In October, final clearing and paving began and completed. The last round of “run for your lives” is now over. Twenty-six miles up the McKenzie River — earthly paradise — turned into a multi-acre parking lot.

It won’t take more than a little internet search to demonstrate what no one really wanted became an unstoppable force, inflicting on our community a horrific irreversible chain of events. This was mandated by a federal authority and appealed by our local representative in the matter, EWEB, which was denied. Then, in my heart and mind, a regrettable surrender took place.

When the boat landing opens to the public in the spring, please make a point to “drive-thru.” That’s just exactly what it has become. Then drive east a few miles. Take a look at the untouched land. That is what has been erased from Leaburg Lake. I can’t see how it could be worth such a price. Walking the fresh asphalt this morning created churnings in my abdomen, pains in my heart and some anger stemming from the fear that the cogs and gears of our systems in place continue to fail us and those all around us.

William Novorolsky

Leaburg