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Letters to the Editor: 5-19-2016

INNOVATION HUB

I am writing in support of the amazing opportunity for growth, sustainability, shared art and contribution in downtown Eugene: a proposal for the redevelopment of the old LCC downtown center into an Innovation Hub, to be funded through an extension of Urban Renewal. This decision currently stands at the feet of our Eugene City Council. 

This building can be reborn into an arts and high-technology hub ready to be embraced and fulfilled by a multifaceted, multi-talented community. Innovation Hub is a continuing opportunity for shared creative art, new job opportunities and an overall supportive ecology productively thriving in a centralized urban space. 

The Innovation Hub proposal offers centralized services, labs where biotech entrepreneurs can incubate ideas, an exhibition performance space for dance, music and theater, allowing an intimate and professional experience for an audience, etc. 

Eugene arts desperately need the community gathering space and classroom-studio workspace to cross-inspire and allow collaboration between makers, artists and educators, high-quality urban childcare and engagement, food production and bicycle-commuter garages. These are all incorporated in this proposal.

A public hearing on Urban Renewal is 7:30 pm May 23. Attend and invite others to attend. City Council meetings are held in Harris Hall on 125 E. 8th Avenue.

Angela Dunham, Eugene

 

COW MOTHERS

Last Mother’s Day, May 8, many of us celebrated the powerful bond between mother and child. Tragically, the worldwide symbols of motherhood — dairy cows — never get to see or nurture their babies.

Newborn calves are torn from their mothers at birth, so we can seize and drink the milk that mother cows produce for them. The powerless, distraught mothers bellow for days, hoping in vain for their babies’
return. The babies are kept alive elsewhere, to soon become veal cutlets.

Dairy cows spend their lives on a concrete floor, chained, with no outdoor access. To maintain their milk flow, they are artificially impregnated each year. Around four years of age, their milk production
drops and they are turned into hamburgers.

Let’s honor motherhood and our natural compassion by refusing to subsidize cruelties of the dairy industry. Let’s replace cow’s milk and its products, laden with fat and cholesterol, with delicious, healthful, cruelty-free nut or soy-based milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream offered in every grocery store. Mother cows and
our own bodies will thank us.

Edward Newland, Springfield

 

PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

Earlier this month, the hearing to decide the fate of a “Right of Local Community Self-Government” charter amendment was postponed and rescheduled for May 24. Please help us pack the courtroom as Ann Kneeland, lead attorney for the initiative’s chief petitioners, argues the case to protect our right to the initiative process. She will stress that the courts do not possess the power to interfere with the people’s right to pass local laws until after the laws have passed. 

Judge Charles Carlson will make a decision that will affect our constitutional right to write and pass laws that seek to protect residents from corporate harms. 

Join us 9 am Tuesday, May 24, in Courtroom 303, Lane County Circuit Court, 125 E. 8th Ave., as a crucial component of our democratic process goes on trial. 

To learn more about local efforts to elevate the rights of people and nature over corporate “rights” and privileges, check out communityrightslanecounty.org.

John Herberg, Eugene

 

DISGRACEFUL ENDORSEMENT

“Community activist” Carmen Urbina officially endorsed Republican Mike Clark for mayor. She is featured in his mailers and on his website.

Urbina tells us that one of the reasons she has endorsed Clark is that he’s not “condescending” in “difficult conversations.” While that’s a tremendously weak reason to endorse someone, it was also an interesting term to choose. I had one short conversation with Urbina several years ago and that’s exactly the word I would have chosen to describe her in that interaction.

She also tells us that: “I’m a Democrat, but when it comes to the city, it’s about the person.” What the hell does that mean? I’m by no means implying that someone should vote for a candidate only based on party affiliation, but you certainly shouldn’t support someone because of personality either.

Does Carmen know that Clark opposed paid family sick leave? Does she know that he has opposed a living wage?  Does she know that he has opposed countless environmental protection measures and programs to help the homeless and underprivileged?  Does she know he is a champion of right-wing trickle-down economics?

The next endorsement Carmen makes, she can now officially list “right-wing tool” next to “community activist.” If she disagrees, she can write a letter explaining her endorsement of a right-wing Republican who represents the party of Donald Trump.

Joshua Welch, Eugene

Editor’s note: Mike Clark lost to progressive candidate Lucy Vinis in the May 17 primary.

 

RAPE CULTURE

I’m writing in support of Sean Doyle’s comments in his letter “False Reform” [Letters, May 5]. 

When institutions of power like the University of Oregon and OSU do more to protect their image and reputation than the bodily safety of students, that’s when we know it’s time for student and community groups to organize and do what it takes to hold those in power accountable, using civil disobedience if necessary (sit-ins, etc.). 

Men Against Rape Culture is a community task force seeking to reverse the trend of rampant sexual assault and predatory male behavior on and off college campuses. We need help, especially from other men. If you are interested in helping with this important project, please come to our planning meetings every Tuesday from 5 to 6 pm in the UO Knight Library, Room 321.

Dillon Thomson, Eugene

 

UNNECESSARY BARRIER

Open letter to Salam Noor, Oregon’s deputy superintendent of public instruction:

I am writing to you as an educator who cares about the well-being of children and developing the greatest possible potential out of each one. It is my view that the Smarter Balanced assessment in math and ELA as an essential skills requirement presents an unnecessary barrier to the success of many young Oregonians.

I work in a school that specializes in the education of teens who have dropped through the cracks of the educational system. There are many reasons that led to their situations at the high school level, most of which were beyond their control. 

In many cases, they just had the bad luck of being born into a lower socioeconomic class and did not have the benefit of well-educated parents or a home environment conducive to rich learning experiences. 

Studies show that many children enter school at a disadvantage, having far less interaction with edifying learning experiences.  

By the time they come to me, many of them have never passed a statewide summative assessment. This presents a huge ethical problem, I believe, for the state. 

What is the likelihood that a student who does not pass either the ELA or math assessment in third grade will then pass the high school exam eight years later? I would guess there’s not much of a chance. Are we then determining the future well-being of young Oregonians by the time they are in third grade? Or even earlier?  

This letter was prompted by a message I received from one my students. It read:

“I have taken several state math tests in the past, and I have gotten close, but never passed them. But taking that smarter balance test made me think I’m probably not going to pass the test. So I don’t know how I’m going to graduate high school.”

I hope you will reconsider this harmful policy. More and more studies have come out that demonstrate the harm the Smarter Balanced tests have on educational progress. There is no reason to subject children to a test that they have little chance of passing.

Geoff Barrett, Eugene

 

WEALTHY MIGRATION

We notice that new people to Oregon want big taxes to repair all of Bend. I suspect that natives of Bend, their kids or folks who’ve lived there 25 or 30 years don’t want taxes and don’t want Bend too improved.

 Like other states, Oregon has very bad class warfare going on. People with plenty of money move here, raise all the home and cost-of-living prices, and original residents can’t stay in our own states.

It happened to California; natives who were kids there, grew up and were forced to move away because “big-ticket outsiders” all moved to California and raised the cost of living astronomically. The natives could not afford to stay in their own birth state! Now, most of California adult residents are not natives.

If you longtime and native Oregonians do not organize and discuss legislation, both locally and on a state level, to limit the amounts (and high-wealth categories) of hordes of people moving from other states to Oregon, you will lose your own state and be forced to leave forever.

It’s happening now. Endless migration of wealthy hordes invading other states and pricing out the inhabitants may not go on forever when individual states start passing legislation to limit numbers and wealth categories of immigrants so families don’t lose their own birth states to huge costs of living. 

Look at California and be very afraid. Massive wealthy migration will destroy Oregon, too. That is a promise. Michigan is very, very empty, guys! Go there!

D.H. Bucher, Eugene

 

KOCH AND NPR

I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that Koch Industries is an underwriter for NPR (KLCC). The Koch Brothers have done everything in their power to undermine democracy in this country by buying politicians, from Congress to local politicians. They have been instrumental in funding climate change denial as well as preventing regulations that insure Americans have clean water and air. They are the worst face of polluters and corporate greed in this country. 

David Koch sits on the board of OPB and no doubt influences the content of material seen on NOVA, which squashed a documentary about them.

Did Alternative Radio disappear from KLCC programing because of donations from the Kochs? Was the show too controversial for the Kochs?

I do not know the answers to these questions, but I think the general manager of KLCC owes its listeners an explanation as to why it sold out our beloved KLCC to these pirates.

I have gone out of my way to not support Koch Industries, as I feel they undermine our democracy, and will no longer support KLCC fundraisers. KLCC, why would you do this to your listeners?

Arlen Markus, Eugene

EDITOR'S NOTE: KLCC General Manager John Stark tells us: "Koch Bros. is an underwriter for 'Marketplace Morning Report,' produced by American Public Media, not NPR. KLCC's editorial firewall prevents sponsors, whether Koch or LCC or Marché, from in any way influencing our news coverage. Likewise, NPR and all of public media pride ourselves on our editorial integrity."