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Letters to the Editor: 5-26-2016

REAL ISSUES

What a relief to have the election cycle end. Now the EW’s letters column can return to real issues instead of boosting candidates. D.H. Bucher wants to repel wealthy Californians from entering our state. Keep Eugene weird! And let’s hold onto our homeless. They aren’t messing things up by voting to raise taxes for infrastructure.

Arlen Markus has spotted the secret control of the Koch coal barons right here in our river city at KLCC. I haven’t heard Tennessee Ernie Ford’s famous coal miner song “Sixteen Tons” played on the folksong shows “Friends & Neighbors” and “Front Porch” lately. Dan Plaster and Kobi Lucas must be stuffing their pockets with that Koch cash.

Edward Newland alerts us to “mother cows” thanking us if we just switch to “delicious, healthful, cruelty-free nut or soy-based milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.” Though he doesn’t seem to notice that almond farms use an extraordinary amount of water in drought-stricken California and Midwestern soybean fields murder huge numbers of field mice when plowed.

Of course we could go protest at City Hall … but wait! There isn’t one anymore. All those cronies are probably dining on ossobuco at Marché with California almond farmers while laying plans to change EWEB to coal fuel. 

Let’s march on Marché!

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene


HEALTHY FORESTS

As a science teacher, mother, forestland owner, organic orchardist and farmer, I have concerns for how our forests are managed. Notifying parents of children that may be affected by toxic spray is certainly a good start — I think we need and can do more.

If lumber companies notifying neighboring properties of exact dates (as opposed to the 12-month window announcement currently practiced) for aerial spraying of clearcut areas, would this notification address adjacent properties, including crops, pets and farm animals such as livestock or bees? Would a person be able to move these things on the appointed day? 

Even if they could do this at a moment's notice, then what about the fish in the neighboring watersheds? Miniscule parts per million of herbicide chemicals can disrupt a salmon’s ability to migrate to their spawning grounds?

The federal government made laws to govern use of its forests in 1976. I used to be a botany tech for BLM Medford district in the late 1980s. I had the privilege to join a timber cruising crew for a few weeks to survey timber stands as well as monitor other crews whose job it was to reduce competition for the desired Douglas fir tree stand by handcutting. 

In fact, as I learned from BLM foresters, BLM’s own research teams had accumulated data that mixed forests were healthier than monocrop stands.

Why does Oregon allow these practices for state and private timberlands? It doesn’t make sense. Why does the Oregon Forestry Practices Act allow industries to aerial spray known toxic substances anywhere near or in an area of children, animals, food crops and other species?

Let’s work on the larger picture to make Oregon a leader with sane, healthy and responsible forest practices.

Antonia Blum, Walton


INNOVATION HUB

I support the Innovation Hub proposal component of the urban renewal projects currently being considered for downtown. An Innovation Hub downtown in the old LCC building is key to the success of our emerging innovation district by providing affordable workspace to the many small businesses in the core of downtown. 

CodeChops Coworking Space opened five years ago in the Broadway Commerce Center with this same goal. As rents increase in the downtown core, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain low desk fees for our remote workers, freelancers and small businesses that have chosen to make Eugene their home and place of business. These young and creative companies breathe life and energy into downtown. 

I promise to support the Innovation Hub concept at the old LCC building downtown and collaborate to ensure its success if the urban renewal is extended.

Mark Davis, CodeChops Coworking Space, Eugene


SUPPORT URBAN RENEWAL

The Hult Center, the library and the downtown LCC campus were built with help from Urban Renewal District funds. It is ludicrous to hear some opponents say that the tool has been a failure. 

The Viewpoint in Eugene Weekly [“Kick DTURD to the Curb,” May 19] last week claimed that property values have not increased. According to Trulia.com data, year over year property values are up 4.3 percent. Some properties have increased in value as much as 30 percent.

A high-speed fiber network would attract and retain businesses that can foster technology and create jobs that require creativity and critical thinking. Our median income is $10,000 less than the national average. I don’t find this acceptable. 

It troubles me that in a world where the best jobs (in software development) are held by mostly self-taught workers, our economy relies on a university that is failing to adjust to skills demands in the workforce.

Without purposeful development keeping the community interests at heart, we are leaving the door wide open for companies who prey on those willing to work for scraps because they don’t have the mobility to seek work elsewhere. It keeps our productivity levels low, and it reduces equal opportunity for new businesses to have access to resources we need.

Please show your support for URD. If we don’t create public works, private industry will only take advantage of our complacency. Visit NextGenEug.com for the ideas being proposed.

Kali Kardas, Eugene


TRAFFIC TIPS

To the cyclist who was almost struck by a car on April 21 on Willamette between 11th and 10th around lunchtime: Your bicycle is a vehicle, and you need to obey traffic laws. You should read the Oregon Bicyclist Manual. Darting off a sidewalk into traffic in front of a car turning right is explicitly covered, as is weaving back and forth across your lane — both are considered dangerous and should not be attempted. You’re a fine example of why drivers hate cyclists.

To the driver who almost hit the above cyclist, honking at a dangerous cyclist is debatably appropriate. Continuing to honk the length of the entire block is asinine and aggravating to everyone else. Getting out of your vehicle in the middle of traffic because the cyclist challenged you is dangerous and possibly illegal. Way to make a bad situation worse.

To the onlooker who yelled at the driver that Eugene is a bike town and he should get used to it? Not helping. Besides, while Eugene is bike-friendly, that does not give cyclists allowance to ignore the rules of the road. The more people who use the road responsibly, the fewer collisions and deaths there will be.

Eddie Alfaro, Eugene


DISCRIMINATORY LETTER

After reading D.H. Bucher’s letter in your May 19 issue, I thought: If you substitute black, Asian or white for the term wealthy, that letter comes across as very discriminatory. And guess what — it is very discriminatory.

I’m more concerned about the “hordes” of homeless people in our city, but perhaps D.H. is unaware of this massive and real problem.

J.L. Carlson, Eugene


DRAFTING WOMEN

Heads up: Females may soon need to register with Selective Service and be eligible to be drafted into the military, just as males are when they turn 18, should Congress authorize a return of the draft.

I have been expecting this change since women became eligible for all military jobs. Some court suits, if successful, would require females to register. One bill by 32-to-30 vote in the Armed Services Committee is on its way to the whole House of Representatives requiring females to register; another on which Rep. DeFazio is a co-sponsor would entirely eliminate the Selective Service. Whether Selective Service ends or expands to include females is unknown at this point.

Making females liable to be drafted into the military is probably a shocking idea to many people because to most Americans, the “military” is something other people do. This could be a good time to look at who serves in the military (generally poor, rural, minorities, offspring of military) in this so-called “voluntary” military, and to look at what the military is doing in our name. Is it doing what we want? Is it effective? Have 15 years of war in the Middle East improved things? 

Maybe a better idea is to require national service of all youth, service which builds our nation instead of expanding our military. 

Carol Van Houten, Community Alliance of Lane County, Eugene