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Letters to the Editor: 6-2-2016

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

The Oregon Constitution (Article I Section I) clearly states “all power is inherent in the people.” It appears from this article [5/26 “Access Denied”] that “all power” has been shifted to government employees and lobbyists, and the “people” have been left out of the loop. Perhaps we need to amend the state Constitution or perhaps it’s time for a statewide initiative transferring operation of the public records and legal authority to an entity outside of government and controlled by the people? 

Freedom of the press is worthless without access and without access an “informed citizenry” is not possible.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

 

TIME TO TERMINATE

The city “says” it wants to build public trust; it should start by “doing,” following through on its vow to end the Downtown Urban Renewal District (DTURD).

DTURD failed for 48 years after tens of millions of invested public dollars and was unsuccessful despite subsidies exceeding the entire district’s taxable valuation. After all this speculation, the real property values have hardly increased.

Don’t divert revenue from property taxes paid to keep schools, parks, jails, public safety and infrastructure vital. Don’t privatize public resources for developers by siphoning necessary funds away from indispensable community, city and county services.

Comply with your legislated, adopted plan that states DTURD’s termination in the 2010 amended text. Act in accordance to the words of “terminate” in Section 100 and “shall terminate” in Sections 1200 and 1300 A.

Do not expand the district’s boundary by 10 percent or increase your spending capacity by $18.7 million beyond the $46.6 million limit. Terminate DTURD!

City staff suggested bonds and grants that could pay for community-supported projects that can expand the downtown’s high-speed fiber network, redevelop the old LCC building, improve space for the Lane County Farmers Market and upgrade Park Blocks/open spaces without DTURD.

The city needs to take ethical action and terminate DTURD as previously agreed; they’ll show their commitment to follow through on their written words. By not terminating, they’ll demonstrate even more reasons of why the community cannot trust them. This decision is fundamental in constructing an underlying foundation of good relations.  

It’s imperative that the city does the right thing and not betray the public that has voted 70 percent to 30 percent to end DTURD. It’s time to create trust, not demolish it further. The city can use financially sensible means to fund the worthwhile projects mentioned above. The issue is about how the city can get creative and obtain the money resources necessary to support the four proposed downtown projects in a responsible way.

Thank you Councilor Brown, Taylor and Zelenka for keeping your word. Councilor Poling, it would be a major mistake to not stand by your word. Councilor Clark, Evans, Syrett, Pryor and Poling — these four projects need alternative funding sources. 

Keeping taxpayer’s dollars where they are intended would be best for the community’s interests in the long run. Mayor Piercy, this is a pivotal moment for the city. Support an end to DTURD as promised!

Janet Bevirt, Eugene

 

DELUSIONAL LIBERALS

That someone would choose to support Hillary — or worse, Bernie — shows the basic, ill-educated, uninformed, delusional thinking liberal voters have.  

Ian Curtis [5/5 Letters, “Join the Revolution”] I’m glad you’re enthusiastic about being part of America’s democratic process, but you spell out precisely why people below the age of 30 shouldn’t vote: You haven’t lived or experienced enough life to make a truly informed decision. Being part of the video game generation who screams for  $15 an hour to work your summer job — which should be a stepping stone (not a career) — and for people to hand you everything for free, teaches you nothing about life and the hard work it takes to be successful. 

Liberals want to vilify the “evil, corrupt 1 percent.” Yet, they fail to have the fundamentals of how that undermines America as a whole. You hate people for working hard and being successful. You point and blame them for your personal failures. You say they are greedy. How is it not greedy to steal their money to supplement your failures? This is bass-ackwards thinking.  

Work a hard physical job, provide for your family, pay some bills. Then you’ll have an appreciation for the American way, where you get what you earn, and life isn’t handed to you. 

I’m sure in this liberal town, I’ll be labeled as a racist, a hater, bigot, etc., simply because I believe you should work for what you have. But it’s the American way.  

James Hadd, Eugene

 

ON THE RIGHT SIDE  

To James Hadd: I thought it was hilarious that you called me a “delusional” liberal, while you’re the one with some outrageous ideas. For one, you expressed the idea of preventing people who can die for their country from voting. Without looking it up, I know that the 26th Amendment removes that flaw. 

Thanks in a large part to the deterioration of socialist policies such as national education and social security (because Republicans have tried to privatize the two and raise the retirement age), the minimum wage is often not a stepping stone. I can credit a 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey that says over half of the minimum wage workforce is over 25 years old. 

This happens because the conservative ideas of small economic government (laissez-faire and trickle-down economics) are not helping the middle class move up. The conservative ideology was adapted to the common man by dangling the carrot in front of the pigs’ nose, if you will, that if you’re rich — excuse me, when you’re rich (so conservatives promise) — you won’t want to pay higher taxes. 

Conservatives hide the flaw in their plan, that the flat tax they worship crushes any hope the common man has of becoming wealthy. Moving on, “getting everything for free” is a huge overstatement. Student debt and college tuition are huge problems, and I know that in a few years I’ll be working my hardest to get a scholarship so my parents (two able, working-class parents) can afford to retire at a reasonable age. 

You chastise liberal policies that give the poor “too much money” while your party takes billions if not trillions to fund our already massive military. Not to mention aggression towards the Middle East only makes the problem worse. You think they hate us now? They’ll hate us even more after we carpet bomb yet another of their towns, already plagued with disease, dehydration and hunger.

Why you spent some of your time trying to attack an optimistic teenager, I’ll never know, but what I do know is that I’m glad that I’m on the right side of the political fence.

Ian Curtis, South Eugene High School freshman, Eugene

 

GOOD TRAIN SOUNDS

There remains discussion about limiting train whistle noise to certain hours and decibels in Eugene. Oddly, it is advocated that train whistles not be sounded at night. This point has been made in communities across the nation for years.

I personally believe that the timbre of railroad horns/whistles provide healing resonance to imbalances in our bodies, including in bone marrow, something long understood, at least subconsciously. It was once understood that the sound of train whistles at night worked as sleep aids for the community, an unintended benefit of the rail industry. Whistles and horns help persons drift off to sleep at night.

I have resided in Eugene for two-and-a-half years. When I move to a new area, I try to locate near an airport and/or an active railroad system. I consider each an enhancing environment visually and audibly. To eliminate rail sounds, especially at night, is to remove health-providing properties.

When I located in Eugene, I heard an employee of the Eugene police force, who picked up on my perspective, indicate he intended to “go over there and talk to them” about railroad whistles still being heard from the Northwest Highway area in late afternoon because “they were supposed to have turned those off.” I don’t think that was accurate in 2014; the whistles were reduced but not eliminated, thank goodness.

I do think that the benefits of railroad horns and whistles should be a factor in considering their use within city limits and especially at the time of night when most people go to bed, even if some newer residents in the area choose, or are directed, to locate near railroad byways who then complain of rail sounds long accommodated by long-standing residents. The greater good must be weighted.

Sharon Pearce, Eugene

 

SOLAR BUDGET 

The reason we use fossil fuels is they are more concentrated and easier to use than the alternatives. It would be nice to have simple replacements for this stored energy, but our growth-based economy requires ever-increasing use of resources.

Now that the “low hanging fruit” of easy-to-extract fossil fuels are in decline, replaced by difficult-to-extract energy such as offshore drilling, tar sands, fracked oil and gas, our economy is having increased difficulty sustaining continued growth. This is a deeper problem than the politics of oil company executives or corporate bribery of politicians.

Economic impacts of energy decline are leading to increased instability, with social chaos that can be as challenging as the ecological damage.

Financial hardships lead to demagogues — the classic example is 1930s Germany. Trump is indicative of the blaming likely to happen on the energy downslope.

Energy literacy about energy decline could be a partial antidote for scapegoating, but would require admitting we have reached the limits to growth on an abundant, round, finite planet.

Using solar panels for a quarter century taught me living on our solar budget will power a much smaller, steady state economy no longer based on exponential growth.

Moving beyond fossil fuels is not about electric cars, but relocalizing food production, since solar panels cannot power long-distance food shipments. That limitation is physical and logistical, not political.

Breeding plant varieties will probably be the most important adaptation to changing climates.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene

 

OFFENDED BY BEST OF

 I am making a trip to Eugene in July and was reading EW’s “Best of Eugene” to get an idea of the culture and the city. I enjoyed the article until I came to the “Extras” section, “Best Places to Take Your Kids.” For a paper that lists cultural diversity and tolerance in its mission statement, I was deeply disappointed at the flippant attitude of hate toward children. If the threat of being “rounded up and ‘cremated’” had been directed toward any other group or minority, regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation or age, it would most certainly warrant and receive a public outcry.

Treating the murder and imprisonment of children with off-hand humor is irresponsible, using that particular imagery is egregious, and I can’t understand why you would give those ideas any validation by printing them. Hate speech is hate speech, no matter at whom it is directed, especially children.

Heather Bair, Los Angeles, California

EDITOR’S NOTE: The suggestion to round up and “cremate” children came from a reader’s Best of ballot.

 

DEADLY PRODUCTS

Last year, children playing with their parents’ guns shot 265 and killed 83. There were no arrests, and they called them “tragic accidents.”

Last year, 22,000 toddlers were poisoned by candy-colored laundry detergent pods they were able to access. There were no arrests, and they called them “tragic accidents.”

Last year, several children were hospitalized after getting into their parents marijuana edibles. No one died, and the parents were arrested and jailed for child neglect. They called it child abuse.

Now, thanks to the useless FDA allowing candy-flavored vaping nicotine to be legally sold, we can add nicotine poisoning to the list of “tragic accidents” facing our children.

It’s time to face reality and hold the parents and manufacturers of these deadly products responsible for these real “accidents.”

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain

 

DIRTY UNDERGRADS

Why the big fuss about the University of Oregon’s Greek culture trashing Shasta Lake? If you live near the university (as we do), every year — long about this time — dozens of rental houses vomit forth dilapidated couches, mattresses, busted IKEA furniture and bags of random crap over the parking strips and street, often to sit there for weeks before somebody comes along and cleans it up. 

No news here.

Lea Jones, Eugene

 

RUDE BIKER 

To the jerk (rude bicyclist) at 6th and Peal, 4 pm May 17:

You don’t really advance your “cause” by trying to pick a fight with someone just because he is driving a car. I didn’t rise to your bait because I’m a nice person.

And, since you pretended to be unable to hear my friendly response to your silly remarks, perhaps you can read this: Fuck you. 

Robert C. Laney, Pleasant Hill

 

EVICTION LAWS

As the property manager for an intentional community, I am interested in the potential 90-day no-fault eviction law. Oregon already has generous renters’ rights, including the following:

1. Squatters who live in the same location for more than two weeks have all the rights of paying renters, even if they have never signed a contract or paid a cent.

2. If you live somewhere for less than a year, your no-fault eviction comes with a 30-day notice. 

3. After a year of residency, you are legally entitled to a 60-day notice. I always educate our renters on this score, because most don’t know their rights. 

4. If you don’t leave at the end of the 30 or 60 days, your landlord must evict you through a court process that often takes another month (or several months).

5. Your landlord is not allowed to take your belongings. If you abandon your belongings, you are supposed to receive a 30-day notice to remove your belongings, after which the landlord has the right to sell or throw away (but not keep) your abandoned stuff.

There are many legitimate reasons why a landowner would evict a tenant, including personality clashes in cases where landlord and tenant live together. Many times we have had occasion to use no-fault evictions, usually because the tenant cannot get along well with other residents. Money is not the only interaction between landlord and tenant.

Portland’s 90-day eviction law recognizes this concern by exempting situations where the tenant lives in the landlord’s home. In that case, the usual 30 days before one year, 60 days after one year rule applies. If Eugene makes the same exemption, I will support the change to a 90-day no-fault eviction. 

Kara Huntermoon, Heart-Culture Farm Community, Eugene

 

CLIMATE UPDATE 

At the climate recovery ordinance update on May 18, Eugene City Council discussed with experts its strategy to contain the worsening of our climate. Replacement of incandescent lights in streets with LEDs made sense because of the energy to be saved. Natural gas was proposed as source of energy in the area. Methane (natural gas) burns cleaner than coal and biomass, but is by no means ideal. Its primary source is the notorious “fracking” which pollutes our dwindling supply of fresh water. No reuse of old light bulbs for poorer communities was offered. Instead the less efficient light sources will be recycled for their minimal metal contents.

The elephant in the room, the source of our energy, was completely neglected. Hydro, which diverts rivers, an unexplained biodiesel fuel, which was just developed, and the already mentioned fracked gas are some of our projected electricity and heating sources. Absolutely no mention was made of solar, wind and tidal energy. Councilor Betty Taylor pointed to the need of not just bicycle lanes, but a way to protect these green locomotion means from theft.

Chris Pryor and the other councilors said that changes upon Eugene’s citizenry that will cause stress are not planned nor desired. The world population by the projected timeline (2030) might grow by at least another billion. If we don’t diminish our CO2 output and fix it in the ground with vegetation now, we’ll be experiencing worse, uncontrollable hardships. The need to use fossil fuels for transitioning to renewables is key.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene