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Letters to the Editor 6-9-2016

DISASTROUS DERAILMENT

It was encouraging to read in The Register-Guard Saturday that Union Pacific plans to spend $34.6 million on Oregon railroad lines. Unfortunately, this plan was late, as a train loaded with volatile Bakken crude oil derailed, caught fire and leaked oil into the Columbia River near Mosier, Oregon, on Friday, June 3.

In January 2014, transportation safety agencies in Canada and the U.S. called for railroads to analyze the risks of moving crude oil in outdated DOT111 rail tank cars that were designed to carry corn syrup. Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency “is concerned that major loss of life, property damage and environmental consequences can occur” and “safety regulations need to catch up to this new reality.”

There has been a 400-percent increase in rail oil shipments since 2005, and 26 oil trains have been involved in major fires in the last decade. The new CPC 1232 tank cars have thicker shells, bulkhead and valve protection but have been involved in the most recent derailments and fires. 

The Union Pacific rail lines that run through Eugene carrying crude oil in unit trains (100 or more cars of the same product) to California refineries are not part of the multimillion-dollar track and bridge upgrades. 

Sadly, these disastrous derailments and fires of this volatile fossil fuel product shipped through residential and businesses throughout Oregon and nationwide are indiscriminate and can happen anywhere and anytime. Just ask the residents of Mosier. 

Jim Neu, Eugene

 

SMALL-TOWN FEEL 

I like the restriping of Willamette Street. It doesn’t seem to be as frantic as it was. Now driving is more relaxed, and there is a small-town feel. I think it will be beneficial for local shops.

Jan Gardner, Eugene

 

OUR KIDS MATTER

Almost 130,000 Oregon voters have signed the IP 28 petition and have said enough is enough. The time has come for Walmart, Comcast, Apple and other multinational corporations making billions in Oregon to pay their fair share in taxes.  

For too long average Oregonians have been subsidizing these corporations that have been reaping record profits and benefiting from the lowest overall business tax in the nation.  

Oregon children deserve schools that are adequately funded, class sizes that are manageable, a school year that is not the shortest in the nation and classes that engage our kids, challenge them and help them graduate.

In 2000, legislature created the Quality Education Commission, whose task was to figure out the adequate funding for our public schools. Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 1 that year, directing the legislature to deliver appropriate funding. They have failed. Sixteen years later, we are more than $1 billion short of the goal of proper funding of our schools.

We can’t wait for Salem to do the right thing anymore. In November, the voters, not the politicians, will decide the fate of our schools.  

Big business, multinational corporations and the right-wing, out-of-state billionaires are pledging to spend more than $25 million to defeat this measure. They will try to confuse voters with propaganda and outright lies.

We will not be fooled. In November, we will send a clear message that our kids matter and they deserve schools we can all be proud of. 

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene

 

TALK ABOUT BIKES 

I think the letter from Robert C. Laney about the rude bicyclist [Letters, 6/2] exemplifies the disconnect between bicyclists and drivers of motorized vehicles in our community. 

The fact is that most of our infrastructure was not designed for use by both motorized vehicles and bicycles at the same time. Drivers and bicyclists feel uncomfortable operating their vehicles, which vary greatly in size, maneuverability and speed, in the same space. 

This results in drivers feeling intimidated by what is often an unanticipated presence in their path, and bicyclists feeling intimidated by larger vehicles that are potentially life-threatening. 

Rather than putting the blame on the other person, let’s communicate about how we can make a community that supports both motorized and non-motorized transportation. 

Richard Griscom, Eugene

 

SMART METERS

I recently learned from an EWEB board member that they’ve (secretly) finished installing all the collectors/transmitters around Eugene and have installed at least 200 smart meters on “non-residences” so far — things like billboards and new streetlights, etc. He made sure to note that EWEB was using the “opt-in” option for permission to install.

To this day, there is still not one word in EWEB’s newsletter about any aspects of this $26 million program since inception! There are so many questions needing answers after numerous public meetings demanding information.

For example, EWEB has not chosen to tell us how often different meters transmit, at what frequencies, power outputs, locations of collectors, etc. While they’ve been rolling this out, why are they hiding the details? EWEB is a public entity!

Hundreds of thousands of these meters have been removed in California in two major class-action lawsuits, as well as in other states, and they’ve been banned in some countries after massive rollouts because of unexplained fires, many health issues and exorbitant bills after installation. 

This is the same radiation as 4G wi-fi, but on steroids. Collectors might be right outside your bedroom now! You have the option of turning your phone off — not so with smart meters! 

There is also the question of security and hacking as your meters and smart appliances spy on you, selling data to whomever wants it! Please, get online and check out the thousands of pages of horror stories related to smart meters before you opt-in to this program.

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene

 

CLIMATE DENIER PREZ

A lot of people, myself included, have grave misgivings about a second Clinton presidency. I am also concerned that the movement and sense of revolution that Bernie Sanders has worked so hard to engender will dissipate after July. No matter what happens at the Democratic Convention, that movement must spread and intensify.

But my overriding concern is that Trump be defeated soundly in November. He has outraged some mainstream conservatives and Tea Partiers by appearing to take “moderate” and “practical” positions. But his views on the climate crisis lie completely within the official Republican orthodoxy — he denies the international consensus on its existence, he vows to thwart even moderate attempts to deal with it and he promises to increase greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.  

All citizens who realize the urgency of keeping global warming within human control must register and vote for the Democratic opponent to Trump. Maybe Bernie will pull off a miracle, but if not, we need to make sure that the next president is not a climate denier.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene

 

SILLY PEDESTRIANS

Driving the speed limit on westbound 18th Avenue this morning (near O’Hara Catholic School) I encountered a couple walking in stride with their dog, crossing 18th at the delineated pedestrian crosswalk. This crosswalk features a pedestrian-activated flashing light system to alert drivers to pedestrians crossing the generally busy roadway. However, in this instance, the lights weren’t flashing.

 As I passed the couple (with them on the passenger side of my vehicle) I slowed to a stop, rolled down my passenger window and asked them, “Was the button to activate the pedestrian crossing light not functioning?”

As God is my witness, the woman’s response: “Using those are optional!”

RUFKM! Really? For the life of me … I cannot imagine a more patently idiotic response. You know … parachutes are optional, too! 

One thing is for certain … thinking is obviously not an option for these people.

The real tragedy, of course, is the dog who is tragically saddled with two morons for owners. Poor dear. 

L. Arbuckle, Eugene

 

IS IT MEDICINE?

I have a medical marijuana card and have been to almost every dispensary in Eugene. I am in a wheelchair and can’t enter some, as they’re not ADA compliant. (No one cares.)

Then, if I can, we get in and find the way-overpriced, old, garbage “cannabis” or “medicine.” Since “recreational,” most dispensaries raised flower prices and tacked on 25 percent as they opened to the flood of recreational users. Not all of them did this.

Well then, I ask, is it medicine?

I am losing my pharmaceutical medicine as the war on drugs continues.

My doctor doesn’t want to lose his license to prescribe. Now he won’t or can’t prescribe me enough to help. He has to prescribe less.

“I know, so what,” you say?

Wait and see when you or a loved one is in need of medicine and can’t get it. 

I am offered an option of cannabis for medicine.

If it is medicine, help me find the dispensaries that take my Medicare Part D.

The insurance won’t/can’t buy it and I cannot afford the overpriced, poor-quality medicine!

Marijuana isn’t a medicine for every ailment known, and it does have side effects. And some might be unpleasant for those unaccustomed to them.

Can’t have it both ways, can you? I’d ask why, then, is the OLCC not calling liquor “medicine” like in the 1800s, when it was medicine?

Mike Miller, Springfield

 

BIG PHARMA

Vaxxed is about corruption: our government in bed with the pharmaceutical industry. “Big pharma” is the number-one lobbyist industry in our country and the number-one moneymaker for media. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is too scared of losing credibility and jobs to admit its wrongs (much like Flint).

With liability removed for the vaccine manufacturers (it was taken away in 1986), notice how the amount of vaccines skyrocketed soon thereafter.

There is no accountability for the doctors who administer the shots according to the CDC schedule. Instead, doctors are penalized by their insurance companies when they don’t vaccinate every child with every shot according to the CDC schedule.

There is no accountability for the CDC, which recommends an unprecedented 73 vaccines for children. Instead, they’re rewarded with high-paying jobs at vaccine manufacturing companies after their work at the CDC is done.

Seventy-three: That doesn’t even include the two shots pushed on pregnant women containing mercury and aluminum — neither of which has ever been tested for safety on pregnant women.

This isn’t conspiracy theory, folks. Don’t let the mass media tell you what to believe. Think for yourselves.

Vaxxed opens June 10 at The David Minor Theater in Eugene.

Stacey Black, Eugene

 

PUBLIC MISCONDUCT

Are you tired of public servants being unaccountable for their misconduct? Here’s one of several ways we can start holding these public servants accountable. 

Governments are set up in the form of “trusts” for our benefit. We are the “grantors” and the “beneficiaries” and our public servants are the “trustees” (“fiduciaries”) responsible for implementing that “trust,” in good faith. 

Public servants and trustees have a legal and moral duty to not steal, cheat or lie, and they are required to answer any relevant questions in the service of transparency. If they refuse to answer, the law calls that fraud, which is punishable by prison and/or a fine.

The EWEB commissioners, Eugene city councilors and the mayor are all guilty of not answering a questionnaire presented to each of them concerning EWEB’s plan to “deploy” potentially harmful digital “smart” electric meters in Eugene. This makes them criminally liable under Oregon’s “official misconduct” statute.

If, like me, you want to hold public servants accountable, and you have experience with the law and/or courts or just want to learn more, email me at questions4fiduciaries@gmail.com.

Abraham Likwornik, Eugene

 

NOT DEROGATORY

I am empathetic to D.H. Bucher’s underlying point [Letters, 5/19]. Demand increases value, and when housing costs go up, only some can compete and prosper. Increased housing costs have always been associated with a rise in homelessness and displacement.

I have personally experienced the “bubble” markets of the Bay Area and, most recently, Portland, where rents and purchase prices have sky-rocketed, leaving many to relocate and/or be homeless. 

Eugene is growing and will continue to do so. What resonates with me is a need for proactive regulation (i.e., rent control), more affordable housing and, more importantly, a strong, inclusive community voice, which helps determine how that growth occurs. It takes a conscientious balance to create a thriving economy without marginalizing and displacing our own people.

It is not a conspiracy theory to claim that having money is a disproportionate, powerful and influential privilege. Calling someone privileged because of their wealth is not derogatory — it’s transparency. 

Let’s makes sure we all have a voice in determining the future of our beautiful, eclectic city.

Rebecca Rose, Eugene

 

RAPE CONFUSION

Why are universities getting involved in investigating rape? It’s a crime, and the police should investigate, not an education institution. This should be the policy of University of Oregon. They should have the sexual assault detectives’ business cards handy, give them to the victims and tell them to contact the detective for a meeting.

Alleged rape victims should either report to the police or move on in life. Alleged rape victim Laura Hanson wants rape victims to be able to discuss rape situations with UO staff and keep it confidential. Why? Call the police if you were actually raped. 

American women are really becoming confused about sex and gender. My wife is from Ukraine and thinks American women are strange. Most foreign women and men do as well. They ask, “Why do American women report rape many months or even many years after it happens and not immediately?” 

Foreign women say they should be required to report immediately, like within 48 hours, or forget it. American women will sit around thinking and thinking and creating more and more delusions in their heads and finally convince themselves they didn’t really have sex willingly — they were raped. Then you have a man whose life is destroyed and sitting in jail in major distress, not understanding why she is claiming rape. 

If a woman is raped against her will, she should immediately report this to the police by calling 911. We need a law that you must report within 48 hours. This nonsense of women reporting alleged rapes months later or five or 10 years later has to stop. 

If you have sex and decide after the fact maybe you shouldn’t have, it’s not rape. It’s simply a bad decision. We all make bad decisions, and then we learn from them.

Keith Southworth, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The man who sexually assaulted Laura Hanson was found “responsible for sexual misconduct as defined in the Student Conduct Code” by the UO.

 

 

OCEAN PLASTIC 

I’m a biology student at University of Oregon. I am writing this letter so that people pay attention to the damage of plastic pollution to sea animals. The negative effects are not limited to resource consumption.

There’s a long coastline in Oregon, so plastic products easily get into the ocean. Plastics have found their way into all five of the world’s major ocean current systems and are one of the most common types of litter found in Portland’s rivers and on Oregon’s beaches. 

When dead birds’ bodies are opened, people find that they die because they cannot digest the plastic products they eat. Also, I saw some pictures of sea turtles who suffered a lot from plastic product. They were surrounded by plastic product when they were young, and after growing up, their bodies are shaped by these plastic products. 

Public awareness could be helpful, because it is needed for everyone to stop throwing plastic into the ocean. 

If only a group of people are aware of this, the problem cannot be solved. My point is that we should stop using plastic products unless they can be digested by animals in nature. Also, we can treat some birds to detect plastic products. 

Thank you for paying attention!

Yuxuan Wei, Eugene

 

DON’T FALL FOR SCAMS

I've been receiving automated calls from the "IRS" from several numbers for several weeks now. 
They are: 306-208-0787, 610-743-4769 and 206-494-0741. 
When I returned the "urgent call" from the "IRS," I was asked for information to confirm who I am. When I asked for confirmation of who I was speaking to, the unidentified male hung up. 
I called the second number. After a quiz, the "IRS agent" an ID as Jack Robinson and eventually, he offered an ID number. And told me I had a $6,000 balance needed to be paid now or there would be two sheriffs knockin’ on my door.

He ended the call when I requested said demands via federal mail.

I called number three and asked for Jack Robinson. I was on hold for a while. UIF came on the line and identified as Shawn Miller. I said OK, what is your IRS ID number? He said 97110.
I said, “Oh, that's funny, that is the same number Jack Robinson gave me a few minutes ago from a different number." 

“Shawn Miller" hung up.

Bottom line, do not be a victim.

Being a homeless man, I do what I can. This has been a public service announcement.

Oh! The next time you go through the drive-thru, please do not hesitate to ask for a dollar burger in a special bag to toss to me and my god … dog! Just don't break any laws.

Jeff Iak, Eugene

 

EMX BOONDOGGLE

Now that the new EmX line is about to open, let's review what we've got: years of major traffic disruption, loss of hundreds of trees, confiscation of dozens of properties (“eminent domain,” dontcha know) and many future accidents at the 6th Avenue bottleneck (they've already happened). Oh, and how many millions sunk into the project?

In return: sharp-looking green buses that go to the same places the white buses go (to box stores and malls), and fancy bus stops!

 Oh, and short-distance "dedicated lanes" that merge and create bottlenecks. And yes, they're faster, thanks to all the electronics that control the lights; they cater to our obsession with speed in a time when many people think society needs to slow down (but the “faster” claim is challenged by the experience of many riders — one of whom returned to riding her bike after the EmX trip to work took so long). Their greatest value might be as a jobs project for workers who have built the infrastructure and for administrators who have slurped up a pretty penny from the federal trough.

Isn't one of the ostensible purposes of EmX to increase the use of public transportation (certainly a laudable goal)? Well, since the dawn of EmX, how many regular bus routes has LTD eliminated — routes that regular customers depended on? If LTD was serious about serving the community and increasing ridership, they'd create more routes instead of fewer and request federal money to reduce fares rather than pursue harmful, unnecessary boondoggle projects.

Jeff Harrison, Eugene

 

GREEN RESISTANCE

The world is ending on our watch. If fossil fuel extraction projects in the Pacific Northwest (Powder River Basin coal; Bakken oil shale; Alberta Tar Sands; etc.) are allowed to continue, it is projected that atmospheric carbon levels will shoot way past the 2 degree limit that was agreed to at the Paris Climate Conference. 

This isn't even taking into account the effects from industrial projects in other parts of the world. Moral clarity demands that we initiate a massive, decisive end to the fossil fuel era, but in a society that has become so estranged from the earth, moral clarity must be learned. The environmental "movement" has been relying on an incremental reform model for the past 50-plus years, requiring a faith in governmental process that, thus far, has proven entirely unfounded. 

We must realize that the industrial economy has been set up for constant growth and exploitation, and that a Bernie Sanders presidency wouldn't change anything about that fundamental structural problem. Any candidate who, on the one hand, claims to be interested in stopping environmental destruction but, on the other hand, talks up job creation, is obfuscating the fact that jobs are destroying the earth. 

If you are pro-economy, then by extension your loyalty lies with the system that is gutting the earth (even if that economy is powered by so-called "renewables," which still require a massive industrial system to exist). Economic growth is diametrically opposed to ecological health, and incremental reforms do more to protect this system than they do to stop the murder of the planet, as has been shown. 

What is needed, then, is a movement that actually puts pressure on systems of harm until they stop committing the harm, and we need people whose loyalty truly lies with the planet. When certain tactics fail, we must escalate. We are long past the point at which the environmental movement ought to have adopted strategic, coordinated direct action to shut down fossil fuel systems. 

There is growing mobilization in the Pacific Northwest to resist these projects. I am hosting a three-day direct action training just outside Eugene over July 4 weekend. Please contact me at dthomson@deepgreenresistance.org if you are interested in attending or just want to learn more.

Dillon Thomson, Deep Green Resistance, Eugene

 

PANHANDLING SCHEME

The Springfield City Council members deserve a hardy round of applause for their brave stance on panhandling. Their courageous willingness to brazenly avoid dealing with the genuine causes of panhandling — homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, etc. — by purposely ticketing both the panhandler and the passerby willing to offer them money, due to traffic danger, is beyond grotesque.

I agree that the traffic danger on its own is a legitimate concern. But in this case, the council used this “traffic danger” smokescreen as a bumbling sleight of hand in order to evade taking on the real problem. 

The following solutions for two other vexing problems are on par with the same brain-dead level of creativity as the council’s demeaning panhandling scheme:

1. Tailgating: Pass a law requiring all vehicles in Springfield (bicycles too, just for the fun of it) must have a 6-inch diameter by 20-foot steel pipe welded to the front and back. Granted, parking will be problematic, and attempting a turn may cause moderate to severe damage to other cars, buildings and panhandlers. The term “skewered” would be replaced by “I’ve been Springfielded.” 

2. How to keep drunks, moronic texters and the mentally distracted bozos and bozoettes from running red lights? This is a no brainer — just hire some contractor, hopefully one closely related to a city mother or father, to install pop-up tire shredders at every signal in the city. Funding would easily be covered by the panhandler fines. The shredder thingies should be timed to activate the very moment the light turns red. Better yet, have those razor-sharp doodads flip up one seconds after the signal turns yellow just to further torment the dimwitted clowns that jam their foot on the accelerator in order to get through the light. Every tire shop I spoke with endorsed this brilliant plan with wild enthusiasm.

Tim Neun, Eugene