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Letters to the Editor 7-14-2016

SELECTIVE OUTRAGE

Police all over the country are planning a big show of support at upcoming funerals for their Dallas comrades. Where’s the show of support for those they murdered and their families? Where’s the outrage by the police community that their own murdered innocent people?

This apparent lack of concern, understanding and human decency for anyone other than their own is at the root of why so many Americans have come to distrust and dislike the police. This attitude of “we’re right, you’re wrong” creates a lack of respect for the police, which in turn makes it easier to strike against them.

Whatever outreach Oregon police departments plan to make to their fellow officers in Dallas ought to be met with an equal show of respect and outreach for the victims at the hands of police. That would be one small step towards soothing the public mood. 

Alex Kaye, Eugene

 

VIOLENT CYCLE

The news is full of police killing black men, and being killed in return. We need to understand that poverty breeds violence. Then the police become fearful, overreact and become violent, which leads to violence in response.

It’s a dangerous positive social feedback cycle. “Positive” in the sense of a feedback cycle that moves a complex system further from stabilization. Another example is the melting of the Arctic ice and global warming. A negative feedback cycle, like a thermostat, stabilizes a system.

Most of the poor and near-poor — the working class — are white, and I think they are becoming more likely to explode also. There are other ways to kill people than using a weapon. A documentary on health care I watched said that the main determinant of health in the U.S. is income. The main reason is stress, caused by financial pressure. Stress sets people off. For example, when unemployment rises, so does child and wife abuse.

We need to do something about our economy, either create more government jobs or set up a guaranteed minimum income, paid by the government to everyone below a certain income level and financed through higher corporate taxes. This would help all of us to benefit from automation instead of just the rich people who own the machines.

Lynn Porter, Eugene

 

DON’T GIVE MORE POWER

The Lane County Board of Commissioners is overreaching itself by trying to have veto power over the ballot initiative process! It is a ridiculous idea and just shows the level to which these elected officials are influenced by corporate money interests.

The initiative process is tedious and difficult, but it exists to give citizens some direct say in government policies. One of the current proposed initiative petitions is for local control over protecting “health, safety and welfare” by banning aerial spraying of forest herbicides and pesticides. The other seeks to assure that citizen rights won’t be abridged by the kind of move the commissioners are proposing. 

Both are opposed by the corporate sponsors of four-fifths of the county commissioners. The dissenting commissioner, Pete Sorenson, has called this plan to give the Board of Commissioners power to stop initiative proposals before they get to the voters “a really bad” idea. He is correct. 

The Register-Guard and Eugene Weekly have also come out against giving commissioners this added power, and they are correct.

Don’t let county commissioners usurp power over the voter’s initiative petition process.

Robert Jacobs, Eugene

 

HATE CRIMES 

Amidst the hypnosis of Oregon Country Fair and Olympic Trials, Eugene tries to sweep this under the rug: At least nine Asian businesses have had doors or windows broken since October, with increasing frequency. 

This appears to be an epidemic — not just a mental health issue but an apparent series of hate crimes. A healthy administration and vigilant media could help to find perpetrators and assure the community, but instead we have nothing but silence. 

Fortunately, community members have stepped up to support the victims, but this epidemic is spreading, and the more we cover it up or look the other way the worse it will get. It really is a pox upon Eugene. This conjures up the ugliness that once ruled Eugene less than 100 years ago. 

I wish the chief of police or the mayor would issue some relief in the form of a strong statement that hate crimes won’t be tolerated. This whole thing makes me sad. The brightest light is the support the community is giving. 

We have to have a conversation about this now, not after the athletes go home.

Marc Time, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Eugene police, a suspect was arrested July 10 in connection with the vandalism of Eugene Asian restaurants, incuding Jade Palace, Yi Shen and Lotus Garden.

 

COMMUNITY RIGHTS

Allowing the Lane County Commissioners to unilaterally stop a local ballot initiative before voters have a chance to weigh in on it is effectively removing an issue from being discussed before it is even placed on the ballot. The arrogance of the four conservative members is absolutely stunning! 

This has nothing to do with costs of elections, as both these initiatives would fall within normal election cycles. This is all about governments, large and small, wanting to prohibit ordinary citizens from being able to exercise our rights to use the initiative system … “to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they (the people) see proper,” from Article 1, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution.

This example is exactly why Community Rights Lane County supports both these petitions, because citizen’s always get “pre-empted” (blocked by laws) when we fight for a healthy local environment and against corporate toxins, pollution and destruction. 

Together, we all can permanently change these laws for the better. Please get involved at communityrightslanecounty.org. 

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene

 

HUMAN FUTURE

Our lives and our actions affect the future of humanity. There is new research in several areas.

Epigenetics shows our chromosomes are influenced by factors outside the basic DNA code. Environment and experience cause changes. Methylation of the genes is one mechanism. At conception, much genetic methylation is cleared.

From the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas in Tel Aviv, Israel, comes a study comparing the genome and epigenetic markers of Holocaust survivors and their descendants to that of related individuals not affected by the Holocaust. The genes of survivors and of their children show methylation in areas representing fear and anxiety not found in the control group.

Human experience can be inherited trans-generationally.

Does this news leave you hopeless and frustrated, predestined to suffer from insoluble problems? Think again. Epigenetic markers can clear. Much is still unknown about these processes.

Research shows that babies see more than older persons. Babies are sensitive and aware. The importance of nurturing cannot be over-emphasized.

These are among the topics of a one-day conference in Eugene on Friday, July 22.

Why is maternal mortality for American black women four times higher than the general population? What can be done? What is the role of the micro-biome, the bacteria and other microbes, which live in and on the human body, in creating healthy, resilient humans? How do humans communicate in non-verbal ways, which affect our births and our lives?

The Birth and the Human Future conference is for everyone. Go to birthandthehumanfuture.org for more information. Can’t afford the cost? Follow the prompts for low-income people on the registration page. No one turned away for inability to pay.

Marion McLean, Eugene

 

INCITING HATRED

I’ve consistently found the Weekly to be the wisest reflection on the news and issues of Eugene, which is probably the most progressive place I’ve lived (including Chicago, New York City and in the Bay Area). Therefore I was stunned to see you publish such a retrograde and offensive letter to the editor this week [June 30]. 

Lon Miller of Drain says that he’s sorry about the massacre in Orlando, but hey, God was just giving us an example of His punishment of “perverts and deviants.”

I’m no stranger to this type of sanctimonious hate letter. At 62, I’ve read many of them before. But not so much in the last 20 years, and not at all in the last 10. 

Upon opening them, editors elsewhere now place these types of letters directly into the trashcan. In 2016 they no longer express a valid opinion, just as letters claiming that African Americans and Jews deserve whatever violence may be visited upon them because they are sub-human no longer do either.

If you are trying to cause a little lively controversy, you’re mistaken. You are inciting hatred.

Steve Lafreniere, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We often publish letters we disagree with editorially because it is important that the community know these opinions exist and be able to respond to them.

 

LON’S WRATH

As an individual who identifies as a person of faith and a fan of Jesus, I would like to respond to Mr. Miller’s letter [June 30].

Jesus teaches and encourages humility, to love, forgive and to not judge, because God, who indeed created all those beautiful souls struck down in the tragedy in Orlando, is the judge of us all, and the Bible states that as mere humans, we are absolutely incapable and never assigned to decide and dictate the works of the almighty Lord. 

Mr. Miller should also be quite aware that in this world, each of us has committed sin and no sin is less or greater than another in the eyes of our Father. 

  I take pity on this man, Lon Miller of Drain, for he is also under the eyes of God and is not free of sin. I kindly suggest he pray for forgiveness for haughtily putting himself in the place of God, passing judgment with such pride and suggesting that the hateful maniac who murdered those folks was a part of His beautiful, mysterious, unfathomable will.  

Holland Erz, Eugene

 

VILE SPEWING

How clever of Eugene Weekly, being so openhearted and open-minded about pit bulls, to fake an anti-pittie letter. I refer to the one purportedly signed by “Karl Stout” [Letters, June 30].

Come on, EW! These things should be faked with some shade of believability.

“Karl,” ahem, supposedly writes that “society’s best interest would be served by complete eradication” of the entire breed. I’m sure “Karl” realized how it would look if he said the same thing about, say, Norwegians. Or redheads. 

This kind of vile spewing reveals the writer as so hateful and bigoted and stupid that it defies belief.

I was bitten — totally unprovoked — by an unleashed … collie. It just ran up and attacked me. That was 40 years ago. I forgave it 15 minutes later. No decent person would react by wanting the whole breed wiped out. That would have taken Lassie off the planet, too.

Our family includes the sweetest, second-most-loving dog we have ever had, and — counting foster dogs — that is around 50 dogs. Yes, she is a pit bull mix. So were 29 of the others. Not one ever a problem. Ever.

You hear this from pit families all the time: “It’s how you treat them.” If they’re treated well, they are wonderful.

I suppose “Karl Stout” took into account, loading up his poisonous pen, the immense sorrow and grief that he would gleefully cause in those who love their dogs if suddenly the entire breed were destroyed. And blithely disregarded it. Brainless and heartless.

See, that’s what tips off the reader that no human with a real heart and soul would write such a despicable and horrible and vicious letter. 

Gotcha, Eugene Weekly! Clever, clever, clever!

I love it!  Nice try.

Rita Castillo, Springfield

 

SHEEPY DEBATE

In regards to Barb Lomow’s enlightening, albeit misguided, retort entitled “Worthy Sheep” posted in June 30 issue of EW, I would like to simply say: Please do some more research into the “gatherings” you wish to downplay and belittle. 

Black Sheep Gathering has nothing to do with “actual” sheep. It is a gathering of people and includes music and food, not the shearing of animals you are so adamantly against. Thank you for opening my eyes to the cruelty of animals. Now please do the same and open yours.

Darrell Olson, Springfield

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to its website, the Black Sheep Gathering is “an annual event during which participants exchange their knowledge of and appreciation for handcraft fibers and the animals that produce them.”

 

DESPICABLE NRA 

Every summer, the Eugene Police Department does an incredible thing for incoming kindergartners. They run a summer camp to teach kids about safety. As a parent of two children (one of whom went to Safety Town), I can say without a doubt that this camp is an invaluable asset to our community. 

However, I have one major concern. The camp uses NRA teaching materials. The NRA’s political actions make our kids less safe, not more. They believe suspected terrorists on the “no fly list” should be able to buy guns, they believe assault weapons designed for military use should be sold to the public, they believe it is OK to sell guns without doing universal background checks, they believe that domestic abusers and the mentally ill should be allowed to buy guns and they believe the government should not research gun violence as a public safety issue. As a result, we live in a nation where every year, guns kill more toddlers than police officers. 

Equating the NRA with gun safety for children is a complete farce. If EPD really cares about the safety of our children, they will sever any connection they have with this despicable organization.

A. Foster, Eugene

 

CARBON TAX

Our energy comes from fossil fuels and from various renewable energy sources. Burning fossil fuels is the cause of global warming and is an ongoing and increasing global disaster. Fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, but the climate damage wrought by them puts civilization at risk.

Recent news accounts are full of success stories about new and improved renewable energy projects. However, despite those upbeat articles in news reports, the reality is deeply depressing, as renewable energy is just a small part (13.64 percent) of our energy supplies.

None of the plus or minus 20 years of highly expensive, well-attended highfalutin meetings of the heads of states have slowed or stopped the growth of fossil fuel use. The meetings appear to have been a total waste of time.

And now, we have a truly crushing blow — the Clinton presidential campaign has indicated that it will not support a carbon tax. We simply cannot meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals (locally, statewide or nationally) without a price on carbon. How can we take her commitment to climate action seriously if she rejects carbon pricing outright?

Clinton’s negligence in failing to support a carbon tax is inexcusable.

Tom Giesen, Eugene

 

POLITICAL FUN

Tony Corcoran never fails to enlighten and entertain [“If Trump Wins:  Move to Georgia!”].  He states that old geezers like himself remember the police riots during the divided 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. 

However, some of us old geezers were serving our country in Vietnam at that time. Having missed the domestic political fun that year, I highly anticipate watching the upcoming Republican convention in Cleveland. 

This time around, I will gather my brethren, open a cold beer and thoroughly enjoy a front row seat of the likely shitstorm. Let the fun begin!

Gerry Kosanovic, Corvallis

 

WATER SAFETY

Fourth of July weekend, three Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club kayakers aided and helped rescue several people floating in inner tubes on the McKenzie River near RiverBend hospital who were tangled in brush in the river.

Every year people get in serious trouble out of ignorance, alcohol or cheap inflatable “pool boats” without life preservers or sometimes even paddles.

Kayakers are often compelled to assist these unsafe and under-equipped boaters or at least contact the Sheriff Marine Patrol. 

Rescues are expensive and risk the lives of responders as well as the victims. Please invest in good equipment and acquire the skills to be safe on the river. 

The Willamette Canoe and Kayak Club website has safety information and links. Go to wkcc.org. 

Mark Murphy, Creswell

 

POWER OF SYMBOLS

I’m a professional graphic designer. Symbols are important, powerful communication tools. In the Old West, brass sheriff’s stars were six pointed. Modern law enforcement agencies (including the Lane County Sheriffs Department and the Eugene Police Department — go ahead, Google their homepages) use seven-pointed stars because, since World War Two, a six-pointed star has been most powerfully recognized as The Star of David.

Stephen Stanley, Eugene

 

BABY CHRISTIAN TRUMP

Great news. The New York Times reports that James Dobson, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical leaders, has declared that Donald Trump has been born again. According to Dobson, he was “led to Christ” by an unnamed associate. 

Although Trump continues to use language typically considered coarse and un-Christian, Dobson says we should “cut him some slack. He didn’t grow up like we did. He’s a baby Christian.”

Evangelical Christians can now vote for the Donald with a clear conscience. Praise the Lord.

Paul Wilson, Eugene