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Letters to the Editor 2017-05-04

PEACE AND UNITY

Because I moved out of the Eugene area five years ago, I don’t read the Eugene Weekly as much as I used to, but your recent cover “In Good Faith” caught my attention, and I was so grateful to have seen it and read it.

Kudos to the Eugene Weekly for this wonderful and insightful article on this interfaith group in Eugene. Since moving to Oregon in 2009, I too have suffered senseless discrimination apparently based on ethnicity and religion mostly directed at me by so-called “Christians.”  I am not a Christian basher; I have plenty of relatives and friends who are indeed true Christians in their attitudes and behaviors.

Here in Albany I’ve had my worst discrimination experiences. The Linn-Benton Housing Authority even put it in writing, calling me a “half-black Wiccan” when in fact I am a mixed race Unitarian Universalist.

They have told me they’d like me to move away, but I would never give these ignorant people the satisfaction. Incidentally, I have relatives who are different denominations of Christians, Jews and Muslims, and I respect them all for who they are regardless of their different faiths, which is no one’s business but their own.

Thank you very much Eugene Weekly for giving voice to true believers unafraid to unite together in peace!

Diane Van Orden, Albany


KINDLY CORRECTION

Sat Nam! (Literally, “truth name” — a Sikh greeting): I’m honored to be on the front cover of last week’s Eugene Weekly (April 27). I love the title “In Good Faith.”

I’d like to make one correction/amplification. I titled my presentation “Singing the Praises” without knowing which of several shabads (Sikh psalms) I would present. That’s not what the shabad is called. The 16th-entury shabad credited to Guru Arjun Dev is “Taap Santaap Sagalay Ga-ay” in the original Gurmukhi (translation: the fiery pain is relieved.)

Siri Kirpal Kaur Khalsa, Eugene


CALLING FOR PEACE

Eugene’s Interfaith Prayer Service International (IPSI) is a wonderful example of how people in our world can get along (“A Vision of Peace” by Corinne Boyer, Eugene Weekly, April 27). To further this example, we can each call for peace.

One way is to reach out to our elected representatives and ask them to fully fund our State Department. The current budget proposal calls for 31 percent cuts to this organization that carries America’s message of hope, health and opportunity.

With its work partnering with other countries to extend education opportunities, diversify agriculture and battle disease, countries actually grow independent and, of course, friendly to the U.S. for our assistance. As desperation disappears, terrorists have trouble finding recruits and there is hope for the future.

Our calls, visits and letters to our representatives and senators, asking them to fund this work, will ensure it continues. Thus being active in our democracy is also the work of peace visionaries.

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish


GOOD TURTLES

Congratulations to Eugene Weekly’s Anita Johnson and architect Otto Poticha’s Turtle Award winners at last week’s City Club annual event.

It was stated that their accomplishments have helped mold our community by fostering creative problem solving in Eugene’s public affairs; stimulating constructive action; forging cooperative relationships; honoring diverse perspectives; sticking one’s neck out for the good of the community; being under-appreciated by the public.

We are fortunate to have their continuing effort at every level of government.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


DRIPS

Interesting article on rainwater harvesting (April 20). Leave it to humans (and especially humans in the U.S.) to make something as essential and simple as collecting water complicated, illegal and a bureaucratic nightmare.

Jeffree Ensing, Detroit


REAL SUSTAINABILITY

Thank you for the prominent placement of John Zerzan’s letter, “EW Fails to Save the Planet” (April 27). It is an irrefutable matter of mathematics, physics and geology that Mr. Zerzan is correct.

While there’s a lot of talk about “sustainability,” virtually none of it is actually sustainable. When viewed through the lens of a more rigorous set of criteria, you realize that genuine, meaningful sustainability is a dauntingly complex, remote, far-flung ideal that’s going to be extremely difficult to achieve.

The good news is that we will achieve it. We have no choice in the matter because to do anything less is unsustainable.  The big question is what will the end product look like.

When you factor in climate change, resource depletion, population overshoot, etc., it is not an exaggeration to say that we need a complete, bottom-to-top restructuring of human civilization, and we need it right now. The longer we procrastinate, the more wrenching and traumatic this inevitable transition to sustainability will be.

So, we have every reason to get on with the difficult matter at hand — disruptive as it may be. It is in this sense that our “leaders” are better described as fools and clowns.

Robert Bolman, Eugene


RENEW JAIL LEVY

The League of Women Voters of Lane County supports renewing the Lane County Jail Levy. Extending the levy for five years — at the same tax rate — provides resources to operate at least 255 local jail beds to prevent the early release of those accused of violent crimes and provides services for more youth offenders.  

The measure requires an annual external audit for accountability. Prior audits have shown that the existing levy has been used as intended. There are now 317 beds for local offenders open in the jail, and youth services have been expanded. Since July 2013, the jail has not released, due to capacity limits, any pre-trial inmates being held on violent felony charges.

In stark contrast, without levy funding only 125 local jail beds were available, causing about 100 inmates to be released weekly solely because of lack of capacity. 

A functioning jail is necessary for a balanced public safety system. The sanction of incarceration can provide an incentive for those whose addictions or mental illnesses drive their criminal behavior, encouraging them to pursue alternatives such as drug court or to seek treatment.

Law enforcement costs are reduced when officers and deputies do not need to locate and re-arrest those who fail to appear for trial. The community is safer when defendants who are likely to commit new serious crimes while awaiting trial are not released.   

Please vote yes on 20-271. The levy has proven its value in supporting a vital public service.

Linda Lynch, President, League of Women Voters of Lane County


THE POOR SHALL INHERIT THE SLUMS

Josh Skov is fortunate to live on College Hill, an older, single-family neighborhood. Just north of the Skov famly home is my neighborhood, Jefferson Westside Neighbors.

I’m also fortunate to live in an older neighborhood where “middle housing” is in no way missing. We’ve enjoyed the mixture of different housing forms and residents for decades.

The good news is that “middle housing” is still perfectly able to be built in the Jefferson-Westside Special Area Zone, which was crafted by the neighbors themselves.

Skov is doubly lucky he doesn’t live in one of Portland’s older Eastside neighborhoods (like Eastmoreland, Laurelhurst and Hollywood) where the recent code changes that Josh heralds have resulted in demolition of hundreds of modest and characteristic homes. These affordable homes have been replaced by multiple dwellings, some of which might fit the definition of “middle housing,” but none of which are anything close to affordable.

Skov is fond of describing himself as an “evidence-based” thinker. So he should realize that “smaller” does not in the slightest mean “affordable.”

Where's the evidence, Josh?

And while you're thinking more deeply about it … enjoy the livability of College Hill before it’s ruined by the “we know best” crowd. In Portland and Seattle, they’ve weaponized “affordable housing” to destroy quality older neighborhoods.

Like-minded zealots in Eugene are trying the same tactic, and your neighborhood is right in their crosshairs.

Paul Conte, Eugene


HUMAN SHIELDS

Although I don’t like it when some of the homeless leave garbage after sitting or camping somewhere, Eugene’s unhoused population provide a great benefit to the community — they keep the frothing developers and snarling yuppies at bay. Be sure to thank the next “traveler” you see.

Scott Fife, Eugene





WEB ONLY LETTERS


THE BERNIE SANDERS OF 4J

If you wish to have a true progressive on the local 4J school board, the choice is clear. Vote for Jerry Rosiek, the Bernie Sanders of education.

Jerry Rosiek is endorsed by Diane Ravitch, one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States. This is no small feat. Ravitch has been fighting against the neoliberal, corporate takeover of public schools for years. She is an outspoken opponent of the highly unqualified Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, as well as high-stakes standardized testing.

When elected, Jerry Rosiek will speak out for the removal of the prohibition of teachers talking honestly to parents about their choice on standardized tests. This gag order is blocking parent-teacher discussion on an extremely important school issue.

Rosiek will also revisit the unpopular mandated 3x5 high school schedule. He will help lead public discourse about why it was enacted and what we can do about it.

Besides these progressive issues, Rosiek is the only candidate who has spoken strongly in favor of 4J being a sanctuary district.

Over the years, our local school board has struggled with transparency. Jerry Rosiek will be a voice for open, honest public discussion of the challenges facing our schools. We need a board member who will listen to the constituents and actively engage legislators on the local, state and federal levels.

Jerry Rosiek has the experience, knowledge and passion to serve on the 4J School Board.  Please join in me in voting for him in the upcoming election.

L. Farrelly, Eugene


NO WORRIES WITH NEWMAN

Judy Newman is a positive force in our community. She has spent a lifetime caring for our children in Lane County and throughout the State.

I had the opportunity to work with Newman on United Way’s “Success by 6” program and Early Childhood Cares, which is a national model for supporting special needs children and their families.  

Newman is collaborative, inspiring, humble, listens to others and truly cares about children and public education. She makes a difference in kid’s lives every day and will continue to do so as a member of the 4J School Board.

Please join me in voting for Judy Newman for Position 3 on the 4J School Board in the May 16 election.

Gerry Gaydos, Eugene


COME TOGETHER WITH JERRY

I am writing in support of Jerry Rosiek for 4J School Board, position 3. Jerry was hired to lead the University of Oegon Education Studies department following the student and community protests in 2006-07.

These protests claimed a lack of attention to cultural diversity in the teacher-training program. In their words, the teachers coming out of the college at that time were not prepared to work with all the students in their classes. Jerry’s challenge was to diversify the staff and create meaningful conversation about teaching to all cultures and economic levels in our community. 

In my opinion, he did an amazing job. I learned so much about culturally responsive teaching. This knowledge has helped me tremendously in my privately owned preschool by improving relationships with my students and their parents. A few families are English-language learners and incomes vary widely.

Jerry has experience bringing people together to make educational institutions more responsive to the communities they serve. He has done this for the UO College of Education and throughout his career. He can do it for 4J.  

Beth Brex 


AMAZONIAN BOOK BAN

The biggest story in the news this month is book banning by Amazon. Amazon.com was known for selling any and all books in print — until now. More than 20 books have been removed and are banned. It is only some 26, but it is a good (bad) start.

No TV stories, no press, no story — why? Should Amazon’s Jeff Bezos not be asked why? Even if he is not talking, is this still not an important story for the press that is so dependent on a free press and no censorship?

One has to go to Google or YouTube to find the story. And, as the press did report today, Google is in the process of banning “fake news” and “objectionable searches.” So maybe it will not be on-line either.

I guess it didn’t happen — except it did.

Michael Lee, Eugene


TRUMP ATTACKS OREGON

On Friday, April 21, the Washington Post quoted Gary Cohn, head of Trump’s National Economic Council, as saying, “The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to permit an LNG export facility in the Northwest.” Before becoming one of Trump’s swamp creatures, Cohn was president of Goldman-Sachs.

Good news: Cohn does not get to permit either the Jordan Cove LNG facility or the Pacific Connector Pipeline. That is the job of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

More good news: Trump has yet to nominate replacements for the three vacant seats on the five-member commission. So, even though Trump’s eventual choices will certainly be Creatures from the Black (as in oil) Lagoon, there is a window of opportunity.  

If you want to prevent Oregon from becoming a sacrifice zone for the fossil fuel cartel, contact Gov. Kate Brown, State Treasurer Tobias Read and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (who make up the State Land Board) and demand that they accept environmental leadership by denying all permits for these boondoggles.  

Another thing to do, although admittedly a long shot, is send this message to senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Unlike Cohn, FERC nominees require Senate confirmation.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene


MOBY TRUMP

Hope my recent tomb for Milo still has varnish.

Bannon and Milo — (thick as thieves) until about a month ago ... methinks.

Strange kettle of rotten fish indeed, eh?

Shiver me timbers, steel yer nerves and ...

Follow that rusty anchor chain all the way down below petrified whale turds

to Daddy-o TRUMPfish himself.

We ave werk ta due, me Weekly.

Mates.

Barnacles to scrape

Mizzens ta mast

Decks ta swab

and a perticularly crooked pirate that needs to walk a narrow plank er two.

til then —

Gawd save the queen.

Glenn Jones, Eugene


APPRECIATING A WOMAN

She hardly sleeps

The little one wakes her up

She goes to sleep

The older one wakes her up

She is awake

The old man wants his coffee

She says it’s all ready

She listens

She does not judge

She cries

She always try

She smiles

She gets angry

She forgives

She can kind nap your heart easily

Who is this she?

Where you can find her?

Is she a mermaid?

Is she a fairy?

She is a mom you silly

And a wife

And a daughter

And the girl that I am in love with

Mahi Chowdhury, Springfield


FORGET RUSSIA

After 35 years of relentless attacks, invasions, assassinations, black ops, embargoes and wanton destruction against other countries by six U.S. administrations, self-righteous declarations abound that “our democracy was attacked by Russia” colluding with Trump, accusations of war and/or treason that Russia accessed Hillary Clinton’s unsecured emails — no doubt alongside China, Iran and numerous others interested in the U.S. foreign-policy browsing library she carelessly provided — and had the good sense and good will to pass the data along to Wikileaks so U.S. citizens could see what we had a right to see regarding a leading presidential candidate. 

But there is no proof that they did even that.

Meanwhile, much more serious and proven foreign government interference has long-remained unchallenged. Retired CIA and Army Intelligence officer Dr. Philip Giraldi reminds us: “There is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches.

“It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government.

“That country is, of course, Israel.”

Jack Dresser, Ph.D., co-director 

Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Springfield


UNMANAGEABLE WAR

Mao Tse-tung, echoing Sun Tzu, said politics is war without bloodshed and war is politics with bloodshed. War and politics reside on a continuum. They are not a dichotomy.

Therefore, I don’t have a problem with the air strike itself, because it was the only political way remaining to explain to Putin that he should exert a reasonable level of control over his ally. Evidently Obama did not explain the issue with sufficient clarity or energy.

Trump essentially told Russia that Assad can continue killing people in suppressing the rebellion, but must not use chemical weapons.  In terms of a deeper involvement inside Syria, I have a problem because our troops would have to shoot several ways at the same time with most factions arrayed against them.

Russia under Putin is pursuing a course Stalin, Khrushchev or Brezhnev of the old Soviet Union would never have approved. For an ally like Syria, they would have authorized armed forces use only to the extent it was well within traditional actions that the Soviet Union would have been able to manage politically.  

Nolan Nelson, Eugene


LONG TIE, LITTLE WEENIE

After 100 days, I hope everyone has noticed how excessively long Donald Trump wears his neckties. Even accounting for his paunch, the man’s ties are way too long.

Google-able fashion advice suggests that the tip of the tie fall to about mid-belt-buckle. Ties too short look clownish and ties too long look sloppy. Fashion-conscious close family members must have tried to share with him this advice.

Yet the overlong ties persist. Does he think it looks bold and brash? Has he just been wearing them like this since he was 11 years old and didn’t quite learn how to tie his own ties?

Or is it some kind of subconscious overcompensation for his stubbly little ... er, fingers?

Ronald Blanton, Eugene