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Letters to the Editor 2017-05-11

BRINGING MARGINS TO CENTER

I want to thank the writers at EW for regular coverage of the activism and stories of people of color, local and abroad. I was touched by the “Unsung Hero” issue that covered Johanis Tadeo’s important work reconnecting Chicano youth with their heritage, particularly the vulnerability he showed when describing the effects of racism on his life and his dedication.

This inspired me about what local efforts to reclaim our communities can look like and how far-reaching the effects of impassioned activism can be. I also appreciated the “Defending the Defenders” issue about lawyers, all people of color, defending environmental activists, giving a picture of just what we’re up against and who is taking the biggest hits when we fight within the system.

I enjoyed the choice EW made to focus on immigrants in the food issue — how smart! Hearing about Phung Tu’s story, the way her community showed up to support her when racist vandalism threatened her business gave me hope about this community.

Thank you for centering the stories of black and brown people in Eugene and Springfield in your journalism. Thank you for giving white community members opportunities to plug into anti-racist efforts.

Let’s bring the margins to the center.

Dusty Bloomingheart, Eugene


THE S-WORD

I agree with Robert Bolman (Letters, May 4) that fake sustainability is super-trendy (i.e., sustainable growth, sustainable cities, etc.). Shameless marketing hucksters relentlessly misuse the S-word, in soaring flights of magical thinking. Ecological sustainability, on the other hand, is the uncomfortable, embarrassing and vitally important subject that our culture prefers to keep locked in the closet.

My third book, Understanding Sustainability, is a learning tool. It’s a collection of 74 reviews of sustainability-oriented books, including a number of classics. This book is now available at the Eugene library, where it joins Sustainable or Bust (64 book reviews) and What Is Sustainable (a broad introduction).

Richard Reese, Eugene


NOT SO PROGRESSIVE, EW

Hey Eugene Weekly, I’m confused by your endorsement of Anne Marie Levis for position 2 on the 4J School Board. I thought you were a progressive publication of the people. Yet you endorse the status quo, a member of the school board that has decimated trust between teachers and families and the district.

You pass over Maya Rabasa, who was our hope to begin to restore those relationships. You endorse a person you say “understands how to leverage” funds. But she’s an eight-year member of a board who did not endorse measure 97 and gave a huge raise and buyout to their disastrous superintendent hire.

Levis is a member of a board that has added more costly administration positions while cutting teachers and allowed countless dollars to be funneled into curriculum purchases while our classrooms swell beyond comic proportions. Hopefully the public has more sense.

Vote for change. Vote for Maya Rabasa.

Sarah Pedersen, Eugene


BETTER SCHOOLS WITH NEWMAN

Judy Newman is the right choice for 4J School Board. There are three good candidates running to replace Beth Gerot, but Judy Newman is best suited to serve the district and community as school board member. She offers the educational expertise and leadership experience needed, along with a strong commitment to education equity.

I worked on several boards and committees with Newman over the years, including United Way, Success by Six and Early Learning Alliance, and I really appreciate her ability to bring people together around a common goal.

As co-director of Early Childhood Cares she knows what it takes to lead an organization, manage budgets and make personnel decisions, all the while keeping the focus on doing what’s best for kids and families.

Newman will make adequate and stable school funding a priority. She will fight for more local control and less regulation from Salem or Washington, D.C. She will ask the tough questions and seek solutions to the pressing issues faced by the district.

And she will push to include teachers, parents and community stakeholders in critical decisions that affect the future of Eugene schools.

Please join me in voting for Judy Newman for the Eugene 4J School Board. 

George Russell, Eugene


ROSIEK IS PROACTIVE

Before running for school board, Jerry Rosiek was already speaking out against the new secretary of education’s policies. With a child in 4J, he’s vested in being pro-active. 

Months ago, Rosiek was the only future district 6 candidate to testify to the board about the need to protect undocumented students.

Rosiek was also the only candidate who knew 4J students take 116 standardized tests in K-12, and our district wants to add even more Smarter Balanced assessments yearlong, although they’re not required. He’s already started a conversation with state and local officials about this rather than blindly accept whatever comes. 

His broad policy experience is why America’s foremost authority on education policy, Diane Ravitch, has endorsed him. He’s a former high school teacher, now UO education professor and leader of outstanding minority programs. His book on education policy is an award-winner.

I’ve also witnessed his stellar ability to talk with people across the political spectrum. After all, 4J doesn’t serve only liberals; he finds common ground with conservatives concerned about reclaiming local control.

Jerry Rosiek’s proactive and inclusive approach would be a fantastic asset to the Eugene School Board. He stays ahead of the game. 

Rachel Rich, Eugene


POLE-ITICALLY INCORRECT

 The Oregon Country Fair board of directors recently voted to cancel the raising of the beautifully carved story pole meant to honor the dear lives of four fair members who died in 2012. Hundreds of artists volunteered their time painting and carving the monumental piece, while others donated money. The tall cedar came from British Columbia with the approval of The First Nations.

This was not a commercial project; no financial gain would be realized from it. Tacky “Totem Pole Cookies” weren’t going to be marketed; this has been a work of art.

When Oregon Tribes were originally contacted for feedback on the art project, none responded and the OCF board approved the installation. Now I must wonder if just maybe some OCF Diversity Task Force members may have stirred the pot to get the intended response of outrage and claims of “cultural appropriation” from some in the Tribal community. 

I guess I should stop shopping at the Kiva because they’ve appropriated Native symbols. And we should shame the Seattle Seahawks into adopting a generic, more mundane logo than the one inspired by Native traditions. Henna tattoo? Forget it. And if you don’t have at least .05-percent African blood, you damn well better not even think of wearing your hair in dreads.

For thousands of years cultures have been informed by neighboring cultures and those who came before. Cultures have always borrowed beautiful ideas, religion, architecture, music and art in the creation of the new.

This blending is what makes us what we are, folks. And now our politically correct overreach stunts this beautiful, ancient process and censors art that is meant for all. 

Jacob Swearingen, Eugene


WANT DEMOCRACY?

Every day, it is more obvious that we live in a “corporatocracy.” Democracy is a good idea. Want to try it?

Join Community Rights Lane County for our “Community Rights Action” gatherings every third Monday of the month at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, from 6-8 pm, and check out our website at communityrightslanecounty.org. 

We are on the move!

Michelle Holman, Deadwood


ALL ABOUT ZERZAN

I must say that John Zerzan’s letter bummed me out (“EW Fails to Save Planet,” April 27) and feels pretty disrespectful to the good citizens of Lane County as well as to the Weekly staff.

If it helps to think in terms of physics, we are all fighting against inertia of the status quo, which is compounded by the momentum which is gaining steam in the wrong direction!

Are enough of us involved? No.

Are those who are doing stuff doing enough? No.

Does bitchin’ about it help make it better? No, but if it makes you feel better, then I am all for it, since it was about you from the get-go.

Just sayin’.

Chuck Gerard , Eugene


DON’T DRINK THE HEMLOCK AT LCC

I strongly object to the elimination of the philosophy courses proposed at Lane Community College.

Philosophy means “love of wisdom” in Greek, which I strongly believe is a prerequisite for all adult humans in the civilized world. Since I want to become a public-interest attorney, taking philosophy courses is very important to me, and I am sure that is also important to many other LCC students who love wisdom.

It is too naive to assume that the students are just going to take something else at LCC if the school stops offering philosophy courses; we will take them somewhere else, which will lower the future tuition revenue of LCC.

Anti-intellectualism is like the cancer of modern society, which is so widespread that it has even made it to the White House. Because it is so easy to be intellectually lazy, it is crucial for the advancement of society that local community colleges encourage students to be ethical and think critically.

Elimination of philosophy courses will make the local population more ignorant and the local community less safe in the long run, which is the last thing a community college should do.

Educational institutions have a moral obligation to fight against anti-intellectualism.

Naoto Iwashita, Student President of National Society of Leadership and Success LCC Chapter


READING VERSUS WEED

Word on the street is that the Tsunami bookstore is destined to become a dispensary of mellow. Well, it’s about time the Southland got a weed store of its very own — I mean, there are only around 40 marijuana shops in our fair metropolitan statistical area!

Do you realize that that’s only around one for every 6,000 people! I mean, we might as well be living in Iowa!

But wait, reader-dudes, it’s way worse than that: Did you know that there are only two doobie supply depots south of South Eugene High School! Talk about living in a desert man! Oooo, I just noticed my hands typing. Cool!

Uh, where was I …  Oh yeah, I mean … talk about wasting gas! Don’t you folks realize that we would have to drive ten blocks to feed our need for weed if we forget to stock up? Support the environment, people!

Besides, there’s like, what, ten pizza places down here … shouldn’t we be supporting local enterprises by giving them our munchies money?  

Mmmm … pizza. Hold on, I’ll be right back …

So, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, pizza … No, no, not pizza …  Umm … Tsunami Books? Yeah, that was it. So, look, our presidunce has proven that ya don’t need no book learnin’ to achieve great heights. (Ha! Great heights!) So it’s up to the owner to decide: Do we want a “book” store where the warm southern breezes blow, or should we heed the “need for weed?”

The ball’s in your court, Mr. Landlord sir.

Jamie Selko, Eugene


NO NUCLEAR OREGON

On April 26, the Oregon State Senate passed by a vote of 26-3-1 SB 990, which “exempts small modular reactors from certain siting restrictions that apply to nuclear-fueled thermal power plants.”

I could find no notice of this in any Oregon newspaper or TV news. This is a very important and dangerous moment. This bill would bypass mandatory Oregon voter approval of nuclear reactors smaller that 300 megawatts and allow placement within any city or county that has adopted an ordinance so allowing. 

Apparently SMRs (small modular [nuclear] reactors) are to resuscitate the nuclear power industry. NuScale Power, the OSU-housed company R&D effort funded by a DOE grant of $226 million, and likely benefactor of this legislation, declares in their documentation that the “nuclear waste problem” is a political stalemate, not a technical issue.

Oh, really... like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima? SMR mini-nukes can be transported on city streets by flatbed. SMR’s little clusters “subdividing” “capacity” and “hazard” “into smaller units” minimizing “severe event’s like “Fukushima.”

The Sierra Club, Taxpayers for Common Sense, UCR, Bernie and most others outside the nuclear industry are opposed. Big Energy has blocked doable, free, clean solar energy.

Contact your State Senator and House Member and tell ‘em no SMRs!

Sandy Sanders, Mapleton


WHILE ROME BURNS

I recently started playing co-ed volleyball for Eugene City League. My team will probably not win a single game. We do have a great time however.

One thing that has come to my attention is the city’s “gender equality” rule. This is where, if there are more than two strikes in a volley, one female must hit the ball for each volley before the ball goes over, otherwise it counts as a fault.

Men have been making rules to protect women since the beginning of time as a means to oppress them. As a feminist, I cannot stand for this.

Some examples are:

Can’t go outside at night because it’s not safe.  

Can’t go on birth control without your husbands consent because we don’t want you to be a “loose” woman.

Can’t wear a shirt that shows your shoulders because boys can’t control themselves.

The list goes on and on. I love Eugene because it stands for liberalism and equality. I feel as though changing this rule would greatly benefit women so that they will be respected as equals.

Chad Anderson, Eugene


TEENAGE WASTELAND

It really is a crying shame that the homeless in Eugene are lumped right in with the burnout teenage wasteland that is the LTD station.

People with legitimate mental issues barring them from employment or house application, people who got screwed by the legal system and are now left out to rot, and teens who spend every waking second dropping acid and who call themselves homeless when their oft-not-abusive parents haven’t seen them in weeks after they up and left, are not the same social groups.

Calling these deadbeats homeless is not only a misnomer but also a scapegoat to enable abuse of the legitimate homeless.

Gene Smith-James, Springfield