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Letters to the Editor 2017-06-29

BIG TIMBER ENTITLEMENT

Kelly Kenoyer’s article “Rx: Fire” (June 22) hopefully generated some interest in prescribed burning in people other than foresters and ecologists.

The general public can learn more by reading Indians, Fire and The Land In The Pacific Northwest, edited by Robert Boyd. It is a collection of scholarly articles detailing how Native Americans used fire to manage resources for their hunter/gatherer lifestyle for thousands of years before the white man came to the area.

Another article in the same issue about the Goose timber sale makes it obvious, if you read between the lines, that both the Forest Service and private timber companies feel a sense of entitlement to lands they took from Native Americans for a song.

Read between the lines in The Lewis and Clark Journals and Otter Skins, Boston Ships, and China Goods by James R. Gibson, and other similar books about the slow takeover of the Pacific Northwest by European fur hunters, traders and settlers.

They all felt the territory was wide open and theirs for the taking.

Chuck West, Eugene

 

MAYOR’S EMPTY RHETORIC

I was quite surprised yet baffled to read Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis’ guest viewpoint (“Do More,” June 26-22).

My surprise was that the mayor’s viewpoint came out of the blue and seemed to be a defensive reaction to the pending ballot initiative for a publicly elected city auditor, although she was careful not to make any such reference. And, if she is as enthusiastic as she sounded, she could have attended the Gary Blackmer independent city auditor presentation, which was held at the library several weeks ago. 

I was baffled that either the mayor didn’t seem to understand why an “inside” city auditor (or performance auditor) will in fact be tainted and diminished by city control, or that she is not sincere about reviving trust and accountability in Eugene’s city government.

I appreciate her stated goal “to improve our (the city’s) framework for communicating and accounting…etc.” However, that sounds more like empty political rhetoric, and does very little to revive taxpayer trust. If anything, her proposed performance auditor, as a hedge against an independent auditor, may instead further erode trust in the city.

An independent auditor who is free from city control is the only way the mayor will achieve her goal of reviving trust and accountability. 

Brian Weaver, Eugene

 

EUGENE NEEDS INDEPENDENT AUDITOR

As someone who has long seen the need for an elected city auditor, I was disappointed by Mayor Lucy Vinis’ June 22 column. She mentions the trend towards electing auditors as a way of ensuring their independence, but fails to inform readers of the recently filed citizen-led initiative to create an elected independent auditor in Eugene. 

No doubt she’s aware. It’s been in the news, and the mayor, councilors and city manager were all invited to the May 17 library presentation by government auditing expert Gary Blackmer. The former auditor for Portland, Multnomah County and the State of Oregon showed how elected auditors make cities more accountable to their citizens and significantly improve services, with cost savings covering the auditor’s salary several times over. 

How unfortunate that Vinis appears to want an essentially handpicked group of “shareholders” to write a competing initiative. I don’t see how they could improve on giving Eugene voters the opportunity to elect a qualified independent auditor.

Only a publicly elected auditor — answerable to the citizens rather than the council or city manager — will provide the objective, unbiased reporting needed to restore the honest transparency and accountability lacking in our current city government. 

Lisa-Marie DiVincent, Eugene

 

SUSPICIOUS OF VINIS

The timing of the mayor’s interest in a dormant 2002 report regarding an auditor seems suspicious. Comparable cities have found the position meritorious and compellingly cost effective, but the rationale for a mayor’s listening tour, i.e. “the community demands that we do better,” is underwhelming.

Mayor Lucy Vinis’ viewpoint suggest that a “cross section of the community” could very well conclude that the 2002 report is still an idea whose time has not come and thus not appropriate for the city.

Lane County and the EPD assessed the merits of a position and decisively acted. If a position with Lane County is acceptable to the mayor now, why wasn’t a joint venture proposed when the position was created?

Could the unstated reason for the mayor’s current motivation be the recent filing for a voter initiative to have a popularly elected auditor on the 2018 ballot who would work with the council to determine areas of study, evaluate performance, develop metrics to document achievements and strategies for improvement, but also be accountable to the citizens of Eugene?

C. L. Veal, Eugene

 

MEAT IS NOT MURDER

I was blissfully unaware about your article about this food truck (Chow 6/15), but I read David A. Caruso’s response to it, and I must say: David A. Caruso sounds like an elitist snob.

I won’t raise the issue of factory farms, which everyone agrees is, more or less, appalling. I will take issue with Caruso’s insistence upon human beings being herbivores. I can equally make the claim that they are omnivores — “all-eaters,” with equal validity. After all, canines were meant for tearing flesh. Arthur C. Clarke, for one, posits that “man-apes” were well on their way to extinction by being strictly herbivores, and that their “switch” to an omnivorous diet saved them. 

So get down off your high horse, Mr. Caruso; so you can be herd (pardon the pun), let alone understood.

Michael E. Peterson, Eugene

 

SLAUGHTERHOUSE ZERO

It’s ironic that the closure of three local slaughter facilities leads the Eugene Weekly to conclude that the “demand for locally raised meat has grown.”

In reality, the demand for killing and consuming animals has decreased, locally and internationally, as we are increasingly educated and aware of the beneficial impact of plant-based food choices on the planet, the animals and ourselves.

Despite what the featured sheep farmer’s parents told her, we are not pre-ordained to be carnivores. We are fully capable of making food choices that support life. Killing and eating animals is a violent, bloody business that causes immeasurable damage to our environment and our health.

The continuing closure of slaughter facilities is cause for hope and celebration.

Diana Huntington, Eugene

 

FALSE FLAGS

Thanks for printing “White Supremacist Activity in Eugene” (EW, June 8) by Corinne Boyer. To effectively oppose racism, we must be honest and must call out “false flags.”

Because I make videos that point out when and where antifa physically attacks members of marginalized groups, local members of antifa doxed and threatened myself and my girlfriend (we are both part Native American, BTW) online and said they would “pay us a visit” at our home. Two hours later, we found a sticker on our front door that had the letters AF on it. We told them we were not intimidated and they repeated their threat and placed another such sticker on our door.

The officer that filed our report pointed out that these stickers represent American Front, not antifa. These stickers were freshly peeled. What is more likely: that the American Front was spying on antifa and on us and left their sticker on our door after antifa threatened us? Or that antifa had freshly printed American Front stickers and put two of them on our door?

This sort of thing is counterproductive. Be suspicious when you see stickers with the letters AF. Fight actual racism. Don’t false flag.  

Justin Antitheist, Eugene

 

A CAP ON WASTE

On Jan. 1 of this year I started saving all my plastic tops the companies say are too much trouble to recycle. I’m doing this to prove that plastic lids take a lot of room in the landfill. I will be saving them until the first day of next year.

This is an environmental problem. You think a plastic bottle cap isn’t much. However, if you drink bottled water and recycle the bottle but not the cap, you are adding to the landfill.

I reuse plastic bottles. The water here is very good. I reuse individual cranberry juice bottles because they are the perfect size for a half a cup of Splash or V8 fusion.

I only throw the bottles away when they are too worn out or they won’t come clean.

Catherine E. Southward, Eugene

 

GUN CRAZY

Earlier this month we marked one year since the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and two years since the shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C. And the world watched in shock as members of Congress were targeted while practicing baseball.

These are only the shootings that made headlines. The reality is 93 people are killed by gun violence every day in this country, and few of those deaths make the papers. Between these shocking mass shootings and the daily toll of gun violence, I run out of language to talk about the carnage.

In fact, you know one of my greatest fears? That all the media coverage and all the vigils will numb us until it starts to feel normal.

It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. And together we can fight this terrifying “new normal.”

We are one nation united against this kind of violence and working toward a nation where you can go to work or school or baseball practice without the fear of being shot. If a divided Congress can come together for nine innings of baseball, we can work together to make this the safer nation we all want and deserve.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene

 

MOTHER NATURE’S REVENGE

The United Nations just released a report predicting that our planet’s human population will grow by another 2.2 billion (with a “B”) by 2050. America’s contribution to that increase will be due almost entirely to immigration and births to immigrants.

It’s interesting that those who holler the loudest about anthropogenic-related climate change, crowded classrooms, resource depletion, traffic gridlock, deforestation, loss of farmland, habitat destruction and shrinking water supplies rarely cite the root cause of all the foregoing as well as many of the world’s other problems.

Instead they clamor for open borders, greatly increased  “refugee” admission and sanctuary cities that will lure more illegal immigration. 

Since we refuse to control our numbers, Mother Nature will eventually do it for us, and it ain’t gonna be pretty. 

Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

YOU BEEN TRUMPED

President Trump claimed to know more than the generals. He claimed to have a secret plan to defeat ISIS. He recently abdicated his role as commander-in-chief by handing over decisions on troop levels to military commanders. Yet another lie told by Trump the candidate.

Recently ISIS retook Tora Bora in Afghanistan. We have spent an estimated 6 trillion dollars on the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Six-trillion dollars would pay for free college tuition for U.S. citizens for 50 years. It would pay for 50 years of universal pre-kindergarten, or seven years of free healthcare for 100 million Americans.

Instead we wasted the money on needless wars. Now Trump and his GOP buddies want to spend even more on the military and cut education funding and take away healthcare. They are instead giving tax breaks to their wealthy donors. Their wealthy supporters will gain more money from defense contracts so they can line their pockets.  

Enough! We have the resources to guarantee college tuition and healthcare to Americans. We must stand up to the GOP and their corruption, greed and lying.

Irene Henjum, Springfield

Editor’s Note: According to Politifact, the actual cost of the wars from 2001-2017 was closer to $4.79 trillion, with high end estimates at $6 trillion with the inclusion of future health care costs for veterans. The Atlantic estimates that a year of free college tuition will cost the federal government $62.6 billion a year, or $3.13 trillion over 50 years.

 

LONG LIVE FOSSIL FUELS

I am about gorged on these issues of environmental concern.

As I see the situation, modern humans trace their lineage back to about 200,000 years ago when the DNA diverged from other hominids.

We didn’t really get going as a memorable species, however, until we started worshipping our ancestors and calling on them to help us out of all our toil and trouble. Most reputable paleoanthropologists date this cultural innovation back in the Upper Paleolithic, 45-50,000 years ago. The evidence indicates that the ancestors were best summoned by bonfires, drums and a carnivorous diet.

Thanks to the religion of science, however, we now know that the self-replicating molecule DNA was first formed back in the primordial ooze. This means that our ancestry goes back to the primordial ooze as well. And residue from these self-replicating organisms are, in fact, the remains of our ancestors.

The ceremony used nowadays to call on the ancestors is called combustion. The ancestors respond by giving us energy. Thus enabling us to accomplish chores like mowing the lawn and fun stuff like flying the family to Hawaii.

So I am not swayed by these fossil fuelaphobes and their furious frenzy to criminalize fossil combustion.

David Hugh Tyson, Eugene

 

SELFLESS ACTS DAY

I agree with the writer of “Remember The Heroes” (Letters, June 8). The recent display in Portland resulted in the “supreme sacrifice” of aiding someone in need of great help. Unfortunately, two lost their lives and one was gravely injured.

Sadly, this story may be lost in the confusion, as “society moves on to the next new issue of the moment!”

Wait! Oregon and the nation would be much better if we would remember these selfless acts by designating one day a year by declaring it “Selfless Acts Day.”

So, let’s “Remember The Heroes!”

Stace Webb, Eugene