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Letters to the Editor 2017-11-30

CORRECTING NEGLECT

Last May, you brought our attention to the problem of a lack of accountability in our long-term residential centers, which has led to abuse and neglect of our most vulnerable citizens. Because you took the time to research, interview, listen and respond, change has occurred (“A System of Neglect,” 5/4). 

As your mission statement says, Kelly Kenoyer, you provide a voice for the oppressed and dismissed. 

Thank you so much.  

Kim Donahey, Eugene


HEALTH CARE CONCERNS

On Wednesday Nov. 8, a contingent from Health Care for All Oregon and some Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network activists joined a newly formed group called CareWorks. The aim of our get-together was to talk with administrators of the memory care facility Benicia in Santa Clara.

The administrators refused to hear complaints levied against them by family members of patients as well as employees, who expressed regret with the care facility’s tactic of cutting corners to maximize returns. Benicia’s threats and unwillingness to meet in dialogue were very telling. By forcing employees to double or triple their workload, Benicia like many other such facilities, increased their already bloated profits, taking advantage of people’s need for jobs. The time to complete chores was also divided, further stressing everybody involved.

It is obvious to see how these inadequacies and failures affect Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, who are vulnerable and need reasonable staff-patient ratios. Costs for patients range between $3,900 to $5,640 per month.

Also relating to health care, people should vote “Yes” on Measure 101 on Jan. 23. Federal funds will match $15 for every dollar our state puts into helping cover 95 percent of Oregon’s residents (including all 400,000 children). If the measure doesn’t pass, 350,000 people will lose their coverage.

Kathy Filip, Eugene 


MUSSELS ONLY CLEAN SO MUCH POOP

Your article on freshwater mussels (“Mussel Mania,” 11/16) came out a week before the one-year anniversary of Salem’s release of more than 22 million gallons of raw sewage into the Willamette River.

 Mussels may clean rivers, as the article notes, but as long as the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality routinely gives the green light to municipalities — when inundated with rain — to unleash their excrement into our waterways, then these magical mollusks will have only a marginal impact.

Bob Berman

Cheshire


THE GREAT BACH-LASH

Now that the Oregon Bach Festival has been reorganized under the University of Oregon’s School of Music and Dance, the question arises: Does Janelle McCoy have the power to fire musicians? Or do these decisions rest within the School of Music?

This might have a bearing on the confidence of the OBF supporters as to whether the Matthew Halls debacle might be repeated.

Norm Purdy, Springfield


BACH FEST SUCKED

Eugene Weekly’s pre-Thanksgiving issue featured the pinched face of a woman fired from the Oregon Bach Festival on the cover (11/22). About her past activities, and those of Matthew Halls, I have no personal knowledge. But the Bach Festival itself sucked last year.   

Only three works by Bach were presented: three installments of the massive St. John Passion; an organ recital; and the St. Matthew Passion, a long choral work involving multiple personnel.  So the entire Bach content this year was religious, and mostly operatic. 

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a great deal of secular music, much of it for solo performers or small ensembles. Why were we invited to complex, hours-long religious recitals?  Perhaps last year’s one-third drop in attendance is a clue that Eugene is not an overwhelmingly religious community.

Furthermore, we don’t need cartoon characters to “introduce audiences to timeless music.” Bach’s own secular works, and those of other high baroque composers, offer plenty of immediate value to general audiences. Beethoven’s Solemn Mass may be much praised by experts, but I stopped going to mass when I was 14.  

And Japanese drummers? Eh?

Want to draw large crowds, keep down costs and return the Oregon Bach Festival to its roots? Feature several solo and small-ensemble performances of secular works by Bach and other baroque composers. It will be a struggle to restore the prestige enjoyed under Helmuth Rilling. But the festival could take an important first step by concentrating on Bach and his contemporaries, in small-ensemble, secular works.

Christopher Logan, Eugene


DEMAND NO ON FOREST BILL

Thanks for reporting on Seneca timber’s election to the GreenLane board. I have been disappointed by the large advertisements in the Eugene Weekly of Seneca timber including the word “sustainable” and dismayed at the coverage of the 2,452 acre “Goose Project” that Seneca is logging. 

We are at a critical point in human history with global warming and mass species extinction under way. The public forests in western Oregon are one of the top 10 forests in the world for the carbon they sequester and provide other important ecosystem services.   

A federal bill has passed in the house titled; “Resilient Federal Forest Act” HR 2936, which would remove public comment and scientific reviews on environmental impacts by increasing the “categorical exclusion” zones from 70 acres and under to up to 45 square miles — an area larger than the city limits of Eugene!  

Contact Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and demand they vote no. Read chief scientist at the Geos Institute, Dominck DellaSala’s testimony to Congress last September titled “Exploring Solutions to Reduce Risks of Catastrophic Wildfire and Improve Resilience of National Forests” for scientific findings for resilient forests.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter


MORE CONTROL, LESS FREEDOM

In a society characterized by elaborate power structures and widespread alienation, it should come as no surprise that abuse and harassment are rampant. Proposed solutions such as more frequent workplace training, tougher laws, and more aggressive criminal investigations aim only to further regulate personal behavior and more precisely delineate how one must act in any given situation.

The implicit assumption is that only strict instruction, codified behavior and the threat of swift punishment can prevent abusive relations, as if the degree to which we are free is the degree to which we harm others. It is a lie at the heart of mass society.

No matter the problem, mass society’s solution is always greater control; the utopian vision being pursued requires robot-like behavior governed by finely tuned algorithms that deny our autonomy. It is a vision that is hostile to human wellbeing. It is a breeding ground for abuse and harassment.

Ian Smith, Eugene


KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, so what can we do to help protect our children and ourselves from sexual abuse? Take martial arts classes? No. Carry a gun? No. Have firm personal boundaries? Yes.

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. 

Your personal boundaries speak to you in the form of feelings, intuition or logical pattern recognition. Recognize and acknowledge to yourself when you feel “confused” or you sense something is “off.” You can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. But your internal warning system keeps ringing. Run, run now and do not negotiate your boundaries with the aggressor. Know your boundaries; they will help keep you safe.

Signs of unhealthy boundaries include: going against personal values or rights in order to please others; giving as much as you can for the sake of giving; taking as much as you can for the sake of taking; letting others define you or your feelings; expecting others to fill your needs automatically; feeling bad or guilty when you say no; not speaking up when you are treated poorly; falling apart so someone can take care of you; falling “in love” with someone you barely know or who reaches out to you; accepting advances, touching and sex that you don’t want; and touching a person without asking.

Josephine Brew, Eugene


GOBBLE GOBBLE, TWEET TWEET

It was both uplifting and ironic to see the president issue the traditional pardon to the Thanksgiving turkeys at the White House. It was a telling demonstration that the old adage is indeed true — that “birds of a feather flock together.”

W.C. Crutchfield, Eugene


YES ON MEASURE 101

Why vote yes on Measure 101? Why wouldn’t you? 

No, really, a yes vote on Measure 101 won’t raise insurance rates, but it will save lives. 

When 95 percent of Oregonians are able to access health care, while rates go down for those who purchase their own insurance, everyone wins. 

Even though this yes vote imposes an assessment on insurance companies and health care providers, they support it too! They aren’t actually losing money, but instead investing in commerce.   

It keeps costs down when we have health care. Our preventative appointment opportunities keep us out of the all-too-expensive ER visit that would otherwise raise rates; less visits there means health care prices stay lower.  

This yes vote on Measure 101 will mean no more cuts to Medicaid. Our most vulnerable Oregonians will be able to access health care alongside the 210,000 who will see an estimated 6 percent decrease in the rates they pay.   

I should mention that participants of both the Democratic and the Republican parties agreed on this plan. 

Danielle Marelli, Eugene


LET ME BE CLEAR

To whoever took my yard sign:

BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

Kate Lemley, Eugene


DON’T GET STUMPED, OREGON

How would you feel if Oregon’s bedrock environmental laws were suddenly suspended so that logging companies could aggressively log our public lands? Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month that will do just that.

The misleading title of the “Resilient Federal Forests Act” (HR 2936) conceals the real intent: to create massive loopholes leaving the public and the scientific community little to no opportunity to have a say over what happens to our forests.

After living in the southwest for a little over a year, I craved the trees and the ocean so much that I had to come back to Oregon. It took driving through miles of desert and previously logged, now desolate land to fully realize the preciousness of the tiny strip that makes up some of the only old growth forest that we have left.

Will we give it away to logging companies and to a few unsustainable jobs that will run out when the trees are gone?

Right now there are efforts to pass more similar legislation. Sen. Ron Wyden will play a key role in deciding whether we preserve the integrity of the environmental laws that we’ve worked so hard to put in place. I am not against logging, but when legislation is being considered that would allow the lawless logging of our public forests, I ask our leaders to stand up by opposing HR 2936 and any similar legislation. Act now!

Lisa Flammer, Eugene