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Letters to the Editor: 11-21-2012

ANOTHER DEADLY WINTER

When the Occupy Eugene site was closed in December last year, we went peacefully under the impression that certain promises made by our City Council would be followed through. We went under the false understanding that those who had no place to call their own would be taken care of, that they would not face another winter, sickness and probable death, alone on the streets without at least the option for a warm place to sleep. We thought that despite everything, we had made some small but solid victories.

We now face another winter and what we took as promises have yet to have been made good on. There was never a wet-bed shelter provided, nor the women’s and children’s shelter that was talked about, and all the work people have done to create an Opportunity Village was not enough to encourage the city to take appropriate action. 

None of the things discussed as solutions by our city and task force on homelessness has happened and we are now looking to the cold months of winter with little more to offer the unhoused community but our regrets that we did not fight harder to keep the site, and our own promise that we will keep fighting for them. 

When people are allowed to die on the street because of bureaucracy and apathy it can only be described as murder. Whose hands will the blood be on when the temperatures begin to drop and the deaths begin to pile up? We must make a stand and demand our local government respect people over policy.

This year there will be no site, no camp, no hope for the most downtrodden and marginalized of our community. Our social services are already maxed out and the numbers of unhoused people in Lane County keep growing.

We were tricked into believing certain steps would be taken in defense of the unhoused by our local government, in what seems now to be a ploy just to get us off their backs, just to keep us silent, and will undoubtedly result in the unnecessary deaths of fellow human beings.

Gwendolyn Iris, Eugene

 

CAN’T BE BOTH WAYS

I have noticed an error in your newspaper. You state that Cowfish is the best singles scene in Eugene and then you state that Cowfish is the best gay bar in Eugene [readers’ poll in Best of Eugene, 11/1].

Can’t be. No straight male is going to go into a gay bar because he doesn’t want to fend off advances all night long.

I went into a gay bar once, in 1965, in Champaign, Ill. I didn’t realize my mistake until I had a Pabst Blue Ribbon in front of me. I expect never to return.

So you need to publish a correction. Either Cowfish is a straight bar or a gay bar. It can’t be both.

Jim Humphries, Eugene

 

GUTTER POLICE

On the afternoon of Nov. 5, I crossed the pedestrian crosswalk between 8th and Broadway on Willamette, turned onto Willamette towards Broadway and did not get on the sidewalk for half a block and instead walked in the gutter. I was stopped by a Eugene police officer who brusquely instructed me to provide some ID for illegally walking in the street. I asked the officer if had been obstructing traffic and stated that I thought it seemed inappropriate for him to stop me simply because I had been walking in the gutter. The officer responded that I had not been obstructing traffic.

After finding that I do not have any outstanding warrants he allowed me to go without writing me a citation. He did fill out paperwork, which he stated was evidence of the encounter and a warning of sorts.

I felt terrible during and after the encounter. I felt my rights and freedom had been taken from me without due cause. I believe that the officer, an armed authority figure, had no grounds to stop me and even less grounds to demand that I provide ID. The encounter made me feel small and powerless and reinforces negative stereotypes about police and their capricious and belittling use of the power entrusted to them. 

I am an ER nurse at University District hospital and work daily with the police to help care for the folks of our community. By and large I have nothing but accolades for the police of Eugene and Springfield and the courtesy and compassion they display to the marginalized population that they so frequently work with. 

However, it only takes one small instance, like my experience, to further entrench all of the negative stereotypes that surround police: Essentially, that police are to be feared, not trusted and have the ability to take one’s freedom away without due cause. Abuse of power lessens the authority that police struggle to maintain.

Philip Pfanner , Eugene

 

PROFITING FROM CRISIS

Climate change that large companies, people afraid to face their fears and the media (a subsidiary of big corporations) claim isn’t real is the thing that will destroy civilization. 

I can say with sadness that I’m glad Hurricane Sandy came up and hit the East Coast. We Americans are the main cause of greenhouse gasses and its time that the information, which the media has so misrepresented came to everyone’s attention. 

My parents both live in New Jersey and had a power outage for seven days; other people are suffering, too (some more). I must explain that I don’t want this planet’s sentient life to experience more suffering; on the contrary I want all groups profiting from climate crisis to stop.

The process of revoking a corporation’s charter used to be done quite frequently — when they stopped serving the public good. Now those who are actually making our planet unlivable get away with a fine, the cost of doing business. The fiduciary obligation (making money), not nature and mind have become our gods.

There are lots of groups talking about climate change. Citizens Climate Lobby is one that is making progress. I found out in the last conference call that with more moisture retained in our atmosphere and the average temperatures rising worldwide we can expect tropical diseases in our very own U.S.A.

To end this I will mention that mosquito-carried malaria has killed one third of the population that has ever lived on Earth.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene 

 

A BETTER LANE

Charles F. Thielman’s Nov. 8 letter advocating a name change for Lane County initially struck me as ridiculous. Joseph Lane was undoubtedly racist, but really, how many in his time believed that all men (never mind women) were literally created equal? And suppose we did change the name? Then what? Many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves; JFK was a compulsive adulterer; should we therefore change the name of every government entity that honors them? Where do we, where does Thielman, draw the line?

And let’s not even address the question of how much it would cost to change all county signs to … what? Chip Kelly County?

However, when I expressed the above concerns to my friend Dan Betty, he offered a solution that both Thielman and I might be able to live with: Hold an official ceremony, a dedication if you will, renaming the county in honor of a more worthy American named Lane, a Lane who was not a racist. This would have the useful effect of purging the county of any tinge — real or imagined — of institutional bigotry, as well as saving taxpayers untold thousands of dollars. 

So then the question becomes, who will the new Lane County namesake be? My suggestion: the man immortalized in the book Paper Lion, the great Detroit Lions football player and admirable human being, Dick “Night Train” Lane. Yes, I know, he has no connection to Oregon. Well, George Washington has no connection to that state to the north of us. Others will undoubtedly offer their own candidates; perhaps EW should sponsor a referendum, but I don’t mind saying that “Night Train” Lane County would be change I could believe in.

Mike Kopf, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: How about Lois Lane (Superman’s main squeeze), iconic actor Nathan Lane, the Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” or?

 

TO THE RESCUE

The impression of government workers in popular culture is often less than great. We’re fortunate here in Eugene to have a Public Works department that really does work.

A few weeks ago, after a post-game party night, an intersection near me was covered in broken glass. We’re not just talking a bottle or two, this was a major hazard to bicyclists, pedestrians and pooches. One simple call to Eugene Public Works at 682-4800 and within an hour or two a street-cleaning truck arrived — wow. In the past I’ve called in potholes, leaves in the bike lane and other concerns, and they have never failed to be both friendly and responsive. You can also email them or use the website to submit a request online at www.eugene-or.gov/pothole

How lucky we are to have such great service! Thank you to the dedicated employees of Public Works.

Tree Bressen, Eugene

 

LITTLE BLACK CAT 

I wish I could have helped you.

I didn’t know you were out there, alone and suffering, or I would have come sooner. As soon as I heard (a kind woman spotted you and let us know), I went in search of you. When I found you, my heart broke. A young, beautiful black cat that should have been in a warm house being pampered, not lying under a tree in the cold and the rain with your eyes crusted shut, covered in feces and urine and so dehydrated you felt more like a piece of leather than a cat. 

I hoped there was something that could be done for you and took you to the vet. It was too late to save you. Your eyes were so infected they had turned to liquid and were draining. The infection so bad, it had probably spread to your brain. I would have done anything to save you but even heroics couldn’t help you. 

We gave you the only gift we could; we ended your suffering Nov. 8 and made sure during your last moments on earth you knew you were loved. Somebody cared about you. Somebody cried for you. Rest in peace sweet kitty.

What happened to this cat is totally preventable. Spay/neuter, vaccinate (we have great resources like the city of Eugene Spay/Neuter Clinic and Willamette Animal Guild). Do not abandon. Very few domestic cats can make it on their own. Think long and hard before you get a pet; they are a lifetime commitment and are expensive to care for. Don’t turn away when an animal needs help. If you can’t help, tell someone who can. We can make a difference.

Lyllian Breitenstein, Springfield

 

THE 12 R’S

Has anyone else besides me noticed the following alphabetical anomoley of the letter “R” as it relates to the Republicans and their huge election loss? Here goes: Republicans, Romney, Ryan, Rove, Rush, racists, rednecks, rich, robber barons, religious conservatives, right-wing Tea Baggers and, of course, idiotic comments about rape. I thought about taking the “w” out of wrong, but we all know that “W” was wrong, so we should leave that one alone.

Jay Schwartz, Eugene

 

WALL STREET THIEVES

Regarding your Slant comment Nov. 1, a suggestion to Barack Obama to “send Timothy Geithner and his buddies back to Wall Street”: You hit the nail on the head. If you would like confirmation — in spades — read Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street by Neil Barofsky, the former special inspector general in charge of oversight of TARP. Barofsky exposes the whole bloody mess. And shows clearly, “if you are who you hire,” then Washington, D.C., is full of complete morons. Geithner and his gang of Wall Street thieves have raped and plundered this entire nation — legally.

There are more criminals, per capita, in the securities industry than anywhere in the entire world. These people have no conscious, no morals, no ethics, etc. And our government still protects them. Barofsky’s comments about AIG are especially interesting.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

 

DRUG TESTING COSTS

This letter responds to Kim Myers, and her call to administer drug tests to all welfare and financial aid recipients (Letters, 11/01). First, are you aware that drug testing welfare recipients in Florida actually increased the budget for Florida’s welfare program? It costs more money to ensure that welfare recipients remain “drug free” than just giving welfare to whoever qualifies. 

Second, your argument “After all, it is government money!” implies that we should drug-test everyone who receives public aid or wages. Do you also suggest drug-testing residents of the East Coast who are receiving aide from FEMA? Or all elected officials? Or all instructors at state universities? 

Third, federal financial aid comes with a 2.0 GPA requirement. You are arguing this is not enough because some can “party” and be adequate students simultaneously. How extensive is this problem? What percentage of financial aide recipients at LCC, state and private universities — both undergraduate and graduate — use drugs and party? Will this law be enforced with equal aggression at Harvard as it is at LCC? This proposal isn’t about being fiscally conservative. It’s about excluding a certain demographic from attending college. A cheaper, easier, more effective and fair change would be to raise GPA requirements.

Tim Haley, Eugene

 

WHAT WORKS

Losing is no fun. I can attest to that. Winning is better. And we who supported President Obama won “big time,” to quote former vice-president Dick Cheney. It will be a while before the entire significance of this win rolls out. But some of the obvious ones are: Threatening women with anti-health-care laws doesn’t work, attempting to return to the bad old days of voter suppression à la Jim Crow doesn’t work, and hiding under a gauze of empty platitudes doesn’t work either. What does work is sticking by the middle class, supporting our children in all of their educational needs, helping those who need it obtain health insurance and getting us the hell out of foreign wars and not starting any new ones. 

Winning is better. What the president, Senate and Congress do with this mandate is what will really make the improvements in our lives that we all want and, definitely, voted for.

Gerry Merritt

Eugene

 

DIS-ORDERLY CONDUCT

When I went to college if you were caught with a girl in your dorm room you were expelled, even if it was your own mother. This “hippie” is not use to “having conservative values” but I wager if the UO bounced a few citation-ed party rowdies the problem would magically disappear; behind the closed doors where it belongs. 

Vince Loving, Eugene