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Letters to the Editor: 11-29-2012

THE POTTY DILEMNA

We have 11 restrooms in downtown Eugene that the public can sometimes use: two below the Overpark (the only truly public restrooms), five at the library and one at the LTD station. The ones under the Overpark are not well maintained, have no stall doors, and are frequently locked at random times. People have speculated that these restrooms are closed because they need cleaning and no staff are available to maintain them.

 At the library, three are open during regular business hours (one on each floor for patrons), the one in the lobby is only open during those rare times that the lobby coffee shop is open and the library itself is not (and then only for customers), and the one in the hallway leading to the Ruth Bascom room is only open when events are held in that room.

 The restroom at the LTD station is open frequently, but only for those who have not been banned from the station for loitering, and it frequently runs out of toilet paper after hours.

The Amtrak restroom is open when the station is open, but is technically just for Amtrak customers, though others frequently use it.

The 10th restroom is at Greyhound, but staff are pretty vigilant to keep non-customers out, and it is so dirty and unfriendly that most would not choose to use it.

The 11th, next door to Pizza Pipeline, is not always open and does not have a posted schedule. Some have suggested it is intended for the security guards who work at the apartment building there.

Many businesses in the area don’t have customer restrooms because ADA accessible restrooms are extremely expensive as retrofits in older buildings, and the ones that do are careful to keep non-customers out.

Anyone taking a stroll through downtown Eugene may at any given time be many blocks from an open restroom. Even if they can find one, it is probably not clean and supplied. This makes an unwelcoming atmosphere for everyone, but especially parents with young children, older people and those with mobility related disabilities.

Why do you think that is?

Sabra Marcroft, Eugene

 

TIME FOR NEW CEMETERY

To the mayor and city councilors of Eugene: If you will not help the un-housed create a village to house the houseless, and if you will not help the un-housed create a garden so the houseless can feed themselves, then I would respectfully request that you work to create a cemetery for the houseless, because we’re going to need it.

You are my representative municipal government I want you to understand that I would rather visit my friends while they are alive. But should that one day not be possible, I’ll like a dignified place for my dead friends to peacefully rest, a place where I can come to visit them, talk with them, and leave flowers for them before I go.

Hedin Manus Brugh, Eugene

 

WE CAN DO MORE

Kudos to Camilla Mortensen and her cover story “Whither Willamette” [11/15]. While her article focused more specifically on planning for the impacts of climate change, any future discussion about how Eugene should best address the Willamette and the riverfront should include plans for a whitewater kayaking park.

I’ve seen firsthand the impact these projects can have— not just for kayakers and canoeists, but also for fisherman, tubers, surfers and families. Coupled with habit restoration, these projects have the ability to transform waterways and re-invigorate local economies. The Clear Creek Whitewater Park in Golden, Colo., which was built for $165,000, is now estimated to bring in $1.4 million to $2.1 million in revenue for the city. 

Eugene’s relatively mild climate, plus its already established system of riverside parks and trails, makes it the perfect place for this kind of project. Add in the UO’s Outdoor Program and the city’s outstanding recreation department, and we have the opportunity to create a truly world-class resource. This idea has been brought up before, but it has somewhat fallen off the radar. Now is the time to really bring it back. Riverside brewpubs and restaurants are cool and all, but come on — we can do much more.

 Eliot Treichel, Eugene

 

STUCK IN THE 1950S

Since the 1970s the people and government of Eugene have had this vision of doing things that benefited the community, working within and with the environment that we depend upon.

Around 1995 Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey and his puppet masters hijacked that vision by accommodating Hyundai to build a huge computer chip factory on endangered wetlands. Subsequent to that fateful decision the ruling elite accommodated Walmart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot. 

Lane County’s wealthiest families’ and our elected leaders’ vision of Lane County seems to be stuck in the 1950s. Do these “elite” think that all people need are strip malls, big box stores and sports spectacles? Eugene, Springfield and Lane County government actions of approving and continuing to build new freeways as well as expanding the Beltline freeway to six lanes to accommodate more big box stores and housing tract sprawl is crystal clear evidence that they suffer from a “vision deficiency disorder.”

Shannon Wilson, Eugene

 

JUST IRONIC SNARK

Barb Stevens-Newcomb’s response Nov. 15 to my letter Nov. 1 about an EW cover story supporting Betty Taylor’s re-election bid for Ward 2 baselessly accuses me of racism, misogyny, sexual violence and opposition to interracial marriage. Let me be clear: My intention was to criticize through ridicule the cover story’s totally inappropriate and silly headline, “Fifty Shades of Betty.” By associating the octogenarian city councilor with a best-selling BDSM porn novel, the Weekly demeaned both the politician and the electoral process.

Stevens-Newcomb misread or doesn’t seem to understand some of the words I used. The terms “breeder” and “vanilla” originated as useful ironic snark in queer culture and have passed into Millennial generation slang. The first term simply means heterosexuals who have children and the second term refers to a style or selection of conventional mainstream sexual behaviors and activities. Nothing more. I made no reference to Juan Carlos Valle’s race or ethnicity, and I have no idea what his wife’s race is. I disagree with Stevens-Newcomb’s assertion that words “kill people everyday,” and I suggest she consider the difference between speech and action.

I further mocked the obligatory campaign literature and advertising in which a candidate must be shown with family, especially spouse/partner and children to affirm they are good people. Taylor, apparently without readily available family, appeared with a puppy surrogate, so we would all know the candidate is kind and lovable. But this might not be enough for Eugene’s politically correct vigilantes. Is that dog from the pound or from a puppy farm? Is it a purebred or a mutt? Is the pup spayed or not? Is it fed meat or is it vegan? Is it wearing a chemical flea collar or not? These are crucial electoral issues in south Eugene. Informed voters need answers!

 Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene

 

ONE-TRICK PONY

Once again, George Beres [Letters, 11/15] has wasted the ink of a local newspaper with his anti-Israel drivel. Somehow, he always manages to insert his propaganda into every letter that he writes to EW and The Register-Guard. For some reason, both newspapers continue to publish his misinformed and ill-intentioned letters. 

Reading the news on the internet last week, I noticed an article about the public execution of six alleged Palestinian spies in Gaza City. There was no trial, no judge, no jury, just Hamas taking justice into its own hands. After the murders, a mob surrounded five of the corpses, stomped on them, and spit on the bodies. The sixth corpse was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets. 

Although this is extremely shocking, public executions and desecration of the bodies of alleged spies is not new in Palestine; it has been occurring for over 20 years. This activity has been condemned by Human Rights Watch, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and other international rights groups. Yet Beres continues to foul our newspapers with his charges that Israel is the uncivilized country and the Palestinians are innocent victims.

Since Beres is obviously unable to get off his one-trick pony and come up with anything useful or original, maybe our local newspapers should do a better job of filtering out his nonsense.

Dave Taube, Eugene

 

FIX WILLAMETTE

We have an important decision to make regarding the improvements to South Willamette Street. Those changes, when made, will dictate how the next generation deals with the growing health challenges. According to Dr. Richard Jackson (who spoke at the Downtown Public Library June 19), well-designed communities can improve both physical and mental health. Obesity, asthma, diabetes and heart disease are all aggravated by the auto-centric way we live our lives today. It’s no secret that today’s generation of children are likely to have shorter lives than their parents because of their unhealthy lifestyles. 

Currently, Willamette Street is unhealthy to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists and does not appear to be ADA compliant. Changes made to this public right-of-way need to consider all modes of transportation and what is the best usage for kids, elderly, wheelchair bound, blind folks and bus riders. Walking on the sidewalks is not pleasant and therefore severely limits those numbers. We need to visualize an environment where we can walk to shops, dining, visit with our friends, neighbors; and at the same time support local businesses. Making the street safer for bicycles will not only increase the number of cyclists, but will allow pedestrians the full use of sidewalks. This section of Eugene should be a destination, not just a place to pass through.

Richard Hughes, GEARs President, Eugene

 

EASY AS ABC

Anyone who has a hard time understanding why local activist Curtis Taylor and others haven’t hopped onto the “no-kill” bandwagon should take a look at this long list of failures of limited-admission (i.e., “no-kill”) shelters and rescues. There have been so many raids, busts and seizures that PETA can’t even be sure that it has kept up with them all. See http://bit.ly/LipPSv

No one wants to euthanize animals, least of all people who dedicate their lives to helping them. And we should all be deeply upset that in this day and age, shelters must still resort to euthanasia — but breeding and buying animals from pet shops is still legal in most places. The reality is that there are more animals in need of homes than there are people ready to adopt them. Even if we could build enough shelters to hold all of them, these animals need real homes and families to love them. They can’t be warehoused forever just to make us feel better.

Euthanasia prevents suffering — it is, by definition, humane. But turning away animals in need of shelter is anything but humane. Forcing animals to exist in cages, joyless, for months or years or their entire lives, is inhumane, too, as is allowing animals to suffer in squalor, loneliness, deprivation and illness.

There is an answer, and it lies in prevention. We can reduce euthanasia and the need for it by taking the smart, effective approach that’s as easy as ABC — animal birth control!

Ken Barnhart, Eugene

 

THE WHOLE TRUTH

Please help me understand. 

Rockets have been fired from Gaza for well over a decade and more than 800 missiles and mortars have been fired into Israel in 2012 alone. I didn’t see any outrage in our news media.

On Nov. 10, Gaza-based terrorists fired an advanced anti-tank missile at an IDF jeep traveling on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. I didn’t see any outrage then. Not even an article. A barrage of more than 120 rockets and mortars followed the attack on the jeep, falling into Israel. Still no outrage.

In response to the attacks and to prevent further rocket fire on its civilians, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense and killed the top Hamas commander, Ahmad Ja’abri, who was responsible for the deaths of scores of innocent Israelis. Suddenly, we have outrage; Israel has attacked Gaza.

Israel has made a concerted effort to avoid civilian casualties by dropping leaflets over Gaza, in addition to making thousands of automated calls, advising residents to avoid areas that may be targeted. As of Nov. 16, some 64 trucks of food were transferred from Israel into Gaza; 16 trucks of medical supplies were sent into Gaza; and 26 patients from Gaza have entered Israel for medical care.

Loss of  life is deplorable. Palestinian children should not die. Why do the Palestinians lose more than the Israelis? Because Israelis hide their civilians in bomb shelters instead of hiding their bombs in civilian areas.

Israel has the right to defend itself. The world needs to educate itself on the whole truth.

Rae LaMarche, Eugene

 

RUMOR MILL

In a stunning twist, Papa John’s employees have pledged to EAT his pizza if they get health-care benefits.

Glenn Leonard, Eugene

 

KENNEL STRESS

1st Avenue Shelter needs dog walkers. Greenhill management has hidden the truth from the community and lied to the city and county, saying that all animals are getting the enrichment they need. They are not. On Nov. 14 at 3:30 pm, pictures of the dog-walking board show that no dogs had their walk that day. This means that dogs may not have been out of their kennels all day, except for brief potty breaks, possibly for days. The few hard-working, dedicated staff are stretched thin. Greenhill needs to hire more staff, but refuses. Many dogs are “staff only” for walking. There is not enough staff to make sure everything gets done. The city of Eugene has been notified of these many contract violations, but ignores the complaints.

Volunteers have notified Greenhill management of this ongoing problem, and no surprise, they have been ignored. At October’s Advisory Committee meeting, Greenhill’s Executive Director Cary Lieberman announced that due to the large amount of emails of concern they were receiving about gross mismanagement of 1st Avenue, they would not be responding to any of them.

Dogs are becoming kennel stressed. No doubt, some have been put to death unnecessarily because of it. Please stop by 1st Avenue Shelter if you have time. No need to be an official volunteer. Ask to take a dog to one of the yards and throw a ball for a while. Don’t forget the kitties, they can use some love too. Visit NoKillLaneCounty.org for Greenhill updates.

Tamara Barnes, No Kill Lane County, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: 1st Avenue Shelter at 3970 W. 1st Ave. in Eugene is having an open house from 1 to 5 pm Saturday, Dec. 1. Phone number is 689-1503.

 

AIDING IN MURDER

As someone who in his youth raised money for the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Alcatraz Island over four decades ago and ran supplies there in the dark by Zodiac boat, worked at the fledgling Oregon Country Faire, swiped log books from helicopters and successfully fought aerial spraying of herbicides, I suppose I still have some radical credentials. However, from my present perspective of having lived for years in Alaska, I am aghast at the sheep-like masses in Eugene bleating “Obama good, business bad!” while living on either handouts or their parents’ money while in college.

The ability to ignore the gun running scheme called Fast and Furious, in which 2,700 combat weapons were sold by forcing gun shops to sell to obvious criminals for shipment to the Mexican cartels, guns which were used to kill both Americans (as well as massacre a teenage birthday party in Mexico) is the worst case of doublethink I’ve seen in years. Your attorney general who sits at the table with your chosen president ordered this, and when investigated, your president used executive privilege to hide it. The only purpose for the scheme was to “prove” that American weapons were getting into the hands of cartels, since nearly all of the guns seized came from south of Mexico or other Third World countries. This is a case of a sitting administration creating and aiding in murder, pure and simple.

hether it’s Mohamad Morsi seizing power in Egypt or Barack Obama in the U.S., the MO is the same, children. People don’t get any smarter, but every generation sure thinks it does. Oh, and the Bush administration’s program was in conjunction with the Mexican government, was terminated when they lost track of a couple, and the guns had GPS devices hidden in them. Of the 2,700 guns in Fast and Furious only TWO did, and the Mexican government knew nothing about it. Eric Holder is a criminal who let the “New Black Panthers” (all Muslims this time) stand with clubs in front of voting locations in Pennsylvania and did nothing about it. He’s also a killer of Americans with this program hatched around the table in Obama’s White House. Hmmm ... the buck stops where?

Bruce Orton, Merlin, Ore.

 

BETTER SOLUTIONS

I’m not in favor of building houses for all the homeless people in Lane County. It would cost money and I think it could be wasteful. I’ve had experiences with some who, when invited to live in a spare room, didn’t do their share of the contributing. Basically I think that a lot of unhoused people are in their situation because of their own shortcomings and lack of responsibility.

On the other hand, I think the police and the people who give them their orders have been wrong in not letting those who have cars or vans live in them (as long as they are respectful of their neighbors). This goes too for those who are simply sleeping on the streets and aren’t loud or obnoxious.

The tent city Occupy built in seldom used Washington-Jefferson Park last winter had a kitchen under an overpass that fed 600 hungry people every day. There was a library, a medical facility with knowledgeable medical professionals, a huge dome to have meetings out of the rain and peace-keeping done by trustworthy members of the group.

Unfortunately it wasn’t perfectly sealed from those excluded because of anti-social behavior and the cops kept bringing back those who were kicked out so as to undermine our efforts.

SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) has been working on how to house those without an actual house basing their model on Portland’s and Seattle’s example. Let’s help!

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene