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Letters to the Editor: 12-13-2012

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

’Twas the weeks before Christmas, when all through the land,
parents were wondering, how it got out of hand?
Some were sleepless and worrying, almost sick with their scare,
being homeless at Christmas, ’twas too much to bear.

The children were sleeping in friends’ borrowed beds,
while visions of their own home danced in their heads. And mammas and/or pappas were waiting to hear
if they would be one of the Chosen this year. Chosen to receive help from St. Vincent de Paul,
to get their own home. “Please let us get that call!”
 

With help from Ms. Piercy, a person who cares,
she wants folks in their own homes, that is our mayor. The goal is quite simple and one we can do, give $100 or $20 or even a few.
We all need a place we can call our very own,
if we each give a little, 40 families can have a home.
 

I don’t know about you, but holidays can make me ill, with the consumer mentality and the resultant bill. I have no real needs for more junk or more stuff; thanks for the reminder that some have it rough!

 Kids do best in this world when they feel safe and secure, and not when asked to simply endure. So join me and others and make a difference this year, let’s help put to rest many a parents’ fear.

 Ensure 40 families a home — that is our new goal, and get candy in your stocking and not lumps of coal. Happy Holidays!

Phyllis D. Barkhurst, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send checks to St. Vincent de Paul with “A Home for the Holidays” at the bottom, PO Box 24608, Eugene 97402.

 

BUCK-PASSING

America needs to invest in jobs that restore public lands replanting forests and protecting them for wilderness, clean water, wildlife habitat, environmentally compatible recreation and limited, sustainable timber.

Global warming requires us to build incentives, so that local governments won’t push to damage the forests that clean and cool our air. Federal lands do not pay property taxes. So, in 2000 Congress passed a law to compensate national forest counties — regardless of the rate of timber cutting — with the intent of reducing local pressure to over-cut. That law has expired.

The problem now is that federal, state and local taxes provided to county governments have been reduced. Last year, the overall Lane County budget fell from $500 million to $400 million. In response, the Republican majority controlling the Board of Commissioners has decided to release more and more inmates from the jail. Commissioner Leiken’s comments (R-G, 12/04) blame “lack of active management of the federal forests.” This position passes the buck. It’s not a cohesive, long-term strategy.

I will be opposing Lane County government’s plans for more budget cuts to public safety and other key programs — public health, children and families, job development come to mind.

I applaud efforts in Congress to strengthen national environmental laws that protect and restore federal forests. Responsible stewardship would include continued payments to forested counties, in lieu of taxes — thoroughly and permanently decoupled from timber.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner, Eugene

 

CLOSE THE JAIL

Seriously, Lane County should stop teasing us with these trickle-out inmate releases and simply go ahead and shut down the jail. That way they could also do away with the courts and police, freeing up all kinds of funds for the next developer who rolls into town promising wonderful things. Let the “free market” deal with public safety. Feel threatened or in trouble, call a corporation!

By the way, has anyone noticed how swiftly Lane County has declined since the locals decided to elect themselves a bunch of right-wing commissioners?

Mike Quigley, Eugene

 

A NEEDED POLICY

I am writing to address concerns regarding Lane Transit District and to propose a companywide LTD policy. I am a 72-year-old with a disability caused by polio. I have a master’s degree in urban studies and planning, and in 1990 I served on the Eugene City Commission for Rights of People with Disabilities. 

On Oct. 15 after boarding LTD bus 24, I proceeded toward an available seat which would suit my physical needs. Before I took my seat, the driver accelerated forward. Then, the bus suddenly stopped, causing me to fall backwards, down the inside stairs, injuring my back, shoulders and neck. With the help of medical professionals and physical therapy I am beginning to slowly recover.

I want to see immediate implementation of a card, similar to the honored rider’s card, available to individuals who supply appropriate doctors’ statements. When a rider displays this card, the driver will automatically freeze the bus until the passenger is seated. Two things I do not want to come of this proposal: I do not want to be corralled into or restricted to a specific seating area, and I do not want to demean myself by announcing my disability when I board.

Many community members I have discussed this with agree such a policy is appropriate and necessary. 

David Freeman, Eugene

 

BORN TO IGNORE

Interesting factoid: When starting a search with the words “born to,” Google will suggest “born to run” or “born to die” to complete the phrase, which represent my sentiments exactly about “Born to Gun” [cover story, 11/29]. I believe that most people have a fairly superficial, TV-culture attitude that completely ignores the evidence surrounding violence of all kinds. Pop culture seems to believe that killing is not only a practical, efficient way of insuring our own security and quality of life, it is also a quick, easy way of resolving conflicts, a natural and healthy response to the world in which we live, symbolic of masculine strength, and entirely moral (i.e., sanctioned by whatever higher authority you choose to invoke). 

None of this is true, if one would bother to do the research. I suggest starting with the website killology.com which “focuses on the reactions of healthy people in killing circumstances” (such as police and military in combat) and the factors that enable and restrain killing in these situations. This field of study was pioneered by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, in his Pulitzer-nominated book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

If we can imagine ourselves secure behind the barrel of a gun, we had better also realize that we are running away from the real issues and we are about to die as a result: born to run, born to die. Carrying a gun is real chickenshit bravado.

David Hazen, Eugene

 

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

It’s time to remember! Dec. 10 was the 64th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it was celebrated in many Oregon communities. Eugene Activist Peg Morton was a 16-year-old high school girl in Geneva when she looked down from the balcony on the U.N. gathering with the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt. What a thrill! 

The Declaration begins with “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in world.” It continues with Article 25 stating, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” All are issues many are now facing. 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

ALIENATING THE FANS

I received an email from the UO athletic director, thanking the fans for the success of the athletic program. Prescient. I was just talking with a longtime Ducks fan about my own alma mater, Ole Miss. We went through a similar donor-funded growth period that had the potential to alienate the fan base. Ole Miss avoided this by making sure that funding, while benefiting major sports the most, was spread to minor sports as well — tennis center, baseball complex, cross-country, women’s volleyball, etc. They also avoided alienating fans by embracing tradition (obviously, not all traditions — but that’s our own complicated history). They made the football team accessible. They do the Walk of Champions through the Grove. They interact with the fans. All of this makes the fans realize the truth: These boys, these young men who represent our team are the same kids we all help coached in Dixie Youth baseball, or that our daughter dated at Holly Springs High, or that we slapped on the back as they came off the field after beating North Panola. In short — they are us.

They are not demigods, not armored professionals who just happen to wear the colors of our university. They are our kids, and it makes us proud to see them struggle on the field, or pitch or diamond. That, I’m afraid, is what is missing at the UO.

From closed practices to inaccessible athletes to grandiose buildings, you are in danger of losing the fans. Your email of thanks is a welcome step, one that I hope continues. Otherwise, UO runs the risk of finding the answer to the question: What if you threw a game and no one came?

 Stuart Phillips, Eugene

 

THE SHAKE DOWN

I’m getting tired of the Lane Country Jail complaining about it’s revolving door criminals. The recent release of a felon who then promptly robbed a bank is an example of the pathetic lack of judgment by authorities in charge.

The Eugene jail should adopt the practices of the Springfield Justice Center. If you are arrested in Springfield you do not get out until you can post bail. No exceptions, no “released on your own recognizance” business. You stay in jail for your petty misdemeanor until you can cough up the money.

So the Springfield cops fund the center when they come to the Glenwood neighborhood and shake down the poor for what little money they have. Like someone I know who was stopped while bicycling on his way to pay his property taxes. The cops were suspicious of $860 he had on him and suspected the bike was stolen as well. After a week in jail, his bail was set at $1,200. When he told the judge he didn’t have that kind of money, the judge asked how much he did have — guess what his bail was? It turns out the bike he legitimately bought had been stolen from the Springfield police impound.

So he lost a week of work, money to pay his property tax and a bike he should have never been able to buy in the first place.

But the Springfield Injustice Center got another $860 pay for their shiny new building. Take note, Lane County Jail, and stop endangering the community with your scare tactics.

Alisa McLaughlin, Eugene

 

HEAVY HISTORY

In regards to the review of the movie Lincoln by Molly Templeton, I found a portion of her review to be historically wrong. Templeton states that the Lincoln family mourns over a son “killed in the war.” This statement is incorrect. The Lincolns did lose a child during the Civil War but not from armed conflict. Willie Lincoln died from typhoid fever in February 1862. The loss of their child only created more emotional turmoil for Mary Todd and A. Lincoln.

I only bring this up to EW because I am a major in American history who devotes much of my time to studying the Civil War era and the Lincoln administration. Therefore historical facts are imperative to me and should be to EW’s readers. 

Nevertheless, the movie Lincoln was indeed full of heavy historical elements that casual movie watchers may not have picked up on unless they study the subject deeply. 

R.W. Olson, Eugene

 

TAXING MY PATIENCE

Phil Knight! If there were an award for the greediest man of the year you would out-shine Snidely Whiplash. How dare you blackmail your own state into avoiding paying your full tax obligation. 

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

International Human Rights Day commemorating the1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (observed this year on Dec. 5) focused on immigrant rights. Local restaurateur Ibrahim Hamide, who immigrated from Israel-occupied Bethlehem, Palestine in 1969, gave the keynote address. The same day The Register-Guard published a guest viewpoint on Isamophobia by former UO student Beshara Kehdi, condemning U.S racism against Arabs, Muslims and Muslim-American organizations, activists and student groups as “an unabated, systematic assault, surveillance, imprisonment, racial profiling and harassment.”

Hamide described a brick thrown through his window following 9/11, suggesting that U.S. Islamophobia began then. Unfortunately, it began long before that event (see documentary film, Reel Bad Arabs at http://wkly.ws/1ef). Another local Palestinian immigrant we know, driven as a child with her family from their Jerusalem home by the 1948 Israeli “cleansing” offensive, now retired, has remained afraid most of her life to identify herself as Palestinian and was verbally attacked last year when finally doing so by a former director of Hillel.

Disappointingly, Hamide’s speech and Kehdi’s article provided no information on the sources and motives behind the current, virulent demonization of Arabs and Muslims. Its roots can be traced back six decades to Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians and the badly overmatched but steadfast Palestinian resistance to this ever since. A relentless pro-Israel propaganda narrative has neatly reversed the roles of aggressor and victim, currently fomented and funded by a small, tightly connected network of “misinformation experts” and foundations identified and described by the Council for the National Interest (http://wkly.ws/1eg). I highly recommend this report.

Jack Dresser, Co-director Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Springfield

 

IGNORING THE ROOTS

In response to the letters [11/29] concerning the abuse that Israel has suffered at the hands of the Palestinians, from Rae LaMarche and Dave Taube, I totally agree that crimes committed by either side against the other is completely wrong. 

But I beg to differ on three crucial points, number 1 is the stealing of land held by Palestinians, by the Israeli government, is completely wrong and is the root of the problem. This travesty has been going on since 1948.

Number two is that Israel acquired nuclear weapons in 1988, totally destabilizing the whole Mideast. Both of these travesties were ignored by America, which if they would have occurred in any other part of the Mideast, would have caused an uproar.

The third point is the current vote of Israeli and America stopping the U.N. from recognizing the right of Palestinians to create their own state, by voting against it. How would we feel as citizens of America if Palestine had the power to refuse us.

I agree that there are wrongs committed by both sides of the current conflict, but ignoring wrongs of the past, does not and will not stop the current hatred. And adding to those wrongs today will only increase that hatred for tomorrow.

Gene Okins, Eugene

 

VIOLENCE NOT GOD’S IDEA

This is in response to a letter [11/29] titled " The Whole Truth," regarding Israel and Palestinians. It does not matter who shot at whom and when and how; who is equipped with sophisticated war planes and drones, all paid for and supported by their U.S. ally; or who fired with home-made "terrorist" bombs because of having nothing else available and having no ally to support them.

The ancient whole truth is this: God Creator could have never told a tribal leader to go to Palestine and (excuse me) rip-off and kick butt with an ancient tribe that had lived there peacefully forever, the Palestines. Just throw them out of their ancient homes, take their land, so that the new tribe can have a home, thus making the ancient tribe homeless.

Just think a little bit. God is all love. He would never say anything like that. This might upset some churches, but know that the Bible has been manipulated with and changed many, many times.

I saw a documentary once where a young fellow from another country brought Jewish and Palestinian children together to hear their hearts speak. What do you think happened? There was no hatred. Only taught hatred. Soon it vanished and the children became close friends.

Politicians and money people are the ones creating these big problems that exist today in the Middle East, Israel, Palestine. It will not disappear until the children grow up and replace these old, dense, ugly, hateful guys, forming a livable government that breathes peace.

Turn off your television. The media is ugly. Do not invite their reports of violence into your living room. Instead, use that time to pray for these children over there and include our children over here, millions of them, that are abused  in our own land as well with domestic violence that's kept silent. 

The violence done to innocent children here or there is heart-breaking. All children have a right to a peaceful existence. Our ugly adult games of power must go. Can you help? And that's the whole truth.

Jutta Benner, Eugene