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Letters to the Editor: 2-16-2012

NOT WORTH DISCUSSING?

I watched the Feb. 8 proceedings of the Lane County Commissioners, stunned, as three of our elected officials (Jay Bozievich, Sid Leiken, and Faye Stewart) thwarted the efforts of Commissioner Rob Handy to have the board even consider possible salary reductions for county employees earning more than $90,000 a year. 

Aren’t these dire economic times for the county? Why should any area of the budget be immune from discussion?

Robert Young, Eugene

 

VACANT PROMISE

When I see our city government proposing to grant huge property concessions to a private corporation, justifying their move on the grounds that it will create jobs or promote general development, I cringe. Have we not had enough experience locally with this sort of funding to realize that getting such concessions, milking the business for maximum profitability during the period when they are in force, and then pulling out, leaving unemployment and empty buildings in the wake, has become a standard corporate strategy?

There are many reasons for being skeptical that granting massive tax concessions to an out-of-state investment consortium to build luxury student housing in downtown Eugene will provide any net benefit to our community. Others have pointed out that, aside from short-term construction jobs, there will not be any increase in local consumption, because the money these people are spending downtown would have been spent elsewhere in the area anyway. Actually, the expected result is decreased local spending, because these are luxury units with very high rents. Without an increase in personal income, other purchasing must necessarily decline, and this development is projected to siphon a larger proportion of revenue out of area than most businesses.

Such a development does generate additional costs to the city, and these must somehow be borne by the remainder of the population, either through increased property taxes or through decreases in other services. The city already has a property tax structure that is burdensome to individuals and existing businesses, and this is primarily because four out of five of our largest employers are either government entities or nonprofits, and the share of maintaining the infrastructure that would fall to a for-profit manufacturing entity falls directly on the employees of the UO, PeaceHealth, and the 4J school district. 

Martha Sherwood, Eugene

 

SUPPORT HISTORIC VENUE

Eugene has two unique assets that help make it the special place it is, and both are owned by Eugene School District 4J. Unfortunately, the district is leaving both dependent upon public fundraising for their survival.

KRVM radio has launched its spring fundraiser. Having lived in rural Oregon communities from Jacksonville to John Day, I assure you that there is nothing like KRVM-FM on the airwaves anywhere. The variety of music, the lack of obnoxious commercials and the volunteer DJs make KRVM so unique that it can be difficult for those who have never heard it to believe that such a radio station exists when it is described to them.

The Eugene School District also owns historic Civic Stadium, which currently sits empty and unused, and offered for sale, lease or trade. There is an organization that is working to change that. Save Civic Stadium was organized to prevent 4J from demolishing our historic Civic Stadium, and they continue to seek to secure a new future for this wonderful, historic public venue.

If you traditionally support KRVM radio, please also consider supporting Save Civic Stadium. If you have never supported KRVM or Save Civic Stadium, please consider doing so. Both are valuable community assets, and neither can survive without ongoing public support. To learn more, please go to KRVM.org and SaveCivicStadium.org

Lonnie McCulloch, Eugene

 

PETE’S CHARACTER

I’m writing in support of Commissioner Pete Sorenson’s re-election campaign. He’s been there in many ways for the environment, education and for a sustainable economy. Last year, I saw him in action when he was hosting a town hall event, along with Commissioner Rob Handy, in favor of ending the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

He brought together the recycling industry, the grocery stores (even the big ones) and environmental advocates for an informative program. Meanwhile, his ratings by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters have consistently been at 100 percent over the last decade!

But what really convinced me of Pete’s character — and his ability to stand up for what’s right — was watching a politically motivated lawsuit against him and Commissioner Rob Handy unfold last year. The lawsuit was a blatant conservative smear campaign that highlighted Sorenson’s long history of standing up against powerful interests and standing with the people. The lawsuit was funded by the timber industry, launched by a core of conservative Eugene residents and targeted the most progressive members of the Lane County Commission.

When it comes to elected officials, you don’t get much better than Pete. Please join me in voting for Pete Sorenson on May 15.

Nathan Howard, Eugene

 

KEPT ME LAUGHING

Rick Levin must have left his funny bone at home when he went to see LCC’s latest play Exploding Love (reviewed 2/2). I’m a dedicated theater fan who attends nearly every play that opens in Eugene and I thought that this was one of the most entertaining I’ve seen, with a talented cast and perfect pacing. True, it’s not subtle or philosophic, and it’s not meant to be. The plot is both warmhearted and absurd, with quirkily funny lines that came in rapid-fire succession and kept me laughing throughout. Excellent work, LCC students.

Paulette Thompson, Eugene

 

MATH PROBLEMS

Contrary to what Jonathan Seraphim (letters, 2/2) may think, David Cay Johnston, the original author, did not exaggerate his numbers. He was referring to the top 100th of a percent, not the top 1 percent. Bob Cassidy made a factor-of-100 mistake when analyzing those numbers. I did not generalize. Pointing out a factor-of-100 mistake is not a spin.

In the same issue, writers argue that public education should be a top community goal. But an enormous amount of the time kids spend in school is learning arithmetic and research skills. So we have Cassidy botching his research and writing a letter with absurd numbers, the editors of the EW publishing the error without comment, Seraphim writing in defense of Cassidy with a letter incorporating two more errors (Romney gets $300,000 per year, not per speech, and Seraphim’s 12.5 percent effective tax rate is less than his), which the editors again publish without comment.

If the skills that we attempt to instill in school are important, why do letters that consist of essentially nothing except gross errors in arithmetic and research getting into print?

Rob Spooner, Oregon Coast Magazine, Florence

 

 

MEASURING ENERGY

I am amazed that Eric Briggs (letters, 1/26) concludes that older, mechanical meter technology actually allowed for power to be distributed gratis “due to its limited ability to record fractions of a kilowatt.” Perhaps Briggs failed to consider that any such alleged fractional consumption would have continued to accrue and be rolled over into the following month’s bill.

As a Lane County homeowner whose vintage, American-made mechanical meter functioned perfectly well, but which was nonetheless removed and replaced with the so-called “smart” (made in China) meter without cause or warning by EWEB several years ago, I decry the move toward less secure, less verifiable, less sustainable and more disposable technology.

It is understood that EWEB seeks to eliminate the valuable (costly) jobs of meter readers, as well as enabling more detailed and intrusive (government) monitoring of its customers. Indeed, the larger threat posed by these so-called smart meters may be to our domestic workforce and privacy. Not that increases in the already dense EMF load are a healthy idea, mind you.

“Terror mongers?” Really, Mr. Briggs? Why no uproar about NW Natural’s use of smart meters, indeed? The proven superiority of mechanical meters in applications demanding the utmost reliability has a long track record — keeping electrical equipment well removed from natural gas lines is only common sense safety. What is your agenda?

Klaus Pressler, Eugene

 

DEMOCRACY AND EMX

Where is the support for the West Eugene EmX Extension? There have been two major public hearings on the WEEE, one at the Hilton Hotel on Feb. 8, 2011, and another at the Wheeler Pavilion on April 5, 2011. More project opponents testified at each hearing than did supporters. 

The Lindholm Company is conducting an ongoing poll by making 200 telephone contacts every quarter. So far Lindholm has collected data for the last five quarters, starting in November 2010. The resulting graph shows project support from November 2010 to April 2011. However, from May 2011 to December 2011, the majority now opposes the project, with an increasing trend. See http://wkly.ws/16v 

There are a total of 25 EmX decision makers on three bodies, the City Council, LTD board, and the Metropolitan Policy Committee. Nine of the 25 do not represent the public because they are appointed, rather than elected. These non-elected people are the LTD board members and three MPC positions. 

Six out of the 25 EmX decision makers represented the opposition, and voted NO when action was taken. Considering the hearings and Lindholm poll, who are the remaining 19 decision makers representing?

The non-elected LTD board has the power to raise taxes and to use imminent domain. Do these non-elected powers constitute “taxation without representation?” 

Brian Weaver, West Eugene

 

PROJECT GLENWOOD

I am a secret admirer of Glenwood, the section of town between Eugene and Springfield. Glenwood is generally known for being the ugliest, most industrial part of town and for being the location for the city dump. If you take a closer look, though, and walk into the neighborhoods, past the main drag, you’ll notice big old trees, farm animals in backyards, and when it’s foggy the smell of freshly baked bread everywhere. 

I’m convinced that Glenwood has tremendous potential because of its location between the two city centers, but developers are turned off by its unappealing face. There has been talk of urban renewal for at least five years now, without any action. Now we should learn a bit from downtown Eugene and take it into our own hands and make small incremental changes instead of letting the city do a big overhaul.

So I am calling on small business owners and hopefuls, guerilla gardeners, litter-picker-uppers, and anyone who cares to invest a little time and energy into Glenwood. We should all work a little each day to try to make where we live a better place and for now I think Glenwood would be a great project. 

Olivia LeClaire, Eugene

 

 

NOT JUST BLOWBACK

Sept. 11 is a political Rorschach Test. Most perspectives about 9/11 contain pieces of truth but are wrong.

The official story that there are Muslims who want to attack the U.S. has some truth but ignores how that anger is a reaction to U.S. intervention in the Middle East. The 9/11 Commission claimed the feds were too incompetent to “connect the dots” and creating a surveillance society is needed to prevent a repeat attack.

Many liberals/ leftists/ progressives highlight “blowback” — the attackers were motivated by revenge for U.S. policies. But blowback alone does not explain how the attacks were allowed to happen. U.S .allies provided specific warnings about who, what, where and when. The FBI agents who tried to stop the attacks were blocked by headquarters, which was obstruction, not incompetence.

The 9/11 truth movement correctly says there was a deliberate conspiracy but their most popular claims contain discrediting disinformation. Mixing true conclusions with false evidence — conspiracies to make fake claims of conspiracy — is an effective way to cover up conspiracy.

The media correctly state that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, thermite isn’t used to demolish buildings, and the firefighters watched the Twin Towers and Building 7 lean before they fell down. They ignore the suppressed warnings, the best evidence of complicity.

Neither the media nor some of the conspiracy crowd highlight the CIA’s “plane into building” exercise and the NORAD war games that morning — the real failure to connect the dots.

Mark Robinowitz, www.oilempire.us, Eugene

 

FLYING BIKES

Walking around the Willamette Piver pedestrian path in Eugene is a favorite activity for many locals. For the purpose of exercise or a gentle stroll adjacent to the river, it is always a treat to experience the movement, fresh air, people, dogs, rose garden, trees, community gardens, calming hum of the river, etc. However, I rarely feel safe in this environment simply because a vast majority of the bicyclists FAIL to indicate their presence as they pass from behind. Many fly past as if they have visions of crossing the Tour de France finish line. If a pedestrian happens to shift their movement for any reason, they are in danger of being rammed by an unannounced speeding bicyclist. Some have passed by so close, that i have felt that distinct burst of wind displaced by the rapidly traveling rider — I am instantly pissed off, as I am not interested in the real potential for a completely avoidable injury.

Those who travel with their bikes on the street can surely understand the dangers they face each time they compete with the multitude of cars — where bicycles and pedestrians share a common, side by side path, YOU are “the cars”!

Slow down, announce your presence and keep your distance, please!

Jay Greenspan, Corvallis

 

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

Dear Mr. President: You were giving the state of the union address last night (1/24), and you mentioned climate change once and you mentioned some nice things about renewable energy. But we have to take the lead here and we are not going to in time — not nearly in time. 

It is coming. Take shelter children and grandchildren. You will be feeling the brunt of this. We could have done something fairly easily, but we did not. Our greed, laziness and shortsightedness were too much; they ran us until we ran you into the ground. If enough of us had really known differently deep down in our hearts, then maybe we would have acted differently. But we did not. 

I am sorry. We are sorry, I think. I cannot speak for the others, but I have to believe that they are sorry also. I may be naïve, but I still think that almost all people want to act in loving ways deep down inside. But “deep down inside” is not all that there is. What really counts is what actually happens; and what has happened is that we have, through our negligence, altered the environment enough so that you do not really have a fair shot at living the kind of life that you could have.

There is not really anything else to say.

David Goldstine, Eugene

 

HSA HASSLES

Big whoop! I just closed my Health Savings Account. For my miniscule “tax free” savings, I had to keep lots of papers, submit lots of papers, receive monthly statements, and pay monthly fees for this and for that. When the new year’s fee increase sheet arrived, I called and closed the account, paying their $25 closing fee. A small price to be free of all the hassles.

I’m 59 years old, I pay $321 per month and have a $5,000 deductible health insurance policy. My 55-year-old friend pays $430 per year to cover herself and children. Why? Because she has single-payer health care administered by the federal government. Our government offers this insurance coverage for all its military service retirees, for life. More than 80 percent of military retires report high satisfaction with this insurance!

Why can’t you and I get great medical coverage at a fair price? Because Oregonians have not chosen to make health care a human right for all. But we can change that.

 The future is counting on you. The future is counting on me. With our collective determined will, we can do this! The state of Vermont passed it and 22 other states are working on passing it. We can make the world we want if we stop buying the lie that we can’t!

Universal Healthcare for Oregonians meets from 7 to 8 pm every first Wednesday at EWEB.

Deb McGee, Eugene

 

RICHEY’S RIGHT

Don Richey’s web letter (2/9) stated in part: “It seems the leftstream media, including the R-G editors, are amazingly ignorant of this (R-G, Jan. 23), and they parrot said ignorance to an unquestioning, dumbed down populace — swallowed in toto by the same folks who got bamboozled into voting for a clown from Chicago who has saddled each and every one of us with over $12,000 in new debt in three short years of drunken spending.” 

To which you added the following editor’s comment: “According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Bush-era tax cuts and two wars account for more than half our nation’s deficits. See http://wkly.ws/16t

Are you freaking kidding me? For starters the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a George Soros front masquerading as a left-wing think tank. Secondly, only Congress gets to spend our money and the Democrats have had control of the checkbook since 2006 and have only just started sharing that responsibility since the 2010 midterms bloodbath. The wars have added just over $1 trillion  to the deficit and the tax cuts not even $1 trillion. 

Obama and the left still haven’t bothered to pass a budget in the last three years but their out of control spending has added over $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion to the deficit every single year he has been in office. You guys have added more to the deficit than every other president (and Congress) from Washington through Reagan combined! Get a grip on reality, sheeple, while you still have a little bit of credibility left (so to speak) 

Cameron Jordan, Medina, Wash.