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Letters to the Editor: 2-23-2012


Since when does a ambiguous county law supersede the First Amendment? The hearings officer at the county has made his decision on the mining of Parvin Butte. I think that everyone in the Dexter/Lost Valley area is shocked!

The hearings officer gave all three decisions to the McDougals:  the bridge permit, the raparian modification, and now repeal of all fines and no site review. I guess the Dexter/Lost Valley residents have no right to have any input as to what happens to their valley, their land value devaluation, the right not to have to listen to dynamite blasting at any time of day or night or the constant grinding of rock processing next to their homes. They have no right to complain about infrastructure degradation from heavy trucks or constant heavy truck traffic. They surely have no right to to be upset about loud noises that will be heard inside their homes. 

They do not have the right to try and protect endangered species that live in the adjacent stream that shares the quarry property even though ODFW biologists feel the the quarry will harm the existing salmon.

I guess it will provide jobs for a small number of people but to heck with the hundreds of people who had the bad luck of saving their money from a lifetime of work so they could live in a tranquil area and retire in peace.

What happened to the First Amendment, the one where people have the right of free speech, to have input on what happens to their lives, the people that pay their taxes, and play by the rules?

The Big Boys win again and again, smash the little people, disenfranchise them from their own neighborhoods for nothing more than greed.

The residents of Dexter deserve a say in how their community is destroyed!

Arlen Markus, Dexter



We all know that democracy is up for sale in this era of super PACs and the Citizens United ruling. That Brian Weaver’s group has “purchased” the public opinion he crows about in his Feb. 16 letter “Democracy and EmX” is not surprising.

The grassroots group West EmX Yes started last October with a desire to allow neighbors and businesses along the route who wanted to speak out in favor of West EmX not to be shouted down by this well-funded, pro-auto, anti-government group with an unlimited budget for illegal signs, a paid marketing company (Creative Advertising Services, LLC), paid Portland consultants (John Casey, Cascade Policy Institute) and paid newspaper ads.

Individuals chipped in $20, $50 and $100 apiece to produce “West EmX Yes” bumper stickers. We made our buttons in someone’s basement. The media noticed as many business owners along the route stood up in favor. We have a Facebook page and a Google group. Please join us! We are the majority! We’re now giving out West EmX Yes “Bucks” as we support local businesses along the route.

The democratically elected City Council, county commissioners, MPC and the mayor will vote soon. A long public planning process said yes, West Eugene should be included in the regionwide EmX system.

With record LTD ridership and gas set to hit $5 a gallon this summer, let’s not let the  well-funded few thwart what the majority of us want: a choice in transportation.

Tom Schneider, Eugene



Lane County’s hearing official Gary Darnielle and Greg Demers and the McDougals have just taken my home right out from under me. I have worked and paid my property taxes for 22 years to only have the county steal this home from myself and my partner. There is just no way I can live with an active “mountain removal” mining operation of Parvin Butte a quarter mile from my house. Come see for yourself. 

My house is a passive solar home, built to be part of the land with large front windows; it is like having your own bug show in your living room. The design of this house is to allow the outdoor environment into the home, capturing maximum light and heat. It is built partially in the ground to benefit from the earth’s constant temperature for cooling in the summer and warming in the winter. 

It is difficult for me to fathom the violent assault that is about to be directed at my home. I will be driven from my sanctuary. The dust will have the potential to actually kill me because of my life-long history with asthma. I am utterly screwed. No telling how my PTSD from military and civilian life will affect me from the extreme noises that will penetrate into my home. I might as well just send them the keys and title to the house with a list of items that need work.

Thomas W. Baxter, Dexter



On Jan. 18 last year I paid $383 to see an orthopedic physician for less than 30 minutes. This was in response to increasing pain in my knees. After looking at X-rays and examining me, the doctor essentially instructed me to take ibuprofen daily into the foreseeable future. While the ibuprofen helped a little, the problem persisted and caused considerable hardship for the following year.

Then late last year, I was talking with my friend Doug who earns a meager living canvassing door to door for an environmental group. I mention my knee pain and Doug suggested that I change my diet to prioritize foods that increase alkalinity and avoid foods that increase acidity. Becoming desperate, I made a New Year’s resolution to adopt this diet.

Within two weeks, this minor change in my diet absolutely nailed the problem. It’s been wonderful! I’m ecstatic! I had been lamenting a trajectory that would have made me an invalid by my 60th birthday. And now I’m ready for some serious hiking when the weather improves.

But I’m mystified! How I could pay a medical school graduate $383 to be told to take ibuprofen and then have it fall on my friend Doug to tell me how to fix the problem. Do they simply not teach nutrition in medical school? Had no one ever told the physician about this? The Slocum Orthopedic Center is welcome to refund my money. I’ll give it to Doug. He can use it.

Robert Bolman, Eugene



At a recent presentation about Pvt. Bradley Manning — the soldier who released files to WikiLeaks — we viewed one of the released documents, a chilling video of the shooting of a group of civilian Iraqis and Reuters photographers from a helicopter and then the killing of the people, including children, who tried to rescue the injured. 

Another whistle blower, a mid-level Army officer, Daniel Davis, after a recent tour in Afghanistan, documents that the war in Afghanistan is going disastrously wrong, and that top military brass have routinely lied and mislead the public about how the war is going. Davis chose a few receptive senators to receive his report, one of whom is Sen. Jeff Merkley. The military establishment — no surprise — is discounting the report.

So how many more men and women will have to die for the mistakes that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been? How many more men and women will suffer long-term trauma from what they experienced and observed in combat? How many more whistle-blowers will be discounted and will risk their personal well-being before we stop the war? It is time to get out now. We need to stop the damage to our troops and our country. We need to learn the lesson that we cannot make people from another culture into American-like folks by war. War is not the answer.

Carol Van Houten, CALC Truth In Recruiting, Eugene



Last week Sen. Rick Santorum commented that his brand of Christianity differed from that of President Obama. I would agree; Santorum’s version is in perfect alignment with that of Reverend Fred Phelps, the Kansas kook, who traipses around the country profaning the funerals of our military dead. He and Santorum, who equates homosexuality with bestiality, are kindred spirits. If Santorum, the latest anointed darling of the Tea Partiers, becomes the Republican nominee we can look forward to Phelps’ cult carrying “Vote for Santorum” signs alongside their “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” signs.

Santorum wants to impose his version of sharia on the U.S. He would create a Department of Voyeurs, whose sole task would be peeping in bedroom windows to apprehend those engaged in sexual activity for recreation, rather than procreation. If Protestants, Jews, and others were to complain that Catholics, with their rhythm system expertise, were getting a free pass, he would remind the kvetchers that they are heretics and that he might bring back the Inquisition with Dick Cheney reprising the role of Torquemada. Eventually, in an evangelic moment he might relent and order the Department of Education to work up a curriculum to teach the system to married couples. Unmarried couples, whether recreating or procreating will be stoned and Rick will claim the honor of casting the first one. The ensuing shortage of stones will lead to a Wall Street bubble in quarries and rock mines.

Maniac or moron, zealot or zany, Sancti San(c)torum is best qualified to be the Dean of Klown Kollege and not to sit in the Oval Office.

Hank Bielefeld, Springfield