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Letters to the Editor: 2-9-2012


I’m one of the five Lane County commissioners. The county and the nurses who work at the county have been trying to negotiate a labor agreement for some time. According to media reports, these negotiations have centered around both wages and benefits, and it’s clear that reducing benefit levels to the nurses will affect their total compensation. I do not support reducing the total compensation levels of Lane County nurses

According to media reports, a negotiation session was set for Thursday, Jan. 26, but it was canceled by the county side. I hope that negotiations will continue so there is no disruption to services needed in this community. I’m glad that the county government is providing information to the nurses about how the health-care plan changes could affect them and their families. I am hopeful that this information will help both sides reach a mutual understanding about the impact, which will provide a basis for an agreement.

Everyone in Lane County knows or should know that these nurses are the cornerstone of community wellness. They could make more money elsewhere but they choose work to serve the community. The nurses at the Community Health Centers of Lane County actually bring in badly needed revenue. It is extremely important to Lane County residents, whether they live in cities or outside of cities, that the county government and the nurses continue bargaining and reach an agreement. These clinics and services must continue without interruption.

I want Lane County government to bargain in good faith, as Oregon law requires. I support the nurses. I won’t support bringing in replacement workers for our nurses. These dedicated public employees deserve our support. For far too long, public employees have been vilified. It’s time for that to stop.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner



I wonder what the “people” will say when Frank Lambe leaves Emerald PUD at the end of the year with unbelievable liabilities. The ratepayers should be aware that he recommends raising rates 4 percent this coming year and an increase of the monthly basic rate 20 percent, from $10 to $12 per month. In addition, the 10 year forecast in the proposed 2012 budget calls for rate increases seven out of the next 10 years? During the 13 years I served on the board I cannot remember this many rate increases. Lambe will be gone, hopefully soon, before he can do much more damage. But who will clean up this mess for the people? 

Lambe gets an estimated $180,000 per year to manage and make sure that the utility follows the law. An ethics complaint was filed in 2011 against Lambe. There was documentation of open meetings law violations and money being spent without board approval. The State Ethics Commission indicated that Lambe was not in their jurisdiction. Later in another State Ethics Commission complaint their investigator found violations of open meetings laws while he was manager.

I use to think we had a democracy in this country. Now it is looking like hypocrisy. Those with power bend the rules to meet their desires and the people pay.

 The people built Emerald. I believe the 20,000 ratepayers can unite and fix this situation. The sooner the better!

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove



Thank you Leni Bader of Eugene (letters, 2/2) for letting us know about the $25,000 donation for Tamarack Pool. I am a caregiver and we go twice a week and I see all the disabled people with smiles on their faces.

I thank you, anonymous donor, and bless you.

Sherry Brunson, Oakridge



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



Should we really be bribing people to give blood with alcohol? In the Jan. 12 issue of EW, an article called “Bloody Way to Get Beer” said the Lane Blood Bank was partnering up with Hop Valley Brewing Company. They were giving out a free glass and a voucher for a pint of beer to people who donated a pint of blood. It’s definitely a great way to get alcoholics to donate blood, but should we have to bribe them? I think they should come up with a better advertising idea than free beer. 

With the rising rates of alcoholism we should work toward lowering that rate, not promoting it. It’s a great idea, but I would rather see people be given a $5 bill and let them choose a beer or what ever else pleases them. Donating blood shouldn’t even be about money or beer. It should be about helping people in need and giving back to the community.

Caitlin Zemke, Eugene



We have a dream of helping Eugene become more sustainable. Last year we started beekeeping. In the spring we started attending beekeeping meetings set up by the Lane County Beekeepers Association (lcbaor.org). With the help of the beekeepers we were able to keep our bees healthy, but we learned some very disturbing news about the bees. Not only are parasites and diseases affecting the bees, but herbicides, insecticides and harmful chemicals are collecting in the wax they build their homes in. After five years the wax becomes toxic and their homes become uninhabitable.

With this information it is time for all of us to change our way of thinking. Blackberries and dandelions are an excellent source of nectar and pollen for honeybees. If you use weed and feed or plant poison on your landscape you are responsible for the decline of the honeybee. 

We are starting a group or nonprofit with the goal of creating chemical and insecticide spray-free zones in Eugene one block or more at a time. We are hoping to unite our fellow beekeepers with their neighbors to find people to host beehives in their yards; but first we need to insure no harmful chemicals or sprays are used within a one block radius. 

Our first “Save the Honeybees” event will be from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, March 24, at Madison Meadow. If you would like to make this dream come true please contact us at healthybeeshealthygardens@gmail.com

Give bees a chance!

 Jen and Doug Hornaday, Eugene



Gov. Mitt Romney recently stated that: “I said, I’m not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, then I will repair it.” My question for Romney is: what about the very poor who don’t have a safety net? And, how about the very poor whose safety net is in tatters and full of hole so large that the very poor frequently fall into an abyss of invisibleness? 

As the recently concluded social engineering experiment at the Washington/Jefferson Street Park demonstrated, the very poor with no safety net at all are all around us; we just don’t see them. And when we do see them, we are appalled at the level of social dysfunction that we all can observe in even a casual drive-by sort of way. 

The congressional Republicans via the Paul Ryan budget plan intend to eliminate whatever social safety net programs the federal government currently has to offer the very poor. Gov. Romney, what will you do to repair the lost safety net for the very poor? 

Jesus said: “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” I don’t see any “ifs” or “buts’” or “thens” in this admonition to help the very poor at any time in any way for any reason.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



There always has been a top 1 percent and there always will be, no matter what. Deal with it. Hell, even the Occupiers have a top 1 percent. So does Haiti, Somalia and Timbuktu.

 And those corporate dividends that Romney, et al pay 15 percent federal income tax on? They’re double taxed. Those dividends come from corporate profits that have already been taxed at 15 to 38 percent on the federal corporate income tax return. Many corporations offset that with tax credits, but everyone uses tax credits, especially the bottom 50 percent. 

Using kindergarten arithmetic, that tells me that Romney’s corporate dividends are, in reality, taxed at 30 to 53 percent at the federal level alone. If you reside in Oregon you can add another 9 percent for state income tax, totaling a whopping 39 percent minimum. I know not one person, corporations included, who pay more income tax than what is required of them under tax laws. Do you?

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.

As George Boosh always tried to say, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice …”

Don Richey, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: 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



Capitalism has one final outcome — it's own demise. Unfortunately, it makes most of the human race (the cooperative ones) look like lemmings, and is destroying a lot of other life in the process.

Along the way, this is what is happening: The most competitive and privileged among us control the vast majority of wealth and power; they control the government and media, exploit workers, and over-use and trash the environment. Most people struggle to believe the message from the few powerful aggressive types: that growth and competition are good for most of us. "You just have to take personal responsibility" they warn. But the reality is most people never have a chance to have anything close to what they have, while we plunder and pillage the natural resources, healthy environment (including other life) and our future.

Limits to our growth are right around the corner. We cannot keep growing in numbers and consumption any more than cancer can thrive in our bodies. Our economic growth has become cancer on the Earth.

As I see it, less than 1 percent of us, the most aggressive ones, are leading all of us over the cliff, while telling us how good it is. With their power, they have a very loud voice! Unless the rest of us rein them in, and we learn to live cooperatively with each other and nature, we will crash and burn. I don't think we have much time left to rein them in.

Patrick Bronson, Eugene