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Letters to the Editor: 3-29-2012


There are several problems with the change proposed by Andy Stahl to save money by reducing the Lane County board from five to three commissioners, and electing them at-large like most counties (EW news, 1/12). With more than 100 county layoffs expected, eliminating two commissioner positions isn’t anywhere near the scale needed to balance the budget. While it’s true that most Oregon counties have three commissioners, changing Lane back to three would make it the most populous county in Oregon with such a small board, resulting in commissioners becoming more remote from voters. The likely result of going backwards to at-large elections would be a one-party rule that would limit the diversity of perspectives on the board at a time when new ideas are needed to solve pressing public problems.

The recent conflict over redistricting leaves no doubt there are issues with the way the board is elected. Even though there are more Democratic than Republican voters in Lane County, gerrymandering ensures a Republican majority on the commission because Democratic voters are packed into the two Eugene districts. For example, Pete Sorenson received more than twice the votes of Sid Leiken, diluting the relative value of votes in South Eugene by half.

District-based elections are authoritarian, allowing politicians to debase voting by manipulating boundaries to choose their voters. A true reform in the public interest would advance fair and effective representation for everyone by enacting an alternate election method that doesn’t require districts, eliminating redistricting and gerrymandering completely.

Brian Wanty, Eugene



It’s time for Lane County residents to demand that the Public Utilities Commission reassign control of Emerald Peoples Utility District. This company is not competent to run an electric district.

While the strength of the March 21 storm was unpredictable, the power going out in Cottage Grove was not. It’s a regular occurrence, in all weather conditions.

On March 12, during a light drizzle, power was out. Two weeks earlier, on a partly cloudy night, the power went out in the middle of the night. Nothing like waking up in the morning and the inside temperature is 55 degrees, and dropping.

This shoddy service is not isolated to this year. The same has occurred throughout the four years I’ve lived in Cottage Grove. EPUD’s annual response? Hold a community meeting and bring pizza!

This is more than just inconvenient. For families with very young or elderly at home, a cold house and no hot food can quickly become a health and safety issue. Homeowners should also be concerned that EPUD’s growing reputation for unreliability and poor performance will lower property values. Who wants to live in a neighborhood where the power goes out all the time?

EPUD claims these incidents are an “act of God.” I say they are an act of incompetence. The entire management team — from administration to engineering — should be removed and a service reliability plan instituted.

 Allan Katz, Cottage Grove



The residents of Dexter are pleased that the hearings official has reconsidered his former decision and now agrees a site review is needed regarding the rock mining operation at Parvin Butte. The intention of the site review land use law is to allow the residents to have their valid concerns taken into consideration. 

The Demers’ and McDougals’ rock mining operation is doing everything it can to bypass this important process. This is not a typical location for a rock quarry. Looking around at other quarries, there are no homes or towns nearly as close as those near to the historic Parvin Butte. There are many serious issues that need to be addressed such as well water quality, Lost Creek salmon habitat degradation, noise and air quality to name a few. Some of the residents have health issues that would require them to move and have to sell their homes at greatly reduced rates if this quarry operation takes place. 

Neighbors of such destructive land use must be allowed, without hesitation, to have their concerns addressed in a formal fashion. A company with integrity and morals would comply graciously with a site-review process. Something is seriously wrong with our land-use laws if a site review does not take place.

Donald Alexander, Dexter



A test of the mettle of a person occurs when he chooses the correct course of action, despite the fact that it is less convenient. This is the case with Pete Sorenson’s opposition to the foolhardy O&C trust scheme to convert federal forests into private-lands logging reserves in order to fund county budgets, and to deliver a bonanza of federal timber to the timber industry.

Sorenson is not someone who would ever advocate nullifying all federal environmental laws, as the O&C Trust scheme requires.

For the 15 or 20 years I have known Pete, he has been a consistent, reasoned advocate for protection of our environment: clean water, clean air, abundant native fish and wildlife, and adequate supporting habitat.

Funding counties via a land-grab resulting in the clearcut logging of 1.5 million acres of federal forests is certainly convenient — just let Reps. DeFazio, Schrader and Walden have their way, and the money will flow.

But convenience isn’t what matters; integrity is what matters. It is no surprise to me that Sorenson will take the time to patiently work out alternate measures for funding county services — measures that meet the county’s needs while protecting prime environmental values.

Sorenson is a leading advocate of logging federal forests where that is appropriate, for example, thinning all the clearcuts created (and planted with Douglas fir) from 1960 to 1995 — 35 years of logging, with planted trees now as old as 52 years.

Pete Sorenson has the fortitude to make the correct choices, even if they are difficult.

Tom Giesen, Eugene 



To the Corvallis mayor and council: I reiterate my strong support for all our citizenry and our environment — through the Corvallis City Council’s original request of the Administrative Services Committee to develop a plan to reduce the use of plastic bags in the Corvallis area, through a retail plastic bag ban.

Our city’s distinction as a recognized progressive leader in sustainability and liveability through reasoned and objective planning and application will be severely compromised if we can be so publicly bullied by aggressive out-of-state corporate interests, such as Hilex Poly, who share neither our vision nor our integrity. Whatever obfuscation and adversity these profit and waste-based interests throw at us, we can know that current operating bag bans have worked well and are sustainable — if we have the will, fortitude and integrity of purpose and vision.

Corvallis’ sustainability goals and our distinctive reputation are sorely on the line with this issue. Yes, please do the right thing and represent our local interest above corporate profits and waste. This is a small, yet very significant step towards sustainability for Corvallis, our region and the planet. 

Do not let your love of wisdom and reason be eroded through opposing tactics of greed, fear and complicated ignorance. It is past time to ban the bag now!

Ralph Penunuri, Corvallis



The mainstream media is fraught with omissions while frequently straying from the truth. It is also owned and controlled by a group of wealthy power-brokers who are not looking out for the best interests of the people and planet earth. Given this reality, we must actively seek truth that resonates with us.

At http://bit.ly/y5Kzh0 you will find an article listing story headlines on 320 CEO and executive resignations from banks and financial institutions, internationally, in the last half year. There were 92 resignations in February and 77 resignations in the first two weeks of March.

At http://bit.ly/xEqqlw is a scientific study which shows how a tightly-knit ‘super entity’ of 147 financial institutions control over 40 percent of the global economy. This was published Oct. 11, 2011 in the New Scientist.

Goldman Sachs has seen 14 executives resign, Bank of America six, J.P. Morgan six and Citigroup three. Twelve executives from central banks around the world have resigned or been killed. Russia has issued an arrest warrant for George Soros.

This has not been analyzed or reported in the media, because the media is being controlled. The cabal who has brought us environmental destruction, war and poverty will no longer be tolerated on earth. There is much backstory to this. I encourage you to seek knowledge over fear.

Adriane Myers, Eugene



I did my eighth and ninth grades in a Catholic school. Even though my education included religion, we did have the benefit that the principal, an ordained priest, had been trained in biology which he taught for a while before taking on the robes. One time while he was visiting my classroom a student asked “if it’s true that humans come from monkeys.” I was expecting to have to defend evolution in which I deeply believed but was pleasantly surprised when the priest said that Darwin’s theories are not in conflict with the belief in God or in a higher organizational intelligence.

My main interest was chemistry and to this day I remember the first equation which I learned and which would guide my transformation into an environmentalist. These teachings explained the most important secrets of how all forms of life, plant and animal reach an equilibrium in nature. The equation (CO2 + H2O + sun’s photon = CH2O + O2), which was a balance between components and products was simple and amounted on the left of carbon dioxide and water plus sun’s energy and on the right the most basic carbohydrate, the mass of which when fixed makes up all of the plant material on Earth. An oxygen molecule is also given off as a result of this reaction and it is because of this wonder that humans, animals and plants are able to breathe and burn fuels.

It is for this that I fell justified in ascribing divine qualities to all of life.

Dave Ivan Piccioni, Eugene



So, you think it doesn’t matter who is the POTUS? Already commentators are telling us that we Americans are showing signs of political fatigue due to the overlong Republican presidential nomination process. 

I offer this perspective on what the realities might be: How would it feel if we wake up on Nov. 3, and find a President-elect Willard Romney, a member of the 1 percenters in charge of the federal government who likes to “fire people,” who wants to defund Planned Parenthood, and who thinks that over $300,000 in speaking fees is “not much” money? What would you think of Vice President Rick Santorum presiding over the federal Morality Police deciding when and where you will find family planning assistance or access to contraception? 

For those of us who have the ability to use Schedule A with our federal taxes, how would it be if Secretary of the Treasury Paul Ryan deleted that entire process in favor of a reduced tax rate (one that surely would go back up to what is was in short order)? 

And last but not least, how about Secretary of State John McCain who sang out to the tune of “Barbara Ann”: “Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Only this time, the bombs are actually falling. If we allow ourselves to be lulled to sleep by zealots and mediocrity, the prospects for calamity for America and the world are very high in this election.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



OK, so what if he only apologized for a couple of the words he used in his 52 separate attacks, at least he apologized. Sure, every single thing that Rush Limbaugh claimed Sandra Fluke said was a pure fabrication, but that is his artistic license. He shouldn’t even have had to apologize for exercising his free speech, this is still the United States of America, isn’t it? Now I know that Rush swore he wasn’t making any of this up, I believe his exact words were:

“I’m not making any of it up. You put all the details that she brought forth. She’s struggling financially. Why? Just quote her. Her sex life is active and she’s having sex so frequently that she can’t afford all the birth control pills that she needs. Is what she’s saying. You put that in the story and it changes for everybody.”

But Rush says he’s not making up stuff all the time, it’s one of his catch lines. So what if he was making it all up? You smarty-pants, Volvo-driving libtards just don’t understand Rush’s humor.

Keith Blevins, Harrisburg





Urge EWEB to place a moratorium on smart meters at the EWEB Board of Commissioners meeting at 7:30 pm Tuesday, April 3, at EWEB headquarters, 500 E. 4th Ave. This meeting is open to the public and the board will have a short open microphone for the public to speak to them concerning this subject (see agenda at http://wkly.ws/18g).

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine in its decision to the California Public Utility Commission on Jan. 19 opposed the installation of wireless smart meters in homes and schools, based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature. They called for a moratorium. See the decision at www.aaem.org

A couple of excellent YouTube videos are “The Truth about Smart Meters” at http://wkly.ws/18e and “The Dark Side of Smart Meters” at http://wkly.ws/18f 

You can read about EWEB’s smart meter pilot program at www.EWEB.org

Bob Becker, Families For Safe Meters, FamiliesforSafeMeters@gmail.com



The Obama administration has taken action to cut U.S. oil use with strong new fuel efficiency and global warming emissions standards. These standards can save consumers thousands of dollars while cutting our oil dependence by 3.5 million barrels per day in 2030, which is more oil than we currently import from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Our country cannot drill its way to energy independence when we consume over 20 percent of the world’s petroleum, yet hold about 2 percent of the proven oil reserves.

Solutions are needed, not political rhetoric. We can take steps today to curb our use. The Union of Concerned Scientists Oil Savings Plan offers solutions.

Dona Vaile, Florence



With April 1 just around the corner, it appears the meat industry is playing us as April fools by hiding its violations of humane and sanitary laws.

Under intense pressure from the meat lobby, Iowa and Utah have enacted the infamous “ag-gag” laws that criminalize taking or possessing photographs and videotapes documenting the atrocious treatment of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Six other state legislatures (Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and New York) have been considering such legislation.

As these bills were being debated, the head of the World Health Organization forecast the “end of modern medicine,” unless the meat industry stops its wholesale use of antibiotics. Industry uses these drugs to ensure that animals survive the extreme crowding of factory farms. 

Each of us has a choice to make on the next trip to the local supermarket. We can continue to subsidize the inhumane and unsanitary conditions hidden by the meat industry and condemned by the World Health Organization. Or, we can elect a wholesome nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains recommended by leading health authorities.

Elijah Hennison, Eugene