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Letters to the Editor: 4-12-2012


On April 5 EW published an unflattering letter (“WOW Hall Problems”) and the present staff and board of the Community Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA) would like to reply.

Since 1975 the WOW Hall has been operated by the nonprofit Community Center for the Performing Arts. In that time, there have been thousands of community members involved with the CCPA. Our history in the community is one of the most stalwart points of devotion common among the volunteers, staff and board. Our continuing contributions are part of the thriving cultural nucleus in Eugene. Protecting our ability to provide our resources to the community long into the future is where we stand united.

Contrary to an unfounded assertion, the CCPA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in hiring and promotion — which is not alleged. The law does not require that every job be advertised. Over the past two years, two staff positions were advertised, while others were filled by longtime volunteers who had been trained for the jobs. 

It was suggested that the CCPA would possibly not survive a routine IRS audit. Nothing supports the claim. Carole Goerger, the CCPA bookkeeper for four years and also an employee of the CPA firm that’s done our tax return the past two years, calls this an “inaccurate statement” not based on actual facts.

The CCPA recently established a financial reserve for unexpected expenses as well as seed money for future improvements. Our financial position has been and remains strong. 

CCPA staff and board have been working on a large number of projects with people in the community to accomplish a lot of great things: writing a lesson plan and teaching a sound/light workshop; building a new booth at the Oregon Country Fair; providing shows, classes and workshops for all ages, incomes and musical tastes; training new volunteers; preserving heritage trees; working with neighbors on grant projects; and achieving all that while hitting our budget targets and making improvements to the WOW Hall every year! 

Last month, hundreds of people had a wonderful time experiencing live music. We had a free Brain Awareness Expo put on by the UO Brain Development Lab. Author Charles Eisenstein offered an all-day seminar on “Sacred Economics.” We also had dozens of people volunteer for two days of spring cleaning. Every month, you can be a part of something that matters at the WOW Hall. 

We would absolutely love interested community members to consider volunteering at the WOW Hall and see first-hand what it’s like. Come back and see for yourself how things are going. Members of the WOW Hall can become board members and by bringing your specialized experience, you can help to help make the organization even stronger. We always need help and welcome positive energy that is thoughtful and productive. 

We, members of the community, are all working together to make decisions that we feel are best for the organization and the community overall. 

 Michael Zarkesh and the CCPA staff and board



In the March issue of the Vagabond, Eugene City Councilor Pat Farr has an article about the city’s history of assisting the homeless, including the present task force, Opportunity Eugene. In fact, Opportunity Eugene began thanks to the initiative of a group called Occupy Eugene, which Farr and other city council members had voted to evict from their peaceful encampment at Jefferson and 7th.

From its inception, Occupy Eugene has been a haven for those living on the streets, people who routinely experience the heavy consequences of social and economic inequality. They assisted Occupy Eugene with their diversity, participation and knowledge of how to survive in the elements. Occupy Eugene assisted them by empowering their voices and installing food and medical tents to their benefit. Farr fails to mention in his article the work of the Occupy participants, community allies, and homeless persons that make up the task force and its potential.

Nicole Medema, Eugene



When Andy Stahl officially announced his candidacy for South Eugene Lane County commissioner, he cast some stones at his opponent and called for transparency in county government. Mindful of those who live in glass houses, I thought a little transparency in the candidate himself might be in order.

Accordingly, because I’d heard that Stahl is associated with the provocatively named “The Antiplanner,” I consulted its website. On it, Stahl is described as “a faithful ally” and is a frequent contributor. The Antiplanner is a libertarian — anti-regulation, anti-government — blog site with a link to the Koch Brothers’ Cato Institute.

It was not surprising, therefore, to learn that Stahl is, to use his own term, the “architect” of the forest management proposal that DeFazio reworked into a bill. This scheme would commit 1.5 million acres of public land to maximized and effectively privatized logging, including clear-cutting, and waive federal environmental protections and meaningful public input.

Stahl passes as an environmental advocate; but he doesn’t resemble any environmental advocate or conservationist that I know, associate with and respect. He says his strength would be to reach across the dais to the present right-wing board majority, and we can be sure — given his predilections — that means to sell out the long-term interests of his district, their environment and the commonwealth of Lane County.

South Eugene voters should reject this imposter and retain their present commissioner. For, withstanding a transparently frivolous and vicious lawsuit and media blitz, Pete Sorenson has always stood for the best interests of his constituents and their environment and recognized their essential relationship. He’s earned another term.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



The Weekly should be taken to task for muddying the waters of the Sorenson/Stahl county commisioners race by making an issue of the $500 donation from Randal O’Toole to the Stahl campaign. O’Toole might have veered radically right in recent years with his association with the Cato Institute, but in his day he had a major positive impact on protecting our Northwest forests when he pointed out in many publications that clearcuts on federal land were a net money looser for the public. This and the spotted owl listing, for which much credit goes to Stahl, were powerful tools in the slowing down of the destruction of our federally owned forests in the northwest. 

Unfortunately we have two very good candidates running against each other for the same position. EW would do us all a service if it helped us sort out in an impartial way the differences between these two candidates. I look forward to both of them holding elective office in the future. 

Gary Tepfer, Eugene



Millions of Americans, in the richest country in the history of the world, are left out with no income. The only safety net is a small food voucher; the monthly worth is about what the “middle class” eats in a week.

In historic Calcutta, the “untouchables” were allowed to build slum shanty communities with scrap materials. Here in Oregon, we do have “food stamps,” an ATM card for limited food only, from the federal government. That is Oregon’s safety net.

For Oregon’s unemployed and disabled persons not yet certified by years of federal investigations, our untouchables are called homeless persons. Many are seen as beggars, but the police remove them from the urban areas. Where can our homeless people go? They are ignored, abandoned or arrested for criminal trespass or “illegal camping.”

Federal and state governments have the unfulfilled responsibility for the welfare of homeless persons. What can local governments do with very limited revenues? Local governments can allow homeless persons a legal, safe place to camp and build shelters. Eugene and Lane County now have no such legal safe place for our untouchable homeless persons to exist.

Local charities, nonprofit organizations and generous citizens meet as much of the needs of the homeless population as they can, but they are unable to shelter all those in need.

We need a legal safe place for homeless persons to try to help themselves with support of volunteers from the community.

Jerry Smith, Eugene



It is a clear-cut decision in more ways than one to support Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson. Putting more of our forests in the hands of the timber barons to clear cut and burn in Seneca’s polluting biomass plant or send overseas as whole logs is not what I want to happen to our beautiful Lane County forests. 

I’m also very disappointed in Andy Stahl’s thoughts on countywide elections that reduce the power of neighborhoods and up the power of large timber owners and their wealthy friends. By this time everyone should have concluded that the lawsuit against Rob and Pete was politically motivated to give (the plaintiffs) more of our forest to misuse. The ruling was wrong. We need to recognize the years of service to our community and re-elect Pete and Rob.

Ruth Duemler , Eugene



Lane County voters have a choice between tacitly endorsing dirty, right-wing tricks or re-electing Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson.

I suppose that nearly every citizen of Eugene knows about the Aaron Jones-funded lawsuit accusing Sorenson and Handy of violating the open meetings laws. If you are not convinced that this suit was a right-wing hatchet job that has been repudiated by every respected legal authority, you can find a good summary of the case in a Register-Guard editorial by Robert Roth that appeared March 25.

That resource extractors and developers found it necessary to orchestrate the persecution of Handy and Sorenson is proof positive that they are doing the job we elected them to do — standing up for the interests of the many, not the few. 

Voters have an easy choice. We can vote for Pete and Rob, who have stood by their progressive principles, or demonstrate that dirty politics work by voting for their go-along, get-along opponents. 

Paul Nicholson, Eugene



When I told my family I was moving here, they said: “Don’t tell them you’re from California!” I got a list of grievances — bad service after being ID’d, smashed windshields and fingers for California plates, etc. But my experience has been nothing but good.

Seems I was wrong to defend Oregon. Every week this newspaper informs, amuses and disturbs me. I like EW for wearing its heart on its sleeve. But imagine my surprise to read on March 15th in Slant: “So what’s driving expansion locally? A lot of pressure from land speculators and developers, and an ill-informed, California-style attitude that growth is not only inevitable, but necessary for our economic growth.”

 Never thought I’d see state-ism in the Weekly.

I was further stunned not to see an apology or letter the next week. Should I assume all your readers are OK with this?

I have no strong opinions about Envision Eugene. The state requirement to periodically evaluate city land is enviable. I worry about poor development practices, too. But put blame where it belongs: greed or developers, maybe deaf city officials. Just don’t blame my home state.

Californians aren’t sprawl-loving fiends. We battle developers, too. One reason I love my hometown is its location close to the forest, beach, desert and downtown. Don’t forget California is where the Sierra Club was founded, hopeful home to our nation’s first real high-speed rail line and has long led the country in emissions restrictions. More land is set aside in California for National Forests than in Oregon, not including other land preserves. With all due respect, you’re not perfect either. Your own article’s proof.

 So, EW, you owe Californians an apology. Please refrain from promoting bigotry of any kind. It doesn’t look good on you.

Ian Korn, Eugene




Alexandra Notman’s news brief “Bitches on the Boob Tube” March 29 reminded me of a ridiculous and completely unneccessary exhange I witnessed while in line at 18th & Oak’s Safeway on Saturday night, March 31.

The queue had grown to more than 10 people; yet, there was only one “express” cashier counter open. I was paying for my items when woman comes up to the cashier and says loudly, “Excuse me, isn’t it Safeway policy if there are more than five (?) people in line, to open another counter?” He clarifies that he just called for backup to open another counter. The woman goes on to say that she won’t shop there anymore, “This is just like California!” and turning to the other people in line: “You all are like sheep!” The cashier dismisses her with a “Sorry, good night!” with a smirk. Another woman in line calls out to the outraged lady: “You’re being a bitch.”

Ah, the “bitch” word. I walked away from the store disturbed. How can a woman slur another woman as a female animal, in public, for voicing displeasure about a situation? Enough with the threat of being called the “B” word to ensure that women toe the line and be nice at all times. And, if the outraged person were a man instead, would the cashier still have dismissively said “Sorry — good night!” or “Oh, I’m sorry, man, I just called for additional backup”?

Adeline Chak, Eugene



I’m writing to ask that you discontinue Andy Singer’s “No Exit” cartoon. It flat-out sucks. Like most 12-year-olds, Andy has only the slightest familiarity with techniques such as irony or sarcasm that we adults use fluently and regularly. In his most recent cartoon, (3/29) Andy draws pictures of an agnostic bible, an agnostic piece of jewelry, and an agnostic church — all with question marks replacing the cross. The punch line is saved for the final drawing which represents an “agnostic icon of human suffering” in which Jesus is nailed to a — wait for it — question mark instead of a cross. Lame. 

In another, a heavy metal band is playing a song about a baby shower. That’s the whole joke. It’s supposed to be funny because heavy metal bands don’t typically do this. (Wow, dude, LMFAO.) All of his cartoons are seriously this awful. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Why not offer the cartoon slot to a local Eugene resident? You could hold a competition to see who deserves the slot. It seems impossible to be any less funny or intelligent than Andy Singer.

 Greg Liggett, Eugene