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Letters to the Editor: 4-4-2013

HELPING RECOVERY

As the newest treatment team member at Lane County’s Methadone Treatment Program (LCMTP), I was pleased to see EW’s discussion of our community’s multi-faceted opioid dependency issues discussed in the March 28 article “Gettin’ Clean in Eugene.” The issues discussed in the article are complex, but it is the individuals behind these issues that inspire each of the committed and passionate LCMTP team members to continue working hard to make a positive impact in the lives of each person they serve. 

For over 40 years our treatment program has assisted individuals in improving their lives in meaningful and tangible ways, whether that be through obtaining employment, building healthy relationships, or addressing physical or mental health concerns. Our program’s success can be measured by the patients who begin rebuilding family relationships that were previously damaged by years of substance use, the women who are able to stop using heroin during their pregnancies, and the individuals who are no longer committing criminal activities.

The accomplishments of each individual we serve ultimately benefits the overall health of our entire community, which is why creating additional access to our program is of such importance to us. As such, I would like to note that the current waiting time for individuals who are not already accessing methadone services is three to four months rather than the year-long wait referenced in last week’s article.

Ultimately, Lane County’s Methadone Treatment Program upholds the goal of providing the most holistic and individualized treatment while adhering to all state and federal rules and regulations. We value being one piece of the recovery puzzle in Eugene.

 Sheyne Benedict, Clinical services supervisor, Lane County Methadone Treatment Program

 

ON THE FRONT LINE

The cover story by Richard Kidd on opiate addiction [3/28] was both informative and well written. It not only gave appropriate credit to those on the front line of support and treatment, but also raised interesting questions about the high level of addiction and suicide in Oregon. It seems that more research is in order before we can hope to propose preventive measures.

For those who want a better understanding of addiction, I strongly recommend In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté, MD.

Patricia Spicer, Eugene

 

PROGRESS ON CARBON

Will the coming summer be the time when public pressure forces state and national politicians to seriously address the climate crisis? There are favorable indications.

The Oregon Department of State Lands has responded to letters and demonstrations by delaying a decision to permit the Morrow Pacific coal export project. Please contact Gov. John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and let them know you oppose that project. Request that the broadest possible environmental concerns be addressed in their decision. 

Govs. Kitzhaber and Inslee should be congratulated for pushing the feds to assess all the effects of coal export. Sen. Ron Wyden deserves congratulations for investigating whether coal companies have abused leases on federal lands. Environmental activists can celebrate the part they played in dissuading international corporations from investing in the Coos Bay coal export facility. Sens. Wyden and Merkley should be congratulated for voting against the Keystone pipeline.

All these efforts are important. But a successful plan to mitigate the period of global overheating that we are now entering must involve a national commitment to developing a non-carbon intensive, sustainable energy system, not the “all-of-the-above” system favored by President Obama. He should be receiving constant prodding to back a carbon tax and to develop “green jobs,” building a sustainable American economy.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene

 

THE END OF AN ERA

Eugene is rapidly losing a valuable resource: the inspiration of our teachers. For decades School District 4J led the nation with innovative educational approaches. That inspiration that led teachers to develop alternative education models was fueled by respect and autonomy given to teachers and principals in 4J.

The new superintendent apparently fails to understand the legacy of creative approaches to education that have served our diverse community so well. Exceptional programs are being systematically replaced in the name of hollow promises of equity and economic efficiency. The shift to a common 3x5 schedule for all secondary schools is the most glaring example of this policy of disempowerment.

Superintendent Sheldon Berman’s process forcing all schools to adapt their unique programs to a standard schedule has led to widespread disenfranchisement of teachers as evidenced by their articulate protests at School Board meetings. Berman, who brought this schedule from Kentucky, may not appreciate the unique approaches that have worked in Eugene, but why isn’t the local community protesting!?

 Are we ready to abandon our legacy of innovative programs, such as the nationally recognized Eugene International High School, and other programs in the name of standardization? If so, say goodbye to the 30-plus years of outstanding approaches to education. Say goodbye to passionate teachers sacrificing to create exceptional programs. Say goodbye to respect and collaboration between administration and staff. Say goodbye to the most valuable resource a community has: a stellar education for its future leaders.

Ronald Logan, Eugene

 

SLAP IN THE FACE

The Oregon State Exposure Investigation was unable to take urine samples in spring of 2011, due to the timber corporations taking their sprays to a more remote location, so there were no people close enough to take samples. Being a resident of the Triangle Lake area, I thought that was a slap in the face. The sprays have been steady, every spring and fall, for over 30 years.

What’s really a slap in the face, and not to us citizens, but to the very investigation itself, is the fact that the timber corporations know there are no resources to take samples — thanks to politicians. So the timber corporations have once again moved back into the populated areas. The citizens are up in arms again, and the state investigation can do nothing. Sure, it’s a slap in the face for us residents again, but nothing like what the timber industry is doing to our state agencies, in the eye of the public. Obviously in Oregon, the timber corporations have the power, not the state agencies, and timber is rubbing that in all our faces. What is our threshold? 

Eron King, Blachly

 

MAYHEM ON 5TH AVENUE

I had just finished a cup of relaxing herbal tea at a small, intimate café in the 5th Avenue area near EWEB and as the quiet sunlight sneaked through the large, oblong window and began to massage my tight shoulders, I started to doze off. For a moment at least, time and deadlines had come to a welcome stop.

Suddenly and without warning, the floor beneath me began to shake violently and the near empty cup on my table started bouncing as if it was having some type of seizure — spitting droplets of leftover tea all over the tabletop and my shirt. My eyes blinked wide open and my pulse rate shot off the charts as the sound of heavy rolling steel and a “screaming whistle” pierced the calm. Before I could steady myself, I was ejected out of my chair and onto the cold, vibrating concrete floor.

The mayhem continued for several minutes and suddenly the noise and thunderbolt passed and a barista with a pierced elbow came over and asked if I was OK. I stood up and replied, “What the #!!# was that?” Without batting a purple eyelash she replied, “Oh, you mean the train — probably the 3:05 Freightliner on its way to Albany.”

I gazed out the window and saw EWEB in the distance and noticed how the train tracks headed right through the edge of their property, next door to the proposed upscale housing and high-end mixed uses mapped out in the recently completed EWEB Riverfront Master Plan.

As I headed out of the café I wondered: Is it just me being too negative, or can upscale housing and anything else for that matter built next to one of the busiest railway corridors in the region stand up to oncoming locomotives day and night, over and over again?

Steve Roth, Eugene

 

NO DISCRETION BY EPD

After receiving a citation in November for an expired vehicle registration due to Oregon DMV failing to mail an expiration notification to my address of record, I received a $150 citation from EPD traffic officer Peterman. As a result of pleading not guilty and requesting a Municipal Court hearing, I learned through his testimony it has long been the policy of the EPD to never issue a written warning that provides drivers with the opportunity to correct any issues. All drivers stopped receive citations with associated bail.

At the conclusion of a February hearing I was approached by a court advocate who said they were impressed with my courtroom argument for issuing a warning in cases such as mine, and encouraged sending a letter to EPD’s Chief Pete Kerns stressing the importance of adopting a field incident card policy. The cards serve as a written warning that alerts and educates drivers rather than punishing them.

Any EPD traffic officer should possess the ability to use the discretionary power granted to them by the state of Oregon related to issuing written warnings in the interest of cultivating better relationships between the EPD and community members. Such a policy change is timely, overdue, and should be supported by the Eugene City Council as a positive step toward improving the negative relationship the EPD has cultivated over the past several years within the community it is charged with serving and protecting.

Roxanne Watson, Eugene

 

OUR DEBT SLAVERY

Those hoping that the repairs following the economic collapse of 2008 might bring some positive outcome for the 99 percent have been disappointed. The top 1 percent of U.S. households (average income of $1.5 million), took home all the income growth since 2009. For the 99 percent there was no growth. And nearly all of the income growth of the top 1 percent went to the top 1/10 of 1 percent — about the population of Lane County. That’s the number of winners in the entire country under our present economic system. The rest of us lose. Translated to Lane County, that would mean 155 Lane County households got 90 percent of all the economic growth in the last few years. The other 155,000 Lane County households got none.

Things are not getting better. Average incomes dropped 4 percent in January. Some 20 percent of U.S. homebuyers are still underwater (about 13,000 home buyers in Lane County). About 20 percent of U.S. adults have student loan debt averaging $27,000 (over 25 percent in default). The U.S. attorney general just announced that he would not be prosecuting the big banks whose fraud and predatory lending led to the destruction of 40 percent of Americans’ wealth and a global economic collapse. This is debt slavery to banking corporations which are above the law. 

Occupy Eugene and Occupy Bankbusters will present a benefit showing of the documentary The Secret of Oz at 6 pm Monday, April 8, at Cozmic Pizza. The film explains the symbolism hidden in Baum’s children’s story and more. Join us for some good conversation.

Fergus Mclean, Dexter

 

ENOUGH OF THE DEAD

Some things are meant to be, aside from appearances of being a coincidence, like Oregon HB 2352 designating Aug. 9 as “Boring and Dull Day” falling on Jerry Garcia’s adios day. Jerry Ritter’s letter [3/14] claiming “as everyone surely knows, Aug. 9 is a sacred day: the anniversary of the death of patron saint Jerry Garcia” is completely wrong. Aug. 9 is not sacred and Jerry Garcia is not any sort of “patron saint.” Like the great socialist Hugo Chavez said years ago, “It smells of sulfur” after G.W. took the podium at the U.N.; in this case the sulfur is patchouli and the podium sits in Eugene and Veneta.

It is time to clear the air and stop encouraging the importation of tie-dye-clad false god worshipers to our beautiful state. Many of us would much prefer the nice lads and lasses from Dull wandering our streets in their tweed over the melting florescent colored stumblers crawling through their hallucinations on Hwy. 126.

So, keep up the good work, Tony Corcoran, and please don’t appease the boring and dull grandpops and grandmas by writing about the Dead again — there is enough of that around here. California can worship J.G. all they want, but Oregon belongs to great Oregonians like Greg Sage or Fred and Toody Cole among the many others that never claimed anything “sacred.”

Jacob “Snake” Smith, Eugene

 

KILLING ME SOFTLY

I will no longer be silent about the onerous government firearm regulations that are causing so much harm to our citizens. I'm talking about the devices that suppress the ear damaging noise from guns: silencers. A firearm will produce over 160 decibels, enough to cause permanent harm from just one shot. A suppressor will knock at least 30 decibels off the sound, equivalent to wearing ear plugs. Ear plugs have the disadvantage of suppressing ambient noise that hinder awareness of the surrounding situation. No home owner is going to take the time to put in earplugs, or their children's ears while firing a gun at an intruder, thus risking permanent hearing loss. A person firing a gun using a suppressor have been proven to be more accurate, as the body is less likely to flinch. 

Anybody who lives outside city limits would welcome the suppressed sound of their neighbors practicing their Second Amendment rights — the sound that causes so much stress to live stock and pets. In some countries in Europe it is considered impolite not to use a suppressor while hunting or practicing. Can you hear me now?

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain

 

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE

On March 5 I embarked on a journey with the March for One Oregon, for immigration reform. This journey took me to rural cities between Bend and Ontario where I heard the testimony of people who are not recognized by the U.S. government. I marched with the United Farm Workers in Hermiston. My journey was also inward, as I listened to the stories of how U.S. immigration policy effects individuals of the 11 million unrecognized workers in the U.S. I was moved. Hearing the stories of fellow Oregonians who work, worship, and raise families around me, I heard in their stories the parables of human immigration and the need for justice.

As I walk away from this experience, I am afraid of what has become of the U.S. A country that could rip parents from their families, tearing communities apart because our neighbor has no paperwork. I am afraid when I see the racial element of this story, the gendered consequences of broken families, the particular harm to GLBTQ relationships. I tremble at the suffering I have heard and that we must all come to understand.

It is time to acknowledge that immigration is human right, the ability to move one's body across borders is a natural consequence of the colonial 'Neoliberal' policies. 

As I traveled Oregon with CAUSA, PCUN, the Rural Organizing Project and other organizations doing good work, the stories of immigration made it clear to me that the need for justice is dire. We must support comprehensive immigration reform.

Cimmeron Gillespie, Industrial Workers of the World, Eugene

 

SERVICE AT THE PUMP

Most Oregon drivers know they may not pump their own gas. Its the law, despite a few exceptions, and there are consequential fines if one does self-serve. The issue has been brought to voters many times with the obvious result. Oregonians want fuel attendants to do the dirty work.

If gas stations are full service, then where is the rest of the service? Why aren't these orange-vested peons scrubbing on your windows constantly and checking your oil, your tire pressure and your prostate? Well, its not full service after all is it? Its mini-serve. 

Mini-serve means they pump your gas. Everything beyond that is extra for the sake of customer service. The only reason they're pumping your gas is because you, by law, may not. Most employers discourage extra service, especially when it comes to the more technical service requests, like checking oil. Checking engine oil should happen nearly as frequently as refueling, however, mini serve attendants are not necessarily engine experts and their employers can and will be sued when the gas flunky screws it up and checks the washer fluid instead of the oil. 

Another extra service that is usually discouraged by gas station employers is that of taking cash at the pump, especially in the case of pre-pay situations. The customer must take their own cash in to the store where there is a cash register. That's where cash belongs — the cash register. Drivers can become indignant over this issue, because they think they are in a full service world. Got your kids in the car? Can't walk? OK, cash at the pump can be arranged for these types of drivers. That is, after all, the case in self-service gas stations as well.

What most drivers aren't grasping is the fact that having your gas pumped for you is not a customer service. You're just not allowed to do it yourself. Just like you're not allowed to go behind the counter and pick out your own pack of cigarettes. Just like you're not allowed to make your own burger at the Five Guys. So, when a fuel attendant does anything other than pump your gas, they are giving you extra service. You should throw them a buck on that rare occasion, or even a big smile, a thank you, or a thumb pointed skyward.

Andrew Miller, fuel attendant, Eugene

 

THE NUCLEAR LIFE

Radiation is good for you. Poisons in your food add to long life. Allowing yourself to become furious over trifles will lower your stress levels. And owning a firearm makes you and your loved ones safer.

Rational thinking is overrated. It must be, because there’s not a lot of it in evidence lately, following an obscene number of mass shootings. And statistics on the rate of successful suicide attempts don’t seem to have any impact over the ubiquitous (and bizarrely American) penchant for harboring explosive weapons — in order to guarantee a better life.

But don’t take my word for it! Look instead to the hyper-rational stance and language of one of the world’s most cherished and compassionate leaders: Kim Jong Un of North Korea (what, you thought I was talking about that silly Tibetan guy?) Several days ago his party released a mellow statement, notifying the world that nuclear weapons are his “nation’s life.” 

Yessir, it’s a great day for common sense when people equate weapons –– capable of destroying anywhere from dozens to millions of lives with a single, impulsive trigger-pull — with life itself.

Vip Short, Eugene

 

PROFITS IN POISON

 Is the U.S. population guinea pigs for genetically engineered technology? I don't think so. Being part of such a study would consider that these “foods” may or may not be harmful. If one thinks about GMOs, what they are and what they do, the harm these products cause becomes rather obvious. There are two kinds of bio-tech plants: those that can withstand enormous quantities of poisons, i.e. pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, and those that in their genomes have instructions for the plant itself to produce these toxins. It is a false assumption that conventional crops (not organic) will produce a higher yield. Along with lower crop quantities over time, more need for water, desertification of soil and total pollution of the whole area, this type of agriculture contaminates every living thing it comes in contact with.

Corporations like Monsanto and Dow Chemical that profit from sale of Roundup and have patents for GMO seeds are in cahoots with big pharmaceuticals and the health insurers. These global companies want us to be sick just like drug dealers want as many addicts as possible. However, it is conceivable that an individual drug dealer has a conscience. Corporations are not afforded this luxury because their primary prerogative, their fiduciary obligation is to maximize profits at any cost. They can have other interests, sure, but not if they go counter to their bottom line.

Through the revolving door between Monsanto and government, we can be assured this won't change soon. 

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene