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Letters to the Editor: 6-21-2012

NUCLEAR BLACKOUT

Fukushima nuclear power plants pose a real and imminent danger to all of the northern hemisphere and urgently in Oregon and on the West Coast. Last week, we saw the first of a large piece of debris hit the shores of Oregon. The tsunami debris in the Pacific is the size of Texas.

The media blackout on this worldwide catastrophe is complete. Go to www.enenews.com or to YouTube to get the truth. 

As a sample of withheld information: Plants 1, 2 and 3 have already had full meltdowns. Number 2 power plant has only 2 feet of water over its spent fuel rods and is continuing to leak nuclear waste into the ocean and environment. Number 1 is so hot they can’t get a robot near it to determine its threat. Number 4 is on exposed stilts and concrete bulging, very unstable. Number 3 is so volatile and the rods are in such an insecure placement, that if there is any rumbling, it may cause a “criticality” involving at least Number 4 if not all six plants (i.e., disaster) and cause a catastrophe at least 85 times greater than Chernobyl. 

Sen. Ron Wyden toured Fukushima and was so alarmed he asked the U.S. government to get involved. His requests have been summarily ignored because of the power of the nuclear energy industry. The threat to humanity will not go away if we continue to stick our heads down the radioactive hole in the sand. 

Lonnie Clark, Eugene

 

EWEB’S OMISSIONS

Thank you for your piece in Slant May 31 on safety concerns for smart meters. I have been attending recent EWEB meetings that are open to the public. These were commissioner meetings that were concerned with smart meters and electric and water rate hikes, plus all three of EWEB’s smart meter information sessions in the community.

I learned from these meetings that EWEB plans to deploy a wireless smart meter system in Eugene. After the meetings I went to Google and looked up World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer. The website says the agency has “categorized radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The website www.smartmeterdangers.org says the type of radiation emitted “by both cell phones and smart meters has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization, reversing its previous stance” on May 31, 2011.

Also went to www.aaemonline.org to see the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless smart meters in homes and schools based on scientific assessment of the current medical literature. Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.

You can read EWEB’s website information on their smart meter pilot program currently under way in Eugene. Unfortunately they do not list information from the World Health Organization or American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

Bob Becker, Eugene

 

POLITICS AS USUAL

Mayor Piercy, your response [“Mutual Benefit” Viewpoint, 6/7] was in depth to the likes of which I cannot offer due to the format, but I thank you for your response. However, reading it only left me more frustrated. 

You praised students’ work and contributions to the city, calling our impact large and important, while encouraging participation on city boards and commissions, or in neighborhood associations. While I know I gripe, I expected a less-typical politician response than discussing what has been done and what I can voluntarily do. 

You mentioned visiting campus every month, attending classes and events, yet nothing about wandering through campus or around the neighborhoods besides an “annual community welcome.” If these planned events and photo-ops are your only interactions with the campus and general student population then you’ve only furthered my feeling of disconnect. 

The city’s choice of delaying a vote on the Social Host Ordinance until summer when there is less resistance is an example of laws targeting the student community, and questions how valuable our voices truly are. What’s a democracy without debate? Besides, if you really want to address underage drinking, and the minor in possession citations aren’t solving the problem, then maybe turn to the furnishers of the alcohol who perpetuate the problem. The ordinance focuses on house parties, yet bars, liquor stores and markets are still profiting without harassment of police, or the government reaching into their pockets.

I want local politicians who happen to find themselves on campus unscheduled. I want a government that doesn’t just acknowledge the students’ contributions to a city resistant to growth, but rewards them. I don’t want a written response, but discourse frequent and regular between the groups.

Aidan R. Smith, Eugene

 

GREENHILL’S CHALLENGE

Now that their proposal to step in for LCAS has been approved, Greenhill Humane Society has less than a month to fill some very large shoes. Taking over the soon to be vacant building is the smallest part of the transition. LCAS, with the help of an advisory committee, has worked very hard to become a progressive animal shelter that explores every option before resorting to euthanasia. I can’t say the same about Greenhill. In the last month Greenhill has killed animals for very treatable skin and teeth issues. If animals are being euthanized now while Greenhill can turn away less than perfect pets, what will they do with all the sick and stray animals that LCAS usually deals with? How will Greenhill maintain LCAS’s no kill status and will it really save the city as much money as everyone thinks?

To ensure that Greenhill maintains ethical standards an oversight committee needs to be created. The committee should be made up of members of the community and should meet regularly or before an animal is euthanized. It was announced recently that the Eugene Police Commission will assume this role. While this is a move in the right direction, will the new committee be as informed about animal welfare as LCAS’s current committee? Will this overlap of two very different fields become conflicted? Will adding more responsibilities to the police department lead to cutting corners later? These are some of the concerns myself and members of the animal welfare community have. 

Kelly Coulter, Eugene

 

SHRINKING OLDGROWTH

When most people envision Oregon, they picture swaths of pristine forest, salmon swimming up rushing rivers, and majestic mountains overlooking rustic logging towns and some of the most livable cities in the country. At least that’s what I pictured before I moved out here in 2005. It’s still a fairly accurate portrayal, but for how long?

Those pristine forests, some of which are part of less than 5 percent of U.S. native forests that have never been cut, are disappearing at an alarming rate. The Elliot State Forest, one of the largest remaining sections of the original temperate rain forest that once covered the coast from northern California all the way up through southern Alaska, has had the allowance for logging almost doubled this year.

My first child was conceived in that forest. On a recent family trip down to the Elliot, we saw a spotted owl, as well as a small black bear. I can only hope that my daughter will be able to share experiences like those with her children, but with all the clear-cutting and “thinning” operations going on down there, I’m not sure if they’ll be anything left for either those beautiful creatures or ourselves to enjoy.

Benjamin Pinkney, Eugene

 

 

NOT SO RELIABLE EWEB

EWEB’s intransigence in not allowing divergent views on medical and other wired or wireless smart meter controversies on its website is disingenuous. 

Emerging health issues, fires, explosions, privacy concerns, meter inaccuracy, hacking, smart grid insecurity and interference with pacemakers and other implants, amateur radios and wi-fi are absent.

If this smart technology is transparent, why not inform the public about pros and cons? 

Staff refused at two May smart meter sessions controlled by EWEB to ask two questions submitted: Why not allow divergent opinions about this controversial technology on EWEB’s website? This is a suggestion Families for Safe Meters has recommended for 10 months.

And why not include recent warnings by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine on smart meter hazards?

No member of the public, doctor or engineer, was on the panel of three “Let’s Talk Smart Grid” meetings.

A public records attempt to obtain copies of session evaluations was futile: EWEB “recycled” the 19 surveys. Per staff, respondents generally rated sessions a six on a scale of one to 10.

EWEB’s board needs to be paid like EPUD — can we afford not to pay a few thousand dollars to encourage competition for board seats (two positions were unopposed in recent election; no woman will be on the board). A $30 million to $45 million smart meter decision, almost rubber stamped, has been postponed, possibly permanently, by alert citizens.

Put the public in our publicly owned utility. Go to eweb.org to write to the five commissioners and general manager. For information on Families for Safe Meters, email kathy@kathyging.com or call 342-8461.

Kathy Ging, Eugene

 

 

PUNCHING HIPPIES

The extreme polarization in our country is a blessing in disguise, it shows the battle taking place in America and all you have to do is listen to the message of both sides to see which side you will land on. The boomer generation who are in their 50s and 60s must make changes that reflect our values. The term “punch the hippy” is playing out all over the country and even in our locally The generation of hippies who chose to brake away from the ways of their fathers tried to spread peace around the world. We promoted civil rights, women’s rights and people of color. We wanted more environmental controls, organic foods, alternative energy, and the end to the Vietnam War.

 For many decades many of the hippy generation lay low, off the radar and enjoyed their lives quietly. Now is the time to stand up for our generation and to elect people with like minds into political office.

 Women are still making 77 cents on the dollar that men make doing the same job. Feminism is not dead and hippy culture is alive and well, just look around at the Saturday Market and the local businesses that are run by hard-working people.

 So listen to the two sides. One side is driven by fear of change. Do we want the Tea Party and radical evangelicals to run this country? The progressives are inclusive and invite everyone to the table, the gay community, people of color, the young, and women. So what is so wrong with that?

 So let’s stop “punching the hippy” and next time you see witch hunts being done in our local government demand a loving, peaceful way for solutions. Is that asking for so much?

 Diane DeVillers, Eugene

 

BEST MONEY CAN BUY

I grew up believing that I lived in the greatest democracy in the world. Results from the Wisconsin recall election tell me I was wrong: I live in the greatest democracy money can buy for a few. If Scott Walker is our political canary-in-the-coal-mine, he’s wearing raptor’s wings, a buzzard’s head and thrives on toxic gases. His is the new face on the billion dollar bill that purchased a newly ordained plutocracy, a predatory regime that will slowly devour whatever those newly appointed — not elected — plutocrats decide is edible.

We will either get used to being told what little democracy actually resides within our Constitution, or we will take a long look at how foolish we have been about the transformation the document has suffered under faceless corporate rulers and their bribed political enablers – and then demand, not request, fundamental changes. 

If the legislative branch of government will not address these issues and the judicial branch continues to legislate new rules — as Citizens United does — then angry citizens are the only resource remaining to abolish the new dictatorship of purchased power. 

I recall Martin Luther King Jr.’s opposition to the Vietnam War: “If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.” The citizens of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria know the sacrifices needed to topple a regime. I wonder if Americans do.

Tom Erwin, Veneta

 

NO JUSTICE IN EUGENE

There is a problem with society when you have judges going beyond their call of duty and becoming judge, jury and executioner. Our system is failing when the first duty in society is justice for everyone, and that isn’t happening, at least not here in Eugene. One of the biggest lies every told to the American people is that you are innocent until proven guilty. What have we become? And let’s not forget that life begins to end the day we forget about things that matter (Martin Luther King Jr.). Wake up, America.

Gary Jenkins, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gary Jenkins tells us this letter is in regard to Judge Debra Vogt and the Maria Jenkins case involving an incident with a Eugene police officer and her arrest. 

 

DRONES ON THE PAYROLL

Perhaps we need to take a second look at some of the overstaffed and unnecessary state run programs when budget cut talks loom. I went to the employment/unemployment office in Eugene last week and was amazed at the number of drones. Have we really gotten so lazy we can’t go out and find our own jobs? Do we really need a hundred more ticks sucking the life-blood out of our economy? I don’t know what the budget is for that “service,” but I am sure it would go a long way toward making up for lost timber payments. Kinda makes you wonder what other unnecessary drones are lurking out there in the government sector.

David Reitz, Springfield