Eugene Weekly : Letters : 1.29.09


My friends and I were hanging out the other night and one of them brought up your newspaper. It seems that no one in my group is a regular reader. You always report on some boring city growth problem, the Eugene Police Department or run some rant from some regular letter writer that uses your newspaper like it’s their personal platform to pontificate. Nothing of interest for us 20-somethings.

Well, last week Obama became president. Everyone I know was excited and everybody was talking about Obama. I saw your Jan. 15 issue and thought, “Right on, something interesting to read.” I picked it up.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when I opened to the story and there it was: Rants from regular letter writers pontificating freely. Nothing about the election from a news perspective. Nothing about our first African-American president. Nothing about the inauguration. Nothing newsworthy.

You figured out the formula. You can wrap dog poop in Obama, and somebody will pick it up. Consider these six Lane students duped.

Jennifer Crowley, Eugene


“Top 25 Censored Stories” (1/8) includes a token 25th position for the story of Eliot Spitzer’s character assassination — astonishingly the only story on the list about the meltdown.

William Engdahl wrote the story for the Centre for Research on Globalization (Toronto), and that website perhaps above all others has continuously carried analysis that if disseminated widely would result in much needed higher levels of political-economic literacy at a time with great potential for public uptake of such information.

Instead, people who one might expect of having adequate background and perspective to know otherwise cling nevertheless to “Hope” and miss the big picture and implications of corporate statism being this rogue nation’s modus operandi. For that matter, a story that should have qualified is the one about Obama’s public relations apparatus having portrayed their donor base as twice as large as it really was, hiding the role of repeat donors, large donors and bundlers and giving the still dearly held impression that “my” small donation ushered in a new era.

The neo-liberal acolytes in Obama’s economic policy inner sanctum set this debt-fraud disaster in motion 15 years ago on behalf of the Wall Street titans who vetted Clinton — and Obama.  

Robert Beal, Eugene


Sometimes I have trouble detecting the true definition of irony. I spotted a man on West 11th holding a sign reading “homeless” as he was wearing a bright orange Home Depot windbreaker. Izzat irony?

I’m always glad to come home to this town when I’ve been away, except when I see that sign on I-105 which reads “Entering Eugene.” Nothing personal, people, I just don’t swing that way. Izzat irony?

I was staring at the building that houses The Good Guys, “audio/video specialists,” and noticed there was an antenna on the roof. Izzat irony?

When I drop an iron on my knee … OK, I’ll stop.

Glenn Leonard, Eugene


It is annoying and offensive that you chose to publish the “odd email” from “David Minor’s Ghost” asking for the David Minor ghost bike memorial at the corner of 13th & Willamette to be removed. Apparently its author thinks the memorial is just generating negative energy or something. I’m sure the person who wrote it is well-intentioned, but that doesn’t change that it’s obnoxious, self-important, hippie-dippy bullshit. 

I hope that memorial — which continues to touch those of us who knew David every single day — stays forever, but the only people who should have any say about that whatsoever are his family, not random wingnuts.

Brenton Gicker, Eugene


Anyone who seriously believes that “our long national nightmare is over” (cover, 1/15) must be smoking a bunch of that “hemp.” Most of us are screwed, or soon will be. Those who did the screwing are still in Washington or receiving federal bailout money. The fact that Massachusetts voters re-elected Barney Frank — one of the architects of the screwing — shows that a lot of Americans still haven’t connected the dots. I guess comedian Ron White is correct: “You can’t fix stupid!”

Jerry Ritter, Springfield


I emailed Emerald Valley Kitchen after reading Lee De Veau’s letter (1/22), to let them know that my family would no longer purchase its products if the plant is moved out of Eugene. I heard back from the plant manager who informed me that they haven’t received a date yet as to when the move may take place and urged me to continue buying the products so that Monterey Gourmet Foods can see that EVK is still receiving a lot of support from Eugeneans. 

So let’s give them all the support we can! 

Sheree Walters, Eugene


I bought an American flag last week. I displayed it on our deck rail for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and for Inauguration Day.

I am adding some words: “We Dreamed. We Hoped. We Worked. Yes, We Can! Yes, We Will!” 

I am 63 years old. I have never owned an American flag before. I have never worn or displayed one before. I have never wanted to do so.

We are dreaming and hoping and working to believe, now, that we are entering a new era. Our country can live up to its principles.  Our government can conduct itself with dignity and thoughtfulness in the world. We can, for the first time or again, feel proud to be U.S. citizens.

What a remarkable time! How lucky I feel to be a part of it! How amazed and pleased I am to finally be able to celebrate my land.

Darnell Rudd Mandelblatt, Eugene


As a parent of a young child, I find that being alert to potential danger is an ongoing challenge. Many safety issues are apparent, some less recognizable, and others downright deceptive. Certain toys are an example of the latter. With numerous reports of toxins detected in children’s toys and other products, parents must be cautious about what their kids play with. Lead is well known for damaging the nervous system, while PVC and phthalates in many kinds of plastic are increasingly understood to damage the liver and kidney, disrupt hormone function and cause cancer. New laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act are a step forward in reducing the amount of toxins permitted in products. 

I’m grateful that the Oregon Toxics Alliance is working hard to increase awareness of toxins in children’s toys. When OTA organized a toy-testing day at the Science Factory in December, I seized the opportunity to have dozens of my daughter’s toys examined. Using a device that measures molecular vibrations, testers attempted to detect eight toxic chemicals, including lead, cadmium and mercury. To my dismay, about three-fourths of the items I screened contained at least one of these toxins, and any trace of heavy metals or other toxins in children’s toys is unacceptable to me.

I now intend to test my daughter’s toothbrushes, hairclips and eating utensils in addition to other toys and recent holiday gifts. OTA will be leading more toy testing days at the Home & Garden Show (March 12-15). The cost per screened toy is nominal, with proceeds helping OTA raise awareness of this important issue and further efforts to minimize our exposure to toxins.

 Kurt Kamin, Eugene


Welcome to Eugene — city of the arts and outdoors — that is if you have a license or permit, obey each law to the letter, don’t ride your bike through a stop sign, don’t play your fiddle on the mall.

Today on my bike ride I had two contrasting experiences of Eugene and Springfield, which made me glad I live in Springfield (even though I covet the Eugene library).

On the UO campus I saw a traffic sting with at least three police officers giving out traffic tickets as fast as they could to bicyclists and drivers, and probably pedestrians and hover-arounds if they could. One was on a bike, one in a cruiser and one in an unmarked police car. This was at 15th and Agate. I guess it was a particularly slow day for crime. Unfortunately when I have had to report a crime, it was not on such a day. I have had to wait for hours and been told how short-staffed the police department is. 

Scene two: I am riding past the Prefontaine Trail behind Autzen Stadium and I see Animal Control giving a nice jogger and their dog a ticket. There was not another person in sight, so I’m sure there was no altercation between the dog and another dog or person.  

Scene three: In Springfield, I see a Willamalane worker engaged in pleasant conversation with a citizen while petting their dog on the bike path. How neighborly. What a feeling of community it evoked in me. Eugene felt like a police state this morning. 

Dana Vion, Springfield



Nathan Tublitz wrote a insightful and well researched guest commentary for the R-G recently (1/4) about the pitfalls of the Nike sports spending “arms race” at UO. It is unfortunate that educators are diverted from class-related duties to research and write about subjects that should have been covered by R-G reporters. 

Many in our community — including neighbors who lost property for the arena by UO eminent domain — have noticed a extreme slant in R-G arena “coverage” in favor of the arena. The end result is that commentaries like the one Tublitz wrote read like investigative journalism and articles by reporters at the R-G read like commentaries. If the R-G had corrected this slant in their coverage favoring the Nike sports spending “arms race,” UO eminent domain activity would not be as out of control and “sustainable” as it is now. 

Finally, there is the issue of Kulongoski publicly supporting the Nike arena. In November of 2006 The Oregonian reported that he received a $187,000 donation from Nike. That is something no reporter has questioned Kulongoski about. In my view that trade is something called bribery. With the cuts to essential programs Kulongoski is now proposing his Nike-related sports spending spree at UO is truly unforgivable. 

For more information about Nike-related problems at the UO and how the mainstream media enables them, visit “″

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene