Eugene Weekly : Letters : 1.31.08


Regarding your Dec. 27 cover story on homelessness, I would like to respond by sharing a hopeful shelter model. On Nov. 15 the Corvallis Homeless Shelter coalition opened the doors of a former sorority building as a men’s cold weather shelter.

The shelter operates through March 15 with volunteers. Each week a different community organization staffs two or three greeters who open up the shelter at 7 pm and interact with guests for four hours. At 11 pm another volunteer arrives to accompany our only paid staff person who attends the shelter from 11 pm to 7 am. In addition, the organization of the week provides a snack for each evening. Granted, the capacity of this shelter is small; nevertheless, it is a viable community model.

Although most of the organizations supporting this model are faith-based, there is no proselytizing. The faith-based organizations represent a wide range of diverse communities that have come together to meet the shelter needs of those less fortunate. In addition to faith-based groups, other community organizations are welcome and have participated in the sheltering experience.

Actually, the model does more than shelter homeless men. The shelter puts the community in touch with each other. It provides opportunities for real-people-to-real-people interactions. Although the shelter is open for only four months, the acquaintances last longer. Sincere caring and concern, once individuals have allowed themselves to connect. is proving to be a powerful and hopeful force.

Aleita Hass-Holcombe, Corvallis



While I appreciate the difference in perspective that EW brings to our local media scene, compared to the R-G, I disagree with EW‘s characterization of our mayor as more moderate or even conservative. Mayor Piercy is offering Eugene almost more than we deserve, a mayor who knows the importance of bridging the ideological divides that are preventing us from moving forward on many critical issues.

Far too many of Eugene’s left-leaning activists seem to be holding onto a playbook that hasn’t been revised since 1969. While indeed we must defend our fair city from over-development, we also must work with those whom we don’t always agree. We have a seat at the table; now we have to use it wisely.

I have seen our mayor lead our city in a productive direction by avoiding using ideological labels and being willing to work with all the people we need to have a productive and sustainable city.

It is not always necessary to contradict the R-G, and in this case I think it was flat-out wrong and sounded even a little mean-spirited. I think all of us who want to see positive, sustainable change in our Emerald City should be a little kinder to those who give their heart and soul as Piercy does, for a job that offers so little compensation. A woman of her talents could be leading an organization that pays her much, much more. She has nothing to gain from this job she’s taken (and hasn’t tried to exploit her position for financial gain). I’d be surprised if Piercy had any political ambitions beyond Eugene at this point (though I’d be delighted to support her if she did).

We could at least appreciate our honest, ethical, compassionate, hard working, and (dare I say it) liberal leaders who actually get things done. We have few enough; let’s not drive them away.

Rose Wilde, Eugene



In regards to the Slant bit on Al Gore and global warming in the Jan. 10 EW: It seems to me that there should not even be a debate. I am not saying Global Climate Change (GCC) is really happening due to human influence or not. I do not even think I need to take a side to believe in a correct course of action. I just think that given even the slightest possible chance that it is happening, we should be doing all we can to prevent It. Period.

The worst case implications of GCC, if it turns out to be true and we do not curb it in time, may be so serious that all other causes and concerns pale. Worried about the forests? Forget it! We will be slaughtering the trees for fuel to stay warm and cook our food. Worried about the war in Iraq? Forget it! There will be countless wars over resources. Worried about urban sprawl? Forget it. We will be crowding in on each other due to major flooding and people displacement. You get my point.

So, what if it turns out there is not GCC? Well, then we thank our lucky stars. We tell the disbelievers they were right all along. We realize the preciousness of life. We deal with the economic implications, if any, of having taken action.

If it turns out to be true and we all do everything we can to lessen our impact on this small blue and green globe we call home — then we just might skirt a catastrophic experience. Taking action on an uncertainty is not really a bad thing. It might just save our hides. I personally like my hide. How about you?

Indigo Ronlov, Eugene



Eugene sports a lot of “green and “sustainable” liberals who dream of slightly re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic we’re riding. Mr. Eco-Village Rob Bolman (1/24), for example, whose vision is a light rail system.

Always an industrial solution; never mind that industrialism is steadily snuffing out the natural world and is the basis of the high-tech world with its mounting emptiness and desolation.

More mining, smelting, etc., more of the foundation for all that takes us further and further from reconnecting with the earth and each other. But rail is better than cars! And a slightly slower growing cancer is better than a faster moving one. How about a vision of no industrial cancer instead of promoting it?

John Zerzan, Eugene



What a great play — thought-provoking, skilled actors, and a fabulous location (Wildish Theater). So Far From Shore is an original play by retired psychotherapist Marty Cohen which deals with a very difficult subject — sexual child abuse. It’s a story about victims and survivors, about those who wound us and those who love us, and the mistakes we make as parents. Since approximately 12 percent of us have been abused, usually by an acquaintance or relative, it’s a topic which deserves our attention.

Please make time to see this compelling production. It’s at the Wildish Theater Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees through Feb. 2.

Lana Lindstrom, Eugene



A portion of the EW Slant column Jan. 17 begs a response. This is the portion referring to [John Kerry saying] Barack Obama can “bring people together.” (“Kumbaya”? Sounds a little African, doesn’t it?)

Really, do we need a “revolution” in this country to affect change? With mass assassinations and heads rolling in the streets?

The U.S. is still a democracy. We do things differently here. We need a president to bring all factions together, even the reprehensible ones, to achieve a consensus and make some progress in a positive direction to right a myriad of wrongs. Compromise is a practical necessity. What is wrong with a leader who can accomplish this?

Karen Ecker, Eugene



Especially to those who oppose the light rail trolley system, how about burning some calories instead of gasoline/liquid fuel for your health, the environment and world peace by riding a two-wheeler? It sounds like an excellent New Year resolution. As I chime in with one of my gym instructors, “Burn, baby, burn!”

Ceila (Starshine) Levine, Eugene



Did you know that according to a national estimate there are 750,000 homeless people on any given night? We need to do more to help the homeless because they have little education, horrible medical needs and no place to stay.

Many don’t go to school, so they can’t get smarter, and that definitely hurts our society. They don’t have insurance or medical help, so they could die if they get badly injured or sick. Most homeless people are forced to live under bridges and in bushes.

Although some people say that the homeless people did this to themselves, I think most of the time they are born into bad situations. We need to help homeless people, and a good start would be instead of spending millions of dollars to build new retail downtown, we should build a homeless shelter.

Mitchell Reese, Grade 7 – Kennedy Middle School



I am a seventh and eighth grade teacher at the Village School, where I’ve taught for the past six years. I have been a classroom teacher for over two decades. In that time I have seen several policy decisions that were intended to solve problems actually create more problems than they would solve. With all due respect, Superintendent Russell’s recommendation to displace the Village School from their current site in an attempt to solve the ongoing conflict between Eastside and Parker is one such policy that would create far more harm than good.

The Village School is a model of what the district strives for in its alternative schools. The school is well-loved and supported by its families, offering a truly unique curriculum and approach. We are a socio-economically diverse community with a Title I program that serves more than 40 percent of our students (who qualify for free or reduced meals). Our school’s commitment and approach to our racially and ethnically diverse community is outstanding. Bottom line: The Village School is accomplishing what the district would like its alternative programs to accomplish. Messing with this success by requiring a poorly conceived move is bad policy. Village School parents have spoken clearly in several past surveys and last year’s focus groups about the importance of a central location to their continued involvement with the school. More than half of our families live within the immediate area of the current Willard site. Many of our families are economically situated such that transporting their children to a distant site is not possible. It is ill-advised to consider moving any schools this year, until the long awaited comprehensive planning process is complete. Moving Eastside and Village (or any schools for that matter) might limit future options and/or cause targeted schools to endure an expensive, time-consuming move again next year. The prudent choice is to leave things be for this year. Attempting to solve the Eastside-Parker conflict should not involve displacing other schools and their communities. Over the past eight years, the Village School has become a model for what the charter school initiative intended. It is a thriving, neighborhood school, doing more with less, and should be recognized and supported for such.

Andy Traisman, Eugene



In the long eternal quest for female equality, a legislative act passed and signed by the governor was implemented on Jan. 1. It took the force of this legislation to require private health insurance to include in their plans some of the cost of birth control. It should come as no surprise to the reader that private health insurance plans had prolonged their unwillingness to provide this type of pharmaceutical equity for women under the probably guise that “abstinence” would accomplish the same thing, while simultaneously exalting Viagra, which private health plans willingly covered. As long as these types of antiquated Paleolithic blocks exist (primarily a male phenomena) against female equality, it will take state and federal legislation to create a sense of fairness and equal status for women.

Oliver Thornton, Eugene



One of the best things UO has going for it as far as social responsibility and sustainability is Holy Cow Café — the very thing a few administrators at UO’s student union decided behind closed doors to replace with the franchise Laughing Planet. They didn’t seem to seriously take into consideration the hundreds of signatures on a petition showing support for Holy Cow. And now they have a lot of people at UO upset and shocked that our only vegetarian restaurant on campus is being yanked out despite its popularity and cutting-edge sustainability practices. I wonder how many people in the administration who were in charge of deciding on the fate of UO’s vegetarian/vegan restaurant were actually vegetarian or vegan? Perhaps if they were, they would not replace a vegetarian restaurant with one that serves flesh. Where can the growing number of ethical vegetarians get a meal on campus without supporting a business that also sells flesh? I only hope that the administration is now willing to listen to the will of most of the campus consumers and change their decision in order to keep Holy Cow — a local and beloved campus icon.

Carrie Packwood Freeman, Eugene



I would like to give my support to Holy Cow Café. Holy Cow buys direct from Willamette Valley organic farmers and Organic Growers Company. When I moved to the Valley to work on an organic farm, I discovered a strong bond between restaurants and local producers, with Holy Cow leading in that connection. Few restaurants on the planet serve over 90 percent organic foods like the Holy Cow. Organic foods are grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, human waste or sewage sludge — testaments that restaurants serving conventionally grown crops cannot guarantee, especially when few imported foods are quality tested by the FDA. Owners Kathee and Anton have designed a fresh space, not to mention an atmosphere that delights in promoting issues in social justice, community and good stewardship. Holy Cow owners and staff do a commendable job of accounting for waste, from composting food scraps to recycling veggie oil into biofuel, recycling and donating extra foods to nonprofits and the Mission.

For 10 years they have continued to build customers, build family in a dedicated staff and offer lessons for all on how to manage a sustainable business. This year the café was given a sustainable business award while Kathee and Anton were recognized by Eugene Weekly as Happening People. Business is better then ever. This seems no time to void their contract. Laughing Planet (the franchise scheduled to move into Holy Cow’s space before September) is enjoyed by many, including fans of Holy Cow. They’ve got a great menu and atmosphere as well, but the two are not interchangeable. Laughing Planet does not, unfortunately, offer the range of organic selections that Holy Cow strives to make available. In a time when support for local, ecologically grown food is so critical, we would be wise to support the rare business that creates a demand for it. The space in the EMU is reserved for a vegan/vegetarian café, and that is exactly what Holy Cow is.

Managers of the EMU would like a café that also serves meat to take their place. Meat is not a part of a vegetarian or vegan repertoire, a well-known fact unless you include those of us sometimers who eat the occasional wild game or Mama’s homegrown chicken. Students who eat meat know where to find it; every other cafe in the EMU serves meat. From my heart, I would like to support Kathee, Anton and the Holy Cow business in their efforts to keep the space they have created at the EMU.

Amber N. Lippert, Eugene

Editor’s note: At press time, we’d received at least a dozen letters on this topic, all in favor of keeping Holy Cow Café in the EMU. We’ll try to fit in more next week.



I am tired of reading the word “fuck.” This is the fourth fucking time I have seen this. Fuck is a word used by someone who does know what else to say. When you use the word fuck, you put yourself at the same fucking level as someone who has a brain as small as a fucking pea.

When I was growing up it was fuck this and fuck that. Now that I am older, I try to refrain from using that word, and it disturbs me when I do. (But sometimes I do.) When I do fuck this and fuck that in a conversation, I am belittling myself, and I do not impress anyone that I am talking to.

I watch a movie, and in the movie they are fucking this and fucking that. Certainly the people who are making these movies have some degree of intelligence, but when they use the word fuck they minimize their intelligence level to zero.

The same applies to your paper. You have a certain level of intelligence and a certain amount of responsibility to keep this fucking word out of the public view. If you do not write on shit house walls, don’t allow fuck in your paper and that goes for that fucking Mexican too (No disrespect intended).

I would not normally use that word when writing to anyone, but I hope you see how repulsive this letter is when this word appears. I also hope you will not use this word again. If you do, I will write you another fucking letter.

Donovan Olney, Dexter