Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.18.07


I have a vision for downtown that was inspired by a recent trip to Ashland. There is a gorgeous wooded park right in the heart of downtown that draws people of all ages. It has a beautiful stream that runs through the park then right out into the city. All sorts of shops and restaurants have sprung up along its banks, allowing for streamside dining. The natural beauty draws you downtown. Wooden and stone bridges, steps and benches are everywhere. What an asset to the city!

I believe Mother Nature has the cure to our downtown dilemma. I would love to see a beautiful pond or water feature of some kind go into that big hole downtown. Something natural looking, surrounded by trees and greenery. Are there no creative local designers that could come up with something unique and natural and truly Eugene? Why not build a massive greenhouse-style park or green space for year round enjoyment? My kids and I would be there all winter!

Jennifer L. Walker, Junction City



I was in attendance at the Lil Wayne/Sean Kingston/Charlie Murphy/Fat Joe/ GreenState event put on by 94.9 Jamz, Eugene Weekly, EyeBeam Event Services and Cricket Wireless. I am SHOCKED that the promoters are not offering at least a 50 percent refund to the people who paid $60-plus to see one of the worst events I have ever attended. This event was abysmal.

The woman in the ticket office told us that there were four headliners so the show was still going on. This is absolutely outrageous. If this were the case then why was Lil Wayne’s name twice the size of all the other “headliners” on every piece of promotional material for the event? 94.9 Jamz should have canceled the concert and offered a full refund when they found out the true headliner of the show would not be attending. Instead of making the obvious ethical decision, they continued to hype Lil Wayne’s performance all night long. The DJs and opening acts and the people in the ticket office were spreading the misinformation that Wayne was going to show up and that he was “out of jail heading to Eugene.”

As for the other acts, GreenState was terrible. There was a good reason they were booed off stage. Fat Joe only performed a few songs and with little enthusiasm, and Sean Kingston didn’t even try to lip-sync to his recorded audio. Pathetic at best.

Who gets to pocket the money that Wayne would have gotten had he showed up? Even if Wayne was paid up front for his performance, it is on the promoters to recoup that money from him and in the meantime settle up with the outraged customers who they misled.

I for one will never attend a 94.9 Jamz sponsored event unless this situation is rectified. I will also refuse to spend money on or patronize any of the other companies that had their names on the screens behind the artists. These include EyeBeam Event Services, EW and Cricket Wireless.

The event promoters should be ashamed of the way they handled the situation. Please show your patrons that you are not the thieving and lying group of corporate slime that you have made yourselves out to be: Give people a 50 percent refund for their tickets and work in the future to make ethical decisions in your promotions.

Zachary Payne, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: EW was not involved in any aspect of the management of this show, including ticket sales.



Consider these three dilemmas. First, UO football games could generate so many potential drunks that the Eugene Police Department estimates that it would require 40 extra policeman to deal with the lawbreakers if drinking is banned on parking lots surrounding Autzen Stadium. Second, Lane County is desperately short of funds. Third, Phil Knight is so awash in cash that he can waste it on a basketball palace. How about this for a solution? Allow drinking in all parking lots near Autzen. Authorize Lane County to police the area and use the fines to fund county programs. Require Phil Knight to pay the fines of the drunks because, after all, he is the apparent de facto president of the university.

It is reasonable to assume that at least one percent of the 40,000-plus attendees at a game could be arrested for public intoxication. Assuming a minimum fine of $100, this would add about $40,000 per game to the county coffers. At a more likely estimate of 10 percent drunk per game, this amounts to $400,000 per game or about $2 million a year! Of course the fines are likely to be larger because there will undoubtedly be additional charges related to littering, resisting arrest, DUI, urinating in public, etc. Presto, three problems solved.

Maybe some of the city councilors are smarter than they look in voting to allow drinking around Autzen! OK, sheriff’s department, saddle up!

Bob Olsen, Sisters



Since February, the United Food and Commercial Workers have been trying to negotiate a new contract with Safeway, Fred Meyer and Albertsons. After 16 meetings, we have come back with little to agree on.

The employers insist on concessions from us regarding vacation eligibility, loss of seniority for absence due to illness or injury off the job, store visitation rights for our representatives and grievance and arbitration issues, and now they want to be open on Christmas Day.

At a time when all the companies are making record profits, and their CEOs are making between $7 million and $12 million a year (not to mention the millions they are getting in perks and benefits), we feel it’s only fair to share some with the workers. We haven’t had a raise in more than three years, and our wages have only increased $.50 since 2001!

The next time you are shopping in one of our stores, please approach the store manager and ask them why this contract is taking so long.

Bruce York, Eugene



Saturday, Sept. 29, my friends and I attended an amazing show at the McDonald Theatre. Dark Star Orchestra performed the same set as the Grateful Dead did in Veneta in 1972. It was a night filled with great music, good people and positive vibes — until the end of the night. As we left the concert hall, a middle-aged woman looked at us and said, “You don’t belong here.”

At first we thought she was joking, as if she knew one of us and was greeting us. We smiled and said hello. She then said, “No, seriously, you don’t belong here. What are you, students?” We were bewildered.

I’ll be the first to admit we’re not the average Dead fans; we’re clean-cut young students who wear name brand clothes, polos and dress shirts. We fit the description many might call “preps.” My friends and I have and show nothing but love and respect for all people. For this woman to say we don’t belong simply because of our clothes, age or educational status is absurd.

Events like these are and should be open to all walks of life, especially at a concert that plays the music of a group that was about promoting love and peace between all people.

While we were too stunned to respond at the Dark Star concert, we have these words for the hateful Grateful Dead fan. Our dress or age gives you no right to judge us, and it is you who doesn’t belong with your closed mind, negative attitude and hateful words. Life is too short to be angry and hateful towards others. Live, laugh and love. Spread peace and embrace your neighbor.

Will Nagy, Eugene



I attended the public information meeting for the WOPR (Western Oregon Plan Revisions — the BLM’s new proposed forest management plan) on Sept. 19 at the Eugene District BLM office and was disappointed to see less than a dozen concerned citizens at the meeting. Could it be that people just don’t realize what is at stake? If that is the case, here are just some of the atrocities the BLM is proposing:

• A return to clearcutting on public lands after the forest practice has been banished for nearly 15 years. If that isn’t bad enough, the BLM is gunning for no green tree retention (i.e. no tree left standing) on these very clearcuts.

• A 50 percent reduction in stream buffer areas on all streams. These buffer areas serve as corridors for spotted owl movement across the fragmented landscape and maintain stream health for spawning salmon populations.

• A 25 percent reduction in stands managed as late-successional, structurally complex forests, areas known to be critical habitat for the federally endangered spotted owl and marbled murrelet.

• A halt to the survey and manage approach for the marbled murrelet. Numerous studies estimate the decline of the murrelet population to be 3 to 6 percent per year. The BLM’s answer: Decrease murrelet habitat on public lands consistently over the next 50 years.

The BLM says these changes are necessary to provide funding to local counties. But this proposal would only provide Lane County with 4 percent of its annual budget needs.

Public comment for the WOPR ends on Nov. 9. If you want your voice heard, now is the time.

Kiana Neal, Eugene



Every citizen who pays taxes and all the soldiers who follow orders are accomplices to vast and various crimes against humanity. Are all of them either criminals or slaves?

Bernard Nickerson, Eugene



In response to Chris Williamson’s letter (“Progressive Fantasy,” 9/20), I am using my brain, sir, and have been using it for a long time in an effort to prevent myself from ignorantly supporting unethical business. I congratulate you on deciding to use yours.

You’ve come to your senses and realized that yes, businesses right here in our very own U.S. have been getting away with the use of slave labor. But then you go on to say that we need to “help these people stay in their country of origin by helping to rid the corruption that exists in these primarily Latin American countries.” That is exactly what the market economy is supposed to do. But what is supposed to happen and what actually happens are two different things. “Trickle-down” economics turns out to actually be “greed” economics.

For decades, corporations have been using corrupt leaders as a means to increase profits. Corrupt governments profit. Corporations profit. And the people of these foreign countries? Well, to put it very lightly, they get the short end of the stick, as usual.

We need to think with our hearts as well as our brains. Stop fantasizing that corporations that have products made in foreign countries are just trying to help their economics, and start realizing that if businesses here can get away with using slave labor then it must be a whole lot easier elsewhere. The corporations realized that long ago.

Several years ago I decided that I could no longer knowingly contribute to unethical businesses by buying their products.

Let’s start using our brains indeed, but let’s continue using them as well!

Tracy Lambrecht, Eugene



The League of Women Voters of Lane County supports Ballot Measure 49, legislation that will modify the unexpected consequences of Measure 37, the initiative that voters approved in 2004. Promoters of Measure 37 said it would give elderly grandparents the ability to build a home on their property for their children.

However, most of the more than 7,500 Measure 37 claims are not for single-family homes for grandchildren but for massive developments.

That’s why the League urges voters to approve Measure 49 on Nov. 6, so Measure 37 can be modified before construction on large developments begins. Once concrete is poured, the land will never be the same again.

It is true that Measure 37 allows state and local governments to deny waivers for claims by compensating claimants. But that provision is of little use because claimants have requested $15 billion in monetary compensation from budget-challenged cities, counties and the state and ultimately from taxpayers.

A “yes” vote on Ballot Measure 49 will let that grandmother build the place promised by the promoters of Measure 37, but will not allow claimants to override current zoning laws for large developments on high-value farm and forest lands and in limited-groundwater areas.

Ballot Measure 49 will protect the Oregon we love.

Pat Hocken, President, League of Women Voters of Lane County



Latest news from southern California, where land developers wag the dog, is that water rationing is on the way. In an arid state with nearly 40 million people, developers continue to carve up the land and then — comfortable with their built-in lobby known as the Department of Water Resources — demand additional northern California water for thousands more homes and strip malls.

Oregon has always been smarter than that. At least until 2004, when it was caught with its guard down. That’s when corporate land developers and their real estate cheering section scared Oregon voters into approving a cancerous initiative known as Measure 37. As a result, for the first time in decades, Oregon’s sensible protection of farm and forestlands became vulnerable to a California-style development mentality.

But there is good news. Soon, voters will get a chance to approve Measure 49, which will clean up the dirty corners of Measure 37 — protecting the rights of small landowners while reminding corporate developers they’ll have to find ways of reaping profit other than plastering farm and forest lands with homes, strip malls and gravel pits as far as the eye can see.

Years ago, the Los Angeles Times wrote a huge article on Oregon’s innovative, progressive and intelligent statewide land use planning regulatory process. It gave hope to millions of Californians that there was at least one state where corruption of the earth was not a given.

A “yes” vote on Measure 49 next month will return Oregon’s land use planning to its respected level of sanity and conscience.

Paul Wertz, Eugene



On a recent move to Eugene, I found myself searching for a job and a little motivation. And while I haven’t found a job, I have found George W. Bush as my source of motivation. It may seem odd, but a close examination of his career and profession has given me a sigh of relief, endless optimism and the will to live a life resembling that of superman.

Under President Bush’s leadership, I have not supported a single one of his initiatives, yet I am a true believer in him. Arguably, he lacks every necessity and requirement that most would deem critical as being president of the U.S. His outcomes have been disastrous, catastrophic and possibly apocalyptic. Everything he touches breaks. How did he rise to power? Who is this man? He is no more intelligent or tactful than the grub living under my steps. He reminds me of myself. Yet he controls a great deal of our interests. I control nothing. I want to be him. I want to be a good version of George W. Bush. We all can be.

For this reason I am formally demanding President Bush to skip the book tour following his term and instead become America’s greatest motivational speaker ever to have lived. Imagine huge crowds in total silence taking detailed notes as he reveals his basic skills, secrets, sound advice, catch-phrases, -isms, etc., and speaks on how to go from living in darkness and dumbness under the steps to fine dining and signing important documents in the White House.

This man is motivational material! His profound influence as a traveling motivational guest speaker would make America unstoppable. Success through failure in high places is good medicine for the unemployment force. We need inspiration. We need motivation. Bring it on! If George W. Bush can be president of the U.S., then I can find it in me to be … whatever I damn well want to be.

Stephen Sandberg, Eugene



Thanks, Timberhill Corp., for buying up a ridiculous amount of pristine landscape and slowly destroying it for profit. This is progress, but boy is it painful to watch. The hillside I gazed upon as a child while riding my bike up the hill from Kings is now being turned into wretched sprawl. Farther up the same path, quiet woods have already been turned into yet more houses. Riding the path to its completion at Chip Ross Park leaves you again with the feeling that Corvallis is developing in the wrong direction.

A church at the foot of the park? I’m not so sure God would smile as His earth was being crumpled into a useless ball of human excrement in His name. Why aren’t we enacting laws that protect our last wild places? Can we (the city) not buy back some of this land and set it aside for future generations? Why does everything have to be developed? Why do we have to keep developing everything everywhere? When is enough enough? Probably never.

Brandon Goldner, Corvallis



Should Hillary Clinton win the 2008 election and then be re-elected, this will represent nearly 30 years of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton Regime. Jeb, waiting in the wings! Josef Stalin had a longer reign, as did Caesar Augustus. I can’t think of any other. Franco in Spain? Hitler only lasting 12 years! In the land of the “free” we have just two families running it all! Two families, one regime, for a third of a century.

It is said that things begin as an ideal, become a business and then degenerate to a racket! Our electoral system has simply degenerated into that, a racket, a gimmick, scam! Rigged elections and jimmied voting machines no longer provoke outrage or even surprise. Here in the sweet land of liberty, elections have virtually predetermined outcomes where the candidate with the most money nearly always wins. A two-party dictatorship where only the insiders with the real big bucks can even hope to play! A two-party sham where more often than not people vote against, not for, a candidate.

Third parties are legislated out, minimized or frightened off. What ever happened to Ross Perot? Perot got 21 percent of the vote and was never heard from again. Why? Candidates not toeing the establishment line are regularly branded as “outsiders” (Kucinich), “rogues” (Mike Gravell) or “longshots” like Ron Paul. They are minimized, caricaturized and ridiculed by a “free” press! Yes, here we do have a choice, but a limited, contrived choice unlike obvious dictatorships. Make no mistake, however; the choice afforded is a very limited choice, and in the case of the presidency apparently a choice between just two families. This is really scary!

Joe Mogus, Philomath



“Carbon Loser” (10/4) had some minor flaws in the carbon (C) reporting. 594 MMBF (million board feet) roughly equates to 300,000 tons of C removed from the forest, and let us assume that all areas were clearcut and necessitate reforestation.

However, not all C removed is emitted to the atmosphere. In fact, approximately 35 percent (105,000 tons) is converted to wood products and stays sequestered for up to 100 years or longer. Another 35 percent becomes bioenergy, partially offsetting fossil fuel consumption. Even if we do not assume that wood energy is C neutral in terms of emissions (which it eventually will be if the harvested area is reforested), energy from wood contributes significantly less emissions than fossil fuels.

That leaves 30 percent (90,000 tons) of C emitted to the atmosphere by way of decomposition or burning without energy production. A typical Douglas fir stand with an age of 50 years can store approximately 125 tons of C per acre. Therefore, only 720 acres of the area harvested needed to be reforested in 2006 to store 90,000 tons of C in 2056. Now, I’m guessing that 594 MMBF was not harvested from only 720 acres — that would equal 825,000 BF per acre! Starting to sound a lot like net positive C storage?

The forest ecosystem alone cannot frame C emissions to the atmosphere. Forest C sequestration must consider all parts of the C chain, such as: trees, forest products, biomass, detritus and soil; the processes of growth, photosynthesis, respiration, mortality, litter production; and disturbances. The atmosphere doesn’t care where the C is sequestered.

Finally, we can all be happy that our trip across the country is only about half as bad (but still bad) as it originally suggested. Some 100,000 cars driving cross-country roundtrip equates to about 20 million gallons of fuel. Gasoline has about 5.5 pounds of C per gallon. That basic math works out to be 55,000 tons of C, or 200,000 tons of CO2. If reducing our carbon footprint is a top priority, maybe it is time we as a society demand to be informed, and not misinformed?

Michael Vanderberg, Corvallis



I share your frustration, Rheychol Paris (9/13), regarding the continuing onslaught of our Coast Range forestlands, and I also desire “to take steps to protect what is left.” Much of that devastation you’ve seen, however, has actually been done on private lands, not public, and the laws regulating private land “harvesting” of trees are paper thin in Oregon. Is there a politician out there willing to step up to the plate to introduce even the most tenuous of legislative reform? Doesn’t look that way, and environmental groups in Oregon are focused solely on public land oversight, especially that tiny percentage of old growth that’s hanging on by a thread.

The private land situation is the 900-pound gorilla in the room nobody knows what to do with. From my Highway 36 home in the foothills of the Coast Range, I witness a logging truck going by, literally, every 10 minutes, and those logs on board are from private lands, not public. If any readers of the EW have suggestions that can help assuage my sense of hopelessness on the situation, I would love to hear them.

Bob Berman, Cheshire


Win in the Middle East? The Great Game isn’t about winning!

From the days of the Roman Empire there has been a political awareness that running or owning a country was more expensive than instilling social chaos, then bribing local warlords with arms in exchange for the resources you need. Because these puppet rulers are foreign-supported, they will be unpopular and dependent on the empire’s arms and support to stay in power. Look at Israel under the Romans. Herod was a flunky. Look at every petty despot in South America and Asia we have supported.

We don’t want peace or victory — we need a nation too weak to say “No” and make it stick.

The end game is to “manage” Middle East oil so we get oil consistently enough and just a little cheaper so we can maintain a 1 or 2 percent cost of manufacturing advantage over the other nations of the world until the oil dries up. That 1 or 2 percent manufacturing advantage doubles by the time a product hits the street, and with U.S. distribution and advertising muscle, that little gap means we can muscle the global market.

It amazes me this ancient and well-understood game is never explained in the press. Nothing about this is a mystery. The real problem is in public relations here in the U.S. where a messy affair big enough to make evening hour news means losing elections and the ability to wax rich from the gifts and deals the people in power can deal.

Remember, refusing to let any other nation control Middle East oil was the heart of the so-called “Carter Doctrine”!

Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove