Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.15.07


The naysayers have spoken, so get used to saying, “Goodbye, downtown development.” The next big news will be Beam and KGW pulling out of the project.

Can’t blame them. Would you put your money on the line if others are limiting the potential on your investments? Eugene then will have to be very lucky to get another opportunity like this. The word gets around in developers’ circles.

The naysayers call themselves “progressives.” My dictionary says: progressive = moving forward: advancing.

They are thinking progressively all right, for advancing their own profits and stifling competition. Because that what it’s all about. They only want progress in downtown if it doesn’t hurt their own wallet. We can’t have another grocery store or natural food store downtown. Gosh, people might choose to shop there. We can’t have people go to another art movie theater; otherwise they are not forced to watch foreign movies in this old dusty place by the university. We need to keep the rents low for nonprofits in downtown. The naysayers have confused voters by misinforming them about the true costs of urban renewal. Guess where I won’t set my foot in anymore: starts with K, S and B.

I still can vote with my wallet. So can you.

This development was a big chance for Eugene to make a “great” downtown. To get something “great” one has to think “great.” As it is now, Eugene downtown is, mildly said, “uninspiring.” It is unappealing to shoppers, potential tenants and especially tourists.

Isabell Norman, Eugene



Dear Phil: Is it a gift, loan or what?

Some of you may not have noticed that the proposed financing for the new UO basketball arena has funding coming from state of Oregon Bonds partially backed by interest payments from the Knight “gift.”

At the recent meeting of the State Board of Higher Education a question was asked as to whether the Knight funds could be used to pay principal or just interest on the bonds. The UO president said that the terms were yet to be worked out. Two points are relevant here. First, bonds are a much more costly form of finance since they involve interest payments over time, as well as the construction cost of the arena. Are the Knight funds only “on loan” in the sense that they cannot be used to build the arena but only to pay interest on state of Oregon bonds? Second, to the extent that state bonds are used to finance the arena there is a public subsidy going to the program because state bonds used for this purpose cannot be used for other state or university programs. The reason is because these bonds “use up” some state borrowing capacity.

If the UO is in the dire financial predicament they claim, why are they asking the state to divert borrowing capacity to the “financially independent” athletic department? There is little or no evidence that athletic programs benefit academic programs. Why the subsidy?

Robert Olsen, economist, Eugene



I was a big fan and supporter of EW, until you decided it was humorous to post a very mean-spirited category (10/25) on the “Worst Service in Eugene.” How ignorant for you to attack local businesses which happen to advertise in your publication. Does it make you feel good to know that you have now blemished the résumés of some very hard working people? And for what? Shame on you, and I hope you can still savor your next coveted tater tot without a big dose of karmic heartburn.

Jessica Dorff, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Just a reminder that voting in the Best of Eugene readers’ poll is by our readers, not our staff.



Because of local activism, editorials and columns on these pages, the work of Eugene photojournalist Paul Jeffrey and such outreach efforts as the community schoolkit and efficient stove projects, our county is probably a cut above most in its knowledge of the humanitarian crisis still being waged in Darfur, Sudan. What may be less clear to citizens is the role China plays in perpetuating this debacle. And, as China prepares to host the Olympics — a powerful symbol of international peace and brotherhood — it is failing to do that which is within its power to help end the genocide in Darfur!

China sells arms to the government of Sudan and backs the Khartoum regime by purchasing 70 percent of the country’s oil exports. In its position on the U.N. Security Council, China has not only watered down all efforts to deploy the robust peacekeeping force that has been outlined but has also opposed sanctions against the government as it continues to engage in human rights violations. As the situation for Darfuri refugees has worsened, the Sino-Sudanese ties have only grown closer.

Locally, we are asking citizens to participate in a petition drive asking President Hu Jintao, as Sudan’s primary trading partner, to use his position to reverse these practices. We urge county residents to download this petition at and circulate it among friends, communities of faith and conscience, and civil groups.

Americans, parents and grandparents, have not been complacent when Chinese- made toys have endangered their children. This is not a time for complacency when the endangered children are not our own.

Our efforts to keep this crisis in the spotlight bring hope to the people of Darfur.

“One People, One World”?

Marti Berger, Member, Lane County Darfur Coalition



Regarding the (beep) aforementioned letter in (beep) criticism of Dan Pegoda’s cartoon, (beep) I am saddened that his work (beep) was taken so (beep) seriously.

Living near a (beep) set of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (beep) and knowing some visually impaired folks, I (beep) appreciate the devices — even though (beep) they didn’t prevent a pedestrian (beep) from being hit by (beep) a car recently at that intersection.

I (beep) also acknowledge the (beep) irritation that comes from (beep) hearing those things making an (beep) audio version of (beep) water torture.

Oh, eh, (beep) pardon me a moment … (Whoosh! THWACK! BEEeeeppp …)

Thank you for indulging (beep? … crunch!) me in this bit of literary performance art.

G. B. Koerner, Eugene



We were thrilled to have Fairbanks Gallery (OSU Department of Art) mentioned in your Best of Eugene issue (10/25). As gallery director, I’d like to let you know that your kind words and acknowledgement were heartwarming and most appreciated. Over the years we have been honored to host a number of extraordinary artists, including; Bill Viola, Sue Coe, Philip Pearlstein, Rick Bartow, Wayne Thiebaud, Jerry Uelsmann, Ruth Bernhard, and Jacob Lawrence, to name a few.

Our gallery program is now complemented with our recently formed Visiting Artists & Scholars Lecture program, now in its fourth year, which has sponsored free public lectures by Do-Ho Suh, Bill Viola, Sue Coe, Philip Pearlstein, Harrell Fletcher, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Ann Hamilton, Marian Abramovic, Douglas Crimp and Rebecca Belmore, to name only a few. Maintaining a program so rich in internationally renowned artists is a substantial task, and our Art Department’s VAS committee deserves kudos and recognition for their passion and hard work in making this program so successful.

Our exhibits and lectures are free and open to the public. We maintain an email notification list that the public can sign up for by sending an email to and including “subscribe” in the subject area, and their name in the text area.

Thanks again for your coverage and your continual attention to the numerous venues of fine art, music, dance, theater and various combinations.

Douglas Russell, Director Fairbanks Gallery, OSU Department of Art



What bothered me was not the justice of Chuck Adams’ criticism of the Springfield Mayor’s Show (10/18) but the fact that he had to fire off his cannon at a good-spirited community art exhibit.

I am certain he could find a subject more worthy of his enormous talent.

Dennis Galloway, Eugene



Howcum the 6th Street Grille is on 6th AVENUE? Howcum 13th is an avenue everywhere in Eugene except at Franklin, where it’s a street?

Howcum there’s a sign near the train station pointing us to “Amtrac”?

Howcum middle-aged guys insist on jogging in really short shorts around Amazon Park? Do they really believe they are members of the ’77 Trail Blazers? BTW, guys — those are women’s shorts you’re wearing.

Howcum there’s a traffic sign near the Eugene Mission at 1st and Blair that reads “No Turn Around at this Point”? Howcum some people manage to notice little annoying things around town and then get their rant published in EW?


Glenn Leonard, Eugene



I applaud Congressman DeFazio for his cover antiwar statement (11/1) but I have decided to give it more teeth [with italicized inserted words]:

I am gravely concerned about the shitty justification for military action in Iran and reports that the plan to attack is in advanced rages. This is familiar criminal territory for the Bush administration.

They used the same devious strategies to drive us into war crimes in Iraq … I do not intend to let Congress fail the American people by authorizing criminal mass murder a second time.

Bob Saxton, Eugene



Recently writers have spoken of the disastrous war in Iraq. I must take the opposite position and say that this war is going exactly as planned. This war is not about freedom for Iraq or the battle against terrorism but is a smokescreen. With public attention being focused hysterically on the “war on terror” by the Republican leadership and right wing media, no one is watching as corporate America rewrites environmental, tax, regulatory, labor and oversight laws, shifting the flow of capital to fill fewer and fewer pockets. The deck is stacked ever more strongly against working families. How greedy are these people?

One need but follow the profits of this war to discover whether this nation’s policies financially benefit one political party or one class. Look at the no-bid contracts given to Bush and Cheney cronies. Look at the billions of dollars “missing” in the corrupt quagmire. And, by invading and occupying a nation of feuding tribes, Bush has ensured years of war and profit taking for his corporate masters. Dollars über alles!

As food for thought, I offer the following: Hess, Goering, and those other German officials convicted and executed during the Nuremberg trials were not convicted of being the leaders of the Nazi party or of involvement in the millions of civilian deaths surrounding the Holocaust and the occupation of Europe. Rather they were convicted of and executed for “planning and waging an aggressive war.” New trials, anyone?

Kenneth A. Wilson, Springfield



There is no exit strategy for Iraq and never will be as the real mission continues to be geopolitical presence and domination of gas and oil regions. Iran and the entire Middle East fall into this category as policy since the days of Henry Kissinger and before.

Our gilded age dynasty rulers and their minions are not true leaders and only speak for their narrow interests. Rhetorical manipulations of propaganda, superstition and bold-faced lies hold us and our ecosystems all hostage as one more expendable resource for a massively unstable lifestyle.

Rule by denial and false claims of god, patriotism and freedom (as roughshod exploitation) are cooking the golden goose for us all. As petro-based infrastructure collapses to massive environmental calamity and general socio-economic poverty, privatized neofeudalism and neofascism are steadily filling the tragic gaps.

Leave the competition and wars of short-term domination. Only honest insight and common resolution can create the will and vision of long-term partnership to truly work together for real change.

A rising tide of basic truth will either guide or kill us as a civilization and life form.

Ralph Penunuri, Corvallis



In 2000, Afghanistan’s production of the global opium/heroin supply was 70 percent. In 2005, it was 87 percent; in 2006, 92 percent.

This steady increase in annual poppy harvests has occurred despite the country’s occupation by U.S. military and coalition forces since 2001. In fact, these harvests can be seen as a direct result of U.S. intelligence agencies overseeing the distribution routes for this very lucrative crop. For examples of complicity, read “Who Benefits from the Afghan Opium Trade?” by Michel Chossudovsky, Gary Webb’s book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion and Deep Cover by Mike Levine.

Millions of drug users have been locked up and billions of taxpayer dollars spent, yet an estimated 10 million people worldwide are still heroin dependent, with over one million users residing in the U.S.

Why has the War on Drugs failed so miserably? Looking under its surface, this war was never meant to be won. It was created as a cash cow — with myriad government agencies and their corporate partners milking its never-ending wealth of subsidies.

During the 1960s and ’70s, most of the world’s heroin supply originated in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia. In the 1990s, the majority of heroin seized in the U.S. came from South America. In this century, military forces and U.S. intelligence agencies have relocated once again to produce this year’s glaring statistic: In 2007, Afghanistan supplied 95 percent of the world’s heroin.

Robert Simms, Corvallis



I read the news sites today. I read about veteran soldiers failing to receive adequate treatment for their wounds, physical and psychological. I read about Blackwater killing civilians and brazenly calling them “armed combatants,” hear about how our forces have swell armor where one in 16 who are hit succumb to their wounds, the rest left mangled. Double amputees earning less than hired killers, our boys getting ground up for rich men’s gain.

Dissent is not what we need. Our nation is crumbling, our economy in shambles. Racial tensions are veiled in anti-immigration and fueled by packagable stereotypes. We watch our words to not sound anti-American or racist or ignorant. Freedom of speech is a luxury that national security cannot afford. It is that freedom which will be our salvation. If we cannot ask the hard questions without punishment, if we cannot raise our small individual voices in concert, as a population, we will be subjected by an oligarchy of bankers. The same bankers consuming our taxes, raising ATM fees and waging the never-ending war. We need to take back our nation and return to reason and truth as opposed to simple authority.

If there is anything that you dotoday, please do this: Go to www.zeitgeistmovie.comand watch. Have an open mind, understand it is objective, aimed at changing opinions. If you disagree, I urge you to research what you cannot accept. When I first watched this movie, I was outraged yet skeptical. I have researched much of the content and now have an entirely new context with which to view the world.

Charlie Klausmeier, Eugene



Senate Majority Leader Reid is such a nice guy. Bespectacled and soft-spoken, he’d make a perfect church deacon or Presbyterian minister. A church mouse would be his friend; he’d keep the kitty leashed. At the local bar, he’d down Shirley Temples while puffing on a meerschaum. A bookkeeper for the Rotarians. A marshal for the Shriners. Yes — that Harry is such a nice guy.

It would be such a pleasure to fire him.

Weeks ago Sen. Russ Feingold proposed a censure of Bush over the Iraq War, since both Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have soft-pedaled the impeachment process against our king. Neither thinks it’s necessary. Now Pelosi admits that the Dems have failed to deliver on the Iraq War. Well, speak for yourself, speaker — and Harry, too.

America needs neither puffing pipes nor cleric’s collars, sugary drinks nor fat mice. We need a sweaty pipe fitter wielding a hissing blowtorch. We need a Hulk Hogan wielding a folding chair. We need The Exterminator on a roaring Harley. We need some blood, sweat and tears. And a pink slip for Harry.

Add another for Nancy, who has taken Botox to a new level by actually freezing herself in time. Before the 2006 elections, she promised not to impeach the King if she became Speaker. Always good to telegraph your plans to the enemy just before the troops align.

Promises kept!

The Harry and Nancy Show: A church mouse hugging a nerveless kitty, both stoned on botoxed catnip. Find me a mastiff.

Tom Erwin, Springfield



Today I received another in a long series of spam letters from Dr. Dean, Democratic Party chair, entitled, “Unbelievable.” I typically respond to these spams, mostly for fun. I don’t kid myself that my responses or opinions float their way to the top of the pond, but it makes me feel better. I thought I’d share today’s response. Hopefully a lower level party hack will read this, and pass it upwards.

Unbelievable is right!

I can’t believe, for instance, that the Dems in Congress continue to fund this illegal and immoral occupation, a war of aggression. This is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, and as such, an impeachable offense.

I can’t believe that you won’t vote for reviving the constitutional right of habeas corpus.

I can’t believe that the leading candidates for president refuse to discuss impeachment.

I can’t believe that Congress continues to refuse to do their constitutionally required job and enforce the Constitution by pursuing impeachment against this obviously illegal and corrupt administration.

I can’t believe that despite all of these catastrophic failures on the Dems’ part, that you continue to ask me for money and support.

Frankly, I now view the Democratic Party as willing co-conspirators in the illegal acts of this junta we call BushCo. Prove me wrong, Dr. Dean. I beg you.

Jonathan Knight, Eugene



Instead of destroying Mac Court, condemning property, borrowing $200 million to build a new basketball court and 12,500-seat concert venue, why not put a cover on Autzen Stadium? It might cost less, we could actually play basketball there, it has existing parking lots and for a concert it could hold more than 60,000.

World-class music could be offered to our Northwest region at a better price. Not only would the university and state of Oregon make more money, but also the local hotels and restaurants would increase their profits.

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove




In my 31 years in Oregon since moving from Illinois, never did I hear an Oregonian show any interest in Illinois football — until last week.

“Can the Illini beat Ohio State?” I repeatedly was asked by fans aware that undefeated Ohio State had to lose a game if the Ducks were to have a shot at the national title.

“I doubt it,” I answered. I was wrong. Illinois upset the Buckeyes, and Oregon’s fate appears to be in its own hands in battling Kansas and LSU for No. 1 the rest of the way.

And why not? Oregon has as much right to dominance as any football factory (disguised as an institution of higher learning) that puts computers into each player’s locker area, plans to spend $200 million for a new basketball emporium and hires for $400,000 a baseball coach for a sport it has not fielded in a quarter century.

George Beres, Eugene