Eugene Weekly : Letters : 3.5.09


I am responding to the news story (2/12) about the city’s funding of renovations to the cop shop. I am a progressive thinking person who believes in human rights. Having said that, I have noticed the animosity toward police that is often sensationalized in your publication.

Our police are no worse, and in many cases mild, compared to other communities. Our revolving-door jail policy is an open invitation for drug and gang related crime. If the police are not properly supported, the ensuing consequences could be grim. There may soon come a time where drive-by shootings will reach our peaceful community, and these people are not exactly marksmen. It seems clichéd to say it but I will anyway: Everybody hates the cops until they need one.

One should remember that we are all just human beings, and that includes police, who deal daily with the darker aspects of our less than civilized species.

Bill Minnick, Springfield



In the Slant column Feb. 26 the Weekly used the unfortunate phrase “concealed gun nuts.” While I understand your point about Sheriff Burger’s use of funds, why label people you don’t know as nuts? I am generally called a “south Eugene liberal,” with an Obama sign in my yard and Kitty Piercy in my heart. I am also a gun owner and have a concealed carry license. 

Does EW really classify gun owners like Peter DeFazio, Bill Dwyer and me as nuts? Colorful writing has its place, but thought-free labeling is just Limbaughism.

Alan Contreras, Eugene



Hi, folks. Angie and Russell here from PotPie Theater. Heard of us? If you’re EW Letters junkies like we are, you might have read Edith Marie Hurley’s comments (2/12) regarding a recent performance of ours. For those of you who missed it, her comments were not exactly positive, in particular questioning the artistic content of the show. As we are the sole writers, directors and performers of PotPie Theater, the buck starts and stops here. The vision might not be much to Hurley’s liking, but it’s pure. And while we regret that she did not care for our performance, we will not apologize for the performance itself.

We do, however, take issue with her suggestion that we are “unprofessional” and “hateful.” For the record, Russell is more ticked at being called unprofessional, Angie more at being called hateful. Both of us feel confident that Hurley did not mean exactly what she said, but just in case, we wish to take a moment and say: Hurley? That scene about lesbianism that bothered you? Angie IS a lesbian. In any case, we have several examples of our work on YouTube (including several of the pieces Hurley mentioned in her letter).

Ultimately, we want to thank Hurley for her letter. We feel honored that she made the effort to not only spend some time supporting the local arts but also to get fired up about it enough to write a letter to the Weekly and would argue that the very fact that she did is the highest compliment an artist can be paid.

Russell Dyball and Angie Riley, PotPie Theater



It looks like another health care battle! We’ve seen the conflicts between Sacred Heart and McKenzie Willamette the past few years. First it was over limiting insurance and then it was the move to Springfield. Now it looks like billboards and newspaper ads competing for Urgent Care.

Many in Eugene were relieved to have local doctors and medical personnel establish a convenient Eugene Urgent Care at 13th and Patterson after Sacred Heart pulled away from its Willamette Street facility. Emergency room care is too expensive and unnecessary for most medical treatment. My grandkids are always having skateboard and bike minor accidents or temperatures that need to be looked at when the family doctor is not available. We don’t want a trip to the far side of our neighbor city with crying kids.

The doctors at the new Urgent Care have daily experience hearing patients say “I’m so glad you are here!” and “I can’t believe I was helped so fast.” So far the average wait to see a doctor is 15 minutes and with no appointment this is a big surprise to patients.

This is an independent alliance of local emergency physicians and other specialty practitioners able to take care of everything from asthma, cuts, high blood pressure and infections to x-rays, rashes, simple fractures and sprains, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. A flu shot that is recommended yearly is $5. They also provide physical therapy services.

Most of all, Urgent Care provides urgent care when you need it, where you need it. The clinic will be open 9 am to 9 pm, seven days a week starting March 1.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



I moved here about six months ago being drawn by the progressive attitudes that are prevalent in the Eugene area. As a proud Polish-American I was disappointed by the lack of pczek, a traditional Fat Tuesday treat for my people, at a local bakery that espouses to be forward thinking and open minded. This made me wonder how progressive the people of Eugene truly are. I am outraged that in such a liberal minded area the traditions and customs of my heritage are grossly ignored and thusly underrepresented.

Dzikowa (thank you). Michael E. Hoekstra, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hear the pastry has in the past been available at other bakeries, including Albertson’s.



I have never written a letter to EW, but after reading the piece by the parents of David Minor (2/19), I feel I have to respond. I knew David since he was in grade school. I always considered him especially bright and driven by purpose. I admired his sincerity and character. David’s death was a tragic accident. To the person who wrote in as “the ghost of David Minor,” you will never be able to fill his shoes or speak for him from beyond the grave. And for those advocates of helmet laws, common sense cannot be legislated. Yes, helmets are a good idea, but that does not detract from the fact that David’s injuries were so severe that a helmet would not have helped.

Droning on about helmet laws is beside the point and does not help anyone affected by the accident to cope with grief. Please, for the sake of setting the record straight and for the sake of healing, let’s remember, as John and Susan said, that David Minor was so much more than “the young man who didn’t wear his helmet.” My heart goes out to his parents. I know I am not the only one who is moved by the ghost bike and wants it to stay. 

Tom Baldinger, Eugene



Kudos to Jerry Diethelm (“Design Matters,” 2/12) for a keen look at HB 2229, the Big Look Task Force’s proposal to “undermine” Oregon’s land use program.

Certainly the proposed legislation is an underhanded attempt by a committee stacked with a private property rights and development bias to decentralize and deregulate Governor Tom McCall’s legacy.

One would expect a reasonable revision of Oregon’s land use system to respond to increasing population, M37 and M49 claims, global warming, energy depletion and the economic crisis by strengthening regulatory protections of our natural resources and our farm and forest economies. However, the crafters of HB 2229 believe that growth is inevitable and desirable and can be accomplished by making regulations more “flexible” and less “complex;” i.e., by further weakening regulations that presently do not protect our farms, forests and natural areas.

At a House committee hearing on the Big Look bill Feb. 3, an overwhelming majority from all over Oregon exhorted committee members to strengthen, not weaken, our land use protections. Even private property-rights zealots are unhappy with the legislation —because it retains a semblance of regulation.

Fortunately, the committee has said it doesn’t like the bill either. At a Feb. 17 work session, members voiced their intent to excise at least those sections clearly intended to strangle the system. Perhaps, in this legislative session, those whom McCall referred to as “the grasping wastrels of the land” will only be grasping at straws.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



I’ve always liked the “¡Ask a Mexican!” column by Gustavo Arellano, and I guess it’s time to come out of the closet and say so publicly. I miss the printed version each week. 

A progressive older white woman, I kept quiet when EW first carried this provocative column, listening to my allies express outrage and respecting them. But I like the column, I like his style, I like his politics. Yes, it’s in-your-face, and different from what we in the ’60s would have done, but Señor Arellano is right on, in my opinion. He educates with attitude. Always refreshing.

I can only imagine the economic pressures on alternative newspapers, and the fight for print space in an e-world. But like a lot of your readers, I take a refreshing break from the screen with hard copy newspapers and books. If you must rotate print and web-only columns, why not rotate Arellano with Savage? Now there’s an image perhaps only those two could fully appreciate.

Bring back the Mexican! Anyone else agree?

Laurie McClain, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hope to bring Gustavo Arellano back in print every week instead of every other week when paper prices drop and the economy perks up. Meanwhile, he can be found every week on our website.



It happened in Medford, then Roseburg, and now in Cottage Grove: the prejudicial interference of charitable giving, during an economic recession no less. Poverty is not a crime, and neither should be helping another person. Imagine yourself feeling so hopeless, so beaten down that the self humiliation of standing vulnerably in public for hours in the cold rain with a cardboard sign begging for money from strangers seems like a good idea. Here is a nation that will give billions to bail out arrogant and fraudulent incompetents, but where a motorist giving a hand out to a destitute person on the curb warrants a $450 fine. 

Yes, some of these people might be alcoholics financing their next bottle of cheap liquor. Yes, some might appear unsavory to our standards, and yes, some are struggling with reality or demons. But who are we to judge? They are people, human beings, and some really are hungry, some really do need the gas money to get back home, and for some their faith lies only in the existential validation that a quarter brings. Indeed, what would Jesus do? No Christian, or any religious or moral person, should stand for such a banishment. Every charity should demand a permit and line the streets with cans and cardboard asking for donations, in evidence of solidarity. 

Many of us give to our favorite charity. We should, and that is all well and good. It’s nice to know your money is going to the right places for the right reasons. But there should be some spare change available to give directly to a person in need. That brief personal connection acknowledges their presence. That you do see them and they do matter is good for the soul. Look them in the eye and show them you care. Call it karma or compassion, it matters. It has less to do with who they are than with who you are.

So, what has happened to civic morality in Medford, Roseburg and Cottage Grove? Why this creeping antipathy instead of more compassion? The sheer audacity of requiring a “license to beg,” the utter nonsense of ranking traffic flow above human charity, demonstrates moral blindness. The citizenry needs to take responsibility and overturn this embarrassment that reflects upon themselves and their community. Until then, for shame.

Mark Murphy, Creswell


Market of TV Choice

If the Market of Choice TV was typically tuned to a news show and on Election Day they chose to change the channel to The Food Network, I could better understand Lisa Hammack’s disappointment (Letters, 2/12) at not being able to watch the inauguration there. 

MC has customers with many view-points, and others may have wanted to get away from news as they drank their morning coffee. To change the station to accommodate one person on one day may seem like a reasonable request to that person. But what about the next time someone came in and wanted to watch a sports event or a science program or another news event?

I’m sorry Hammack missed viewing the inauguration, but the MC TV seems more like an ambience feature than a source of current events, and The Food Network is a good choice from that perspective. I hope people will not expect retailers to be all things to all people as they conduct business and try to consider all of their customers in doing so.

Annetta Forrer, Eugene



(3-5 web letters)


What part of Democrat don’t they understand? The Democrats in the Oregon Legislature and Gov. Kulongoski think the best thing to do with stimulus money the feds have offered them to use this year is to hoard it. You never know. Maybe, after they cause an even deeper depression in this state by shutting down the schools and firing all the teachers, they will need the money to build prisons for the children who are running wild in the streets. So, we’d better not spend the money to keep the schools open.

I have an even better idea. Let’s eliminate property taxes on large estates and eliminate income taxes on anyone making over $200,000 a year. Let’s privatize hoarding. Let the millionaires keep their money. It’s the Republican way.

Let’s get the government out of the education business. Close the public schools and colleges. Let’s get the government out of the business of providing unemployment benefits to laid-off workers. Let’s get the government out of the business of health care. Shut down the Oregon Health Plan. Let’s get the government out of the prisons business. Private companies do a much more effective job of abusing prisoners. Let’s privatize police functions, too. Turn law enforcement over to the private sector. 

Who needs government in a depression? Let’s shut it down. We don’t need legislators or a governor, either. 

Ann Tattersall, Eugene



Just think about the logic behind trying to police the entire world in order to insure our national security. We were fed this crock of bologna most likely to fulfill promises made to political contributors to the Bush campaign in order to pay them back for their support, and they are making boat-loads of money on this war. 

The obvious answer to national security is to go back to what has worked for a couple hundred years and start screening very carefully who we allow in. History will show that this war was as much of a military boondoggle as the Vietnam War, and the dead and wounded are soon forgotten, and the only winners are (as always) the armament industry fat cats who are already swimming in oceans of money, but of course, its never enough.

 Dan Hill, Eugene



For more than a year I’ve been taking advantage of the downtown library’s breathtakingly wide selection of DVDs and there’s a problem that I encounter far too often. After weeks or months of waiting for something on hold I’ll pop it into my DVD player and it won’t read. I’ve seen far too many scratched-up discs with way too many smudges on them, and considering that most of the stuff I check out is not of the family friendly variety I can’t buy into the idea that a bunch of unruly children are ruining my viewing experience. The only logical conclusion is that a significant number of fully grown adults in Eugene are unaware of how to properly handle a DVD. So I’m taking upon myself to provide a community service and give everyone some pointers:

• When removing the disc from the case hold the edge with your finger tips.

• Do not touch the shiny surface with your finger or anything else. 

• The only time you should take the DVD out of it’s case is when you are directly putting into your DVD player.

• When removing the DVD from the player, do not set it down on top of the TV, on top of the DVD player, on the coffee table or anywhere except the case it came in.

So just to sum up, you should never touch the shiny side and the only places the disc should ever be are in the DVD player or in its case. I ask that all library patrons that check out DVDs please abide by these simple rules and make a habit of returning thing to the library in exactly the same condition they were loaned out.

Greggory Basore, Eugene



Let’s not do what the Taliban expect us to do. Any U.S. military intervention just creates a backlash among the citizens, and is counter-productive. We can inspire them to become democracy, but this takes time, patience. There is no quick solution. 

Rich Platz, Eugene



If the bottom line is money, it’s bound to neglect most people and the environment. That’s how our current economy’s organized.

Greed is good — good for the greedy individual, but bad for society as a whole. Greedy people try to win at other peoples expense, leaving the others as losers. Losers, “The bottom 80 percent” as has been reported for the past 20 years, are declining in wealth while the top 10 percent enjoy enormous wealth. Meanwhile, the environment’s losing big time, and can’t continue to support our way of life much longer at our rate of growth, consumption and pollution. Financial and environmental debt are heading toward bankruptcy.

Capitalism and the free market are unsustainable and will self-destruct from its own growth, like cancer, if we don’t find a better way of being. We need an all-people-and-other-life-first way of organizing our economy and way of life — based more upon cooperation instead of competition.

It won’t be easy. Our easy days are coming to an end. If we don’t figure this out ahead of time, we’ll be forced to adapt in very unpleasant ways.

Better to start now: Build many community gardens, live near work, school and business, drive a lot less, walk, bike and bus much more, organize local business to meet local needs, learn to live on less, and discourage growth in population, consumption and pollution.

On the bleak good side: work less and enjoy life more, vacation locally, and focus on community, play and nature.

Together we stand, divided we fall.

Patrick Bronson, Eugene