Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.24.08


I love reading reading EW‘s letters, but they routinely test my ability to restrain my inner cynic. After reading that gem by concerned citizen Deb Huntley (4/10), I was on the very brink of suggesting that many of Hillary Clinton’s supporters would nominate Ann Coulter for a Democratic presidential bid if she was the only woman on the ballot even though I know better.

Then again, anyone who’s so cynical as to suggest that the Obama juggernaut is merely a conspiracy to prevent a woman from becoming president is probably beyond the reach of a well-informed discussion. Have the Deb Huntleys of the world ever paused to consider the possibility that Obama’s rise is in fact a mandate from millions of women and men who are sick to death of the spineless pandering and corporate-sponsored politics of the Humphreys, Kerrys and, yes, Clintons who have long dictated the status quo of the Democratic establishment? Have they not noticed that he has captured the energy of so many people who want to bring change to a party that has failed to challenge the extremism and divisiveness of the Bush administration?

What we all must do, and what Huntley fails to do, is to speak up to prevent sexism, racism and cynicism from infecting our politics. Only then can we rest assured we have the right candidate. I’m voting for Obama not because he’s a man, not because he’s black, but because I’m longing for something the Democrats have yet to produce in my lifetime, until now: leadership. But if you must insist on nominating the only candidate who can even remotely lose to John “Bomb Iran” McCain (and not for the right reasons), suit yourself. I’ll stand behind Clinton if she’s nominated, but it will be difficult, knowing we could have done so much better.

Paul Anderson, Eugene



I want to encourage citizens of Eugene to sign the petition being circulated to bring EWEB’s spending $85.5 million dollars to move their facilities to a vote. I’m continually surprised by the disconnect of groups and individuals who will acknowledge the problems of pollution, development, paving over farmlands, wetlands and wildlife habitat and species extinctions and then continue with the “business as usual” way of life.

Many scientists believe we have approximately 18 months to slow down our carbon input before the tipping point of no return changes our world drastically. We have also reached the world’s peak oil production. Ignoring the facts will only make dealing with the problems in the future more difficult. Since EWEB is a publicly owned utility, I think the public should always vote on large expenditures.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in subsidizing solar hot water heaters for businesses and homes, weatherization, gray water systems, green roofs, etc.? To spend this money on an unnecessary move when our entire planet is hanging on the brink of ecological collapse so a shopping/café center can be built in its place is insane. We also have a recession and shouldn’t begin big developments for that reason alone. Hello!

Sign the petition if you are an EWEB owner, yes, owner. April 28 is the deadline. You can find petitions at the Eugene Library and Saturday Market.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter



No matter what camouflage he tries to wear, Jim Torrey always comes over as what he is — a fat cat who serves the agenda of only the fat cats. He is unable to disguise himself. as one sees in published reports of donations to candidates for mayor. In early April, his donors included many who gave in the thousands, in great contrast to donors to Kitty Piercy.

Piercy is the mayor “of the people,” a role Torrey only pretends to have. Remind your friends of that fact, and assure that we continue to be served by a Piercy who believes in service instead of a Torrey who responds to big money.

George Beres, Eugene



Come on, Weekly! What’s up with the gun in the Lifetime Tattoo ad (4/10, page 47)? Do you even screen your ads? Who are you trying to appeal to? Are you kidding? Whether you are or not, trust me, it’s lame. If the point is to get noticed, yes I saw it, but if this business is trying to get clients, they can rest assured that this tasteless approach will ensure the opposite affect for many readers.

Michelle Holman, Deadwood



What good does the UO do in the lives of the very poor and outcast? To the people who end up in jail, sleeping under bridges or in Rescue Missions, isn’t the university just another elitist organization that ignores the problems of the very poor so that money can be made, titles and degrees can be put on office walls and social Darwinism can be the national religion?

To me, the UO is Hogwarts, a secretive organization that pirates the best of the very poor, teaches them to value their new status much too highly and leaves the suffering to understand that they, of the inferior mundane class, simply don’t deserve housing, legal care, medical care, dental care or even a basic sense of belonging. Today, the “college” runs everything, and those who cannot join their ranks are discriminated against at every turn. Look who ends up in prison or on food stamps, and you will usually see a “mundane.”

Getting a Ph.D. in sociology or mathematics must be a fascinating exercise in Hogwartian mysticism, but what on earth does that do for the very poor, the despairing, those left on the other side of the town-gown wall?

Hugh Massengill, Eugene



Your article, “Hospital Siting” (4/17) by Alan Pittman, is amazing. I’m always amazed at the lack of knowledge and general ignorance of city councilors and column writers. When Bonny Bettman states that Eugene needs a hospital near downtown, she and Alan Pittman must not have heard the Sacred Heart Medical Center is and will continue to be located at 1200 Hilyard St., just in case they don’t know what our address is. We will still have a 114-bed hospital along with a 24/7 Emergency Department when we move into the new hospital In Springfield.

It also always amazes me when the City Council offers up the properties of others. Now Bettman says she is ready to play hardball with the UO over the Riverfront Research Park. That must be the same kind of hardball the city played with Sacred Heart when we tried to build our new hospital in Eugene on Crescent Drive. Luckily for Sacred Heart, when the city wouldn’t allow us to build on the Crescent Drive site, we were able to get the last prime spot for a new hospital in this area. Maybe you should start the condemnation process for PeaceHealth’s downtown clinic as this is the second time the city has offered that site to McKenzie Willamette.

It’s no wonder Eugene is the laughingstock of the state for its approach to business. Keep up the good work.

Michael Mellor, Hospital Carpenter



Knock, knock. Who’s there? Rob Handy or Bobby Green?

Much to my surprise, we finally have a candidate for north Lane Countycommissioner who is out knocking on doors, talking to the people, and really finding out about what is important to them. What a refreshing change! It’s time we had a leader who is in touch with the people. In the 13 years Bobby Green has been in office, has he ever knocked on your front door? Handy is the candidate who will serve the people and represent our views in local government.

I’m ready for a leader who will reach out rather than one who can’t be reached. Please join me in voting for Rob Handy for north Lane County commissioner.

Steve Kohley, Eugene



Ever had one of those catchy tunes you can’t get out of your head? Lately, Duane Eddy’s 1959 hit single “40 Miles of Bad Road” has been ringing in my ears. Why is that, you ask? Well, I drive for a living and travel most of Eugene and Springfield daily and recently had my CDL physical. The doctor said everything was fine except my kidneys appeared to have run one Baja 500 too many. I just smiled, recalling my last roundtrip on 18th Ave. in Eugene.

Then a funny thing happened. As I drove through The Simpsons‘ hometown of Springfield the other day, that catchy tune was gone. The road surfaces were smooth and level on arterials and far superior to Eugene’s motorways even on a large majority of the side streets. Upon crossing I-5 from Springfield to Eugene. the evidence was quickly apparent as I was caught up in the washboard patches, cracks, 60-year-old concrete and potholes that prevail in Eugene.

The disparity has become so apparent that we have decided to organize a field trip for Eugene city councilors and concerned citizens. We will call it “40 Miles of Bad Road,” of course. The first leg will use public transportation. We have chosen LTD’s route 78 from the UO up Kincaid to 18th and return. You will be required to obtain a waiver from your chiropractor for this segment.

We anticipate a large turnout for the Springfield field trip where citizens can see for themselves the backward, redneck, callous and incompetent typical American small town with free two-hour parking as Simpsons reruns play on the monitors. Yes, Homer Simpson works at a nuclear plant, and Eugene citizens can rejoice that they are once again a nuclear-free-zone as all nuclear medicine facilities will soon be located in Springfield. In fact, Eugene will soon be the only 100,000-plus city in the nation without a trauma center. Not to worry. Springfield will have a level 2 and level 3 trauma center and, just to the north on I-5, Lebanon also has a level 3 trauma facility.

Jon Jenkins, Eugene



I was disappointed in reading A.F. Nash’s letter in the April 3 EW. It saddens me to see the ways in which major depressive disorders are misunderstood. It is unfortunate that SSRIs are overprescribed and often misprescribed. It is inappropriate and irresponsible to prescribe antidepressants to children or to folks who don’t absolutely need them. It is due to their misuse that there are trace amounts of SSRIs in our water sources. However, a backlash against SSRIs, their prescribers and their users, is unnecessary and destructive. Please, let’s not discourage those who suffer from major depressive disorders from seeking treatment, even if that treatment includes SSRIs.

Major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder are real illnesses, and they need to be taken seriously. They are not curable by vegan and raw diets, though diet certainly affects brain chemistry and mood.

It would be wonderful to imagine and embrace a future without SSRIs, but that future necessarily excludes those who need SSRIs to function on a daily basis. No one takes SSRIs because they want to; they do it because they have to. People with legitimate depressive disorders have every right to be happy, and condescension and disapproval can only make matters worse. Let’s not shame those who seek treatment; let’s be respectful, understanding, and supportive. Suffering from depression is hard enough without being made ashamed of your illness and your willingness to treat it.

Allana Ross, Eugene



Trips for Kids-CAT ( is a relatively new organization that provides mountain bike activities and environmental education to kids that usually don’t get to experience such activities.

One of our first lines of business was to build up a suitable fleet of mountain bikes. Being a nonprofit with little money, we’ve depended on the generosity of the local and greater community — and we haven’t been disappointed.

Our first five bikes were donated by Trek and assembled by Paul’s Bicycles. On March 29, we threw a bike building party to build up six more. The frames were donated by individuals to the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT), the parts were donated by local bike shops and the labor was provided by various biking enthusiasts in the community.

Trips for Kids-CAT would like to thank Hutch’s, Blue Heron Bicycles, Paul’s, Life Cycle, Revolution Cycles and the Disciples of Dirt for their generosity and enthusiasm. A special thanks to Café Mam for the coffee and Bagelsphere for the bagels.

Let’s get kids off the streets and into the wild.

John Herberg, Eugene



In regards to the letter “Pickpockets with Radar” (4/17): Speeding is a very dangerous driving infraction. According to the Oregon State Police, speeding and following too close are the leading causes of traffic accidents. As far as the particular section of road concerned, (126 between Veneta and Eugene), it is incredibly narrow and often has bicyclists. On this stretch of road, any time gained by speeding will often be lost at the signal light at Greenhill Road. For myself, as a professional driver, a one- to 90-second gain is not worth injuring or killing another person. If one must “use 126 to drive to work, etc.,” perhaps one should leave a few minutes earlier. I for one would rather not die on the road for someone else’s few minutes of sleeping in.

Philip Biboux, Cheshire



Once more the presidency of George Bush has taken the American public down the proverbial rabbit hole in regards to the administration’s policy on Iraq. During recent testimony before the elected representatives of the people, Gen. David Petraeus provided the military version of one of Lewis Carroll’s best oxymorons: “How can I have more when I haven’t had any?” Peace, that is.

The general stated that when the violence increased, more troops were necessary to proceed to victory. And then the general stated that when the violence decreased, more troops are needed to proceed to victory. When the general was asked to describe the victory, he said “history” will be the judge. I’d be willing to change my name to “history” and provide the general with the final analysis and recommendation. The analysis is that this war policy is a total failure; it has raged on for five years, cost the lives of over 4,000 of our citizens, caused an as yet to be evaluated recession in the economy of the world, and simply put, has not worked.

Here is the recommendation: Begin the troop removal immediately by declaring a unilateral fire-when-fired-upon ceasefire, remove the troops using the best and safest means available and begin the dialogue with the neighbors of Iraq to bring about a solution to the withdrawal that does not cause a regional war.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



Thank you, Rep. DeFazio, for your work to protect Oregon’s wild places. The announcement on April 2 of Rep. DeFazio’s and Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s plan to increase wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon should be applauded by all Oregonians who love and respect our beautiful wild areas. This plan adds 142 miles of new Wild and Scenic rivers for Rogue River tributaries and more protection of the Oregon Caves National Monument, along with 132,000 acres of wilderness and 34,550 acres of National Recreation Areas to the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The Wild Rogue, in particular, needs increased protection. By adding 140 miles of Rogue tributary streams to the Wild and Scenic bill, clean cold water necessary for the survival of wild salmon runs will be assured. These lands are presently threatened by logging and road building under BLM proposals; logging and salmon are not compatible.

I urge Sens. Wyden and Smith to join Reps. DeFazio and Blumenauer’s lead to help protect the Wild Rogue and all of our wild heritage.

Patricia Bitner, Eugene



In the last week I have noticed several people returning an issue of EW to the news stand. I wonder how many people are doing this?

Would your advertisers be interested in knowing? Would anybody else be interested?

I almost always “read and return” myself but didn’t know other people are also doing it. Do you care? What difference does it make?

If you could make a reasonable survey of how many are reading and returning — so what? How could such a survey be made?

Would you prefer your readers do not return? Would you want to encourage your readers to read and return? Would you want to design a news stand that had a separate section to put the “returns?”

Frank Skipton, Springfield

EDITOR’S NOTE: We know our papers get passed around since we print 41,000 papers, and an independent audit shows we have around 86,000 regular readers.



Regardless of the price, everybody is happy to be able to buy unlimited supplies of gasoline. In a few years, three or four, there will not be enough of the black goo for everybody in the red, white and blue.

Then rationing and black markets will determine who may acquire gasoline. When that day comes a person will not be able to buy a new or used bicycle for love or gold. All the bicycles will already be bought up by gangs, law enforcement, militias, the super rich and the super wise.

I presently own two bicycles and plan on buying more. I store them in my bomb shelter as a hedge on the weirdest future rolling since Cortez rode his horse into Mexico City. I will be able to barter them for luxury items, passages to the safe zone maybe.

Bicycle stores are reaching critically low inventories due to spot panics starting up around the world. Don’t wait, buy now.

Lester Peel, Springfield



There have been a recent spate of guest commentaries in the Register-Guard penned by police union leaders and letters penned by pro-police/anti-police auditor writers signed with names that are also names of Eugene police officers though the letters do not self-identify as being authored by a police officer. Of course it’s anyone’s right to withhold this association, perhaps believing this would better suit their agenda. I disagree, for I believe letters from officers who openly state that they are writing views based on actual “walkin’ the beat” experiences would have more influence.

Possible the Terry Fitzpatrick (Mailbag, April 7) who states that Eugeneans are “at war with the police” is not EPD Officer Terry Fitzpatrick who pulled Janet Gicker over to ask why her 15-year-old son had flipped him off and then cited her for a malfunctioning taillight. He forcefully prevented Gicker from checking it out in his presence. Gicker promptly took the car to a mechanic who testified it was a bulb original to the car and was functioning. The judge tossed out the ticket and taxpayer monies were wasted on court costs and police officer court time, over a punitive, bogus ticket. Who is at war with whom?

Speaking of war, the recent commentaries penned by police union leaders viciously attacked our mayor, our council, our police auditor and by inference the majority of voters who support police oversight. Tense community relations were exacerbated.

I support their right to rant. I’m doing it now. Am I naïve to expect more reasoned, rational discourse from sworn officers we hire to “protect the peace,” not undermine it?

Our community has long been torn by conflict among police, activists (and yes, this activist acknowledges that my own words could have been more peaceful in the past), people of color, the mentally ill, sexual victims of police assault and those police who turned a blind eye. Healing is a tall order, but transparency is a start. Perhaps we’ll read more transparent letters from the police; possibly they’ll share their feeling about how their union leaders are representing them. But I doubt it – fear is a two-edged sword.

Carol Berg-Caldwell, Eugene



I’m eating my lunch at a table in the library lobby cafe, gazing out at a slab of asphalt and a letter-filled pit . . . imagining a park. Perhaps with a literary theme, like the Shakespeare Garden in Portland, with friendly benches, a bust of The Bard, and all the plants named in his plays: or a Zen meditation garden, with groves of bamboo and cedar tea house for rainy days.

When I shared my park vision at a recent public forum, a nice city planner politely opined that it’s the absolute worst place for a park, because of the riff-raff factor. So why not build a special platform for the riff-raff where they can smoke and cavort on their skateboards? Perhaps on the roof of the library or in a corner of the asphalt slab?

A woman with a restless toddler in hand asks if they can share my table. “I sure wish there was a park within walking distance of downtown where I could take him,” she sighs. We chat and munch our lunches until a blue-blazered security guard asks us to pack it up to make room for café customers.

I take a last look at the bronze back of Eugene Skinner, sitting outside on the sole library bench, and wonder what he thinks as he contemplates his city’s asphalt slab and litter-filled pit, day after day after day.

C. Sterbentz, Eugene



Recently the Daily Emerald (3/17) has explored some previously unreported problems with the firms involved in Frohnmayer’s arena replacement proposal.

The Oregonian‘s Rachel Bachman (3/22) has explored the mysterious and suspicious bidding process UO administrators are hoping will “fast track.”

Phil Knight’s learning center proposal and an indoor track “vision” have also quietly resurfaced.

Alan Zelenka has used his office to cry wolf over global warming, sustainability and neighborhood empowerment. He has failed to preside over any hearing related to the immense UO arena proposal. He should resign.

Ten students recently traveled to Salem to testify against Frohmmayer and Nike’s risky and secretive proposal (2/27 Register-Guard).

Now the “smartgrowing partners” in the city of Eugene planning staff are busy eliminating regulations designed to protect the Fairmount neighborhood from destructive planning (3/18 Register-Guard). Additionally, the city of Eugene is exploring financial help for the UO athletic department to incentivize an Autzen baseball field of schemes and a related Civic Stadium demolition.

Finally there is our global warming fraud governor who should resign along with Councilor Zelenka. Governor Kulongoski received $187,000 from Nike (Oregonian, 11/3/06) which has resulted in his high profile competitive cheerleading in favor of this sports pork-barrel spending spree.

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene