Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.3.08


The national political primaries actually bring into focus just how fortunate we are to have Kitty Piercy serving as our mayor. The candidates’ national debates and their positions (and promises) make one ponder what is actually real, what is likely and how quality of life hasn’t been enhanced.

Enough of the simplistic arguments nationally and locally offered as explanations. The promises to magically turn lead into gold, as in repairing neglected streets, making downtown Eugene a mega-business center and ridding the city of its “overwhelming” crime, are among the hot-button issues said to be accomplished signally by the “right-thinking” mayor.

A common theme runs through Kitty Piercy’s history of public service and leadership: a dedication to improving the quality of people’s lives. With her leadership in and efforts on behalf of numerous city or state organizations, she has focused on what will ultimately benefit individuals in their communities. Arguments over the political balance sheet lose sight of the reality of her dedication to the quality of our lives. A mayor who goes out of her way to connect with people in their venue — how novel is that?

The spin and hoopla of false promises, or the use of labels devoid of significant meaning, won’t obscure Piercy’scontribution to the vitality of oucommunity. Her commitment to enhancing the quality of our lives defines a “right thinking” mayor.

If you haven’t yet, get to know Kitty Piercy.

Robert L. Weiss, Eugene



I, too, state that Rob Handy would make an excellent Lane County Commissioner as I live in the River Road area and know him and his work with the community. He is a very ethical, honest person and would be a huge improvement to the politicians that we have now. Ask others who belong to the River Road/Santa Clara community, and they will tell you.

Dorothy Bucher, Eugene



What if nearly all the major shootings in recent history had something in common other than what John Zerzan (“Terror of Daily Life,” 3/6) weakly deduces as “the smell of gunsmoke?” What if they were all having psychotic reactions consistent with the side effects of SSRIs (known dangerous hallucinogens) right on the label? Let’s start, like John, with 1966 and the original “hypnotic courier,” Charles Whitman. What Zerzan failed to mention was that Charles was tanked up on Dexedrine and Valium and having quite the psychotic reaction. Surely there is more to blame here than society, John.

The FDA just finished a study with 4,400 kids where those taking antidepressants were found to double their risk of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to the placebo group in just two months of trials. The side effects of Prozac are now listed as: apathy, euphoria, hallucinations, hostility, neurosis, paranoid reactions, personality disorder, psychosis, anti-social reaction, delusions, confusion, suicidal ideation, violent behaviors, homicidal ideation and Prozac-induced akathisia, mania.

But the drug makers continue to downplay the cause and seal the medical records immediately and with gusto. SSRIs are now prescribed to 2-5 year olds (terrible twos?) and shy people (Social Anxiety Disorder). Perhaps this is really the domain of alternative medicine and a vegan raw foods diet. To my knowledge, no vegans or people taking albizzia, passionflower, ginkgo, wild oats, hawthorn, hypericum, scutellaria or even placebo sugar pills have ever gone postal on anyone. Well-meaning, rabid recycling diatribes don’t count. SSRIs are even building up in the water supply, abetting a full transformation into “Prozac Nation.” The world is full of meaning, just very few safe rites of passage into the mystery. Let’s not let our kids fall through the cracks. We can build a vision of the path beyond SSRIs together.

A.F. Nash, Eugene



Obama’s meteoric rise to front-runner status is partially due to the psychology of projection — wishful thinking that he supports ideals that a majority wants after the countless abuses of the past seven years (and past seven decades). But there’s a Grand Canyon-sized gap between the rhetoric and the reality.

Obama’s first act as a senator was to endorse the racist disenfranchisement of African-American voters in Ohio. On Jan. 6, 2005, only one senator, Barbara Boxer of California, voted against seating the fraudulent electors from Ohio — which gave Bush and Cheney a second stolen term.

Obama says he wants to stop global warming (as if that goal is physically possible at this late date) and also supports an increase in coal mining.

Obama has voted repeatedly to fund the war on Iraq. Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who crafted previous plans for the peak oil wars when he helped design the Rapid Deployment Force in the late 1970s (now called Central Command, the military command that attacked Iraq). Brzezinski’s 1997 book The Grand Chessboard helped lay the foundation for the current imperial atrocities, predicting that “as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

I will write in Dennis Kucinich in the primary and vote for Cynthia McKinney in November.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene



Just because the Ems have apparently been lured away from Civic Stadium by the promise of a well-dressed hussy doesn’t mean the stadium itself is doomed. It just needs some new tenants and new ownership that appreciates its unique value to the community.

Obviously, Eugene School District 4J never has. I suggest LCC. It would give LCC a much more visible presence downtown and give the Titans a great place to play.

How many people attend baseball games at LCC? What facilities do they have? How many would attend if the games were played at Civic?

All of the high schools of Lane County have baseball teams. Players on these teams that are not recruited by the bigger schools may end up playing at LCC. That sounds like the beginnings of a pretty good fan base to me.

Throw in the students of LCC who live in Eugene and Eugene baseball fans in general, and you could sell a lot of tickets.

LCC should play some of this year’s home games at Civic Stadium and see what the response is. If they like playing there, and the fans turn out, they should consider more long-term arrangements. They should also challenge the Ducks to play their first game against LCC at Civic. It could be a fundraiser for the renovation of the stadium.

When the baseball season ends, the space could be used for other things. Music would be an obvious choice, but I am intrigued with the idea of outdoor summer theater.

For more on the effort to save Civic Stadium, go to

Lonnie McCulloch, Eugene



I find it ironic that Jim Torrey, who was mayor of Eugene from 1997 to 2005, blames the current mayor, Kitty Piercy, for the move of Sacred Heart to Springfield, and for the blight downtown. By looking at Sacred Heart’s website, I saw that the hospital started thinking about moving in 1996 and in September 2001 decided to purchase the Riverbend site. Was Jim Torrey mayor during that time of planning or not? Why did he let the hospital get away?

One of the pits in downtown Eugene used to be the Woolworth building. It was demolished in late 2000. Who was mayor then and for four more years after that? Why didn’t he do something about that eyesore when he had the chance? The old Sears building was demolished in 2005 after being vacant for almost two decades. Eight of those empty years were during Torrey’s tenure as mayor. The city owned the building; why didn’t he do something about it then?

I realize that it is difficult to rebuild down town. But I believe that Piercy is actually trying to do something about it. I see her at many downtown events, interacting with people and asking questions. I have never seen Jim Torrey there. All I hear is misplaced blame. He must know he caries a great deal of responsibility for the things he blames Piercy for. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I’ll put it on forgetfulness. I wouldn’t want to think he’s actually being dishonest.

Ellen Furstner, Marcola

EDITOR’S NOTE: The old Sears building was occupied by a used office furniture warehouse store before being demolished.



I am writing this letter to inform the community that the local chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender (PFLAG) has an urgent need. Many of the board members who have been serving PFLAG faithfully over the years will soon be finishing their terms. I will be resigning as chair as of June 1, 2008. The PFLAG board has been made up of a core of parents and LGBTQ persons who have worked together very successfully, and now, quite frankly, the board needs some new blood.

PFLAG has played a vital role in the community in terms of education, support, and advocacy for our LGBTQ loved ones. It supports both the weekly youth group for teens from 13 to 18 years of age and another youth group, Queerline. It has had a presence in the Eugene Celebration parade every year. It has hosted a very successful dinner/auction that has grown over many years. It supports and maintains a helpline. It collaborates with other groups to work to create a safe and respectful atmosphere in the schools. And it has hosted a monthly support meeting for at least 18 years. Wow, and that’s not even all!

If you have benefited from PFLAG or if you believe in what PFLAG stands for, ask yourself if you would be willing to give some time to PFLAG to help it transition to new leadership. There are many roles available including, chair or co-chair, secretary, treasurer, membership, volunteer coordinator, newsletter editor, web page overseer and event planner.

Perhaps some of you remember when you needed PFLAG. Well, now PFLAG needs you! Give us a call at 302-4422 or email me at We would be more than happy to talk with you and answer any questions.

Elise Self, Eugene



Mayoral candidate Jim Torrey ran as a Republican and lost to state Sen. Vicki Walker in the last election cycle, but now he has had an “Obama moment” and endorsed Barack Obama for president in a recent letter to the editor. He also appropriated Obama’s campaign slogan, which was first taken in spirit by Obama from Cesar Chavez.

A review of campaign contributions filed with the Federal Elections Commission reveals Torrey contributed exactly nothing to Obama as of the end of the February 2008 even though his Obama endorsement was published in the Oregon Daily Emerald on February 12.

Torrey donated to George Bush the maximum permitted, $2,000, in September 2003 of the last presidential election cycle — eight months ahead of the Oregon primary.

Does Torrey admire George Bush that much more than Barack Obama? Or is Torrey endorsing Obama on the cheap in order to boost his own support in a year when conservatives (as he describes himself) are polling poorly?

John Crumbley, Eugene



Last week, at First Methodist Memorial Church, plans for the new City Hall were unveiled. And, wow! I wished it would have been a mandatory assembly, complete with citations for not attending. My heart is still pounding with excitement and desire over what I learned and what I saw. I saw how much I wanted “that doggy in the window,” the new, proposed City Hall, and learned how much it would cost. I learned how bonds work, that we can afford that doggy in the window and that it is up to young voters, not “The Man,” whether or not we, as a community, get it.

Only people who own property pay for bonds. The new City Hall will cost land owners $1 per $1,000 of property value. For $200/year — way less than half of what I spend at Dutch Bros. and about as much as property taxes went down this year due to old bonds maturing — the city of Eugene gets to own and be influenced, at its core, by the proposed new City Hall unveiled at last week’s meeting.

Imagine owning a City Hall worth traveling to just to view its beauty, worth traveling to just to study it as a model of sustainability and carbon tip-toeing.

Imagine owning something worth more than it cost because pride and joy and a feeling of centeredness are priceless things. I don’t have to imagine; I saw it.

Go to City Hall or its web pages and get the facts about why we need a new City Hall now, before we can’t afford it later.

Loren Mohler, Eugene



I believe that plastic bags should be banned because they kill the animals, pollute the earth and use too much oil.

Plastic bags are killing marine animals. People are dumping litter in the oceans and the animals eat the bags and other trash, so they die. Not only are we killing animals by putting garbage in the oceans, but we are polluting the Earth.

There is a big mound of trash in the middle of the ocean that is nonbiodegradable and is twice the size of Texas! It takes months to hundreds of years for plastic bags to break down. Think about this toxic stuff sweeping into soil, rivers, lakes and oceans.

Did you know that the U.S. uses 12 million barrels of oil a year to make plastic bags? The U.S. alone throws away 100 billion plastic bags a year. We need oil to use, but we are running out of it because, among other things, we are using this fuel to make plastic bags that hurt life.

We are using too much oil to make plastic bags, which can end up killing and polluting the Earth. We use plastic bags to pick up animal litter and for carrying around items such as groceries.

However, we need to stop using plastic bags because they are harming animals, polluting our world and depleting oil. Use totes!

Lindsey McCallum, 7th grade, Kennedy Middle School



As a rural Lane County resident who works in the heart of our great city, I know how important sound land use policy is to our quality of life in Eugene. Kitty Piercy has lead us through the difficult and sometimes rancorous debates on how our city should and should not grow. Her efforts to limit unchecked urban sprawl, her support of local businesses and localized agriculture; her commitment to the environment all cause me to be a strong supporter of her policies. Piercy is a gracious, kind, caring, leader who listens to all points of view, yet remains committed to her core beliefs. I share in those beliefs with her, and encourage all of the voters of Eugene to join me in supporting Piercy.

Please help re-elect Kitty Piercy Mayor for ALL Eugene.

Chris Berner, Eugene



This past week the anti-war movement marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. One more year of devastation and death wrought upon the Iraqi people, one more year of sign waving and candle lighting by the anti war movement — symbolic gestures of mock resistance intended more to ease the consciences of privileged first-worlders rather than acts of authentic solidarity with third world struggles. How much longer will we listen to career activists and their prescriptions for responsible dissent? How much longer will we believe in the lies of politicians, being sucked into the dead end that is electoral politics? How much longer until we begin to actively resist and sabotage the war machine? How much longer until we fulfill our responsibility to bring the war home? The time for waiting is over. The time for action is now.

Robin Banks, Eugene



Regarding the Democratic presidential primary, the latest polling numbers indicate that a “dream ticket” with Sens. Obama and Clinton would be best for the Democratic Party and the nation. Obama inspires us to achieve and dream the next goal for the country. Clinton holds in the reins of the ambitious and directs the outcome of the efforts. What’s not to like? I hope the Obama and Clinton teams can unite before the convention and give us the presidential administration that we need.

Another four years of Republican rule at the White House is a death sentence for many thousands more of our military personal as well as many thousands of civilians in the war torn parts of the world. I say: No to the endless war of Bush and McCain and yes to the hope of a better day for America and the world.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



I recently read EW after being out of town since January. I was quite appalled and dismayed to discover a full-page ad for American Spirit cigarettes, something I had never seen before in your publication. To see a product that kills human beings advertised in EW was extremely offensive. I had believed that the Weekly stood for the people, the people of Eugene, not greedy and corporate America, where greed comes before integrity. I am quite surprised that EW would choose to advertise something that statistics show kills 440,000 a year in the U.S. alone.

You must realize that “natural” tobacco is still tobacco, plain and simple. There is no safe tobacco. “Additive” free does not mean “addictive” free, although some people may believe that. And yes, I do see the small print at the bottom stating “no additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.”

Please reconsider your policy on advertising unsafe and dangerous products in your publication.

Andrea Callahan, Eugene



When the new federal building opened, I remember seeing some clever suggestions for a nickname in EW. Did we ever decide on one? No? May I submit: The Experience Justice Project?

Glenn Leonard, Eugene





If only the verbal charade that passes as truth would leave with the current administration. How many times have we heard one of them saying that perhaps he or she had “misspoken” about something, but that there was no intention to “mislead.” Now Hilary Clinton tells us that her exaggerated story of running from sniper fire in Bosnia was just a “minor blip” on the truth meter. “I say a lot of things — millions of words a day — so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement,” she said without batting an eye.

It’s a great little prefix, “mis.” There’s something sanitizing about it. It’s a way of negating without asserting anything. Many current administration officials have said that, well, yes, they may have “misstated” what someone had said, “misrepresented” the facts or “mischaracterized” a situation, but they certainly didn’t do anything wrong. Mis. It’s like the soft sound of a spray bottle sending a fragrant mist over the spot where the dog peed on the rug. If the dog could speak and were working for the current administration, he would not say that he peed on the rug. He would say that he “misurinated.”

And so it goes. One finds the use of this prefix almost exclusively in the white collar world where manipulation of language is as natural as breathing. People in this world don’t steal money, they “misappropriate” funds. This is apparently a nicer way of stealing; no ski masks or guns required. And, of course, their problems with sex are equally neutered by its use. They do not commit rape or statutory rape or pedophilia, they engage in “sexual misconduct,” which sounds about as serious as “misbehaving.” Simply a lapse in conduct, unbecoming their status and position, perhaps, but certainly not criminal. More like a misstep with their clothes off and somehow less harmful than the lewd, lascivious, immoral and heinous sexual actions committed by the less privileged.

Perhaps one day we’ll evolve to an even greater clarity of language when we can swipe all of those mis-es off the table and use the one word that we have all understood since childhood and which carries over into adulthood, no matter what riches and power you acquire. That word is “lie.” Can you feel its moral weight? Its resistance to equivocation and ambiguity? Imagine the presidential press secretary or a corporate executive standing at the podium and saying, “I lied.” But even then, given the nature of the ruling class, it would probably only be a matter of time before they were telling us that they had “mislied.”

Paul Keats, Eugene



I was pissed when I read about the new Roundup-ready sugar beets (News Briefs, 2/21). It brought to mind that guy who lost his farm because his crop of regular corn was pollinated by wind-borne Monsanto pollen. He lost his farm because he unknowingly grew patented corn without a license. He lost everything because someone else polluted his property!

If some factory pollutes your ground water, should you be fined for having their chemicals in your well without permission?

Should you lose your home because you aren’t licensed to drink their chemical waste? Why does the EPA fine companies who pollute the air with man-made chemicals of dubious nature, but not man-made pollen of dubious nature?

How much of this bullshit do we regular people need to take from these industrial tyrants before we do something about it? Do we have to wait until Monsanto patents the human genome? Will we need a license to reproduce?

Jeremy Alford, Eugene



Imagine applying family values to all our human interactions. How would we behave if we treated, not only every other human on the planet, but all life on it, with values of caring and helping.

Imagine business people applying family values to their business activities. What would that look like? Would they dispose of their employees to hire others with whom they could pay far less? How about moving the pollution made from our products somewhere else by manufacturing them over “there”? Would we intentionally cause a massive extinction of other species from our rapid growth?

There seems to be many ways we discard our family values for profit and comfort of living — for a small percentage of us anyway.

There’s a very unfortunate reality that will be forced upon us, namely, the goal of capitalism is unsustainable. Just as uninterrupted cancer in our bodies is unsustainable, so is our never-ending human and economic growth.

Until we learn to live in cooperation with all life on the planet (especially each other), we will be fighting a losing battle. The Earth can’t handle our massive and rapidly growing numbers, consumption, and pollution for much longer.

It gets down to, we can’t keep growing forever without killing ourselves in the process — any more than cancer can thrive in us. We could learn from cancer, but our time is quickly running out.

With family values applied globally, we’d have a much better chance of living with nature — and each other. Imagine that!

Patrick Bronson, Eugene



Some thoughts on recent headlines:

1. If it is logical to bring Prince Harry home from war because he is a “bullet-magnet,” how much more logical to bring our troops home because they are “roadside bomb magnets”?

2. If the degradation of the environment because of human activity keeps piling up, then could it be the only true environmentalists are women who limit themselves to no more than two offspring?

3. Why does so called free-market capitalism cry like a baby when greed causes it to implode?

4. How interesting that China’s administration is afraid of the Dalai Lama — imagine a huge, powerful nation fearing one man, no matter whether he is good or evil. At least the Dalai Lama’s weapons of mass compassion actually exist, so maybe the Chinese government’s fears are well founded?

Ramona McCall , Eugene



As a board member of the Oregon Ballet Foundation, I’d like to thank Kitty Piercy for her upcoming participation in an exiting event. You may not know it, but Eugene is close to appearing in the Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the World’s Largest Ballet Class! On April 20, the Oregon Ballet Foundation will host the class at McArthur Court on the UO campus. Mayor Piercy will participate in the event, which honors National Dance Week by raising money and awareness for dance education in our community. The current world record was set in Cape Town, South Africa, with 530 participants. Eugene’s record-breaking class will be led by local dance teachers. Mayor Kitty Piercy will be on hand to demonstrate her best dance skills — as well as her advocacy of quality programming for youth and for the arts.

The Oregon Ballet Foundation funds a free ballet program for boys and also assists in enabling all-youth ballet productions to take place annually in Eugene. This December, the Oregon Ballet Foundation and its associated dance school, the Oregon Ballet Academy, will put on our second production of The Children’s Nutcracker at LCC. This Nutcracker features youth performers from the local community in all major roles. For the record, I’d like to thank the mayor for her support of our efforts to help the arts flourish in Eugene! To find out more, or to register for the record-break event, please visit

Megan Murphy, Eugene