Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.9.09


In response to Robert Jacobs’ letter (3/26) suggesting that Eugene musicians focus their efforts on writing singles, I couldn’t agree more. Here are some handy suggestions for songwriters to keep in mind:

1. Use a minimum of chords. One is best, two if necessary and three at the absolute maximum.

2. Your key demographic is the 13-19 age group. All lyrics should be directed at their interests. Potential song topics may include Boy Meets Girl, The Breakup or How I Found Rock ‘n Roll. Regardless of topic, all lyrics must include the word “baby” at least once.

3. To aid commercial radio placement, song length should be not too long, not too short. Somewhere between 3:05 and 3:20 is acceptable. If the song includes a solo, it must be four bars in length.

4. Songs should be blemish-free. No feedback, fret twangs or muffled lyrics are permissible. In music, as in all the arts, perfection equals aesthetic value.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. I’m sure local musicians can come up with more. Keep in mind that if you want to succeed in music, it’s very important to follow these ideas. Any other musical efforts should be considered unlikely to lead to personal gain, and thus unproductive.

Blake Andrews, Eugene


This is in response to Jeff Albertson (3/26), who complained that his “shitty little band” did not make the EW and that Hank’s dad who happens to work for EW got Hank’s band name in the paper twice! Well Jeff, what can I say … I guess your band is a shitty little band — because if it was any good it’d be in the clubs and making money. Garage bands should stay in the garage. Next time instead of complaining, come out and check out the Ty Curtis Band. You might learn a thing or two.

Kim Almasie, Eugene


Concerning the three UO basketball “student” athletes making the masochistic decision to plan and execute their brilliant outing at Alton Baker Park: I am hoping that they performed as usual — they missed all of their shots. 

A few things about the shooting of the ducks and geese by Josh Crittle, Michael Dunigan, Teondre Williams. 

1. How very intelligent of you to try to toss away the weapon in the presence of the EPD. 

2. How very NCAA of Ernie Kent to say he is “very disappointed” and “This incident is a very serious matter.” Where is the outrage, Coach Kent? You should have borrowed a line from Pulp Fiction and suggested you were heading their way with a couple of blowtorches and some pliers. Disappointed? Please. 

3. If three non-student-athletes would have been caught doing the same thing would they not have found themselves in lockup for the night? 

4. I think a fitting punishment would be for them to sit in a jail cell for five days and then be allowed to clean the duck pond wearing those orange reflective safety vests. The Beavers will get a kick out of that. Oh, and then they get to volunteer at the Raptor Center and look at, care for and not shoot injured birds. 

5. How does the EPD know that there were no injures to the ducks and geese? It was 11:30 pm. What, do you think the injured birds are just gonna hang out for some more frivolity? 

6. Go the hell back home, you punks! We don’t need/want/condone this kind of behavior here. 

Mark Brenneman, Eugene


I read Alan Pittman’s letter concerning the role of the auditor and the administrative leave of Dawn Reynolds with some amusement.

His defense of the thinking involved surrounding the need for secrecy is the same thing the Eugene Police Department has been saying, and that the need for it is sometimes needed for security reasons for the officer involved and that transparency is not a good thing all the time for the auditor to disclose to the public.

Now the shoe is on the other foot, and to have the need for privacy and secrecy because of the sensitivity of her situation should be given the same considerations she afforded the police department.

Let the police do their jobs as written in the city charter and laws of this state and not by the interpretations of the auditor, and remember to treat others as you wish to be treated.

Gerald Thompson, Husband of EPD officer, Eugene


In this time of economic hardship, it is a true shame when some local businesses are willing to be as ruthless as possible to make a quick buck. 

The Jail restaurant on Franklin Boulevard is an excellent restaurant with an unfortunate lack of parking. I ran by the Jail after work to pick up dinner for my family, parked in the only available slot and ran in. Apparently, it was marked. I admit I didn’t see it, but I tend to miss some obvious things these days. I had just finished a nine-hour work day, and at 8.5 months pregnant I was a bit tired. I was reassured by other patrons in the restaurant that it was fine to park there. 

Within two minutes, a tow truck zipped out of the bushes and had my car. Both my husband and I called the management office while the tow truck drivers waited and were basically told “too bad.” They were finally willing to give us back our car if we paid $130 cash on the spot. My husband had to run down the street to the closest ATM at 7-11 to withdraw the cash. $130 is not a fortune, but in this economy, and trying to save for a baby, it will definitely hurt us. And what if my husband hadn’t been there? Emerald Valley Towing was perfectly willing to leave an 8.5-month pregnant woman stranded on the side of the road. 

In the two minutes we were in the restaurant before realizing what was happening, we watched them collect money from two other drivers. As for Emerald Valley, shame on you for not being willing to include some humanity in your business practices.

Jessika Jenson, Eugene


The rapid changes in our world present great challenges to the next generation. Children must be better educated and prepared than previous generations in higher levels of writing, thinking, math and science. We must stop “teaching to the test” as well as cutting school budgets. Creative, effective teachers must be supported.

 These are the reasons why public school leadership is so critical for all our kids. 4J School Board candidate Jennifer Geller is a talented and dedicated school parent, leader with Stand for Children and an engaged community member at the university, the library and her children’s schools. She has helped pass school levies and get soda and junk food out of schools, and she is a leader in the fight against tax inequity that undermines our quality of life.

She will stand up for strong education for every child and fight for transparency and parent input in decisions.

Please join me in voting for Jennifer Geller for 4J School Board.

Joy Marshall, Lane County Director, Stand for Children


Chris Pender’s letter to the editor (3/19) has a very reasonable point: Tax all nonprofits. No one has the foggiest idea how much nonprofits are not being taxed. And we certainly have a right to know about any loss of revenue for any reason. indicates there are 2,142 organizations exempt from taxes in Lane County. Exemption from taxation or exemption from anything always leads to misuse and abuse. 

A much better approach and more transparent would be to tax all nonprofits the same as everybody else. Then, if elected officials decided it would be good public policy not to put this financial burden on certain nonprofits, the government entity would pay the tax bill for the nonprofit — decided on an annual basis. This would be transparent! Then we would know who and how much — as it is now, we know absolutely nothing. 

Frank Skipton, Springfield


The comments from Robert Jacobs (3/26) regarding the need to record singles is on the right track. The local music scene is flush with talented musicians and vocalists. Hit songs, not so much. Fortunately, Eugene has a great resource for developing hit singles.

The Songwriters Workshop, now in its sixth year, welcomes aspiring songwriters of all stripes. The workshop, which meets the second Saturday of nearly every month, provides constructive group critiques of songs in progress as well as current information on the craft and business of songwriting. Attendees include published songwriters and absolute beginners, performing band members and living room soloists. To date, we’ve presented over 350 original songs in most popular genres. Many participants in the Songwriters Workshop have songs ready to go, and most of us are open to collaboration with interested bands. If it’s a single you need, check us out at

Rocky Montenegro, Songwriters Workshop, Eugene



 The costs of inaction now on climate change cannot be expressed in terms of money; the stakes are far higher. Climatologist Dr. James Hansen states that CO2, currently at 383 parts per million, is already well past a safe level. CO2 is now increasing at about 2.1 ppm per year. Hansen is stressing a target goal of 350 ppm. 

 There is a Global 350 movement helping to carry this warning. Hansen and Rajendra Pachauri, the director of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, state that serious measures are needed very fast. “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late, there is not time,” Pachauri recently said. 

“If you leave us at 450 ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice — that’s a sea rise of 75 meters (246 feet),” Hansen said. 

“The problem with all of this is we don’t know exactly when we’ve crossed the threshold to disaster, which could come in many different forms,” said Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Disaster.

Richard Alley also warns of ”feedbacks that might amplify a runaway warming,” and James Lovelock’s opinion is that ocean stratification caused by the heating of the top layer will kill most of the sea’s plankton because it will not then be able to get circulation of needed nutrients from deep below. Lovelock has stated recently that biochar — the massive burial of all agricultural waste as non-biodegradable charcoal (which is actually good for the soil) is now the “one way we could save ourselves.”

Dan Burdick, Springfield


Recent uproar about tree cutting for the new BRT line in Springfield is missing a larger issue: whether community funds should be spent on these types of projects in the first place. Where there is existing bus service the money should be expended to lower fares and increase frequency of runs. Instead, we are facing service cutbacks and elimination. See something wrong with this picture?

These wasteful projects are becoming ubiquitous to the area. New sports arenas, the Gateway I-5 project, the RiverBend hospital complex, the Bob Straub Parkway, the Springfield Justice Center, the 1-5 Willamette River bridge, the DeFazio Bike Bridge, the U.S. Courthouse — where do these abuses of the taxpayer stop? We can expect to see fewer resources in our community in the future; can we perhaps be spending what we can get more wisely? Consider pedestrian crossing safety on East Main Street, provision of low cost dental and health care, increased support for seniors, increased police patrols and increased drug and mental health treatment. 

Local government and “nonprofits” are not serving but are abusing the community at large with these useless and costly projects. Future use of bonding authority and taxpayer funding should be only approved by the entire community, and it needs to be proven beneficial.

Michael Koivula, Springfield


Something that is of grave concern to me, and should be as well to the local farmers of Oregon and city of Eugene, is HR 875 also known as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. This bill was introduced and referred to house agriculture on Feb. 4. The bill, which is in the first step of the legislative process and still needs to be reviewed, can still be directly affected by the citizens contacting their representatives.

The bill was introduced by Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) whose husband, Stanley Greenburg, conducts research for known genetic food modifying corporation Monsanto. 

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is sponsored by the Monsanto Corporation. To me this looks like a ploy to snuff out independent organic farmers and install genetically modified food the nation over. This would threaten the independent organic farmer and bring fines against non complying farmers of $100,000. In summary H.R.875 is an attempt by Monsanto to corner the food market and ensure the spread of G.M.O.S. Please call your representative and voice your opinion against this.

Nathan Copeland, Eugene


It was a bi-partisan effort with a Republican Congress and a Democratic president that repealed the Glass/Steagall Act which had been passed after the great depression to prevent banks from risky speculation in derivatives and securities. The result was the creation of the housing bubble and subsequent crisis brought on by banks being allowed to make very questionable loans to people who were not financially able to pay, and bundling and selling those bad loans to get them off the books. 

To put it simply, our government failed us by caving in to the pressure of the financial institutions and their greed. It was not a Republican failure or a Democratic failure but on the day that the Republican congress pass the legislation and President Clinton signed it into law it became a bi-partisan boondoggle of historical proportions. Led by Phil Graham with broad across-the-isle support bought about by almost a billion dollars of lobbyist money, this has shamed the American people and caused the global financial disaster. The disappointing part is that none of the crooks will ever be brought to justice.

Dan Hill, Eugene