Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.28.09


EWEB, Eugene/Springfield and UO hierarchy (the whole state of Oregon for that matter) strike me as very similar to companies like GM or Chrysler run by a bunch of drunk CEOs flying around in private jets stating they will reform and become more competitive and “greener.”

EWEB, Eugene, Springfield and UO bureaucrats sell the citizens of Lane County the perception “we” have become greener by bulldozing 50 acres of wetlands for a EWEB palace to be heated with fossil fuels (a few token solar panels will be added), building the most expensive college basketball arena in U.S. history to be heated with fossil fuels (no token solar panels), selling so-called “renewable energy” by burning clear-cut forests, spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on widening freeways and highways to “reduce” global warming gases, building $2 million-plus bicycle bridges to malls and building new big box stores on top of farmland and wetlands.

I think toxic waste is good for you, too. It helps build stronger bones and increases one’s life expectancy. I take my dose every day by breathing Eugene/Springfield’s “clean air” and drinking unfiltered water flowing by the nearest PVC pipe plant or glue factory or pulp mill or mall parking lot.

After 18 years of struggles to create a greener and healthier Eugene/Springfield, it seems that our efforts have been so futile because impacts to our air, water and land have only gotten substantially worse, thanks to our so-called leaders.

Shannon Wilson, Co-director of Ecosystem Advocates and chair of Many Rivers Group



I’m a big fan of “The Big O!” As President Frohnmayer says, “We’re proud of our brand!” And why not? The university is performing an important public service by constantly reminding the Eugene-Springfield community of the health benefits of daily orgasm. That’s what I always think of when I see The Big O or hear that phrase — and I’m not alone, not that there’s anything wrong with being alone when you’re enjoying your daily Big O. However you do it, wherever and with whomever (consenting adults only, please), The Big O, unlike football, will increase the flow of oxytocin and oxygen to your brain, filling you with greater love and intelligence.

Thanks, President Frohnmayer, for the good vibrations.

Ellen Singer, Eugene



Oregon law forces difficult and painful choices in these most difficult of times. Balancing the budget puts legislators and the governor “between a rock and a hard place.” They’re forced to find what cuts will do the least harm.

Let’s urge them to minimize the cuts and harm to our public schools. They should ask everyone to pay their fair share. We can’t think of a better investment for Oregon and Lane County. 

Public schools are a critical economic driver. The jobs of the future require an educated work force. We can’t attract new business without them. Some Oregon corporations pay as little as $10 per year in income tax — the same amount since the Great Depression. Less than a movie and soda. It is in their interest to start paying their fair share. Oregon has the largest elementary class sizes in the nation with one of the shortest school years. Better educated kids make better choices out of school; after-school programs keep many at-risk kids out of trouble. 

The numbers speak for themselves — our expensive, overcrowded jails are filled with high school dropouts. Eighty percent of Oregon inmates are high school dropouts. Those who have the most to lose — those making more than $250,000 — should pay their fair share. 

We know legislators’ choices are difficult. Our public schools are a good investment. For everyone.

Leslie Weinstein, Tatiana Weinstein, 4J student,  Eugene


There has been much discussion about the so-called pits downtown, and a search for developers and eventual tenants continues. But one of the pits has in fact already secured the best “developer” I know — Mother Nature — and a steady stream of new tenants is quickly filling the available spaces.

In the pit nearest the southwest corner of Willamette and Broadway, young cottonwoods have already leafed out, and myriad other plants await their turns to delight passersby and pollinators alike.

I’ve watched this site for the past few years and simply marvel at what I see. In addition to the cottonwoods, the seeds of other trees — including incense cedar and big-leaf maple — have arrived and germinated. In the southwest corner of the lot, just inside the ugly chain-link fence, Oregon’s lovely state flower, the Oregon grape, now blossoms. The biggest show will come later this spring, as coreopsis, California poppy, birds-foot trefoil, pearly everlasting and many more flowers bring color and life back to this once-barren site.

Instead of screening from view this wondrous place, why not encourage passersby to appreciate and learn from what is happening? A sign could be erected that explains how “ecological succession” works and identifies the predominant plants, avian visitors and so forth.

I realize that this site will someday be “developed” in a more conventional fashion — probably with a big, lifeless brick and steel building. In the meantime, let’s enjoy it for the fascinating little nature preserve that it has become all on its own.

Whitey Lueck, Eugene



Regarding the city’s or anyone else’s stance on global warming (news story, 5/21), the actual inconvenient truth is even if you stopped all anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases immediately, it would have absolutely no effect on planetary climate trends. Zero, zilch, nada.

So while you religious zealots in the house of “Mother Earth” (what a joke, the planet doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you) and your lawyers continue to pretend to save the world (and make lawyer money), the weather is still gonna be the weather. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Have a nice day, you monkeys!

And by the way, you can’t fight “The Man” when you are “The Man.” Dig it, man?

Scott Zeppa, Springfield



In response to “EPD Cowards” (letters, 5/14): Are you serious? You are mistaken when you write that “Eugene is about the easiest place in the world to be a cop.” I would imagine that the easiest place would be a community with low crime (property and physical), low drug-related issues and a police department that is actually supported by its community. Eugene might just be one of the more difficult places to work as an officer because the community doesn’t support them. 

Let’s say I’m at the grocery store and the clerk is really rude to me. Do you think I’m going to say, “I hate all grocery store clerks! They’re all a bunch of jerks!”? Absolutely not! Police officers are people too. With husbands and wives and children, grandchildren too. Eugene police officers actually have one of the most difficult jobs. How many of you would be willing to go to work every day, not knowing exactly what the situation might be? And having to risk your own life for the sake of someone else’s?

I assume that you know all “hippies and activists” in the Eugene community because you seem to think that none of them are dangerous. I came across an article from the Democracy Now website dated June 11, 2007, stating that activist Daniel McGowan had been sentenced to seven years in prison for arson, which the judge said was an act of terrorism. Some might argue that this type of “activist” is extremely dangerous.

Mary Mainenti, Eugene



Your article on doctors communicating with patients by email was interesting. I have been exchanging emails with traveling patients for years. Granted, it is easy to do in a narrow medical field (travel medicine) and in a small office. All of the extra software and privacy issues are solved with already existing programs and personal email systems with security, passwords and firewalls set up on either end as usual. With large groups it becomes very complicated. Unfortunately, medicine is morphing towards large groups almost exclusively.

If someone emails me with questions, there would be some limitations. Questions should be short, simple and straightforward and usually relate to preparations for travel outside the U.S. They should be couched in general terms and not specific to a person’s medical condition. Answers may also be fairly general. 

I can do more for established traveling patients with existing medical records, but I can also be helpful in a general way for others, especially if planning a new trip. Some other questions may also be answered. Participants will have to understand that responses may be more general to adhere to standards of medical care and to limit liability that may be incurred by giving medical advice for a patient we have not yet seen. We currently do not charge for answering emails sent under these guidelines.

Travelers seen in the office are managed differently. I make sure there is good understanding of the issues and I am usually able to spend as much time with the traveler as needed to accomplish this for a flat fee.

John D. Wilson, M.D., The Travel Clinic, Eugene



Let them build a new cop shop as far out as we can get them so that the EPD can become as geographically irrelevant to the city of Eugene as they already are culturally irrelevant to the community. When they stop fucking with me on my bike and start dealing with the folks responsible for breaking into my house and drinking the milk in my refrigerator because they’re high on something they bought a few blocks away but have no food or money, perhaps then we could let them park their cars closer to the city core.

I would like to see businesses that are open past 5 pm replace any of the dead blocks downtown. Among the banks, city buildings and pits, there is more dark space than activity after business hours downtown.  

Give the police a simple but functional building far away and have a few small stations in town, one downtown open 24/7. Fort Collins, Colo., police department might be a good example to learn from — they have a massive building way the hell out. Ask them what the consequences were for them.

The money left over from building or retrofitting an appropriately budgeted space for our city police should be used to help those with no homes find helpful, no contingency shelter. Over a pint at Tiny Tavern one night, a woman from my neighborhood told me to buy a pit bull to protect my house. Another man at a Whiteaker community meeting told the audience that he consciously chose to be homeless for part of his life and wanted “homeless rights” for those living on the streets. 

If I have to protect my property with an attack dog because the police have failed my neighborhood, then they are irrelevant, and it doesn’t matter where their shop is. 

Isaac McCoy-Sulentic, Eugene



The following is a red alert for property owners, environmentalists, bicyclists, walkers, nature lovers and so on: Lane Transit District, LTD, is becoming more and more determined to develop an EmX dedicated lane, with stations along Amazon Creek from the intersection of West 13th Avenue and Arthur Street going to Bertelson Road.

This project would necessitate the taking of large quantities of property along Amazon Creek, either through sale or eminent domain. LTD’s objective and the reason for all this future destruction and chaos is for them to have as straight a line as possible from the downtown terminal to Danebo Road.

The demolition of housing where Amazon Creek and West 13th intersect is the first thing that would occur. Amazon Creek’s banks are unstable and riddled with tunnels and warrens from rodent activity. On the south bank are restricted wetlands. Amazon Creek is a Class I waterway with a minimum 50 foot setback, which would warrant the taking of even more property. Parts of the bike path would be destroyed and, when rebuilt, would have diesel fumes and noise in its proximity. As of now, the creek is a non-motorized byway. And what about the critters that live along the creek?

Let’s not forget what happened to 286 trees on Pioneer Parkway for an EmX extension. The public was not informed beforehand because no one asked about the trees, according to Mark Pangborn, LTD general manager. If you are concerned, contact LTD and our City Council, a co-signee onto any project.

Pauline Hutson and Jozef Siekiel-Zdzienicki, Eugene



In Alan Pitman’s news brief (“Taser Probe,” 5/7), he refers to the CRB as the “Citizens Review Board.” Did he err or was he making a suggestion to the readers and political leaders? The dictionary is an excellent place to try to distinguish among civilian, civil, citizen, military, etc.

Ed Wilson, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter writer is correct. Different cities use different words, but our CRB uses the word “civilian,” which is more specific and exclusive. Active military and police personnel can be citizens, but they cannot be civilians. So by definition, police officers cannot serve on our CRB. Even “citizen” is a loaded word these days, as it excludes our many undocumented residents.


Incompetent insults

Sally Sheklow’s parody of Faulkner (4/23) was close enough to the mark to make me laugh out loud. Her point about Sam Adams was a little hard to follow, but I think I agree with it too. As another longtime Eugene lesbian feminist, I can say that while I don’t always agree with her, Sheklow is a very good representative of my community’s perspective on life around here, and we certainly need it in the paper.

In a letter (5/7), Steve Downey calls her a man-hater and uses a Stepin Fetchit analogy which is not only outrageous but intellectually incompetent. His complaint is actually with Sheklow’s feminism, not her lesbianism. Well, in my experience, every feminist will eventually be called a man-hater, but that won’t stop us. Pointing out sexism is not hateful; it’s speaking truth to power. Downey is the one feeding the stereotype, not Sheklow.

Lorraine Ironplow, Eugene


Steve Downey wrote one downer of a letter (5/7) falsely claiming that columnist Sally Sheklow believes “that being a lesbian necessarily involves hating men.”

I remember arriving in Eugene more than a quarter century ago, and Sally was and has always been as friendly as can be.

But let me think back. There was that wild truck tour of the women-owned warehouse collective when I first got here. Friendly. There was support for human rights activism at our nonprofit MindFreedom. Friendly. There was that hilariously crowded cabin on the coast. Friendly. Successfully firm encouragement to get an elevator here at Growers Market where we have an office. Friendly. Improvisational humor. Friendly. Random fun “hellos” from coast to city. Friendly. Dozens of bro-friendly columns. Friendly.

But am I a real man? Let me check. Yep. Even though once upon a time in a peace protest an affinity group of lesbians voted me an honorary lesbian.

Steve Downey may have something in common with Sally Sheklow: a unique sense of humor. Just consider his apparent irony. He quotes John Lennon about the need for more love, and then sends out this anti-love letter. He informs us that he is The Man In Charge of Picking Lesbian Role Models and Sheklow has lost. Where does Downey hold auditions? Is this some kind of fantasy T-shirt slogan, like “Official Beach Bikini Inspector”? I think how it works is that lesbians get to pick their own role models. I don’t know where; they just do. (And in case anyone’s wondering, bikini owners get to pick their own inspectors.)

Message to Steve Downey: Buddy, we “real men” also get to pick our own role models.

David W. Oaks, MindFreedom Internationall





I really am quite appalled by Mr. Downey’s letter; clearly he does not know Sally personally. I am a gay man who has lived in Eugene for the better part of 11 years and I have worked with Sally in many capacities. (Everything for the local GLBTQ PRIDE celebration, Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations, human rights work when I was a commissioner on the Eugene Human Rights Commission, and a number of other instances that involved men, women, and children from many diverse backgrounds.) 

I think Mr. Downey should meet Sally before he makes such accusations. I for one can tell you that she treats everyone she meets with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Shame on you Mr. Downey, for dragging her name in the mud!

Jer Megowan, Eugene/Springfield PRIDE


This regards the letter to the editor by Zachary Moitoza (“Nuclear Potential,” 5/7) where geothermal power was said to be only available in a few spots. Actually, geothermal power is available most everywhere in the form of “hot dry rock” (HDR) though it requires deep drilling, and such equipment and expertise is limited. 

Regarding nuclear fission power, Generation III+ reactors that are in production are difficult to screw up thanks to their passive and redundant systems, and the upcoming Generation IV reactors cannot melt down even if you tried. I was a staunch nuclear fission opponent, but the improved technology has turned me around in the face of global warming, tens of thousands of deaths annually attributed to the particulate matter of coal burning, and entire mountain tops and watersheds destroyed by coal mining. Nuclear fission is a viable temporary stop-gap until we can get solar, wind and geothermal power expanded.

Torsten Pihl, Corvallis


Another health insurance premium increase! After last year’s approved increase for BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon for 26 percent, one would think they could manage without a demand for another 14.7 percent raise this year. Outrageous! This will affect about 79,000 Oregonians and probably end health insurance for many.

With increasing unemployment, even more families will be pushed out of their homes because of unexpected medical bills. Who will be next?

Meanwhile our elected officials arrest those asking for a discussion of single-payer health care in our country’s capitol. This is an important time for phone calls to our elected officials in Washington; Peter DeFazio at 465-6732, Jeff Merkley at 465-6750, Ron Wyden at 431-0229. Tell them we all need a single-payer health care like every other country. It is the right thing to do.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


I’ve just read about the California voters’ response to the several measures proposed by the state’s government in their desperate attempt to resolve their budget crisis. All but one of the measures failed, and, predictably, now the government is talking about “draconian” measures that will need to be taken in order to make up for their $21.3 billion deficit. The tragedy of it is that, as usual, one of the first areas targeted for budget cuts is education.

It happens in every state. Whenever there is a budget crisis, one of the first places the axe falls is on school spending. This, when there already aren’t enough teachers, students are using outdated books and computer equipment (if they have them at all), facilities are crumbling, and teachers are forced to buy supplies because the schools don’t have them.

I simply cannot understand how any state legislator, who owes everything he or she has, including the very position of power they hold, to their education, would use that power to cut funding for schools. Is the irony not thick enough for them to see? The price we will pay in the continued decline of this country on many, many levels is incalculable.

So I make this plea to Oregon’s legislators: Our financial problems are complex, and the solutions are not easy. We will all have to make some difficult choices, and many sacrifices may have to be made. But please, please do not sacrifice the future of this state and this country by continuing this assault on our schools. Legislators, ask yourselves, where would you be today without your “edukashun”?

Henry Snow, Eugene


The cry that many hear rising from the anti-real-health-care-reform din is: “Too expensive!” But what I hear is the private health insurance companies crying that a public option would put them out of business. 

Seems the latter cry decries the former. Know what I mean? Listen to your little voices.

Benton Elliott, Eugene


Environmental groups and the media are treating Obama’s bill to raise fuel efficiency standards from 27.5 mpg to 35.5 mpg as a solution to climate change. A Register-Guard op-ed even says this will lower consumption by “the equivalent of taking 177 million cars off the road” (we have 200 million cars in this country). 

What people fail to recognize is that since the dawn of the industrial age, when James Watt patented his first steam engine in 1769, efficiency hasn’t lowered energy consumption, it has raised it. In 1865 English economist Stanley Jevons noticed that since Watt’s steam engine was five times as efficient as pervious models, it led to robust economic growth, thereby increasing overall consumption. This observation led to what is now known as the Jevon’s Paradox. 

We have doubled both vehicle efficiency AND oil consumption in this country since the 1970s. Wind, solar, nuclear, and a carbon tax to encourage conservation are the way to go, not efficiency alone. 

Zachary Moitoza, Eugene


Steve Downey’s conclusions (5/7) regarding Sally Sheklow’s attitude towards men served as a reminder to me of how many times I’ve passed judgment or jumped to conclusions about people I just don’t know; I thank him for that and for EW printing his letter.

I do know Sally Sheklow. She is a friend of mine and I love her. We do theater together and we worship together. She is one of the most openhearted individuals I have ever been blessed to meet.

Ken Hof, Eugene