Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.26.07


Greg Norman’s letter (“Killer Kitties,” 6/28) states that the recent Audubon report (as editorialized in the R-G) identifies cats as the leading cause of decline in bird numbers. Yet the Audubon report Mr. Norman refers to as evidence did not mention cats! Here’s the one sentence the R-G editors chose to insert “The [Audubon] report doesn’t mention housecats, but these pets are efficient predators whose rise in number mirrors the decline in birds” (italics mine). That one sentence misled Mr. Norman into believing cats are the major cause of the decline in bird numbers.

The R-G correlation of rise in cats and decline of birds is called false causality statistics. While this correlation may on the face be true, the implication that cats are the major cause of declining bird numbers is not. It would have been more honest for the R-G to insert that the rise in human population mirrors the decline in birds, or the rise in number of new homes mirrors the decline in birds. Both of these correlations would have more accurately described what was actually in the Audubon report. I wrote the R-G in response to their editorial, but they appear to have chosen not to publish my letter.

I wonder if Mr. Norman read the Audubon report, which clearly states the reason common birds are declining are “urban sprawl,” “industrial development” and intensification of farming.” Cats are not mentioned in the Audubon report at all.

Sue Mandeville, Springfield



Thanks, EW, for publishing “Cougar Kill,” complete with OHA’s amusing statement, “… cougars associate the fear of being chased by baying hounds with humans and thus are more prone to avoiding human contact.” Perhaps they ought to quit their day jobs and become cougar psychologists.

Credible scientists who have studied wild cougars reject the simple premise that cougars have lost their fear of humans (allegedly instilled in them by persecutory hunting a century ago) and need to be made fearful again, mainly because there is no evidence that cougars ever had a fear of us. OHA’s warped reasoning can only be labeled anthropomorphism (something animal protectionists are always accused of), since it reflects how we would feel, instead of any real behavior change.

Since there are no scientific measures that would paint a realistic picture of behavior change in the elusive cougar, ecologists look to accounts from outdoors people in the early 1900s who noted how cougars regularly followed hunters and fisherman. Back then, the cougar was regarded as acting normal. Today, when a cougar is spotted near a populated area, it is viewed as a risk and killed. Clearly we ought to be studying our own behavior change.

Recent studies in many Western states monitoring radio-tagged cougars near human-dominated areas show that cougars regularly avoid such terrain, exposing themselves much less often to humans than the contrary. So until there is non-anecdotal, sound evidence, the “teach them fear with hunting” argument is plainly ridiculous. What would be the point of creating fear in an animal if you are only going to blow it away? Besides, cougars are too intelligent for such nonsense.

It’s amazing how few attacks there have been and continue to be by these adaptable felines — despite human encroachment on their habitat — but our looming population will make it even harder on them. California, with its dense population, hasn’t allowed cougar hunting since 1972. It’s time Oregon enters the 21st century and follows suit.

Eileen Stark, Portland



In response to Lon Miller’s letter (7/19), I just have to say that I feel sorry for his wife if he has to ask “what organ (artificial or otherwise) Ms. Sheklow uses during lovemaking.”

He obviously isn’t too familiar with the female body.

The rest of his letter really doesn’t warrant a response. His comments, masked in the form of questions, makes it extremely clear that “hate and disgust in the name of God” is still the popular response to anyone who is different from Lon and others like him.

I still don’t understand how anyone can believe in a God who preaches hate and intolerance.

Julie Weismann, Eugene

EDITORS NOTE: Miller’s actual statement was “Who wears the ‘organ’ (artificial or otherwise) during lovemaking?”



The two letters to the editor in the July 12 issue pointed out some potential fallacies in the viewpoint I had written on Eugene Police educational outreach (EW, 6/28).

One writer suggests that fewer than 10 people left the room as a police officer described her weapons and their usage to preschoolers. Yes, some people left before she even spoke. But other caregivers and their children, like myself, stayed for the presentation, only to leave as it progressed. In the viewpoint I wrote, I counted adults and children as “people.”

I did not assert that Officer Barrong took her gun out of its holster.

That two witnesses can have a differing opinion about the same event underscores how our perspectives shape our experiences: My daughter was probably disturbed by this presentation because as a 5-year-old, she walked in with an innocence to the concepts of pepper spray, handcuffs, nightsticks and “bad people.”

(If not preparing her for the world by introducing these concepts earlier brands me a naïf, well, that’s OK with me.)

As for my supposed “anger” and “vehemence,” my “anti-cop bias” and the insinuation that my daughter’s reaction was merely a projection of my own fears, I would say this: My daughter was excited to see the police officer, and I was hoping that in addition to introducing herself as “a person in my neighborhood,” that Officer Barrong might reinforce the messages I’ve been sending as a parent. (“Wear your bike helmet! Stay close to your caregiver in a crowded place! Wear your lifejacket! Know your phone number! Be careful around cars!”)

Both writers dismiss my concerns, saying that I had the free will to leave the room. I sure did.

But I wrote this viewpoint so that parents whose children attend school or daycare without them might have the opportunity to ask questions about this curriculum that their children may receive.

Rachael Carnes, Eugene



Please keep in mind that a moratorium on predator control can be inconsistent with sustainable agriculture, global warming policy and a healthy environment (“Cougar Kill,” 7/19).

I can already imagine the conversations at the Market of Choice about those evil cougar hunters as your readers peruse the shelf for their locally grown, antibiotic-free lamb and free-range chicken. All the while, shoppers are clueless of the connection between our local hunters and what they consider their guilt-free sustainable meat choices. However, our food supply is all about balance and sacrifice.

On our farm we balance killing raccoons with protecting a flock of 70 flavorful free-range chickens (no, chicken doesn’t really taste like chicken), turkeys and ducks that are free from antibiotics, inhumane quarters and clipped beaks.

We balance killing skunks with protecting hundreds of thousands of our nation’s biggest pollinator and with our desire for a healthy, unprocessed sweetener without a huge carbon footprint from shipping.

We balance killing cougars and coyotes with protecting our beef calf, herd of Boer meat goats and our three little piglets. Alternatively, I suppose we could buy grocery store meat shipped via an enormous carbon footprint and fed grain through chemically dependent corporate farming techniques.

Being omnivores isn’t pretty. As much as I don’t enjoy killing predators and harvesting our livestock, I prefer that vastly over assuming that meat magically appears in the grocer’s freezer. Consequently, the tools of our farm will continue to include the hoe for removing garden threats and firearms for removing pasture threats.

C. Michael Arnold, Creswell



I’m penning this at 4 o’clock in the morning. The quietest time of day: no phone calls, no loud conversations, no unnecessary interruption of sleep. It’s a mark of civility that we respect one another’s right to rest and save our commotion for the daylight hours. Everyone I know abides by this rule, and the only time it is breached is when a phone call comes telling of some emergency or tragedy.

Everyone, that is, except the railroad, which just woke me up once again. All night long, the train rumbles through town, repeatedly blasting its 120 decibel horn at each intersection. The sound carries for miles, banishing rest in the dark hours. Maybe you find the sound soothing or romantic, but realize that many others live nearer or more exposed to the tracks than you do, and they hear the train horn like a nightmare alarm. (By the way, I live more than two miles from the railroad tracks, so I did not choose to move next to this nuisance.)

Is it asking too much that the train engineers abide by common decency? Europe is not plagued by nightly train horns — why are we? Talk to your city councilor about a train quiet zone through the heart of Eugene, and maybe we can all get a bit more rest.

Larry Deckman, Eugene



As a foolish idealist, I agree with both Mr. Banister’s and Mr. Williamson’s (7/5) position regarding the “illegals” problem we currently have in this country

Mr. Banister seems to omit several facts regarding human beings. We tend to gravitate towards the easy way of doing things. We also have something that the Great Cosmos gave us: human genes. These genes make us act in very peculiar ways when it comes down to survival of the individual and of the species. We become competitive, and territorial towards each other. This can’t be helped; it can be controlled to some extent, but never eliminated. We also have in our genes the ability to show love and compassion, but the evidence is overwhelming that these are secondary abilities when water, food and shelter are needed by the individual as a matter of survival.

There are tens of thousands of years of proof with regards to our actions towards one another. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived and worked where we wanted without having to cross borders and have to carry identity cards? Where everyone is recognized as an unique and equal individual? When most people in all countries decide this, at the same time, then we will have truly evolved to a higher spiritual level.

Opening borders one country at a time as some in the U.S. and Latin America would like to do will fail, as our troubled history has shown. We are all children of this planet, it obvious to me that the “open borders” advocates from Latin America don’t really feel this way. They have their own agendas. We are definitely running out of time regarding human survival. So people, stop the stupid posturing!

Lou Andrews, Eugene



In the comic strip Peanuts, Lucy promises Charlie Brown that she will play fair, but each time he runs to kick the football she is holding, she pulls it away and he falls down. His unhealthy infatuation with her is delusional naïveté, similar to what many Democrats have with the ongoing collapse of our political system.

If Eugene’s liberals are really upset about continued corporate welfare for distant speculators who seek further homogenization of the city, then it’s time to find a mayor and council who match “green” rhetoric with sincere policies. The city is promoting sports arenas, big box stores, three-quarter-billion dollars worth of new and wider highways in the metro area, and its “West Eugene Collaborators” have interesting loopholes for reviving part of the West Eugene Porkway.

The Weekly‘s complaint (Slant, 7/19) about our governor’s flacking for the grass seed industry would have been more useful before his re-election. Perhaps they could examine how the statewide environmental groups endorsed his re-election despite his awful environmental policies (clearcuts and superhighways).

Democratic Party apparatchik Dan Carol’s plea to Senator Obama to be more “green” failed to mention that Obama is in favor of burning more coal and is funded by polluting transnational corporations. But as bad as Obama’s record is, it seems more likely that the Empire has picked Hillary, since she is even more compromised by her associations with Wal-Mart, toxic waste incineration and financial powers who also back the Bush crime family.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene



If you’re in your car, on a bike or walking and are stopped at the light on the corner of 28th and Friendly, look up that hill and say goodbye to the view, because in two years that quiet respite on the eyes will be replaced with a sidewalk and parking bays, maybe even a wider street. And I get to pay for these “improvements” to the tune of $10,000-$15,000 because I live on the street being reworked so Eugene and Lane County commuters above me have faster access to Jefferson Street — now a thoroughfare to 105 and I-5.

We tried to stop the city while Mayor Torrey was in office, but we couldn’t. With this new mayor, we got a compromise — context sensitive designing. Those who live on the street gave input about how the street would look. I was shown options, all with sidewalks and parking bays, and was told to pick one. Like a good neighbor, I complied, and now find out that with the sidewalk on my side I’ll have to shell out more money when the pavement deteriorates. Nope, I didn’t know this when I voted, just like I still don’t know what my final bill will be. Can you imagine agreeing to pay for something you don’t know how much really costs, can’t adequately research and don’t want? Can’t imagine the mayor or any city councilor agreeing to manage their personal finances in this way.

Jill Sager, Eugene



Another Oregon Country Fair has come and gone: three days of living in a world filled with art, music, celebration and a sense of community. Which made it all the harsher returning to my everyday existence and the real life bum trip that is global deforestation, mass species extinction, scarcity of clean drinking water and the climate crisis.

My initial reaction was to push all that heavy stuff under the rug and wait for next year’s fair, where I can — at least for a little while — live in a world that truly reflects the hopes, dreams and potential of humanity. But meanwhile, 362 days’ worth of reality get in the way.

I have decided that instead of just three days of living in a world of my choosing at the fair, I intend to continue to actively work to make genuine and lasting change in my daily life and in my community.

I beseech all of you fellow fairgoers to take the lessons from the fair and apply them to the communities in which we all live. One of the most important things we can do is to advocate for the preservation of the planet that sustains our very being and fills us with such a great impulse for revelry and delight. That way, we will be able to grant years of bliss and cause for celebration to future generations to come.

Michelle D’Amico, Eugene



I wasn’t thinking about getting another cat, so I want to congratulate PetsMart for opening their cattery to LCARA, where quite by accident on Sunday, I ran into a kitten that said, “Take me home.” Now, I feel compelled to say, “Shame on LCARA,” for making it so difficult to adopt a cat. Since LCARA euthanizes up to 75 percent of its cats, one would think they would be delighted when a responsible pet owner chooses to adopt one of their animals. Instead I was blindsided by The Rules and by hostility.

After I completed the LCARA paperwork, I was told I couldn’t adopt the cat until my dog’s registration was “verified.” Nor could the kitten I wanted to adopt be held for me pending my “approval” by LCARA — if someone showed up who was not a dog owner, they could have the kitten on the spot. There were other rules that I found equally surprising but would have complied with to have the kitten.

Had this little kitten not called to me, I would have given up on the spot.

Why make it so difficult and be so nasty to potential pet owners? It is just counterintuitive. I did not go through this third-degree grilling when I adopted from the Humane Society. This is bureaucracy run amok. Sad …

Mindy Mitchell, Eugene



I am responding to Cpl. Grant E. Monge’s “Bloody Hell” viewpoint (7/5) and his “Flabbergasted” letter (7/12). We Americans come with a great variety of viewpoints, occupations and beliefs, so it is predictable that we also have conflicted responses to war and peace and other dichotomies.

“Bloody Hell” is informative and heart-wrenching and humane and realistic about the slaughterhouse created by the Bushies’ illegal war (which Monge can’t recognize as illegal).

“Flabbergasted,” on the other hand, reveals the deep brainwashing Cheney’s Marine Corps uses to paint a false picture of the Iraq war so that Marines will continue to fight, die and be injured even if the war is going badly and is doomed to failure because of the greedy motives of its Cheneyized criminalities.

There may be some American wars that are necessary and legal, but it is clear from the army of whistleblowers that the Iraq war doesn’t comply with international norms because of the lies used to justify it and the massive bombing of innocent civilians used to “win” it. An illegal invasion and occupation coupled with an out-of-control massive bombing campaign has created such hatred in the hearts of most Iraqis that it has doomed the whole war to being an American failure.

Monge says that he loves his country, God and Corps. He can love them all he wants, but that in no way justifies the current war which is marred by American war crimes from beginning to the now soonish end. I do not hate Marines. I do hate the prime criminal here, Cheney, for it is quite all right to hate mass murderers. I agree with Monge in his love of freedom of speech, and my prime fear is that Cheney will take that freedom away. It is Cheney who should be taken away in shackles.

Bob Saxton, Eugene



In the spirit of Michael Moore’s premiere effort (Roger and Me), I chose this heading for this letter. A generation ago, millions of Americans were horrified by stories of elderly, impoverished Americans eating dog food. These unfortunate people had discovered that dog food (I believe Alpo was the dog-people food of choice), when spread on toast or mixed with rice, did indeed fill the human belly. Now, a generation later, I am reporting that many of us, as I’m sure I am not alone, have discovered that medicines, pharmaceuticals, etc. prescribed to animals work just fine, thank you, on people. Oh, the names might be a little different, and they sure are cheaper, but they are in many cases the same and do work, or we hope they do!

This is what it has come too in the richest country the world has ever seen. Teddy, by the way, is my golden retriever. Teddy has, over the years, received excellent medical care. As evidence of this, he is now in his 16th year — pretty amazing for a large dog (65 pounds).

How long I may live is of course is another story. After 26 years of being insured, I made the mistake of living! After 55, you are a bad risk. I might get sick, but it’s OK because if I do, Teddy and I share — our pharmacopoeia has accumulated over his 16 years. I guess we’ll do just fine. We’ll have to!

Joe Mogus, Philomath



I think the letter that Ruby Colette wrote captured my thoughts exactly in terms of OCF. To quote Colette, many are left feeling Jewish at Christmas as the air is filled with fair-frenzy. While the fair claims to be “open brother and sisterhood,” it is very much an “old boys’ club” with an exclusive network that doesn’t allow for new faces and voices to emerge unless you are well connected. And even then, I’ve seen a lot of brown-nosing and big egos. I’ve spoken with many who have also said they didn’t feel welcome and encountered the same snobbiness that many of us were happy to leave behind in high school. Although the atmosphere might be countercultural, it still exhibits the “in and out group” dynamic of mainstream culture. Personal egos run rampant. I am so over it.

There is life beyond the fair; Eugene encompasses far more.

Sian Nelson, Eugene



It’s ironic that in a weekend when so many of us mourned the loss of a Eugene cultural icon, Flicks and Pics, another institution, the Bijou Art Cinemas, was officially targeted with closure by a Portland developer — who would be spending our money to do it.

In a speech to the City Club of Eugene on Friday, July 13, Tom Kemper announced that his KWG Development Partners proposal for redeveloping West Broadway would be anchored by an art-movie multiplex. Quoting the July 14 Register-Guard: “Kemper said he hopes to persuade Regal or another movie chain to open an art film house similar to the Fox in Portland. ‘We have started to talk to Regal about it,’ he said.”

If built, this chain theater will compete directly with the Bijou for bookings and customers, most likely putting the local institution out of business.

Now, I’m in favor of growth, and change is inevitable. But the Bijou is a Eugene tradition, one of a handful of local spots celebrated by The New York Times when it visited here a couple of years ago. When my mother visited Eugene from Indiana, the Bijou was the first place I took her.

Especially after the death of Flicks and Pics, I’m not willing to spend one cent of my taxpayer money, much less $25 million to $40 million in subsidies, on a project that only aims to bankrupt and replace a landmark.

Let KWG fill its downtown pit with condominiums, but leave the Bijou alone.

John Strieder, Eugene



In the 7/10 Register-Guard, native Oregonian R.D. Henderson attacked the irony that East Coast “transplant” Colleen Kimball would settle in Oregon and then seek to close the doors on development in the name of the environment.

Being an Oregon native myself, I am obligated to remind Mr. Henderson that we Oregonians are the ones who passed Measure 37 and opened up Oregon to such catastrophic development. This being the case, I am happy to welcome a new civic-minded “Oregon transplant” who so quickly recognized the threats posed by Measure 37 and took the initiative to speak out about it.

Ironically enough, R.D. Henderson’s hero Tom McCall just so happened to be a transplant from the East Coast — a healthy transplant which lead to the betterment of Oregon.

Micah Olson, Eugene



I was shocked to hear Dave Ralston’s recent public comments concerning global warming. If Ralston’s ease in dismissing the science behind global warming wasn’t enough to make me scratch my head, his assertions about the aims of those raising concern about the issue left this reader questioning his fitness to serve in his current capacity as chairman of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA).

The science behind global warming is there. As reported in the article, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report reported with 90 percent certainty that global warming is happening and is caused by human activity. The IPCC’s report is a peer-reviewed publication consisting of contributions from 2500+ scientific expert reviewers, 850+ contributing authors and people from over 130 countries.

Mr. Ralston doesn’t just claim, “The science isn’t there.” He goes on to accuse champions of the global warming cause of acting like Robin Hood: “It’s about making the rich feel guilty […] taking from the rich and giving to the poor.” Citizens of Lane County should be appalled.

Global warming, Mr. Ralston, is not a partisan issue. It is not a class issue. It is a human issue. It is your job, sir, to protect our local air quality and regulate emissions. Unfortunately, your comments don’t inspire faith in your ability to do so.

Eric Taylor, Eugene



Recent news has me reflecting on some of the more callous quotations of history and literature:

“Are there no prisons? And the Union workhouses, are they still in operation?” said Dickens’ Ebeneezer Scrooge, who was “very glad” to hear that both were still very busy.

“Let them eat cake,” said Marie Antoinette, though this attribution admittedly carries considerable historical doubt.

“People have access to health care in America. After all, just go to an emergency room,” said George W. Bush on July 10. This attribution carries no doubt whatsoever.

“People have access to shelter in America. After all, just go to an underpass. Are there no cardboard boxes? And the subway stations, are they still in operation?” also said George W. Bush. Well, no, not really. But he may as well have.

Todd Huffman, Eugene



I think the supreme court decision on “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” was swept under the rug by saying the issue was about students’ rights versus a principal’s responsibility. If you listen to the latest commercials against people who smoke marijuana, you will find that they are all concerned with speech.

“Some people are telling your kids smoking marijuana makes you smarter … “

“While your teenager is online, she has 1,000 people in her room and some of them are talking about marijuana.”

I believe Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion on “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” was not sound constitutional law interpretation but just the new front in the war on people who smoke marijuana.

There is a new phrase being bandied about: drug speech. I believe conservatives aim to make “drug speech” a crime. As talking about murdering someone is the crime of conspiracy, I believe conservatives want to make “drug speech” a crime. So telling your child you smoked pot in college would be a crime.

If abortion is outlawed, then talking about abortion may also be a crime.

To paraphrase:

First they took away the speech of people who smoke marijuana, but I don’t smoke marijuana, so I did nothing.

Then they took away the speech of women wanting an abortion, but I am not a woman who wants an abortion, so I did nothing.

Then they took away my speech, but I was alone.

Chris Pender, Eugene



After viewing Sicko, Mike Moore’s latest work of humanistic genius, one thing stood out for me. Offered as the fundamental reason why France has so many social programs that work so well for so many of its citizens was this telling observation: “In France, the government fears its people; in America, the people fear their government.”

Anyone know where we can get a few used guillotines? We don’t have to use them, mind you. Just think of them as “inoculations.”

Seems to have worked before.

Bill Smee, Springfield




Peddlin’ to the place of peace, love and a little skin barin’

Colorful parades, new paradigms and a whole lotta carin’ and sharin’

While roadside treasure starin’

I saw two hubcaps and a blue heron

My butt was a wearin’

Several massive trucks blew by hippie glarin’ and a swearin’

Causin’ the wild blue chicory to dance a jig I am declarin’

Whilst I did the handlebar death grip sweatin’ and a fearin’

My long beard and lovely orange safety vest rippin’ and a tearin’

Awaiting my BIG BANG and final trip to the bright light I was preparin’

Got me thinkin’ bout my 25 years with Bert and me marryin’

I hummed some old tunes of Bobby Darin

All whilst ridin’ my bike out to the lovely Oregon Country Fair, that Mecca of tie-dye wearin’

Thank you for showin’ me THE WAY great blue heron!


Tim Boyden, Eugene



I have a few thoughts regarding Sam Bond’s making it in Esquire magazine as one of America’s Best Bars. The only one from Oregon. People want novelty. New experiences. Why don’t we fill the two downtown holes with more of the “counter-culture” side of Eugene? Valley River Center is not memorable. Malls with fake air. Been there, seen that. It’s anywhere U.S.A. Sustainable building, alternative energy, indoor year round Farmer’s Market (across the street from the library and the bus station?) would be a great start. Let’s not forget that how we get there is very important. The bus station is right across the street. While we are at it, let’s expand our bus system and have it run on biodiesel. And yes, have GAS taxes pay for it!

“10th Street Market” with regional musicians, crafters and restaurants featuring organic, local produce. Street theater, puppets, artists. Country Fairesque. There was an article in The Register-Guard regarding Veneta’s possible plans to “pave this community’s path from a timber- to tourism-based economy.” Nature trails and bike paths. Sounds like a shift in the right direction. Let’s make Eugene’s downtown educational, artistic, creative and fun in a sustainable way. So people will remember being there, like Sam Bond’s! A destination point modeling living with the earth, not consuming it.

Well done, Sam!

Pam Driscoll, Dexter