Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.12.10


You’ll probably be deluged with responses to Ben Fogelson’s powerful and timely cover story (8/5) of how his mother put her end-of-life plan into effect, and his participation in it. Although he was flip here and there (his lead, for example) this attempt at distancing and control paradoxically revealed his vulnerability even more than if he had broken into printed sobs. The article should be anthologized. It’s a classic.

I was struck by a parallel between Fogelson’s piece and Molly Templeton’s review of Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, particularly the section on bowel movements. We tend to be uncomfortable discussing such matters at any time, but especially in such contexts as the “solemnity” of human death and the “glory” of space exploration. Well, too bad, folks. They’re part of our lives until the end. If our concept of “dignity” demands that we edit out such inevitable parts of the human experience, we need to rethink our conception.

Don MacQueen, Eugene


In reading Dr. Arnold Ismach’s column (8/5), I was struck that he made a number of salient points about the state of local community and information availability in light of our nascent digital culture. However, I felt that the pessimistic future his article paints deserves a discussion on what can be done to combat it. It strikes me that in many ways, local print news is facing an adapt-or-die situation nation wide. That adaption will likely require electronic distribution of some sort. Personally, I would subscribe to The Register-Guard if I could get a PDF of it delivered to my e-mail inbox for my reading convenience every morning for a reasonable rate (not $183 dollars per year). I would likely read the website more if its layout wasn’t, frankly, kind of terrible.

 Touching on Ismach’s complaints on “citizen journalists,” it strikes me that in many ways, bloggers are simply those stepping into a niche opened up by the declining standards of journalism across the country. In my unprofessional opinion, this is likely due to a transition from news on the air to news-entertainment. After all, we live in a country where the host of a half an hour comedy program is the most trusted name in news. Perhaps the best solution is to try and meet the situation half-way and encourage bloggers to adhere to the accuracy and ethics standards people passing themselves off as real journalists should be being held to. (Or encourage local news programs to adopt a humorous but scathingly truthful approach to local events.)

Wayne Manselle, Eugene


Eugene and Springfield air quality is probably the dirtiest per capita in the state.

The combination of International Paper’s 48 megawatt co-gen biomass burner, a large briquettes manufacturer, a half dozen lumber mills like Seneca, Weyerhaeuser and Rosboro, as well as several sand and gravel operations all using old diesel trucks, makes Eugene and Springfield’s air a toxic soup that would rival any city on the West Coast.

The solutions are not electric cars and giant windmill farms or solar electric arrays to maintain our stuff-laden existence but rather letting go of a bourgeois lifestyle and using petrol at a whim to go out for dinner or hiking or to check the mail, giving up airline travel, doing without that new addition or new cedar fence made out of ancient trees and that long road trip using an RV. 

Yes, these are some unpleasant truths, and for some, out right blasphemy. For speaking such blasphemy as the chair of the Many Rivers Group Sierra Club, I was ousted via unscrupulous tactics to stop me from speaking them. We the people are going to have to give up our bourgeois lifestyle if the living planet is going to survive.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene


Rick Levin should stick to his job description for running the calendar section. This piece of fluff (story on emergency vets, 7/29), while an “entertaining” read, omitted the most important consideration in emergency animal care: money.

Funny how vets put that foremost in their practice while assuming that any pet parent at any time will respond to any demand for money from emergency vets no matter how outrageous in size and immediacy of demand.

And if they are unable to pay often extreme amounts of cash up front, the pet parent is then subjected to nastiness, guilt-tripping and downright collection-agency-style behavior directed at them by the clinic’s receptionist who is doubling as bookkeeper.

In this economy when many people are desperate to deal sensibly with emergencies, vet clinics, especially after-hours or emergency clinics, owe it to their clients to have information immediately at hand that gives financial assistance information to those pet parents who need it. I don’t mean some snarky, self-important 20-something admin assistant who smugly points to the “insurance” brochures gathering dust in the clinic windowsill. I mean real and immediate information as to where help is available.

Pet parents should prepare for emergencies with their animals including how to pay for emergency care. It is very hard to track down financial assistance (as in grants and loans) for emergency vet care, but clinics really have no interest in helping their clientele with this. You must pay cash or with a credit card (no checks allowed) up front before there is even a comprehensive examination of your pet. Pet insurance is largely unregulated, so use your imagination. Whole careers are made on adjusters denying even legitimate claims.

Alexis Madison, Coburg


I find it interesting that because of $200,000 budget cut the city of Eugene implemented on July 1, Lane County Animal Services had to do without that money and lay off an animal control officer. Yet Lane County itself can afford to hire a full-time animal behavior and training coordinator, at minimum of almost $30,000 a year. See I want to add that there are right now only three officers who are supposed to respond to calls for the entire Lane County. 

I just wonder why one side of the coin is so different than the other? We have to lay off one person, because the sugar daddy (city of Eugene) put his wallet away, but momma (Lane County) opened her purse and seems to think that we can afford an “animal behavior coordinator”? It just doesn’t make sense.

Kimberly S. Thompson, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: See our News Briefs July 22 for a story on this topic.


I see from Gail M. Karuna’s letter (8/5) that she is so hung up on her own beliefs that she is totally intolerant of other folk’s beliefs. It is silly to expect someone who does not believe in God, prayer etc. to suddenly change course on the basis of a letter written by a convention-addicted person such as herself. Lighten up and fly your own ship and let all others fly their own ships, and be thankful that everyone can believe what they want under our Constitution. 

Bob Saxton, Eugene


This letter is written to inform any humane person who happens upon a friendly, stray dog to leave it alone to wander on its own and potentially get run over or somehow otherwise harm itself so that LCAS will get involved. Sound like something a cold heartless bitch would say; yeah, that’s just what I thought when I heard that from the agent at LCAS who took my call at 1:30 pm July 30. 

I am a single parent who received a frantic telephone call at work from my distraught daughter who found a dog in the road by the city park near our home, no owner in sight and no identification. My teenager knew leaving it to fend for itself in the street was not the right thing to do, so she called me at work in tears. She said it seemed friendly, so I told her to take the dog home to our fenced backyard, give it water and I would call the authorities. 

Imagine my angst when I called LCAS to come rescue this poor beastie and was told “we no longer come to rescue strays unless it’s injured or threatening a person.” She then advised me to bring the animal into their facility; not a possibility as I am at work for five more hours. I even said, “Let me get this straight … because my child followed my instruction to see the stray to temporary safety, your agency will not address the needs of this creature, and you’re instructing me to release it so you can then send someone out to pick it up?” I was told “Yes, we don’t have the manpower to come pick up strays any longer.”

So next time you happen to come across a stray in Eugene, be sure to immediately call LCAS before making anything remotely resembling a rescue attempt; hopefully they will break away from interviewing for that new animal behavior and training coordinator position they just made available as reported in the July 29 EW to come save a stray.

Thea LittleBear, Eugene 


Thank you for your concern with cats and dogs in your section of the recent (7/29) Weekly.

When I arrived in Eugene 50 years ago, many dogs walked without being leashed, and dog poop was often left on public spaces and front lawns. Now most dog owners responsibly walk their dogs on lead and clean up after their pets. 

However, many owners of cats let them run freely with complete disregard for their neighbors. As a neighbor of several free-roaming cats, I am annoyed daily by cats who poop in my garden, dig up newly planted seeds and plants, mark their territory in my yard by spraying urine, wait stealthily to kill birds who come to my bird feeders, scratch the wooden posts of my stair railings, leave their footprints on my porch and car and wake me at night with their caterwauling fights and intercourse.

Responsible cat owners restrict their cats to their own property. I do know several responsible cat owners who have house cats and/or accompany their animals whenever their cats are outside. Besides being responsible neighbors, their animals reproduce rarely and do not become feral.

Why cannot cat owners become as responsible as dog owners?

Alvin Urquhart, Eugene


 The first time I heard Michael Franti, he was the frontman for the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. The song was “Television,” and the message was crystal clear. “TV is the place where armchair generals and quarterbacks can experience first-hand the excitement of video warfare as the theme song is sung in the background.” Years later, Franti sold (out) his music to Sony Playstation, and now those “armchair generals and quarterbacks” can listen as he sings the theme song for them (and pockets a little extra change, too).

I suppose that just wasn’t enough hypocrisy. Now he’s peddling Corona! Long ago, he seemed to be speaking to and for so many of us who wanted change. He offered hope and possibility and his music was a call to action. What happened? Was it all part of the show?

Listen, I know Michael Franti is just another pop star. Perhaps I am naïve, but I bought what he was selling once upon a time. Not anymore. I was not at the Cuthbert. He no longer deserves my support. If I really want to support Spearhead, I’ll buy a six pack of Corona and play video games all night.

Marcus Farley, Eugene


That Chris Dudley is tall is plain to see. That his height outmeasures the width of his political experience and the depth of his political knowledge is also evident without use of a ruler.

If elected, Dudley’s height will prove useful in one regard: to enable him to see over the great heap of hypocrisy upon which he was lifted into office. Considering how their hysterical repudiation of candidate Obama was ostensibly based on his lack of leadership experience, that today a political novice whose notoriety derives solely from his professional sports background enjoys the support of the GOP-Tea Party set exposes their insincerity and perhaps their self-deception.

We’ve seen this intellectual incoherence before, with the remarkable political survival of a half-term governor who quit her leadership responsibility in order to make millions on the talk circuit. Were she and Dudley Democrats, imagine the rage and howl.

Todd Huffman, Eugene


It seems we at the Oregon Country Fair do all we can to offend Eve Cienfuegos, without meaning to. She has often expressed discontent with our event. We’re going to further displease her because we are offering grants to organizations in Lane County that assist the homeless. Eve, if you have blood pressure issues, you shouldn’t read any further.

Our Jill Heiman Vision Fund, to which fair workers and fairgoers can and do donate, will this year distribute grants to several organizations that help homeless people find shelter, food, health services, childcare and transportation. We don’t know at this writing how much there is to distribute, (stay tuned for a press release after donations have been counted) but if past years are any indication of OCF participants’ generosity, we might have about $20,000 to give out. We have selected Womenspace, Florence Food Share, Laurel Hill Center, Relief Nursery and St. Vincent de Paul’s First Place Family Center to receive the generous donations of Fairgoers who know that homelessness is not a choice and wish to help their fellow humans get on their feet.

Thank you everyone who donated to the Jill Heiman Vision Fund. You make a positive difference in this amazing community of ours.

Norma Sax, Administrative Assistant, Oregon Country Fair


Greetings, all you little PC sheeple airheads! As I know that many of the readers of this publication are right at, or near, college age, I think it’s important to remind them of a few basic facts concerning our present-day “higher learning institutions.”

1) Contrary to the doctrine being propagated all day, everyday at our colleges and universities; “diversity” is actually a drain and an hardship on the country, not a blessing. 

2) Studies and recent history has shown that forced or prolonged overexposure to diversity causes confusion, disorder, injustice, resentment, anger, irritatingly misguided allocation of resources, misunderstanding, outright stupidity and shrivelling of the genitals.

3) And remember to question the authority of those who, for the last 40-plus years have insisted on telling us to “Question Authority.”

You may now return to your regularly scheduled propaganda.

Steve McLeod, Eugene


Many contend that homelessness is solely a matter of personal choice. This may be true to some extent, but what has been left out of the discussion is whether entertaining being homeless can be the best answer to the particular problem that must be faced. I feel a common misconception with homelessness is that it results directly from laziness, poor priorities and/or mental illness. While this is true for a moderately sized, albeit very visible, group of individuals, in counterpoint I want explain my decision. 

I faced this choice recently as a graduate student and community college instructor with severe medical problems and massive medical bills. On pay far less than $1,000 a month, I simply cannot afford to have a room and pay my insurance and bills. The public acceptance of debt being my alternative is abhorrent, so my choices are to go on public assistance (largely unavailable to me), let my health deteriorate until I cannot take care of myself or save money on my single largest monthly expense. 

As a “homeless” person I have managed my health and maintained my independence without costing the taxpayer. The only thing I have asked from my community is for people to try not to lambast an entire group of individuals who possess this inadequately broad label — homeless — as being less than deserving of compassion. 

Taking care of myself by a means I find comfortable in a manner that doesn’t impinge on another person’s property should be a personal right. My lifestyle does not bother me, especially since I still have a challenging, meaningful job and a community of friends. I am fortunate, moreover, to now have a safe place to park, as being homeless on the street is not easy partly because of the way one is treated as a non-person. 

Others would do well to exercise empathy for why people make such “choices,” at least show more empathy than those who have spat on my car, shone lights on me for hours, or shaken, beaten or hit my car with a hatchet just because they didn’t like the fact that I was “homeless” and felt they had some moral justification for treating another human being such as they have treated me. 

Ebba Peterson, Corvallis



I would like to say thank-you to the good folks of the Cascade Medical Team for their free health care clinic July 24-25. I attended on the 24th and walked right through with no significant waits at any of the stations. I received a short term supply of blood pressure medicine and a prescription for pain medicine for a bad hip, and I made an appointment with Volunteers in Medicine so that I can be evaluated for care with VIM. 

I found the entire experience to be great. The people were friendly and professional, and the facility that was used, the clinic built by Monaco for their employees in the heyday of their business, is a beautiful little clinic. I hope that it continues to be utilized more in the future, either by CMT or someone else who can provide health care to the community. Great job, Cascade Medical Team! Keep up the good work.

Lonnie McCulloch, Eugene

LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows, with priority given to timely local issues. Please limit length to 200 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to letters at fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.




The good news from the Gulf of Mexico is that the oil-spouting BP well has finally been sealed, and that the devastating impacts of the massive oil spill on beaches, wildlife habitats, and marine ecosystem are gradually abating. The bad news is that there are no immediate plans to abate a much larger, deadlier, and continuing spill smothering life in the gulf.

Each day, the Mississippi River dumps into the gulf millions of tons of animal waste from Midwest factory farms and animal feed croplands. The nitrates in animal waste and fertilizer runoff produce vast algal blooms that suck up oxygen from the water, killing all marine life. The pesticides seal the deal. According to Wikipedia, the resulting “dead zone” extends over 8,500 square miles, roughly three times the size of the BP oil slick. 

We react dramatically to unanticipated threats like the BP oil spill and accidental deaths. Yet we tend to accept and tolerate the much more damaging, but routine, threats from animal waste discharges and deaths from killer diseases linked to meat and dairy-laden diets.

Edward Newland, Eugene


A shout-out to you rip-roaring tea-bagging ladies! Get on the feral Palin bandwagon! Rear up on your Mama Sow hind legs and teach your cubs how to maul a liberal! It’s never too early to know how to drag them out of their tents and eat them. (Somebody said there are even going to be T-shirts, with fake blood and real tea stains! Just what I need to go with my hat.)

And in between those tasty camp snacks, please tell them that English Only is meaningful only if they make up their own words. With practice, they can sound like they just walked out of the Beck Lower Institution for Hysterical Self-Promotion. They can begin immediately to accuse rational thinkers of “prefrabricating” their facts, all the while they are franatticaly (fanatically ranting) waving their placards at rallies and “proulmanating” (proudly fulminating) about Obama care.

But why should people who suck the “fun” out of “fundamentalist” be the only ones having a good time?

Let’s all start making up our own language. Think of the chaos and gridlock and the complete lack of civil discourse we can establish.

Oh, right. The GOP has already got a stranglehold on that.


Morgan Songi, Eugene


One of the economic issues being discussed in Washington, D.C., and locally as well is how best to stimulate the economy and reduce the high unemployment rate.

 I taught economics for 25 years and I would like to dust off my old textbooks and my old mind as well and offer some thoughts on this subject based on economic theory and what happened in the past.

One side is stating that the best way to stimulate the economy is to continue the existing tax cuts to the rich. ”Trickle-down economics.” Remember that? Their argument is based on the idea, discredited by actual experience, that reducing tax rates would actually increase tax revenue. This theory was based on the Laffer Curve which is actually a back-bending supply curve and which called for President Reagan to cut the tax rate for the rich. This came to be known as supply-side economics and assumed that the rich would invest in capital goods with the money received. This would increase demand for consumer goods. President Reagan assumed that it would enable him to balance the budget as well as increase defense spending by cutting the interest for the rich. It didn’t work then and it will not work now.

Those who don’t remember our economic past are doomed to repeat it. History proved the Laffer Curve was a “joke” played by the Republicans and the deficit ballooned. Let’s hope we don’t get it played on us again.

G. Dennis Shine, Springfield


Fine, everyone else can do it, so how about I put my two cents in: I shall complain about the complete lack of anything positive in every letter written to the editor of this magazine (especially this week’s). I shall complain about the fact that no one seems to be grateful anymore. So after some thinking time at the local market (thank you local businesses!), I decided to:

Thank you, EW. I look forward to reading your magazine for many reasons, especially the fact that you “don’t cover sports very much.”

Thank you, Gail M. Karuna (letters, 8/5), for reinforcing the fact that there still are nosey church-pushers out there. Social networking is already on the cheesy edge for me, thanks for rubbing it in. 

Thank you, Eugene police for those lines that keep folks on either side of actual walking traffic; only a matter of time before some douche decides to say “piss off” to a cop and get Tazed. Hey, complete disrespect for a simple line? I like breathing clean, smokeless air and not having my 3-year-old son not hear “fuck this, fuck that, fuck my life, fuck the world.” Not very many people understand that there is a fine line between “freedom of speech” and “respect.” 

Thank you, Earth, for not sucking me into a mud pit, or washing me away in your rivers, or shaking it up a bit and have a piece of my abode fall on top of me. 

Thank you, U.S., for making it to where countries hate us so much — that no one actually invades. 

Finally, thank you God, whatever you may be, for giving me the signs I needed in connection with finding my potential father. Thank you for letting me know that no matter what is negative out there, one single person can be totally positive. Thank you!

Oh, and thank you, beer!

Jimmy Spoor, Eugene


Insensitivity and ignorance are rampant in Eve Cienfuegos’ letter last week (7/22).

She has decided that it’s “not OK” to be homeless. These unfortunates are “worthless,” says she, and should not be allowed to “Breed.” Sounds a lot like what the Nazis judged about the Jews. They demonstrated that sterilization was an answer to rectify the problem. Getting a job is “easy?” What planet does she come from? 

Who are we to judge if we have not walked a mile in those moccasins? Why would anyone choose to live on the street if they had a happier option?

If we choose to interact instead of call them names (which simply exposes our own narrowness), how about trying to help in whatever way each of us is able?

There but for the grace of God go I. And you too, Eve.

Karen Ecker, Eugene