Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.30.07


Wow, Phil Knight gives $100 million to Oregon’s athletic department. That’s a lot of money, right? I have watched for years as that kind of money has influenced the behavior of some of our most renowned athletes. Let’s see, Pete Rose — gambling. Then there’s Kobe Bryant — rape charges. Barry Bonds, Mark Maguire and Jose Canseco (to name a few) — suspected steroid use. And we can’t forget the latest inductee into the Abomination Hall of Fame — Michael Vick — dog fights.

These boys are all products of our society’s unconditional and limitless investment into sports. And their behavior shows us what comes of giving athletes too much money for exercising their bodies instead of their brains.

So I humbly ask, please, Mr. Knight, could you split that $100 million and give $50 million to the academic departments at the UO? As it stands now, your donation will catapult the athletic department into the highly revered top 2 percent while the rest of the school’s programs desperately attempt to maintain poverty status. An ironic dichotomy, don’t you think? You did graduate from the UO with an accounting degree, right? The last time I checked, the athletic department isn’t responsible for bestowing degrees … are they? Funding education is the path to true enlightenment, Mr. Knight, and it would send a powerful message to athletes everywhere that while you may love sports, you value education more.

Linda Cathey, Eugene



As a Country Fair member (Community Village), I was happy to see Michael Connelly’s letter offering to help someone find an entry to fair participation. But you should not have to write EW to join.

When I first came to Eugene I went to the Fair office and asked how to join a crew, which ones had openings. I was told each crew did its own recruiting. So I asked for a list of the crews and contact information for the crew leader, but I was told that information was private and not available. Basically, I would have to know someone who could help me. The Old Fairy network.

This not only excludes individuals who would like to get involved, but it hurts the Fair since people get to join crews based on who they happen to be friends with, rather than getting to choose the crew where their skills would be most useful.

Martin Henner, Eugene



I am writing to ask community members to consider applying for a position on the newly forming Eugene Sustainability Commission. Two years ago I undertook the Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI) to elevate and energize this city’s commitment to sustainability and to respond to finite resources and climate change.

The SBI task force examined ways the city of Eugene could support and foster the growth of businesses that produce sustainable products, the growth of businesses using sustainable practices and the increased understanding of sustainability in general. Eleven recommendations were sent to the city council. Among them was creating an Office of Sustainability (which we have done) and putting in place a Sustainability Commission to ensure that the city continues to focus on steps to be truly sustainable. Two of the recommendations this commission will seek to implement are zero waste and carbon neutrality by 2020. This has been a very exciting process and continues to have as much possibility and promise as we have the energy to undertake.

We are seeking a diverse pool of applicants representing a wide range of interests, experience, ages and ethnic and cultural communities to serve on the commission. People interested in being part of the commission are asked to submit an application form before the end of the day on Friday, Sept. 7. The application form and supplemental questions are available on the city website ( by calling the city manager’s office at 682-5010.

Eugene’s Sustainability Commission should be top notch with a high level of expertise and civic involvement, setting goals to quickly and effectively make cutting edge advances toward real sustainability. Please apply.

Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene



I wanted to commend professor Jim Earl for contributing his excerpted essay (8/16) on sports in college, and for his courage in speaking truth to power. The author succeed in doing what many great teachers do: evoking discussion by presenting points I agree with while motivating me to respond to the points to which I respectfully disagree.

I would agree that college athletics, including American football, have absorbed and now reflect many of the least redeeming cultural features of our current times: financial excess, corruption, violence, celebrity. The resources being directed to athletics, including resources that could otherwise be directed to academics, are at times obscenely disproportionate within the context of the university mission. If you doubt this, consider for a moment what $100 million in shoe and apparel profits could accomplish if spent entirely in the classroom. Pour that much money into your lit department, and I’m guessing we’d see your collective joy.

But can important life lessons be taught through athletics, including intercollegiate athletics? Absolutely. Training for the decathlon taught me how to manage multiple priorities. I learned teamwork while playing football, where the offensive game is wholly reliant upon synchronized execution. And as much as I’m grateful for my 20-plus years of formal education, these important life skills were taught in the context of competitive sports in ways that cannot be taught in the classroom. With all due respect for the academy, important learning does occur outside of the classroom. Sports do teach kids about life.

As one familiar enough with the Greeks to reference two of them in his essay, Jim knows better than most that Dionysius, the Greek god of wine, represents not only the intoxicating power of wine but also its social and beneficial influences. In addition, Dionysius was regarded as the promoter of civilization and peace, as (you guessed it) many of our universities aspire to be. Our modern gods, little icons on the field of play, are similarly complex, at times reflecting both the deepest and shallowest values of a culture. Is it possible that collegiate athletics offers us some of both?

Jeff Davis, Eugene



We used to look at those cute, clever bumper stickers that proclaimed “My Car Runs off Biodiesel” and think, “Wow, that person cares.” But evidence that biodiesel demand is running up corn prices and therefore forcing poor people all over the world to compete with the sociopolitical needs of liberal conscientious consumers leads us to believe that biodiesel use kills.

Furthermore, the energy needed for the total process of creating, distributing and using biodiesel is actually more deleterious to the environment than nasty and disgusting gas.

So if you have that cute little bumper sticker proclaiming your consumer consciousness, you are actually advertising your ignorance. It’s a weird irony that Hummers are better for the environment that an old biodiesel Mercedes or VW beetle with a clever bumper sticker. My only hope is that all the middle class liberal elite will do what’s right: educate themselves before patting themselves on the bumper.

William Porter, Eugene



Sixty-two hours. A wearisome span, when one considers the difficulty of staying awake so long. More than 3,700 minutes. Now consider pausing for a moment of silence, a minute in traditional length, one for each fallen American soldier, a traditional honor, a gesture of respect. Not much to ask, given the sacrifice of each young man and woman, given how many minutes they’ve given up of their future to the cause of this war of folly.

Sixty-two hours. More than 3,700 consecutive minutes of silence needed to commemorate the American dead. And how many more hours were we to commemorate the Iraqi dead? Ten thousand, perhaps more. So many lives so terribly wasted, so many more to follow. Bring ’em home, and keep ’em well.

Todd Huffman, Eugene



Hurray hurray, let’s put the plan to a vote. My vote is NO! Decidedly. Emphatically. No. Thank you, no. My notion of hell is being trapped at the standardized Americanized rubber-stamped storefront mall. Any layout that repeats the same dying mentality of consumption for the sake of consumption needs to be rejected. If this is the best plan devised and offered, then we are clearly locked inside the box of business-as-usual-aren’t-we-glad-now-we’re-all-the-sameness. No. For my tax dollars, invest in Oregon small business start-up loans as opposed to tax giveaways to corporate entities that now have all the privilege, zero responsibility and even less integrity.

Who invented this corporate welfare anyway?

And no to the developers who represent these factions and come to the downtown area only to create more empty holes, perforating the fabric of a viable downtown center. With my tax money I wish to help independents get started, expand and evolve to remain robust, community-based and accountable. Make grants available. Pool resources. Use my tax money to support the Kiva, the Bijou, Smith Family and J. Michael’s and Books Without Borders, Anatolia, Down to Earth, etc. Put my money to work with organic gardens, microbreweries, bakeries, cafés, art, theater, dance, park blocks, bike paths or neighborhoods.

These are the sights and the sites in a healthy, thriving, harmonious community. This is the diversity we need to encourage and to invest in. If this present nonsense is the best offer in the hopper, then we need to open the floor for new and more and better ideas and widen our visions beyond this corporate anal mindset. You know we can do better. Vision is not lacking; voices are.

Send all of your ideas to Mayor Kitty Piercy and the Eugene City Council members at the Eugene City Hall, 777 Pearl Street, Eugene 97401. You know we can do better.

Sarah Ruth, Eugene



I object to the deceptions in your Viewpoint “Never Again” (8/2), which unfairly condemned the U.S. for atomic attacks on Japan during WWII. The bombings of these cities were morally justifiable acts when one views them in proper context instead of through the flawed historically revisionist prism used. Facts such as the key headquarters of Japan’s 2nd Army being in Hiroshima, and the vital Mitsubishi war factories located in Nagasaki, were conveniently omitted.

Twentieth century imperial Japan was the most racist and homicidal military dominated government in recent world history. Japan murdered more than three million innocent civilians during their war with China, which started years before Hitler attacked Poland. This campaign included 5,000 bombing raids of defenseless cities. In the infamous six week Rape of Nanking, more than 200,000 civilians were butchered in an inhumane bloodbath. See

In his surrender radio address, Emperor Hirohito referred directly to the atomic bombs as being his key reason for ordering an end to the war. Many civilian leaders welcomed the bombings in order to rid their nation of their military’s tyranny. Koichi Kido, a Hirohito adviser, said, “We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war.” Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief cabinet secretary, called the bombings “a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war.”

The Japanese people simply reaped the bitter harvest of the whirlwind that their nation sowed and began. They have only their fellow countrymen to blame.

Lance Jacobs, Springfield



The author who wrote that article about tipping that was on your website (“The New Etiquette,” Chow!, 1/25) intrigues me. What fostered that tone of peevish entitlement? I sense the person is relatively new to the world, and not just the world of business. For the longest time servers made a couple of bucks less per hour than the minimum wage, and tips were de rigueur to bring them up to the minimum wage. Servers now make minimum wage; tips have been built into the price of meals, you could say. Any tips left on the table now are truly a gratuity and should be appreciated, not expected — that is unless the server was called upon to perform more than the standard.

That some servers expect a 20 percent tip as standard is troubling. It is a fact of economics that all businesses can provide jobs that pay a family wage. Some jobs that pay minimum wage, like serving tables, were often held by students as an after school job, or for people looking for some part-time work; the job was often an introduction into the working world and not expected to be a career choice. Old habits die hard, but the fact is that the minimum wage should have abolished the expectation of a tip. Any tip is generous, and if no tip is left, these days it should not be taken as a reflection on the service.

Lisa Johnson, Portland



I remember well the first time I read about Gordon Smith. He was running for the U.S. Senate and wealthy enough to buy the election. I remember being turned off when it was stated he paid a million dollars for an antique golf club.

Now I read that he was instrumental in diverting the water flow in the Klamath, leading toward the largest fish kill ever in the Northwest, some 60,000 salmon. In the interim, Smith, Rove and Cheney took care of the wealthy area farmers — great contributors to the Republican cause.

Last year I took a group of young people to Washington, D.C. One of our stops was Sen. Smith’s office. A PR person came out and asked us to sign up for a photo opportunity with Smith. I declined. He came out like a rock star, hair with a combover and a smile that wouldn’t stop.

You take the combination of Smith, Rove and Cheney, and you have a combination for disaster. Their belief is that we hard working middle class people were put on this earth to service them and their millions.

Election will be upon us soon. Like the last election, it’s the best way to show discontent to undesirables. Let your elected officials know of your feelings. I believe it was Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “The opposite of love is apathy.” Amen.

Arthur Golden, Eugene



The “fate of Palace Bakery,” as depicted in the Slant section of the Aug. 9 edition of the Weekly, implies that a giant, mega-chain corporation, Full City Coffee Roasters (which is in fact a locally owned business with all of two stores), was responsible for the closing of the Palace Bakery. Well, the facts would seem to contradict that this was part of some evil “grand plan” by Full City Coffee Roasters.

If the person responsible for this article had read the business section of The Register-Guard earlier in the week, he/she could have stuck to the facts instead of innuendo — the previous owner of Palace Bakery is the one who closed the business, stating it was too much for him to oversee while also managing Café Zenon.

Then the Slant went on to make an ominous sounding suggestion that Full City Coffee would undoubtedly choose to switch to Full City brand coffee instead of Wandering Goat coffee. Well, DUH! I mean, does EW share articles or ad revenues with the R-G? I don’t think so.

This article also decries such mergers and acquisitions because of displacing workers and depriving customers of shopping options. Is that to suggest that a vacant storefront where Palace Bakery had been would be a better?

Finally, two articles along in this section, dealing with the “possibility of a downtown theater,” the Slant states the Weekly is excited about the idea of a downtown theater: “Another two or three-screen independent art house theater would be an interesting option,” going on to add, “The new Regal Theater at Valley River Center should have been built downtown.” Well, excuse me, but wouldn’t either of these disheartening endorsements by EW spell the demise of the Bijou, cause the displacement of its workers, and bring a huge mega-national chain into downtown? I think so.

Why not be upfront and call this section “Slanted”?

Jim Derby, Eugene



Deb McGee’s (8/2) positive attitude toward the gay community is commendable; however, I disagree that a strained and tortured interpretation of the Bible will bring about meaningful change. The Bible is extremely clear on the issue of homosexuality. Leviticus 20:13 tells us “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Jesus, not especially known for his straightforward speaking style, is in this case very direct on this issue when he declares during his Sermon on the Mount that not one letter of Old Testament law be removed so long as heaven and earth endure. This ugly, hateful bigotry is so ingrained in the Bible that not only is it manifest in Christianity, but in all of the Abrahamic religions of the world.

McGee is quite correct in pointing out that the American Psychiatric Association does not regard homosexuality as a mental illness. The American Anthropological Association’s own conclusion on this matter states in part “a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.” This conclusion is mirrored by other social science and family health organizations.

Nor do I see maliciousness towards homosexuals coming from the likes of humanists, philosophers and the non-religious. It is the Biblically based Judeo- Christian adherents who perpetrate intolerance and hostility toward the gay and lesbian community in this country.

Robert Schumann, Eugene



I read Dave Crowley’s letter to the editor (8/9), and I was a bit confused, so I read it again several times along with the previous letters regarding the immigration topic, along with Erin Rokita’s article from June 28.

Mr. Crowley’s reminds me of how creationists view human beings’ place in the world. Both deny science, or at the very least use science only when it suites them. Mr. Crowley also reminds me of the global warming and Holocaust deniers. What sub-category can we create for him? I know: human genome denier.

I also would like to response to his whining at the end of his letter. “Why should we have to …” Why should I have to breathe, drink water, eat food, to survive? Why should I have to need a male in order to reproduce? Why should I have get up every morning and work so I can obtain most of the above to survive?

Addressing environmental degradation, I don’t think any Latin American country is enforcing any kind of regulations on emissions, water and soil pollution. Dave Crowley doesn’t want to address that at all. Here’s some advice to Dave: Stop your whining and live life to the fullest! If we all did that, we might outlive all of our problems.

Bettina Lorenzen, Portland



It all boils down to a person’s head, and how he uses it. Our prior president had a problem, which we are all well aware of, with his little head telling his big head what to do. Our current president’s problem, which has also affected his vice president, is a totally swollen head, which has caused him to believe that he is a supreme being and above the law. Now this problem is easily fixed by Congress, who merely needs to utilize the Constitution, which gives them the power of impeachment.

However, members of Congress also have head problems. You see, some have large heads and some small heads, but their main problem is they are almost all spineless. Now you would think that all is not lost because our Supreme Court, which is supposed to be composed of the brightest minds available, would be able to explain the Constitution to Congress. However, most decisions coming out of court lately would be on a 5-4 decision, which would only confuse our elected representatives more.

I believe the only answer to this growing problem is for all of us to inflate our own head size to the point where we demand change. Enough is enough!

Gene Okins, Eugene



As of Aug. 3, the Forest Service and the BLM removed the survey and manage requirements of the Northwest Forest Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife is also proposing to remove critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (both likely illegal).

Further injurious: The Oregon BLM plans to log about 29 square miles of mature and old growth forests in the next few years. To make matters even worse, if the BLM is able to implement the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR), it will mandate double that number of acres to be cut. (To obtain a copy of the just released Boom, Bust and the BLM DVD, contact us). On top of this, the national forests east of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington are rewriting their forest plans to increase the cut by doing away with current environmental protections and restrictions.

This is a “perfect storm of corruption” created by Oregon’s timber barons and their minions with the Bush regime that seek to finally overtake the last native and old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. This not only threatens forests but will exacerbate the climate crisis brought on by global warming. Logging causes global warming. Litigation is needed, but many forests won’t survive waiting for the court’s decisions. It feels like the final round of the battle for the last native forests on public lands. Turn your emotions of anger to loud voices of reason, and also boycott Oregon wood products.

Shannon Wilson, Cascadia’s Ecosystem Advocates, Eugene