CONTROLLING OUR FOOD
Our busy lives leave us little time to consider the sources of our freedom. In a world awash with iPads, smart phones and other technological marvels brought to us by global corporations, our tendency to leave the thinking to others is understandable — but there are moments when things change, when the way things are going just feels wrong.
Jackson County in southern Oregon has a booming organic food industry. But genetically modified crops (GMOs) developed by Monsanto and others are making it impossible for farmers there to grow organically. The pollen from the GMO plants contaminates nearby organic crops and ruins them. So Jackson County folks put a county ordinance banning GMO crops on the ballot. Local organic farmers, consumers and organic food manufacturers took action to protect the most successful and fastest growing sector of an otherwise depressed economy in the Rogue Valley.
But Monsanto lobbyists in Salem sponsored a bill, SB 633, which would forbid Jackson County or any other local government in Oregon from regulating not only farm crops, but anything to do with farm crops — and trees as well. SB 633 would prevent Lane County from helping finance organic farm-based businesses, like the county’s support for Hummingbird Wholesale, now at the heart of our thriving natural food industry. Monsanto wants to not only control our seeds, but our entire food system, and they see successful, independent local organic farmers and food processors as a threat. SB 633 passed the Oregon Senate, and has moved over to the House.
If you agree it’s time for Lane County to join over 100 communities around the country in passing a community bill of rights to protect our families’ health and to defend our local economy from domination by corporations like Monsanto, please join us at 11 am Saturday, May 25, at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza to learn more about Monsanto, SB 633, and the future of our health and our community. Join the March Against Monsanto.
Fergus Mclean, Dexter
MISTAKES WERE MADE
Just six months after the elections, the Democrats nationally and in Oregon have gotten themselves into a political position wherein the Republicans can blackmail them for just about anything. The Republicans are filled with fury because they know that their time is short. House Speaker John Boehner has said that he will not cooperate with the Obama administration because Obama is arrogant. The Republicans want to bring an untimely death to the Obama legislative agenda. In their rage against all things Obama, the Republicans will once again play to the most malignant, racist, homophobic and desperate wing of the congressional Republican caucus.
In Oregon, the Republicans will not allow the state to collect billions of dollars in provider tax and federal matching funds because they want to obstruct the Democratic governor’s budget while trapping the Democrats into alienating the state employees even more than they have already by forcing the Democrats into further attempts to illegally tamper with the PERS retirement system.
Mistakes were made is the mantra that was delivered to us by President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal. This will be the epitaph for the Democrats and Republicans of this election cycle. It’s up to us who vote (think youth, seniors, women and minorities) to change the membership of the Legislature and the Congress. If we can replace failed representatives with functional ones, then we shall have less gridlock, fewer partisan disputes, and more progress solving our real problems.
Gerry Merritt, Eugene
Five weeks ago I clicked a link on Facebook to join the local March Against Monsanto, an event being held in more than 330 cities all over the world.
The threat to our food supply is quickening. Monsanto Corporation and its lobbying group in Salem, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, have swiftly moved SB 633, which would take away local control over our food supply.
This corporation is now afforded the same rights that our founders fought the British Empire to win for us. With its mighty dollar as a shield, it has purchased the very rights they now so aggressively try to strip away from you and me.
Our enduring freedom will be the story written by those people who, when guided by truth of their hearts, are moved to stand together. With this collective truth as our shield we seek to establish and protect our human rights, knowing well that new rights are never given away by the powerful; they must be fought for and won.
As I stand in acknowledgement of the demands within my heart, I have been met by a community that works tirelessly, without monetary compensation, to defend our access to a sustainable food system. I challenge you to listen to your heart; what does it tell you? Can you feel the groundswell? Do you see the potential we have if we work collectively to preserve local and state rights?
If you agree that Monsanto Corporation has earned the right to forever control our food, our economy and our lives, you should stay away Saturday, and leave the March Against Monsanto to others. But if the truth in your heart says that we have the right and the power to protect the health of our community as we choose, you should stand with us at 11 am Saturday, May 25, at the Free Speech Plaza and join our rally and March Against Monsanto. See wkly.ws/1h9.
Lizzy Cwynar, organizer, March Against Monsanto, Eugene
HIGHWAY TO VENETA
Lane County Commissioners, LCOG and ODOT are moving forward with building a new $135 million-plus, four-lane “Fern Ridge Highway” [see wkly.ws/f] and I see that EWEB is installing a new water pipeline to Veneta.
I wonder, did EWEB owners (EWEB is a “public utility”) vote to build and maintain this new pipeline? I would think that EWEB ratepayers/owners might be getting sick of paying higher utility bills just to line the pockets of wealthy developers and their stooges.
How about LCOG and the four ruling Lane County Commissioners continuing to push unneeded and disastrous new projects like a four-lane highway to Veneta to further line the pockets of their new wealthy buddies?
We must demand that our new leaders prepare our communities for future known unknowns, like weather extremes, super earthquakes, fossil fuel depletion, staple food depletion, all which leads to food and fuel rationing.
The ecosystems and the easy energy sources (fossil fuels) are declining precipitously, and if citizens do not step up and overthrow this corruption the result will be the collapse of civilization and the Earth’s life sustaining biosphere. This will cause massive suffering here in our cozy Oregon bubble.
Shannon Wilson, Eugene
It would seem that Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson has a pretty high opinion of herself. I am willing to bet that she and the majority of the Lane County commissioners are just waiting for the brouhaha to subside and she will get her unnecessary raise.
Since she has so many job offers that would pay her more, I say go for it, Liane. I am sure that there is at least one person in Lane County who is equally able to perform in this capacity and would be more than happy to have her job at her present salary even without the 15.4 percent raise.
The egoism of some of our public servants is indeed amazing. It reminds me of the renaming of Beltline a while back that would have cost taxpayers $250,000 to change perfectly good signs. Weren’t we told that new signs would only be put up when the old signs wore out? Isn’t it amazing that more and more new signs are now present on Beltline? How did that happen?
The lack of reality of some public officials continues to amaze me. I am asking the editors of EW to monitor this and notify the public when the raise takes effect. Additionally I would like to see the commissioners display better leadership when it comes to one of their subordinates — who appears to believe that she is the sixth commissioner.
Zall Villanueva, Eugene
CHANGE THE RATIO
Perhaps it’s time to use “common sense” with these negotiations. (Thomas Paine, 1776.) Perhaps its time to change the student-to-teacher ratio.
Having a low ratio in the early years and slowly increasing the ratio until the seniors in high school would have a very high ratio of at least 100-1 and perhaps 150-1, with lots of volunteer assistants throughout the system. A low ratio in high school doesn’t make any “sense.” If a low ratio in high school is needed then we are creating a dependency society, which is very bad news. The ratio for first year students in law schools and universities is very, very high. And the private sector certainly does not want a bunch of “dependency” new employees.
It is also about time to have at least one school without teachers. The best students — and those who want to be the best — can teach themselves. Being with the general population is destructive to their education. They don’t need or want it. These students could have a extremely high ratio in elementary school. They also could assist teachers and students in lower classes.
Frank Skipton, Springfield
SCIENCE GONE MAD
NASA is going into the moving business. The goal is to capture an asteroid and hold it for ransom. Banking on the Biblical story of David, NASA can pitch Congress an offer they can’t refuse for unlimited funding or else out comes the slingshot. On the good side, the more grants they can be taken for, the more out-there they’ll get and if we’re lucky they won’t come back.
Vince Loving, Eugene