I first noticed it several years ago at a community forum on health care. “It” came in the form of a union representative arguing against an inclusive single-payer health care model that would benefit us all. I wondered why unions would not support such progressive policy. Others in attendance educated me: Health insurance is a bargaining issue. Unions include it in contracts and appreciative members pay their union dues.
More recently, I witnessed a similar behavior at another community meeting. Here a union representative argued for permitting coal trains to transport their dirty fuel through Eugene. Why would unions want to risk the health of our fair city for export coal? Union jobs. I was beginning to get it.
Now I see 4J School Board members arguing that Civic Stadium, a treasured and historic property given to the district decades ago by our community to be used as a recreation area for the district and the municipality, should be sold to the highest bidder. Why? To generate revenues for the exclusive benefit of 4J children.
What I have learned is that, regardless of appearance, institutions mostly take care of their own and themselves. What a different vision it would be if their leaders could see the forest as well as the trees. The lesson still to be learned is: In the big picture, if you take care of the larger community your parochial interests will be served as well. Call it a civics lesson.
Benton Elliott, Eugene
THE VERGE OF EVICTION
This past week [1/23 cover story] I was very pleased to see excellent coverage about homelessness and mental health. Rick Levin’s sensitive and compassionate article about the convergence of mental health difficulties, homelessness and substance abuse is one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the subject. In particular I appreciated the opinion column by Alley Valkyrie. Those are some excellent suggestions for our community.
Please keep it up EW and Alley Valkyrie. I also wish to express gratitude to the numerous known and unknown people in the community who are trying to create and support humane alternatives to criminalization, abuse and abandonment. The efforts of Whoville, the SLEEPS campaign, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Occupy Medical, White Bird and many others are truly admirable and impressive.
However, I must conclude with anger and dismay that Whoville is on the verge of eviction, that the SLEEPS campaign has been continually harassed by the county and city and that so many people are still suffering on the streets.
Ariel Howland, Eugene
As volunteers at 1st Avenue Shelter, we welcomed your coverage of the concerns relating to animal sheltering in Lane County “(Out of) Animal Control” [cover story] Jan. 2.
What did not appear in the article is the “face” of 1st Avenue. Our animal care manager and staff do an amazing job with their feet in the trenches every day, handling unpredictable daily intakes, caring for the physical well-being of animals and helping animals adjust to shelter life. Staff work diligently with other rescue organizations to transfer animals who are thought will have a better chance in a different environment. They are supported by dedicated, hard-working and tenacious volunteers at the shelter and in home fostering.
The goal is always to do the best we can for every animal, and the 1st Avenue staff and volunteers work tirelessly towards that end. It is physically and emotionally demanding work with both sadness and great rewards. What is apparent to all of us who show up for the animals at 1st every day is the love and compassion of the people with whom we work. You just feel it.
If you love animals and would like to help, come join us at 1st.
Julie Walker, Molly Craig, Lindsay Calicott
A CIVIC LESSON
With the issue of Civic Stadium on our minds, why not ask the students, faculty and staff of 4J School District their opinion or their ideas? Make it a civics lesson in asking the users.
My wife, Gwyneth, suddenly passed away last year after teaching over 20 years in the 4J School District. She loved Eugene and the voices of her students and their opinions on these issues.
Maybe a simple straw ballot in EW for all area residents to vote on or voice some options for future use of Civic Stadium.
Ken O’Connell, Eugene
DO HER OWN SHELTER
Usually letters to the editor disparaging the job that Greenhill Humane Society has been doing since it took over operations at the 1st Avenue Shelter don’t elicit much response from me. I give money on a regular basis to Greenhill and gave supplies I no longer needed after one of my cherished pets died. However, after reading Debi McNamara’s (of No Kill Lane County) letter Jan. 30, I felt I had to put in my two cents worth.
If McNamara thinks she can do a better job of running an animal shelter than Cary Lieberman can, then she should apply for his job; I’m sure that it’s a pretty hard job, given the uncertainty of funding, and the fact that animals can’t raise the funds on their own.
Better yet, maybe McNamara should put her money where her mouth is and start her own animal shelter, like others have done, and run it her way. Otherwise, I call bullshit on her letter, and I will continue to give my money to Greenhill.
Steven J. Gard, Springfield
Through the recent publication of misinformation, twisted facts and outright lies coming from the half dozen or so people who speak against Greenhill Humane Society, it is clear that the term nokill means different things to different people and that the use of the words no kill creates controversy. Most factions do agree, however, that no-kill success is defined by saving 90 percent or more animals in a shelter.
Greenhill Humane Society and 1st Avenue Shelter surpass that success, saving over 90 percent of the animals coming into their care. Both shelters never put a time limit on how long an animal can be in the shelter and both provide extensive extra care and medical attention for those animals in need. By most people’s definition, Greenhill and 1st Avenue exceed the criteria of a no-kill organization.
This has been accomplished through the capable and compassionate leadership of Greenhill’s Director Cary Lieberman, who in his six years as director has brought Greenhill’s live release rate up from under 75 percent to today’s over 90 percent. Our community can be proud to support our shelters and know we are fortunate in having expert leadership guiding their success.
Diana Huntington, Eugene
QUESTION THE BUDGET
The municipal corporation known as the city of Eugene manages 21 funds. Each one of these funds has a budget. In combination, all these funds, as a whole, show the financial health of the city. The budget for the General Fund is actually only a small part of the picture of the overall financial stability of the city.
You see, there is a fiscal year-end report generated by the city that is called the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The 2013 CAFR shows that the city is in excellent financial health and in fact had a whopping $195.7 million surplus after all its assets and liabilities were accounted for. All of this surplus is useable by the city; $83.9 million has restricted use, but $111.8 million is unrestricted and can be used for anything the city wants, like filling General Fund Budget gaps. Our civil servants don’t use it for that, so what do they use it for? Instead, they threaten to raise our taxes, or take away or reduce important services. The Budget Committee is looking for answers. Let’s give them a few questions instead.
Abraham Likwornik, Eugene
Ah, the internet. The most narcissistic, exhibitionist platform ever devised by man. And now everyone whines about spying — piffle!
Ramona McCall, 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 and include your address and phone number for our files. Email to letters at eugeneweekly dot com, fax to 484-4044 or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.