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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.16.11




TEARS OF PRIDE

I read the cover story "The Value of Vets” (6/9) and would like to give kudos to the Weekly for bringing this very serious issue to the forefront, especially during wartime. It needed to be said and those women need to be heard and valued and cared for with love and compassion.

I also wanted to say that I am a female vet who joined the Navy during Desert Storm at age 21 and my four year experience was the single best decision I ever made. I was stationed for three years after "A” school in Guam on a base that was comprised of 120 personnel, only seven of them female. I was consistently, even as an E-3 and E-4, treated with the utmost love and respect by my fellow shipmates and by the officers on base. I am pretty sure the other females I shared that time with would say the same as I never once recall hearing about this sort of treatment while there.

And, since I have been in Oregon I have had a major surgery at the Portland VA and was treated far better there than any time I had been in the private sector and continue to receive good service, even during a time that I needed the help of a therapist to work out non-military related issues. My primary care physician, Ann Towers, has been the single best doctor I have ever had in my entire life.

I am not telling this story to discount what has happened to these women, no. I just want to contribute and juxtapose that story with another reality about the military, or the Navy at least because its what I know. The Navy taught me to pay attention to detail, to be proud of who I am, to stand up for myself, to speak in public, to be a leader, to take care of my body, to take pride in my space, my appearance and comrades. The Navy taught me how to be a better woman, a better human being. That was something I never learned in school, and rarely at home for that matter.

I am so very sorry that these women experienced these horrible offenses and my heart goes out to them. But for me, the Navy and my experience there fills me with so much pride that it can still bring me to tears. Happy tears.

Michele Walter, Eugene



EQUALITY FOR ALL

Eugene Councilor Mike Clark plans to propose that members of the City Council recite the Pledge of Allegiance at its biweekly council sessions. It is always important to appreciate the historical context within which such iconic cultural statements arise and the intentions of their authors.

The author of the Pledge of Allegiance was Francis Bellamy, who initially wrote the Pledge in 1892 for school children. Bellamy has been described as a Christian socialist who, according to a recent book by Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer, The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance (2010), championed "the rights of working people and the equal distribution of economic resources, which he believed was inherent in the teachings of Jesus.”

Bellamy had originally wanted the wording of the Pledge to include the term "equality,” as in "with liberty, justice, and equality for all.” But he is said to have dropped the term "equality” out of fear that the Pledge would be popularly rejected by those who believed that men and women, and whites and people of color, were not equal. If the City Council wishes to recite the Pledge at its meetings, I would urge it to respect the authors original intent and include "equality” in the Pledges wording.

Ken Neubeck, Eugene



PAY THOSE BILLS

I have an idea. Why cant Seneca Jones Timber Company offer to pay off the $20,000 fines unfairly exacted against two Lane County commissioners in the public meetings lawsuit? It would go a long way toward fairness and might even be tax deductible.

Ramona McCall, Eugene





PUT VA DOWNTOWN

According to EW News Briefs (6/2) there is a federal Executive Order 12072 which requires that "the process for meeting federal space needs in urban areas shall give first consideration to a centralized community business area.” This was in relationship to a proposal to build a VA clinic with 685 parking spaces on 13 acres at the edge of town.

Why not put the proposed VA clinic/ hospital into the centrally located Sacred Heart hospital in downtown Eugene near the university? It already has parking, surgery rooms and an ER. It was a 400-plus bed hospital and PeaceHealth had plans to make it into a 100 bed hospital. They had to get a state certificate of need to remodel this facility so as not to adversely affect our local health care costs. It was approved at $23 million. When I last saw an estimate it was going to cost over $100 million. Much of the hospital was paid for with federal funds, and being a not-for-profit, property taxes were not paid for more than 60 years on this property.

PeaceHealth has a mission statement that says it wants to "promote personal and community health.” ODOT is looking for comments regarding our transportation future at www.theMPO.org, We have problems with our local, state and federal budgets. Does putting another hospital on the edge of town make sense? Lets look at recycling, conservation and reusing!

Where are our elected representatives, government officials and other leaders to make sure that we do what is best for the people and our environment?

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove



NOT OREGONIANS

Lucero Castanedas letter of passionate support for the tuition "equity” bill, SB 742 ("We are All Oregonians,” 6/9) contains a couple of inaccuracies.

First, illegal immigrants are not Oregonians. Second, SB 742 did not make it to the House floor (at least not yet), thanks largely to four Democratic representatives who bravely stood up to their irresponsible caucus and refused to sign the bills discharge petition.

However, illegal immigrant support groups can take comfort in Oregons rapidly changing demographics. Because Oregon is already a sanctuary state and because the immigrant constituency votes overwhelmingly Democratic, it is only a matter of short time before Democrats gain total control of state government.

They will then be free to continue their seemingly unending quest to make our state more hospitable to those who are here illegally. If the Legislature will grant the same "equity” to American students from other states ã as required by federal law ã Ill stop complaining.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



SENTINALS OF EUGENE

The bigleaf maples that line several of our downtown streets make Eugene a beautiful place to live, walk, bike, sit and enjoy. As a child I remember quite a few more trees here than what I see today. White Bird on 12th Avenue once had two massive maples out front that provided a shady spot to sit while walking from the UO towards downtown. West 11th from Patterson to Chambers was once a grand hollow of massive trees that cooled a significant amount of downtown during the hottest months of summer. Most of those trees are long gone, sadly.

Jefferson between 4th and 7th had some fine old maples until recently, as did Madison (a couple are left between 5th and 6th). The stretch of Jefferson from 7th to 13th is still one of the best hollows we have and hopefully that will not change for decades to come. The Whiteaker neighborhood has worked hard to preserve and maintain these ancient sentinels no matter what condition they may be in. They have been pruned and looked after.

Trees we enjoy fall down. Let them. Are we willing to give up these great trees to insure absolute safety? These trees deserve our respect, our assistance and care. They create shade and beauty, produce oxygen, reduce CO2, diminish the heat island effect, and provide niches for wildlife.

The Owen Rose Garden has a black Tartarian cherry tree that is still alive and productive at 150 years old. It has crutches and cables helping it to live on into another century. Such care could be, should be, afforded to several other trees here in Eugene.

Jonathan Guske, Eugene



UNSETTLING SETTLEMENTS

When is someone from Lane County going to explain to me as a retired juvenile department (name by statute) employee, why it is necessary to have county legal/administrative meetings (non-commissioner) to continue settlements to victims, and employees, as well as money settlements and special deals to future employees? Some strange personnel practices. The pattern has been set for years. I hope it ends before the money runs out!

Dan Dubach, Eugene



OSCAR WEINER

Oh, I wish I was a congressman named Weiner

That is truly who I wanna be

•cause if I was a congressman named Weiner

I would have some junk that I could tweet

Glenn Leonard, Eugene





 

NO MORE INDULGENCE

The human races' time of indulgence is almost up, it seems. I hope I'm wrong, but afraid I'm not. We cannot continue to consume and pollute more and more without regard to the system we depend upon, any more than cancer can indulge in our bodies.

The human population is growing by 1 million people every 5 days. They, along with the other 7 billion of us, want more water, oil, food, electricity, cell phones, cars, homes, airplane trips, and on and on.

Without any more growth, we already overuse several vital resources. We drain rivers and underground water supplies faster than they can replenish, fish more than they reproduce, cut down trees faster than they grow, quickly extract oil and many other resources, and pollute the water, air and land, all resulting in the mass extinction of other species, hundreds of times more than normal.

Regardless, we're rapidly growing, as if growth can go on forever. We want cheap gas, food and everything else, while we all make more money and consume more. That's what it's all about in our American society.

I'm afraid it's only a matter of years before we start a steep descent in our quality and length of life. Most people don't see it coming, or if they do, don't know what to do about it.

The first thing is to acknowledge limits to our growth, consumption, and pollution, but don't expect it from our business and government leaders.

It will take you and me instead.

Patrick Bronson, Eugene



ERRONEOUS LETTER

Your publication recently received and published online a letter to the editor that was part of a mass nationwide distribution, and therefore not original. We request that you remove the letter from your web site on that basis. For your reference, I have attached a list of publications with similar letters.

The letter in question (6/9) is titled "Challenging Meat.” The letter contains inaccuracies. Please know that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate encourages Oregonians to include three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods for adults and children 9 years and older.

In fact, low-fat and fat-free dairy foods are classified as "Foods to Increase" by USDA right on the home page of ChooseMyPlate.gov

People should always look to trained health professionals for nutritional or medical advice on preventing and treating any type of disease. We encourage you to visit www.oregondairycouncil.org for more information about a total dietary approach to nutrition.

Please contact me anytime if I can provide further information or connect you with our registered dietitian Anne Goetze.

Carissa Sauer, Communications Manager, Oregon Dairy Council



NAUGHTY THOMAS

On June 13 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that ethics rules are not a violation of freedom of speech. The justices of the Supreme Court operate under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. I find it ironic that Justice Clarence Thomas ruled in accordance with the other justices after clearly violating ethics rules himself on more than one occasion.

One of his ethics violations was when he failed to disclose his wife's income as a member of a Washington, D.C., conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. This violation occurred over five years from 2003 through 2007 and the amount of income omitted was nearly $700,000. Another ethics violation was when he failed to recuse himself from the landmark Citizens United case of January 2010 in which he and his wife had a clear conflict of interest.

Justice Thomas hears complex legal issues regularly yet claimed that the omission of his wife's income on a federal disclosure form was due to a misunderstanding of filing instructions. I find this explanation implausible.

Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution states, "The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour.” Justice Thomas's behavior has clearly not been good and I feel it an absolute necessity that he be impeached for these obvious ethics violations as a member of this nation's highest court.

I encourage everyone in agreement with me to contact your representatives in Congress and express your feelings concerning the unethical behavior of Clarence Thomas.

Mark Taubenkrau, Eugene