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Letters to the Editor: 7-11-2013

WORSE THAN COAL

If a coal plant would locate in Lane County and drift heavy pollution on our citizens, would we object? Biomass or wood-burning incinerators produce less electricity and more pollution than coal. The American Lung Association speaks out against biomass pollution because of health effects. Next Wednesday, July 17, is your chance to speak up against relaxing rules for our Seneca Biomass plant that pollutes our valley with tons of CO2, nox (oxides of nitrogen), particulates, sulfur dioxide, arsenic, dioxin, benzene, mercury, lead, chromium, etc. The hearing will be 6:30 pm at Harris Hall. We need you!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

DOWNWINDERS SUFFER

Regarding “Radioactive River” [column by Kayla Godowa-Tufti 6/13]: I was born in Walla Walla, Wash., in 1951 downwind from the Hanford Atomic Works in “the sacrifice zone.” (The area was exposed to radioactive emissions from 1944 to 1972.) Iodine-131, which concentrates in children’s developing thyroid glands, settled on the grass that the cows ate and was in the milk we drank. When farmers plowed the wheat and onion fields it raised radioactive iodine-131 dust that the kids playing outside inhaled.

The secrecy of the releases and the lack of health information were major abuse, betrayal and abandonment by the government. Some people spent years trying to obtain classified documents so that Hanford’s secrets could finally be revealed. Until I heard about the releases, I had no explanation for my thyroid disease. At least five of my relatives have died of cancer. I feel fortunate at this time to have “only” hypothyroid disease. 

While downwinders die without so much as an apology or compensation, Hanford keeps aging and leaking radioactive water into the Columbia. If you eat the food grown and irrigated by this water, use the Columbia for recreation, eat the fish that comes from this water, won’t you be exposed, too? Diseases caused by exposure to radioactivity won’t be showing up in you or your family for decades. The government is not going to tell you this.

Sharon Peters, Junction City

 

SWITCHING VICTIMS

Like a scene from Lord of the Flies, each July a swarm of children is unleashed into the Cottage Grove Rodeo arena to chase defenseless and frightened rabbits until each and every one is caught. Thankfully, that won’t happen this year. It was welcoming news to hear that the rodeo, after much public outcry, has decided to discontinue using rabbits in their infamous animal scramble event.

Unfortunately, the organizers have maddeningly decided to replace the rabbits with an even more vulnerable target: chickens. These gentle, loving creatures with their delicate bone structure will be the new targets of a crowd-induced, frenzied gang of kids, already sugar-dosed on cotton-candy and soda, set out on their purposeless mission. The Cottage Grove Riding Club, though, is anything but heartless. They are “requiring” the kids in the unfolding chaos to walk instead of run when approaching the chickens.

The organizers made the change from rabbits to chickens very recently, days before the rodeo takes place, thereby making it almost impossible to formulate any viable protest effort on behalf of the chickens. The only recourse at this last date is to reset your GPS coordinates from Cottage Grove to Veneta for some animal-friendly good times this weekend.

 Bob Berman, Cheshire

 

REGISTRY IS NO FIX

The July 27 Viewpoint by Gary Crum “A Starting Point: Let’s Do Something About Gun Control” is pure bull talking-point sh*t.

Any registration site and especially those available to any public enforcement entity can be hacked, will be hacked and most times it’s the government that is hacking it. We do live in a kleptocracy.

Everything that Crum desires to invent already exists in some form or other from property registration to your local police to insurance company listings for valuables.

Criminals steal even from police departments. Guns and other weapons have value and will always be stolen, so considering all of the use of the above already in use systems there will be no change. Criminals don’t care. 

The “problem” as always remains with fixing the criminal, not the law abiding. Nothing Crum proposes fixes the criminal, but then nothing has ever fixed Mr. Crum; he will be giving us other opines eventually like a thief stealing his guns again.

Bet on it.

Dan Moore, Springfield

 

ON OUR WAY DOWN

Things are getting worse at an ever faster pace. We are seeing the end of privacy in a total surveillance world, the end of ever more species, indeed a shrinking life span for the biosphere itself, the disappearance of non-technified social existence in the land of isolation and emptiness — add your favorites.

And yet there’s a ban on addressing the foundations of this pan-disaster. Occupy went nowhere with its severe, liberal limitations; let’s vote for Hillary. Who cares that our kids inherit what is so obviously and rampantly developing? Think of the underlying institutions that grow the unthinkable future — and strive to dismantle them.

John Zerzan, Eugene

 

OUR HALLOWED LAND

Why can’t the Y compromise its hard stance and allow Civic to stand next door? I admire and respect what the Y does for this community, but they are dead wrong in wanting to tear down our Stadium. A new Y facility and a restored Civic would complement each other. All Eugene would benefit. It is possible! As to the idea that Civic is just memories, I offer this thought. Yes, it is memories: having a beer with friends, family entertainment, watching the moon rise, high school sports, Pacific Coast League, the Emeralds and other special events. 

The stadium is a symbol of Eugene’s memories. Still, Civic Stadium is more: Its WPA 1938 architecture is a unique treasure, and if restored it would be an asset to this community. What memories do a Fred Meyer shopping center and parking lot conjure up? Please, Kroger, stop salivating over our town’s hallowed land.

Joe R. Blakely, Eugene

 

PRIVACY ROUTINELY VIOLATED

The New York Times reports that the scope of the FISA court, created to monitor our government’s secret snooping into domestic and overseas phone calls, email and other data, includes unspecified topic areas in addition to terrorism.

The National Security Agency (NSA) handled 18,000 requests for surveillance last year (about 50 a day); none were rejected. FISA proceedings are “almost never made public.” FISA regularly considers major issues in constitutional law and establishes legal precedents with virtually no public participation, knowledge or scrutiny.

These violations of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects citizens’ privacy, are justified on the basis of secret “special needs” exceptions.

The consideration of such exceptions normally takes place in open court with all views considered, but the FISA court is not open and public; virtually all aspects of it are secret. Judges are appointed by Chief Justice Roberts and appear not to require public appointment and confirmation. Court proceedings and the targets for surveillance are secret. FISA only hears the government’s view.

The nature of the NSA data is essentially unlimited, in that while the NSA says it is aware that some data collected may not be relevant to its assignments, it also argues that the data may become relevant at some future date. We wouldn’t even be aware of this spying without whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden.

NSA-like institutions and thinking are the death of the Fourth Amendment. I’ll take my chances with terrorists; return my Fourth Amendment freedom to me. Close the NSA and anything like it.

Tom Giesen, Eugene

 

IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY

The court sanctioned gay rights. Really? Adults have the right to cohabitate however they desire. To speak for another (medical emergencies) requires signing a public (marriage) contract, private (living together) agreement or power of attorney. This is about financially benefiting from discrimination.

In the military, I lived in barracks, got the dangerous missions and often flew on holiday eves. One fellow officer with the same job description and paygrade had a sanctioned relationship. His dependents back home got free a rental suburban home, utilities, education, medical, recreational facilities, military travel, insurance, subsidized food, etc. If I got killed, I got a funeral; for him, his “dependents” would be taken care of for life.

The Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue health insurance states: “This benefit extends to the spouses and children of the eligible employee, again at no cost to the employee. Health insurance benefits include medical, dental and vision coverage.” Their two full-time fire engine driver/operators receive identical salary; but one gets $5,000 medical benefits and the other, having dependents, gets $17,577 (FY14 Budget). The SVFR openly practices wage discrimination and just enacted a tax increase for such extravagances.

Try demanding your private boss to pay $10,000 to $50,000 extra just because you cohabitate; it works for public workers. Many single military personnel enter “marriages of convenience” where the dependents kick back some of the extra booty. Those in a government “licensed” cohabitation with no other change are given more benefits from government jobs, Social Security, welfare, insurance, retirement, loans and so on. 

You want a lover and/or kids, let’s not dump the costs on the taxpayer. It’s time to eliminate this costly public benefits discrimination.

Keith Stanton, Florence

 

RATCHET UP THE FUN

Nothing says entertainment like watching people frighten and assault someone much smaller and more delicate than themselves! That’s why I’m going to the Cottage Grove Rodeo July 12-13. 

I was afraid I’d miss the shenanigans when the EW reported June 13 about 2012’s rodeo scramble’s rabbits getting flung out of pickup trucks and trailers. Being stepped on while the horde of children chased them. One bunny got his jaw broken. Family values! Teach our kids compassion!

Hardly surprising if, thrown from a place many times your height, you get hurt. If someone three or four times your weight jumps or steps on you, you might break a bone. I say if critters want to be in a rodeo, that’s their lookout! 

But, despite bunny huggers, my heroes at the Cottage Grove Rodeo did a workaround. Rabbits get folks’ dander up — so much so that two organizations offered to pay us not to do it — well, let’s just use chickens! And chickens are smaller and more easily hurt than rabbits, so that ought to ratchet up the fun! 

And a good time will be had. By some.

Rita Castillo, Springfield