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Letters to the Editor: 8-8-2013

KICKED DOWN THE ROAD

I have camped and built shelters in the wetlands of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, my place of birth, since I was a child, and I have camped all across the U.S. in some of the most beautiful national parks. I have camped in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Montana and Yosemite, not to mention (because I have forgotten) many other tourist, hiking trails and scenic places in California, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.

If folks here cannot trust me to camp responsibly, clean and quiet (just ask the ODOT guys) then I do not know what to say except excuse me for living! At least no one has to call in a HazMat or sheriff’s jail crew to clean up my mess. I cook with propane and do not smoke. Risk of fire: none. 

I am not on a recreation binge here, people! I am doing this by necessity — I am homeless! But none of that matters. When the city finds me I will get kicked down the road again — except this time the city will be forced to face the fact that there are no more places to camp and people are going to rise up and say enough is enough! We live here, have lived here, and you are not going to push us any farther away!

Danielle Smith, Eugene

 

JUST A FAIRY TALE

Once upon a time there was a beautiful kingdom known as Oregon. In this kingdom, there was a town called Eugene. There were many who lived there who were wealthy and lived quite well. But there were also many who were poor and lived quite poorly. The poorest of the lot were the fairies. They had no jobs or homes so they were forced to live way out at the edge of town. They camped out and lived there as best they could. Then one day, the owners of the land they camped on grew angry with them. The owners were unhappy with the mess that the fairies had made there.

When the Eugene City Council learned of this, they decided to do something about it right away. They sent out city trucks and workers to pick up the trash. Other trucks brought Porta-Potties and solar heated showers. FOOD for Lane County pitched in and sent them food. The fairies got medical help from CAHOOTS, Occupy Eugene and the White Bird Clinic. St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and Goodwill provided clothing, tents and sleeping bags.

The fairies were very happy and grateful for all of the help they received. They made sure that they kept their campground clean. The fairies lived there happily ever after.

This, of course, is just a fairy tale.

Randy Stenersen, Eugene

 

PERVASIVE DISORDER

If former commissioner Rob Handy’s alleged indiscretions warranted an outside review, so do the actions of Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson and the four county commissioners who support her. Outside review means “outside” and “impartial,” not overseen by a friend and colleague (County Counsel Stephen Dingle). Who was the author of this really bad idea?

This latest fiasco is yet one more example of the Board of Commissioners refusing to pay attention to the obvious. For the past year, numerous people have brought to the commissioners’ (and city of Eugene’s) attention, with documentation, Greenhill’s withholding treatment from some animals and other contract violations. We have Greenhill’s own files and internal emails that prove this. Commissioners Bozievich, Farr, Leiken and Stewart have refused to act and move forward on the violations of state statute, and to actually enforce the contract the county has with Greenhill (see NoKillLaneCounty.org). How many other contracts, paid for with taxpayer dollars, are being similarly mismanaged?

Things are so bad that whistleblowers have to remain anonymous and get outside legal help. Requests for public documents are blatantly ignored. All these things and more are symptoms of the same pervasive disorder that permeates county government. Only by removing all the bad apples will we have back a county that we can be proud of and can afford to live in.

Tamara Barnes, Eugene

 

SMART METERS SPEAK OUT

Places like EWEB usually get what they want — so we can expect to get and pay for “smart meters.” But when we do I hope we can get the latest models being beta tested in California. I was visiting a friend there and the new meters have a speaker and announce things so you do not have to look it up on your computer.

When we were sitting in the living room one very hot July day — about 102 degrees — the meter announced:

Hello Dave, I have an efficiency message for you. Turn the air conditioner off. I suggest a fan. As you know I will be reporting your usage for this hour, and with time of day pricing, you cannot afford this.

We ignored that but after a bit it came on again and said:

Dave, can you hear me? Please respond. If you do not I am reporting your usage at this time, and turning the air conditioner off.

Then the air conditioner was turned off. It was uncomfortable soon, but the efficiency the utility promises is there. Money was saved. It seemed like a bit of loss of privacy, but we are all getting used to that these days.

So let’s be sure we get the new IM-HAD/VOX. model. At least we have choice in the model type, I think.

Michael Lee, Eugene

 

HISTORY MATTERS

I always look forward to Brett Campbell’s music columns in EW because his writing is generally well informed and a pleasure to read. Yet his July 18 piece “Handbells Will Be Ringing” has some curious comments regarding composer James MacMillan’s 2016 Oregon Bach Festival commission. Campbell correctly notes that OBF has an admirable history of commissioning new work from contemporary composers such as Arvo Pärt and Osvaldo Golijov, but he oddly omits mention of such OBF musical milestones as Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo (whose world premiere OBF recording by Helmuth Rilling won a 2001 Grammy award), as well as Tan Dun’s 2004 Water Passion and the 2009 Messiah by Sven-David Sandström. 

Perhaps more telling in the context of Campbell’s article is a similar failure to note Robert Kyr’s 1996 Inner Dawning and Stephen Paulus’ 1989 Symphony for Strings, if only because both composers are U.S. citizens, and it might be added that Kyr is also an “Oregon composer.” 

Campbell’s main complaint appears to be that James MacMillan, a Scot, is a “non-American” composer in receipt of “American taxpayer dollars.” This fact, he claims, stems from Oregon’s relative failure to support classical music and Oregon composers in the same fashion that Scotland does. This strikes me as a misleading comparison at best. Scotland became a constituent member of the United Kingdom with the 1707 Act of Union, but of course Scotland had a long history of cultural identity before that date. Oregon became a formal part of the U.S. in 1859, and its cultural history before then was rather different from that of Scotland.

However, it must be noted that Oregon as a political entity is older than the current political states commonly known as France, Germany and Italy, which nonetheless have ancient cultural identities. History does matter; the present cannot be understood without reference to it. Given prevailing U.S. attitudes toward taxation in general and public financial support for the arts in particular, I view Oregon’s current classical music “investment level” as a glass half full, whereas Campbell would have us see it as half empty instead, if that. 

 John E. Heintz, Eugene

 

A NONVIOLENT SOLUTION

Israel-Palestine negotiations are taking place again, and could take six to nine months. Some believe that the Israeli government and the U.S. are just playing a game. Israel has engaged in negotiations on and off for 20 years while continuing to build settlements in the West Bank and expand its occupation.

I recently watched a documentary that showed long lines of Palestinian people in 1948 carrying their possessions as they walked away from their homes in the newly established Israel to live as refugees elsewhere. The contrast between the modern, affluent settlements with parks and swimming pools, and the poverty and lack of water and electricity of the Palestinian people was vivid.

The West Bank is now almost entirely controlled by the Israeli occupation. Military checkpoints and highways separate the Palestinian West Bank from the settlers. They vastly slow the movement of the Palestinian people within their territory and over its borders. The Palestinians deserve better.

Jewish people who migrated to Israel are descendants of the Holocaust, with all the fears, the PTSD that still remain. They have a right to live in a country where they can be safe and secure. But the Palestinian people do, too.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, and they can’t make a viable solution. I yearn for our governments to nonviolently and firmly seek a solution that is just and that can be the beginning of healing and of the building of safe, dignified lives for all the Palestinian and Israeli people.

Peg Morton, Eugene

 

NOT SO GREAT FAIR

After two years of not having 4H in Lane County we were told it was back. We had been participating with our children and their horses in Benton County. Apparently some money was available to restart 4H, and we were recruited and invited to rejoin our own home county: Lane County Fair. Sounds good? No. 

We spent hundreds of dollars for our children to show their animals and were treated like second-class citizens. We were given scant access to our children and animals. We were forced to park blocks away from any fair entrance when they said the “lot is full” only to see at least 50 open spots in the west end parking near mounted police. I understand crowd control, but I demand access to my 11-year-old daughter. 

To top it off, it became apparent that some cattle guy with the youth fair had his own private key to the west gate. I watched him let countless people in and out. Security claimed they are not aware of this. For all I know he was charging to let his buddies into the fair. I just wanted reasonable access to my 11-year-old child. I have photos of this.

Melissa Gannon, Springfield

 

NO COHERENT RESPONSE

It’s always fun and interesting to see lefties resort to name calling and personal insults when faced with opinions that differ from theirs or questions for which they can provide no coherent answers.

I’ll add Ryan Foote’s Aug. 1 letter to my collection.

 Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

MOLLY’S GIFTS

I read your paper frequently, and firstly want to thank you for its often funny, occasionally frustrating, but always engaging content. But I especially want to thank you for Molly Templeton’s wonderful movie reviews.

That I take movie reviews seriously would be noted by anyone around me (beginning at an early age, arguing to convince my parents why they should let me watch the Ridley Scott film Alien). It was through these early explorations that I discovered the wonders of well-written reviews — no other writing combines the subtle mix of personal, intellectual and emotional descriptions, and Templeton’s reviews are truly some of the best I’ve ever read. They always strike a thrilling balance of description, reflection and opinions, and are intellectually engaging and ultimately revealing, and a joy to read.

I simply want to say thank you for sharing your gift of writing.

Steve Boggs, Springfield

 

DRINKING IN THE WHIT

I’ve lived in the Whiteaker for well over 10 years and have watched the neighborhood slowly evolve and seen a number of positive changes. Papa’s Soul Food was a great addition to our hood; it brought people down here that would have continued to live in fear of “felony flats.” 

I’m fine with growth and new business. What I’m not OK with is people who very obviously don’t live in this part of Eugene or this part of the country who come down to party, be reckless and disrespectful to the folks who live and work in the neighborhood. I see so many people that are driving around so fast and so unsafely looking for the other breweries on their list. 

Might I suggest leaving your car at home or the hotel and riding a bike, take LTD or maybe even walk? It’s just not safe to drink and drive, especially in a small neighborhood with a thriving bike culture. The “brewery district” as we are now called, has some great business to enjoy. Just be responsible. Local breweries also step up to the game; let’s start giving some sort of deals to the “locals” who opt for a safer way of getting to your place. Offer a dollar off to cyclists that show their helmets or something. 

Take notice of all the cars at these breweries; that’s a lot of people drinking and driving. These are high-alcohol-content beers in most cases, too. Just something to think about. 

Darin Lomsdalen, Eugene

 

TOXIC DISTRICT

Some months ago EW columnist Jerry Diethelm asked, “What happened to Cannery Square?” [11/7/2012]. I have some observations relating to that mothballed planning “vision” cooked up by Nan Laurence. Sam Bond’s Garage is opening a brewery and tasting room in the area next year. A credit union is redeveloping the former site of the Courthouse Garden. It seems like the real question to be asking is what happened to the toxic waste dumps there on EWEB and UO owned property?

To find out details about the dumps you must refer back to a 2005 article that appeared in The Register-Guard. The article by Joe Harwood was “EWEB, UO battle over soil cleanup.” In recent weeks people have been picking blackberries at the partially gated toxic dump. Will the city of Eugene streamline development of the EWEB property without any consideration of the oozing slime stored underground? New businesses moving into that area should prompt city planners and the DEQ to adequately inform and involve the public in a thorough cleanup. EWEB and UO both have turned away from any mitigation of the current toxic situation. The failure of the Cannery Square concept is not just a surface issue.

The real problems at that location lie below the surface. If UO is so green why has it failed to cleanup the toxic riverfront of the UO campus? Perhaps Diethelm can explain what he thinks about the historic waste dump in his next Emerald Canal update.

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene

 

CELL-PROOF WRAP

The tragic death of a child due to a bus accident in New Jersey is blamed on the driver using his phone. They can do it with kryptonite. Why not put a shield, for safety sake, around the LTD buses that blocks all cell phone frequencies? And you would be able to tell the difference from the people who are talking to themselves from the rest of us. 

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

PROTECT THE ELLIOTT

To the Oregon State Land Board:

I’m writing to encourage you to not sell any of the Elliott State Forest, including the 2,714 acres currently under consideration for disposal. These forests include rare habitat for imperiled Oregon wildlife, including the marbled murrelet, spotted owl and coho salmon, and provide critical values to Oregonians.

I value my public state forests for wildlife viewing, fishing, recreation and carbon storage to mitigate climate change. Instead of selling off the Elliott, I encourage you to restoratively thin the even-age tree plantations on the forest which can generate revenue and provide jobs. Currently, logs cannot be exported from the Elliott, but selling the forest to private logging corporations means logs can be exported and not be used by local mills. If these lands are sold, Oregonians will also permanently lose the critical services these old forests provide, including purifying our clean air and water, safeguarding habitat for fish and wildlife, and providing unique recreational opportunities. 

The State Land Board’s  2012 Real Estate Assets Management Plan (REAMP) requires “balancing revenue enhancement and resource stewardship” by selling or exchanging special wildlife habitat “to conservation groups or public agencies that would ensure the land’s long-term protection.” I support the state meeting this requirement of the REAMP by selling the 2,714 acres to conservation groups or public agencies that would ensure the land’s long-term protection. This would provide for the continued public benefits and educational opportunities the land now provides to Oregonians.

Sarah Wiebenson, Portland