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Letters to the Editor: 12-5-2013

MORE BAD POLICY

Chop. Chop. Tim-ber! Whether you hear it or not, that’s the sound of a tree being felled in the forest. And if Rep. Peter DeFazio’s and Sen. Ron Wyden’s proposed O&C timber lands legislation becomes law, you will definitely hear it loud and clear as 1.6 million acres of public forests are turned over to private industry for chopping. How bad is this legislation? After DeFazio’s bill passed in the majority Republican House, Democrat President Barack Obama vowed to veto it as bad environmental policy.

DeFazio and Wyden refer to the under-funded counties where O&C timber lands are domiciled as financial “sacrifice zones” that can only be saved by increasing the cut. And yet, in this November’s election, citizens of these counties voted down legislation to increase property taxes to beef up their budgets. They haven’t paid their fair share of taxes for decades thanks to O&C timber lands logging receipts, and aren’t about to start now. Ditto for the private forest industry, which enjoys preferential tax treatment. There’s no sense of shared sacrifice in the “sacrifice zones” other than the sacrifice of public forests.

Whether it’s digging holes or cutting trees, we need to stop this insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. How about, instead of sacrificing our public forests, we all pay our fair share of taxes and base important policy decisions on science instead of politics?

If trees were people, like corporations, and could talk, like money, they might explain to policymakers that intact forests keep our air and water clean, provide homes for diminishing wildlife populations, create beautiful places for folks to recreate and help save the overheating world by sequestering carbon. If you hear this, then let your elected representatives hear from you. Tell them to cut it out. No public forest sacrifice zones for counties that won’t make sacrifices themselves. No increased cut for private logging interests stuck — like DeFazio and Wyden — in the politics of the past.

Benton Elliott, Eugene

 

EXPOSING CORRUPTION

The “She Who Watches” column “Fake Apologies, False Hope” in the Oct. 31 issue was excellent. Some who are Oregon tribal members were very impressed with Kayla Tufti’s excellent observations and thinking.

There is a budding movement taking form that has to do with exposing corrupt tribal council administrations supported by the U.S Department of the Interior/BIA. Those council administrations are benefiting personally by running the tribe’s business as their private corporations. This is especially true with the tribal gaming industry.  

Therefore, as Native people, we desire to move away from doing business in the Western corporate ways and more toward the Native North American ways. Some tribes are already leaning in that direction. We hope we can create an effective way to influence that process.

The words “marginalization” and “evasion of accountability” in the article really strike a chord with we North American Natives.

Tom Richmond, Scottsburg

 

BROKEN PROMISES 

The mission of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency reads: To protect public health, community well-being and the environment as a leader and advocate for the improvement and maintenance of air quality in Lane County.

The Seneca Biomass company has a string of broken promises including the excessive release of carbon monoxide, dark smoke and acetaldehyde. The company ran seven months with its pollution controls for nitrogen oxides switched off. Now they want LRAPA to raise the pollution cap of particulate matter from 14 tons a year to 17 tons.

Last month, the World Health Organization classified outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans. Their evaluation showed an increasing risk of lung cancer with increasing levels of exposure to particulate matter and air pollution.

LRAPA needs to do its job. Tell Seneca Biomass NO; hell NO!

Sarah Ruth, Eugene

 

MONEY FOR HEALTH CARE

Gwen Heineman seems to have failed to look at the Cover Oregon website (coveroregon.com) before writing her letter [11/21]. Her letter is filled with misinformation. Maybe the numbers she quotes for the cost of insurance are the numbers she got for her income level. If you ask for costs after entering an income estimate, you will get costs for someone with the income you entered in the form. The numbers she quotes would be for a single person making more than $45,000 a year, which means no subsidy is available. If you are single and making that much money, you do not need a subsidy to pay $480 a month for health insurance. 

If your income is about $20,000 a year, you will pay $70 a month for pretty good health insurance (the cheapest silver plan) with a $750 per year deductible and very low co-pays. See coveroregon.com/individual/browse/results.

The cost shown is the cost after applying the advanced premium tax credit to the cost of the plan. On the “exchange,” this plan would cost $480 a month with no tax credit. A person with an estimated income of $20,000 and living in the 97402 zip code could claim a tax credit of $411 per month or $4,932 per year. You can pay for your insurance with the advanced premium tax credit before you even claim the tax credit on your tax return. That means you can apply your tax credit and receive health care starting in January, if you sign up before Dec. 4. 

You can sign up online. Read the instructions! Print the forms from the Cover Oregon website and fill them out by hand for yourself, then if you have Internet Explorer, you can fill them out online and submit them online. You can also mail in your paper copy. The form has a lot of pages, but you don’t need to use very many of the pages if there are only one or two people in your household. 

Ann M. Tattersall, Eugene

 

CHANGE IS NECESSARY

The climate change conference is ending as I write. It has brought together hundreds of countries, scientists and climate activists, yet has elicited practically no attention from the U.S. media or the U.S. government.

Our neighbors to the south were poignant: the most violent tornado in the history of the world, droughts, rising sea levels, storms, floods and extreme weather. They cried out, “Will you help us?” Basically, the response from industrialized countries was “No.”

We seem unable to understand that this is also our own problem. The time to make drastic changes is now. The planet as we know it is teetering towards destruction, but the conference ended in bickering.

The U.S. could take significant steps. Our military might around the world is in itself an environmental disaster. How many natural resources, including humans, do we use or destroy as we build and maintain thousands of ships and bases, airplanes and drones, plus hundreds of thousands of personnel in the armed forces? The Pentagon budget doubled between 2001 and 2011. Valuable land has been covered with concrete and nuclear waste. Precious ecosystems have been destroyed. It is hard to imagine how much oil is used to maintain this military empire. Social and human needs go unmet.

Let’s end these military strategies and expenditures. Let’s choose a path of shared security, one of peace and healing around the world.

Naïve? No, a necessity!

Peg Morton, Eugene

 

TIME TO LET GO

The empty old gray barn on Willamette Street continues to slowly, inevitably rot. It happens. All things must pass. The School District dithers while nostalgia-choked preservationists shuffle and dream of the wonderful summer evenings so long ago. Just a few blocks away are two packed schools, old, barely hanging together, full of students who need better facilities now. It seems to me that the School District’s chief concern should be its students, teachers and facilities. I truly hope that the decision made about the fate of Civic Stadium is driven by the needs of the School District and not special interest groups.

Kevin Reilly, Eugene

 

TRANSITORY HOUSING

Eben Fodor presents what he calls a “complete picture” of housing permit data over the last 14 years (“Eugene Growth Trends” analysis, Nov. 21) as evidence of a “dramatic shift” in growth, moving from single family units on the urban fringe to multi-family construction in the urban core. In 2007 and 2008, single-family construction fell sharply from the previous seven years and has remained at a much reduced number each year since. His graph shows multi-family units also drastically reduced in 2007 but increasing each year since. 

However, Fodor’s conclusion that the data shows a “remarkably speedy transition from sprawling single-family development on greenfields” to compact growth at the urban core is faulty because student housing is lumped with other multi-family construction. (He mentions this inclusion about halfway through the article.) The student population always lives in the area near campus, so have not been part of this migration toward the center from the fringe. Also, the new student housing is designed for the transitory student population and is mostly not appropriate for non-student families both by layout and location. Looking at his underlying data and holding what is likely student housing apart from the multi-family housing total leads to quite a different picture than the one he has presented.

Subtracting the Downtown, West University, South University and Fairmont neighborhood counts of multi-family permits (all likely to be mostly student housing projects) from the overall multi-family counts of permits shows an increase in multi-family housing since the recession only in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In these years, the bulk of the multi-family permits were not for the urban core, but were for outlying neighborhoods: in 2011 the Harlow Neighbors (these permits could be in part student as well since it includes the Chase area), in 2012 Northeast Neighbors, and in 2013 Goodpasture Island Neighbors and River Road Community Organization. Taking out these non-urban-center neighborhood multi-family permit counts for these years results in a picture of flat multi-family building at the urban core since 2006, dwindling to zero for 2013.

Arguments for sustainable growth and increasing density at the urban core won’t be helped by faulty or misleading analysis.

Joe Wayman, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fodor tells us he stands by his analysis and notes that the data does not distinguish between student housing and other multi-family housing, so other conclusions are speculation. See fodorandassociates.com.

 

NOT PARTICIPATING

The revered holiday season is upon us once again, with a mixture of Black Friday shopping frenzy that lasts a month, incessant religious Christmas music playing in almost every store you enter, inundation from print ads and TV commercials to buy, buy, buy presents for everyone we know. The sad part is, we have taken the bait.

I realize that my ranting will not change anything. The only satisfaction I can take from this season is in knowing that I, on a personal level, refuse to participate. My friends and relatives know that I do not give, nor do I accept, holiday cards or presents. Not being Christian, I try to avoid religious displays and religious music. Being bombarded by other people’s religion is not my favorite thing. 

I, for one, will be glad when the holiday season is over.

Allan Grossman, Springfield

 

TO PAUL BIONDI

 Wow … leave it to you, Paul. Your humanity has touched so many people from so many walks of life — that was evident on Nov. 24. If you weren’t at Sunday evening’s MEMA event to “pay it forward” for Paul Biondi, you missed a chance to hear several of Eugene’s musical gems, especially Paul.

It’s obvious that Paul’s music has touched a lot of lives in a lot of ways, and there were so many people that had big ol’ smiles on their faces — “feelin’ the love in the room,” said one performer, and sending Paul rapid recovery wishes! 

So, if you ever get a chance to pay it forward, go listen to Paul Biondi or attend a MEMA event, just go! Leave it to you, Paul … leave it to you.

 Linda Wagner, Eugene

 

A DEAD SHORT GUY

I hope not to be too pretentious by willing to add a small correction to Georgette Silber’s letter from last week. (Prétentieux? Oui.) My mother language is French and I spent the first 28 years of my life in the French part of Belgium, so bear with me. Some of what Georgette Silber says is right: le mort or le petit mort is correct French and will be used if one wants to describe say ... a man who is dead or a short man who is dead. In that case, the word will be a masculine adjective.

But when, in French, someone talks about Death, she or he will say la Mort... definitely feminine ... always. She’s even called la Grande Faucheuse (the Big Reaper) from the word faux, which is the French word for scythe (also the masculine word for “false”). As an anecdote and to finish this on a typical French flavor, la Petite Mort is used sometimes to describe ... an orgasm! There, you have it!

 Alby Thoumsin, Springfield

 

NO MORE WHINING

I feel the Duck football trip to Arizona was a success. We’ll no longer have to listen to their whining about playing in the Rose Bowl (again) rather than for the national championship.

Don French, Eugene

 

MUG LOVE

Many years ago my sister gave me a San Francisco Public Radio (KQED) reusable coffee mug that to this day is my good friend. Guilt surfaces if and when I want a cup of something “to go” and neglect to take her along for the ride.

She is asking for a sister or brother cup so there is always one of them with me. It is easy to have a freshly bathed one, cleaned up, waiting in the car and ready for an adventure.

The search is on for the perfect reusable friend who will join our family of environmental thoughtful acts.

Maybe we will find one having been discarded and now living, waiting to be adopted, in one of the many secondhand stores.. Waiting and hoping for a thoughtful person or family to help out with in-the-car or long-walk tea or coffee, and have adventures with.

PS: My cloth and other reusable shopping bags feel the same, which is why they happily live together all cozy in the car.

Rheychol Paris, Yachats (formerly Eugene)

 

 

CHECK A DICTIONARY

In your issue of Nov. 21 you published a letter signed by one Georgette Silber who, along with unnecessary crude language, declares that “in French, death is not feminine.” And she admonishes the Weekly for not checking it out, supposedly.

Huh? Anyone who indeed checks out a dictionary, unless they are illiterate and don’t know how to interpret a dictionary, will see that in French, death IS feminine. I have a hard time beginning to comprehend how this person came to her conclusion. For her edification, le petit mort would refer to a dead boy. No swear words necessary. Thanks.

Bojana Stefanovska, Eugene

 

BEST NON-SPORTS BAR

A much needed Best of Eugene category: “Best pub serving local ale that has no monitors, where one can go to avoid sports.”

1. (Three-way tie) McMenamins High Street, Falling Sky, Cornucopia (17th & Lincoln).

C. Kale, Eugene

 

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING

The CIA admits it released Taliban and al-Qaeda religious fanatics so they could spy for us on their own kin for drone targets. U.S. military apologize for killing a child in one attack on a civilian home and injuring two women in another. Reminds me of the dialogue between Custer and his scout in the Little Big Man movie.

Vince Loving, Eugene