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Letters to the Editor: 1-23-2014

PAINS OF DISPLACEMENT

The most world-respected literary personage from our area is Ken Kesey. He is principally known for his novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962). It develops a common theme where individual and group clash, both losing. In this case, we like to give the edge to the skill of the first-person artist who renders us the depiction.

The seed for this novel is a script Kesey typed up in late 1956 for submission to UO’s Glenn Starlin, then teaching Kesey’s class in “Radio and TV Writing.” Kesey’s paper is entitled “Sunset at Celilo.” It was prompted by the imminence of the U.S. government’s closing of the floodgates in The Dalles Dam, “almost completed.” On March 10, 1957, it took only four and a half hours to drown Celilo Village; with this in mind, Kesey graduated June 9.

For 20,000 years, perhaps, native peoples had perched on the rocky platforms of Celilo Falls to catch plump but exhausted returning salmon on the upward jump. The enormity of this silencing angered Kesey, as it has angered a fairly large group of Northwest writers.

Although the flesh-and-blood author is no longer with us, his paper-and-ink teller resounds the violation, the pain of such peremptory cultural displacement. It has been translated across the globe.

In the upper left-hand corner of his paper Kesey typed his address, “1795 Columbia,” one of the post-war military barracks the UO now has posted for demolition. In England, such places get blue plaques. At the foot of his essay Kesey appended a hopeful note to his professor: “It hasn’t all happened yet.” In 1975 he asked this town to save the Armory at 7th and Oak, to no avail — a building warm with memories of his growing up; in 1986, The Mayflower Theatre at 11th and Alder — to the same end. At this very moment, he is probably hanging out with Rodney Dangerfield. His paper is part of the UO’s Special Collections (Ax279, Box 15, Folder 4).

Michael Powell

Eugene

 

LAST HOPE FOR CIVIC

I am insulted and outraged that the Eugene School Board threw out the offer from Friends of Civic Stadium. Having played football on Civic’s turf and been a spectator at many baseball games, my future access to this property grows dim. My last hope is the city’s offer.

I am insulted because the Friends of Civic Stadium Board represented the community’s interest. This unpaid board has worked tirelessly to keep the stadium and its 10-acre parcel for community use. For five years they have worked long hours against a huge corporation. That corporation has access to attorneys, designers, builders and money. It is an unfair fight. As a longtime member of this community, the School Board’s decision was an insult.

I am outraged and this is why: Since the building of Civic Stadium, it and its adjoining property have been continuously used for recreational pursuits and the public has had access to the property. It’s comparable to our free beaches, where thanks to the Beach Bill of 1967, our beaches are still publicly accessible. But in that case the people and a strong governor stood up to halt private ownership. 

So, yes, I am outraged that a large corporation oozing with money has the ability to take from me, and our community, free access to a dearly beloved treasure.

 Joe R. Blakely

Eugene

 

USES FOR THE STADIUM

I hope it’s not too late for the 4J School Board to find the part of its brain where imagination and creativity reside, because Civic Stadium could continue to be a wonderful and more varied South Eugene community resource. Imagine a neighborhood venue for concerts and plays as well as sporting events. 

Hey guys, Eugene is “Track Town,” right? People pay real money to watch excellent athletes. How about promoting excellent baseball and soccer and other sports culminating in playoff games generating revenue? Outdoor concert venues such as the Cuthbert and now the problematic Emerald Meadows are limited. We have local musicians who desperately need an outdoor venue for orchestral as well as rock concerts that could also generate revenue.

We have many theatrical companies and school drama classes that could perform Shakespeare in the Park-like plays. Hey, musicians, and hey, you bar owners and theater companies, how about organizing yourselves and passing the hat at performances. Let’s get off our butts and do it to support the Friends of Civic Stadium proposal. See wkly.ws/1oa and tell 4J to do the right thing at 4J.lane.edu.

As for the YMCA, the Y management and directors made no attempt to engage us members about their plans except as cheerleaders. Many members support the purchase for a new facility because they oppose a Fred Meyer purchase. Members should be concerned about whether the Y will realize their highly speculative revenue forecast.

Estimates, projections and budgets are routinely exceeded. Is the YMCA risking its financial health? What will be the effect on the membership and our fees and dues? Contrary to the hype, the Y buildings are not decrepit. Why tear down perfectly good buildings to move two blocks away? I suppose it’s just consistent with our all-American tear-down and throw-away society.

Civic Stadium could have been protected by placing a conservation easement on the property. It can still be done with willing owners.

Jan Nelson, board member,

Northwest Land Conservation Trust,

nwlct.org

 

BAIT AND SWITCH

Peter Bauer’s reflections on Oregon’s public education system in “Unrecognizable Schools” [Viewpoint, 1/9] were right on the mark. Measure 5 has scuttled our public schools! The only thing he failed to mention was the unstated purpose behind Measure 5. Measure 5 sponsor Don McIntire and his lobbyist Bill Sizemore, who has since been convicted for racketeering for promising property-tax salvation for fixed-income seniors to naive voters. After all, Measure 5 promised full state funding for public education, and homeowners would pay less. The hidden agenda was the transfer of tax responsibility. Before Measure 5, homeowners and Oregon businesses each paid 50 percent of the tax burden. After Measure 5, homeowners were saddled with 60 percent of the tax burden.

It was a real “bait-and-switch” con game that, unfortunately, Oregon’s students have been suffering from since 1990.

Hal Huestis

Eugene

 

ROLES IGNORED

I wonder if Anna Grace saw the same play at Oregon Contemporary Theatre last week that I saw this evening [review, 1/16]. The play I saw, Tribes, had roles for six actors, each expertly portrayed. I was especially intrigued by the interactions between Billy (Karsten Topelmann) and his brother Daniel (Colin Gray) as they were pivotal to the play’s heart-wrenching ending scene. Interestingly, Anna Grace ignored Colin Gray’s role entirely. She also failed to mention Daniel and Billy’s sister Ruth (Melanie Moser). It makes me wonder if Anna Grace really saw Tribes at all.

Kathleen Gray

Eugene

 

A NEED FOR VIGILANCE

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” There seems no better time to remember this than during the 41st anniversary of one of the greatest strides in women’s health care in the U.S. 

Roe v. Wade granted women freedom from infringement by the state in matters of their reproductive health. Its anniversary reminds us to look back with gratitude, and to look forward with vigilance. We need vigilance to protect against the politicians who want to inject themselves into a woman’s personal and complicated medical decisions. 

We need vigilance to put an end to the “pro-life vs. pro-choice” debate and admit that these labels do not reflect the complexity of the issue of abortion. And we need vigilance to continue to make strides against those pushing back on the rights affirmed by Roe

Our incredible allies in Albuquerque, N.M., who defeated a 20-week abortion ban, and the Texans who came together to support Sen. Wendy Davis during her 11-hour filibuster are prime examples. But we can all do something. We can all be vigilant. 

Roe v. Wade is more than a court case. It’s a landmark turn in U.S. history. Let us never forget this as we move forward with an ever-greater sense of vigilance. 

Kiran Varani-Edwards

Eugene

 

SALEM DOES POOP RIGHT

I recently moved back to Eugene after a job stint in Salem. Took my two dogs to the South Eugene dog park — awful experience. Here is why. At the Keizer dog park, the only one fenced in the Salem/Keizer area, people pick up after their dogs, every time! 

Yes, there is much social gathering, chatting, trail walking or running, but there is always poop being picked up. If you were busy chatting, someone brought it to your attention and you thanked them and went and picked it up. Not so much in Eugene.

People read, study, chat, run, sleep, play — but not a whole lot of poop being picked up despite bags, shovels and scoops being available. I was met with many dismissive, shrugging shoulders — not what I expected from Eugene — when I pointed out their dog had done its business, so I am not surprised to read stories of dog poop on sidewalks, trails and yards.

I live in the country. I pick up after my dogs here at home or at the beach because it is my responsibility!

Step up, pet owners, and clean up after your pet.

Victoria Mahue

Eugene

 

THE PEOPLE MUST LEARN

In response to Mika Scott’s letter, “Will We Ever Learn?” (1/9): What we all must learn is that we do not live in a functioning democracy. As such, we cannot afford to wait, hope and plead that our legislators and regulators will ever learn much about how to achieve sustainability. 

Right now, we (the people) need to learn that our system of government and structure of laws are designed to benefit corporations and the relentless resource extraction that makes them profitable. Extensive corporate constitutional rights and privileges have been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court over the past 200 years. The regulatory system’s genesis came at the behest of railroad executives, not to curb corporate activities, but to buffer corporate interests from the rabble (that’s us) that was demanding public accountability and government action to address corporate harms. 

Sustainability means curtailing corporate activities that deplete our planet’s resources and contaminate our water, air, soil and all life forms. Our government does not have the legal authority to pass laws that advance meaningful sustainability because existing corporate rights and privileges can have these laws declared unconstitutional. Yes, in many cases, protecting our communities and our planet is against current U.S. law.

We must come together as a community and frontally challenge the corporate rights that are more powerful than our individual rights and that prevent our communities from saying “no” to corporate harms.

Please come learn more about the burgeoning community rights movement at a presentation called “Changing the Game with Community Rights: A Democracy Workshop” with Kai Huschke of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org) from 6 to 9 pm Friday, Jan. 24, at LCC Downtown campus, Room 105. 

Ann B. Kneeland

Eugene

 

THE FOLLY OF LOGGING

In about 1989 in Harris Hall in Eugene, I listened as Dr. Jerry Franklin forcefully discussed the dangers of global warming as part of his public presentation regarding federal forests. I was impressed and moved. 

Today, Franklin and K. Norman Johnson are demonstrating “ecological” (their term) forestry by designing clear-cuts (with retention) of mature trees (circa 80-plus years) in federal forests. 

But recent science emphasizes the imperative to sequester carbon in forests, which are the key terrestrial sink for carbon. Logging forests changes a powerful carbon sink into a source of greenhouse gas, CO2. 

The sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 concentrations, as seen in new scientific information, has risen and is now in a range of 3 to 5 degrees C. Projections of future warming are now much higher, with a likelihood of 4 degrees C (7.2 degrees F) by 2100 or earlier. Four degrees C is said to result in global unmanageability.

Logging any forest is folly; logging public forests is simply unacceptable. 

I urge Franklin and Johnson to respect the science and keep public forests growing. 

Tom Giesen

Eugene

 

RISING ABOVE NEIGHBORS

Could someone from the “sustainable” community who wants to fill in part of the Willamette River floodplain to put their house above flood level, and make the water go “elsewhere,” please explain how their plans respect the surrounding community of people who are currently above flood level, but may not be above the water diverted around the new houses? How is building on pyramids of fill dirt respectful of those whose homes will be lower than those pyramid houses, and whose homes will be in the path of the water diverted around the pyramids?

This is not respect. It is starting a “race to the top.” Oh, that phrase has been appropriated — appropriated to describe exactly the same kind of behavior. The same kind of behavior is sponsored by our paternalistic federal government that knows what is best for our children’s schools. And this flood-plain example proves that the monsters who dreamed up that schools program know that’s what it is. You win by drowning your neighbor. It’s a zero-sum game, like sports.

Will our Eugene city government sponsor this climb-on-your-neighbor’s-back-and-drown-him behavior, or will they do the right thing and stop this race to the top along the Willamette River in Eugene?

As they will soon discover along River Road, what you do to your neighbor also can be done to you.

Ann Tattersall

Eugene 

 

THE PROMISED LAND

I am a pioneer on the Cover Oregon trail. I started the journey to the promised land months ago, with a folksy jingle stuck in my head. Yes, I want to live long in Oregon. I immediately hit a road block as the gold-plated Oracle of failure refused to let me through its portal. So I took the other pass through Paperwork Canyon. After fighting through the blizzard of paper, I urgently waited at the trailhead for a reply. This trail would soon be closed to me, as winter set in. I called out for help, a high-school girl took my call and was confused as I was. 

After much delay and time on hold I was finally able to get confirmation for my passage into the promised land. Ironically, my Escher-esque journey turned out to be a Mobius-strip path, as I returned back to my same old coverage, from the same old company. Déjà vu! But now instead of paying $350 a month for a useless $5,000 high-deductible “bronze” plan, I will now be paying $50 a month. 

Cue the jingle. “To care for each one, every daughter and son, long live Oregon.” Maybe. Maybe not.

Michael T. Hinojosa

Drain

 

GET SMART ABOUT METERS

Last fall, there was considerable buzz after each of two showings of the powerful new film Take Back Your Power. People who participated were, for the most part, strongly affected and incredulous that this technology is as invasive as it appears to be!

Some of the issues discussed in the film may have direct bearing for EWEB customers. We will be “asked” to pay the hugely expensive costs for the smart-meters program, which is currently in the planning stages, and then asked to opt in to having these electric and water meters installed on our homes and businesses — with little to no substantive public discussion of any of the related issues so far, by EWEB. Bear in mind that once you opt in, you may not be able to claim court damages for negligence or harm in the future.

The EWEB service area is the only place in the country that I know of where concerned citizens have rallied to avoid automatically having these meters installed. We have an opportunity here, people, because important issues need to be understood about this technology before we make these permanent choices.

If you care to be an informed citizen, then come to the next free showing of Take Back Your Power at 6:30 pm Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Tsunami Books, 2585 S. Willamette St. There will be further discussion afterwards.

It you cannot make this showing, please go to TakeBackYourPower.net and watch it for a nominal fee.

Robin Bee

Eugene

 

LOWELL VINDICATION

Recently recalled Lowell Councilwoman Pam Bryant filed a complaint in Lane County Circuit Court on Jan. 7 against “Recall For Lowell’s Future Committee” [members] Kenneth Hern and Nancy Garratt. It cites ORS 260.532, “False Publication Relating to Recall Election,” as the allegation against the defendants. She did so in an effort to clear her name of the defendants’ prior written and verbal statements against her. 

I look forward to reading the facts of this case as they come out under oath and become public, and are adjudicated in a court of law, as well as any subsequent vindication of Mrs. Bryant. It was important for her to take this first step in an effort to clear her name, and to protect our American way of honest elections, keeping it sacred for all citizens. 

It’s my personal opinion that no abuse of our election process, by the condoning or permitting of false statements or publications against an elected official, should be allowed to take place, go unchallenged or unpunished. Let the truth be heard by all, and may it ring out loud and clear across this state!

 Gary Lynn Reese

Lowell

 

TIP YOUR GAS JOCKEYS 

 I work at the local gas station SeQuential Biofuels and I’d like to encourage you to tip the people pumping your gas. About 130,000 jobs in Oregon are minimum wage. If you have held a minimum wage job, you know how hard it is to pay bills and eat healthy, much less support a family. This is a service job, and as you probably know Oregon and New Jersey are the only states in the nation where drivers don’t have to pump their own gas.

Situations where a tip is appropriate: 

• You pull up when there are already two or three other cars being pumped, and the attendant serves you in an expedient, efficient and friendly manner. 

• When we wash your window, hook you up with free coffee or assist you with car trouble.

• If you fill one or more propane tanks! 

• If you’re feeling generous. (If you tip inside the store we don’t see any of that.) Change makes a great tip!

• It really helps out people like me who are on an extremely tight budget and breathing carcinogens all day. 

A gas station is a good place to see people’s true nature, and the majority of you are sweet, compassionate people. Thank you for buying local and supporting a gas station that emphasizes community, healthy food options, and the inevitable transition to locally sourced renewable fuels. Bless those of you walking, biking, taking the bus, and running local biodiesel, and bless those of you who already tip. You really help out. 

Ché Ruth-Cheff

Eugene

 

THE USUAL BULLSHIT

The EW cover story Jan. 2 is already provoking a spate of kill shelter apologist letters with the usual drivel about Greenhill Humane Society management doing the best they can, casting blame elsewhere, not enough homes for all the animals, etc. To this I respond: Bullshit.

Nevada Humane Society (NHS), under the dynamic leadership of no-kill Director Bonney Brown, accomplished (in part) the following in 2011: 93 percent save rate; 9,340 pet adoptions; 7,541 active volunteers and 2,456 foster homes; 8,824 spay/neuter surgeries.

Greenhill Humane Society in 2011: 1,806 pet adoptions; less than 400 active volunteers; approximately 4,000 spay/neuter surgeries.

 The entire list of NHS 2012 accomplishments is posted on our website to demonstrate what a skilled shelter manager can accomplish. Five years after implementing the No Kill Equation business plan at NHS, Washoe County is now able to provide a comprehensive safety net for its homeless pets.

This is our goal for Lane County. Such success is clearly attainable.

The half-million taxpayer dollar question is: How did Bonney Brown create such astounding success and why is Greenhill director Cary Lieberman miserably failing? Read Greenhill employee and volunteer testimony on NoKillLaneCounty.org.

It’s time for a no-kill director at Greenhill.

Debi McNamara

No Kill Lane County

 

RURAL SUPPORT NEEDED

In spite of the palpable need for swift action, President Obama’s February 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would have benefited from a more systematic roll-out. With luck, the president’s Promise Zone Initiative will embrace the lessons learned by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton while implementing similar initiatives.

The 2014 State of the County address identifies jobs creation, the development of a positive economic future and collaborating with federal forestry partners as critical 2014 Board of County Commissioners deliverables.

These sentiments should be tested through one or more administrative proof of concept assessments. Would the convening of a rapid response team, to pursue Promise Zone resources, and comprised of the team members that developed the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network program and the best elements of the Lane Metro Partnership and Travel Lane County provide such a tool? Importantly, impermissibly discounting rural voices and input from smaller municipalities will rob it of the support it needs to succeed.

 Attaching time-lined performance metrics will allow the Lane County Commons’ members to judge its success or lack thereof. If so, what should be measured and what will meeting performance expectations look like?

 Is May 1 a reasonable first report date? 

 Jose Ortal

Blue River

 

LOST MESSAGE

“Who am I to judge?” asked Pope Francis when confronted with the question about who is and who is not called to service. These five words could have as much impact in the way in which we can relate to each other and how we perceive each other as any constitution, parliament or dictator. When the pope let it be known that the mind of God is revealed to those who seek it, he provided a way for all humans to divest ourselves of the biases and prejudices that cloud our minds with terrible distractions. 

A member of the first century Christian church, Paul, once advised the faithful not to become too involved in controversy over every jot and title of church canon. The point of his lecture was that such a useless focus can lead to injury because the message of love may get lost in the search for perfection. In our age of grievance stacked upon grievance, some founded and some not, it is refreshing to think that such a tersely phrased idea could in fact be the most useful tool to come our way in a very long time. Let’s take advantage of the gift and see how far it can take us. 

Gerry Merritt

Eugene