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Letters to the Editor: 2-27-2014

COUNCIL MISLED

Concerned citizens following recent Eugene City Council discussion around preservation of the Amazon Headwaters are wondering about the role of city management.

At the Feb. 19 work session, staff repeatedly stated that the Deerbrook PUD has been approved. This is false. The application received a tentative approval. The property owners have chosen to delay applying for other approvals needed before any development can begin. Why was council misled on this point?

Another issue neglected in the discussion is the extension of West Amazon Drive south to Fox Hollow. The extension is prerequisite for development of the residential lots due to the “19 Lot Rule,” EC 9.8325.6(c), requiring that the PUD streets disperse traffic onto more than one public local street when the PUD exceeds 19 lots.

The unpaved right-of-way is within 30 feet of the protected stream corridor for some distance. Is it really feasible to complete the road without impacting the stream? The issue has not been addressed since the right-of-way is not considered part of the PUD. 

This right-of-way is currently a signed trailhead and the tentative approval cedes this well-used park amenity to the developers at no cost. 

Planning staff dismisses concerns about environmental protection by quoting the restrictions/conditions included in the tentative approval. Those familiar with the proceedings leading to the tentative approval will be skeptical of the effectiveness of those restrictions.

David Saul, Eugene

 

THE GREENEST BUILDING

The city of Eugene wants to demolish old City Hall and replace it with a “sustainable” building. That begs the question: Wouldn’t the existing building be a lot more sustainable if they didn’t tear it down?

Rick Wilmath, Veneta

 

SHORTSIGHTED IDEA

The “draft the homeless” idea [Letters, 2/20] is flawed in a few ways. First, forcing people to work without pay is indentured servitude, which is illegal in this country. Second, the military has a high standard of eligibility for enlistment. For the potential enlistee, these include trainability, physical and mental fitness, and patriot motivation. And finally, the “homeless” are in this situation for a wide variety of reasons. Establishing a single answer for “dealing” with the situation is simplistic, shortsighted and uncompassionate.

Beverley A. Mowery, Eugene 

 

EVERY THIRD BITE

More than half of North America’s bumble bee species are declining. Although there are many factors contributing to this, pesticides are one of the main contributors that often gets overlooked. The class of pesticides called neonicotinoids has become increasingly linked to large-scale bee die-offs in Oregon, as well as across the country. They kill bees directly, as well as cause harm to bees in such a way that they are more vulnerable to diseases, parasites and predation. 

You might be asking yourself why you should care. A quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, says that human civilization would only last four years if all the bees disappeared. Whether or not that is true, our ecosystem will be altered drastically if bees are suddenly not around to pollinate plants. Bees are responsible for every third bite of food we eat. 

Many other countries have already taken action toward the investigation and restriction of these pesticides, and it seems to be our duty to follow in the footsteps of these countries. The federal bill, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (HR 2692), would suspend use of these pesticides as well as call for deeper evaluation of their negative impacts on pollinators. I urge you to call your representative and ask them to hop on board!

The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides is very deeply involved in this bill and would be happy to answer any other questions that you have regarding the subject. You can contact them through their website, pesticide.org.

Hannah Miller, Eugene

 

STILL WORK TO BE DONE

Thanks to EW for support of historic Civic Stadium. Over the past five years EW has publicized all of our events, clean-ups and meetings to the public. It has alerted the community of 4J and city meetings that were important to the process to save Civic Stadium. Their articles have been positive and engaging for the restoration of this historic structure. It has promoted its use as a venue for soccer and kids sports and a facility for use by the community at large. It helped explore the unlimited possibilities that await the future of this great asset for the citizens of Eugene.

With the vote by 4J to offer the Civic property to the city of Eugene, there is still work to be done. We will be counting on the continued support of EW to keep everyone informed and to help with the efforts of Friends of Civic Stadium to restore and preserve historic Civic Stadium for all to enjoy.

And of course, thanks to everyone for your help getting us to this place in the process and for the support that will bring the vision to reality.

Dennis Hebert, Friends of Civic Stadium

 

 

KEEPING SECRETS

Drama unfolds around Lane County commissioners as the full document is released (except the names) of the county employees who assisted in the investigation of  former administrator Liane Richardson. I know a retired employee who says there is a real fear of losing your job if you speak ill of the inner circle — from the top. People who have secrets surround themselves with people who can keep a secret with a straight face. This power permeates through the whole management of the bureaucracy. 

Let’s keep Peter Sorensen, ask George Brown to join in and Jerry Rust to come back. I’ll be happy to fill out the board as long as I can work from home.

Vince Loving, Eugene

UNDERPAID ELECTEDS

Oregon legislators make $22,260 annually. Republican Rep. Bob Jensen called this a “pauper’s pittance.” Jensen stated that salaries are “inadequate to open the door to many qualified people who simply cannot afford to take a pass on a living wage job to come to the state legislature.” 

Eugene is no different. We have a highly paid, unelected, conservative city manager ($170,000,) while our elected city councilors ($14,000) and mayor ($22,000) are paid a pauper’s pittance. 

Understandably, there’s little to no competition in state Legislature and city councilor races. High-stakes and high-stress decision-making dealing with the most contentious and controversial topics. Living in the public eye under intense scrutiny and being the target of harsh criticism and sometimes threats. 

The Register-Guard editorial board likes government on the cheap. Fourteen years ago they opposed the measure to pay our councilors, “on the basis of a concern that the spirit of volunteerism would be weakened,” fearing that “some candidates would seek city offices for the pay and benefits.” 

I don’t know if I’ve seen a weaker argument put forth by the board on any issue. This could explain the ridiculous claim they made in their Oct. 16 editorial: 

“The state isn’t in desperate need of new revenue.” I suppose we just need more volunteer public servants.

Doubling salaries for lawmakers, city councilors and the mayor would be a drop in the budgetary ocean, but it would provide a very good start in creating the kind of robust, highly competitive political races Oregonians deserve.

Joshua Welch, Eugene

 

SELF-RIGHTEOUS FOOLS

John Zerzan [Letters 2/20] claims Lierre Keith of Deep Green Resistance is guilty of “hating transgender folks” but offers no evidence to support this view. Keith has never advocated hatred or violence against transgender people or any other sexual minority. She’s had the tenacity to question current PC group-think about gender, which I’d expect an intellectual oddity like Zerzan to appreciate.

Keith has done nothing to warrant being banned or silenced; and Zerzan — who represents the ideological fringe of the fringe — cannot afford to make enemies. He needs all the allies he can get; so does Keith, and the rest of us going up against colossal enemies with enormous resources at their disposal to silence, oppress, exploit and kill.

Efforts to ban Keith from the PIELC are a perfect example of leftist (or radical or progressive or whatever you want to call them) communities cannibalistically destroying themselves. Groups that have no power tend to attack other groups that have no power. 

COINTELPRO isn’t needed at all. Just let the marginalized further marginalize themselves. Eugene’s ill-fated anarchist community demonstrated this well. Zerzan apparently never learned from the experience. 

Millions of people are homeless, unemployed, impoverished, hungry, abused, etc. The environment is being poisoned. But a group of self-righteous, privileged fools have the tenacity to rally against a speaker who’s 99.9 percent in agreement with them about the issues that matter to them. Shame on them.

Pat Coogan, Eugene

 

BIAS AND VIOLENCE

Regarding Saba Malik’s letter [“Retract The Lies” 2/13] on behalf of the Deep Green Resistance (DGR) Advisory Board & Steering Committee, what is remarkable is not what she said, but what she failed to say.

First, she failed to refute the charge of transphobia, which is in fact a position her organization actively endorses as part of their “gender” analysis.

Second, she fails to mention her organization’s endorsement of violence as a tactic, which in their ideological terms is called “full spectrum resistance.”

Malik could easily defuse the situation by endorsing the right of individuals to adopt whatever gender identity they so desire, and renouncing violence as a tactic. To date, DGR’s continued endorsement of these stances has rightly led to groups and individuals in Oregon breaking their affiliation with DGR and speaking out against DGR’s policies of discrimination and violence.

Carol Monroe, Eugene 

 

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

I have been thinking about Lierre Keith, the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and whether I will hear her speak. I have decided that she is highly imperfect and wrong in her transphobia! As a lesbian, I understand from my own experience the pain and suffering of being judged. I have also come to understand we urgently need to work together to save our beloved planet from becoming unlivable.

So now I refuse to allow anything: fear, hate, anger, revenge or ignorance, to distract me from my commitment to stopping global healing and working for the social transformation we will need to survive together on this changed planet.

Who “wins” when we turn against one another? The greedy fossil fuel corporate “people” profiteers! When we are divided, we are easily conquered!

Let’s do a new better thing. What if the trans-community and allies showed up with signs: “See Us For Who We Are,” “Your Fear Can’t Define Us,” “Love You, But Not Your Transphobia”?

What if we shared our peaceful dignified love instead of our fear? What if we listened, learned from Lierre about how to organize to save our habitable planet? Maybe she would also learn from us. Besides, which of us is perfect? Don’t we all have thinking errors we will replace with truth some day? Don’t we all have a log or two in our own eyes? Let’s treat her the way we would like to be treated.

Together we are strong!

Deb McGee, Eugene

 

WHERE’S THE ZEAL?

A quorum of county commissioners is being accused of subverting the public process. Again. Sound familiar? The R-G reports Feb. 8 that commissioners Faye Stewart, Jay Bozievich and Sid Leiken knew about former administrator Liane Richardson’s abuse of power well before it occurred. 

Judging by recent history, one would expect the R-G to buckle down, dive into investigative journalism and see to it that these officials are held to the higher standard that they applied for when they ran for office. It’s been oddly quiet, though. A mention here or there — a few softball questions. Where are the lawsuits? Where are the demands for the recall of the three commissioners this time around? 

I understand that people were completely outraged about Rob Handy, Pete Sorenson and Bill Fleenor doing a head count before spending tax dollars on hiring next-to-minimum-wage part-time assistants — so this must be huge. After all, Handy, Sorenson and Fleenor were on the front page regularly for months.

Maybe there is no proof that the three commissioners were aware that Richardson was breaking the law by taking public funds. Maybe they didn’t know about improper dealings. This also sounds familiar. Of course, if all this is true, that would leave us with the impression that they are simply incompetent. Personally, I’m not a fan of their politics but I’m fairly certain that they know what they’re doing. I would only hope that the R-G uses the same zeal that they used in the last “three bad commissioners” saga.

Christopher Anglin, Eugene

 

PRECIOUS WATER

Rain is so welcome! I’m so glad to see it pour! I have wondered if we would be faced with a drought as serious as California is experiencing. It reminds me of how precious every source of water is and how the three steams of the Amazon Headwaters must be protected. If you haven’t walked the paths by the headwaters I hope you will before the city decides its future! Let them know how this area must be saved. What would our children and theirs want? 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene