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Letters to the Editor: 4-10-2014

GOODBYE, WHOVILLE

As I came to your location on my daily visit to you and the trains, you were pretty much gone. The big machines were doing their job of scooping up everything in their path and slamming it in the waiting Dumpster. The police were gathered out front, their numbers indicating a “point” was being made. The “jail” van was still there, blocking Hilyard (it was sealed off from both directions).

The large “incident response” vehicle was still there, a massive bus-like affair to be sure, further emphasizing the significant presence of “order.” The TV cameras were still there, but not a lot going on, since you, gentle people, were all gone.

Sorry I missed you — though, aside from the occasional letter to the city officials, I wasn’t much good to you. I’m not sure what would have been helpful since there was significant support, from time to time. And yet, I wish you well — under the bridges or in the bushes or in the special hiding places you have returned to. 

Some of you have been “relocated” to one of the city’s “rest stops,” but from what little I know of the inclinations of some of you, there would not be appropriate “rest” for you there. Hopefully, there will be other days where you can exert the special kind of feelings you have for your presence in this life. For awhile, you were awesome, but, the man, oh the man, is so powerful, as you well know.

You have blessed that small plot on the corner of Hilyard and Broadway, perhaps the same as others, the Indians who came before you, did as their presence was forcibly ended. Yet their spirit endures. To me it is sacred ground, showing what the collective spirit of our kind is capable of.

 Bob Coleman, Eugene

 

SELF-GOVERNANCE

Judge Charles Carlson recently ruled to overturn the Lane County clerk’s determination that the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County met all the requirements for initiatives. Support Local Food Rights remains dedicated to getting this ordinance on the ballot so the people’s voices can be heard. We are currently making adjustments so that the initiative can be resubmitted for review. In the judge's words, “The court recognizes that the proposed measure raises issues that are very important to a considerable number of Lane County citizens and may be subject to a future submission.” 

The Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County seeks to protect residents’ right to local farm and food systems free from GMOs, and will protect our right to save and share seed. It will do so by prohibiting unsustainable corporate practices from violating those rights within Lane County.

We are advocating for our right to self-government. Being slightly delayed won’t deter us. We recognize the long-term efforts required when challenging corporate privilege that threatens our right to a healthy, economically vibrant local food system.

For more information, join Community Rights Lane County at our monthly discussion forum, “Community Rights Conversations,” from 3 to 4:30 pm Saturday, April 12, at LCC Downtown, Room 105, at 10th and Olive, and visit our websites at localfoodrights.com and communityrightslanecounty.com.

Michelle Holman, Deadwood 

 

NO MORATORIUM

If County Commissioner Jay Bozievich suffered from frequent nausea or painful spasms, then he might begin to understand the need for safe access to medicine immediately. Instead, he insisted that patients should wait up to a year during a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries throughout unincorporated areas of the county.

What a relief when his push toward a moratorium had no support. Fortunately, Commissioner Pete Sorenson’s motion to table the subject prevailed, 4-1. There will be no moratorium.

Thanks to strong, credible testimony from informed citizens for helping to turn the tide on this issue. Soon cardholders in unincorporated areas, as in most Oregon cities, will have safe, legal, regulated access to their medicine. This is a long overdue clarification.

The state law that voters approved in 1999 can finally fulfill its humane promise.

Joan Dobbie, Eugene

 

FEEDING THE MACHINE

Once again I am not paying all the taxes I owe to the IRS. Until the priorities of Congress change and the war machine stops being fed I will protest the gross amount of funding that is going towards killing people by refusing to pay for war. Following the example of Gandhi, Thoreau, Chavez and King, I am breaking an unjust law in the hopes of positive change.

When all my taxes go to life-affirming causes I will pay them all. Until then I will direct some of my taxes each year to organizations that have a positive influence on the world. This year I am giving money to Planned Parenthood, Community Alliance of Lane County, Sponsors, Occupy Medical, Cascadia Wildlands, Bring Recycling, Sheltercare, Community Supported Shelters and NWTRRC.

 Sue Barnhart, Eugene

 

PUSHED AROUND

I was downtown enjoying a sunny day. I sat down at the bus station plaza to enjoy my lunch when one of the police officers who serves as the bus station security guard asked me not to sit there. I asked the reason and he said if one person sits, pretty soon people will congregate. I thought this sounded pretty stupid and unconstitutional. If someone is acting up, ask them to leave. Why should everyone suffer because some people think it’s bad decorum to have a lot of “ratty” people hanging around? 

What would downtown Eugene be without buskers and kids hanging around playing hacky sack and crazy people muttering nonsense? Why are people afraid of that? I find it entertaining to watch the weirdos. People who hang out downtown are getting pushed from one block to another, getting harassed and having their right to peacefully assemble encroached upon. Either there is nowhere you can be or everyone gets pushed into a “ghetto” that’s as far away from the action as possible; neither is a solution. Why do we have to live in a police state that doesn’t value people as individuals and only protects the interests of capitalist hegemony?

 Jamie Flitton, Eugene

 

JONES SISTERS ARE BACK

Having fun eating their own. Full of spite, oh my, haven’t they had their way, yet? Stealing the pie and keeping it all. Jockeying politics, back-room energy deal, puff away into air pollution.

If you live near Noti, you get to witness an endless stream of log trucks going both ways — more than we have seen in 20 years.

Oh yeah, and 20 new patents to put you out of work: more machines, robots, drones, clearcuts.

Steve Trimmell, Veneta

 

WASTED TAX DOLLARS

Dear IRS: Once again my taxes withheld are less than my taxes owed for 2013, giving me the opportunity to resist some of that money as a protest to my government’s continued international military aggression.

As a Jewish woman who cannot forget that German citizens pretended they didn’t see the trains carrying people to concentration camps, or the camps themselves, or explained that they were following the law during the Holocaust, it is not possible for me to support with my tax dollars our position as the world’s premier investor in militarism and not speak out. 

Since we still have not established a Religious Freedom Tax Fund, I have chosen to redirect part of my federal tax debt to organizations working for peace and justice, health care, preservation of our wild heritage and the environment, and restorative justice, all endeavors we could better fund on a national level if we weren’t wasting money on “defense.”

In the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi and King, I am willing to break an unjust law to call attention to a greater one.

 Jain Elliott, Eugene

 

SIZE OF YOUR CHOIR?

While reading through the March 27 issue of EW I was struck by the last piece in the Slant column. Speaking as one of your “very vocal, sometimes noisy choir,” I was impressed that your production, distribution and readership numbers are strong and growing stronger. You are to be congratulated and I wish you continued success.

I am, however, disappointed with your misconception of, at least, one old phrase: “Preaching to the choir” means that you are trying to convince someone (either an individual, a couple of people or an entire nation) of something that they already believe. It has nothing to do with the size of your “choir” or the distance your message can travel.

As steward of our language, I would thank you to be more careful with it.

Daniel J McAuliffe, Eugene

 

WAR ON WILDLIFE

Why are we surprised when domestic animals are favored over our wildlife? Every day thousands of ranchers, over millions of acres of publicly owned grazing land, turn their animals out unsupervised for months. They are left vulnerable to untreated disease, inclement weather, accidents and occasionally death by a predator (wolf, cougar, grizzly or coyote). 

The ranchers are rewarded for the irresponsible husbandry by compensation for the dead animal and then taxpayer-supported Wildlife Services hunts down the predator and kills it, often killing untargeted animals in the process. Wildlife doesn’t have a chance. 

For more info on your tax dollars’ war on wildlife, see PredatorDefense.org and the documentary EXPOSED: USDA’S War on Wildlife.

Judy Jarrett, Springfield

 

PRIVATIZING WATER

Despite corrective action, the damage to a company’s reputation — if it’s seen to be taking resources away from local communities — can have lasting effects on its social and political license to operate. — Alejandro Litovsky

U.S. corporations’ increasingly public interest in water rights and related matters dates back to the early 1990s. Recent privatization schemes and narratives — such as French Suez’s and Biwater/Bechtel’s 1997 and 1999 Bolivian concessions and Peter Brabeck’s assertion “declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution,” have alerted progressives to these strategies’ unsustainable basis.

In March, WaterWatch reported on the Oregon Water Resources Department’s final order on the Willamette Water Company’s McKenzie River application (see wkly.ws/1q0). 

As a policy matter, a comprehensive approach to our forests and economic development will more quickly allow us to find the economic and political alternatives to continue Lane County’s tentative yet ongoing departure from the 2008-2012 recession.

Finally, whether using Carnap’s classificatory comparative and quantitative or Hempel’s confirmation analysis method, the projects highlighted in Anthony Rimel’s Jan. 20 story “Mushrooms Used to Clean Up Urban Streams” article in the Corvallis Gazette-Times warrant consideration. 

Jose Ortal, Blue River

 

 

COUNTY BACKS LEC, NOT FEC

The Lane County Commission Western District candidate presentation in Florence last week focused on the three major issues of coastal poverty, lack of county services to the coast, and the growing interest in splitting off a coastal county taking with it all the revenue it provides Lane County. As proof of delivered support, one candidate stated the Florence Events Center (FEC) continues to be funded by Lane County. But it’s not the FEC but rather the Lane Events Center (LEC) which continues to be supported by the Transient Room Tax (TRT).

When the county finished building its Lane Events Center in Eugene assisted by TRT, Florence successfully lobbied for some similar TRT support of its proposed events center. Florence generated $900,000 TRT in 2012 with $450,000 returned going to the city of Florence, a last $182,000 for an FEC bond, and to Travel Lane County in Eugene in support of coastal tourism. Without the bond payments this year, the coast is reduced to the benefit of only one-third the TRT it generates. Meanwhile, the LEC continues receiving over $900,000 in TRT. For greater details or to become involved, web search for Siuslaw County.

FEC director Kevin Rhodes informed me by email that the “FEC is not currently receiving funding from Lane County. ... when the debt was refinanced years back, it was overlooked ... two remaining payments for the FEC/city. ... So, there is a line item on the county’s 2015-16 budget to make those final payments.”

Keith Stanton, Florence