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Letters to the Editor 9-1-2016

INSPIRING STORY

What a great article on a great man, someone I’ve never met but long admired [“Citizen Terry,” 8/25]. Someday when I am done working I will show up on his doorstep offering to help. Truly inspiring. Made my day, and these can be disheartening days. 

Thanks, Rick Levin!

Amy Isler Gibson, Eugene

 

NOT SO THRIFTY 

Look, I’m all in favor of the celebration of capitalism done right, but Citizen Terry may have overlooked one small detail in his fervor for firm financial footing — his customers. 

St. Vincent de Paul and other nonprofit thrift stores are retail spaces that people like me — the “poor but not destitute” — have depended on for years to fill the gaps in their households and wardrobes. When I’m done with an item, I turn around and donate it back. 

Lately, when I go into a St. Vincent de Paul’s “thrift” store, I consistently find that the majority of items have retail (or higher!) price tags. This is unacceptable. Yes, there is a new moneyed hipster market that revels in their Macklemore scores and can afford the thrift chic aesthetic, but I am not one of them. 

Remember your base and price accordingly, for this fad too shall pass. Meanwhile, those who can no longer afford to support your good works are resorting to home clothing exchanges and Craigslist bargains.

Angela Kern, Eugene

 

DOUGHNUT DISAPPOINTMENT 

It’s always disappointing to see valuable space taken up with articles that are neither informative, enlightening or even really witty. Much like your article on downtown Springfield, your recent piece on doughnuts was similarly useless [Fall Chow, 8/25]. Rather than getting any useful information on where to find a good glazed raised, we got a lot of rather snarky criticisms with a dash of armchair pseudo-philosophy.

For those that are truly interested, and I suspect many people are, there are some really good doughnut shops in town. Despite the author’s rather strange rant about Dizzy Dean’s, they make a solid range of good, uncomplicated doughnuts.

For me and many others, there are two totally dependable doughnut locations. Market of Choice and Cal’s on River Road are the top of the doughnut heap. The maple bars, especially, are thick and doughy with the perfect amount of luscious maple icing. And the old-fashioned glazed raiseds are light, fluffy and perfectly glazed.

I don’t mind humor in your articles and reviews, far from it. I do object to pieces that fail in their endeavor to be funny and end up serving no real purpose at all, especially in a supplement like Chow which seems to be geared toward both supporting local restaurants and giving your readers the chance to discover the best Eugene has to offer. 

This weakness was made more obvious by the other articles positively highlighting several new ventures. And, because of them, I’m pretty excited to try schnitzel, Bavarian pretzels, Middle Eastern food and the new Brails!

Jake Gariepy, Eugene

 

DOUGHNUT CHALLENGE

What annoyed me the most about Ben Ricker’s “Glazed and Confused” article [Fall Chow, 8/25] is that he so clearly had formed his opinions before even trying any doughnuts. He had that article written before stepping a foot into any doughnut shop. It read like your typical hipster cry of “It’s Popular, Now It Sucks!” while idolizing and promoting any hole-in-the-wall for the sake of sounding different.

I worked at Voodoo for many years, and I genuinely believe they have the best doughnuts in town. It pisses me off to read an article like his because not only do I think the product is amazing, but Voodoo is a wonderful business that is full of thought and quality. The owners of Voodoo are two of the most exceptionally kind and generous people you will ever meet. They have expanded in a cautious and respectful way to maintain the integrity of their business and quality of product. 

The company has massive roots in their community and gives back in ways I can’t begin to list. The owners of Voodoo make employment there a place where you can have a career and work happily. They gave me opportunities to learn and grow that allowed me to pay my way through college and have a life I love. I would hate for people to stop going because journalists are bored of writing about how great and popular it is and need to make up new stuff to get published. 

Weirdly enough, I do think I agree with Mr. Ricker on one point: A doughnut is a doughnut. It doesn’t need to be made by organic chickens wearing flannel in a Mason jar to taste good. However, you shouldn’t discount a place because it is trendy or hip or popular. I think he needs to get over his beef with the trendy doughnut shops and start focusing on either quality of product or quality of business if he wants to be a food critic. 

If you really are just looking to buy your doughnut on taste alone and truly don’t care if it is made at a gas station or the hippest place in town, then I offer you a challenge, Ben Ricker: I’ll pay to do a blind taste test of all the doughnut shops in Eugene. Just name the time and place. 

Heather Jones, Eugene

 

VOTING FOR HILLARY

On Jan. 20, 2017, we will have a new president. After the dust settled on the two major national conventions a few weeks ago, it is clear to me that the president will either be narcissist billionaire Donald Trump or former United States Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I am urging Lane County voters to join me in voting for Hillary Clinton. As a lawyer and longtime elected official in this community, there are many reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton, but one of the reasons to vote for her is that her opponent is Donald Trump. Mr. Trump is, by my experience over a 40-year career in public service at the federal, state and local levels, the worst and least competent nominee of a major political party in history. 

In my opinion, the worst thing he did in the campaign is to threaten a sitting federal judge. The threat against Judge Gonzalo Curiel showed a complete disregard for respect for the separation of powers concept that is essential for all elected officials to observe.

Hillary Clinton has a strong progressive voting record as a United States senator and has the experience and temperament to be a great president. She is the best qualified candidate for president in U.S. history.

In the primary, I supported Bernie Sanders, and I now ask you to please join me, President Obama and Senator Sanders in voting for Hillary Clinton for president.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner, Eugene

 

EW BURN

As I write this I stand over a pile of wadded up and crushed copies of Eugene Weekly, and in front of me is a pile of burning Eugene Weeklys. This wasn’t malicious, simply coincidental, but I realized that the Eugene Weekly does so much for so many people who never read the poorly written articles within your “paper.” 

I picked up several stacks of EW as packing material for moving. This protected my various glasses and china quite well, kudos. Once done moving into my new house, it was time to fire up the barbecue, and EW was again to the rescue as the cheap printing material is fantastically flammable. These events gave me an epiphany: If literally nobody reads EW anymore because of the corporate bias blatant in their poorly written articles, what are people using EW for? 

I listed the top five uses for EW: #1 Toilet paper for the homeless, #2 packing material, #3 BBQ starter, #4 floor covering to collect animal droppings, #5 paper crafts like origami/ paper maché. 

Please get better journalists, editors, and stop being an embarrassment to our city.

Stefan Strek, Eugene

 

POISON EXPOSURE

This week at the Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting, I advised them not to mess with the citizens initiative process, so that Lane County residents may vote to give ourselves relief from aerial herbicides.

In responding, Commissioner Bozievich referred to “the Triangle Lake incident” as if it were a single unfortunate event. In truth, Oregonians living near industrial timberlands are at risk of poison exposure twice a year, year after year, the standard being spring and fall sprays to kill all vegetation in monocrop plantings.  

Lynn Bowers, Forestland Dwellers, Eugene

 

CHEMTRAIL CONSPIRACY

Nicholas S. Anderson is unsure about the difference between chemtrails and contrails [Letters, 8/25]. There is a clear difference and, while I am no scientist or engineer, I believe I can provide a good layman’s explanation. 

Contrails are not “sprayed,” as Nicholas contends. They are created from airplane engine exhaust. Contrails are composed primarily of water vapor, which condenses and freezes at high altitudes ("con" equals condensation). Contrails are man-made, line-shaped clouds, but clouds nevertheless, and they act predictably like natural clouds. Temperature, humidity and wind conditions all affect the formation and dispersion of clouds. Just as natural clouds persist all day or fade or blow away, so too do contrails.

Chemtrails have the same composition and attributes as contrails (see above). There is but one difference. Chemtrails are part of a conspiracy, slyly engineered by the evil shadow government to control our minds and distract us from reality. Is it working?

Michael L. Yaeger, Eugene

 

TROUBLING BEHAVIOR

As an old-timer in Eugene, I have to wonder why it hasn’t occurred to the rootless travelers and even the many downtrodden (for want of a better term) that if they enter a community with no concern for that society’s well being, those lack of feelings will be returned tenfold. If you invade, trash and abuse, you will be resented and even denied normal respect and support. 

I believe that we should only embrace those who return our efforts in some fashion. If we keep extending the proverbial olive branch, with no appreciation or obligation to help out in return, the situation will only get worse.

I am very willing to help those who try to help themselves and also, of course, those who for whatever reason are unable to help themselves.

Robert England, Eugene

 

BERNIE’S MEASURE 

Bernie Sanders has just launched a new organization, “Our Revolution,” that will carry forward the work he started in the Democratic primary this spring. As he promised his supporters, the fight for social and economic justice will not end with the primary but will be carried on by millions of Americans in their cities and their states.

Bernie campaigned on the idea that income inequality and corporate control of our political and economic systems are a threat to our democracy. He called on the large corporations and the top one percent to pay their fair share in taxes. He got millions of votes in the Democratic primary on this platform, and he beat Hillary Clinton here in Oregon.

Now we have a chance to put his ideas into practice by passing Measure 97 in November. Oregonians can send the strong message to the rest of the country that we the people have the power to demand that the largest corporations doing business in Oregon pay their fair share in taxes. Right now our state has the lowest overall business tax in the nation.

Bernie’s supporters will vote yes on this measure, and we know how the Republicans will vote. The question is whether Hillary’s supporters will step up and support Oregon schools, seniors and health care.

Let’s begin Bernie’s “political revolution” here in Oregon and show what people's democracy looks like. Feel the Bern!

Pete Mandrapa, Eugene

 

SCHOOL FOOD

With the new school year starting, parents’ to-do lists are now filled with shopping for school clothes, school supplies and school food. That’s right — school food!

In past years, our nation’s schools were used by the USDA as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. It is neither a surprise nor a coincidence that one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Such dietary mistakes at an early age become lifelong addictions, raising the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Then came President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, requiring double the servings of fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and fat, and no meat for breakfast. The guidelines are supported by 86 percent of Americans.

Most U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Diego, have implemented Meatless Monday. Some schools have dropped meat from their menu altogether.

As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our own schools. Going online and searching for “vegetarian options in schools” provides lots of good resources.

Elijah Hennison, Eugene

 

MURAL MUSINGS

Erasure, my first thought, of a magical mural. My second: I like the new convivial mural on the east wall of Cowfish Dance Club, as noted in EW’s ArtsHound [8/18], by a Brazilian art collective.   

The former mural on that wall, prior to the city’s latest commission, was designed and painted by six teen women with the inestimable Kari Johnson as mentor. The artists, Ariel Burkhart Services, Ariel Michaels, Courtney Cammarota, Heather Shershin, Jasmine Tager and Rita Van Allen, participated in 2000 in the ArtWall project of Lane Arts Council. Backstage Dance then occupied the rented building and permission for the mural was granted by building owner Jenova Land Company. Kari was one of five lead artists involved in the ArtWall project who worked with 40 youth artists on multiple projects over a six-month period. 

As mural artist Heather Shershin said at the time, “We worked together, operated as a collective the whole time, from the meetings to the actual painting itself.”  

From collective art to collective art, from dance to dance, from local to global. Erasure, yes. Emergence, we hope. In any event, today: Remembrance.

Douglas Beauchamp, Eugene

 

UNJUST SYSTEM

Donald Trump paints a dystopian and depressing view of life in the black ghettos, and in some ways he is right. President Obama was not able to do much to help black communities because anything he advocated would have been blocked as racist (against whites) by the Republicans who controlled Congress. But is it true that Democrats, who were elected to run these cities, caused the problems?

That was put to the test in Michigan, where the elected representatives of 13 majority black cities, including Detroit, were replaced by emergency managers appointed by Rick Snyder, the Republican governor. They disenfranchised half of the black people in Michigan. Those cities did have major problems due to the collapse of the auto industry, white flight, the loss of their tax base and loss of revenue sharing. 

The emergency managers only made matters worse. Their penny-wise-but-pound-foolish, short-sighted efforts resulted in the lead poisoning of thousands of children in Flint, and they still haven’t fixed the problems they caused.

So now Donald Trump blames Democrats for all of these problems and promises to fix everything, but he has little understanding of the underlying causes, or any idea how to help blacks that are victimized by an unjust criminal justice system, or any idea how to pay for the needed changes.

It is good that Trump is finally recognizing that blacks and Latinos have problems, but what is he going to do about it? Republicans would make everything worse.

Jerry Brule, Eugene

 

PATRIOTIC DONALD

After reading the excellent letter by Joshua Welch [Letters, 8/18], I was inspired to ask:

Why don’t the liberal media give Donald Trump more praise for his patriotism? In 1968, he declined to go into the military due to the presence of bone spurs in his heels. Can you imagine how many pairs of combat boots he would have cut to shreds with those heel spurs? Combat boots do not come cheap, and he must have saved U.S. taxpayers a lot of money.

Ronald Blanton, Eugene

 

SMART KIDS

This is the 25th year for SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and we are in need of many more volunteers to share the love of reading with young school children throughout the state of Oregon. We read with students in grade K-3. 

As a volunteer, you would be matched to read with the same SMART kid every week throughout the school year. Each SMART kid reads for half an hour, one-on-one with their reader and generally, on a regular day, you would read with two different students. Not only do readers get to develop a great relationship with their SMART kids, they get to share the magic of books.

If you’d like to join us, please go to our website — getSMARToregon.org — to register to volunteer. If you don’t have computer access, you may call the SMART office at 541-726-3302. After you have registered, a background check is completed and then, at the end of September, your contact information will be given to a site coordinator for a school near you so they can contact you to schedule you to start reading with your adorable SMART kids. 

Barbara George, César E. Chávez Elementary SMART Site Coordinator, Eugene