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Letters to the Editor 9-29-2016

VOTE SEMPLE

For the past several years, as a member of the Eugene Human Rights Commission, as a volunteer at Occupy Medical and as a community activist, I have worked to protect the rights of people who are homeless. 

I have also often heard about the work of another advocate for those who are homeless, Emily Semple. I am pleased to endorse her for Eugene City Council, Ward 1.

Some international human rights groups have begun to refer to people who are homeless in the U.S. as internal refugees. The extreme economic inequality in the U.S. is just as much a human disaster as a war or a tsunami. And, like a natural disaster, it has displaced people and created refugees — in this case, economic refugees.

Semple’s suggested policy of “Shelter First” is consistent with this human rights viewpoint. When you are confronted with a growing population of displaced persons, the first thing to do is get them out of the elements and into places where they can survive. 

This is why Semple has supported the city’s rest-stop program. She has also supported Mayor Piercy’s proposal for a public shelter.

Emily Semple is someone who the people of Eugene can trust to protect everyone’s rights, including those who are most marginalized and vulnerable.

Ken Neubeck, Eugene

 

OPEN LETTER TO EPD

The Springfield-Eugene chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice calls upon the Eugene Police Department to acknowledge their responsibility and repudiate the racist views espoused by notorious white supremacist Jimmy Marr. 

The EPD’s recent statement to the Weekly — regarding the widely circulated photograph of a Eugene police officer shaking Marr’s hand — failed to adequately denounce this dangerous ideology.

The claim that the officer did not see the back of the truck (painted with the words “Jew Lies Matter”) seems disingenuous. If our local law enforcement does not immediately recognize our area’s most infamous white supremacist, then they are failing to adequately protect our community from the violence these views represent. 

This is not hyperbole. Larnell Bruce was recently run down in cold blood after being attacked by white supremacists in Gresham outside a convenience store. Hate speech dehumanizes and increases the likelihood that someone, somewhere, is going to act on those views.

The EPD appears to have been set up by Marr. We suggest that a stronger response to this embarrassment — one that better represents the EPD’s commitment to protect and serve all members of our community — is to strenuously disavow all association with racist and anti-Semitic hate speech.

Lee Gilmore, On behalf of Springfield-Eugene SURJ

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' DAY

Columbus Day has been a holiday since 1868, but in my personal opinion, we should spend less time recognizing a man who was responsible for the slaughter of thousands and start commemorating Indigenous people. 

In A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, he states that “... during Columbus’s second time traveling to the ‘Americas’ Christopher and his crew took women and children back with them for slavery and sex. On the trip back from his expedition about 200 died on the ship from disease.” 

With this knowledge alone, why should Columbus be awarded a whole day named after him?

I think that today we celebrate Columbus Day because people feel the day gives them a sense of who they are and where they come from. Columbus was an explorer who claimed to have discovered land. That’s great, but he pillaged and tore apart the homes of thousands. 

A lot of people don’t know the whole story of Christopher Columbus, and I think that it shouldn’t be that way. In order for that change to happen, or maybe just get the ball rolling, we could change how we celebrate Columbus Day by changing the name to Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Haylee E. Gonzales, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: More letters on this topic from students at North Eugene High School can be found online at eugeneweekly.com. Scroll down to read them.

SIDEWALK SLEEPING

Eugene’s homeless problem is growing. Our downtown is turning into a haven for sidewalk campers. Apparently, this is of little concern for our city manager, John Ruiz.

Mr. Ruiz has issued a statement to our Eugene police that “unless the person is blocking the sidewalk or on private property we will not cite sidewalk camping.”

What great news for homeless people in Oregon! Come to Eugene and sleep downtown! Don’t worry, downtown business people don’t mind. They love getting to work and cleaning up crap. The smell of urine and vomit in the alcoves is no problem, either.

Eugene should change its motto: “Welcome to Eugene, a great city for arts and outdoor sleeping downtown.” See you soon!

John Carlson, Eugene

 

R-G QUESTIONS

I appreciate EW keeping us informed about labor relations at the R-G Media Company, but the recent articles on the lawsuit and firing raise more questions than they answer. It’s time for their union, the Eugene Newspaper Guild, to raise their voice. As profit margins shrink or disappear in the print media business, the stress toll rises.

Serena Markstrom Nugent’s lawsuit claiming “disparate treatment, discrimination, harassment, intimidation and hostile work conditions” at the Guard is troublesome. The judge's dismissal of the case based on the deletion of emails reinforces her claim of harassment and intimidation. The underlying issue of work conditions was ignored. 

The subsequent firing of Guild co-president Randi Bjornstad is political. The Guard’s legal “Motion for Sanctions for Spoliation of Evidence” is available online.

Lawsuits aren’t the only means of redress. Hearts and minds can sway. Healing can come from telling our stories and not feeling isolated. More R-G staff, past and present, should speak up. 

Restorative justice is more than court rulings can offer. In declaring victory, as Wendy Baker, the Guard’s human resource director has done, the company is losing community support.

As an alternative, we can hone our writing and investigative skills. We can shift our attention to social media where the profit motive and its power drive are less established, decreasing the pull of institutions like the insular and anti-union old Guard.

Chris Piché, Eugene

 

TRUMP WINS

Trump is winning! Even if his new Brexit campaign coach can’t guarantee a Trump Administration, there is a guarantee for the Trump Era. 

Media love the outrageous life-like Trump character. Transfixed by his nasty voice, a confused public seems not to know which way is up. After all, we have been trained not to trust Hillary for 30 years. But why? Because she is a strong and smart workhorse instead of a trophy wife. She’s always been a breadwinner with a Methodist compass, a team player, tough, smart, imperfect and real. 

But the damage is done, as Trump is heir to the Kenneth Star legacy of poisonous reckless gossip aimed at the Clinton family. We are supposed to forget that Bill earned his way through college on scholarship, and that Hillary worked to support her family in their early years. We are supposed to be ignorant of the fact that she is most like Hubert Humphrey in her own political career, with legislating unglamorous things that help people.

Instead of reality, a dark picture is painted by the lowest common denominators, fear and suspicion, in the 2016 presidential election. 

Trump cannot lose. Even if he loses, he has already won all the attention a true narcissist craves. He is planning a Trump mega-media corporation to fall back on if he just can’t get the votes in November, and maybe even if he can get the votes. However, people of color, women and realistic men might carry Hillary. We shall see. 

How gullible are we, really? We are going to find out.

Deb Huntley, Eugene

 

WE WERE SCAMMED!

The Agate/Trillium scandal is certainly newsworthy and the R-G has been somewhat informative in explaining some of it but, unfortunately, fails to carry through with what is really needed — a plan for rectification. 

The whole affair reeks of incompetence by the state and graft (look up the word) by those who profited. It is not proper to dismiss this as “legal” and a done deal. We taxpayers and many patients were ripped-off by the sequestering of huge cash reserves composed of mostly public funds which were then “sold” for private gain. 

How can that be legal?  Isn’t this ripe for a class action suit by poorly treated patients? Why is it that “state regulators won’t discuss it”? Who was responsible for allowing such a scam to “launch” in the first place? Wasn’t anyone monitoring it? 

This is all so representative of today’s government gone awry with zero accountability for gross mismanagement and the taxpayers getting stiffed; other state of Oregon examples being the windfarm subsidies, the Oracle software scandal and the PERS imbroglio. 

Fred Felter, Springfield

 

PRAISE FOR PRISCILLA

Local theater does not get any better than what I experienced recently at Actors Cabaret. Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert is a real treat and great memory maker. No way can I find the adjectives to describe the fantastic costumes and set. 

Treat yourself to a ticket and go. You won’t have any regrets and might be surprised at the range of ticket prices. Priced for all wallets and located at the Eugene bus station. 

Actors Cabaret nailed it with this one!

Shirley Gauthier, Springfield

 

GLENWOOD AND HOUSING

The EW slant section Sept. 15 was a little thin in its reporting on the Glenwood Refinement plan and the effect the up-coming “roundabout” construction may have on the Riverbank RV park in what is now Springfield. 

In fact, the planned changes along Franklin Blvd. and the McVay Highway will have a significant effect on many RV and mobile home parks. In many cases these parks lie between the road and the river and with quick access to Interstate 5, once considered property with little value, now considered high value developable riverside property.

Mobile Homes and RV parks are important low-income housing resources in Eugene, Springfield, Lane County and throughout the state of Oregon. But the low cost of this type of housing is only one of its virtues. 

Many of the parks have been in place for generations (as a boy I visited families in these parks, now I am 72). The parks represent elderly, and not so elderly, individuals and families who have found companionship and common cause in this “hidden” housing. 

The elimination of these parks will eliminate long-term interdependent communities which are going to be nearly impossible to replace.

Richard Guske, Eugene

 

FEMINIST REVIEW VAGENDA

Molly Templeton seems to me something less than accurate in describing herself simply as a person who “appreciates a good music documentary.” Anyone familiar with Templeton’s reviews would have been hard pressed not to notice that her aesthetic criteria is firmly subordinate to her social justice ideology. She might fully own the perspective she’s writing from, rather than uncritically, and apparently unconsciously, taking her ethical lens as aesthetic truth.

In most of her reviews, Templeton judges movies on the prevalence of female leads, and/or the degree to which characters and plot either conform to or violate particular dramatic tropes and gender roles. In this latest case, the director of a “good” music documentary, in Templeton’s view, would be interested in the questions she is. 

These questions express the focus of her ideological bent, which in general terms involves the raising of formerly marginalized voices into prominence.

What, she wants to know, about the other bands who opened for The Beatles, whom everyone ignored? What were the fans thinking? And so on.

Perhaps if Templeton became transparent about her own agenda she might be less apt to get tangled up in cognitive dead ends, like wondering how it was the Beatles could afford to quit touring, if touring had made them so much money.

Maybe there’s even a branding opportunity here. Templeton might openly embrace the interpretative lens she always uses by means of a title for her column of reviews, something like Progressive Feminist Theater. She could go even further toward clarity by employing a rating system, but instead of stars she could use something more appropriate, like vaginas.

The Beatles documentary at issue, for example, might get a 3V (out of 5) rating, for the Whoopi Goldberg interview and the shot of a young Sigourney Weaver, with her unmistakable “jawline and twinkling eyes.” On the downside, it spent too much time focused on The Beatles.

I’ll grant you that using the genitals of either gender as a way to rate movies is pretty dicey. Two and a half penises is not a pleasant thought, or quite appropriate to your paper. I’m not married to that part of it. 

Something, though … there has to be something that’ll capture and communicate Templeton’s overriding cinematic concern; and thus, hopefully, turn what seems like an aesthetic and literary handicap into a coup de grâce.

Timothy Shaw, Eugene

 

THANK YOU, EUGENE

When my team and I started our business in Eugene, we were told that start-ups in Eugene are notoriously challenging. Far better, they said, to move to a more fertile city like Portland or Seattle. Funding would be challenging, gathering committed interns and employees difficult, and receiving guidance and mentor support incredibly hard.

However, with the help of my team and the Eugene community, we have brought our business to a point where we are beginning to nurture relationships with other local business owners and tap into the sense of decency and community that all people in the Eugene-Springfield area know and cherish.

We teamed up with St. Vincent de Paul in early February to sponsor the Truffle Shuffle, a family-friendly race that raises money that goes toward veterans. We have been welcomed in the downtown community and have professional relationships with a number of local businesses in the area. We have been ably helped by RAIN Eugene and the people we met there. We have been guided, warned off riskier strategic paths and received into the fold despite a much lower starting price.

The app we built connects people to locals and their activity groups. So when we think back on it, there is no more poetic a starting place than Eugene, Oregon.

Ben Nye, Eugene

 

CROSSWORD COMMENTARY

Hey Matt Jones, here’s one for ya:  “____” me.

Edmond Stansberry, Eugene 

 

VOTE STEIN

Brian Willson was at an Al Nakba Awareness Project movie showing of Blood On The Tracks this past Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Eugene. Willson had his legs cut off by a munitions train in Concord, California, in 1987 attempting to stop the shipment of arms to Nicaragua. I was inspired by a few things that Willson said about politics. According to Willson, Trump is likely to be the less effective evil compared to Clinton as Trump will not have a majority support in Congress compared to Clinton’s bipartisan support. So while Trump may want to do truly evil stuff like build a wall and cut Social Security, he likely won’t have the votes.

Clinton is much more dangerous than Trump when it comes to foreign policy. Trump wants to be friends with Putin and maybe dismantle NATO while Clinton is ramping up McCarthyism and may get into a shooting war with Russia over a no-fly zone in Syria.

I believe I don’t deserve a Bernie Sanders style bailout if it means that the U.S. is simultaneously embroiled in a bloodbath internationally. That is why I support Jill Stein over everyone else. That is also why I’m no longer concerned as much with the possible “spoiler” effect for Clinton. Stein will bail me out while simultaneously getting the U.S. out of all of our foreign entanglements including wars and bad trade deals. Go to Jill2016.com to find out more.

John Thielking, Eugene

 

END THE ARGUMENT

I am a North Eugene High School student and I wanted to write about Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day, whichever you prefer. I don’t really care what it is called, nor do I care if it even exists.

As you may know, Oregon cities have decided to change Columbus Day to make it “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Most people today believe Christopher Columbus was a great and brave adventurer who was said to “discover, or find America.” Christopher Columbus seemed so great that there are films, books and even songs about him! So Columbus must be a pretty awesome person, right?

Well, in reality, Columbus really wasn’t that special. He didn’t even discover America; he landed on an island near America, and in fact, he did it by accident. Columbus didn’t even know where he was at the time. He thought he was in India. Christopher Columbus actually was your average, everyday, power-thirsty European trying to get some gold, power and land out of other countries. Columbus did enslave Native people and torture them when he did not get what he wanted. Yes, but in reality, who didn’t at some point?

So back to what I really wanted to write about. To tell you the truth, I really do not care what is done to the holiday. I believe Columbus wasn’t all that important in U.S. history. In fact, it can be obliterated, for all I care. End the argument and fighting all together.

Gabriel Stapler, Eugene

 

BAD LEGACY

Below is my letter to the Weekly concerning my opinion of Columbus Day.

My opinion is that we should not celebrate the legacy of Columbus, but rather, the discovery of the New World and bringing cultures together. As it stands, the legacy we’re celebrating is that of an evil leader who brought up an immense amount of slave trade and sorrow amongst the Natives.

Something that may help steer it away from the bad legacy of Columbus Day would be to change the name. By changing the name, we can help people to look at what should really be celebrated, like the survival and resistance of the Indigenous people throughout the hardship of Columbus. Another thing to celebrate is what he's done for the culture of the Spanish and Italian people.

Johnny McDonald, Eugene

 

NO HOLIDAY

I do not believe Columbus Day should be a federal holiday. I think the Native Americans should have their own holiday named Day of the Natives. The reason I think that Columbus Day doesn’t deserve a holiday is because he never did anything to help America.

He didn’t find North America, nor did he ever land in North America. He also never did anything to help it. All he did is rain terror on North America in the name of the Spaniards. He came to the Americas wanting to find gold and silk and new land for the Spaniards to make them more rich, so he enslaved the Indigenous people to make the Spaniards proud.

The books make him out to be a hero when in reality what he did was have smooth, safe sailing for a month in large boats across the seas to land in Haiti to place the Spaniard flag on the soil. Then, he found the Indigenous people, then finally, he talked about Christ, but not to thank him, but to tell the Indigenous people that he should be their lord and savior.

Therefore, I think the Native Americans should have their own federal holiday in replacement of Columbus Day called Day of the Natives.

Devin Allinson, Eugene

 

WAS IT PEACEFUL?

This is the first year that Eugene will be celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Some people don’t even put any importance to the holiday of Columbus Day. He was painted out to be this great wise man who took the brave “storm-battered” voyage. Did you know that the voyage was actually a peaceful journey?

The story of Columbus taught in school goes somewhere along the lines of him being the legacy of the U.S. nation. Columbus was the first to bring slaves across land by boat.  Thousands of native languages, traditions and cultures forever wiped out. Both sides of the story deserve to be told.

When it comes to celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, people need to be respectful by honoring Natives. Many Native Americans are bitter because of what happened to their people. Columbus did make great strides for what has become the U.S., but now we need to recognized that it happened at a price.

Columbus may have done great things, but he also did many things that were questionable. The Native Americans that were enslaved and killed deserve to be memorialized. The Natives deserve to have their stories told in schools.

Emma Lupian Cervantes, Eugene

 

IN THE MIDDLE

People have different views on Columbus Day: if it should be celebrated, discarded or changed. My thoughts on this issue are quite different from most people. I’m actually in the middle of the two sides of this debate, the two sides being “Columbus Day” and “Indigenous Peoples Day.”

The history textbooks don’t tell the full/true story of Columbus and his “discovery of the New World.” Textbooks jump around the facts and try to make Columbus look like an almighty person who made this great discovery, but in reality, he may have started slavery. He would force the Natives to find gold for him. If they didn’t do it they got punished, sometimes resulting in getting fingers or hands chopped off.

With textbooks, one of the main goals is for people to buy them, and to do that, I believe they want to make Columbus and America look great, because the people who buy these textbooks are Americans. Why buy a book that makes you look bad?

With Columbus sailing off into the “unknown,” we all wouldn’t be here today. It is true that someone later on in life would have “discovered” America, but they could have done so many things differently: some for the better or maybe worse.

Oct. 10 should not only be about Columbus but about America and how far we’ve come from those wretched times, to respect and honor the slaves that lost their lives, families and freedom.

Sophie Corwin, Eugene

 

ONE BAD PERSON

When we are celebrating Columbus Day, we are celebrating one person. We are celebrating what the person did and how the person formed our history. On Oct. 10, people will celebrate what Columbus did. They are going to have fun because — because of what? If you ask them, they will tell you that Columbus found America in 1492, that he was brave enough to sail over the big ocean and that he was the beginning of America.

But do we really want to be happy about a person like this? This sailor was also the one who initiated slave trade over the Atlantic Ocean by sending 500 Indians to Spain. He plundered and enslaved the Indians to get as much gold as he could. The era directly after Columbus was terrible. The Indians were decimated by all the illnesses the settlers brought and of course by the settlers, too.

And now we are looking at ourselves on a day like Oct. 10 and asking what we want. I don’t want our children to have a role model like that, and that is why I want you to begin to celebrate that America was found, not the person who found it.

Ruben Eras, Eugene

 

SHOW RESPECT 

Sad to see Eugene Weekly still has failed to print a correction to its misinformation concerning the location of Wiley Griffon’s home on the Millrace. Seems the editor doesn’t wish to look at contrary information.

The historic evidence that it stood on Lot 4, Block 10, original plat, 4th and Mill, is incontrovertible. The “document” that Heather Kliever cited as proving it was really at 3rd and High turned out to be nothing more than a careless news brief.

At a time many in our community are actively engaged in discussions of our community’s history of racism, I’d expect EW to show a greater respect for Eugene’s first African-American homeowner.

Douglas Card, Veneta

 

THE REUNION

From their homes across the nation and beyond, they flock together to refuel their hearts and souls by connecting with only those who can understand. Unique and complex lives bonded by a strand of knowledge. The knowledge of what it was like to be a dependent child in Laos during the Vietnam War. An unpopular war, they say, a war that should not have happened. 

But it did, and the children who were there with their families know more and saw more than perhaps they should have. And the children who live there now are of a gentle people, who supported Americans, and were left with unexploded bombs buried in their soils, and more. 

We express our gratitude and give hope to the children of Laos, by building a small scholarship fund. The money will help build a school, or a hospital, or pay for provisions, help educate the children, change their future by giving them a choice.

If you want to help these children, please do so by sending a tax-deductible donation to: Give Children a Choice, P.O. Box 2298, Mathews, NC  28106

Donna Forsbeck Isadore, Eugene

 

SUPER SHARPIE

Election years flush the chumps.

I see opportunity. I see money. So, I am selling "original first edition autographed Bibles" on Craigslist and Ebay. 

Sample: 

"To my good friend_____. 

Go with God. 

Your savior, 

J. H. Christ" 

I'm using a super fine Sharpie to sign 'em, as I figure that's what they had in biblical days. 

Sure, go ahead and laugh. I've already had 220,000 requests.

Ron Ramsey, Eugene

 

TRANSPARENCY

Perhaps it’s time to require all government entities and EACH elected representative to have a separate web site for the sole purpose of crown sourcing. 

The web sites would be set up, organized and maintained by volunteers. And available to the public 24/7. Input by the public would be limited to a specific problem or subject to be solved currently or over a period of time. Perhaps one problem or subject at a time for a limited period.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

 

INTELLIGENCE IN PERIL

Imagine if you will, a post election scenario in which a certain real estate mogul and media personality has assumed the mantle of leader of the free world.

Now consider the fact that highly classified daily national security briefings are now being forwarded to this newly elected president. This scenario should give due cause for alarm. This should truly be a matter of national and international concern.

In all probability these briefings would no doubt contain access and procedures concerning measures to safeguard or deploy our nuclear codes, sensitive military operations and protocol, not to mention strategies affecting delicate international issues such as trade, immigration, and weapons control.

With all due respect, this newly appointed leader might be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to deciphering the onslaught of all this classified information. Immense quantities of sound judgment, insight and patience would be required of our new leader. Perhaps all such data should be condensed (for the sake of simplicity) into short daily tweets, provocative sound bites, or better yet, rendered in the universal language of emoticons.

Perhaps this deluge of burdensome facts and information, the tiresome reams of required reading, with all its associated paperwork, could conveniently be carried around by our mogul’s very own minions — a private covey of secret service agents — information porters if you will. They could dutifully tote all this newly acquired intelligence baggage inside matching, bright yellow, Fisher-Price- type, top security briefcases complimenting the sophisticated array of classified tweets and emoticons secured within. A gaudy designer purse full of national security papers could compliment our leader’s daily load of homework as well. It just might afford the candidate in question at least a tiny bit of presidential cache to an otherwise naïve and one-dimensional political apprentice.

W.C. Crutchfield, Eugene

 

BILLIONAIRE TO BILLIONAIRE 

So, Donald Trump admires Vladimir Putin. I suppose Trump sees himself standing with Putin, shoulder to shoulder, billionaire to billionaire, as equals. But he doesn’t get it.

Putin is a “strongman” leader, which basically means he is a dictator. Dictators don’t like sharing. Rather than standing next to him, Trump will find himself seated on Putin’s lap getting finger banged.

Putin sweetly calls him his little Donnie Pudenda and teaches him all about Vlad the Impaler. How sweet it is.

Jess W. Henryes, Oakridge