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Letters to the Editor 10-20-2016

MENTAL HEALTH PROGRESS

In the Oct. 6 edition of EW, local activist David Oaks claimed that legislation that I co-sponsored, along with 207 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives, would force “Americans living peacefully in their own homes” to take psychiatric drugs under court order. This is simply not factually accurate. The bill, H.R. 2646, includes language that supports assisted outpatient therapy (AOT) programs for those within the community who are found to be mentally unstable and unwilling to seek voluntarily treatment, posing a serious threat to themselves and others. AOT is usually in the form of case management and personal therapy programs and does not necessarily require medical intervention. As I hope Mr. Oaks is aware, Oregon law already authorized AOT and Oregon’s statute is clear: AOT does not include forced medication. H.R. 2646 passed the House with a bi-partisan vote of 422-2. This common sense legislation was a huge step forward in improving our mental health system, and I’m proud to be a co-sponsor.

Peter DeFazio, 4th Congressional District Candidate, Eugene


VOTE FOR MCLEAN

When voting this year, I have two requirements for candidates. First, they must take a strong stance on working to mitigate and prepare for global warming. Second, they must also understand that restoring and preserving the forests here in Oregon is key. Our public forests are some of the best in the world for carbon sequestration, among many other ecosystem services they provide. Fergus Mclean meets both of those requirements. He is running against Cedric Hayden who wants to increase logging our forests, the exact opposite direction we need to go. Please vote for a healthy future and vote for Mclean House District 7. 

Pam Driscoll, Dexter


LOCAL BERNIE SANDERS GROUP  ENDORSES EMILY SEMPLE 

Supporters of Bernie Sanders have remained active in federal, state and local races around the country. Sanders has actively encouraged his large base of supporters to engage in local elections with the aim of electing meaningfully progressive candidates.

To this end, on Oct. 15, Our Revolution Lane County (ORLC, formerly Lane County for Bernie Sanders) voted unanimously to endorse Emily Semple for Eugene City Council.

In weeks prior to voting, ORLC hosted meetings with both Semple and her Ward 1 opponent, Joshua Skov. The candidates responded to question on the environment, sustainability, neighborhood protections, homelessness, gender and marriage equality.

ORLC members esteem Semple's history of community activism, particularly around homelessness, and note her support among locally based environmentalists and from Eugene's most progressive public officials: current Ward 1 Councilor George Brown, Ward 2 Councilor Betty Taylor and County Commissioner Pete Sorenson.

Our Revolution Lane County is proud to endorse Emily Semple in recognition of her activism and enthusiasm to stand up and fight for and with we the people, for a better community, a welcoming city and a clean, sustainable world.

James Barber, Chair, Zondie Zinke, For Our Revolution Lane County


TRAIN DANGER 

Another train derailment in Eugene. This happened recently — 13 cars and no human injuries — but still, it happened. One car did contain a hazardous chemical. The Register-Guard reported it, but apparently, no serious action was taken.

How much longer are we going to allow this to happen?

I thought legislation was in place to prevent this from occurring in any size city!

Sooner or later, a human life may be lost or a serious injury may result. Hopefully, this will never happen. Are we going to allow this to continue?

Stace Webb, Eugene


YES ON 97

Oregon is facing a $1.35 billion shortfall next year. If we don’t do something about it now, we face lost services for seniors, schools and health care.

Already, the Oregon Health Plan fails to meet all clients’ needs. Already our seniors and disabled have a fraction of the services offered before Measures 5 and 50. Already our schools have the lowest graduation rates and among the largest class sizes in the country.

Yet corporations pay only a tiny share of Oregon’s expenses, despite using our water, electricity and roads. The minimum they owe, regardless of a firm’s size, is only $100,000! Is it fair that a company earning a whopping $25 million effectively pays a less than one percent tax rate? 

Meanwhile, solutions to our huge shortfall are either a sales tax, or higher property or income taxes. Take your pick.

Or vote for Measure 97. It only taxes 2.5 percent of income above $25 million. It does not tax food, gas, electricity or medicine.

Forty-eight thousand nurses and Physicians for Social Responsibility support this. More than 80 economists and local farmers say 97 will actually benefit consumers. Hundreds of small businesses demand that mega-businesses pay their fair share, and neutral nonprofit groups like the League of Women Voters and the Oregon Center for Public Policy say it’s best for Oregon. Vote yes on 97.

Rachel Rich, Eugene


DON’T BLAME THE BUS

I was impressed with the elitism on display in Linda Wagner’s letter complaining about West 11th construction [Letters, 10/6]. Linda, your issue that road changes are not well-marked is probably accurate.

But your question as to whether all this will be worth it “for the four bus riders that use this route” is way off. When was the last time you rode the bus? When I drive, I really do love the almost complete convenience of going exactly where I want, efficiently, in my own audio and temperature controlled bubble. When I bus, sometimes I count passengers. Around 30 is common on a weekday, not at rush hour. And this is only at a given moment, not counting all those who will get on and off from the beginning to the end of a line.

Think about it: all these people sharing a ride. With the number of homes and businesses along the new EmX line, I am sure ridership will surpass that of the buses I ride.  These riders are disabled, students, senior citizens, families and, yes, people who are commuting to work.

And there is the complaint about workers “standing around,” a familiar refrain from observers everywhere. I can think of a few reasons to keep a cool head and not have your limbs in constant motion while installing permanent structures on a busy street, reasons that have to do with equipment, public safety, safety of the workers, the properties of the materials involved, codes, communication and more.

You may well be right about the traffic control being done badly. Don’t blame the bus!

Lisa Yu, Eugene


NOWHERE TO GO

This letter is in reference to the many EW readers that have written in complaining about the issue of homeless people here in Eugene. The problem lies with the fact that these people have nowhere to go. If Eugene had a safe camping spot for them to sleep at night, that would solve a big portion of the problem. Eugene has a lot of resources, such as food, clothing, and equipment that are offered to the homeless, but the issue that needs to be addressed is where these people are supposed to go at night. 

Currently, they camp along the river or sleep downtown on the sidewalks, which, of course, is illegal. Consequently, citations are issued or arrests are made — but this only exacerbates the problem. 

There are plenty of large, unoccupied lots around Eugene. Why not set a few of them aside so that the people can set up their tents or lay down with their blankets without fear of punishment? I can already hear some of the arguments against this. Increases in crime or drug use are most likely among the top contenders. However, do you not realize that crime and drug and alcohol use are already running rampant all throughout this city? It’s not going to increase by giving these people a place to sleep. If anything, it will possibly confine the majority of it to those areas, which means you may not have to worry about your children witnessing someone sticking a needle in their arm right on the street corner. 

The homeless problem here should have been nipped in the bud a long, long time ago. Instead, lack of logical solutions has allowed the problem to get way out of hand. I know that my solution isn’t going to cure all of the complaints that people have, but it’s definitely a start. Please consider my proposal, and if you agree, please help me in taking steps to put it into action by bringing it up at City Council meetings or writing letters to “the people in charge.”

Sacha Gilley, Eugene



PROGRESSIVE CHOICE

Dennis Richardson has a long history of building barriers to the ballot box. He recently said, “That is absolutely not correct … It’s not true.”

The Bend Bulletin answered that question for us last week when it outlined his entire record of supporting voter suppression laws: “Richardson for three straight sessions as a state legislator supported or sponsored bills that some liken to voter-suppression measures that have passed in Republican controlled states elsewhere and have been struck down in state and federal courts.”

Richardson fought to require voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship to register, and voted against online voter registration. He would further gut the Citizen’s Initiative process if elected. That process is the people’s last resort when Salem will not address issues of importance to voters. 

The secretary of state not only oversees elections, but can support/oppose any bill in Oregon’s legislature, as well as being one of three officials on the State Lands Board. We really need someone who cares about the environment on that board, unlike now! 

Brad Avakian for secretary of state is the progressive choice for Oregon. He wants to increase access to voting, bring civics back into classrooms, support efforts to overturn Citizens United, stop the Elliott State Forest sale and stop the Pacific Connector Pipeline in southern Oregon, among other ideas. 

The choice is clear. Brad Avakian has fresh and exciting ideas for the Secretary of State’s office. I’m tired of the same old thing.

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene


ALL LEMMINGS

In this era of global warming, it’s good to know that our local and state governments are working diligently to do their part to curtail the downward spiral. I recently attended a neighborhood meeting that discussed the Beltline Highway Facility Plan. The “highlight” of said plan is a 10-lane dual bridge across the Willamette, the idea being that it will reduce congestion. 

This is exactly the same lunacy every large American city has gone through. There are never enough lanes that can be built and congestion is a permanent feature. Why? Because demand for lanes is not properly addressed (reduce car usage significantly). Money is poured into the West 11th EmX boondoggle, but would LTD ever even consider a Beltline express run of some kind? Nah, it doesn’t fit into their precious hub and spoke model. Maybe include a well thought out bicycle and pedestrian dedicated path (linking the river path with west and north Eugene) along the Beltline. Kidding, right? What’s sorely lacking in this whole business is any inkling of imagination or serious consideration of current and future realities. Lemmings, all.

Karl Poe, Eugene


SKOV INSPIRES

I first was acquainted with Joshua Skov several years ago when our wives were both new mothers, and soon I began seeing him around town, usually on his bike.

I especially came to know him through his work to create a more sustainable and safer transportation system in Eugene. It’s an issue I have been involved in for a few years. I was always happy to see him at some meeting or other. He’s a comforting and inspiring presence, because he knows how to accomplish things and truly believes citizens can use the public process to solve problems. He helped get a “Vision Zero” resolution passed by the City Council, a policy that has begun a serious effort to make our streets safer for all.

Safety is just one issue to which Joshua has volunteered considerable time and energy. He also helped get Eugene’s Climate Recovery Ordinance passed and has fought for more budget accountability.

Joshua is energetic and smart. He’s curious. He listens. He works hard. And above all, he has proven that he knows how to make things happen, which is ultimately what sets him apart in the Ward 1 race. I’m proud to vote for Joshua Skov.

Bob Passaro, Eugene


INSEMINATION MACHINES

The presidential election has brought Donald Trump’s repugnant behavior toward women out into the open. It seems that much of his defense of his past actions consists of pointing out that Bill Clinton did the same thing. It seems a glaring understatement to observe that the world of politics doesn’t attract the best among us. But back to male groping:

Men need to understand that we are walking insemination machines, pure and simple. Millions of years of natural selection have hardwired men to resort to countless types of persuasion, manipulation, coercion and force in an effort to get their genetic material passed on into future generations. The most callous and insensitive caveman rapist was genetically rewarded by producing more offspring than his passive rivals. (Google: “genetic legacy of Genghis Khan” for a thought provoking history lesson.)

The challenge for intelligent, sensitive, ethical men today is to understand how natural selection has influenced our behavior and to insist that our intellect and principle have ironclad veto power over our penises. I’m a carpenter and if I’ve figured this out, then a guy running for president sure-as-shit ought to exhibit behavior well above that of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

Robert Bolman, Eugene


POOR CHOICE

So that’s it. Choose one, girl Hitler or boy Genghis. I have a note written on my pocket calendar that says, “Slavery is a heartbeat away.” It can’t be any clearer to all of the sane folk.

Dan Moore, Springfield


TRUE PROGRESSIVE

Voters who have been happy with Eugene city government for the last quarter century can vote for Emily Semple, confident they will get more of the same. She is endorsed by former city councilors Paul Nicholson and Bonny Bettman and current city councilor George Brown. Together, these councilors have represented parts of south Eugene since 1991. Such voters can expect that Semple will listen to her predecessors and continue this long dynasty’s tradition of saying, “No, no, no.”

But voters wanting positive change should join me in supporting Joshua Skov. For 15 years, he has been fighting to make our community better. His — not sitting city councilors’ — has been the loudest voice on the Budget Committee calling for greater transparency. He was one of the first chairs of the Sustainability Commission, working to improve how the city and our community function. He has been fighting against climate change in his professional life as a consultant to organizations around the country and in his personal life, making conscious choices to reduce his own carbon footprint. See for yourself on his website, JoshuaSkov.com. Then join me in supporting the true progressive who will move Eugene forward.

Alexis J. Biddle, Eugene


CUT IT OUT

We have a new cancer: It’s called PERS. It has unrestricted growth and it will kill us. Time to cut it out of our body and save ourselves.

Philip Dietz, Springfield


POLITICAL NIGHTMARE

I had a dream the other night about the 22nd presidential election in my lifetime. A Mr. Donald Trump stated his platform, what he expected to accomplish if elected to the presidency, what political experience he had to back it up. A Ms. Hillary Clinton stated her platform, what she expected to accomplish if elected, what political experience she had behind her. I searched all through the social media, could not find any celebrity personality comments about Clinton the lying pig or about Trump the lecherous pig. Nothing about Trump being ugly and fat. Nothing about Clinton being ugly and coughing a lot. I tried, but couldn’t find any jokes about Trump’s hair. Nor could I find anything about Clinton’s husband. Neither candidate was elevated to sainthood, the other to sit on the left hand of Satan. I did find a few reminders: Richard Nixon’s gruesome five-o-clock shadow, John Kennedy’s matinee-idol features, Jimmy Carter’s equine teeth, Gerald Ford’s klutziness, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife known as La Boca Grande, Barack Obama’s questionable birthplace. Then I woke up. 

Jim Wood, Eugene


SKOV WALKS THE TALK

As someone who has worked for decades to help build cities where kids and families regularly walk, bike and take transit, I know that one of the most important factors in creating those places is leadership.

In Eugene, for many years, we have lacked leadership in our elected officials who truly live and understand what a safe walking and biking environment looks like and how to achieve it.

Josh Skov, a city council Ward 1 candidate, is a leader who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. I see Josh out riding his girls to school and have talked to him about how we can create a city that is safe for everyone, no matter how they get around. He actually understands the issue because he lives it. He understands it and already does work for making it better: joshuaskov.com/transportation. 

We need more leaders in our city working to create safer streets and a more sustainable city for all. I know Josh will be one of those leaders because he has the experience and especially because he walks the walk.

Shane MacRhodes, Eugene


MISLEADING ADS 

Would you vote for a ballot measure that asks you if the state of Oregon can raise the filing fee for businesses from $10 to $150, add a 7.6 percent corporate income tax bracket for businesses earning over $1 million, but allows businesses that make $100 million to get away with a minimum tax of $100,000 (one-tenth of a percent) when they have no taxable net income? 

That is exactly what voters did when they passed Measures 66 and 67 because they believed misleading advertisements. Now Measure 97 is using the same tactics by telling voters that we have the lowest corporate tax rates in the United States. The Tax Foundation shows a map of the corporate tax rates across the U.S. There are 28 states that pay a lower rate than our state. 

So is it fair or ethical to tell voters that Oregon has the lowest corporate income tax rates in the United States by averaging in the businesses who pay the minimum tax with those who pay the full 7.6 percent? Wouldn’t it be fair to assess the 2.5 percent tax only on the businesses that get away with the minimum tax?

Margaret Innocenti, Eugene




HATE GROUPS FOR TRUMP

False equivalence in EW’s printed letters: 

One, Hillary Clinton is not Bernie Sanders. We know that. But Bernie pushed her to the left and will have even more leverage if she wins with his help. Two, Trump has been called, rightly, conman, bully, ignoramus, etc. But these terms don’t begin to describe the scale of their differences. Bring out the unheard F-word, fascism. Trump’s coots and prejudices are fascist. (His father was a Klansman who admired Mussolini and Hitler.)

Today, hate groups who venerate Hitler are all in for Trump. As Hillary said, he is mainstreaming hate. His praise of Putin reflects this cult of “strength.” The Russians or their Syrian proxies just bombed a UN aid convoy during a ceasefire. Trump’s reaction to this brazen cruelty? A shrug. Fascism is banging on America’s front door. Are you too “lofty” to turn it back?

Jane. C. Lochlin, Eugene


VOTE FOR SKOV

My current Ward 1 Councilor George Brown came to my door in the Friendly neighborhood to canvas me in support of Emily Semple this past weekend. I asked him why he supports her, and I was dismayed by the response.

Brown didn’t actually say anything positive about Semple. Instead, his answer consisted entirely of negative assertions about Joshua Skov. Worse, when I did my own research, looking on Skov’s web site and contacting him directly, I found out that the assertions were not true.

What I value in Skov as a candidate is that he has made this campaign about positive, practical ideas to improve our community, to take care of the most vulnerable, to address the big challenges of our time. On his website and when he talks to people, Skov advances solutions to deal with housing, government accountability and transparency, climate change and more. His wide-ranging endorsements, including environmental groups, Basic Rights Oregon and others, suggest that a lot of people see him as a progressive who will get the job done.

Before, I didn’t have strong enough feelings to get involved in this race; now I’m writing letters and talking to neighbors. Joshua Skov has the experience to make a positive difference in our community. I encourage you to vote for Joshua Skov for Ward 1.

Katie Lynch, Eugene


CHEMTRAIL PHENOMENA

I can understand people’s incredulity concerning “chemtrails” because any effort to find the truth about this is quickly subverted into convincing spin by the “authorities.” However, all one has to do is look up and check out the differences between a contrail, which is a short vapor trail that quickly evaporates behind a jet, and chemtrails, which start as a long, narrow band and fan out over time. A little common sense goes a long way investigating this phenomena.

There is an amazing amount of good information about chemtrails online, but one must wade through the spin and justifications with an open mind to discover what you don’t know. There is actually some scientific data about it if you look, but it is scarce.

This is the one of the biggest and most frightening experiments hidden right in our faces. The “spin masters” have discovered that it is enough to present opposite and conflicting information about any subject. 

I have noticed that any conversation or attempt at education about CT brings a black vibration of despair and hopelessness to the participants. Or, the other likely response is complete denial with many interesting and seemingly rational reasons why it ain’t so. It is too big, too preposterous and does not have a human face to it. 

My humble suggestion is that if you are not religious, that you do the research, use your mind, your creativity and initiate actions, however small or large, to make changes for the good. If you are religious, follow the above reasoning and pray for those that perpetrate this, and that the project be halted for whatever reason.  

Stephan Cameron, Eugene


GET OFF THE PHONE!

I’m a professional driver here in Eugene; you might remember me from my previous letters about bicyclist road rage and pedestrian road rage. Today, I’d like to reach out to the woman who cut me off on 6th on Sept. 20.

Ma’am, I was tootling along 6th passing under the Washington Jefferson Bridge. You were flying off the exit ramp doing two crazy stupid things: talking on your cell phone and driving with your elbows. The total sum of your activity perhaps explains why you nearly died twice between Madison and Polk.

First, you whipped over into my lane with almost no clearance between our bumpers. I’m not certain of the physics, but I believe my front end would have caused your rear to fishtail, and I would’ve T-boned your driver’s side (and you) if I didn’t know that was a dangerous intersection to begin with and was on heightened alert.

Second, a few blocks later, you (still on your cell) made the decision to make a left turn from a center lane without signaling, crossing the new EMX/left turn lane. At this point, I admit, I lost my cool. I’ll edit what I screamed because, you know, children read this: “Woman, I hope you are right with Jesus because I almost sent you straight to meet him!”

I wonder if you would have heard me if your phone call hadn’t been so important.

Eddie Alfaro, Eugene