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Letters to the Editor 2016-12-08

INTENT VS. IMPACT

I was incorrectly identified last week [Letters, 12/1], so I’d like to introduce myself properly. My name is Ana: I’m a queer, light-skinned Latina from a multicultural family. I have a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Willamette University. I was a campaign volunteer for Hillary Clinton.

Because of my mishmash of identities, I’m privileged in many areas, marginalized in others. My goal as a feminist is to recognize my privilege and use it to amplify the voices of those who are not being heard. 

I’ve made lots of mistakes, and sometimes I too feel defensive about being called out. When this happens, I try to take a deep breath, check my ego and listen. I also try to do my own research, so people with marginalized identities don’t always need to do the work of educating me. It’s hard work, but I know I can’t continue to grow as an activist if I don’t listen and learn. 

I’d encourage anyone who is still confused about blackface to Google the question, “Is blackface ok?” There are countless resources, many written by people of color, detailing more extensively why blackface is inappropriate and unacceptable. 

I’d also encourage folks to think about intent vs. impact. Imagine throwing a Frisbee around with friends in a crowded park. If I make a bad throw and hit a stranger in the head, it doesn’t matter to that person that I wasn’t intending to hurt them. The impact of my action was that they got hurt, and I need to take responsibility, apologize, and make sure they’re ok.

To be honest, the number of letters defending blackface as excusable has truly frightened me. As a community, we need to be able to recognize and call out racism, especially our own.

Ana Sayavedra, Eugene


DOWN ON BROWN

I know nothing of Gov. Kate Brown’s interior life, the experiences that helped form her character and aided her in developing her internal standards. We judge public servants by their proposals and their actions.

Some of Brown’s past actions have been disappointing to me: her complicity in the sale of the Elliott State Forest and the lessening of the protections for Oregon wolves. Because of these actions, Brown did not earn my vote this past election, although I voted for every other Democratic candidate on the national and state tickets.

Despite this past history, I was truly stunned by her proposal to permanently shut down the new state psychiatric hospital in Junction City, just recently opened, in her proposed budget. What a rich resource that hospital is, and what a long fight it was to achieve it!

Brown says she prefers community-based solutions, despite the fact that these are presently overwhelmed by demand and she allocates no funds to maintain or create more of them. Isn’t this the same rhetoric we heard from President Reagan, whose national fiscal policies basically eliminated these hospitals? He also preferred local solutions and allocated no financial resources to create them.

Again, as always it seems, the most vulnerable among us are on the losing end of these “very difficult” decisions. Perhaps Brown should consult with some of the families that have members with severe mental disabilities and see what we think about this proposal. We are the ones who truly face daily difficult decisions.

James W. Luzzi, Eugene


SODOM AND ORLANDO

Seriously, one of the best letters EW received in 2016 [“The Best Letters,” 12/1] was from a small-minded bigot comparing the mass shooting in Orlando to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and drawing the appropriate biblical conclusion? Or, rather, is the inclusion of that letter how EW proves to itself that it’s not just a blindly ideological rag?

I’d be willing to bet the best letters the EW receives are those that go unprinted because they cut too close to the bone.

Bill Shaw, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We strive to print as many letters as possible and run extras online. The “best” letter was the rejoinder we ran right after that letter, headlined “Butt Sex.” 


POVERTY WAGES

Coming up on Monday, Dec. 12, the Eugene City Council is scheduled to discuss the value of providing a minimum wage for city employees and contract workers who provide city service for us. We currently have more than 700 employees who earn less than $15 an hour, which in a number of cases makes them eligible for food stamps. We are currently paying wages to people who serve us that are considered “poverty wages.” So they qualify for federal assistance.

According to research from People’s Action Institute, a living wage needed to cover food, housing, utilities and clothing, along with some savings to handle emergencies, would be $17.28. The daily news tells of strikes and protest all over the country in an effort to do something about the blatant inequality in living standards that is caused in part by these low wages.

Pay attention to the action of our city council — or better, speak to them about it.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene


NEW ZONE REBORN

People living in Eugene have much to be thankful for. For three months, downtown has been missing what is perhaps the greatest art venue ever devised.

Fortunately, New Zone Art Gallery opened its doors at its newfound location, 220 W. 8th Avenue, on Friday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 pm. It includes New Zone’s traditional Holiday Store.

New Zone members worked diligently making this happen, searching every nook and cranny for space. Our combined efforts came to be known as “Phoenix Rising” as we applied for grants and eventually crossed paths with the Hood family.

We thank the Hoods from the bottom of our artistic souls for the opportunity to share our artwork with our extensive Eugene family once again. We have missed you all so very much. We’ll keep the door open for you.

Hito, New Zone Art Gallery member, Eugene


MESSAGE OF INDIFFERENCE

The day before Thanksgiving and a mere week before paychecks would be disbursed, the University of Oregon decided to break its promise to its employees that it would cooperate with the Fair Labor and Standards Act regulations. Some employees for months now have been counting on a fair and reasonable increase to their salary to reflect new standards and fair wages.

Due to an injunction in Texas, the new regulations are on hold based on the expectation that they will disappear once Trump takes office. Some institutions have made the moral decision to follow through with them anyway or instituted the regulations early and decided not to renege.

However, the UO is among the many that have decided they care more about money than their employees, and sent some workers, including my husband, home to grieve with their families at Thanksgiving over not only the significant impact to their livelihood, but the clear message of indifference their employer has toward them. 

Please help us show the UO the mistake they have made by calling the office of UO President Michael Schill directly and asking why they would make such a heartless decision.

Sydney Georgieff, Eugene


A NEW HERO

The recent Standing Rock victory is a temporary step forward. A new struggle lies just around the corner with vigilance still necessary. Chris Turley is a decorated veteran of the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan and member of the Osage Nation. He recently arrived at Sacred Stone camp after a prayerful, two-week, 800-mile trek mostly on foot from Osage Nation Reservation in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. 

Turley cited his military vow to support and defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic"; the Dakota Pipeline and the police violently confronting peaceful water protectors, he said, pose precisely that domestic danger to "my people, our people, your people."

Standing Rock feels like home to us — a place to defend the values that form the basis of a healthy, earth-respecting, peaceful, community-building world that millions are seeking to give birth to across this nurturing planet. We all can and must do something to be the path with a heart.

Standing Rock, like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, calls out to us because it represents the intersection of so many things worth fighting for. The world is watching and many are acting to support our efforts. Educate yourself and then do something to support people and the earth.

Luther Standing Bear (1868-1939), an educator, philosopher, actor and Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Chief, has told us that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard. He knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too.

Christopher & Deb Michaels, Eugene


WHITEY HOUSE

Slogans do not a President make: Love Trumps Hate. HRC had it ass-backwards. Trump Loves Hate.

President-elect Trump’s hateful immigration diktats are tantamount to hi-tech genocide: walls, deportations, profiling, lists, Gulp! — waterboarding. The sanctimonious D.C. GOP hypocrisy is pandemic. Draining the swamp and restocking the West Wing swamp with “outsiders”: (code word for recycled bottom-feeding swampers) like Newt, Rudi, Chris, David and Mr. Wall Street.

Soon, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be the nouveau riche alt-right Whitey House. Civil rights: Punch it in the face! Environment: Damned, deregulate, dig, deforest and drill, baby!

Pssst … PEOTUSDJT sleeps with archenemies, including, boastfully, unsuspecting women he deems worthy, because with celebrity he can do anything … and everything — the Don von-Trump clan claim no conflicts of interest: Trump U., Trump Foundation, Trump steaks, vodka, golf, neckties, hotels, Trump ad nauseam, already!

Born with a silver foot in his baby Christian mouth, our well-heeled draft-deferred war-mongering Commander in Chief, who knows more than Pentagon lifers, has heel-spurs, aptly, and he crows absurdities incessantly like a barnyard bantam rooster tweets: Make American Great Again! Schtick a President did make.

Voters got it back ass-wards: Great, Make America Again. Trump’s Pornocracy trumped Democracy. Trump’s aggrandizing victory Thank You Tour should begin with profuse apologies.

Michael Thessen, Eugene


MASS HYSTERIA

Couldn’t the right-wing voters have chosen someone appropriate instead of an unhinged hideous scoundrel who is abusive to women, hateful in speech and has no experience at governmental office or any public service, for that matter? One has to ask: Would you hire some clueless rich guy to do your brain surgery? Do you realize how many lawsuits he is involved in? The upcoming child rape case has been dropped because the woman was threatened. And we see how the Trumped-up university fraud went.

I would have thought the tax cheat issue would finish him off, or the bragging about assaulting women and getting away with it. 

He is so far from anything that could be considered a good example that I started feeling like there was some mass hysteria thing going on. The part that was really rich was when he accused opponents of the very same things he had done himself. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

 I had hoped that this could soon be over, that I would no longer have to see that screaming orange face spewing BS every day — and seeing his minions lap it up. But now I realize the torture will continue as this man tries to dismantle everything that has been accomplished. 

I could go on about the myriad of our upcoming losses, but the biggest thing to me is that so many women voted for this candidate who vowed to destroy our rights established more than 40 years ago. It’s like watching abused women stay with their abusers. Just sick. And now we see so much hate speech in schools because, well, he’s perceived as a winner, so now that sort of behavior must be OK. 

We look like idiots to the rest of the world. I am behind the protesters. I will not go quietly.

Donna Murray, Veneta


SUV CRIMES

There is a lot of “lawlessness” in Eugene, and I’m not talking about panhandlers, pot dealers and other victimless crimes which get people beaten up by cops. I’m talking about the drivers of huge, tank-sized SUVs who try to bully pedestrians, who have the right of way, out of crosswalks. 

This happened to me again this week when I attempted to cross the street on 11th Ave. from The Kiva to the Hilton Home2. After the walk sign lit up and I stepped off the curb, within the crosswalk, a driver, who was looking right at me, made a right turn and aggressively drove straight at me. I stood my ground and pointed at them and said “You stop!” and there were too many witnesses, so they stopped and the witnesses cheered. I have even seen a driver hit a blind person’s white cane to bully them out of the way. Welcome to Eugene, “home of the arts and outdoors,” where it is not safe to cross the street downtown.

Eileen Polk, Eugene


SPREADING KINDNESS

It’s easier to share with Lane County neighbors in need of food thanks to Capella Market’s new cashier station signage. Cappella staffers Reisa and Rhonda worked with FOOD for Lane County to put eye-catching signage next to the cashiers, so that customers can donate in $1, $5 or $10 increments when they check out.

Thank you, Capella Market, for spreading daily kindness in our community! One in five Oregon children lives in poverty, so when you are buying food, spread your kindness by shopping local and swiping a donation. Food for Lane County turns each dollar we donate into three meals.

Look for the easy check out donation signs at Kiva and Market of Choice, too.

Alice Louise Warner, Eugene


LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows, with priority given to timely local issues. Please limit length to 200 words and include your address and phone number for our files. Email to letters@eugeneweekly.com, fax to 484-4044 or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401. 




WEB LETTERS


SAME STANDARDS 

If the mission of the Eugene Police Department is public safety, then Pete Kerns should hold his officers to the same standard as he holds his son. Even though he called the state police to deal with his son’s drinking, he routinely allows his officers to escape the consequences of their use of excessive force.

They are able to do this because of the lax standards that he sets for their behavior, such as allowing them to circumvent dash camera video recordings by parking their cruisers away from the scene. This tactic was used both in the shooting of Edgar Rodriguez and the May 12 assault on a Eugene woman in her home, which went unreported, as are most instances of excessive force lacking a video record.

If it would have been a conflict of interest to have EPD on his son’s case, why is it not a conflict of interest to have EPD investigate the actions of EPD officers?

The public will not be safe until there is real citizen oversight for the force, which would include a prosecutor who is independent of the DA’s office, and who would have the ability to indict cops after calling witnesses and observing evidence rather than relying on the EPD internal investigation.

One reason I can think that local news reporters are not investigating the department more closely is the implicit threat that cops can make life hell for people who blow the whistle on their fellow officers.

Steve Hiatt, Eugene


HEALTH CARE IDEAS

Neither Trump nor the Republican Party has come up with a clear plan to replace Obamacare. On 60 Minutes last week with Leslie Stahl, Trump claimed that what he will offer “will be better health care and cost less.” Typically, Trump asserts knowing how to solve our problems but offers few details.

Donald is a narcissist of the first degree. It wouldn’t be surprising if he aspires to have his face carved at Rushmore. He has supreme confidence in his ability to run America just by dint of his personality — unread, unstudied and winging it. Isn’t that what he has done from the beginning? He just has to do what he does best: negotiate.

Early in the Republican primaries he expressed an interest in a single payer health care system. Perhaps Trump could go back to that idea. With a little counsel from Bernie, perhaps Trump would see how a single payer system could solve the big problem of replacing Obamacare.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats beholding to their health care industry patrons would oppose a single payer system. But Donald could negotiate, especially to American Business and finally to Congress, on the premise of balancing the books on Medicare, another looming problem. If everyone has to be in and pay into a revised Medicare, as we do with Social Security, Medicare would stay solvent and Obamacare would get replaced.

American Business would get aboard because they could dispense with shouldering the burden of health care insurance costs. Almost all products produced in the U.S. already carry a heavy health care duty and make American business less competitive globally. Health care costs in general are smothering our economy. If Trump were to negotiate a single payer system rolled up into Medicare to replace Obamacare, he might not get his face at Rushmore but he certainly would figure big in American history, and he’d relish that prospect.

Russ DesAulnier, Eugene

 

THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING.

As we all go about our daily lives after the political earthquake turned everything upside down, it seems that the general public and the media are pointedly ignoring the elephant in the room — was the election hacked?  If that is a real concern, why the public silence and the pooh-poohing of the election recount efforts filed by Jill Stein?  

If we are truly afraid to publicly ask that question, for fear of ridicule or even violence breaking out, isn’t that kind of fear the very foundation of a fascist state?

Hillary Clinton’s victory in the 2016 presidential popular vote count keeps climbing.

With more than 2,000,000 votes still uncounted in California alone, Clinton’s public triumph over Donald Trump may ultimately reach 2.5 million votes or more.

There’s a widespread assumption that the Electoral College vote is a done deal.

But a series of key swing state recounts could change control of the presidency as well as the Senate and Supreme Court. So could a Congressional challenge to the key Electoral College delegations.

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party must do justice to the public will. They must fund the recount effort.

Congressional Democrats in the current House and Senate also must challenge the certification of the key Electoral College delegations in disputed swing states that could decide control of the White House.

Sign the petition here at  http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/ask-clinton-the-democrats?source=s.icn.fb&fb_test=50&r_by=17172373.

Peter Chabarek, Eugene


VULGAR FRAUD

Clearly over his head, I suspect “war” will be the only means Trump can control our soon restless population.

Clinton’s DNC cronies and Republican gerrymandering was a match made in corporate heaven.

An electoral college “one-percent club” combined with those disenfranchised single-issue voters delivered America into the hands of a Mafia franchise.

Hillary actually “gave birth” to this Trump fellow. Congratulations — it’s a Republicrat!

A butt naked casino emperor (sans taxes report) has just been rewarded superman’s cloak, a bigger microphone and nuclear weapons.

Intelligent American women apparently voted for a guy whose career is based on disrespecting their gender. You go, girl!

Our children are now just cannon fodder, trusted to a vulgar, hot-headed fraud.

With the luxury of legitimacy, America and our armed forces have been placed at an idiot’s disposal.

Did Mr. Blue Collar really set his Christmas table expecting big delicious crumbs to fall from his majesties table? (Now do those dishes, and here is Trump’s bill).

Don’t worry about a thing, Mister — you’re always just a flush away from that “winning hand” at Trump Casino.

Todays’ special is “Trumpwurst” — The Don has “personally guaranteed” the very wurst for America. 

Remember when the bottom fell out of Wall Street — Sept. 15, 2008 — and cowardly brokers wheeled out a poor black cleaning lady to ring their hallowed, financial bell? How typical for rich people to use poor folks as human shields.

Glenn Jones, Eugene


CHALLENGED AND DEFEATED

As reported in the Nov. 21 Register-Guard, Richard Spencer, leader of the alt-right movement, declared that white people must “conquer or die,” and many in the movement gathering rose to their feet in acclamation. As an educated white woman, I shudder in disbelief, even as a number of people of color have recently posted on social media that they have been trying to communicate the reality of this sentiment to people like me for decades.

I do not believe that everyone who voted for Donald Trump, or even the majority, hold this view. It is a small but very vocal minority that has been empowered by his election. Still, the belief system behind this rhetoric needs to be challenged and defeated at every turn if we are to preserve the civic values that have always defined us as a nation.

We face a dangerous time. Each one of us needs to take some responsibility for how we evolve from this moment. Rhon Manigault-Bryant, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College, asks us: “Who will you be in this hour? What will you do to enact change and with whom will you partner to do it?”

Patricia Bryan, Eugene


RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM

I found out three days late who our next president was. I was shocked, of course. I had not followed all of the intervening brouhaha of election battle, but I certainly expected Clinton to win. 

It is Bush now, all over again. I feel scared, wary and very concerned. I told my friend, let us hope he accidentally makes decisions in our favor. I was glad people were protesting — if I get the chance, I will join. And this after Bernie. Figures.

Now, four years to come of fumbles, embarrassments and more restrictions on freedom — already too many. Don, remember, your are our president, too. Keep that in mind.

Evelynn Post, Tidewater


CHALLENGE DEMOCRACY

Where has our nation’s memory gone? Can’t we remember the history lesson of the 1930s in Germany, and the beginning of that take-over? Did we or did we not just put into office a dictator? This idea of a smooth transition from a democratic republic to a sociopathic dictatorship just doesn’t sound right for a free country to be doing! Indeed, it feels more third-world than the actual Third World.

The last two Republican administrations’ mistakes were overcome and corrected by Democrats. Now it has become evident that our nation has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. With the outgoing Democratic administration, out goes Social Security, women’s rights and social progress. Will we need to wait until this demagogue ruins everything before the progressive movement rises again?

I know that democracy must be challenged constantly in order to function well, but to give it up so easily to a clearly unstable man, unqualified to lead, is not the right thing. Do we deserve our freedom, if we forget all the pain that has happened before, and hand over our nation so easily to a backward-thinking, narrow-minded dictator? Please remember, think and act.

Don Ferrell, Eugene


DIRECT DEMOCRACY

This last presidential election demonstrates the opportunity the country has for saving enormous mental energies and financial resources by becoming a direct democracy. The latest crawler on my Bing browser shows Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote at 1.5 million.

However, the real opportunity comes from reviewing the California election map. For the state, the outcome is currently 7.21 million for Hillary and 3.8 million for Donald, or a 3.38 million plurality. An even greater advantage would accrue by noting the counties exclusive of northern California but west of the mountains provide most of her votes.

So, I would propose that candidates for this national office appear only on ballots for people residing in these select California counties. With this change the attention for most of the people in this country can be placed on the FedEx Cup, the World Series and the NFL, where it should reside.

Nolan Nelson, Eugene


NOT DIVIDED EQUALLY

With so much rhetoric about a divided citizenship with half of the country in favor of Trump and half against him, it would seem logical to actually look at the voting numbers relative to all eligible voters.

The latest numbers (from StatisticBrain.com) indicate that there are approximately 219 million eligible voters and that Trump has received a little under 62 million votes and Clinton a little over 63.5 million.

That equates to 28.3 percent of eligible voters choosing Trump and 29 percent selecting Clinton.

The other important number is the 45 percent of eligible voters who did not vote for either candidate. To say that the country is divided in half seems to discount this group entirely, some 94 million folks.

It would be more accurate to state that a little over a quarter of eligible voters have selected our next president and that more than 7 out of 10 did not. Certainly not an electorate divided equally.

John Pinney, Eugene


CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Unbelievably. Donald Trump is tweeting about a conspiracy theory involving millions of undocumented individuals who voted for Hillary Clinton, so that her legitimate vote count is actually less than his. Various media have correctly labeled this differently as either unsubstantiated, a myth or as a lie. Trump also is claiming that the vote counts in that additional states not being recounted are fraudulent. This is really crazy for someone who won the election to be doing.

An alternative theory that comes to mind is that Trump is panicked evidence will be found in the recounts that the vote counts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were influenced by Russian hackers in collusion with the Trump campaign. So his conspiracy theories are a distraction to draw attention away from the recounts and de-legitimize any recount results that might suggest tampering.

There’s no evidence whatsoever for either theory. However, an interesting recent op-ed in the New York Times by Garry Kasparov, who tried to run for president in Russia against Putin in 2007, illustrates how an election typically is “rigged” in Russia under Putin. A key aspect is that it’s not the voters who rig the election but who counts the votes. So the usual Russian method to guarantee that a preferred candidate wins is by manipulating the vote count.

One might argue that it’s a remarkable coincidence that there were so many key toss-up states in the election where the vote was so very close and they all went to Trump. Then again, if you believe in conspiracies, would you really think it was a coincidence?

Richard Chartoff, Eugene


TOLERANCE FOR OTHERS 

OK, now that the totally predictable results of the presidential election are in, it is time that we had a serious talk.

People on the left have spent the last three years indiscriminately attacking everyone and everything in society as sexist/racist, etc. They bullied a lot of people, often very vulnerable people, and we saw the left take on an authoritarian edge.

We saw feminists go before Congress and the UN to demand restrictions of free speech on the internet. We saw them libel the men’s rights movement, even with the male suicide rate grown out of proportion, and boys abandoned by the education system. We saw Black Lives Matter protesters attacking white folks and threatening to bring violence to suburbs. We saw open and unapologetic bigotry towards men and white people, and we saw them call it “justice.”

And a lot of us classical liberal types, we moved away from the left, and we started to call the people who remained there “the regressive left” because we could not conscientiously accept the way that they were treating people.

And then Trump ran for office. Whether we approved of the man’s character or not, we were forced to see ourselves in him. The more dishonest the media was about Trump, the more resolved we became. 

And then Clinton fixed the nomination for herself. As revealed by Wikileaks, she did this by offering Tim Kaine the role of VP in exchange for stepping down as chairman of the DNC. And then Clinton supporters turned on the Berners.

A week before the election, we watched a homeless black woman, a Trump supporter, lay on the ground, berated by Clinton supporters. No one saved her. Our resolve grew.

The left has an enormous amount of work to do.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together. 

I believe that there is potential for a bipartisan movement between progressives and libertarians to reduce the power of the federal level government and return it to the people. 

I have spent the last three years extending the olive branch to left, and thus far they have not failed to slap me with it. I hope this time it’s different.

Jody Sol, Eugene



ASININE BEHAVIOR

I very much agree with Mr. Ritter and his advice to unruly college and high school students [Letters, 11/17]. Rioting, damaging property and vandalism is not necessary! I also agree that their asinine behavior drove votes to Trump. I had thought seriously about voting for Hillary, but Benghazi, using the state department as a “pay for play” machine and husband Bill’s peccadilloes put “paid” to that inclination. 

I would like to make a comment to the young lady that tried to “crash” the Republican Party gathering at The Vet’s Club, screaming that “we had elected a rapist.” 

OK, young lady, you were protected by the First Amendment, but nevertheless, you managed to make yourself out as a first-class ass. If Hillary had been elected, would you have “crashed” a Democrat party gathering, screaming, “You have elected a president whose husband is a rapist”? I doubt it.

Lon Miller, Drain