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Letters to the Editor 2016-12-15

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

 

COMMODITY PLANET

I am the adult child of a chemical engineer. My father was complicit in the poisoning of our nation as well as other nations. I think he needed to keep food on the table and shelter for our family. I guess he took a wrong path when he didn’t consider the harms he was involved in.

As an adult in this overpopulated, heated and poisonous world with denigrated soils, it is clear to me that we must stop this affront. Our breadbasket is polluted; our water is polluted; our air, though not so bad where I live, is unbreathable in many places. The fossil fuel industry and its byproducts are harming the creative soul we all possess.

If this paternalistic view were to give way to nature and nature-inspired love and respect, it would go far to help peace in this world. We are in an evolutionary process. Our children’s futures aren’t looking very bright and the dispossessed are all crying out.

Feeling hurt and invalid is what they initially feel. After that come anger and/or soul searching. We are in a time when so much suffering is happening that we must become humane towards the whole planet, because our Mother Earth has taken about as much abuse as she can and is dying.

Many people have good answers to these problems but have been shut down from creative solutions. The time to go on a better path is now or the elitists will exploit us a little longer so they can create for themselves new homes on other planets. So much for Mother Earth. She’s just a commodity.

Cindy Kay Biles, Eugene

 

DEEP GREEN ANTI-TRANS?

Paul Neevel’s “Happening People” subject last week was Samantha Krop. He cited her climate activism, women’s self-defense work, and commitment to children.

But he was unaware of her role as organizer for Deep Green Resistance, a  cult-like authoritarian group perhaps best known for its vehemently anti-trans- gender politics. An outlook so actively hateful toward trans folks that the Daily Kos called it “transgender exterminist.”

After I contacted him, Neevel at first agreed to look into this side of Ms. Krop but, “on second thought,” decided to leave his puff piece alone. Not a credible level of journalism, I’d say.

John Zerzan, Eugene

 

PUSH BACK

On Jan. 20, 2017, a fascist will become president of the United States. This is not a sudden event, but a moment that has been building for decades. Even as great progress has been made by the people in establishing and protecting our civil rights, authoritarian elements have achieved their own power through lies and abuse of government institutions.

However, for every advance authoritarians have made, citizens stand together to push them back. Eugene Resistance Training is a series of free classes being offered to the community to teach methods of nonviolent resistance that have been tested and refined in conflicts against repressive governments around the world.

Our goal is to channel the anxiety, anger and fear from the terrifying recent developments into energy towards planning campaigns, learning how to manage group dynamics and structure, and other critical tools for effective nonviolent organizing.

The introductory first class will be at 3 pm on Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Growers Market upstairs space, 454 Willamette Street. For more information on the curriculum we will be borrowing from, go to tinyurl.com/zfz6a3y. The struggle continues.

Katie O. and Daniel Williams, Springfield

 

TOILET POLITICS

Being an open-minded medium, I would like to express my views on a very private subject.

Yesterday, after my third cup of tea at The Beanery in Corvallis, I headed towards the bathroom. There was a woman holding the key, talking to one of the baristas. In my distress, I asked politely: “May I go before you and I will be quick.”

She handed me the key and said something that I did not hear, as I was quite focused on the task at hand. Quickly as I could, I performed my act and returned the key to the woman and returned to my conversation with my friend.

A short while later, this same woman stood at my table, handed me the key and stated: “You did not lower the toilet seat!” Neither impolitely nor politely I explained that it is a public toilet and I had no obligation to do so. To which she said, “I told you to lower the seat,” and I apologized to her that I don’t hear well.

I also noted that the seat was already up when I went in, which she acknowledged. She began to get quite agitated, saying she did not like to touch the toilet seat. I said that I don’t, either.

I suggested that there was more going on than with her than just the position of the toilet seat, and she acknowledged this. She left quite upset, leaving me to return the key to its proper place.

Women sit all the time; men sit, let us say, one in three times. We could expect that men and women visit the toilet equally. Therefore, when one approaches the toilet, 12 out of 32 times the seat is up, and 20 out of 32 times the seat is down.

This means that a woman will have to move the seat 12 out of 32 times. The man will have to move the seat three-quarters of the 20 times and one-quarter of the 12 times, or 18 times. If the man lowered the seat after his business, the woman would have to take no responsibility and the man’s responsibility would increase to 24 of 32 visits.

Perhaps this is fair, in that the species need only to move the toilet seat 24 out of 64 times instead of 30 out of 64 times.

But here is something to consider for those, like me, that do not like touching the toilet seat. When the toilet seat is up, one knows that the previous user only touched the seat with his hand. When the seat is down, more often than not, it was touched by somone’s ass.

I don’t know about anybody else, but my technique is to grab a small piece of toilet paper, lowering the seat if necessary and wiping the seat before I sit on it.  

As long as I’m on the subject of public toilets: How about gender-free public toilets? Sinks outside and a series of booths with toilets. I just want privacy while I’m doing my little work, but I don’t mind sharing a sink.

P.S. Fold your yoga mat in half before you roll it up.  The top will stay cleaner.

Gregg Ferry, Corvallis

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NOAM

Noam Chomsky turned 88 on Pearl Harbor Day. I urge everyone to listen to or read the transcripts of the Democracy Now! broadcasts for Dec. 5-6, where Chomsky talks at Democracy Now’s 20th anniversary party. He clearly describes the seriousness of the corner into which our nation has painted itself by pursuing greed over justice.  

Chomsky has been documenting that paint job for well over 40 years. As early as 1988, he predicted the dire consequences of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. That same year, he predicted the eventual likelihood that the American working-middle classes, abandoned by the corporate-governmental elite, would turn to a supposedly plain-talking demagogue who promised simplistic solutions, especially by blaming minorities and foreigners.

But on Democracy Now Chomsky also offers an optimistic assessment of the opportunities for the 99 percent to organize and resist the phony populism of Trump, to resist the increasing concentration of wealth and power already playing out in Trump’s promises to the 1 percent and to resist Trump’s obvious plan to lead this country into escalated wars.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene

 

CLIMATE CRISIS

The Native American Water Protectors’ victory over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) may seem remote, but there is a way this climate crisis issue is directly in front of me, and all Americans.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based in Washington, D.C., is one of the main groups championing DAPL and the petrochemical-industry rape of Earth. The climate defender group 350 asked for five years that local chambers assert their independence and say “the U.S. Chamber doesn’t speak for me.” Unfortunately, only 56 out of 3,000 of these local chambers have spoken up.

Rather than viewing this as a failure, I look at it as a challenge.

Several activists and I have petitioned the local Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, but despite many years of emails, peaceful protests and outreach, the leadership has maintained silence about the climate crisis and the U.S. Chamber. 

In 2017, the chair of the local chamber will be Mandy Jones, the chief executive officer for Oregon Consumer Credit Union. I’ve been a proud member of OCCU since 1988. I am encouraging OCCU, as a member-owned entity, to ask the local chamber to speak up about the climate crisis.

David Oaks, Eugene

 

WHAT SHE SAID

Yes to what Barb Lomow said in her Nov. 23 letter [“Exploited Animals”].

 Every time you order a burger or any meat dish, it’s very likely you are eating “tortured” meat. It’s difficult to find much grass-fed, humanely raised meat in most restaurants, even the expensive restaurants.

It took me a long time to really comprehend the horrors of factory farms. The misery and suffering of the animals is only one aspect. The environmental impact of factory farms is huge.

We do not have to become complete vegans to begin to change our diets and make more healthful and humane choices. Start slowly: Eat less meat, and when you do know where the meat comes from, and the eggs as well. Even small changes go a long way; old habits and taste buds die hard. The millions of burgers and tacos sold in fast food chains are all made of tortured meat.

Educate yourself on what these factory farms look like and what they are doing to sentient beings.

Of course, factory farms are just one example in thousands of the way we as human animals mistreat other animals.

Go to farmsanctuary.org

Read No Happy Cows by John Robbins., Linda Kanter

 

US AND THEM

UO Law faculty Professor Nancy Schurtz engaged in an edgy “racial” Halloween image for the purpose of contrast and illustration of the universal dichotomy of the “us-and-them” syndrome always present in human interaction with strangers.

Looks, language, manner, values, beliefs, feelings and consciousness all come into play when the social content is mixed with different people, of the same human species, meeting and interacting. For the “law” department to not get the reflection she was cleverly demonstrating reflects much more on their lack of consciousness and unawareness of the eternal problem that exists at the root of justice.

For these individuals to claim their role as teachers of law and to miss this reflection because of their superficial unawareness of the “us-and-them” reaction in the name of “good taste” demonstrates the reason why the legal system is not about justice but rather about rules of behavior embedded in law.

The illusion that law and justice are one and the same is clearly demonstrated in the misbehavior of this established law faculty. Law is the instrument of justice and not the regulator of social behavior.

UO Law faculty should grow up and find another occupation (hopefully not in the court system). Legal judgment is not about what the judge likes. Law should be about fairness, understanding, empathy and reason, so as to engender ethical confidence in everyone who is unfortunate enough to have to face this process.

No wonder the Supreme Court, an oxymoron, demonstrates the pitfall of narcissism’s judgements.

Schurtz’s Halloween playing was a revelation, not complicity. OU faculty didn’t get it. I’ll bet they didn’t know a thing about the book Black Man in a White Coat.

David Jackson, Eugene

 

CHILDISH RESPONSE

Given the level of childish response to the election results in Eugene and around the country, it amazes me that people are surprised at the election results at all. The reason all the pollsters, the left and the uninformed got it all wrong? Put a Trump sticker on your car, put a Trump sign in your yard, vocally support Trump and all you will get is hateful words and aggressive behavior hurled your way. So of course people on the right side of the aisle kept their choice to themselves.

There is a solution, though, to quell their sad feelings, and this group of people will undoubtedly respond well to this suggestion.

We give them all a participation ribbon.

Dan Mattheisen, Eugene

 

AERIAL SPRAY RESPONSE

The Register Guard published a Nov. 30 guest viewpoint written by former Lane County Commissioner, Anna Morrison, who no longer lives in Oregon. Displaying her ignorance, she suggested that aerial pesticide sprays are nothing to worry about.

If Morrison had done her homework about aerial sprays, she could have started with Arizona, her new home state. Arizona laws require a 1,320-ft. buffer zone for schools to protect children from pesticide drift. Homes and health care facilities in Arizona are protected by no-spray buffers over 20 times larger than Oregon’s laws.  

So how can Morrison falsely opine that Oregon’s paltry 60-ft. pesticide buffers are the nation’s best?  Oregon timber trespass laws are Neolithic compared with other states. Arizona, Washington, California and Idaho require large protective buffers because their laws are based on science. Each state recognizes pesticide drift as inevitable.

What’s more, she slammed Mountain Rose Herbs, a local company that provides jobs for 200 people, for following reputable business practices — destroying plants they found were contaminated with the timber herbicide, atrazine and taking the economic hit.

State regulators have rarely sanctioned these pesticide trespass violations. Complaints about ill health and ruined property are not well accounted for by state agencies — take the 2013 Gold Beach case where over 35 people reported being poisoned. That egregious case was counted as a single complaint!  

Despite our state's problems with proper reporting, pesticide testing and public accountability, the herbal company alerted the public because as owner Shawn Donnille said, “people and organic crops should have a basic right to avoid being sprayed by dangerous chemicals.”

Beyond Toxics introduced 2015 legislation to require hefty buffers and advanced notification of aerial herbicide sprays. Timber lobbyists did everything to block our science-based recommended changes to timber law. With no other protective options, Oregon must ban aerial spray.

I would be pleased to welcome Morrison to a public debate on the Oregon's forest practices act, and its failure to protect people, communities, drinking water and fish habitat. We could also discuss the impact of clearcut logging on climate and carbon. Real facts required. Let's not let the timber industry hide the truth in the guise of another misleading opinion piece.

Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics, Eugene

 

STINGY UO

The president of the UO makes $660,000 a year, along with car allowance (another $15,000 a year), cell phone allowance, paid health care, deferred compensation and lives for free at the president’s house. Yet I’m not complaining about the president’s salary and perks. I’m complaining about the UO’s new policy to charge student food workers for their meals, an additional expense that used to be free.

Charging student food workers who make $9.75 an hour is so cheap and stingy it makes me cringe.

The reasons given for doing this are that the free meal money comes out of student housing fees and it’s not fair to burden all the students with paying for free meals for a few. Then why take money out of housing when there are all these juicy salaries and perks sucking up the UO budget? If a few well-paid coaches, professors or administrators were to donate just their car or phone allowance, which for what they’re making is more a symbol of their status than actually needed, it would surely pay for all student food worker shift meals until the end of time.

The UO will say salaries and perks are contract issues that can’t be changed, and we have to attract the best. I’ve heard that sorry excuse for over-paying management forever. It’s a good old boys network that keeps the money flowing to the top. That’s what’s not fair about charging student food workers for their shift meals.

Sue Mandeville, Springfield

 

NOT VALID

The Nov. 23 Eugene Weekly contained a “teach-in” announcement.

For the first session, I attended the men’s “safe space.” This was safe only if one accepts the social justice narrative. For pointing out cases where this narrative is at odds with reality, I was labeled a racist and was told to silence myself. Three times, I had to say, “Do not put words in my mouth.”

For example, isn’t it ironic how the “progressive stack” finds female-tenured professors to be more oppressed than homeless white men?

For the second workshop, I was the only person attending. So I conversed with the leader. In response to things she asserted, I replied with how belief in the SJ [social justice] narrative is causing injustice. She could have ended the conversation but chose to continue. She then informed me that my words were aggressive. Is disagreeing with her narrative in calm and measured tones really violence?

If SJ warriors continue political correctness without fixing their rhetoric, Republicans in 2018 could achieve veto-proof majorities in both House and Senate. I fear this. SJWs need to test (and defend) their narrative in open debate. Labeling and silencing are not valid arguments.

Joe Tyndall, Eugene

 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Environmental problems, social missteps and economic stability are symptoms, not the cause, of the hot air we choke on.  

For months the presidential campaign has engulfed our lives as we anxiously awaited the next outrageous comment or unfounded rumor.

We laughed. We cried. It was captivating. Ratings went through the roof for this ultimate reality show. Certain episodes were provocative, others sad or hilarious. Everybody watched. No one demanded substance.

As candidates refused to share “secrets” or accept responsibility for past incidents, voters were kept in the dark about any actual leadership strategy they would follow. Substance was overlooked as we focused on perceived personality. Split down the middle our nation became a land of them and us.

The election is over. What comes next? Just more hot air unless we accept responsibility. A successful democracy involves more than basking in months of rhetoric followed by a few minutes casting a ballot.

Democracy works when citizens participate. Casting your vote was a good start, but don’t just sit there waiting for the premier of the next season of reality shows. Make a difference now. Turn the heat up on hot air by taking an active role in the life of our community. 

Michael DeLuiseEugene

 

WOLVES IN THE WILD

The wolf issue is a contentious one, but will not be solved with hate and illegal poaching. Wolves are for all Oregonians, not just those living in the wolf habitat areas. Surveys show that the vast majority of Oregonians believe that wolves are an integral part of Oregon’s natural beauty. The complaints against wolves and wolf behavior are wildly exaggerated. There were only four cattle deaths from wolves in 2015 in Oregon where there are 1.3 million cattle.

Wolves deserve our protection. Ranchers and others living in wolf habitat should share the land with the rightful occupants — wolves. If needed, there are many nonlethal deterrents for ranches.

There is a clear danger to wolves from illegal poaching and from unnecessarily fearful messages. We also need to be cognizant of the danger that our own public officials present. ODFW is waging a war on wolves, and we need to tell them this is not acceptable.

The Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club wants wolves in Oregon, and we believe that, unless we Oregonians make it clear to our legislators that we want wolves here, we may never have the chance to see or hear a wolf in the wild.

Jennifer A. Haynes, Eugene

 

ABOLISH IT ALL

Perhaps it’s time to abolish all political parties?

Perhaps it’s time to eliminate the Electoral College?

Perhaps it’s time to abolish the Executive and Judicial branches of government and force the legislative branch to govern this great nation. The same way the city councils and the county commissioners are operated. As it is now, the Executive and the Judicial branches of government currently have way too much power. And the legislative branch has very little power and very little responsibility — always “hiding” behind the Executive and Judicial branches.

Also — isn’t it ironic that some of the student protesters of the ’60s and ’70s voted to elect Trump!

Also — perhaps it’s time to have a “curtsey patrol” for the homeless people? These would be unpaid volunteers from the homeless community who could be called before the police and would be able to answer all the questions of the homeless and provide information. This has been used by the U.S. military for many years to assist the military police and local law enforcement.

 Frank Skipton, Springfield

 

WEIRD HOPE

Well, well. (Snicker, groan, sounds of vomiting.)

The Don hath bitch-slapped progressive liberals everywhere. Wow. I am tempted to be really mean at this point, but we’ve had enough of that, yes? The question now is will our beloved leader continue to spray the berries? The answer? Hell yes, but only if it’s cost effective.

A visible, external enemy is much easier to recognize and face than an internal one, the Democratic party being a microcosm of the U.S. itself, in this case.

I speak of people who profess to be liberal Democrats but who are no better than — no, infinitely worse than — any American Republican voter in my eyes right now. You know who you are, you who would spray the berries. Time to fess up. Be who you really are. Do the rest of us a favor and become what you were meant to be: Republicans. Leave the rest of us in peace to hide in the dark and suck our wounds like some nasty, demented, tree-hugging Gollum. 

What to do, what to do.

I am reminded of the story of the people, the Nimipu, the Nez Perce and Chief Joseph, who ended up in Canada in the cold and snow only to die and be captured. Canadians didn’t want them, it turned out. They had their own problems. However, many of the Nimipu voted Republican and stayed home. The price was their land and dignity, but at least they were alive … sort of.

Ah, choices, choices. But there is hope. Weird hope, but hope nonetheless. It is this: Many who voted for Barry the last two times voted for T this time. Yes, that’s right, chew on that for a good long while, all you faux liberal Dems out there. That’s how much America loves you. 

Andrew Van Atta, Eugene