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Letters to the Editor 2016-12-29

(N)ICE SUGGESTIONS

Don’t miss the opportunity to make use of the ice storm’s destruction! 

Rather than cutting and hauling away trees, leave trunks standing (if safe) to provide wildlife habitat. Otherwise, leave logs on the ground to slowly decompose.

Cut limbs for firewood but save lengths of cedar and locust for rot-resistant fence posts and construction materials. Other wood can be salvaged for making furniture or art.

Logs and stumps can be used to grow shiitake and other types of edible mushrooms. Get directions and purchase plugs inoculated with spores online at Fungi Perfecti.

Collect evergreen boughs for wreathes, gather moss from fallen maples to use as mulch around houseplants, search for mistletoe on oak branches and transplant licorice ferns from downed trees to a shady parts of your garden.

Wood chips make excellent mulch and path material. Arborists will often dump a pile of wood chips in your yard for free if you ask them while they’re working in your neighborhood.

Go outside with children and talk about the weather and the forest ecosystem.

And, finally, since the city of Eugene no longer plants trees, volunteer or make a donation to Friends of Trees to help sustain our urban forest.

Allen Hancock, Eugene

 

SUPPORT NEEDED FOR KEPW

Eugene PeaceWorks is celebrating 35 years working for peace, justice and fairness and accuracy in media. Years ago we decided to focus on media activism and education to counter the corporate media spin. That’s why we’re sponsoring KEPW, the new non-commercial community radio station. It’s helping unify the community by providing a public forum for diverse voices including non-profits and marginalized minorities who otherwise would be unheard.

KEPW is streaming online at kepw.org where listeners can hear music, national shows like Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” and David Barsamian’s “Alternative Radio” and over 40 interviews with local nonprofits. Streaming is just the beginning. In January, KEPW will also broadcast at 97.3 FM. To help this transition, it’s important for the community to know about an urgent KEPW fundraising drive.

The good news is that community donations so far are well over halfway toward the $10,000 needed for the required major equipment and installation costs.  However, the remaining funds needed must be raised asap so KEPW can be on the air by early February to meet FCC requirements. 

To meet this deadline, tax-deductible donations to Eugene PeaceWorks this month will be doubled by an anonymous donor!  At kepw.org, use your credit card or donate to the gofundme campaign there. Or mail your check made out to EPW to PO Box 11182, Eugene 97440. To volunteer, call and leave a message with Jana Thrift at 541-606-2025.

David Zupan, Eugene

 

NO EXCUSE FOR RACISM

We (speaking to fellow white folks here) are comfortable with our relationship to the overt forms of racism we often associate with white hoods, swastikas, segregation and hate crimes. It is easy to spot, and we have developed our own familiar communal reflex: a swift declaration without nuance or exception that the moral virtues of hate-driven racism are not open for debate — that racism is fundamentally evil and entirely antithetical to our values and way of life.

The far more commonplace racism that emerges in the cracks of our ignorance and laziness is no less visible for people of color, nor for us white folks, too, if we simply bother to pay attention and consider their perspectives.

We need to be brutally honest with ourselves about what kind of a culture we are perpetuating if we truly want to help. That means we all need to get comfortable with the discomfort of acknowledging and owning up to our prejudices and the actions driven by those prejudices that we try to dismiss or ignore.

I am guilty of racism. We are all guilty of racism. If we can’t accept that simple fact then it’s time for us to stop pretending that we are helping and get out of the way.

No amount of good work, community service or activism can excuse a racist misstep. Ignorance is understandable, but understanding a racist action is far different from excusing or overlooking it. When we excuse a racist action, we are justifying it. When we excuse racism, we are sending a clear unspoken message that this is okay with us.

We owe it to ourselves and, most importantly, to people of color to encounter our own hidden prejudices with the same unrelenting discipline and clarity with which we approach hate-driven racism. That doesn’t mean shaming people. That doesn’t mean dismissing people.

It means sternly and compassionately holding ourselves and others accountable when we witness or perpetrate racist actions, and a swift declaration without nuance or exception that the moral virtues of all racism are not open for debate — that racism is fundamentally evil and entirely antithetical to our values and way of life.

Abby Pauls, Eugene

 

SEX WORK SALVO

 Many a “captain save a ho” say prostitution is repugnant and needs to be stopped [“Rapistitution,” Letters, 12/22]. Believe me when I say there are a lot worse things than using your sexuality to make money — like not having cash to feed loved ones and spending a whole night or day without getting your fix.

When in withdrawal, “selling sex” is a small price to pay for 35 bucks to get well.

I had a prostitute for a roommate, and she told me “hooking” was the easiest way to make money if you can attract a john and keep the damn cops off your back: just sprawl on a bed, put a condom on a guy and turn a trick.

Another pro I knew would much rather hook than any other work, and it helped support her heroin and uppers habit.

Which brings me to another point: In Amsterdam, where drugs are decriminalized and prostitutes work legally, receive police protection and get health exams regularly, everybody is happier and less uptight.

Should anyone have to be a prostitute? It depends on how ambitious and uninhibited you are. If you are attractive sexually but have something against renting your body parts to lecherous people, then get a different job. Both options should be available in a free society.

Lots of prude fundamentalists who believe copulation should be reserved for reproduction and is sinful are the ones who need more than anyone else the expertise and attention of someone who is a professional in the “gratifying arts of physical love”

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene

 

UNFAIR CRITICISM

Cindy Kay Biles needs to be corrected. In response to her “Commodity Planet” letter [12/15], she wrongfully over-dramatized her subject to point the finger at others and denigrate her father in a public place during the Christmas holiday season. It’s unacceptable and the literal definition of criticizing unfairly.

During the holiday season we are supposed to celebrate family and joy, and be kind. I know Biles is struggling and hurting inside, but EW should support this message to remind readers to be respectful to their elders at all times.  

Biles also misleads readers to believe chemical engineers poison our planet. Readers should know that many chemical engineers are environmental engineers who work hard to keep our air and water clean.

Biles is either misinformed or just doesn’t understand much about this profession. I am a chemical engineer and a good person who practices good habits each day of my life trying to minimize my impact to make the world a better place. I live here in Eugene too.

Biles did make a good point though that “the time to go on a better path is now.” So let’s do something about it!

Brett Kennedy, Eugene 

 

LISTEN TO ELDER BROTHER

Winona LaDuke, Native American environmental leader and executive director of Honor the Earth, spoke to many hundreds of us in Eugene in November. 

Before the program, attendees might have noticed a spool of golden thread was unraveled person-to-person, starting near the front and reaching individuals in the back. We are all connected, hanging by a thread.

This independent activity was inspired by the Kogi people, an indigenous civilization in Colombia. They call themselves “Elder Brothers” and have been warning “Younger Brothers” about the risk environmental catastrophe poses to life. 

Scientists know that the lag between extra carbon in our atmosphere and negative effects is about 40 years. Harm from this year’s pollution will not be experienced for a long time. If enough positive feedback loops are triggered, we face chaos and unknown hazards.

In the Kogi people’s documentary film Aluna, which is free on the internet, we can learn from the way golden thread is used by the Kogi. Each of us has the powerful influence of the butterfly effect and can lead a peaceful, global revolution.

Let us not wait a moment longer. We Younger Brothers must hear the Kogi and leaders such as Winona LaDuke. Now. 

David W. Oaks, Eugene

 

BEWARE TRUMPLESTILSKEN

The resident-elect (no, I did not misplace the P key on my computer) has offered up as his cabinet the richest set of old white men (with an occasional equally rich and unqualified woman) this country has ever seen. Anyone who believes this pack of rabid billionaires has anyone’s interest but their own at heart is living in a fairy tale — perhaps Trumplestilksen, where an evil troll tries to convince everyone to spin things into gold for him.

Trump’s billionaires on the shelf have already made it clear that their tax plans and other policies will favor the wealthy while at the same time leaving the rest of us uninsured, underpaid, sick and trying desperately to remind them that you can’t destroy the only planet we have.

But the people have recognized their own power. When we work together, we can truly have a system that responds to the people’s needs — stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a treaty negotiated by and for the corporations, is just one example.

If you haven’t yet heard about the People’s Agenda, please check it out at PopularResistance.org/peoplesagenda

The agenda includes 15 issues that 60 percent or more U.S. citizens support.

By working together, we can stand up to the “Mr. Burnses” in this political Simpsons cartoon and make sure that all of us move forward into a more socially, racially and economically just world. And that we have a planet to live our lives on.

Leigh Anne Jasheway, Eugene

 

SUPPORT BLACK STUDENTS

Black students at the UO deserve extra attention from the local community on how we can better support their challenging reality of being under-supported and under-represented students.

The Black Student Task Force at the UO, with the backing of other student groups and many staff members, has asked for a Black Cultural Center to be built at the university. Only $3 million is needed to build it.

I want to trust that UO President Michael Schill will raise the funds, but after meeting with UO’s senior advisor and chief of staff Greg Stripp, I am not convinced that it is a priority for the administration. Stripp reminded me that it takes time to raise money and that you have to be asking for something the donors are interested in.

It is my guess that if the UO administration showed interest in building a Black Cultural Center, the donors would show commensurate interest in funding it. The white community, as the largest racial population at the University or Oregon and in the Eugene community, needs to put pressure on the UO administration to make sure the money is raised for the Black Cultural Center.

There are too many black students who have had to put so much of their own unpaid time trying to get the support they need at the UO. They deserve that safe space. The white community of Eugene must make it clear that we support the black students at the UO by emailing or calling Schill and/or by making donations in support of the Black Cultural Center.

It is my understanding that one of the reasons Schill was hired is because of his exceptional fundraising abilities. Let’s see the money!

Robin Quirke, Eugene

 

RISING RACIAL TENSIONS

My name is Brian Sun. I am an international student from China at the University of Oregon. This is the first time I am trying to reach out to share my ideas with others in the newspaper, how exciting! (And I’m a bit nervous, of course.)

Anyway, I attended South Eugene High for the past four years. The point I am trying to make is about the “segregation” that occurs among international students and domestic students at the UO, and why it is what it is now. I know Oregon is one of the most progressive state in the U.S. but, believe me, the “segregation” does exist!

In the past four years and a quarter, I see lots of my international student peers, especially Asians, struggling on socializing with domestic students. So many of them end up staying in their own racial community and refuse to keep “fitting in” the society.

At the time when America got a new president, racial tensions are starting to grow and Hollywood is complaining about running out of Asian actors, I think it is important to talk about these issues.

Brian Sun, Eugene

 

OVER OR UNDER?

Regarding Gregg Ferry’s carefully considered analysis of the vital “toilet seat up-toilet seat down” controversy [Letters, 12/15], he seems to have made one glaring omission. Surprisingly, he has somehow overlooked (or intentionally avoided) one of the most hotly debated aspects of the issue before us — or rather, besides us — one that arguably demands equal scrutiny.

Does one place the dispensing tissue tube so that the tissue turns over or under the roll? On this matter, there should be no equivocation. As it stands (or rather sits), the jury is still out. Popular opinion is most definitely divided.

At this impasse, perhaps the Electoral College should make the definitive decision and put this tissue to rest.

W.C. Crutchfield, Eugene