Sen. Ron Wyden sets a great example of transparency and listening to the public with his town halls and the recent interview with the Eugene Weekly (July 13). His work against the Senate health care bill, along with the raised voices of citizens across the country, paid off: the bill was dropped.
In addition, the attempt to just repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) hit a dead end as well. Now it is time for both parties to work together for a bill that provides affordable care for all Americans.
So let’s continue to raise our voices, this time to demand a bill that will provide affordable care for everyone. Perhaps Sen. Wyden will set the example again, by working across the aisle to see this happen.
Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Wash.
We went to the Alice Cooper concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheater on June 17. The musical performance and theatrics were very entertaining, but due to the invasive manhandling, all in the name of security, which we had to endure to enter the venue, we will never return to the Cuthbert again.
Not only were we given full body pat-downs worse than most TSA pat downs, but we were asked to empty all our pockets and barked at belligerently, by security, for forgetting that I had in my jacket such items as two pencils, an old ticket stub, a breath freshener and some assorted change.
By the time we got through the entrance process we felt as if we might as well have entered San Quentin prison.
A week later we went to see Roger Waters, a far more controversial figure and larger target, in both Tacoma and Portland. There, we weren’t even asked to empty our pockets. Just walk through a metal detector.
I don’t know what the Kesey brothers think is so risky, or so valuable, that they must employ Gestapo security guards, but we won’t endure this again.
William Kurth, Eugene
STOP MAKING NONSENSE
Jeff Freeman’s letter (“More Monster Trucks, Please,” July 20) does nothing to improve the tone of public debate, especially his peculiar reference to “left-leaning, latte-drinking, NPR-listening elites.” Personally, I don’t drink lattes, but I certainly listen to NPR because NPR is the calmest, most rational newscast on air, with its only competition coming from the BBC.
If Mr. Freeman has any interest in elevating our fraught political discourse, he’d be well advised to stop spouting nonsense.
Rick Marcus, Eugene
HERE WE GO AGAIN
In 2005, the question on the Eugene ballot was: Should the City Council hire an appointed external police auditor? Certain people raged against the idea, assuring everyone that doing this would forever change our council/city manager form of government, and should be avoided at all costs.
It passed, and the government wasn’t ruined — it’s better!
So now why all the same hue and cry about how electing an independent city auditor will destroy our form of government? Would it hurt the public to actually know what happens to our tax dollars after they land at City Council, besides all the downtown projects?
And if you think that an appointed auditor would be able to really look at where everything goes, don’t kid yourself. The minute that appointed auditor got close to anything remotely interesting, suddenly their budget disappears and there’s no more money. Surprise!
Interestingly, the main proponents of hiring an external police auditor appear to have been City Councilor Chris Pryor, former Mayor Kitty Piercy and former City Councilor Andrea Ortiz. It would be helpful to hear the two living proponents give us feedback on what they think about this new elected independent city auditor ballot measure.
Mayor Piercy’s special commission looking at a city auditor way back in 2002 concluded that the city should have an auditor! Nothing but the sound of crickets since then.
Eugene has a massive budget that no one knows anything about. It’s time to add more value to our unique form of government by electing an independent auditor to look at everything.
Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene
WYDEN VS. FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has co-sponsored a bill to criminalize advocating a boycott of Israel, with “a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison” [see The Intercept, July 19]. That would include thousands of Wyden’s Oregon constituents, the entire Pacific Green Party and, for that matter, the entire U.S. Green Party.
The danger of the bill passing is real: 43 sponsors in the Senate and a majority in the House. Criminalizing a rival political party is the worst-case scenario of violating freedom of speech, an attack on democracy itself. The only Oregon representatives co-sponsoring this travesty are Greg Walden of eastern Oregon and Kurt Schrader of the 5th District. The ACLU has issued a letter condemning the bill in the strongest terms.
This completely destroys Wyden’s credentials as a defender of civil liberties. It’s the most outrageous attack on freedom of speech, at the federal level, in many years, and openly un-constitutional.
The Intercept article suggests that some senators had no idea what’s in the bill, possibly including Wyden, which is, if anything, even worse. It would be shocking carelessness — and blind obedience to AIPAC, an agent of a foreign government.
Charles Newlin , Corvallis
NORMALIZE THE BREASTS
“This is a co-ed sauna,” the woman at River Road Park & Recreation told me.
“Yes, I know!” I replied.
“We require that you cover your top and bottom,” the lifeguard insisted.
“Oh,” I said turning to my partner, who was also topless, “so he has to cover up as well?”
“No, this is only for females,” she said, indicating that it was my gender — specifically my breasts — that was the problem.
“Isn’t that gender discrimination?” I retorted.
That is definitionally gender discrimination. Females aren’t permitted to be topless. Males are permitted to be topless. Why am I not permitted to bare my chest in a space where men are? Why is it acceptable to tell women they’re doing something wrong when they do the exact same thing as men?
Is it because female breasts are only intended only for the sexual pleasure of others? Are they only for feeding babies? Is it because they’ll incite excitement in men’s pants? No one says anything when a man goes topless at a sauna, so why is it different for women?
We’re supposed to be equal, right? And even if most women choose to cover their breasts, why not allow the breast-carrying members of our community to exercise their right to fair and equal treatment.
I don’t want to be discriminated against for having breasts. I’d like to see policy changes that reflect the modern times we’re living in. And I want to encourage the normalization, not sexualization, of female breasts.
Ingrid Stevens, Eugene
X MARKS THE SPOT
Congratulations to the non-binary community for scoring an “X” designation for their driver’s licenses.
However, with 22 other letters to chose from, why did the legislature choose X, which designates the male chromosome?
Youth wants to know.
Fred McCord, Eugene
Editor’s note: In our recall of high school biology, males have XY chromosomes and females have XX.