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Letters to the Editor 2017-01-26

FAREWELL ED COLEMAN

Another magnificent, tall fir has been reclaimed by the forest with the passing of University of Oregon Emeritus Professor Edwin Leon Coleman. The University of Oregon and the Eugene community have been enriched by this kind, courageous and remarkable man’s life, service, friendship and example to all people of good will.

Thousands of people, colleagues, students and townspeople alike have been touched by the warmth of this superb African-American scholar, musician, humanitarian, and devoted husband and father. As a couple, Ed and Charmaine Coleman just radiated a love for people and an appreciation for each person’s dignity.

Ed Coleman loved justice and intellectual honesty. He was deeply passionate about civil rights and the need for racial harmony and reconciliation.

It is almost unbearable to think of a Eugene without Dr. Coleman’s kind advice and outspoken wisdom. If there was ever a glaring injustice at the university or in the community, we could count on Ed’s insightful and independent voice of reason.

How much richer are the thousands of us whose lives he touched, whose intellects he stirred and to whose sense of justice and fairness he appealed.

Ed Coleman epitomized the wonderful tradition of University of Oregon faculty scholarship and civic leadership. He was a thousand-percent UO and Duck loyalist over the decades — always at the games cheering, a timekeeper at Hayward Field Track meets, participating in meetings and events.

How we will miss him now.

Scott Bartlett, Eugene

 

APOCALYPSE NOW

The last time a fascist held this much power, it took most of the world to defeat him and decades to recover from the results of his thuggery.

One can’t help but wonder, then, when the modern American Left (sic) will come to realize that marches, stern telephone calls to elected representatives, endless Facebook polemics and angry letters (such as this) will likely not bring down this nascent totalitarian regime.

Is it possible? Yes, to the extent that anything is possible. But likely? 

Bill Smee, Springfield

 

TEACH THEM TO THINK

I question that testing is a real indicator of how well a student will do in real life [Dear CAPE 1/19]. I would suggest there is a better metric.

Let us take a different number to determine which schools need to improve. Let’s look at taxes paid five years after graduation. After all, we are educating children to be good members of society, and good members pay taxes.

Yes, some will still be at university, some will be in the military and maybe five years is not the sweet spot, but that’s not the point. We need to educate our children to be able to cope in an ever-complex environment, not how to take tests.  They need to know how to reconcile a credit card bill, they need to know about economics, science, nutrition, history, philosophy, literature, how to play well with others, etc.

When you get down to it, they need to learn two things: critical thinking and how to learn. The former will allow them to understand the ramifications of their decisions and the latter will allow them to learn new skills when the skills they already know have become obsolete.

Testing takes your eye off the ball.

Gregg Ferry, Corvallis

 

TAKING STEPS

Thanks to Eugene Weekly for reporting on how people are feeling about the next four years and what to do [“Kicking the Trump Funk,” Jan. 19]. This helps answer one of the suggestions, showing us that we are not alone.

Of course, there is a step we can all take: Get involved to make sure important safety net programs are not cut back. Alone or together we can call and write our representatives and senators to fund these programs like SNAP, formerly food stamps, that battles hunger.

I volunteer with RESULTS (results.org) and we write letters together at our meetings to protect and introduce programs that make a difference. The talk by Prof. Sara Jayaraman, “Food First: Justice, Security and Sovereignty,” was an opportunity to learn more about our economy [“Food Fight: Forked Author Discusses Food Industry Labor Issues,” Jan. 19]. Then use this knowledge to inform your elected representatives.

So thanks again to EW for keeping us informed of opportunities to learn and make a difference.  

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Wash.

 

GOVERNMENT WAGES

We have requested of the Eugene City Council that they provide a minimum wage of $15 an hour for city employees. Today the staff report to the council gave them much detail about how the city was paying to the category of employees they call “temporary,” some of whom have been working for the city more than 20 years. Of these 730 employees, some qualify for federal aid in the form of food stamps because of their low wage.

The presentation to the city council was about “raising the current rate” and its financial implications. Concern was indicated that other wages of staff with more responsibility would have to be raised, with additional costs.

The massive problem of inequality in the country often focuses on those few who have way too much money. And that is probably a problem. But I think the bigger problem is about the many people who have too little. We can help solve that problem by raising the wages of the low-income people.

We should be promoting “good jobs” in the city by paying our own employees a decent living wage, at least enough so that they can get off the food stamp rolls. That would be good government policy. City budget committee meetings are coming up soon.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene

 

TRACKING TOXINS

The Department of Environmental Quality is requiring Union Pacific to clean 20 acres of contaminated soil at their Ashland rail yard of petroleum, arsenic and other chemicals before sale. 

A 1994 DEQ investigation and subsequent public health assessment of the Eugene UP rail yard by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in 2007 revealed groundwater and crawlspace contamination in homes in the Bethel, Trainsong and South River Road areas near the rail yard. Volatile organic compounds were found in home crawlspaces; tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride contaminated residential water wells; and creosote, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, petroleum, pesticides, arsenic, asbestos, lead and volatile organic chlorinated solvents were found in the rail-yard soils. 

Under Eugene City Code (section 6.340-6.365), if these contaminants were found in a residential or commercial property, the city would make the owner remediate the property of toxins whether it was for sale or not. 

In the state of Oregon, Union Pacific does not have to file emergency response plans, does not pay taxes on oil by rail shipments to fund disaster preparedness, does not have to show whether they can cover the cost of a worst case oil train spill or clean up their contaminated rail yard. In no state do they have to alert fire departments of shipments of volatile crude oil by rail unless there are more than 35 rail cars or 1,000,000 gallons. 

The Resolution to Oppose the Movement of Crude Oil by Rail through the city of Eugene submitted to the mayor and city council by 350.Eug on Nov. 28, 2016, addresses these impacts to the public.  

Jim Neu, Eugene

 

UNITED WE MARCH

I am so proud of our women across the nation and here in Eugene for organizing the Women’s March on Jan. 21. I feel we are missing an opportunity.

I was told on several occasions that, as a man, I was not welcome to participate in the event. What? Just think of all of us coming together for this march — people of color, people with disabilities, LGBT and, yes, men. To do otherwise is playing into “his” hands. Separation leads to fear, fear leads to weakness.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Jerry Vrzak  , Eugene

Editor’s Note: The official stance of the Women’s March is that it was open to those who believe in and support the rights and humanity of women and girls, and that includes those who identify as men.

 

KING GEORGE

It was nice to read Alex V. Cipolle’s positive interview with outgoing city councilor George Brown [EW, Jan. 5]. I got to know George through his support for the cause of preserving Civic Stadium and can attest to the energetic, thorough and conscientious approach he takes to work.

I believe George ran unopposed for his two council terms, but when he announced his departure, two well-qualified candidates vied to take his place representing Ward 1.

I like to think it’s because George helped restore a good name to civic service. I’ll miss him from the council.

Dana Magliari, Eugene

 

FEDERAL WAR POWERS

Five years ago, Obama signed into law the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which controversially authorized the indefinite military detention of American citizens inside the U.S. without charge or trial.

Over the past five years this law has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, reinstated by the Court of Appeals and officially denied for review by the Supreme Court. This leaves the Trump administration with one of the most unconstitutional war powers since the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

As fears grow over the unpredictability of the Trump administration, Americans are relearning the constitutional powers that states and local communities have to protect their rights. Unfortunately, in 2014, when citizens attempted to pass county and state laws that attempted to guarantee Oregonians the right to a trial, not only did Lane County officials refuse, but top state officials and their legal representatives said it would be unconstitutional to do so!

To see a new three-part documentary that fully explains these unconstitutional war powers and the documentation and analysis of Oregon’s attempts to stop them, search “Federalism in the Era of Terror” on YouTube.com. 

Colin Farnsworth, Eugene

 

INITIATIVE OF THE PEOPLE

Local direct democracy is on the chopping block again.

After his endorsement of the Lane County Commission usurping the people’s initiative authority failed, old-boy attorney Stan Long has now sued Lane County to stop the same initiatives now in circulation. He wants to keep Lane County voters from having a say at the ballot whether aerial herbicides should be banned and if we have a right of local self-government.

Please join Community Rights Lane County and other supporters of local democracy at a hearing at 1:30 pm Friday, Feb. 3, at the Lane County Circuit Court.

We the People must witness and shine the light on the continued backdoor efforts to dismantle the people’s initiative power. Join us!

Jane Farrell, Eugene

 

THE TIME IS NIGH

The national media recently told us about Portland’s trashing by left-wing mercenaries, hired by a foreign meddler named George Soros. This signaled that this nation must consider forming a well-regulated local and state militia.

How would a well-regulated militia serve us?

By working under an established chain of command, controlled by a city mayor and chief of police.

At the county level, this organized and well-regulated militia will be on call by the duly elected sheriff, who is the chief public safety and law enforcement officer of every county.

As the public order decays and our society becomes more confrontational and violent, the need for a well-regulated militia becomes ever more urgent.

It is time for loyal citizens to organize, form and train a well-regulated militia to be on call by local law enforcement and public safety professionals wherever we live.

For those interested in extending this discussion, please email 2ndmamendmentoregonmilitia@gmail.com.

Stephen H. Overstreet, Salem

 

ONE-PARTY RULE

Republican obstructionism is working as well here in Oregon these days as it has been for the past eight years in Washington, D.C.

The Democrats showed incredible weakness in bowing to the minority party and submitting a budget that tries to fill its gaps without raising taxes by cutting spending for social services for the needy.

On a national scale, that same weakness is probably a major reason the Republican Party did so well in the last election. Once the Democratic Party could no longer be seen as a party willing to fight for the working class and poor people, a lot of people lost a reason to vote for them. This has resulted in what is essentially one-party rule, and that is not good news for the future of our democratic republic.

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution states that one of the reasons for forming the government was to “promote the general Welfare.” We, the people, consent to be governed in return for the promise that it will promote the general welfare. If it ceases to do that, it will break the agreement that the people made with the government they created. (The government is also not doing well at establishing justice and insuring domestic tranquility.)

I hope it is not too late for us, the people, to take back our country from the government.

Steve Hiatt, Eugene

 

BOOMER BUMMER

As “snowflakes” gather to protest the inauguration, I remember they began with Woodstock. That event highlights the worst generation this country produced until those Baby Boomers formed breeding pairs. They achieved self-actualization through moral exhibitionism and militant self-absorption, while ignoring the nobility parents, from the Greatest Generation, displayed throughout the Depression and WW II.

These Boomers have an unprecedented focus on self. They seek policies of moral perversity and material comfort to transform this country from the arsenal of democracy into just another gulag of apostasy, greed and dependency.

Boomers begat through multi-generational psychological incest a legacy of ideologically mutant children and grandchildren. These offspring have become the “snowflakes” of present times. These descendants are contra-educated to abhor the Constitution, the country’s miraculous, virtuous founding, and classical liberal principles found in Enlightenment values. They are perpetual children without essential humanity: empty, ignorant, feckless, emotional, overactive and under-challenged.

Nolan Nelson, Class of ’64, Eugene

 

BIKERS FOR TRUMP

Since most legitimate entertainers have ignored Trump’s inauguration outreach, perhaps Republicans can enlist Chris Cox, who claims leadership of “Bikers for Trump.”

Cox could mumble the national anthem while revving up tough talk and thinly veiled vigilantism.

Cox clearly has bones to pick and wears little patches on his jacket to prove it.

Cox is self-appointed “leader of the pack.” He told Fox News that his minions (which includes the Hell’s Angels) would provide a “wall of meat” just in case anyone with pink pussycat caps gets past capital security, Secret Service and the U.S. military.

By not asking obvious questions, Fox News validates this idiot logic, “like sure and why not bring a sledge hammer, just in case your cycle needs repairs, Chris!”

Because Trump has not “uninvited” these gangs, it’s going to look like his personal leather-clad goon squad of beefy white guys celebrating violence.

The Rolling Stones stupidly hired The Hell’s Angels in 1969 to run security at a free concert in Altamont, California. Bad move Mick.

Paid in $500 worth of beer, gang members were all hands on deck, and four fans died as a result of stabbings and violent beatings near the stage.

It was considered to be the worst concert in rock history.

Is similar writing is on the wall for Jan. 20, 2017?

When Obama took the stage in 2008, 1.5 million citizens converged on Washington D.C. Fox News didn’t report it, but there was not one single arrest during that all-American event.

Glenn Jones, Eugene

 

SUBPOENA THEM ALL

The Register-Guard is urging a congressional investigation of Russian interference in the recent election [“Get facts on Russia right,” RG, 1/12]. Above and beyond allegations of hacking and leaking emails and other dirty tricks, the editorial refers to a secret dossier, recently leaked, which alleges even more serious issues.

Not only the sexual escapades. It alleges that there was “extensive conspiracy” between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin. It alleges that the Trump campaign gathered information about Russian nationals living in the U.S. and sent it to the Kremlin. It mentions how that information was transmitted.

It is these allegations that need to be resolved. Paul Manafort and his records need to be subpoenaed. Carter Page and Michael Cohen and their records need to be subpoenaed. Donald Trump, Jr., needs to be subpoenaed, along with his records citing Russian involvement in Trump Enterprises. 

If need be, Donald himself needs to be subpoenaed. His tax records need to be subpoenaed.  

The atmosphere of doubt surrounding these issues cannot be allowed to continue unresolved. The allegations cannot be resolved with tweets and anonymous secondhand dossiers.

I urge readers to contact our senators as well as other congressional leaders and demand that hearings be commenced immediately.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene

 

OIL SPILL

Let me share a couple conclusions I have come to in hopes someone can prove me wrong.

Russian election “hacking” was designed to turn the election. It was also active on some state levels to turn other elections for some Republicans.

In Europe, other right-wing nationalist parties have seen support from Russia. What is the plausible motive for what is a high-risk policy? The media reports this boom to Trump happened because of Putin’s personal dislike of Clinton.

Let me suggest an alternative: Russia is a petro-state, and low oil prices and the rise of alternatives have put at risk the current Russian oligarchy. So Putin would likely see it in his interest to have high oil prices and low usage of alternatives.

Trump’s secretary of state is the ideal Putin candidate. This is the reason (I think) he was willing to stick his neck out and, so far, it has worked brilliantly. Our press once brought down a corrupt president. Our people once ended a war of aggression (I speak of Vietnam).

I can only hope, against most evidence, that we still have that in us.

Gary Adams, Eugene

 

NYET TAMPERING

The great thing about the supposed Russian hacking is that it never happened.   

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway asked the key question: “Where’s the evidence?” But none has been presented.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), with decades of senior-level experience, state: “The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods.” 

VIPS points out that if hacking occurred, the National Security Agency would know both sender and recipient. “We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack,” the group concludes.

VIPS’ detailed explanation is at consortiumnews.com.

Yet, presenting no evidence, the President of the United States accuses Russia, and Russian president Vladimir Putin personally, of meddling in a U.S. election. 

The editors of The Register Guard believe the accusations [“Happy New Year, Putin,” Jan. 2]. They apparently take the word of The New York Times and other mendacious media.

The editors also claim U.S. and Russian interests are “diametrically opposed.” But this too is untrue, although the U.S. continues to meddle in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, equivalents, for Russia, of Mexico or Canada.    

This anti-Russian hysteria undermines possible improvement in relations between the two nuclear powers, as contemplated by President-elect Donald Trump. And it heightens the irrational fear of Russia that may yet lead to thermonuclear war.

Robert Roth, Eugene