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Letters to the Editor 2017-3-16

LOGGING SCHEME

The Aufderheide National Scenic Byway out of Oakridge, one of the nation's most scenic drives, has been severely degraded by Willamette National Forest logging. For miles all one will notice is logged-out stands along both sides. The Middle Fork District staff will tell you that it’s a fire fuels thinning that is supposed to protect the community of Westfir and Oakridge. However, in actuality the Willamette National Lumber Service has destroyed naturally generated stands that were very fire resistant. Opening up these south-facing stands allows them to be taken over by fire prone understory plants and invasive scotch broom. Every 5-7 years they will need to hire crews to thin out the fire prone understory and scotch broom at a cost of $1,000-$2,000 per acre. They will pay for this with additional logging of big trees.

Why aren’t forest protection groups attempting to stop this type of ecosystem and tourism destroying logging perpetrated in our national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands? Most forest groups have seemingly drunk the “thinning” and “fire fuels reduction” scheme Kool-Aid.  This new logging scheme is just the latest reincarnation to convert our national forests and BLM forests into one giant tree plantation.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene

 

MCCORNACK IS DIVERSE

I was upset about parts of your article “4J Students Face Racial Discrimination.”  I am not a 4J employee and have no knowledge of the events reported. 

You completely glossed over what is one of the most culturally, racially and economically diverse elementary schools in all of 4J. We have teachers and a counselor who are fluent in Spanish — many of our staff are from diverse racial backgrounds. We have interpreters at all PTO meetings, school events, parent teacher conferences, Title 1 Family Nights and Latino Family Nights.

McCornack has core values that every student learns that are reinforced all year long: principles of inclusion, cultural diversity and dignity. Every year, the students work on the school dignity creed, which reads: “We the people of McCornack pledge to help create a Human Dignity Zone free of discrimination. We believe that people should judge others by their heart and actions, not by their appearance, religion, disabilities or abilities. All people are created equally and are worthy of respect. We should live together in peace and harmony and love the world and everyone in it because our differences make us special.  We are all the same in different ways so we will treat others with dignity, kindness and respect, the way we would like to be treated.”

I can say with sincerity that our McCornack staff are caring, inclusive and respectful professionals. I do not believe there is discrimination happening in those inclusive halls.

Ericka Thessen, Eugene

 

JERRY ROSIEK FOR 4J

Around a decade ago, things had become so bad for students of color and advocates for diversity at the University of Oregon’s College of Education that a series of large protest marches by students, faculty and community members brought the issue to a crisis point.

This followed years of efforts to change things, including a 4J middle school refusing to take culturally uneducated student teachers, entreaties to 4J district administrators to pressure the UO, and an emotional, standing-room-only meeting in the Eugene Public Library in which the UO president, provost and dean were addressed by tearful students and angry community members. Still the UO would not change.

The protests led to the dean’s replacement and a chance to make things right. This is where Jerry Rosiek came in. Newly hired by the new dean, Rosiek and his colleagues completely revamped the teacher education program and brought it into the 21st century. The new program is deeply inclusive, creative, bold and expansive in its understanding of what it means to be a teacher.

I watched Rosiek expertly shepherd this whole new program through the vast UO and state of Oregon bureaucracies, unapologetically and skillfully. This outstanding teacher-training program is Jerry’s legacy.

This is what Jerry Rosiek can bring to the 4J School Board: a vision that goes beyond the conventional wisdom that has been the hallmark of the Board for years. Rosiek has vision and he has leadership skills. It’s a winning combination.

Roscoe Caron, Eugene

 

NIGHTINGALE NEEDS A HOME

Nightingale Health Sanctuary (NHS) is a rest stop that is currently located on the property of the Eugene Mission. The Mission has been a very hospitable host to NHS, but it is time for the camp to have their own space. 

The rest stop has been forced to move from location to location because there is no permanent home for the camp and for the residents to live. NHS has been working with the city to find one, but it looks like the rest stop is going to have nowhere to go. NHS residents and board members have spent hours scouring Eugene to find such a place.  

Each time a site has been brought to the attention of the city, there has been no response. The city promised that a rest stop would be placed in each ward, so I believe that it is time for the city to step up and give Nightingale Health Sanctuary a permanent home. 

I hope that the residents of Eugene understand that people are living in the rest stop. These individuals have been forced to pack up all their belongings and move every six months, and since when is that neighbors taking care of neighbors?

Valerie Chase, Eugene

 

THE IRONY OF IT ALL

The irony of members of Congress working diligently to strip Obamacare of anything worthwhile, while at the same time, they receive the benefits of a well paying job that includes the best medicine taxpayers can pay for, in the form of single payer healthcare! It’s criminal.

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene

 

ANOTHER VOTE FOR LEIGHTON

Eugene’s 4J District Board of Education has a vacant seat to fill in the May 16 election. We have the right person for the position: Dr. Mary Leighton.

This dynamic, involved woman has immersed herself in education for 45 years; she holds a doctorate in education and has done research in educational best practices. Mary has taught almost every grade level, from preschool to college, from a public charter school (director at Network Charter in Eugene for eight years) to a tribal school on a Navajo reservation.

Mary sees the financial challenges facing our Oregon schools, and she wants to collaborate with the board and the community to find creative ways to move forward. She currently teaches a UO course (sponsored by Lane Workforce Partnership, Lane Education Service District, Eugene Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Eugene) that partners local businesses and teachers with a goal of furthering career opportunities for high school students.

Mary is a “hands-on” person, with highly creative ideas — and the time and energy to carry them through. Remember Dr. Mary Leighton when you cast your vote for 4J School Board! 

Roz Stein, Eugene

 

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS IN OREGON LEGISLATURE

Oregon has an important opportunity to lead in the transition from a polluting economy using fossil fuels to a clean energy economy using renewable energy. By acting on this endeavor in a timely manner many new jobs will be created in the solar industry.

In Oregon, the quickest method to make this transition a reality is to put a price on climate pollution then invest the proceeds into clean energy jobs focused in economically distressed local communities The proposed Clean Energy Jobs Bill under consideration in the Oregon Legislature can accomplish this. It will create a cap for Oregon’s largest polluters of greenhouse gases to meet the 2050 reduction targets.

The risks to delaying the action needed to curb greenhouse gases are well known. Lower snowpack results in less water in the summer months for agriculture and recreation. Heat waves, more intense forest fires, rising water temperatures are increasing. We need to act now.

On Thursday, March 23, there is a rally in Salem to support this bill. Please contact your state senators and ask them to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Bill. For more information contact james@olcv.org.

Cary D. Thompson, Eugene

 

CRITICAL THINKING

As a fellow human being, I need the same requirements (i.e. food, shelter, clean water and safety). I am not left or right, as I make the effort to decipher through the press and media to make an intelligent, objective and non-partisan search and arrive at a well-researched conclusion.

Extreme posturing from either side just heightens the divide and politicized issues, which need to be dealt with for the welfare of all citizens. If you are on one side or the other, listening to partisan rhetoric and sound bites, then you are part of the problem.

We all have the responsibility to extrapolate the truth from various media and print outlets. Please don’t label me as one way or another, because I make my own decisions based on multiple sources of media.

People who espouse partisan dialogue in media often have their own agenda, and it is every citizen’s responsibility to look at all sides impartially and to arrive at their own opinion for the good of everybody — not just one side or the other.

           Jon Tipple, Florence

 

ODE TO CRAVEN CONGRESS

The Nazis joined up with the Klan

And haters from across the land

To follow this substandard man

Who violates our statutes, and

If Congress won’t impeach him, it’s

Because they’re all such craven shits.

June Smith, Oakridge

 

PRESIDENT TWEET

Conflicts of interest

Wretched appointments

Dishonest and petulant tweets

He's stoking the hatred

Of gullible nitwits

And people who dress up in sheets.

Spud Smith, Oakridge

 

POETIC RESISTANCE

And so it begins . . . 

The French philosopher Voltaire once said, “History does not repeat itself, but humans do.”

Simply substitute the words “immigrants,” “LGBTQ” and “Muslims” in place of “Socialists” and “Trade Unionists” to make this 80-year-old poem — written by a German pastor during Hitler’s reign — relevant again:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

The people, united, will never be defeated. Resist! Persist! Fight this aberration everyday!

Alex Kaye, Eugene

 

THE GREAT BUFFOON

Remember the last president the Great Obstructionist Party gave us? Among his many other egregious acts, he starts a war on phony premises that leads to the establishment of a possibly never-ending war in the Middle East.

Most people thought he was the worst president this county’s ever had!

Well, now the GOP has outdone itself. Now they’ve given us Donald Trump. An extremely narcissistic, childish, bloviating buffoon that has trouble telling the truth, and brings along with him fascist-leaning bigots and racists who declare that the media is our enemy because they don’t go along with his fabrications.

He’s a self-fulfilling prophesy: He has to “protect the country” by escalating the negative image of the U.S. among Muslim countries!

Well, if he’s so bad, how come so many people voted for him?

Really? Do you mean, “How could so many people be dumb enough to believe his nonsense”?

The answer to that is simple: Just get in your car and head out onto the highway. See many people obeying the speed limit? Many checking their cell phones while exceeding that limit? And how about all those following you so closely that there’s no way they could avoid smashing into you should something untoward occur to make you stop suddenly?

If these people don’t have enough common sense to drive as if their own lives depended on it, do you really think they’re going to have enough sense to see through his bluster?

But maybe there’s a silver lining to this disaster. This man and his cohorts have so enraged the majority of empathetic and honorable people, we hopefully have a real chance to swing the greatest country in the world back onto its righteous path.

John DeLeau, Springfield

 

NO SMOKING GRASS

I was a little late picking up my copy of Eugene Weekly this week. After reading your Letters section, I had to wonder if Karl Stout was a little late in sending his letter regarding field burning (Feb. 23).

Historically, agricultural field burning in and around the Willamette Valley was done in the late summer directly following in the harvest of the ryegrass or other seed crop. I say historically because this type of burning has not been allowed for some years.

I also am wondering what smoke Mr. Stout has been inhaling, as at this time with our extremely typical Oregon rainfall I doubt you could even light up any organic matter which had been resting on the ground for more than 15 minutes.

 I believe Mr. Stout needs to investigate further the source of the poor air he is breathing, as at this time the farmers grass (as in ryegrass) fields are quite green.

Susan Roemhildt, Dexter

 

HIJACKED EDUCATION

If you were one of the thousands of people who marched against the bigotry of the Trump administration during the Women’s March, please speak out against the assault on public education that has culminated in the confirmation of the highly unqualified Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

There has been a war quietly taking place against public education for decades. Those in power began wresting control from local communities using arbitrary scores from standardized testing as their excuse to privatize our national education system. If a majority of students do not pass these standardized tests, public schools can be taken over and run by the private sector. Why?  

Follow the money. Betsy DeVos and her entrepreneurial pals who lobby for voucher systems to create their own private schools have hijacked funding that should go to improving our public schools. In fact, public schools have been starved of resources in order to justify mass privatization.

Notice the packed classrooms and the essential classes such as music, art, theater, physical education, woodworking and auto-shop that have been cut. Look at the teachers being directed to focus on high-stakes standardized testing preparation rather than focusing on meaningful formative and summative performance-based assessments.  

The millions of dollars spent on high-stakes standardized testing and voucher systems should be used for reducing class sizes and providing meaningful educational opportunities. We the people must demand that our local, state, and federal representatives stop the assault on schools and protect the cornerstone of our democracy, public education.

 

L. Farrelly, Eugene