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Letters to the Editor 2017-09-07

SOUR GRAPES

Kendra Lady, in her Aug. 31 letter, made a very heartfelt and passionate point about the University of Oregon and its fans' “cult like” adoration of its Ducks sports program. It seems that the main point of her letter was not with the UO but with Eugene and our racist and bigoted past.

Unfortunately, the entire country has a racist and bigoted past, present and, unfortunately, future as well. It also seems as if Lady is airing her “sour grapes” regarding her dance funding being suspended. I could argue that her letter would be moot had uncle Phil built her a fancy dance studio and funded her program with donations.

Indeed, hypocrisy, like racism, is nothing new.

John Carlson, Eugene

 

$41.2 MILLION COMMA

I have taught English for 22 years and teach writing for Stanford University online. I have never seen as reprehensible a manipulation of language as in the “Ballot: Bonds to Fix Streets, Fund Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects” to meet Eugene voters in the special election of Nov. 7. 

In the title, the comma suggests parallelism. Items in a series suggest ascension. The colloquial “Fix Streets” is diminutive to the grandiloquent “Fund Projects.” Each of these misleads voters to believe that “Fund Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects” is equal or paramount to “Fix Streets.” 

Spoiler alert: It ain’t even close.

In “Question,” we’re asked: Shall the city raise $51.2 million? Omitted is the unequal disbursement of funds. Obfuscated is, who pays? In the “Summary,” the topic sentence reinforces the false equivalency of the title: “fix approximately 88 lane miles of roads and fund bicycle and pedestrian projects” [my emphasis]. Halfway through that paragraph we learn: “$1 Million for bicycle and pedestrian projects” per year.  “The remainder would be used to fix streets, as well as pay bond issuance costs.” 

The remainder?

That “remainder” is $46.2 million, at plus or minus $41.2 Million. 

Criminally misleading and vague, nowhere do you state the clear math. This ballot measure proposes $46.2 to “fix streets” and pay costs, $500,000 per mile for 88 miles. Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects are thrown $5 million for a “Yes” vote.

The ballot speciously garners votes from advocates of environmental infrastructure.   

I believe this ballot, should it pass, is actionable. 

Otis Haschemeyer, Eugene

 

SHORTSIGHTED EWEB

Drawdown is the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) to achieve the goal of reversing global warming and is the name of the book by Paul Hawken that lists comprehensive solutions to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Renewable onshore and offshore wind generation rank #2 and #22 respectively, and combined are the best means to naturally reduce carbon dioxide.

Due to a glut of surplus energy, EWEB is proposing to sell its ownership of two wind farms the utility says it doesn’t need (Register-Guard, Aug. 5). However, in Oregon, when utilities install a megawatt of renewable energy, they also are granted a megawatt of credit they can save or sell.

EWEB pays three times the normal megawatt-per-hour rate to Seneca biomass until 2025. Biomass is only 20 percent efficient when it generates electricity and, as a result, is not considered renewable.

EWEB also gets “dirty energy” until 2020 from the Boardman coal plant. With two major producers of GHG emissions supplying EWEB energy, EWEB should reconsider their future energy sources.

The city of Eugene adopted the Climate Recovery Ordinance and is committed to 50 percent community-wide reduction of carbon dioxide below 2010 levels by 2030. This requires EWEB to be a large partner in this endeavor by sourcing energy from hydroelectric, wind and solar, and for its customers to shift to all electric and phase out natural gas usage.

EWEB is aware of this upcoming transition to reduce community-wide carbon emissions and the forecast of 30,000 more customers by 2030. Selling proprietary renewable energy sources is shortsighted and headed in the wrong direction.

Jim Neu, 350.EUG

 

TOTAL ECLIPSE

As a recent attendee of the Oregon Eclipse Gathering that took place on Big Summit Prairie, I have an enraged message for the festival regarding its pervasive hypocrisy: You are a group of visionaries that creates wildly impressive events at the expense of the environment and oppressed humans while claiming to care deeply about both.

At some level in your event planning, there is an awareness of this, and you choose to ignore it because you would rather feel the high that putting on such an event provides for you and the thousands of attendees. You are deeply entrenched in the very paradigm that your people so fervently claim to be evolving beyond, and until you make the difficult sacrifice that is required to end this hypocrisy (i.e. stop holding these events), you will remain there.

I will give you one thing though: I’ve been to many, many festivals, and none has managed to present me with this level of clarity. None has put me in a place where I could no longer hide from my own contributions to the very things I claim to be opposed to.

I thank you for providing me with a painfully honest view of the counterculture that I have identified myself with for so long now, and it is my sincere hope and intention that this letter returns the favor by providing you with a more authentic view of yourself.

Shelda Lee, Eugene

 

OBF BLUNDER

The abrupt firing of Matthews Halls as artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival is a stunning blow to the musical community in Eugene and to me personally

This last summer I enjoyed rehearsals and performances of Bach's music under Halls' direction. Since no reason has been given to the public for the termination of Halls' contract, since the festival board of directors was not consulted, and since an unnamed representative of the University of Oregon has been said to have carried out the firing by telephone, I am left with the feeling that a great injustice has been done to a fine musician.

OBF spokesperson Josh Gren tried to pass off the extraordinary action as a "strategic decision" to keep the OBF relevant, while a badly written Aug. 27 press release proposed a murky plan to hire "guest curators" of music for next year's season. Can the OBF survive? I fear that under the new leadership — whoever they are — the answer is "probably not."

Dina Wills , Eugene

 

LESSONS OF HOUSTON

President Trump avoided many mistakes that G.W. Bush made, but that is mainly because President Obama rebuilt FEMA after Bush’s disaster. The emergency responders were wonderful. This is what the alt-right calls the “deep state” at work.

Trump wanted to reduce FEMA by 25 percent. Hurricane Harvey disproved many Republican myths. Government is good and actually helps people in need. Climate Science is good and accurate and saved thousands of lives. The “liberal media” is accurate and its dedicated reporters put themselves in harm’s way to warn everyone of the danger.

This may be the most expensive disaster we have experienced. How Houston recovers will illustrate the basic philosophical difference between the parties. Republicans deny climate science and think that tax cuts for the rich are more important than helping the common people. They think any emergency spending should be offset with spending cuts.

Democrats know that disasters like these will become more extreme and common. They think the rich should help pay for the recovery with higher taxes and that climate science should be used to plan for and avoid future climate disasters.

Houston showed how great the common people are who responded to this disaster. Congress should not shut down the government. They should work in a bipartisan manner to help the common people, not the rich. They should enact disaster relief and rebuild infrastructure, they should save health care and they should tax the hedge fund managers so the rest of us can get a break.  

Jerry Brule, Eugene

 

GOT A LIGHT?

Listen up, Eugeneans: It’s time to close your goddamned cell phones, dig your heads out of your asses and clean up your addiction to cigarettes. Call up a hypnotist, schedule an appointment and find freedom from these dark spirits.

These cigarettes, especially the filters on the ends of them, are full of the most vile, sickening, vicious, nasty, evil, dark spirits that will suck your soul — to death. You have been warned.

Please pick up your filters, pick up your butts and live. Or die. It’s up to you. But if you drop your butts on the ground in a moment of pure self-aggrandizing selfishness, you will be condemned to death by the Lord.

The dark spirit of Death will wrap its leathery wings around your face and consume your spirit entirely — on the spot. Because the lives of our children are at stake, and the Dark Goddess will call forth a terrible vengeance upon you for thinking only of yourself. Your life is worthless compared to the needs of children.

Pick up your butts or die. The choice is up to you. Do it.

You narcissistic pieces of filth! 

Jason Benjamin Gamble, Eugene

 

ENDING POVERTY

The Eugene Weekly continues to be a shining example of a media outlet that listens to its readers, prints their ideas and reminds readers of activist opportunities. As a volunteer with RESULTS working to end hunger and poverty in America and our world, I believe this is necessary for democracy.

The poverty that exists in our country is created by structures we can change. Yet there are calls for cutting safety net programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps) when one in 5 children aren’t sure of their next meal. 

The calls for tax reform are often coupled with tax breaks that benefit the already wealthy. The exceptions are the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit that have helped millions of people stay above the poverty line and can be extended to lesson the income inequality.

The way out of poverty is to speak up to our elected representatives about these solutions that work. RESULTS offers advocacy training and a chance for individuals to make a difference. 

Learn to use your voice to do this work, and check in at results.org. We are the ones we have been waiting for!

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Wash.

 

BAD HIRE

You chose this guy to clean up the dump.

Scary re-creation of Colonel Blimp.

Notably an egotistical grump

with a brain size that of a shrimp.

He claimed he finds Washington a sump,

himself — with the morals of a pimp.

Jean Marie Purcell, Eugene

 

BRING THEM (SOME) DOWN

What should we do with old Robert E. Lee?

He might look best all tar-and-feather-y.

Just hold an annual “pillow fest”

To raise funds for the civil rights chest.

Too, fasten on a hat pulled back from his crown

To symbolize him bein’ run out of town.

Dan Athearn, Eugene

 

SMOKE POEM

To the northeast, east, southeast, and south, acres are aflame.

The smoke is in the city. The wind won’t blow, nor the clouds rain.

On sidewalks, people put on masks, then take them off for a cigarette.

In the bedroom we can’t decide what’s best:

Crack the windows for a breeze, and smoke in the chest?

Or batten down and stifle, sleeping in sweat?

The smoke is heavy, is low, is dim –

It goes to our heads.

The sun is a small orange disc that sets.

Those teenagers, lighting fireworks! Or so it is said.

I read that smoke is solid –

                        and yet liquid –

                        and gas yet?

I read, “a smoke cloud does not obstruct an image,

but thoroughly scrambles it,” which I don’t get.

But there is a deadening –

A softness –

A lack of depth –

The tops of trees are cloaked,

The strength of sun is checked.

The roses, feeling dry and white, can’t get comfortable to rest. 

Hillary Tully, Eugene