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Letters to the Editor 2017-10-26

ANTIFA AND VIOLENCE

In response to the discussion of the use of violence in the Oct. 19 article “Antifa,” I would like to offer the following: If you seek to change the hearts and minds of those in your community, committing acts of violence will not help you achieve that goal.

It may be tempting to forcefully silence opposing voices, but I implore you to consider non-violent alternatives and to engage others in open and empathetic dialogue.

Richard Griscom, Eugene 

 

NOT 'WHY DOESN'T SHE LEAVE?'

I was the Americorps attorney at Lane County Legal Aid in 1999 when the Domestic Violence (DV) Clinic began. I served the same client base as the clinic and clients from Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS). I appreciated your article about DV and Michael Quillin’s interview (“Discussing Domestic and Sexual Violence,” Oct. 19).  

However, I am tired of the same old why-doesn’t-she-leave rhetoric. Domestic violence is the number-one cause of homelessness among women, and support systems are still extremely inadequate. Calling the police means legal fees if he is arrested and you can’t get out of the relationship, making things worse. There’s also a high incidence of domestic violence in the law enforcement community.

Leaving someone who has degraded you as a means of controlling you is like escaping a captive situation. At the time when women need the most support, I have seen social workers and volunteers stalk my clients to make sure they weren’t having contact with their abuser, instead of giving my clients the support they needed so they didn’t need support from their abuser anymore.

Leaving is the most dangerous event in a domestic violence relationship. It’s not the time to judge the survivor. It’s the time the most support is needed.  

Instead of asking "Why doesn’t she leave," when will we start focusing on and asking, “Why did he do it?” That’s the proper starting point. Instead of examining what she did before she was sexually assaulted, let’s ask the same question.

Nyla Jebousek, Newport 

 

SUPPORT ROAD TAX

Have you appreciated smoother, pothole free driving in Eugene? The improved streets result from projects financed by past bond measures.

The League of Women Voters of Lane County urges voters to support Eugene Measure 20-275 so that we can continue to receive the benefits from street repairs and other improvements. This measure would generate $51.2 million to maintain the city’s road network and develop bike and pedestrian improvements. 

As with two previous street repair bond measures, this measure clearly spells out which streets will be fixed. The city is providing accountability for the spending of the renewed tax revenue by committing to work on 88 specified road segments throughout Eugene, and to make average annual improvements of $1 million for bike and pedestrian safety and access.

The money will not be spent for new streets or to expand vehicle capacity. An outside auditor will review all spending to ensure that these promises are met.

Eugene has successfully reduced about half its backlog of needed road maintenance projects through the work financed by two previous bond measures similar to measure 20-275. The projects have been well distributed throughout the city.

The estimated property tax rate authorized by measure 20-275 is the same as that levied for the two prior measures. We urge a “yes” vote to continue to strengthen our transportation system with necessary investments.

Linda Lynch, president League of Women Voters of Lane County, Eugene 

 

YES ON SAFER STREETS

As a frequent bicycle commuter and as a parent, I’ve been happy to see some of the safety improvements on the roads around town over the past few years: improving bike lanes and creating better crossings for pedestrians.

I also drive when necessary, and I appreciate the repaving projects we’ve seen — keeping the streets in decent repair seems like a no-brainer.

I know that a most of these projects have been funded by the street-repair bond measure that we Eugene voters have passed twice before. This bond is up for renewal this Election Day.

It’s probably not perfect, but it’s helping make our city a better and safer place to get around in. It’s also just good sense to maintain the streets we have. And it’s one of a very few sources of money for this work.

Let’s keep this work going. Vote yes on Measure 20-275.

Heather Brey, Eugene

 

ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFETT

Wow, Will Kennedy! Not only are you likely jealous of Jimmy Buffett’s lifestyle, you are completely wrong about your review “Raffi for Grownups” (Oct. 12).

Buffett, age 70, gave us two-plus hours of entertainment with a fantastic group of musicians backing him up. He opened the show (at Matthew Knight Arena) expressing appreciation to the crowd, acknowledging that we were spending our time and money to be there, and he made sure we had a good time. The crowd was great, and not all of us are Parrotheads or Hawaiian-shirted ugly Americans who vacation in white-washed Sandals Resorts. 

As to your question about the quality of the music, you’ve probably never listened to his extensive discography. His musical talent combined with his rapport with the audience made it a special evening. He played tribute to artists he’s written for, including Van Morrison and the late Tom Petty. Some of his lyrics are beautiful and brilliant, maybe “watery” but not cheap or forgettable.

What I appreciated most is that it was a non-political event, and for two hours we could forget the mess we are in. At the end of the show, he acknowledged that things are weird and scary, and sent us home feeling so much better than when we came in.

Finally, Mr. Kennedy, have you ever been to a Raffi concert? You’ve picked on two great musicians, who try to show us all, no matter our age, financial status, color or gender, how to live our best lives!

Carole Diller, Eugene

 

LONG LIVE RAFFI!

Hey, Will Kennedy: Lighten up.

I can’t tell if you are dissing Raffi or Jimmy Buffett (Oct. 12) with your shallow criticism of one of America’s most popular and successful songwriters, musicians, performers, novelists and entrepreneurs.

Also, your comments made it seem like you have a problem with Raffi’s music. His listeners love him, parents and children alike. Of his latest release, Box of Sunshine, a multi-decades collection of songs, his music is described thusly: “Raffi’s valuable messages of multiculturalism and environmentalism blend together into a wonderful, family-friendly world vision.”

His songs for children are smart, often silly, and sometimes poignant. Raffi’s music strikes a chord with his young listeners and makes them feel good.

The same can be said of Jimmy Buffett and his music for his adult audiences. While many of his mainstream songs lapse into the silly, feel-good mode, he also writes songs that cut across cultural lines and blend poignant messages of hope and harmony.

The fact that Buffett has been successful in marketing his products does not make him an evil capitalist. He gives his audience what they want. He gives them their own little boxes of sunshine.

What’s wrong with that? I’d like to know.

Pat Albright, Eugene

 

ENTITLEMENT OR FREE SPEECH?

The EW Slant column of Oct. 12 editorialized about a student group taking over the UO president’s ceremonial “state of the campus” address. It was to be a piece of ceremonial PR announcing a big donation and maybe not all that important or substantive.

But EW endorsed cutting off the administrator’s speech because the students were apparently virtuous members of minority groups. Wait a minute, EW! Do you really want to have the university, which is at heart based on the free exchange of information and ideas, to be overtaken with a “Whoever Can Yell Loudest Gets To Speak” ethic? Might that backfire in the future?

Protest against UO President Michael Schill and the administration’s policies are fine — show up with leaflets and posters, make a stir before and after the event, ask tough questions in the questions-and-answers portion of the event. But keeping someone from speaking is plainly and clearly just bullying.

Odd that a newspaper so easily forgets the First Amendment and the principle of free speech.

And as I read the 22 “demands,” there’s something screwy here. Demand 11 is “freeze tuition, develop a plan to decrease tuition over the next five years.” But almost all of the other demands actually call for increased expenditures on a pretty large scale.

Where’s the money going to come from? The state has been cutting back its contribution for years, so the only way to meet the “demands” is to cut back elsewhere. Without the protesters giving a plan for cuts, this looks like a pure fantasy: “If you really loved me, you give it to me.”

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene

 

ABOLISHING SEXISM

I’m glad the University of Oregon is looking into ways to prevent sexual violence, but find it disturbing that Title IX is being used to focus on how college women can report being raped.

Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal assistance.”

I would ask UO why they think this amendment was created. It seems to me that the intent is not to deal with rape but to prevent it from happening — to abolish sexism in a place where it can be eliminated, ignored or promoted: education.

I wonder if UO has examined its programs and monetary output for males vs. females to make sure Title IX is being followed — hopefully not because they think they may lose funding, but because it is the right thing to do. 

I hear male sports bring in a lot of money. This has reached obscene proportions, from the coaches’ salaries to the throwaway thousand-dollar uniforms and all the other perks lavished on these males. The values of brutality and superiority are encouraged, while once more women are sacrificed.

Sexism is alive and well right here, right now, and all too often ignored in our rape culture.

Jean Denis, Eugene

 

REMEMBER TO RECYCLE

Thanks to the article in the Register-Guard (Oct. 3) about China’s cracking down on our recyclables, we have the perfect opportunity to make a difference.

I’m guessing most people didn’t know or care where their items went once they left the curb. Out of sight, out of mind, many probably thought, and “I’m doing my part on saving the world.”

Well, folks, you’re not (well, hopefully a good portion of you are), and now is your chance to change that. Simply look carefully at what you’re putting into your bins, and if need be check the list from your recycling service provider as to what is to go in those bins. If what you put in is considered acceptable, how clean is it?

There are so many things on a bigger scale that we don’t have control over, but this is something so simple, so right at our fingertips and curbs, and yet it can have a huge impact on our environment and our lives. 

The bottom line, folks, is please take the time to think about what you’re putting at your curb and whether it’s clean. I know many families’ lives are very busy, and it’s easy to just toss it in the bin and think you’re doing your part. However, as you have hopefully read in the article, because of many people’s carelessness, laziness, etc., we are going back to the old days of just throwing things into the landfills. 

Kristen Kaminski, Eugene

 

PAMPHLET APOLOGY

An apology. In the voters pamphlet, I opposed the bond measure “Bonds to Fix Streets and Fund Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects.” I did so on the grounds that the 9-1 spending on paving streets to alternative transportation infrastructure was not enough.” It isn’t. 

But I went on to say, “This isn’t the right bond for Eugene.” And for that I apologize. 

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, a New York group who manage Oregon Municipal Bonds, identifies the Oregon municipal bond investor as, “Oregon taxpayers who can benefit from income that is exempt from federal and state income taxes.” 

The logic is: Lacking tax money for basic services, the city taxes us to buy a bond that will provide tax free income to the richest Oregonians? 

Outcomes aside, any bond measure impoverishes the community. The $3.8 trillion dollar bond market uses local governments to funnel money upward to the very people who then, (Citizens United v. FEC) control our government from the top down. That is oligarchy, not democracy. 

I want separated bicycle lanes but I cannot support any bond measure. The other day, at the City Club of Eugene, I asked myself, “Who am I? Why am I here?” That was a difficult question. I realized afterward maybe we should all ask ourselves the same question. “Who are we? Why are we here?” Try not to leap to an answer. Sit with it. Then look at this bond measure again. 

Otis Haschemeyer, bike-party.org, Eugene