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Letters to the Editor: 1-19-2012


The Bijou’s presentation of Revenge of the Electric Car is a welcome sequel to Who Killed the Electric Car? a decade ago. The opposition has become an advocate. Ten years ago there was only one struggling EV maker in Eugene, today there are several Oregon-based companies involved in EVs and a network of charging infrastructure is growing. Yet most of us drive locally by ourselves on a daily basis. 

Smaller, affordable EVs such as the BugE (www.BugEv.net) and Arcimoto (www.Arcimoto.com) offer us an alternative to expensive EVs and reduce congestion as well. I would hope someone could find a way to stimulate production of these lighter, locally made vehicles for our environmental and economic benefit. Jobs in our community making electric vehicles is an idea whose time has come. 

Mark Murphy, Creswell



I have not owned a car for more than 40 years, but I still help to produce greenhouse gas emissions. Members of the Eugene City Council and other elected officials have a much heavier responsibility: They formulate government policies which can encourage driving by supporting highways while not improving public transit. 

Lane County bus service has actually become worse even though the global warming crisis has grown more acute.

Elected officials could play a significant role in causing the deaths of millions of people in global warming disasters. They are thus legitimate targets for political protests, at their homes or elsewhere.

 Milton Takei, Eugene



Among our local leaders involved in veterans’ issues, there is one leader who stands out: Commissioner Pete Sorenson. As a longtime veteran advocate, a Vietnam Era veteran, a former Oregon president of the Vietnam Veterans of America and commander of the American Legion Post 3, I worked with Commissioner Sorenson to energize the services provided by the Lane County Veteran Services Office (VSO). I can say, without a doubt, that had if it not been for Sorenson’s leadership we would not have the VSO as it is today. With him there on the job, Lane County’s veterans are better served. Not only are Lane County’s more than 27,000 veterans better served, but their spouses, children and other dependents.

I am in strong support of Sorenson’s re-election. 

Judi Greig Lawson, Dexter



Recently in letters (12/29) Lance Robertson from EWEB claims to “set the record straight” about “smart meters” planned for customers and coming soon. His arguments are all about costs and he claims the microwave-emitting meters on homes will “only” cost $352 each.

The trouble with this micro-math is that not all true costs are counted. The dollars wasted are bad enough, but it is uncounted costs that are of the most concern. One of these uncounted costs is cancer — brain cancer.

Trained researchers in this area are the first to admit not all the answers are in. It is true that all sources of electromagnetic radiation are increasing. At the same time rare brain cancers are on the increase, especially for the elderly and the very young. What is unclear is the causality.

Given this situation, any good public utility would seek to reduce all sources of dangers and potential dangers for their customers (owners). But this is not what is happening here in Eugene. EWEB is justifying and pushing smart meters that will increase radio frequency emissions throughout the area, with unknown consequences.

EWEB money comes from ratepayers and I resent paying for unneeded meters that increase the electromagnetic fields we are all exposed to. Rather than taking a conservative approach like many other cities, EWEB is rushing headlong into deploying a potentially dangerous technology with few, if any, benefits to ratepayers.

We can only hope that enough people just say no, examine the issue and stop this unwise, dangerous and expensive project.

Michael Lee, Eugene



To my beloved EW: I want to thank you for a great year. You all should have followed up on the sex trafficking in this state more heavily. That was a great story. You all have done a good job illuminating the homeless situation, especially for youth, and there is a great more to be spelled out for people here until we all decide to really do something about the fact that this community can’t feed and house its offspring — yeah, I said it. 

I also want to thank the mods, punks, skinheads, soulies, fighters, bartenders, doormen and folks that have made being a soul, ska and reggae DJ boss. Yeah, that’s John Henry’s, Diablo’s, Luckey’s, Cowfish — thanks for being fine mates! This year we got Miss Sharon Jones, Budos Band, The Aggrolites, The Slackers, The Beat, Afro-Cuban All Stars and most importantly to African-American musical traditions, the Skatalites. That took not just door money but love, and I know how hard all my neighbors try to make every day here in the wet Northwest tight, right and boss. And someone appreciates your smiles, your money, your showing-the-fuck-up to the shows, your goofy dancing and most of all that love, to love your music and your people. There is nothing like home. 

 I love you, Eugene, because in the cold of winter you warm my scarred heart. Take care. Peace. 

Donovan Worland, Eugene



After reading your recent articles (and other news reports) about the Occupy encampment and its dismantling by Scrooge-like cops just before Christmas, and then Parvin Butte and its dismantling by illegal mining. I’ve got a simple, three-word suggestion: Occupy Parvin Butte!

AmyCat =^.^= aka Amy Carpenter, Eugene



I was asked to host a fundraiser for Occupy. The event was set to take place at Sam Bonds on Jan. 5 and the “organizers” told me that we would get together and go over the itinerary. 

They contacted me on New Year’s Eve around 5 pm, wanting to see if I was available that night. Seemed like a ridiculous time to have a meeting, but I agreed to meet them. Nobody ever showed.

Three days later they want to meet again, no apology or mention of the botched meeting. I am told that I have been replaced as host due to some miscommunication amongst the organizers, but since my name was printed in the Weekly, I can still perform. A text would have sufficed.

The night of the show, the bar is fully occupied. The host wants me to go over my set with him to make sure I’m not going to say anything offensive. In my five years as a comic, this is a first. I’m just going to tell jokes, and if anybody is offended, I would be surprised. The show went awfully, no introduction, no support from those who invited me to be there. Every negative stereotype about the movement was proven true.

I’m not angry, mostly just amused. You want to make a change in the way things work in your world? Perhaps focus more on how you conduct business with people in your everyday life. How’s that for a realistic first step? 

Chris Castles, Eugene



I thought it would be more educational. I didn’t expect to be as appalled as I was by the array of human bodies so deformed, under the guise of science (see www.omsi.edu/bodyworlds). It was a pornographic and offensive display of defiled cadavers and strategically maneuvered body parts. Nipples, penises and vulvas left intact, bodies displayed in sexualized positions, skulls split open, organs removed and rearranged beside their host, parts shuffled about for the artistic effect, not for educational value. 

I felt mentally assaulted by this exhibit. I went there to learn about anatomy, but I left feeling disturbed, with unwanted images of unnatural and horrific corpses. And the educational blurbs beside each abomination won’t add to the knowledge of anyone who has taken basic anatomy classes. I didn’t appreciate being fooled into witnessing a madman’s morally objectionable manipulation of bodies. The ad representing this exhibit shows the muscles of the human form, without changing the form itself. The original Body Worlds exhibit was tamer. The former people within the Body Worlds and the Brain exhibit are monstrous, gruesomely chopped up and rearranged. A psychopath’s wet dream. 

I was sad to see a toddler in there. I hope the little boy doesn’t have nightmares. There should’ve been a warning for parents who think they are taking their children to learn about anatomy. There should have been an age limit. I don’t understand how this is legal. After leaving OMSI, I was very relieved that we chose not to take our children.

Brandy Gordon, R.N., Eugene



Bob Cassidy (letters, 12/22) quotes economist David Cay Johnston as saying that for every dollar that someone in the 99 percent earns, someone in the top 1 percent earned $7,500. Let’s subject that to some simple plausibility testing. Let’s take the 99 percent to represent about 200 million working age adults. Let’s suppose they each earn around $25,000. That’s $5 trillion annually. At 7,500:1, the top 1 percent would earn almost 75 times as much as everyone else, or $375 trillion.

That’s more than 25 times the GDP of the entire nation. I haven’t bothered to refine these numbers. The figure $7,500 is not just wrong, it’s absurdly wrong when subjected to the simplest test of reasonableness. Why did it deserve to be published?

Rob Spooner, Florence



Since City Manager Richard Meyer of Cottage Grove ignored my first letter, I now write regarding the Cottage Grove library. I appreciate the library a great deal, but recently witnessed an elderly man threatened with police action and banishment from the library by Director Pete Barrell in a short-tempered and inappropriate manner. The victim, Graham Lawrence, was mistreated for walking barefoot, which he does typically. When Barrell actually threatened him after being asked why the policy exists, there was no warning, no offer to discuss in another setting. 

I’d been told before that shoes are required and the librarian had said she “did not need to explain the policy.” As public servants, actually they are supposed to have reason for their policies and ought to have no problem explaining them politely.

The argument that bare feet are somehow dirty does not hold; they are typically cleaner than shoes. Bacterial growth results from wearing shoes. Other religions view the foot as sacred, and the ground as sacred to be felt beneath one. If they need to post a sign saying that it is a person’s own risk to enter barefoot, let them. There is no liability implicit. I am still waiting for an explanation and believe the silence shows there is no good reason. Moreover, the police force is clearly not needed to deal with a peaceful guy with no shoes!

At the very least I want the library director to write Lawrence an apology and respect citizenry in the future.

Benjamin Raymond Selker, Cottage Grove



I am writing to extend a belated thank you to the author of an EW viewpoint article published a couple months ago (10/13/11) on the problem of a proliferation of cigarette butts littering our local outdoor public spaces.

Yesterday I was riding my bicycle along the beautiful and extensive Eugene park pathways along the river. Unfortunately, I couldn’t simply enjoy the sunny afternoon and fresh air when I was assailed by cigarette smoke from some walkers and another bike rider.

Why are smokers allowed to continue to contaminate our air and litter our sidewalks and public pathways with their stinky cigarette butts?

I sometimes suffer severe migraine headaches because of cigarette smoke. I doubt I am the only one unnecessarily sickened by inconsiderate smokers.

Diane Van Orden, Springfield



Wow, it is pretty simple. In the 1950s through the 1970s, when people’s incomes surpassed a certain point, that extra income was taxed upward from 90 percent. Contrast this to current times when the tax on really, really high income is 35 percent. It is pretty ironic that the ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s — referred to as an economic Golden Age — is when taxes on high earners was much higher than now. Do the political pundits know their history?

People from well-to-do families with their physical needs, emotional wellness, and education provided for have a better chance to do well in this world. Our tax system says otherwise. The assumption that we all have a fair shot regardless of circumstances is profoundly untrue.

I have been working in human services and it is getting to the point where we cannot do our jobs because the funding is not there. People are dying and people who are in dire need cannot get access to services because the money has been slowly receding over the past 30 years.

Thirty years? That sounds familiar. Oh wait, that is the time the Congressional Budget Office found that the income of the top 1 percent has gone up 275 percent. Coincidence? I think not. Any politician, lobbying firm or think tank that tries to pretend the troubles in our economy and society are outside of this imbalance are blowing smoke onto the issue. Please keep that in mind in terms of any activism and during the next two election cycles.

Kerstin Britz, Cottage Grove