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Letters to the Editor: 1-31-2013

NO MORE FLAT TAXES

No! No! No! Eugene citizens do not want another flat tax that punishes the middle class and the poor. We do not want to continue down the road of flat taxation! $240 added to the utility bills annually is not much for someone making over $100,000, but for the many making less than $20,000 or even $30,000 it is difficult. The conservative Heritage Foundation continues to advocate flat taxation as well as tax write-offs while schools and public services are cut. The separation between the rich and the poor grows larger. I hope everyone contacts their city councilor and asks them to reverse this punishing trend. 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

A GENTLE SOUL

I wish to say goodbye to Sweet Pea [see news story and letter 1/24]. He was my friend for a couple years now. Last summer I commissioned him to compose a drawing for a very dear friend; much of the specialty in that was because she was a good friend to him as well. The finished product was met with delight in the three of us. I had it matted and framed and she owns a beautiful reminder of the gentle soul we loved.

Dan McQuillan, Eugene

 

LANE COUNTY CABAL

I am outraged to learn about Lane County board members considering big raises for their two highest-paid employees! I don’t care if salaries are the same or not in other counties. This county is in dire straits. Working people are barely surviving, EWEB is gouging us as we conserve more energy, and it is time that employees and elected officials in public agencies feel some of the pain that the rest of us feel.

Stephen Dingle accepted his position at the current salary. County Administrator Liane Richardson just got an automatic 3 percent raise, and apparently from now on, she will get another automatic one of up to 6 percent annually. If Human Resources, Richardson and Dingle don’t think their salaries are competitive, they should please find work somewhere else. I know there are competent people out there who would love to make over $150,000 a year, and might even really care about what happens to the people of this county while doing it!
 

The board is cutting every program (except their own salaries) and has plans to ask taxpayers for more money. They refuse to consider raising pathetically low taxes on timber interests mining our forests, and Richardson, with the three conservatives and their business cronies, has been running roughshod over Lane County citizens for years! It’s like a secret cabal. I’m sick of it! 

No more executive raises in local governments until we all see better days. Nothing less will do!

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene

 

FLAMING REGRESSIVITY

 $10 a month out of a Social Security Check of $670 is beyond outrageous. I live in a really old, drafty, roof-leaking apartment building. All I can afford. Ten more bucks from the company that threatens to terminate my electricity if I am late with payment and as little as 25 cents short. I kid you not. 

I had to take custody of my 13-year-old granddaughter. They cut my food stamps in half. I have a masters in public administration. I did not use it to get rich. I used it to fight City Hall as a volunteer or work for low-paying nonprofits. Before my degree at age 50, I worked 30 years in factories, low-skilled office work and print shops.

Part of the reason my Social Security check is so small is because some of the companies I worked for never paid into my Social Security. For many reasons I can’t go back and make them pay in now. 

Even if you made the tax a flat percentage by use, those in my living circumstances would pay much more than those who can afford more expensive, modern, energy efficient, re-insulated living quarters. That’s called “flaming” regressivity. 

How about a few-dollar increase to all those new tenants who are lining up to fill all that new office space downtown? 

Pat Hadley, Downtown Eugene

 

 

UO HAD LITTLE CHOICE

What other choice did Oregon football have? No proven head coach would come here to face the NCAA sanctions likely to come for illegal recruiting for which his predecessor was accused. It should be no surprise that Oregon’s only valid option for a new coach would come from its current staff.

Mark Helfrich knows the long-term challenges because he has been on the staff since the departed guy first was head coach. That covers the years of illegal recruiting. Can anyone doubt Helfrich also was in on the cover-up? Was there really a national search for a new coach as prescribed? If so, in the short time they had, it must’ve been conducted on the internet.

Sanctions or not, Helfrich will not be in mourning. He was to be paid under $400,000 as an assistant next season. With big cash from irresponsible donors, UO football is likely to pay him near the millions it obscenely paid his predecessor. If he should cry, it will be all the way to the bank.

George Beres, Eugene

 

BEYOND OBSCENE

 So it’s 2013. Oh say, have we not seen violence and pleasure and the difference between? How could this have truly been? Is this all a reality television scene or an actual reality murder seen? And do our children know the difference between? Bullets real and imagined continue to careen, in our schools, streets and home TV and computer screens! 

Speak up for compassion and morality, someone please convene. Greed at what cost, arms sales, this is beyond obscene! Time to return to the manners of old, the times of Mr. Clean, when magazine meant Life or Time, not 30-bullet magazine. Child, teen, tween, human been and any age in between: America, from guns can we wean?

Tim Boyden, Eugene

 

MORE ART FOR JUSTICE

The article, “The Art of Restorative Justice” by Alex Notman [1/10] was excellent. Not included, however, was an additional arts presentation included in the “Prisons, Compassion, and Peace” events in March. There will be a poetry reading, “Voices from Inside,” featuring poets familiar with the experience of incarceration in Oregon prisons, including the currently and formerly incarcerated as well as family members of incarcerated persons. The poetry reading is part of the Windfall Reading Series sponsored by the Lane Literary Guild and the Eugene Public Library and will be held at 5:30 pm Tuesday, March 19, at the Downtown Eugene Public Library.

Tricia Hedin, Eugene

 

LOSE THE ATTITUDE

What have the words “to serve and protect” come to mean? Toward the end of a wonderful Christmas day and in the last 20 minutes of my shift, I used the phone to call the one I love for that long-needed ride home. I started cleaning, emptying the garbage cans and dimming the lights; by then she was already pulling in. I ran in the back to hurry and count my end-of-the-day till before dropping it in the safe. I headed back to the office to lock the door as I saw a Eugene police officer pulling into the parking lot. I continued locking up and turned around to the police officer raising his voice to my girlfriend and I kindly said, “Is there a problem here, sir?” Officer Trotter stated he was called out for a suspicious driver trying to pump their own gas. I reassured him that everything was fine and that it was my girlfriend just here to pick me up. 

I turned around to thank him for coming by to make sure everything was OK. As I extended my hand to shake his in appreciation, he gave me a rude look and simply walked away. This is what our tax dollars are paying for, pure rudeness. I can understand being cautious with criminals, but I was a store employee in full uniform, just trying to thank him for serving and protecting our community. I think the police need to be cautious when out working the streets, but lose the attitude.

James Whitcombe, Eugene

 

DETROIT IS SAFER

Detroit, Mich., may be slightly safer than Eugene if you are a woman. According to www.city-data.com and www.areavibes.com, Eugene had almost twice the amount of rapes committed per capita as Detroit in 2010 (Eugene had 80 per 100,000, Detroit had 45 per 100,000). For five years straight (2006 to 2011), Eugene had more rapes per capita than Detroit (2012 stats were not available). Eugene has a worse record protecting our women than the “murder capital.” That’s absolutely unacceptable. Hey boys — be a man. Protect our women. Don’t prey on them. 

Terry C. Dunham, Eugene

 

IN DEFENSE OF GUNS

The gun control debate has become so divisive, even among friends, as the mindless massacres continue. (Domestically and as all “civil wars” continue.)

Wisely written as the Second Amendment to our Constitution, citizens of the U.S. have the right to bear arms. What kind of arms is not specified? (No nukes, I presume!) I say “wisely” because it is our right to defend ourselves from insane murderers, any insane dictator’s militia, unjust police invasions and all potential malicious invasions of our homes and communities.

The right to self-defense is what that amendment guarantees. I agree. The rest is working out the details of questions like, what is an assault weapon? Can the same weapon be used in defense (say a major assault on your home or community?) and become a defense weapon? I say yes. Many blame the gun. It is an instrument of death. Assault or defense is another question about when lethal force is justified.

 Michael Mooney Pleasant Hill

 

EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION

Americans had another wake-up call about gun violence. No one should have an assault rifle except police and soldiers. Did anyone point out that mostly all of the shooters were young, white males? That crime against women and children has gone up by 125 percent. We no longer live in the “Wild, Wild West” or during the American Revolution.

We should deny access to assault type weapons; you can still have your handguns and rifles. And when someone buys large amounts of bullet magazines someone should be notified! Many states do not require a mental illness check. But remember many in the population have mental illnesses that are not on any list. They say one of 25 people are psychopaths; they are our neighbors, people we meet on the street, and even in our own families. And most of them aren’t even diagnosed.

What is the alternative? More mass killings? It’s not the “shoot ’em” up world anymore. For five generations my family never owned a gun, (except in the military) who never felt afraid of “what if,” and we survived.

I am going to call both Walmarts locally and in Benton, Ark., to ask them to stop selling semi-automatic weapons. Did you know they agreed to stop selling them in 2004 but just didn’t stop? Look in your hearts and do the right thing.

Diane DeVillers, Eugene

 

WE HAVE A MILITIA

I’m all for owing guns. I’ve hunted all my life from Alaska to Michigan.

However, the Second Amendment refers to our country during a time when we did not have a “regulated militia” to defend the newly born nation, the United States of America, from invasion from countries known to have regulated militias, such as England.

Today, we have a well-armed and regulated militia to defend our country. We spend more on our militia than then next 10 nations on earth combined. That’s how well-regulated we are as a militia!

For those who believe the Second Amendment refers to the right of a common person owning assault rifles to defend against tyrannical governments, you couldn’t be more mistaken and basically, you missed the boat.

Our government sold us lies to get us into Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and no overthrow of our leaders was attempted. Those of you ready to act against tyranny, against our government, missed the boat again as Wall Street collapsed the world economy in 2008-2009 and our government confiscated billions to give to their cronies. If you haven’t stood up to the government by now, you never will.

I also find it ironic that Oliver North would write a column regarding the Second Amendment, constitutional rights and protecting our country from “enemies, foreign and domestic.” This man wouldn’t even be allowed to own a gun had it not been for a presidential pardon regarding his role in the Iran-Contra affair. He would be a convicted felon.

Greg Harris, Springfield