I have to ask: Why do Occupy protesters insist on covering their faces? From the pigeon-toed girl on the front cover to the (gender unknown) person in the article (12/22), they are doing an excellent job of intimidating viewers. They look more like bank robbers than protesters and are not generating much sympathy.
Michael Kober, Cottage Grove
EDITOR’S NOTE: The signature bandanas serve several purposes: They help protect from tear gas and pepper spray, they are warm, they defy police attempts to identify demonstrators, and they indicate solidarity with street protesters around the world who expect retaliation and even death if they are identified.
THE LONG WINTER
What happened to the gentleman in the Occupy camp is unfortunate, but the consequences of the Eugene City Council’s decision to close the camp will be horrific. Cue the news blurbs describing the folks who die freezing to death in a January frost. We will see the county jail consume more prisoners only to puke them up into the gutters off 5th Avenue. Let us see the increased robberies and the violent acts of a hopeless class of folks who have nothing to lose.
There was a man sleeping at an LTD stop by my house. On the way back from the little market on the corner, I saw CAHOOTS (bless them) helping him into the van. The man was laughing and yelling, “I’ve got to laugh. I’ve just got to laugh! They take away our beds and say we can’t sleep on the ground?” These scenes touch all but the most heartless. Occupy in general helped such people, thus blunting the violence and death of Eugene winters.
If the City Council refuses to find a better solution for taking care of our needy, Eugene is going to become a much harsher place — and we are getting there fast.
Steve Coatsworth, Eugene
It is a sick feeling watching the mountaintop removal of Parvin Butte from my dining room window. The noise of rock being torn from the walls of the butte can be heard throughout Lost Valley. Even deep in the woods the destruction can be heard. Dynamiting and rock crushing haven’t started yet, but I know it will be terrible.
I can’t imagine what my house is now worth, living within 1,500 yards of a gravel quarry. If I wanted to sell it would you buy it? The quarry noise will continue for decades.
I have a good water well, but after dynamiting and mountain removal, will my well be compromised?
This valley and Parvin Butte were beautiful, quiet and serene. The McDougals and Demers snuck in unannounced like intruders and changed life for everyone living anywhere near Parvin Butte. The destruction can be seen as far away as the nearby town of Lowell.
The quarry operators are working illegally and shunning the very laws that we must conform to. How can they continue the destruction of a historic feature without proper permits (site review)?
Endangered Chinook salmon, western pond turtle and Oregon chub live in Lost Creek, which flows right next to the quarry. What are their chances of survival? Who speaks for them?
Be informed and go to YouTube and search for Parvin Butte and then Google “Save Parvin Butte.” Help us stop this unnecessary destruction.
Arlen Markus, Dexter
ENTHUSIASM FOR POT
Activism is not always enough for improvement, but activism is always necessary for improvement.
Safe and legal access to medical marijuana is simply humanity’s gift to itself, a way of life. The more folks accept medical marijuana, the more I enjoy medical marijuana. The more I enjoy medical marijuana, the more enthusiastic folks get about providing me with medical marijuana.
Acceptance, enjoyment, enthusiasm. The three energy frequencies of “awakened” doing.
Happy New Year, humanity.
Joe Canfield, Springfield
LESSONS FROM THE GRINCH
Another holiday season. I imagine the Grinch is chortling, and the unredeemed Scrooge (who could well represent the 1 percent) is rubbing his hands with delight. Once again the victims have been blamed and returned to the streets where they “belong.”
And why such haste to abort the Occupy encampment? Perhaps because it was an experiment that was proving far too successful — especially successful for the houseless participants. There are two needs uniquely met by the encampment that I suspect have not really even been recognized. One is the need for a place for the homeless to “be,” and not just overnight before picking up their belongings and carrying them around like a turtle. The other need is the opportunity to participate, which fosters self-worth. A unique aspect of the encampment is that it was co-created. Everyone there had the opportunity to participate in making decisions and in their implementation. They had an opportunity to be heard and to be useful. They were creating a sense of community.
I, for one, will miss the colorful tents and tarps of the encampment. They were hardly an eyesore; rather, they caught one’s attention and were a reminder that there are many today who have no roof over their heads. I recommend that the police, the city and its better-off citizens all go back and read to the end the stories of the Grinch and of Scrooge and take to heart the lessons learned therein.
Patricia Diehl, Eugene
NOT ANOTHER BUSH
I am writing this in response to the Slant item (12/22) about the 2012 presidential race. The part that was so infuriating: “If you’re one of those independent voters who doesn’t yet have a favorite candidate in the 2012 presidential race, try these names. Jeb Bush is surfacing again ...”
After all that was done under the reign of George W. Bush and his father (not even going to mention Prescott here), the author of this piece has the audacity to throw Jeb Bush’s name at the fine citizens of Eugene.
I don’t know what is more of a travesty, seeing the influencing words of EW endorsing a Bush family member who isn’t even running or completely ignoring Ron Paul as a choice in the GOP.
Not a single mention of the fine congressman who is surging in the polls and is currently polling at #1 for the upcoming Iowa caucuses. The top contender, front runner and role model to many freedom-loving Americans has seen a major media blackout and it saddens me to see the influence here in my hometown.
I feel as though we the people of Eugene have been paid a huge disservice by one of our cherished news sources. I put into question the motives behind the publication. Please show us you have the peoples’ best interest at heart and make it up to us somehow.
t0mmy Newton, Eugene
EDITOR’S NOTE: We didn’t endorse Jeb Bush, just wrote about his rise in stature among Republicans frustrated by the current lineup, including Ron Paul.
Like many Americans I am disgusted with the ineptitude of our Congress, corporate greed and shady bank deals that have helped push our country to the very brink and for the most part send us into our generation’s more toned down version of the Great Depression. I was heartened initially when the Occupy movement started and was glad to see there was some piss and vinegar in the younger generation (as well as some old timers)
I think many people are yearning for a focus for their anger and disappointment with the direction of American politics and social justice. But there are elements to the Occupy movement that are discrediting the rest of what could be a powerful and elevating forward progression.
After reading the Dec. 22 cover story “Disenfranchised” by Camilla Mortensen, I catch myself saying “Good God! Lane County is bursting with social services and yet still people bitch about it,” or “Why are taxpayers on the hook for a trashed park filled with angry Occupiers with needles, fights and general chaos breaking out?” I have worked with the homeless and I’m very sympathetic to the crushing blow of losing one’s job (I lost mine two and a half years ago). But the world doesn’t owe you jack squat. So if social services aren’t up to snuff maybe you should just be thankful there are any services available at all! Lane County is one of the better places if you are hard up.
And if you’re really serious about changing the world, start by elevating your own movement, focus your statement and stop acting like spoiled kids.
Patrick Kavaney, Eugene
TARGETING THE RICH
Hurrah for the Occupy Eugene protesters who carried their fight to the home of City Councilor George Poling Christmas night. Taking the fight directly to the people who are part of the problem is, in my view, an excellent strategy. These tactics ought to be expanded to include others who are part of the problem.
There are people living among us who make obscene amounts of money while others are homeless or living in poverty. Chip Kelly is a name that comes to mind as one of the obscenely rich (about $300,000 a month). Protesting in front of the homes and at the workplaces of the wealthiest among us is an idea whose time has come. Make their names public, along with how much they earn. See where the public outcry would fall then.
Nobody should be homeless and starving while the few among us are getting obscenely richer and richer.
Allan Grossman, Springfield
As expected, Nancy Willard (letters, 12/8) has begun her yearly rant about “4Js two-tiered system of inequitable schools.” Willard expresses her displeasure with our school district policies regarding choice. As a veteran teacher in my 30th year in 4J, the last 17 at Corridor Elementary, I do know a little bit about that school. I take issue with her comments about Corridor.
Willard tends to lump all alternative schools together when discussing inequality. I will not disparage any particular school, alternative or neighborhood, because I know that all schools work very hard to educate the students we serve. However, I would like to clear up some misconceptions about Corridor that I believe her letter presents. It is not the information or statistics that she quotes that I am concerned with. I am certain she has access to district information. It is the facts and trends that she omits that I take issue with.
Corridor has a continually changing demographic. While we do not have as high a percentage of “disadvantaged racial minorities” as some other schools, we do have a significant number of economically disadvantaged families. In fact, Corridor this year qualified for Title 1 federal assistance because our school ended last year with more than 40 percent of our families qualifying for free or reduced lunch. In addition, Corridor hosts a Comprehensive Learning Center for special needs children.
Willard further states that “all of the alternative schools have far fewer students than the board has determined is the minimum size for an elementary school.” This is a grossly misleading statement. Corridor has been stymied for most of its existence by a district-imposed cap on total enrollment. Corridor has very little room to grow. We share the Silver Lea building with another alternative school, Yujin Gakuen, as the only example of co-located alternative schools. Our facilities are stressed to the maximum by two demonstrably different programs vying for space and time. Still, we work collaboratively to limit problems. As an elementary building Silver Lea is the largest in the district with 539 students. One can only hope that number exceeds the district minimum.
In the future, Willard would do well to research “the facts” a little more deeply before lumping all alternative schools together.
Thomas B. Hayward, Eugene
The homeless people in our midst are a painful, visible symptom of unbridled capitalism — in effect, capitalism run amok.
I propose that we be honest with ourselves and call homeless people what in truth they are: our domestic refugees.
Like the Japanese people who were washed from their homes by the March 11, 2011 tsunami, our domestic refugees have been squeezed out of a competitive economic system where equal opportunity, honesty, fairness and humane-ness have eroded away.
As a society, we help victims of natural disasters or of tyrannical regimes in other lands. What will we do with our own unfortunate ones? And with the disaster that is this broken economic system?
Julie Rogers, Eugene
COVER FOR CUTS
I received a letter recently from the Oregon Health Authority saying my Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) benefits will be reduced. This is nothing personal; I’m sure all OHP recipients got the letter. Apparently the state’s “transformation” of OHP is really a cover for cuts. I won’t be voting for any incumbents in 2012. Democrats are as worthless as Republicans. The purpose of government is to provide services. If it doesn’t provide them, there is no reason for us to support it.
Lynn Porter, Eugene
It appears that Eugene’s government, whether it be law enforcement or city councilors, are above the law of this land, our state Constitution as well as the U.S. Constitution. These employees paid from our tax dollars are lawless and don’t even abide by their own laws and rules.
As for the homeless, I believe that the leaders would wish that they would just go away, but in this economy today we know that isn’t going to happen. And the justice system here in Eugene turns a remarkable number of citizens into a homeless life, with unjust convictions and systemic injustice, which is rife in our society and economy.
This is not what Jesus would want. He tells us what we must do for those poorest of the poor: house them, give them food, drink and clothing. Don’t let them get sick or jailed without offering your help (Matthew 25). Our wealthy government used to guarantee this. What have we become? And let’s not forget, leaders of Eugene and afar: One day we are all going to meet our maker and have to give an account for our actions. Peace be with you.
Maria Jenkins, Eugene
THE PRICE OF INDIFFERENCE
I am a survivor of a shooting in my teen years, when a boy I didn’t know shot and killed another only a few feet from me. A couple of years later, a troubled teen acquaintance of mine shot and killed a man in cold blood and went to death row. A few years before, a close teen friend of mine shot himself to death with his family’s gun.
Stories like these are all too familiar in our newscasts and culture, to the point that we hardly notice anymore. In 2011 there were at least 14 shootings of people reported in the Eugene/Springfield area, with nine dead and six injured and at least 27 armed robberies using guns, but changes can be made to reduce these numbers. First, we must acknowledge the problem and pay tribute to those who have paid the price of our indifference.
On Sunday, Jan, 8, on the anniversary of last year’s shooting in Tucson, Arizona, I will join a candlelight vigil for gun violence victims at 5 pm at the old federal building in Eugene at 7th and Pearl. It’s sponsored by local peace and non-violence groups, and Mayor Kitty Piercy will be speaking. Please join me there and light a candle. There are too many victims of gun violence in America.
Baldr Odinson, Junction City
WHAT ABOUT W?
In all the debates and all the interviews of all the Republican candidates running for president I have not yet heard a single question about former president George W. Bush. After all, he's the one who got America into the mess we are in so I would think the Bush issue should be discussed. I'd like to ask the candidates how they would compare and contrast their policies with that of the Bush administration. From what I see if we vote for any of them they're just going to do the same thing Bush did. Why would we want to do that again?
And presidential candidate Rick Santorum this week told a mostly white audience in Iowa that he didn't want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." Really? I didn't know that Wall Street investment firms had that many black people.
Marc Perkel, Gilroy, Calif.
LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows, with priority given to timely local issues. Please limit length to 200 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. Email to letters at eugeneweekly dot com fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.