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Letters to the Editor: 11-15-2012

RACIST CODE WORDS

The election brought good news, not only because the candidates whom I supported did well, but because the process speaks well of us. The biggest money didn’t always carry the day. And a campaign of racism, misogyny, gay-bashing and persecution of immigrants and the poor got its ass kicked.

See, my whole life I have thought that racism was fading away, that left alone it would decompose like dead leaves. So the “rebirth of American racism” we’ve seen in the last few years has been a shock. As Fran Leibowitz pointed out, “He’s a Muslim,” “He’s a socialist,” “He’s not a U.S. citizen” are code words. They all mean “He’s different, he’s not ‘one of us,’ he’s colored.” 

The effigy lynchings, the monkey pictures, the threats of violence are dangerous symptoms of a dark disease. The Republican campaign did nothing to challenge this, nothing to discredit it, and, in fact tried to cash in on it. But it didn’t work.

NPR is complaining that after all that money spent, all that work, that nothing has changed, we have all the same players. I beg to differ. We have 20 women in the U.S. Senate. It’s not parity, but it’s closer than we’ve ever come before. Three states legalized universal marriage and another beat off a gay-bashing amendment. Welcome to the future. Starts now.

William (Chico) Schwall, Eugene

 

KNEE-JERK ASSUMPTIONS

As I was filling out my ballot, I did what I always do and checked EW’s endorsements. While looking through the article on the Taylor/Valle race, I encountered two paragraphs that made me wonder if I should read anything else. I reproduce them here so that they can be carefully examined with some commentary:

“Valle’s campaign manager is former progressive councilor David Kelly, and his largest contributor ($4,238) is Kelly’s wife, Jane Kelly, but other donors contributing to his campaign are far less progressive.

“Development and real estate-related interests that have donated to Valle include the Eugene Association of Realtors, developer Dan Neal, Anslow & DeGeneault, Inc., Bennett Management Company (commercial and large-scale apartment management), Jean Tate of Windermere Real Estate and real estate consultant Hubert J. Prichard.”

The last clause in the first paragraph indicates clearly that what follows is a listing of the “far less progressive” donors to Valle’s campaign. I guess we have to assume that anybody who owns or develops property is automatically “far less progressive” than somebody or other. 

And yet, of the people listed that I know or have had contact with, Dan Neal produces some of the best built, most attractive, and most environmentally appropriate housing in the area. Bennett Management is headed by Rob Bennett, former city councilor, founding member of the Intergovernmental Housing Policy Board, forever an advocate and activist for affordable housing, and one of the prime motivators for the revitalization of downtown Eugene. Jean Tate has too many progressive involvements and good deeds in her career to even begin to list them, and is a founding board member of Metropolitan Affordable Housing, one of the primary nonprofit housing companies in our area. And then there’s Hubert J. Prichard, who, I assume, is the same person everybody else on the planet knows as Hugh Prichard, longtime advocate for affordable housing, sensible urban planning and general progressive good guy. I have to assume listing him as Hubert J. Prichard (as it must have appeared on his check to Valle) is simply the writer’s, and editor’s, ignorance of who he is. 

This knee-jerk assumption that because you own and/or develop property automatically makes you some kind of progressive pariah is the kind of holier-than-thou ideological cul-de-sac that casts a pall on the liberal/progressive movement in general. All of the people listed above are valued community members who have advocated for progressive goals. Whether EW’s characterization of them as “far less progressive” is bad reporting, clumsy editing, ignorance, or ideological orthodoxy, it’s exactly the kind of message that discredits progressives in general.

For the sake of all of us with progressive values and goals, please, get it right, or don’t write it.

John Wagner, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: There must be 50 shades of progressive.

 

FOOD BUSINESS ALLIANCE

As reported in last week’s [Biz Beat, 11/1], Mayor Kitty Piercy proclaimed Oct. 24 as “Food Day.” But what wasn’t reported was that this proclamation took place at a meeting of the members of the Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance — many of whom graced the “Best of Eugene” pages of the very same EW issue.

The Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance (WVSFA) is a group of approximately 50 local food businesses that have come together to establish recognition of the Willamette Valley as a premiere source of natural foods through shared values, relationships, education and sustainable business practices. 

At the “Taste of the Valley” in the fall and “Fun with Fermentation” in January, WVSFA’s efforts are on display as member businesses gather under one roof to sample their products to the public.

WVSFA member businesses themselves continue to innovate and delight throughout the year, as evidenced by last week’s “Best of Eugene” awards for Ninkasi, Oakshire, Falling Sky, Sweet Life Patisserie, Café Yumm and Vanilla Jill’s, as well as the Biz Beat mention of “Jack and Jill’s Courtyard.” We are truly lucky to have such innovative businesses in our backyard, as well as a city government and public that supports them.

Zachariah Baker, Eugene

 

VULGAR ATTACK

An overtly racist letter entitled “The Puppy Vote” was printed in EW Nov. 1. This letter is a vulgar attack against women and against interracial marriage. To refer to Juan Carlos Valle’s family, using the words “vanilla breeder credentials,” is racist and sexually violent. In addition, misogynistic sexual references are included in this letter about Betty Taylor are an affront to women and to Betty Taylor as a woman.

Words hurt and kill people every day. This letter in EW supports disempowerment and its inclusion confuses me. There is a great danger in the use of blind words and attitudes about people who are seen as different from oneself. We all need to keep challenging ourselves and those around us to grow, to see where we can create connection, not division.

The letter ironically comes after “You Are Not Alone,” a letter from the Human Rights Commission and Mayor Kitty Piercy, which calls for Eugene to be welcoming, and it expresses sympathy for racism and acts of violence and hatred in our community. 

Barb Stevens-Newcomb, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re not 100 percent certain of the author’s intentions but we perceived the letter as satire, alas a risky form of humor. 

 

BAD HANGOVER

Hey, the election is over and your guy won. I know you feel great this morning.

I feel like I drank crappy Schnapps and chased it with a six-pack of PBR. While my head doesn’t physically hurt, my stomach is a mess and my emotions are in a whirl.

But in the end, I am not just some pissed off Republican who was hoping for revenge. Oh, wait, that was your guy. What I really am is simply and supremely disappointed that enough lazy turds that are content with being spoon-fed all their lives; that are content living off their Oregon Trail Cards (which is me, actually); that think taking from others who may have 15 cents more than they do is justified; that think the unions are looking out for them; got together and chose to push our country closer to a pure drug-addled, video game, spoon-fed haze of mediocrity largely at the expense of others who get up every day and go to work.

I wish more lazy turds had higher hopes for themselves and their children.

I need another PBR.

Brian Palmer, Eugene

 

REALLY, OREGON?

I don’t know if I’m more shocked, angry, or disappointed to see that Oregonians failed to pass the measure for legalizing marijuana in the recent election. I originally moved to Oregon decades ago, believing that Oregon was the most progressive state in the U.S. I guess I’m really going to have to rethink that at this point!

So rather than collect taxes on marijuana to aid the state’s failing budget issues (among the worst in the U.S.), and end the useless and ill-conceived enforcement of Victorian-era prohibition, we have instead chosen to spend even more state revenue on enforcing that which can not be enforced. This is proven out, as there is better and more marijuana now than there has ever been, despite almost a century of prohibition.

Here in Lane County, we can not even keep the perpetrators of violent crimes in our jail, due to budget issues that keep us from both maintaining and staffing the county jail, yet we will now continue to add to that problem instead of resolving it.

But what really shocks me the most is that a more conservative state like Colorado would be the first to challenge federal laws and break the ice on this issue, and classify marijuana in the same category as liquor, which is where it belongs once the age old propaganda of the 1930s is removed from the picture.

Really, Oregon, you should truly be ashamed.

Are we just too chicken-shit to challenge the federal laws? It is when states challenge federal laws, that federal laws get changed.

Drew Stimson, Eugene

 

FRIGHTENING ELECTION

Many of us are elated at the victory in the election of Obama over Romney. But we need to take seriously one very frightening aspect of the results: that 50 million Americans — selfish and/or deluded — voted for Romney. There can be no such thing as a mandate when so many Americans allow their decisions to be dictated by the misleading advertising underwritten by corporate powers, Israel and fundamentalist Christians. Those three are the enemies of our freedoms, and we must stay alert to them and what they do.

 George Beres, Eugene

 

GEOENGINEERING

Maybe you heard about a (second) recent experiment to fertilize ocean waters with iron compounds. The hope is that it would increase growth of plankton, which will absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), eventually die and fall to the ocean floor, sequestering CO2 to slow or stop global warming, putting fossilized carbon back where it came from. This time it was done by a rich man and a Canadian Indian tribe hoping to increase salmon runs to what they used to be, and was quite effective in that. Some people say it won’t be effective in reducing warming because animals that eat the plankton, and emit CO2, will also increase. Others say any increase in ocean life will mean more carbon will be deposited in waste and corpses than carbon emitted in CO2.

We criticize deliberate (or deliberated upon) climate action such as the above experiments, calling it “geoengineering,” focusing on the harm it might possibly cause. Meanwhile we ignore non-deliberated action of putting ever more CO2 in the air, saying that unintentional actions of even seven billion people, increasing exponentially over thousands of years, couldn’t possibly be affecting global climate. Can both of these views be true?

As with our finances, we emphasize “enjoy now, pay later” while more positive action is bothersome now and only beneficial in the future. If society won’t risk doing the experiments, then individuals have to.

Dan Robinson, Eugene

 

CANDOR WITH THE COPS

 Late into election night, friends and I went to buy champagne for a victory party. Our designated driver pulled into a handicap parking space at the St. Vincent de Paul’s on Jefferson. When police officers arrived, we got anxious. We gave evasive answers when asked why we were parked there, learning only later that it’s nicknamed “heroin alley.” 

Officer Robert Meador of the EPD, understandably annoyed with our prevarication, encouraged us to “be honest in the future,” because this allows officers to focus on the actual threats to our community. He told us that it’s his job to save lives and keep the peace, not frighten people — especially not those committed to arranging a designated driver. I appreciate his counsel, which he patiently provided after we wasted his time.

Police suffer enough antagonism and deception in the line of duty. When police say, “I appreciate the honesty,” I think they genuinely do. Meador’s “honesty” model is my usual approach. Consequently, my episodes with our officers have been almost universally positive.

It’s tough for many to imagine that the blue-suited bodies walking up to our windows are thinking, feeling people. They are. Their jobs are complicated, dangerous and often thankless. Our run-ins with Johnny Law may change when we bear in mind that most of these “cops” are like Officer Meador — real people trying to keep Eugene “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors.”

Steve Coatsworth, Eugene 

 

GREAT ACTING

Kabuki theater review: election 2012. Although the plot seemed familiar, this performance gets 50 stars for its great acting.

Uncertain whether hope and change mean more of the same, 50 percent of those allowed to vote choose one or the other. Unable to do the math, 48 percent of the 99 percent vote for the candidate of the 1 percent. Having placed bets with both sides, corporate persons bank the spread. The morning after, a few Greens awake hung over and pinch themselves. Don’t miss the opening of Election 2016 when America’s great experiment in democracy continues!

Benton Elliott, Eugene

 

WHICH THINGS?

Bill O’Reilly suggests [referring to Obama’s victory] that “people feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate is going to give them things?” Other conservative pundits take pretty much the same position. Well, food stamps for the poor are things, but so are expensive restaurant meals taken as a tax deduction. Is a second home with a mortgage deduction also a thing

On Fox Business, Stuart Varney suggests that “with Obama’s victory, the takers have taken over.” The makers are clearly in the minority” Is that like hedge fund investors who take a lot of tax loopholes as compared to hourly mill-workers who make plywood? 

How about FOX getting the terminology straight on just what its pundits mean by things and takers/makers.

Robert Sylwester, Eugene

 

WRECK OF THE RECTUM

Post Obama re-election, I’ve been researching articles on: “Why Romney Lost.” So many theories to consider. Hurricane Sandy timing. Secret Dem conspiracies. Lost Latino voters. Faked employment numbers. Too many or not enough negative advertisements. Implanted microchips.

 They all missed the real reason. Right there in plain sight. Simply: Mitt Romney is an asshole.

 Ron Ramsey, Eugene

 

MY PRAYER

A general here, a general there,

stirring fetid political air,

seems caught up in an illicit affair —

Lord, help me understand why

I DON’T CARE.

Jean Purcell, Eugene

 

TO THE BITTER CLINGERS

A few words of advice to all the conservative-minded bitter clingers. A majority of patriotic citizens voted to re-elect and pledge allegiance to Barack Hussein Obama as president of the U.S.A. After enduring eight long years under the failed leadership of the worst president in history, a leader so bad you would not even mention his name, the American people decided to move forward with hope. 

Heed the threatening words of this failed leader, “You are either for us or against us,” and read what you put on your bumper stickers and placards, “America, love it or leave it!

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain