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Letters to the Editor: 3-22-2012


Help for timber counties being bundled in a backward solution? I’m referring to the timber trust bill presently being promoted by Reps. Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden that proposes placing consolidated BLM and Forest Service forestland into a timber trust that would be divided into forest to be protected and forest to be more intensively managed for the benefit of O&C counties. In their bill, half of the managed portion would feel the pressure of being cut in shorter than 100-year rotations. A seven-member board appointed by the governor would govern the trust.

Question: Is this trust a dodge around federal environmental regulations and safeguards under the pressure of trying to help rural economies? The proposed makeup of the trust board does look purposefully oriented toward out-voting objections to getting out the cut.

And what happens when the heavily managed part of the state trust begins to resemble our overcut state private forests? Would we cut the trust in half again? And then again? Is always having half the remaining forest left becoming the new sustainable? Like Commissioner Pete Sorenson, I question the wisdom of going backward to depend heavily on intensive logging to fund the O&C counties. OK, some consolidation of federal lands to manage them thoughtfully and productively as forests, not tree farms. Restoring severance taxes on public trees to provide needed county revenue. And keeping private and public timber in our U.S. mills as a patriotic way to serve and save ourselves. 

Jerry Diethelm, Eugene 



Why rush to judgment on the Capstone student housing project proposed for 13th and Olive?

First of all, is this the best use of a prime piece of downtown real estate? For starters, wouldn’t a McKenzie-Willamette medical facility be the optimal choice for all central, south and west Eugene? Why don’t we dream our dreams and embolden city officials to be proactive in advancing only those projects that will stand the test of time?

Other factors should make us look more carefully before giving an enormous tax break to a project that benefits a small, non-permanent segment of our population.

For the last two years the community has watched private student housing sprout up all over the area of 18th and Alder. Next, UO’s new dorm near the Matt Arena opens soon. When does critical mass intersect with overbuild? And when demand for housing declines, Capstone’s apartments designed as student modules will not appeal, nor be suitable for nonstudent renters. Second, student housing becomes a ghost town in the summer. Third, if we’re looking only at housing, downtown Eugene needs a mixture of low-and mid-income housing to bring commerce and stability all year round. Such an outcome would benefit our Envision Eugene plan to provide for permanent population growth.

Working together we can do better.

Vincenza Scarpaci, Eugene



With rising fuel costs driven by speculation, greed and depletion, what do you think our transportation future will look like? Do you think we will be driving the heavy SUV’s and multi-passenger vehicles we use today? With gas at $4 now, what will it cost in 10 years?

Our transportation planning is currently projections based on historical vehicle use. But that projection fails to consider the now obvious trends of smaller, lighter and more efficient vehicles. Yes, we will be using more mass transportation, provided it is timely and convenient.

Many of us will drive hybrid and electric vehicles and commerce will rely on more efficient hybrid vehicles as well. (The military is leading this trend.) With all vehicles becoming lighter, we will also be safer since the reduced mass will help diminish impact forces. A growing percentage of us will be riding bicycles, including velomobiles that are gaining popularity in Europe and now here in the USA. With our growing local network of bike paths and lanes, these new HPVs (human-powered vehicles)are an increasingly viable option. They offer stability, wind and rain protection as well as comfort. Some are made right here in Oregon. See www.Velocityvelos.com and www.BlueSkyDSN.com

With our climate and bicycle infrastructure, the future is here.

Mark Murphey, Creswell



There must be a disconnect between the people of Lane County and Salem politicians. Active in local politics, I stand with my head cocked like a confused dog wondering why these Salem politicians have endorsed Andy Stahl for county commissioner when the people of Lane County overwhelmingly support Pete Sorenson. One such legislator told me it’s because Sorenson didn’t apologize for consulting with others about ideas to help our county in the absence of the Republicans (something done regularly in Salem, in Congress, and in real life).

Our villagers and local community organizations have spoken: Pete has the endorsement of our firefighters, our transit workers, our public employees, our teachers, The Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Oregon Wild Conservation Leaders, Sierra Club, Lane County Young Democrats, Mayor Kitty Piercy, and the Democratic Party of Lane County, just to name a few (www.petesorenson.com/endorsements). I am baffled as to why the Salem bunch has weighed in against Pete when their constituents here in Lane County so clearly support him.

It seems our Salem folks have forgotten the sage wisdom of that age-old adage: “There go my people. I must find out where they are going so that I can lead them.” (We, your people, are heading to polling locations and mailboxes to re-elect Pete Sorenson.)

Steve Coatsworth, Eugene



Gosh, EW staff and Editor Ted Taylor, I was left feeling a bit flabbergasted by y’all’s little Slant article last week on Rush Limbaugh. Your writer purports to address the problem of bigotry in our society but launches into exactly the same kind of “idiotic rhetoric” he criticizes Rush for. Slant, or editorial opinion, is one thing; slinging out full blown sarcasm coupled with facile delight in parroting old tried and tested stereotypes and scapegoating is another.

“The disturbing thing ... is not what (Rush) says but that millions of Americans listen to him.” Well, Eugene, guess who these “millions” turn out to be. Yep! They’re “mostly older, white, male Americans who are racist and misogynistic at their core.” Does anybody read this stuff before publishing? Rhetoric that condemns or stigmatizes, by, say, in this case, illegitimate and inflammatory word association, what are merely factual external traits such as race or sex or age, can cut any ol’ way you want and is always demeaning and harmful, whatever side it comes from.

“Older,” “white,” “male,” “American” are perfectly neutral descriptive terms for routine reference, and have absolutely nothing definitive to say about the internal character of any member of a so-described class. “Racist” and “’misogynistic” are a class of words that have a very marked “slant” and, in this case, seriously pejorative and negative attributions, and should be applied with much care and justness, one individual at a time, regardless of race, gender, sex — and only “if the shoe fits.” 

Your writer next reveals she/he is an advocate for “educating the next generations” as an antidote to the existence of “intractable bigots among us ... who are not likely to change,” and invites us to join in “wish(ing) the old farts well in the afterlife.” Well, I am a 72-year-old older white male American old fart and I hope to be as careful, balanced and just in the afterlife as I try to be in this life. It is down here where the standards and, mostly, examples, set by would-be wordsmith “educators,” I’ll still be a bit worried about.

Richard Reitz, Pleasant Hill



Your last paragraph (in Slant, 3/15) lists only some of the costs of the wars in the Middle East.

Please go to the Jan. 14 issue of The Week newsmagazine and read the article, “A Tough Homecoming for Veterans.” It notes that 900,000 vets of these wars have filed for disability and a veterans’ organization estimates more than 720,000 head injuries.

John Attig, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: See our War Dead column online, and periodically in the paper for statistics on the ongoing cost of war. 



I read your story (3/15) on “Pimping Your Grow Room” and thought I might approach the subject from a different angle, as I think the real point of “pimping” a room is to get faster growth and bigger/better yields. Spending lots of coin on expensive equipment does not, in and of itself, produce these results. 

Eugene is full of garages and closets that contain CO2 equipment and the associated climate controllers that are gathering dust despite the common promise of 30 percent greater yields. It takes more than a fancy controller to produce results; the grow industry is full of products that promise a lot without being able to deliver on those promises, and is also a great re-inventor of the wheel through slick marketing. I can say this with some objectivity because besides having started growing indoors 22 years ago, I own a store that sells this equipment. 

So before you fall for a sales pitch that empties your pockets on the advice of a someone who may not actually have any experience in their own secret garden (and may not be an indoor garden expert at all), check into the basics of gardening, and get those things dialed. Advice is one of the most dangerous things one person can give another, but some grow store employees give it out like candy. People should consider dealing with a store who has real experience or, at worst, has the integrity to admit when they haven’t extensively used a given product. 

Happy gardening.

Daniel Shea, owner, Emerald Valley Gardens



The battle cry of the chickenhawk is “When Johnny goes marching off to war, hurrah, hurrah!” When the Bush neocons sent all those Johnnys off to war with the attitude that, “You go to war with the army you have,” they were warned that “if you break it, you own it.” 

Now that Johnny comes marching home again we must face the reality of war. Michael Thomas Mason, war veteran paralyzed from the neck down from a police officer’s bullet, trying to put him down like a rabid dog as he sat in his car. Benjamin Colton Barnes, war veteran found frozen to death, being hunted like a wild animal after killing a park ranger. Sgt. Robert Bales, war veteran facing the firing squad for going on a killing spree that left 16 innocent Afghan villagers dead. 

These are just three of the 300,000 returning vets who suffer from PTSD. Our wounded eagles are coming home to roost and the only thing that we hear are the chickenhawk war drums, wanting to send “Johnny” off to another war. God bless America? No, no, no! These are human beings being treated like “pink slime,” ground up and put back in as filler so we can go back to war with the army we have.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain



We now have the results of the EWEB pilot study on “smart” meters. A number of volunteers and some staff members were given the meters, and then asked about their experience.

The poll results are now posted at www.eweb.org/smpilot for all to see. Some of the results were probably not expected by EWEB as they designed the poll. As expected most of those participating said they turned some appliances off or down, and they did check the information from the meters several times a week. The image is of people constantly checking and saving — they don’t.

But of course the majority liked the meters, generally. They were not asked if they liked the meters after they got a bill for them, however. So we need to find that one out later.

The most surprising finding was a slight majority, 51 percent used the word “concern” in their answer about health effects. That is clearly not what EWEB had in mind. So in the summary results it is stressed that only 4 percent were very concerned. After that the results section tries, sadly, to cover up the fact that so many people were concerned about health problems at some level.

It is easy to find out if I am right or wrong. Go to the EWEB website and see the results of the poll. Compare the summary “results” section with the actual numbers. Maybe it is a bad study?

Or maybe it is a good study and a lot of people are concerned about health. No matter what — it clearly shows that EWEB must stop pushing RF microwave technology exposure on customers and take a second look at how to spend many millions of dollars. Perhaps it is a time to look at fiber optic technology and the other alternatives. Clearly, EWEB must quit pushing the idea that we need microwave emitting meters on our homes. If the health effects are unproven, let us wait until they are.

Michael E. Lee, Eugene



As expected, EW has joined the condemnation chorus against Rush Limbaugh (“Slant” 3/15).

Yes, Rush was out of line as he often is and deserves the backlash. But why have I never seen any condemnation in EW of Keith Olberman, Ed Shultz, Bill Maher and other left-wing commentators who regularly resort to the same and sometimes worse vitriolic, crass rhetoric aimed at conservatives?

EW is not alone in this sin of omission. We see it throughout the media by those who preach the loudest about “tolerance.”

Hypocrisy, anyone? Double standard? Oh yeah — big time.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



It has begun! Spring eternal! There ... just there, in the pastel sighs of the crocus, the surprise of sunlight spilling from each daffodil’s yawning cup and the growing, green, puppy dog grin of the garden’s first few rows of hearty onions and beets. Dead stick blueberries suddenly drip greening utterances of renewal as the nightly assumption of frogs “chirrumph” sweet blossoms from cherry trees, too long now skeletal. 

Infrequent sun, shy but no longer timid, shoulders it’s way through the thin spots in the shaggy cloak worn by most of these burgeoning March days. Winds no longer howl but whistle, challenged now by the tea kettle scree of the first osprey drawn home to our Willamette.

There comes a quickening within the human soul as well. The vault of the Earth beckons. The sweet pungency of rot awakens an itchy longing in the flesh of the hands for the dryness that only wet dirt can bring. Worm hieroglyphs script mysteries along the West Bank Bike Path. And even these oldest of loins roil briefly and twitch, diving rods aflutter with unfathomable, anticipatory quiverings. 

Yearnings unknowable, passions undeniable, shared with the stalwart salmon and raucous goose and answered in seed. Plant; anticipate, germinate, cultivate, propagate, herald! this newborn season of seasons.

Ah! sweet, flowing flower of spring! Glory be to Earth in her highest! Spring eternal! It is begun!

David Perham, Eugene