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Letters to the Editor: 5-24-2012

UNDERMINING CAHOOTS

I’m not sure how many people realize what a complete and total disaster it will be for the people of Eugene and neighboring communities if Willamette Family Treatment Inc.’s Buckley Center “sobering station” shuts down; obviously, not enough people, or the service probably wouldn’t be threatened with losing its funding to begin with (see Slant last week).

Eugene is constantly debating what to do about the “homeless problem”; or the problem with panhandlers downtown; or how the police could better be doing their job or using their resources; or what to do about the overuse, misuse and abuse of emergency department services and the fire department, etc. Out of these discussions, rarely, but occasionally, interesting and innovative ideas are implemented. The expansion of Cahoots services last year — making them available from 11 am to 3 am, with two vans in service during the peak hours of 3:30 pm to 10:30 pm — is one example of an approach to societal problems that is both economical and humanitarian.

One way to undermine the efforts of Cahoots, and to dramatically worsen the other problems mentioned, would be to allow Buckley’s sobering station to close. No more sobering station means more intoxicated people sleeping, going to the bathroom, fighting and using (alcohol and other drugs) in public spaces or on private property (maybe yours); it means more people dying on the streets; it means more emergency room and jail beds used for people to “sleep it off,” rather than being used for true medical patients or to contain criminals who pose a real threat to the public; it means more law enforcement and emergency medical staff tied up dealing with “drunks” and other addicts rather than responding to true emergencies. 

Closing the sobering station due to a supposed funding crisis is absurd beyond words, because the cost of not having a sobering station is so much greater, so absurd, in fact, I have a feeling it will not happen. I just don’t think we are that stupid. Hopefully, this is not wishful thinking. 

Thomas Perkins, Eugene

 

SOCCER FOR CIVIC

It was very exciting to see last week’s cover story [5/10] of the creation of a new soccer team in Eugene. This news reinforces the strategy of the Friends of Civic Stadium to repurpose our historic Civic Stadium as a multi-purpose facility, with a minor league soccer team as an anchor tenant. 

By supporting the Eugene Azul, you will also be supporting the effort to save Civic Stadium. So if you want to show support for Civic Stadium while enjoying a competitive soccer game with your friends and neighbors, come to the game at South Eugene High School Friday evening, June 1. Let’s show the 4J School Board and the community at large that both soccer and Civic Stadium have a strong future in Eugene. 

Lonnie McCullouch, Eugene

 

SOURCE OF DIRTY POLITICS

Seriously ... Pat Farr? 

Remember folks, dirty politics come from dirty politicians.

Rhonda Lindsten, Eugene

 

CRUEL & UNSPORTING

It’s admirable that Mike Martell is dedicated to stopping the cruel practice of trapping and snaring of Oregon black bears [“Un-bearable” news story, May 10]. As he rightly points out, government agents are killing hundreds of black bears, including nursing mothers and orphaned cubs, largely at the behest of the Oregon timber industry. The Humane Society of the United States will continue to work with like-minded citizens who wish to see an end to wildlife abuses such as snaring. 

Bears may suffer severe injuries in the frantic attempt to escape the snare. Trapped bears may languish for hours or days before the trapper finally arrives to kill the animal, especially in a state like Oregon with no time requirements to check traps after setting them. The voters of Oregon passed Measure 18 because they found the practice of baiting and hounding of black bears to be unacceptably cruel and unsporting. Eliminating those methods of hunting certainly didn’t slow the rate of bears being killed by sport hunters using traditional hunting methods. Rather, it proved that hunters can pursue bears without using extreme and unsporting tools like hounds or snares. 

 Thank you, EW, for covering wildlife issues like this one. Hopefully, wildlife managers will continue to adopt practices and policies that are more in line with the humane values of the overwhelming majority of Oregonians.

 Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director, The Humane Society of the U.S.

 

BUILDINGS & GRAVEL

It was ironic that the article about whether to demolish City Hall came the week after the “Plea for Parvin Butte,” protesting gravel mining. While gravel may not be high on our list of nonrenewable resources, it is widely used in the construction of virtually all roads and buildings and some nearby place has to get wrecked in order to produce it.

For the city of Eugene to consider demolishing City Hall — a building less than 50 years old — is yet another example of the same short-sighted lack of respect for materials, energy and future that has gone into countless flimsy, single-story strip malls, big boxes, burger joints and tract houses across the country.

I have told city staff for 15 years that any new construction along major transit corridors or at major intersections should be multi-story. Not only would such increased density improve the efficiency of public transit, but it would also add an intrinsic value to any building, reducing the pressure to nonchalantly demolish it 30 years later.

Another way of looking at the age of City Hall is that it was built in 1964, the year that world oil discoveries peaked. We’ve been discovering less and less oil ever since then. If City Hall is demolished, whatever we build in its place better be built to last because there will simply not be the energy and other resources to easily replace it yet again 50 years later.

Robert Bolman, Eugene 

 

LEAVE PARVIN INTACT

My family and I have lived in Dexter for almost 10 years. Our initial decision to settle on land here was due in part to the majestic and historical impression we felt with Parvin Butte and Mount Zion. While our land has a clear and very visible view of Parvin Butte, I have watched daily the initial deforestation and subsequent landslides thus feeling very disheartened. 

Not a day doesn’t go by where I am not stunned and in utter disbelief that this blatant destruction is taking place in my community and in a residential setting. When this world is so filled with endless greed and self-preservation, when do we say enough is enough? We are blessed with abundance and so when will we choose to pass this along to the next generations? We are but mere stewards of the future and with dignity we can proudly choose the leave well enough alone. 

To the McDougal brothers and Greg Demers: Please let it go. Make a choice to have a positive impact, and leave a lasting legacy with an intact Parvin Butte. There is always a solution that can work for everyone.

Renée Bisnaire, Dexter

 

HELPING FOR 33 YEARS

When a parent is more confident, knowledgeable, supported and skilled in their childrearing, everyone benefits — the child, the parents and the entire community.

Here in Lane County, we’re fortunate that Birth To Three’s programs have helped more than 90,000 parents and children in our community over the last 33 years. These programs are for parents of young children, regardless of age, income, education or culture. More information is at birthto3.org.

May 20-26 is Parent Education Awareness Week in Oregon and a good moment to pause to appreciate Birth To Three’s role in helping Lane County’s children be raised by nurturing, skilled parents.

Phil Weiler, Board president, Birth To Three, Eugene

 

WHEN THE COPS CAME

Riding down Pearl on Saturday [5/12]I was struck and knocked off my bike in an intersection by a truck that didn’t signal as it suddenly turned left in my path. Fortunately, I was not severely injured. It is imperative that vehicles watch out for bicyclists in the bike lanes, especially as they turn. Motorists need to use their signals at all times to be clear about where they are going. Cyclists, wear your helmets, please!

The worst part of this incident was when the police came. They were callous, rude and dismissive, as if I were some trite fool wasting their precious official time. They left me high and dry with my weeping road-rashes, bruised eye and busted bike and a slip saying “this accident will NOT be investigated.” Could have offered me a short ride home up the street, guys. So much for the protect, care, serve lip-service. At least the guy who hit me has insurance, even though he got no tickets. At least he’s been better to deal with than the Potemkin cops.

Michael McFadden, Eugene

 

OVER-EXTENDED PLANET

More and more, when I consider the future, I remember a famous Jack Benny routine. A mugger demands, at gunpoint, “Your money or your life!” Benny stares off, chin in palm. Mugger, impatient, finally — well?” Benny: “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!”

Money or life? Short-term profits and a few jobs for dead-end, polluting industries? Or planning for the long-term future on an already over-extended planet that is becoming increasingly unfit for life as we know it?

Around the world, many observant people, groups, even nations, are thinking about this. In this country, at least at the national civilian level, we are not. Almost all Republicans have whole-heartedly endorsed growth and profits at any cost — anything else is either unpatriotic or a hoax. Many Democrats have half-heartedly followed suit, blaming global warming on other countries.

Here in Oregon, we now have to think about it — as a coal export juggernaut hits the Northwest. Gov. Kitzhaber has done a masterful job of laying out the situation and its consequences in a letter to federal agencies (available at his website). I urge all EW readers to read the complete letter. Then think hard. Then act.

Jere C. Rosemeyer And cosigners: Kate Gessert, Cary Thompson, Joan Kleban, Colleen Llywelyn, Rev. John Pitney, Eugene

 

STILL LAUGHING

Hey Mittkins! Here’s a high school prank you’d have really enjoyed!

Picture this: Six boys, all bigger than you (and totally lacking your delicately refined finishing-school charm), decide to jump on you and rip off your magic underwear! I mean, can you even imagine how funny you would have found that? In fact, I’ll bet you’d probably still be laughing about it even now, 35 years later. 

Ah yes, pleasant memories, those old high school hi-jinks you so dearly loved.

Jamie Selko, Eugene

 

TAXPAYER BURDEN

On April 26 The Register-Guard published an op-ed in defense of the Goose Project, one of the controversial proposed timber sales in McKenzie Bridge, written by three former forest supervisors. They say the project will address “a [fire] situation that is predicted to worsen with our warming climate change.”

I wonder that they don’t see the long-term connection between large-scale cutting of our forests and the recent 80-degree days here in mid-April? They speak about “the poor financial situation of the district” and predict “a sustainable supply of timber products.” Given the price of $6.33 per 1,000 board foot the Forest Service got for a previous sale, according to an earlier article, and the fact that locals rarely benefit from new Forest Service jobs (many of the jobs are held by people who commute from Eugene/Springfield, don’t live here and don’t have an investment in the community), it seems the timber sales are more likely to further burden taxpayers rather than financially benefit the community and schoolS. 

“Protection ... is achieved through commercial and noncommercial thinning.” Anyone who lives here has had to drive by the still barren three-year-old perpendicular clear-cut on Horse Creek Road in the heart of the residential community, and can see that enforcement of the rules supposed to protect private land is virtually nonexistent. There is not one tiny green seedling. Another season of rain as we experienced this spring could create a serious mudslide.

Lia Gladstone, McKenzie Bridge

 

 

NIMA’S WISH GIVES THANKS

We would like to thank all the people who helped make the Nima’s Wish Foundation’s first fundraising event a night to remember! Special thanks go out to all of the great bands that generously donated their time, including the Sugar Beets, Mike Tracy, Eleven Eyes, Fire in the Rootz and Bajuana Tea. In addition, we were very pleased to have intermissions livened up with the Denbaya Drum and Dance troupe, the UO’s Jam Squad and the Sirens bellydance group. We were hoping for some star power to emcee the whole night, and we got it with KMTR’s own Angela Bauer. Thanks everyone!

A lot of effort went into making the Spring Forward concert a success, especially the invaluable help from the McDonald Theatre and the Kesey family. The price tag for putting this on was substantial, so we also want to thank our sponsors, especially Park Place Apartments and Eugene Weekly

Our other nice sponsors were Go Taxi, Aprovecho Research Center, Rainbow Optics, Emergency-now.com, KLSR-TV, KeyBank, Poster Boy, Amsel Media, G4 Printing, Backline Connection, Jeffrey Beckwith, MD and Eric G. Olson, MD.

Of course, we really want to thank the audience that came out to see the show. We will continue to hold various fundraisers, and the Spring Forward concert will be an annual event. The Nima’s Wish Foundation is dedicated to providing help to small villages in the Gambia in Africa so that the villagers can become self sufficient. A little money goes a long way, so please visit our website (www.nimaswish.com) to keep up to date, or to donate.

Eliman Gibba, Alexandra Sianis-Gibba, Kent Goodman, Nima’s Wish Foundation

 

BULLY PULPIT

It’s not often that a political story jumps out at me during election season, but the George Romney bullying story did.

At an elite prep school, Romney cut off the hair of a fellow student while other classmates held the frightened and crying boy down.

One of the bullies said that he is still haunted by the cries of the boy, who was described as “different and effeminate.” He added that he wishes he could forget the screams and the look of fear, and could go back in time and stop it. He also said that Romney went after people who were “different.” Candidate Romney doesn’t deny his role, but he says he “doesn’t remember” the incident and writes it off as a youthful prank.

One man can’t forget, and one man can’t remember.

A president George Romney would bring a whole new meaning to the term “bully pulpit.”

Leslie Weinstein, Eugene

 

THE TRUTH HURTS

Oregon’s House Republican leadership fought to the final hour of this year’s legislative session to protect illegal bank foreclosure practices, but their fellow Republican lawmakers were simply not willing to return to their districts and try to explain to their constituents why they voted against the simple reforms contained in SB 1552, the Oregon Foreclosure Reform bill shepherded through the 2012 session by Sen. Lee Beyer and Rep. Paul Holvey.

The rules the Republican leadership and the Banking Lobby fought so tenaciously to prevent simply require banks to sit down with troubled homeowner, deal with them in good faith and tell the truth. You would have thought telling the truth would destroy the bank mortgage business — and in fact, it will. Economic Fairness Oregon quotes expert analysis that the new rules created by SB 1552 could prevent one half of the approximately 2,000 foreclosures expected to occur next month in Oregon.

But SB 1552 does not take effect until July 12. By then 2000 additional Oregon families will have their homes legally stolen by banks unless Gov. Kitzhaber and AG Kroger intervene. And there is evidence that banks are increasing the pace of foreclosure filings. Please help the Occupy Eugene Foreclosure Action Committee sound the alarm about the impending preventable dispossession of 2000 Oregon families. Please call, write, Facebook or twitter the governor and AG, or sign the petition on our website and tell them you will not silently watch 2000 more families in our state being turned out of their homes to generate billion-dollar bonuses for bank executives. 

The governor’s number is (503) 378-4582 and the AG’s is (503) 278-4400. And the AG’s email address is AttorneyGeneral@DOJ.state.OR.us or visit www.facebook.com/johnkitzhaber You can sign our petition at www.Occupy-Your-Home.com or write the governor at 160 State Capitol, Salem 97301-4047 or AG Kroger at 1162 Court St. NE, Salem 97301-409.

Fergus Mclean, Dexter

 

ARE WE BEING GOUGED? 

 From www.oregongasprices.com May 12, between 7:30 and 7:40 am:

Eugene = $3.95 - $4.45

Baker = $3.57 - $3.89

Florence = $3.85 - $3.99

Seattle = $3.91 - $4.07

San Diego = $4.03 - $4.15

Boise = $3.63 -$3.75

Fargo, ND = $3.42 - $3.65

Chicago = $3.89 - $3.99

Austin, TX = $3.37 - $3.53

Miami = $3.49 - $3.63

New York City = $3.79 - $3.97

Even Baker and Florence have lower prices! Looks like suppliers up and down the I-5 corridor have chosen to make a rather nice profit on the backs of the rest of us. 

Debbie Martindale, Cottage Grove

 

OREGON IS NEXT

Who wants the estate tax repeal on the November ballot? Conservative ballot activists Kevin Mannix and Dave Hunnicutt are already collecting signatures. Check endoregondeathtax.com to see who else is endorsing! This threat is real. Within the last year Indiana and Ohio lost their estate taxes to this “phase out” idea. Oregon is next.

Mannix and friends are aiming to make the rich richer. Each year only 650 of the 27,000 Oregon families who lose a family member actually pay any Oregon estate tax. It’s those 2.5 percent with estates, after all debts are paid, worth more than $1 million who would be helped by this measure to phase out the current tax by January 1, 2016. 

Who would be hurt? Everyone. It would increase already large wealth disparities and cost the state $100 million a year — that’s five days of K-12 education or 1,000 fewer teachers statewide. And who would pick up the burden for the 2.5 percent who would no longer pay? The rest of us, the 97.5 percent.

A national group, the American Family Business Foundation(AFBF) is helping push the Oregon initiative. They commissioned a slanted study specific to Oregon, written by economists that typically write for the libertarian Cascade Policy Institute, Eric Fruits and Randall Pozdena. They repeat the discredited claim that estate tax repeal will somehow raise revenues and create new jobs. 

Please sign the Call to Preserve the Oregon Estate Tax and get involved. See taxfairnessoregon.org  

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene

 

R’S HAVE CHANGED

I began voting as a college student in the 1970s. I had no party preference and voted for whom I deemed the best candidate among Democrats and Republicans for various offices. I even liked Nixon for a while, especially for his efforts to push forward the Endangered Species Act he signed in 1973.

Today, Democrats are still pretty much what they have been since I started voting. Republicans, on other hand, have swung so radically right, too many now regularly promulgate absurd notions such as “Obama is a socialist.” And their stances seem regressive on most issues: economic (Tea Party stalwartness on taxes); social (rejection of same-sex marriage); scientific (a majority reject evolution); and environmental (denial of climate change realities).

Ironically, in the 1970s I figured I’d probably get more conservative and most often vote Republican as an older man. Little did I know the GOP would get so weird.

Steven Kunert, Corvallis

 

OBESITY EPIDEMIC

The number of Americans considered obese is expected to rise from the current 34 percent to 42 percent by the year 2030, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and discussed at Monday’s “Weight of the Nation” conference in Washington. Diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease and other obesity-related ailments account for countless premature deaths and as much as 18 percent of the $2.6 trillion national cost of medical care. See http://wkly.ws/1ae

 The leading causes of obesity are consumption of fat-laden meat and dairy products and lack of exercise. This is particularly critical during childhood years, when lifestyle habits become lifelong addictions. 

A five-year Oxford University study of 22,000 people, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2006, found that those on a vegetarian or vegan diet gained the least weight. A review of 87 studies in Nutrition Reviews concluded that a vegetarian diet is highly effective for weight loss. 

The time has come to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruits and to undertake a regular exercise program. Parents should insist on healthy school lunch choices and set a good example at their own dinner table.

Elijah Hennison, Eugene

 

A THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATE

Would you consider voting for a man who has received these awards, while he was mayor of a major U.S. city? Bill of Rights Defense Committee Patriot Award, The Progressive Democrats of America Spine Award, one of top 20 activists in the world on climate change (Business Week), top ten straight advocates in the U.S. for LGBT equality (Human Rights Campaign), EPA Climate Protection Award, Sierra Club Distinguished Service Award, Respect the Earth Planet Defender Award, National Association of Hispanic Publications Presidential Award, The Drug Policy Alliance Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award, League of United Latin American Citizens Profile in Courage Award, Morehouse University Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award, World Leadership Award for environmental programs.

All these awards belong to one man: Rocky Anderson, former two-term mayor of Salt Lake City, founder of the High Road for Human Rights, co-founder of America’s newest political party: Justice Party USA.

Anderson has a proven track record in social justice, economic justice and environmental justice. Among his goals are to seek a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United; work for passage of the ERA within the next two years; elimination of the federal debt and deficit; energy-saving programs that will put people back to work; and to provide health care for all.

Anderson will be on the ballot in Oregon under the Progressive Party. To find out more about him, visit www.VoteRocky.org.

Darlene Edelman, Klamath Falls