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Letters to the Editor: 7-5-2012


I live in the River Road area very close to the railyard. I love my home and neighborhood, the proximity to the river and bike path, the large lots and the fertile soil we are blessed with. Unfortunately there is a trade-off living where I live: the noise from the switching yard, chemical odors that come from the Baxter wood preserving plant, diesel fumes from the trains and Union Pacific’s herbicide spraying along the tracks. 

I am very concerned about the possibility of coal trains traveling through my neighborhood and the health effects that would have on the residents. We already have to close our windows many nights because of the sounds and smells in the air, and sometimes I don’t even want to be outside in my garden because the air is so thick with the smell of creosote and ammonia. If we allow coal to be transported through our community via the railroads, we will be dealing with not only more diesel particles being pumped into the air but also coal dust blowing off the train cars. Exposure to this type of pollution has many health risks, including respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer. Children are especially vulnerable to these particulates.

I am strongly in support of City Councilor Alan Zelenka’s proposal to restrict the export of coal by train through Eugene’s railyard and neighborhoods. This will be discussed at the City Council’s July 9 meeting. More information is available at www.beyondtoxics.org.

Laura Kemp



There are two problems with the consensus advocated by Nicole Medema (“Mic Check!” column 6/28): it doesn’t work, and it drives action-oriented people nuts.

To quote Battlestar Galactica, “This has all happened before and it will all happen again.” Nothing about consensus is new. In the late 1960s I went to Students for a Democratic Society meetings at UC Riverside. They used consensus. The meetings went on for hours. Decisions were made by whoever was willing to stay the longest.

I’ve been an activist, working with various groups on a variety of issues, for over 20 years. The very worst part of the job is meetings, and I seldom go to them anymore.

What is the goal? To have meetings? Most activists want to make something happen. We will not endlessly sit and listen to people talk, with no action. Eugene is littered with the remains of dead groups that did not understand this simple fact.

Medema wrote, “There are no leaders or elected representatives in the Occupy structure.” Yes there are — nothing happens without them — they’re just self-selected volunteers who aren’t given any formal authority by the group.

I suggest cutting way down on the pointless meetings and forming small action teams that can actually get something done.

 Lynn Porter, Eugene


I try to do the right thing as I go through life. This was instilled in me as an Eagle Scout and 25 years in the military achieving senior master sergeant. So I do things like pick up my dog’s poop as a responsible dog owner. On June 26 I picked up poop and seeing a garbage can still in the street I dropped the biodegradable bag in it. As I was walking away a woman came out of the house yelling she didn’t want poop in her can. Not wanting a confrontation I continued to walk away. She yelled that she will follow me to my house and then called me an asshole. 

I walked my dog home and stewed about it and then the integrity in me said I should go back and get the poop. As I pulled up in front of the house I saw a Eugene police officer. I followed him up to the front door and he asked me if I lived there. I said, “No I’m here to get my bag of poop.” He chuckled and asked how I knew about it. I told him she seem so upset about the poop I thought I should come back and get it. He asked me to return to my car. I saw the bag of poop that she must have taken out of her garbage can and threw into the street. I retrieved it. 

The officer came out grinning and he said he wouldn’t ticket me for “theft of services,” which the woman probably wanted, and he thanked me for saving him a trip to my house. The woman must have followed me home. He did need to check me for warrants, so I gave him my driver’s license and we chitchatted during the wait. He said this was the first dog poop call he’s ever had in 17 years on the force. 

I wonder who is the thief here? Me or her, taking a valuable law enforcement asset off the street over dog poop. This was the day 30 prisoners were released from jail due to budget cuts. I will say the policeman was polite and professional during the whole situation. 

Tim Bennett, Eugene


The City Council’s decision to grant extensive tax breaks to the Capstone housing project is good news indeed: It means that our fiscal problems are over at last! Just think, only last year we closed the swimming pools and told the kids to sit on the couch for a month so we could save a mere $200,000. Now we can afford to give away millions to people who can make a profit without such tax breaks. 

We must be in really good shape! We can expect more police on bikes downtown, infrastructure maintenance and possibly a kick-in to our underfunded local schools. I’m glad to hear the city is in such good financial shape. 

William (Chico) Schwall, Eugene


In regards to the water grab that Willamette Water Company (Greg Demers is one of the owners) is attempting: I have not seen any mention of the studies that concludes our water supply in Oregon is in danger of being reduced by about 50 percent from decreased snow pack due to climate change. One of the scariest new strategies of corporate resource grabbers worldwide is the privatization of water. Without water, there is no life. 

We must keep water a public resource, especially in these times of climate instability. Look around: record high temperatures globally for the last 10 years, floods, droughts, wildfires. Beware of ALL water privatization efforts.

Pamela Driscoll, Dexter

EDITOR’S NOTE: Take a look at our December 2010 award-winning series, “Mayhem on the McKenzie,” dealing with climate change and water speculation on the McKenzie River, http://wkly.ws/1ba


Well, it is nice to see the LCC building downtown is almost finished. As a neighboring business, the reduced traffic and congestion will be most welcomed. 

Is it just me or is the new building ... er ... ugly or what? I asked when they were going to paint the marigold yellow tiles and they said that this is the finished product. If this is the finished product, someone really dropped the ball at R&D because this thing is an eyesore! 

Sorry LCC, not what I would call a masterpiece.

John Carlson, Eugene


I finally got it! That’s pretty “punny”! On page 2 of your Oregon Bach Festival Guide June 21, you started out with Storm Large’s “back” photo!

Mark Jaquette, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We enjoy pun-ishing our readers, and as long as you keep reading us, we won’t be de-pressed.


Gee, it’s too bad they had to let all of those inmates out of the jail, including the one that was just caught breaking into the Cornucopia Restaurant in my neighborhood. Good thing they got that fence up around the city councilor’s house; that just-released breaking-and-entering guy won’t be going in there.

Elena Rae, Eugene

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@eugeneweekly.com fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401. 


Here is a possible reason why Chief Justice Roberts saved Obamacare that ought to cause the extreme right wing to achieve orbital velocity. 

Recall when President Obama was sworn into office, the chief justice flubbed his line. He could not recall from memory the presidential oath of office. The president obviously did recall it, but did not attempt to upstage the chief justice and correct him. Later, the president asked the chief justice to repeat the swearing in at the White House with no media present, avoiding a most embarrassing and humiliating photograph for the chief justice. 

When Vice-president Joe Biden tried to make fun of the chief’s lapse in memory, the president would have none of it and in the video tape could be seen glaring at Biden. 

Roberts wants to correct the historical record that he cannot properly swear in the president-elect. The way he has chosen to do this is ensure that he has the opportunity to swear President Obama in for his second term. Thus, Roberts swings his vote on the Supreme Court to save Obamacare and pave the way for the president’s reelection and redeems himself as a jurist who can remember the words in the Constitution.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene 


What possible reason could anyone have to barbecue soy dogs and veggie burgers on the Fourth of July, instead of animal body parts? Would any of these work?

• Not worrying about nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs, if temperature is too low.

• Not worrying about deadly carcinogens, if temperature is too high.

• Focusing on traffic and fireworks safety, rather than food safety.

• Giving your eyes a break from reading government warning labels.

• Giving your body a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.

• Not sweating the animal cruelty and environmental devastation guilt trips.

• Sharing a holiday with your strange, but lovable veggie friends.

• Celebrating a day of independence from the meat industry.

Elijah Hennison, Eugene