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Letters to the Editor: 8-9-2012

EMX IS A WINNING PLAN

Kudos to Eugene City Councilor Betty Taylor for her recent decision to support the West Eugene EmX Extension [Slant, 7/26]. Taylor was initially skeptical, but after putting in the legwork to educate herself about the actual facts on the ground, she changed her mind. 

One of the reasons for Taylor’s support is the efficient land use pattern that EmX encourages. Contrary to some opponents’ beliefs, the West 11th area is planned to accommodate a large chunk of Eugene’s future growth. EmX will allow densification of both housing and businesses along West 11th, because it will mitigate brewing traffic overload problems while providing a fast, reliable and permanent rapid transit system to serve new residents and customers.

Eugene cannot afford a do-nothing, head-in-the-sand approach to growth management planning. We have an opportunity to secure $75 million in earmarked federal grants to build a project that will carry us into the next 50 years, set the table for a more livable and affordable community, and help prevent sprawl onto rural lands.

The concerns of affected businesses are important, but those can be adequately addressed — we do not need to throw away this opportunity. Prior EmX construction projects have not caused the closure of any businesses. Further, LTD revised the original West Eugene EmX plan in response to business concerns; the number of lost off-street parking places can be reduced to just 18. 

Those who are still skeptical should follow Taylor’s lead, and learn more about this important transit project. It’s a winner.

Mia Nelson, Willamette Valley Advocate 1000 Friends of Oregon, Eugene

 

OOZE ALONG WITH ME

Dear citizens of Eugene, I am writing to introduce myself to you and to encourage all of you to cheer me on at the SLUG Queen Coronation Ceremony and Competition at 6 pm Friday, Aug. 10, in the Park Blocks downtown. I may be the new slug in town and I may lack experience, but I hope that my smarts, luck, uniqueness and glittery attitude will help me to rise to the slimy throne and into your hearts. 

After moving to Eugene a few years ago, I fell in love with this amazing monarchy of strong women and drag queens, and I hope to join their ranks. Should I win the crown, I promise you this:

There will be fun. There will be silliness. There will be SLIMEM!

Citizens of Eugene, cast away your shells and ooze with me. 

Gloria Slimem aka Shannon Rose, 2012 SLUG Queen hopeful

 

DANGEROUS BUMS

Lynn Porter writes [8/2]: “I also wondered why they think homeless people are dangerous.”

Let me relate some of my own, personal experiences. This reality therapy is needed for all the saps who think the homeless are “old and disabled” or abused moms, or just harmless hobos.

Not long ago I parked my car at Walmart on 11th. Two homeless guys used an ice axe to break into my car and steal my lunch, causing $900 of damage and putting my car in the shop for a week. This is not what I would consider “harmless.” When I worked for the state highway department, we would clean the homeless camps under the bridges. Found in a typical camp: knives, axes and hypo kits, not unusual and not harmless.

My buddy Greg took a homeless woman into his house. She stole his money, invited her “boyfriend” over when Greg was gone, and then proceeded to party and trash Greg’s house. My buddy no longer brings street people back to his house. In our former town, bums would camp by the river. One of the bum’s girlfriends was found drowned, an apparent homicide after a quarrel with her boyfriend, another bum. This is not harmless.

I was a social worker for awhile. Talking with derelicts, I discovered: The vast majority are men. Yes, bums are down on their luck, but they choose to drink, take drugs, quit their jobs, abandon their kids and then harass folks who don’t give them money at intersections. They are narcissistic, selfish, immature folks who choose not to work or live in an apartment or get a job. They are not on the street by accident, but by choice. Those who are mentally deficient have made themselves that way through abuse of drugs and alcohol. And, since many are amoral, manipulative and without conscience, they will do whatever they need to do, in order to survive, including theft, assault and murder.

Once, when I was young and naive, I felt sorry for these miscreants. Now, all I think is: “How does his family feel about him taking drugs and abandoning his kids?”

Jeff Zekas, Veneta

 

IN DEFENSE OF GOATS

Phil Biboux contends [letters, 8/2] that “livestock belongs in the country. Leave farming to farmers.” He is dismissive of urban goateries. Indeed, he becomes a voice for the anti-goat movement right here in the Emerald City.

But I am not going to sign his petition. I like goats. Their sharp little hooves are worn smooth on pavement and no mud pit appears in my backyard. Rigged into harness they pull a cart requiring no fossil fuel. Wonderful landscape ruminants, unlike deer, they enhance neighborhoods by obliterating unwanted blackberry brambles. Milk and meat produced on such a diet is particularly piquant.

Even a billy goat in rut has an aroma superior to the diesel truck bringing produce in from Phil’s commercial country operations.

Support sustainability! Don’t sign the anti-goat petition!

David H. Tyson, Eugene

 

COAL AND TIMBER

Coal export, many experienced forest warriors and I believe, is a cover-up to ship large amounts of our most precious resource, forests and logs, out into processing plants a few miles offshore and then shipped back for our own use without providing jobs to Americans. How much is this going to cost our community? People in charge of making these decisions need to put some detail into this expenditure of resources and pollution to us and our environment.

Coal dust is notoriously difficult to control. Explosions of coal are probable as well as derailments, which have already started to happen. Every coal train dissipates one pound of coal dust per mile into our air.

We also need a county level review of how many gallons of poisons and “inert” carrying chemicals are seeping into Lane County’s environment from logging.

Cancers, neurological damage, birth defects, reduced sperm count, suppressed immune systems and reproductive harms are some of the problems wartime agent orange derivatives such as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc., cause all living beings within at least 20 miles of aerial spraying.

DeFazio’s plan needs a big wrench thrown into it. It is completely crazy. It gives zero to the community and allows Big Timber to steal most of what’s left of our sorry forests. Out of 2.5 million acres he gives timber interests 1.5 million acres and more if forests prove hard to manage.

So to summarize: Big coal and timber pillage are connected and they both should be killed.

David Piccioni, Eugene

 

ARE THESE MY NEIGHBORS?

I was glad to read Lynn Porter’s letter about the neighborhood meeting that occurred on July 24 to learn about Opportunity Village. The organizers did a great job of presenting lots of information, but the reaction from most speakers was shocking. I do not believe that group represents the neighborhood I call home.

• My neighbors listen to each other with respect even in disagreement.

• My neighbors don’t attend informational meetings with their minds made up.

• My neighbors do not interrupt.

• My neighbors do not leap to conclusions.

• My neighbors are careful not to stereotype others, remembering there is NO one-size-fits-all when it comes to human beings.

• My neighbors feel a sense of community that can be open-hearted, even forgiving.

• My neighbors have questions, concerns, and fears but they keep their anger out of the learning process.

Opportunity Village offers hope and a hand to a better life for families who have little experience of either. Why wouldn’t we want to participate in that? We can — and must — do better at listening to each other and caring about each other. Onward!

 Jay Moseley, Eugene

 

STONEWALLING ON RETURNS

Beginning in 1980, first-time Republican presidential nominees have, on average, released 15 years of their tax returns. The largest number was 30 years of returns, offered by then-Sen. Robert Dole. The lowest number was seven years, provided by George W. Bush; his father, by comparison, shared 14 years of returns with American voters. 

On the Democratic side, first-time nominees have averaged 9.5 years of “return transparency.” Al Gore tops that list at 16 years of returns, with Bill Clinton a close second at 15 years. John Kerry shared the fewest returns, offering only five years of documentation.

In stark contrast, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has stonewalled. He has shared only one complete (and one partial) return with the American people. And he has vigorously asserted that he won’t release more, given that there’s no legal requirement to do so. While he’s technically correct, Americans now expect their presidential candidates to be more open about their finances. Particularly in Romney’s case — given his acknowledged use of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters — the voters need to vet this aspect of the candidate’s character.

Interestingly, Romney was willing to share his returns with one American. In 2008, he allowed Sen. John McCain to review multiple tax documents while McCain considered Romney as his vice presidential running mate. How did that turn out? Well, all we know for sure is that McCain eventually opted for Sarah Palin over Romney.

Keith A. Eddins, Eugene

 

TAXPAYER DOLLARS

Ralph Nader has just sent a letter to the national committees of both the Democratic and Republican parties. In that letter he makes a reasonable suggestion: Both parties should take the $18.2 million in taxpayer dollars they each have received to help pay for their party conventions this month and donate it to charities in the cities where their conventions will be held.

That money comes into the Treasury as voluntary contributions through the $3 tax check-off box on IRS forms, and is described as going “to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.” It doesn’t say anything about funding political party conventions.

As Nader describes the situation, “Taxpayers who opt for this partial public funding of elections may not like funding political extravaganzas for the two parties, festooned by banners, musical entertainment, food, drink and other amenities. Pay for your own parties, your own liquor and your own entertainment.”

He goes on to point out that neither convention this year is an actual exercise of democracy, because both parties have already decided on their candidate and have pretty much written their platforms:

“Party rituals, the mutual admiration exchanges and the scripted, pre-cleared speeches by selected speakers are the highlights of these uncontested, predetermined, rigged shows of inaction. Return the $36.4 million to the U.S. Treasury now or donate the money to the Tampa and Charlotte charities that are feeding the hungry, poor and homeless.”

This is a truly bipartisan idea that anyone can support, and they can do so without violating any lame oath or set of vague political principles. Let’s back Nader up on this one.

Rob Lafferty, Blachly

 

AURORA SHOOTING

When a costumed crazy let go

his generous clip at a show

the death count was so vast

the whole world was aghast.

Other crazies talked of banishing guns.

Yet we all know we need our weapons.

As every right thinking person assumes,

our outraged Congress should outlaw costumes.

JeanMarie Purdell, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: This poetry was read at the Whiteaker Block Party.