Eugene Weekly : Letters : 1.7.10


Measures 66 and 67 will be on the ballot which will be arriving soon in your mailbox. I serve on the budget committees of two organizations which will be adversely affected if these measures fail and I would like to explain why many citizens of Lane County will be impacted as well.

One of the organizations which I serve is the Senior and Disabled Services for Lane County. One of their major programs is the Oregon Project Independence (OPI).
If Measures 66 and 67 fail, it is likely that OPI will lose its funding. This program allows seniors to stay in their homes by providing some help to them with essential services. The entire Lane County delegation to Salem supports this program as it saves taxpayers money and the alternative would be forcing these people on to the Medicaid program which would be much more costly to the taxpayers.

 I also serve as a member of the budget committee for LCC. At a recent board and budget committee meeting, Dr. Mary Spilde, the president of LCC, was asked what impact the failure of Measure 66 and 67 would have on the college’s budget and its ability to meet the needs of the increased demands for vocational and professional programs. She replied that the college would lose close to $3 million if these two measures failed. The major reason why LCC had a 15 percent increase in enrollment is the high unemployment rate in Lane County. If Measures 66 and 67 fail, many citizens of Lane County will find that the college may be forced to reduce course offerings in such programs.

It is to the benefit of taxpayers to vote yes on Measures 66 and 67. Please join me in doing so.

Dennis Shine, Springfield


Kevin Feeney and Cheryl Smith (Viewpoint 12/24) ask: No one has proposed that any other medication should be taken in a social environment or be the basis of social interactions, so why should this be so for marijuana?

I’m not a doctor, but here are three suggested responses:

1. There seems to be therapeutic value in using cannabis medicinally in a social environment. This is especially true for patients who have used cannabis medicinally when their use was not protected in the law but extends beyond this population.

2. Many patients suffering from debil-itating medical conditions are shut-ins for whom being in a social environment in and of itself seems to have therapeutic value.

3. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act prohibits patients from using in a public place, or in public view. Being able to use cannabis medicinally in a social environment creates a location patients can medicate when they are out of their homes.

Leland R. Berger, attorney. Portland


Those criticizing Warren Weisman’s opinion (12/3) that solar energy is of limited use should analyze the facts and choose reason over environmental symbolism.

Solar power is intermittent and unreliable like an employee who only shows up for work a few hours a day, and only when he feels like it. You don’t get any solar energy at night; you get less on cloudy days, less in the morning and less in the late afternoon. That makes large scale solar power schemes horribly inefficient no matter how high we can pump up the theoretical peak output of solar panels. The cost of energy storage systems, batteries and other complex systems on top of high panel costs make solar impossibly expensive for large scale use.

The surface area of the earth we would need to cover with solar panels to collect significant amounts of energy makes it impossible on a practical economic and human level. Solar advocates have suggested that we could satisfy 69 percent of U.S. daytime electricity needs for the year 2050 by covering 34,000 square miles of our Southwestern desert with solar panels, thus turning it into a vast dead zone

For a comprehensive cost analysis of solar power see

Christopher Calder, Eugene


I’m not a big Duck fan nor am I a consistent reader of EW. That I happened to pick up this latest issue (12/31) was one of those fun moments, when with a bit of time to myself and a good cup of coffee, I got transported by Rick Levin to that place I go when I’m really enjoying reading. Levin’s straightforward look at the wacky world of Duck sports was the best description (and explanation) I’ve read in my 40-plus years as a Duck/Eugenean and a moderate sports fan. Rick Levin, you made my day. I’ll be sure to pick up the Weekly more often. 

Doug Handshaw, Eugene


Thank you for highlighting many of the worthy organizations in your “Just Give It” cover story (12/24). I must admit, though, that I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the City of Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic in the Animal Rescue Groups section.

The Spay and Neuter Clinic has provided low-cost reproductive surgery to the public since its inception 31 years ago, and has played a critical role in reducing the number of unwanted animals in Lane County. For those Eugene residents who require further financial assistance, the clinic also has a voucher program which greatly reduces the cost of surgery, and gratefully accepts donations to this fund. The clinic also works closely with Lane County Animal Services to provide pre-adoption surgeries, and in fact neutered the kitten prominently displayed on your cover. By our estimation, more than 100,000 animals have been spayed and neutered at the City of Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic, making it the most significant contributor in the continuing fight against pet overpopulation in Lane County.

We appreciate EW’s support for the animal welfare groups in our community, and hope that in the future, all organizations’ efforts are recognized.

Dr. Marilyn Waters, City of Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic


The recent brouhaha over the neo-Nazi mini-blitzing of UO and Eugene via the Pacifica Forum reveals a two-headed fascism. The idolizers of any ugly Third Reich ideology, though persistent in the Western world, are thoroughly contained in the U.S. by pro-Zionist governmental policies kowtowed to by both conservatives and liberals.

As for the other heads of this hydra, the Anti-Hate Task Force and like groups, including Eugene’s Amy Pincus Merwin of Inform Media and author Joseph A. Leiberman, represent a more pervasive liberalized fascism which is far more of a threat to our Bill of Rights. Anti-gun sentiment is rampant in Eugene, thanks in part to the EW and The Register-Guard, and is a threat to our Second Amendment rights. The anti-“hate speech” gang constitutes an equal threat to the First Amendment, even though it regularly gets its sanctimonious ass kicked in courts throughout the nation by the ACLU and most segments of the judicial system. Anti-hate speechers don’t give up easily and are not deterred by the fact that no defensible definition for hate speech exists in any legal sense.

If these people ever succeed in rendering the Bill of Rights meaningless, hate thought will be their next target. Those who think such monitoring improbable don’t know the hidden watchdog face of the imperial America in which we live.

John Hickam, Eugene


Your journal is entitled to give space to Michael Williams’ latest attack (letters, 12/21) on the Pacifica Forum on behalf of the Anti-Hate Task Force. That’s freedom of speech. I hope you will give equal space to Forum regular attendees to refute the content of his allegations and deconstruct their real purpose.

Briefly, “anti-hate” movements in America today have nothing to do with stopping racism. On the contrary, their agenda is undermining freedom in order to aid the most important form of racism in the country — Jewish racism. Consider: The U.S. boycotted the white apartheid state until it collapsed. It supports the equally violent Jewish apartheid state to the hilt. The “anti-racist” left helps this program as much as overt Zionists do, using weasel words like “an environment where hateful acts and the espousal of hateful ideas, without context to the university mission of continuing education, is not tolerated.” This means the abolition of the First Amendment and academic freedom. Under the PC language, it is a direct attack on our society’s values in the service of another’s. 

I reject the far right’s analysis of the Jewish Question, but at the same time, I need freedom to figure out America’s peculiar support for Israel’s crimes against humanity, in complete contrast to its own history of slowly but surely abolishing racism. Williams and co. are trying to take it away from people on the left like me as much as from others.

Jay Knott aka Roderick McLaughlin, Portland


I am a fan and a frequent reader, but I was surprised to see the omission of the City of Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic from the “Just Give It” list of organizations helping animals because the clinic is the Rosetta Stone of the humane movement in Lane County. We called the clinic the Spay-Neuter Implementation Program (SNIP). The omission is akin to forgetting to have mentioned Rosa Parks during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Please allow me to correct the omission: In addition to the other worthy organizations listed in the article please remember the City of Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic and sponsor the spay or neuter of dogs and cats by participating in the clinic voucher program. Your participation will help continue work that began more than 30 years ago, spaying and neutering more than 100,000 animals and preventing millions of unnecessary deaths due to pet overpopulation. To sponsor a surgery please contact 682-3643.

Joan Walker, Eugene 


House Democrats, including Peter DeFazio, are poised to shirk the public option, just as the Senate has, while forcing Americans to buy health care or pay the price. What no public option means is that there will be no incentive for the for-profit health care providing corporations to keep their costs down or for for-profit insurance corporations to provide adequate coverage. You will be paying about half the amount of your rent or mortgage to insurance companies that are in the business of denying coverage because they are in no way beholden to the public, but to their shareholders! 

Without a public option or a law pro-hibiting health care providers from for-profit status, we will get no health care reform whatsoever. Right now, corporate health care stock is increasing in value because of the expectation that the new law will force us all to buy whatever they’re selling. This is no kind of reform at all. In fact, it’s the opposite. We are forced to buy the same old bad health care that allows people to die and forces families into bankruptcy. Way to keep the public from protesting by passing the Senate bill on Christmas Eve!

Jennifer Shier, Eugene


The economy is recovering from the recession, the media says, but most people aren’t feeling it. Experts patiently explain how the recovery won’t reach the job market for awhile, because employment is a lagging indicator. The commentary stops with that, as though there were nothing more to say, but the logical conclusion is whatever effect economics has on the public, it is not direct. 

Economics doesn’t concern itself much with folks mired in the everyday. It views the quality of our lives, notions of human rights, and collateral damage from dog-eat-dog financial battles as regrettable. We are human resources. Our use is as fuel. So if economics isn’t central to most of us, why does it intrude into nearly every learned discussion?

Economics single-mindedly pursues efficiency, sorting winners into a parallel universe and enriching them beyond imagination. Not only does it create this heavenly kingdom, but it rules up there, guiding business development, mergers and acquisitions, stock offerings, etc. That’s where the money is, the universe of Wall Street, bankers, titans of industry. And there’s your answer: Economics is vital to the upper class.

This system works. We grumble, but there’s usually enough trickling down to keep most of us quiet. The over-emphasis on economics does have a downside: abandonment of the poor (lower class), degradation of the environment, perpetual preparation for war and financial busts which fall most irrevocably on the middle. But it has built a strong country. 

The public doesn’t understand the bargain it has made, and the upper class aims to keep it that way. As long as it can deny its own existence, the rest of us will keep believing in “our national economy” and unknowingly support higher privileges for the few. 

Change begins with awareness. When speakers back an argument with “economics” and “the economy,” think “upper class” and “status quo.” 

At Christmas, we had our annual reminder that It’s a Wonderful Life, which this year was surprisingly familiar. The basic economics has staunchly remained the same over generations. The question is, why have we?

Douglas Brown, Eugene




I went to see a specialist the other day and experienced sticker shock. I was referred to this specialist by my primary care physician. The PC told me that I have sleep apnea and needed to be treated by a sleep specialist. I saw this specialist several times and was treated. I received a call a few days before the next appointment from the specialist’s office asking me to agree to see a physician’s assistant and not the doctor. Because my current insurance plan has a limited lifetime benefit, I asked if the rate would be reduced if I agreed. The clerk said no, the same rate would apply. I declined. 

I asked my doctor about it and he told me my insurance company was paying Medicare reimbursement rates for me (even though I have a private insurance policy) that are much less than actual cost. Henceforth, I was declared as “stable” and would no longer be allowed to see the doctor. I could see the physicians assistant or a nurse practitioner, but not the doctor. I told the doctor that my insurance company would charge the entire cost of the office call to my limited lifetime benefit. He said that was too bad, but because the reimbursement rate he received did not cover his costs, I would not be able to see the doctor for what my PC described as a potentially life-threatening condition. So, I get to pay for my share of the insurance premium, the entire cost of the specialist are charged to my insurance policy, but I do not get to see the doctor. 

To me, this is a bigger problem than any of the current debated issues I have heard coming out of the Congress concerning health care reform. What benefit is it for me when the reimbursement rates are so low that my doctor refuses to treat my condition anymore because he does not get paid enough money to do so? I’d like some of the wise men/women to answer that question for me because I feel that I have been treated as a mark for someone to make money off of and not as a patient needing treatment for an illness.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene


A novelty only 30 years ago, meat-free diets are rapidly becoming the fashion for people who care about their family’s and their planet’s health. Here are recent indicators: 

• According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of animals killed for food in the U.S. this year is expected to drop by 6 percent from 2008.

• Jonathan Foer’s Eating Animals and two other vegan books have made the bestseller list.

• Meat industry exposé Food, Inc. is being considered for an Oscar nomination.

• Cargill, ConAgra, and other animal butchering empires have launched a number of vegan food products. 

• In March, the respected National Cancer Institute reported that people who ate the most red meat were “most likely to die from cancer, heart disease and other causes.” 

• In July, the conservative American Dietetic Association has affirmed that “vegetarian and vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

• In the November issue of World Watch magazine, two World Bank scientists have claimed that meat production may account for more than half of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The dawn of the New Year is a great time to explore the new dietary fashion and all the delicious, healthful vegan foods in our supermarkets.

Elijah Hennison, Eugene