Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.09.08


Yesterday (9/29) I watched with anti-cipation as the House voted (no) on the $700 billion bailout. I listened to the debates both for and against. Many of those for the bailout referred to the poor as the reason behind their decision. The poor? Those who barely make minimum wage? Those whose scheduled hours are 30 minutes shy of full time? Those who can’t afford retirement, let alone benefits? 

I was pleased with the outcome. America has been enslaved to corporate America too long! It is not the responsibility of the middle class in America to pay back the Wall Street greedy! We do need a plan in rebuilding the economy.

A bailout for corporate America is not the answer to fixing the economy. The answer lies in Main Street America, where small business will once again have a voice; where the average citizen contributes to society with hard work and determination; where our neighbors greet us as we become their patrons again. 

We survived the Great Depression, and it wasn’t by rewarding bad behavior, it was by rewarding hard work and determination. This is a time for communities to come together again. Not only will the economy be resurrected, but the true reward will come in our children once again learning the value of hard work and honesty. 

Let’s put our taxpayers’ dollars where they belong: in the pockets of small business, in the pockets of hard workers. This is not a time to be afraid, this is a time to embrace an opportunity. Let’s take back America.

Kevinia “Kay” Frazer, Eugene


One of the biggest surprises after arriving here in our fair city in 2003 was finding out that the people had elected a stubborn, backwards Bush-Republican for mayor. Eugene was not as blue as I thought. During Torrey’s failed Senate campaign against Vicki Walker, on a local talk radio show he was asked what needed to be done to fix Oregon’s schools. While I can’t recall his exact words, his response went something like this: “First and foremost, teachers are going to have to sacrifice more.” Yeah, that’s the answer, Jim; with high college tuition costs, a national teaching shortage and nearly half of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years, what we need is additional sacrifice from our teachers. Not better economic incentives to draw the best professionals into the field, not hiring more teachers in order to decrease class size, but more “sacrifice” from our teachers. 

He was also asked about Iraq, and of course he was in lock step with the Bush administration. And like most Republicans, he opposes equal rights for non-heterosexuals. Like many Republicans, Torrey decided to shed the dirty Republican label and re-register as an Independent for political reasons. It’s hard to get elected almost anywhere these days after eight years of Republican corruption and cronyism. 

No matter what Torrey’s voter registration card says, Torrey remains a wrong-headed Bush-Republican. Unlike Torrey, who represented the rich and the very rich as Eugene mayor, Kitty Piercy has worked extremely hard to be the mayor for all of Eugene.

Joshua Welch, Eugene


Thank you for printing Mandy DeVille’s letter (“Religion Blows,” 9/18). It brought a huge smile to my face.

I have been to a couple “interfaith” services thinking this might be the answer to our religious woes as a society. What I found was that the pretense of tolerance is almost more disgusting than outright intolerance itself! It’s like we sit around trying to figure out how to coexist with those of different religious beliefs (which is impossible) when what we need to do is take a deep breath and move out of the Stone Age. “Faith” and “beliefs” are maddeningly unhelpful, and as DeVille pointed out so eloquently, an inconceivably huge waste of brain space and energy.

As a culture we need to stop playing make-believe. I could not agree more. And it starts with individuals one-by-one turning away from comforting hocus-pocus and facing the fear of death alone — growing up.

Rebecca Fitch, Eugene

MAKE IT 60-40

If you’re old enough to vote but too young to care, I have a suggestion for you: The Republican-oriented voting machine companies can only get away with stealing an election if it’s a close election. Even if Gore or Kerry had won, they wouldn’t have won by much. It is you who have the power to change that. This election can easily go from 55/45 (which can be stolen) to 60/40 (which cannot) if the young will vote.

The registration deadline in Oregon is Oct. 14, and it’s as easy as visiting

Would you like to be able to get a job? Buy a car? Save your brother from dying from a landmine? Save your sister from dying from a coat-hanger? The choice is yours. Vote, goddamn you, vote.

Steve Downey, Eugene


It certainly is a statement about how dreary American politics has become that we have to call for an end to lies. Merle Weiner’s Viewpoint article in the Sept. 25 issue is so clear and concise. We deserve political discussions about the issues, and we must demand that the candidates talk about the concerns that affect us all — the economy, jobs, the Iraq War, health care and maybe a little protection for the occasional wolf, polar bear, wolverine and their habitats.

Mary Sherriffs, Eugene


Whether you believe in God or you simply trust the universe, we all have seen the healing power of our prayers, wishes and love. 

As parents, we hold our kids in our arms when they hurt. We whisper words of love, we hold them against our heart, and we make them feel better.

A month ago, our dear friend Andrea contracted a virus that attacked her heart. In only a few days, this strong woman, who took care of everyone as a mother and a physical therapist, almost lost her life as her heart lost its function. She is now at OHSU, fighting for her life. 

There is not much we can do for Andrea’s medical condition, but there is much we can do to help her heal. Imagine Andrea in your heart (a tall, fit, gorgeous blond woman). Imagine her as healthy and full of life as she always is, and wish her everything you would wish to your child or your friend when they hurt. Trust your faith, trust the universe and trust the healing power you carry in your heart, as it all conveys the same: Andrea, we love you and we want you back home healthier then ever.

The more people we have sending these positive healing thoughts to Andrea, the more the impossible can happen. You may not know Andrea, but your positive thoughts will help create the healing energy she needs. Her story, just like her life, touches us all.

Ronit Cohen, James Cloutier, Eugene


Republican Gordon Smith’s negative campaign against Jeff Merkley is backfiring. Far from believing Smith’s false allegations about Merkley, Oregonians are sending a clear message to Smith that these gratuitous and offensive ads have no place in a senatorial campaign. They are clearly designed to distract voters from what’s really at stake in this election: While Smith spends millions waging a negative campaign built on lies, he consistently fails to address the concerns that matter to Oregonians. He rejected Jeff Merkley’s proposal for a series of debates throughout the state, refusing to engage in open discussions about key concerns like the war in Iraq, the economy and public safety.

And while Smith takes the low road, Merkley talks to us about his concrete plans — like the one to end the war, the one to create American jobs and the one to protect children from violent crime. As speaker of the Oregon House and as a senatorial candidate, Merkley has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to the interests of everyday Oregonians.

Oregon voters expect more from our elected officials than Smith is willing to give. We expect honest debate and real solutions, not a slick ad campaign that denies what’s truly important to us. Smith has shown poor judgment in this campaign, assuming voters would buy his distortions and forget about our need for real change in Washington. He was wrong. Democrat Jeff Merkley is the one candidate in this race whom we can count on to actually deliver. 

Rachel Vanderford, Eugene


Regarding EW’s accusation that Republicans repealed Glass-Steagall in 1999 (Slant, longer web version, 9/25), you conveniently left out the fact that it was a Democratic president (Clinton) who signed the repeal into law.

Both major parties are guilty as hell for this mess because both are so dependent on corporate money. With few exceptions — Pete DeFazio comes to mind — members of Congress represent those who send them the most money. And as long as Americans keep electing them, we’re just as guilty as they are. 

Jerry Ritter, Springfield


I am baffled by the choices the media are making regarding news stories. I recently attended a press conference called by Sen. Vicki Walker, Commissioner Pete Sorenson and Rob Handy to bring to the attention of the community the election violations being made by our current County Commissioner Bobby Green. The story was given a small headline in the City Region section of The Register-Guard. Kudos to KLCC, a public radio station, which chose to inform the public as well. Where were the local television stations? Is this not a newsworthy story that affects us all? 

What is wrong with this picture? We have accusations of election improprieties brought to our attention by elected officials, and the television media don’t even bother to attend. It seems to me if our elected officials are willing to speak out about such violations, the media should be prepared and ready to cover any issue that affects the community as a whole. I must say, as a citizen I am extremely disappointed.

Teri Kohley, Eugene


What a breath of fresh air it is to have a candidate who actually walks the streets and talks with us about what really matters in this county. Rob Handy is doing the hard and dirty work of figuring out the real problems and solutions required for this county. As a result, his contributors are the working folks in Lane County. During the primary, the average donation to the Handy campaign was $100 as opposed to opponent Bobby Green’s average donation of about $400. The Register-Guard reported Sept. 22 that the county commissioners voted a few years ago to support gravel mining expansion in suburban Santa Clara. Note that Delta owners contributed $11,000 to Green’s current campaign. Who thinks there’s a connection here?

Handy’s large grassroots support of the working folks in the county, who are willing to donate their time and money, is due to his interest in the needs of the community and the livability of our neighborhoods. Please join this community to help Rob Handy become our next county commissioner.

Hans Wittig, Eugene


Does anyone feel we’re living on borrowed time? Our country has entered a black hole where time warps and economic structures collapse. Rhetoric turns into its opposite. Last month President Bush said, “Our economy is fundamentally sound.” This month he sings the blues. 

Economic regulations were shredded by Reagan, Clinton and a double dose of Bush. Now they’re being rewritten behind caucus doors. Calm has given way to panic. The clock ticks on like a noisy tickertape machine. Who will be the next to fall? 

Wall Street speculators are choking on the rubble of their own shady schemes. Fortunes were built on derivatives of derivatives, signifying absolutely nothing. Even the maestro, Sir Alan Greenspan, couldn’t figure them out. Still, he’s a rich man now. 

We have cynics kneeling in high places, praying for a miracle at our expense. They try to shred habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights in the name of domestic attacks while waging foreign wars. Wars and crashing markets have always mixed well in the martinis of Wall Street banksters and their political kin.

It would be nice if Barack Obama were different. With advisors like Robert Rubin, the head of Treasury under Clinton and Warren Christopher, his secretary of state, don’t dream too long. Obama will be “change lite.” Gore ran a more populist campaign eight years ago.

I applaud Rep. Peter DeFazio’s efforts to democratize this bailout, which was tailored for the frightened oligarchs who are trying to run this country through crisis management. It’s worth remembering Aristotle’s observation in Politics that democracy is the stage of government preceding oligarchy.

The world has lost confidence in America’s ability to rule it. It shamelessly exploits democracy in its own self interest. Why should they have confidence in our financial system?

Chris Pichey-Zwitkovits, Eugene


The Register Guard reported (8/30)that the flawed and controversial UO arena proposal may impact historic cultural resources in the Fairmount neighborhood. The tight focus of the article misses the wider political context of this situation.

The problem here is not only one legally protected historic tree. The planner employed by UO in charge of expanding the university footprint into the development “vision” called the Walnut Node is also the current president of the city of Eugene’s Historic Review Board. The goals of these two important and conflicting positions are clearly being legally compromised by this arrangement. The UO administration and UO Foundation should act immediately to correct this improper activity that precludes important preservation opportunities in the Fairmount Neighborhood and may open the UO and city of Eugene to greater legal challenges in the future. For more information about problems with the arena proposal, email

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene


Does the person you associate with reflect on you?

It has always been a common phrase that “Who you associate with reflects on you.” For that reason alone, I was interested to see that North Eugene Commissioner Bobby Green has chosen and paid (as reported on Orestar) City Councilor Mike Clark, president of Marketing Consultants Inc., to associate with. Clark was accused of being a political operative for John Crane in the primary election and raised controversial votes to create negative press, which is a clear violation of the law and the public trust (EW, 5/15). Why would one make such a choice? What does this say about Green, and what negative press should we expect to see about his opponent?

I am going to associate myself with the candidate who will serve the people. I choose to associate with Rob Handy. I know I can count on him to make the right choices. I know he is the right person to serve as North Eugene county commissioner.

Steve Kohley, Eugene


I have read quite a few letters from your readers. Some are very funny, and some are very argumentative. I need to say that with all the talk about immigrants and helping them, I’m a little disgruntled about the whole subject.

If you want to vacation in Mexico, you better know how to speak Spanish, and don’t think about buying any property there as you can’t. Let me be clear, I like all people; it doesn’t matter what color they are or where they come from. But I think the U.S. is too lenient to others; we give them welfare and housing and food. If we turned the tides and it was us in their country, we would be shit out of luck.

We spend so much money each year on helping other countries and other people coming into our country, and it seems to me we have forgotten about our own people.

We have kids here in the U.S. who are hungry and don’t have any decent clothes. We need to stop trying to run the whole world and keep our money in our America. This is a great land, and if we don’t stop trying to fix everyone else’s problems, we won’t be here very much longer.

I think the people that try to help everyone need to ask themselves why are they so concerned with everyone else and forget about their own.

Patricia Engelmann, Eugene


Every student has the right to learn. Measure 58, sponsored by convicted racketeer Bill Sizemore, would take away that right by [limiting] public school instruction in any language other than English. Sizemore is not a teacher and has no demonstrated experience with second language acquisition. As teachers and researchers know, there is a wide variety of effective methods to help students who are learning English succeed academically; some might involve bilingual instruction, most do not, but no credible one involves arbitrary, unrealistic deadlines that interfere with every aspect of learning as Measure 58 would. As a linguist, I am disturbed that someone with so little basic knowledge of language acquisition would seek to limit the options available to teachers and families.

However, I am even more pained as a (hopeful) future queer and trans parent. I want my children to be able to go to school and feel that their family is valued. No child should be told that their family is wrong or inadequate, whether it is because of how many moms or dads they have or because of what language their family speaks. Measure 58 sends the message that languages other than English ­ and the people who speak them — are not welcome in Oregon.

Every student deserves a safe, welcoming and supportive learning environment. Vote No on 58!

Ronan Kelly, Eugene


Gordon Smith is a typical go-along-to-get-along politician, a stand-in-line, do-not-get-out-of-line Republican. Why would I vote for him? He has never raised the hell that should have been raised these last eight years. His small protest against the Iraq War (after voting for and supporting it completely) was too little, too late. 

I do not want a senator who only voices the party line. I want to hear the person, what they feel is right, not what they feel will be the best political response for their selfish future. To hell with that old line; it has just about ruined this country. I want a senator who stands up against the private interest that has abandoned this country, for the profit line.

My vote will be for Jeff Merkley. I do not know if he is the right senator for my liking, but I know Gordon Smith is definitely not.

Gene Okins, Eugene


I’ve heard big talk lately about the lessons of 9/11, but here’s one lesson I haven’t heard about much at all.

America needs to stop treating the third world like third class citizens — little more than a corporate feeding trough of cheap resources, dirt cheap labor and almost nobody watching. In the name of “freedom” and “Christian values,” what we are really exporting is our greed-is-good, dog-eat-dog capitalist economic system, utterly dependent on mindless overconsumption, which many rightly see as a severe threat to their resources, values and cultural survival. We will be safer when we stop creating so many enemies.

Also, one of the very few intelligent sentences I have heard from George Bush: “America is addicted to oil!” If it were heroin we were talking about, it would be obvious that drilling anywhere and everywhere, despite the long-term damage to environment and climate, coercing and deceiving (even bombing!) other people to make sure we keep getting more is an addict’s mentality, not rational thinking.

By the way, speaking of patriotism, how do you think the British establishment must have felt about old George Washington and his buddies? One man’s “violent, radical insurgent” is another man’s “patriotic freedom fighter,” and we must not buy into labels, like “terrorist,” especially when they are being used deliberately to divert our attention away from more complex, deeper truths.

Peace, and may God bless the whole dang world with an America that is truly reaching for its high ideals while deeply respecting the values of others and the value of other ways of living on this Earth!

Rick Moser, Eugene


At first glance I thought that I was looking at one of those slimy sex newspapers from Portland’s red light district, but no, it is our very own Eugene Weekly trying real hard to get anyone’s attention; anyone!  I was certain to get my rocks off from just opening to the first page. How disappointed and frustrated I found myself.  Maybe the article has some juicy and nasty bits to elevate me towards sexual self-gratification. Nope. Even the article was a buzz kill and a half. I was mortified. Aha! That’s it. The Weekly is just a tease away from such an ego high, I am certain to get off with the next issue. In the meantime I’ll just have to hang out at the UO and look for these college girls who are so willing to “take it off,” as your headline so clearly suggests.

EW must be desperate to sell an advertisement as to stoop so low with such an eye-grabbing image. Money has truly corrupted Eugene’s  “once respected” news and views paper. Can’t we start charging a quarter a paper and get back to the real nitty-gritty, hard-hitting discussions and articles? Dump these writers who lack the courage and heart to say what it is that we all need to hear. 

I am embarrassed for Camilla Mortensen; what lame and pathetic dribble to fill a quarter of a page.

Thomas W. Baxter, Dexter





 The deepening financial crisis is worrying for all Americans. It certainly has revealed a Republican Party divided and befuddled as its most basic principles come crashing down. The seminal Republican tenets — that wildly free markets will somehow regulate themselves; that as the rich get richer they will suddenly develop a conscience and want to share their wealth; that down-home, anti-intellectual politicians can use common sense to unravel the complexities of imploding U.S. and world financial institutions — have all been proved to be an alarmingly dangerous trip down Alice’s rabbit hole.

 To top it all, it is now clear George W. has zero clout left within his own party, and it is his arch enemy Democrats who are trying to help him out of his self-inflicted quagmire. As for John McCain, the most unlikely of Economic White Knights, he seems bent on moving his erratic behavior to amazing new heights.

 First we had his most senior economic adviser, Phil Gramm, telling us that the imminent recession was all in our heads, and that we were a nation of whiners. Exit stage left, pursued by a bear?

 Then as Fannie and Freddy folded, he assured us our economy was strong, only to tell us the next day that in fact we were in crisis. His “inspired” solution was to fire Christopher Cox, as if this beleaguered chair of the SEC had somehow wrought the mess single handed.

 Next we learn that the lobbying firm owned by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, received $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac from late 2005 until last month.

 Finally, it all became too much for him and he suspended his campaign, though he didn’t close any offices or pull any ads or surrogates off the air, and off he went to Washington to put “country first.”

Does anyone else feel as though they are in a hall of mirrors? Alice’s Rabbit Hole is beginning to look better and better. At least in Wonderland we are warned that the Hatter is mad!

Beth Roberts, Albany


You know why Sen. McCain chose his running mate?

Yep, you guessed it: She’s a pro at changing diapers (wink, wink).

Eric Miller, Eugene


A tall tale from Big Oil has been floating around the media recently. Their mission is to make destroying pristine wilderness sound reasonable.  

 They tell us: “We’re only going to drill in 2,000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — we swear!”

But Big Oil’s “2,000 acres” will sprawl across the entire Arctic Refuge just like 1,800 acres of turnpike slices all across New Jersey.  A network of drill sites, pipelines, roads, airstrips, and other infrastructure will effectively destroy one of the most important wildlife sites in North America.

And all for what? A 4 cent drop per gallon of gas that we won’t even see for nearly 20 years.

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert said it best in 2003: “It is only a few thousand acres, they say. That is like saying, do not worry, the tumor is only in your lungs.  

The drilling will have impacts that will affect wildlife throughout the  area.”

If we buy the myth, we’ll end up getting short-changed.

Charlotte Sahnow, Eugene


The basic understanding that the term “free market capitalism” actually denoted “unchecked U.S. market access to all world markets with no health, labor or local regulations” has been in the media and blog sphere the entire Clinton and Bush era. None of this is news to the 15 percent of American citizens who actually use cognitive skills in seeking news.   

But the 15 percent of Americans who respond deeply to Nationalist rhetoric and the 10 percent of Americans who are wealthy investor-owners have retained a swing vote leverage over the 60 percent of Americans who vote strictly on propaganda and “our group” triggers, both of the left and the right. 

Do you really believe the captains of industry and political elites didn’t see the  collapse of Ponzi scheme loans and investments finally hitting the wall? 

They did see this coming, and it is not that they really like the results in some conspiratorial way as much as was that stopping the avalanche would entail their denouncing the system that greed is good — and that would mean the end of the gravy train for each and every man and woman on that gravy train. That would be biting the hand that feeds. 

Yes, we will have a depression, then we will have a re-invigorating period of war, and finally we will have that calm after the storm and the ensuing economic “miracle” will do it’s race up the mountain to the edge of a cliff again. 

Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove


It is known that we are currently in an election year, and it is difficult for anyone to escape the political bantering that is present in all media.  For those of you that have been fortunate enough to avoid the discourse, I have summed up the candidates positioning:

“I know you are, but what am I?”  “I know you are, but what am I?” ”Ya but.”

“I know you are, but what am I?” 

One must remember to vote however, as it is not only a right, but also an obligation; whatever may be one’s viewpoint or political affiliation.

My name is Bob and I approve this message.

Bob Kennedy, Eugene





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