Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.29.09


From the hearts of the concerned and compassionate citizens of Eugene, I offer to you our sincere and heartfelt apologies. Please know that our city’s pride lies not in the actions of our culturally incompetent and seemingly corrupt officials, but rather in our hope that Eugene be recognized as a welcoming and understanding community. 

We are sorry you’ve become a victim of the rampant overuse of Tasers infecting Eugene’s Police Department. Their actions mar our vision of a beautiful city, and now we, the concerned citizens, find ourselves once again having to pick up pieces of a botched situation handled with inappropriate force. 

The citizens of any municipality deserve to believe their police are upholders of the law, but once again their disappointing actions have shattered that dream, tainting the brass of their so-called “shields.” Regardless of what happened at your residence that horrible night, I would like to recognize that the fault lies not with you. The burden of guilt falls onto the shoulders of irresponsible property management, an overly Taser-anxious police force, cultural incompetency and an extreme case of miscommunication. 

Did they attempt to bring in a translator to communicate with you? Did they even consider the fact that you were afraid, confused and upset that people came to your residence and trespassed for no reason at all besides their own incompetence? I pray that you are able to heal and recover from the horrific trauma of Taser abuse. I wish you the best in returning to your studies, if staying in Eugene’s something you decide to do. 

Please do not judge our fair city on the actions of our rogue police. We are a welcoming, loving, respectful and diverse community, and we can all hope that someday Eugene’s finest will realize that as well. It will take just leaders, a Civilian Review Board that represents honest oversight (not just police interest) and a whole lot of time to recover from this tragedy. I implore the leaders of Eugene to lead us in the right direction. For too long now we have been traveling down a dark path and innocent people are being abused. I am sorry to you wode zhongguo pengyou (my Chinese friend). May you overcome this nightmare, find peace and realize your dreams.

 Mat Beecher, Eugene



The Seneca biomass wood burning plant is the real clunker. What a mistake by EWEB and LRAPA! And how ironic to see those cute children on television claiming that LRAPA is providing them with clean air to breathe when the American Lung Association in their 2009 report claims that almost half the Lane County population suffers from breathing our air pollution. Maybe because today’s rain does clean the air they have the nerve to put such commercials on TV and ignore the additional 500 tons of pollution Seneca will add to our air pollution problem.

Taxpayers will be subsidizing dirty air to breathe and using a very inefficient method to produce electricity. Efficiency for electricity from biomass is 15-25 percent, coal is 45 percent and natural gas is 60 percent. How could LRAPA compare air pollution to burning slash when they should know that slash is a valuable nutrient of soil for growing healthy trees and shouldn’t be removed from the forest? I believe everyone understands that this is a money grab for stimulus money from taxpayers. A biomass plant in Massachusetts is to receive $400 million in public handouts. How much for Seneca? It is a horrible deal for the public.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


In response to Jim Byrd’s letter, there is one major flaw in your logic behind police Tasing Ian Van Ornum. When the cops arrested him, there was nothing quick about it. According to witnesses, after the cop was “threatened,” he told Van Ornum to get out of the street or he would be arrested. The officer then left. Later the police returned and arrested Van Ornum, leaving the water can behind. If you watch the footage on you can see the water can was nowhere near Van Ornum while he was being arrested. It is clear there was ample time to ask questions before drawing weapons.

Casie Clausen, Eugene


After carefully reading Jim Byrd’s “Tasing Required” letter, it is quite clear to me that both he and some EPD officers are paranoid. The biggest mistake made by American police chiefs is to issue Tasers to paranoid police officers.

Bob Saxton, Eugene


Charles F. Thielman (10/15) starts spanking the EW for running its “Fetish Fun” cover by asking a rhetorical question: What would a 10-year-old think? He assumes the image will cause the child to grow up become an Abu Ghraib torturer. But wait a minute. I imagine that a 10-year-old understands make believe very well, especially during Halloween season, and sees that adults too can and do dress up in costumes and play-act for fun.

And come to think of it, kids seem to have an inordinate interest in spanking in any case, whether or not Mom and/or Dad practice corporal punishment. Why is that? Certainly most 10-year-olds in the Eugene area could read the accompanying article and understand it. Instead of trying to prohibit images, a parent could use the cover as the starting point for a discussion about the norms and diversity of physical sensuality, and the similarity as well as the difference between pain and pleasure, and the true nature and ethical meaning of consensual human activity.

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene


We heartily agree with Charles Thielman’s well-written letter (10/15) criticizing your Oct. 8 photograph showing a chained woman being spanked by a man with a spiked paddle.

We couldn’t recycle the Oct. 8 issue fast enough!

Kay and Bob Sogge, Eugene

EDITORS NOTE: The paddle wasn’t spiked; it featured smooth studs.


Regarding “Solar Jobs See Cloudy Forecast,” (News Briefs, 10/1): Dreams like the re-opening of Eugene’s Hynix plant as a solar factory can seem impossible. Especially in our current situation where we lack the economic and political support necessary to make them a reality. We need to make the U.S. a competitive market place for renewable energy technologies like wind turbines and solar panels.

In doing so we will ensure that we are on track to reduce our global warming pollution by at least 80 percent by 2050. We can create green jobs, manufacture renewable energy technologies and stop global warming by demanding that our elected officials stand-up for Oregon’s future. It starts with each of us urging our Congress members to pass strong climate legislation. Right now, the Senate is considering the Boxer-Kerry Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. We need both Sens. Merkley’s and Wyden’s support on this act to ensure that we are energy independent. 

We can develop, build and manufacture the clean energy technologies here in Oregon that will repower America with clean energy. We just need to make sure our representatives are listening to our cry for independence.

Jocelyn Orr, Portland


Although Gila Svirsky is co-founder of Women in Black and chair of B’Tselem, she did not appear in Eugene to support those worthy organizations but to promote a political agenda — a “two-state solution” for the Israel/Palestine impasse based on the Geneva Initiative. This model is deceptive in intent, projecting an image of fairness while designed to protect Israel from its perceived “demographic threat” by preserving a Jewish majority. Israel has long hoped to isolate Palestinians within an Israeli-approved mini-state with limited autonomy and to forever deny their U.N.-declared right of return to their homes. 

Svirsky suggests that Israel admit responsibility for the refugees but allow return of only a few for “humanitarian” reasons. The words justice and equality are conspicuously absent from the proposed two-state solution, and, as our own Supreme Court determined, separate is never equal. What she and organizations such as Tikkun and J-Street recommend amounts to a segregated Bantustan system.

Svirsky’s racist proposal that “Some Palestinian refugees could be absorbed by other Arab countries” (as though all Arabs are culturally interchangeable) went unchallenged by Eugene “peace community” members in attendance. These refugees are Israel’s responsibility alone, and return to their stolen homes was a condition of Israel’s 1949 admittance to the U.N., which they have never honored. Sponsorship of such speakers by secular peace and justice organizations is inappropriate. Svirsky’s message is just as offensive to Palestinians and human rights activists committed to justice and equality as are racist white separatist speakers sponsored by Pacifica Forum.

Mariah Leung, Co-Director, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Eugene


There is a hearing coming up about a UO dormitory development in the Fairmount Neighborhood along historic Moss Street. The hearing will be from 1 to 2:30 pm Nov. 10 at the UO Longhouse (just east of the Knight Law School). After a site change and numerous delays, the new 400-450 student dormitory may be sited on top of the last large UO parking lot near the 1600 block of Moss Street. 

The proposed dorm design includes an underground tunnel to the new Nike arena, which also raises questions about whether this dorm is being designed specifically for athletes like the opulent new “learning center” on Franklin Boulevard. Removal of the last large UO parking lot and encroachment into the Fairmount Neighborhood with the proposed Moss Street dorm site ensures that this project will exacerbate the increasing parking and livability problems in the area.

The Nike arena is already leading to significant impacts on the Fairmount Neighborhood. There are a growing number of poorly planned and unfunded projects in the UO development pipeline like a $30 million to $40 million dollar indoor track (site is unknown) and an additional expansion to Autzen Stadium. Careful scrutiny of this ambiguous and little known dorm proposal may lead to a more reasonable UO development agenda. For more information about problematic UO planning policy and related issues, see the videos at

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene


Neal Spangler’s critique (10/1) of my letter (9/17) opposing false dichotomies reinforced dualistic frameworks that distract from understanding our predicaments.

The fake debates between alleged opposites — Democrat/Republican, good cop/bad cop — are part of a psychological warfare against the public that ridicules examination of political collapse. Nothing the Republicans have done in recent decades could have happened without the collusion of the national Democratic party. The Democrats refused to impeach either George Bush. They helped cover up political assassinations (JFK, MLK, RFK), the 1980 October Surprise, Iran-Contra, 9/11 and the peak oil motive for invading Iraq. The Democratic Party died in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. See

The D’s have nicer rhetoric than the R’s, but neither political party has launched any meaningful climate initiative, nor will they admit we are at peak oil.

The Clinton/Gore administration man-aged to shred as many environmental laws as Reagan/Bush, mostly because environmental groups are too partisan to object when “their side” does bad things. Most environmental groups are quiet about Eugfield Springene’s billion dollar highway expansion plan, Gov. Kulongoski’s $18 billion highway expansion plan and Obama and DeFazio’s $500 billion transportation bill.

Torrey didn’t start any sustainable initiatives, but Mayor Piercy claims “carbon credits” can make the city of Eugene carbon neutral, so there’s no need to stop widening highways. It’s sustain-a-bullshit.

If you were lost in an unpleasant place, would you want a map of Disneyland or a map that told you where you were?

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene


In reference to Dane Smith’s letter, “The Giant Awakens” (9/24): Like Smith, “I took my education seriously. I applied myself seriously. I worked hard for my money, my home,” and yet unlike Smith, I don’t believe such effort gives me the right to turn my back on those less fortunate.

There’s nothing special about hard work. Lots of people without health care work hard eight or more hours a day for minimum wage. When I was a child, my mother occasionally looked at a transient or some other ill-fated person and remarked, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Those are good words to remember and live by. Success is a gift, and at the end of our lives there aren’t any pockets in a shroud!

Don Healey, Eugene


They are called “dog” parks for a reason. While I feel sorry for the entire circumstance Renee Hart experienced that has led her to form a petition for a small dog park (News Briefs, 10/8), this story brings up another major issue at local Eugene dog parks: small children in the parks.

Parents may mean well bringing both their children and dogs to the park for a family activity, but it’s important for dog owners and parents to be aware that a dog park is not a playground for young children. While it may be difficult to imagine anything as horrific as what occurred to Lola occurring to a child, it very well could have been (and thankfully wasn’t) Hart’s 4-year-old mauled instead.

As the owner of a jovial 70-pound black lab, I’ve seen several examples of small children getting sideswiped or knocked over by dogs on accident. I’ve also seen small children chasing frightened dogs unfamiliar with the play of young children or petting animals that they cannot be sure are entirely friendly. I’ve also seen (small) dogs nip at children in the parks and generally distract parents from controlling their own dogs. My dog was attacked several years ago by another dog that was trying to protect his small family member, to whom my dog apparently roamed too close. That attack caused a trip to the emergency vet and 40 stitches.

Please keep small people out of dog parks, regardless of the size of the canines allowed inside. While it would be wonderful to assume that all dogs in parks are in accordance with the ordinances posted, the mastiff was simply one instance of a dog owner who may not have fully recognized the ways in which any given dog will respond to different stimuli.

Karin Timmermans, Eugene


As the health care debate enters our lives daily one thing is clear beyond question. Reform of the insurance industry is a must. The cost to small business is stifling. The cost to large employers is huge and bringing down wages as a result. The cost to the unemployed is unattainable, and the cost to our economy cannot be sustained. Yet the insurance industry threatens to raise premiums while their profits soar and they enjoy exemption from anti-trust laws.

 Among the remedies is the possibility of a public option. This option to private insurance is the lightning rod that has brought the scare tactics floating to the top of the boiling cauldron of fears, lies and propaganda that the insurance industry, their minions and the uninformed have concocted.

 Socialism, they cry, while some of them are collecting Social Security and Medicare. Government takeover, they bellow, but if it comes to fruition it would be nothing but an option to some. The term “death panels” was thrown into the fray by the ex-governer of Alaska, which refers to end of life counseling of which she was a proponent before she quit her job. It has even been called a Ponzi scheme to which I wonder, who are the undeserving schemers other than those without an option?

Please people, get informed! If this is important to you, do some research into the reason we are in this situation and how much money the insurance industry is spending to defeat the reform and keep us in their greedy grip.

One axiom that always pans out is “follow the money.”

Mark Taubenkrau, Eugene



Fashion in Ducks football (10/1) is given hilarious insight by EW. Thanks to dictates of Nike, Oregon wears something more ludicrous with each game.

But the camouflage goes further than that when one views the embarrassing antics of Oregon varsity athletics. First, the coach poses as a believer in strict discipline, unfairly depriving a player, Blount, of playing the rest of the season after the player lost control at Boise.

Now the coach’s transparent new uniform is one of compassion, giving Blount the chance to come back as a player. Gullible football fans believe that lie. The truth is that Oregon now seems a candidate for the Pac-10 title after the victory over Cal, and the coaches want Blount back for only one reason — a selfish one, devoid of concern for the player. They think that as their best running back, Blount could help them get that title.

Blount deserves apologies and a chance to play elsewhere. The coaches and athletic director do not deserve a title. Let them wear an outfit that fits their behavior: that of a clown.

George Beres, Eugene


Capitalism: A Love Story is a movie must! Michael Moore has Catholic priests declare that capitalism is a sin and then demonstrates our sinful American values when it comes to paying low wages, firing workers and not providing health care to the sick or shelter to the poor. He asks what would Jesus say to having the wealthiest 1 percent obtain more than the 95 percent under them combined. With a foreclosure rate of one every 7.5 seconds and 14,000 losing their health insurance each day, how can we call ourselves a morally concerned society?

When did this start in America? Moore crowns Reagan and his money supporters as the start with their tax cuts and deregulation of financial rules and regulations.

Private moneymaking jails for youth that are condemned for long stays and questionable minor crimes really had me shedding tears. What a moneymaking operation! Maybe our interfaith community is our only chance for democracy and a fairer society. Or maybe our only chance is having every American see this film?

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to wildlife: changing, shrinking, forcing wildlife to migrate or adapt, or even threatening their very existence.

The intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change warns that if we don’t take strong action to address global warming soon, 20 to 30 percent of the world’s plant and animal species will be at increased risk of extinction by 2050.

Fortunately, there is something that can be done. This summer, the House of Representatives passed legislation to both reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are triggering climate change and take steps to safeguard natural resources and wildlife threatened by the changes in climate already set in motion. Now the Senate is moving on similar legislation recently introduced by Sens. Boxer and Kerry.

However, reducing carbon emissions is not enough. Any comprehensive climate and energy legislation must dedicate 5 percent of the funding generated to safeguarding fish and wildlife and the natural resources on which we all rely. Our senators should know that their constituents expect nothing less.

Kimberly Lewis, Eugene