Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.30.08


Whoever says that environmental issues and economic progress do not go hand-in-hand just do not have the facts.

Fortune’s “2008 Guide for Small Business” lists Eugene in the top 100 places to live and to start a small business.

The venerable magazine Forbes has listed Eugene 36th out of 200 best places for business and careers.

National Geographic’s “Green Guide 2006” named Eugene as “America’s number one Green City” being focused on sustainable business development.

No such honors came our way prior to the leadership of Mayor Kitty Piercy. Since taking office, Piercy has created an environment that brings all stakeholders to the table to build a healthy community with sustainable growth.

National recognition is proof of what we already know. Let’s keep the momentum going by re-electing Kitty Piercy.

Frank T. King, Eugene


The Jim Torrey I know is a gentleman who is patient and compassionate towards the disenfranchised. He cares deeply for Eugene and the environment and is a balanced leader. This patient gentleman who understands “turning the other cheek” finally had to stand up and confront the opposition in a recent mayoral debate. Of course they have differences, but Torrey had enough of being called a liar and misrepresented in some ugly ways. He definitely stated his opinions and clearly gave his directions for our city as well as challenged Kitty Piercy. It was quite the spirited debate! It seemed odd to me that she needed to read her notes but Torrey spoke from his heart and head. 

Once again I know why I will vote for Jim Torrey for mayor. His history of being a public servant is remarkable. Torrey’s experience as a small-business owner, coach and mayor and reputation of working well with both sides of issues will help Eugene through tough economic times ahead. People in the opposition have tried to portray Torrey as “Big Business,” not concerned about the environment, wanting Eugene to “sprawl,” and is swayed by money. Not true! Go to his website, visit his headquarters and talk to him. Unlike Piercy, who hired a consultant from Portland and had a fundraiser in Portland, Torrey is all local although many Lane County mayors endorse him. Torrey is a leader who will bring different groups together to move Eugene forward in a balanced and progressive way.

Nancy Harvey, Eugene


While local residents cling to the brink of hope for a better future with the probable election of Barack Obama, The Register-Guard extinguishes our hopefulness for a livable local community by endorsing candidates Jim Torrey and Bobby Green. These candidates stand for the same principles locally that the Bush administration imposed nationally: cronyism between corporate entities and politicians.

Mayor Kitty Piercy has led our city with integrity, graciousness and wisdom — making alliances across the broad community to foster efforts toward the common good. Piercy worked to resolve long-standing problems with long-term solutions, balancing people needs over pothole greed: homelessness; triple-bottom-line jobs to protect the environment, economy and family wage jobs; traffic problems; and dispute settlement (e.g., LTD).

Rob Handy has an enthusiastic citizen-powered campaign that is being ethically waged to elect him as the north Eugene county commissioner. He will change the direction of our county to meet our basic human needs.

It is clear that the big business community is fearful that they will no longer be able to get their policies passed when Piercy is reelected as mayor and Handy is our new commissioner.  

Carleen Reilly, Eugene


I’m writing to remind Eugene voters to once again support our school levy, Measure 20-137.

Voting for schools may seem like a no-brainer, but we shouldn’t take it for granted. Many people don’t even know that the local option levy is up for renewal. Most are also worried about the economy and may be tempted by the prospect of a quick, albeit small, tax cut. Some may think our schools have plenty of money. (If you do think that, you should visit a school and see how big our class sizes are)

So here are the facts: The levy is a critical part of our Eugene school budget. It provides funding equivalent to running two of our four high schools for a year. We don’t want to imagine Eugene schools without it. It’s NOT a tax increase. It just continues the local option we already have. In a changing and even scary world, we’ve got to make sure our kids have the support they need to be successful people, and good world citizens.

More than ever, we need to support kids, and keep supporting their education. Please vote to renew the 4J local option levy. Vote yes on Measure 20-137.

 Joy Marshall, Stand for Children, Eugene


Kitty Piercy came to our rental in west Eugene while stumping for votes. My husband and I recently relocated from 16-plus years in Seattle where not once did any candidate ever knock on our door, nor during that time spent living in the city proper were we the victims of crime. So what fun he had sharing with her that our neighbor’s car had been stolen just the night before and that our own vehicle was vandalized and burgled the previous month.

And her response? That it would most likely get worse before it got better. 

I was going to vote for you anyway, Kitty Piercy. But I especially appreciate your candor and willingness to cross the tracks into the “bad” side of town to entertain concerns of we less fortunates. Employment opportunities and public safety would also be a welcomed bonus; thank you.

And this nonsense regarding presumed traffic jams so horrific there’s a need to cause environmental distress to alleviate the inconvenience? Please — that would be cute if it weren’t so shortsighted and detrimental. You don’t know from gridlock, Eugene.

 SS Stansbury, Eugene


I have been a River Road resident for 43 years, and until this campaign season I had only vaguely heard of Bobby Green. He is not an active participant in my community. Last spring when Commissioner Green spoke at a River Road monthly organizational meeting, he admitted he had not been to a meeting for four years.

Contrary to an Oct. 11 editorial in the R-G, I do not believe that Bobby Green has been instrumental in facilitating legislation to restore the county federal timber payments. Credit for restoration of those funds should go to our diligent members of Congress. But Green now wants to take credit for it. As for how to spend this one-time windfall, Green will no doubt vote for projects that will benefit his big campaign contributors. That’s why I’m voting for Rob Handy this November.

Handy’s personal contact with thousands of Lane County residents provides him a clear understanding of how to allocate these previous resources to benefit all of the citizens in Lane County. I will vote for Handy because of his strong leadership skills, his ability to see many points of view, and his active participation in the north Eugene district.

Dona Shields, Eugene


The only surprise about the global financial crash is that it took this long for it to start, since something that is “unsustainable” is not merely a bad idea but unable to continue indefinitely. Most media reports on money problems, including the recent EW cover story (10/9), ignore the root causes and avoid even approaching needed solutions.

Our monetary system is based on debt and compound interest, which results in an ever-expanding amount of “money” chasing dwindling natural resources on our finite planet.

The geologist M. King Hubbert, who invented the methods to model the rise and fall of fossil fuels, wrote eloquently about how sincerely sustainable solutions would require money that was no longer based on debt and instead used natural resources as the basis for a steady state economic system. This would be considerably more sophisticated than the old gold standard.

Many well-meaning environmentalists, such as the city’s Sustainability Commission, promote the concept of the “triple bottom line,” an effort to include social justice and ecology into economic decisions. But the environment is not a co-equal concept — energy creates money, not the other way around. Former World Bank economist Herman Daly has written eloquently about how “sustainable growth” is an oxymoron, and a steady state economic model would be needed for genuine sustainability.

As collapse becomes more obvious, there has been an increase in distracting greenwash to confuse concerned citizens — “sustainabullshit.”

See for information about steady state, sustainable economics.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene


Soon this long and arduous political campaign season will be over. I’m not sure I’m relieved because, as when I’m climbing a hill, I don’t know what might be on the other side. Both nationally and locally, we are offered two distinct landscapes. Both nationally and locally, we can opt for a government whose decisions are based on the long term good of the whole or we can have the power politics that reward the few. I don’t know how people make their choices, but I want a community — and a country — that is inclusive of all with a leader who inspires our basic goodness. I’m tired of fear tactics that make us divisive and separated.

Nationally, Obama is the man to lead us away from fear and into courage that embraces all of us. He believes in — and will invest in — we, the people.

Locally, Piercy is the woman to continue creating a Eugene that is inclusive and moving forward. She believes in Eugene and its people. She has a positive vision that offers a blueprint to bridge our divisions. We need hope, not fear; belief in ourselves, not criticism; and pride in Eugene, not debasement. We need Piercy!

Judy Moseley, Eugene 


Joseph Lieberman’s “Guns on Campus” article in the Oct. 9 issue is an editorial, not news. His implication that a concealed handgun license (CHL) makes one no less prone to violence is false. Numerous studies have shown that concealed license holders are five times less likely to commit a violent crime than nonlicensed individuals. 

Also, the author fails to mention that it is legal for a CHL holder to carry concealed in any Oregon public school. That brings his deceptively low number of colleges permitting concealed carry up quite a bit. 

Emergency/contingency plans are all well and good, but the facts remain that campus officials and police have a dismal success rate when it comes to stopping a shooting once it starts. On the other hand, the school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was stopped by an armed civilian.

If we’re going to seriously discuss what will and will not make our children safer, let’s at least have the decency to use facts, instead of opinions.

Nick Chase, Eugene


“County picks and chooses which rules to enforce” (R-G, 10/12) notes that Bobby Green was one of the commissioners who forced a Junction City homeowner to remove a $6,000 fence, even though it was safely set back from the roadway. What a waste of government time and money to pursue this issue! I want a county commissioner who will interpret county rules with the bottom line in mind: health, safety and welfare. To follow rules that make no sense is a waste of taxpayer money. 

Bobby Green has been in office too long — he’s lost touch with what really matters in government. In this election, I support Rob Handy for County Commissioner: he offers a new voice, one that understands that government should maximize resources by representing the people with compassion and understanding.

David Simone, Eugene


In several key races, candidates present fundamental choices regarding feminine versus masculine expression. This is far more important than we might think.

My reading of Sarah Palin is that she is almost entirely masculine. McCain is a close second on the male scale. On the other hand, Obama expresses the most archetypically feminine qualities since Jimmy Carter: He listens, projects caring, is not afraid to ask for direction yet is not unduly subject to the male-values peer pressure of his handlers. Biden demonstrates these as well.

 At such a crucial time, we should not be confused by apparent gender, by external packaging. The past 10,000 years have been dominated by patriarchal values bringing warfare and environmental destruction. Feminine qualities like persuasion, nurturance, ability to listen, responsiveness and life-promoting stamina — these have all been subject to ridicule and suppression when it comes to the “business of running things.” Instead we have predominantly had leaders whose ideas of power and effectiveness are marked by verbiage such as “surge” and “bring it on.”

Locally we have a sitting mayor whose actual abilities to work with all sides and sectors seem to have disoriented some traditional voters. Her opponent left a big mess after his two terms and belongs to the Good Ol’ Boys network. Kitty Piercy, on the other hand, is in nobody’s pockets.

Communication with un-moneyed constituents does not seem that important to Commissioner Bobby Green. I don’t think contender Rob Handy ever played football, but he knows how to look you in the eye and be responsive. And he’s a forward thinker.

Vip Short, Eugene


Where’s your political compass?

The autumn sun casts long shadows pointing north. They stand out clearly against the harvest colors and remind me of the challenge we face as a people. We must find our north, again — or at least a political compass to chart a path out of this morass.

Our nation has an uneven history, “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal … ” was an inspired beginning. We have made progress, yet history records our own failings to steadily respect that maxim at home and abroad. The Bush years have now pulled us as far off course of our ideals as we have ever been. Torture and pre-emptive war stand as the epitome of our waywardness internationally. Widespread poverty, fear and cynicism prove the point at home. How do we find our way again as a country?

How about turning towards what is good, true and beautiful? Of course that is as difficult as the terms are debatable. But isn’t the first step on that path to turn sharply away from the ugliness, lies and corruption of the Bush administration and his party?

Just take a minute to gaze at the beauty of the trees this fall and ask yourself if you wouldn’t want to do something that bold and gorgeous. Here’s a chance. Turn away from the currently corrupt Republican Party and chart a new course. Put aside fear. Re-imagine liberty, equality and justice for all. Vote resoundingly towards a new north for America.

Kara Steffensen, Eugene


Do you trust your police? Do you have a choice? The EPD has a trust issue with many Eugene residents, as evidenced by the controversy around the union’s perception about the proper role of the Civilian Review Board, and by the very existence of a “Coalition to Strengthen Police and Community Trust.” If the union thinks restoring that trust can be done by supporting a divisive candidate for mayor, they are mistaken.

Trust and respect are earned through openness and fairness. They are earned through hearing the voices of others. They are earned by following the law. They are earned by demonstrating helpfulness and firmness rather than impatience and coercion. They are earned by realizing that we are, in fact, all seeking the same level of safety and freedom from fear; that homeless youth are even more vulnerable to abuse than the shopkeepers downtown; and that creating real trust in officers of the law is a true win-win goal for all Eugene.

I believe Kitty Piercy understands that and that Jim Torrey and the union officials don’t. Their actions compromise officers on the street who count on community trust and cooperation to effectively do their jobs.

The Civilian Review Board was created to help restore that trust. Opposing its structure, blocking its functioning and dismissing its mission works against creating trust. Again, Kitty Piercy understands that. Her support for the CRB is good for Eugene.

 Tim Mueller, Eugene


I attended the debate between Kitty Piercy and Jim Torrey sponsored by the Rubicon Society Oct. 2. Each candidate gave opening remarks. Piercy appeared right on target, giving a very detailed plan on how to bring jobs, help small businesses expand, revitalize downtown, work with the West Eugene Collaborative on solving traffic congestion, and continue working on the backlog of street repairs.

Torrey stated his top three priorities are jobs, public safety and fixing roads. Then he continued to bring up a “fourth point” he claimed he was reluctant to mention before. He proceeded to state that when someone calls him a “liar,” he must respond. Mind you, this is coming from the same person who stated in his television campaign ads that Piercy doesn’t support or respect the EPD. 

During what seemed an eternity and beyond the time limit allowed, Torrey went on a tirade and personal attack on Piercy. This set the “tone” for the rest of his participation in the debate. Equally appalling was every time it was Piercy’s turn to speak, a chorus of Rubies made snide remarks against her. Those responsible seemed to feel it was OK to treat a guest with rudeness and hostility. This behavior continued for the entire hour.

Yet in spite of it all Piercy didn’t lower herself to their level of impropriety or respond in kind. She answered each question thoughtfully with details supported by fact. Torrey gave us the run-around without a plan on how he would achieve his objectives but continued his agenda of aggressive, sleazy rhetoric and conjecture.

Torrey continued to insult Kitty Piercy throughout this sham of a debate appearing to relish the fact he was allowed to get away with it. If this is how the Rubicons treat their peers I would dissuade anyone from joining their little “gang,” for that is exactly what they are. Actions DO speak louder than words.

Mary Jo Roberts, Eugene


I am so disappointed to see that the R-G has failed to highlight the many businesses, jobs, awards and hope for the future of Eugene that Kitty Piercy has brought to Eugene during her tenure as mayor. She has been widely praised for her Sustainable Business Initiative. Companies that share those goals are showing increased interest in locating here. But this important initiative will come to an abrupt halt if Jim Torrey is elected. Torrey’s campaign has been massively fueled by wealthy, shortsighted land developers who are not interested in a sustainable Eugene.

Remember, Eugene voters, Torrey is and has been a Bush loyalist who listens only to those in his rich inner circle. His “political steamroller” is attempting to overwhelm an election by a plethora of ads blatantly smearing and lying about Mayor Piercy. We can count on Piercy to speak the truth; the Torrey campaign has shown us that we cannot count on him for the same.

We need Mayor Piercy now more than ever to develop our city in a sustainable, responsible way. Eugene stands for positive, responsible growth and development; Piercy has always stood for those same principles.  

Nancy Curran, Eugene


Oh, those immature signs on River Road are back again. They look like they were conceived and executed for and by a junior high class presidential campaign. “Don’t Get Robbed” is a lame reference to Rob Handy showing a highway robber with a bandanna over his face and a cowboy hat. The less said about “No More Kitty Litter” the better.

The crowning achievement is that they feel they need to be secured behind chain-link fencing with barbed wire on top! It leads one to believe that it’s on the same commercial property as Graffiti Alley. Shame on Graffiti Alley. Shame on Jim Torrey. Shame on Lane County Republicans.

I take back the junior high analogy; it’s an insult to junior high students.

Glenn Leonard, Eugene




Mayor Kitty Piercy has been doing an excellent job as mayor. She brings together people from all points of view and negotiates positive solutions. Her Sustainable Business Initiative shows a progressive attitude towards bringing jobs for the future to Eugene, while protecting the environment we love. She has done an excellent job of making the community attractive to both businesses and residents. Piercy learns about diverse values and needs by attending small community events, giving recognition to different constituencies.

In contrast, Jim Torrey rarely attended these events when he was mayor and has refused to fill out a candidate’s questionnaire on discrimination. He aligns himself with Republicans by promoting development with less regard to people or the environment. Under his leadership, Hynix Semiconductors got massive tax breaks for its toxic chip plant while tree-loving protestors got pepper spray. 

We don’t need Torrey’s divisive attack ads, we need Piercy’s unifying leadership. 

Cheri Black, Meg Blanchet, Ann Brown, Nancy Cheng, Mae Kline, Phyllis Linn, Betsy Ruth, Neal Spangler, Marta Spangler, Anita Stelling, Craig Timmons, Arun Toke, Bidyut Toke


Rick Dancer is trying to reimage himself as the non-partisan candidate for secretary of state. But I remember him, the poster boy for standard American English, clearly enunciating Democrats as Dumbocrats on-air a couple of years ago. I remember him, shortly after declaring his candidacy, claiming that he had no idea Carolyn Chambers gave large donations to conservative causes. I do not closely follow politics, but it is hard to avoid seeing her name on all the lists of big-time donors. He was a journalist and aspiring politician and he expects us to believe he had no awareness of his boss’s leanings? That makes him either a boldfaced liar or an idiot. 

After eight years of a boldfaced lying idiot in the White House, I don’t expect Oregonians are going to be too inclined to elect a Bush clone into state office. 

Bryan Wilson, Eugene


Piercy’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond lip service. As a result of Mayor Piercy’s Sustainable Business Initiative, Eugene now has a sustainability office and commission to support our march towards a green economy. A recent study of our local economy found that in these hard times some of our local business sectors are still thriving: alternative transportation, natural foods, and other green businesses. Piercy’s dedication to supporting these and other local businesses has put Eugene on the “green” map with placement in the top ten of multiple sustainability rankings.

Moving beyond Eugene, Piercy brought a resolution to the U.S. Council of Mayors, which they adopted this June, that opposes government purchases of dirty, unconventional fuels. 

I’ve been honored to call Kitty Piercy my mayor and hope to continue to see Eugene take a leadership role in the economy of the future. 

Your vote matters. Generations before us and people around the world have fought and continue to fight for their vote. In a race decided by hundreds of votes in the primaries, every vote counts. Please vote today.

Sarah Mazze, Eugene


Jim Torrey proved for eight years that he was incapable of doing his basic job as mayor, and that was ensuring that Eugene’s infrastructure was in good condition.

When my husband and I moved to Eugene in 2004, we were appalled to see so many of the city’s streets in dire need of repair and redo with potholes and cracks everywhere. Downtown needed help and city services, in general, were not particularly responsive to requests.

It was obvious that Mayor Jim Torrey, who had been in office for eight years, was not doing his basic job as Mayor. He may have been good at “glad-handing” businessmen and attending conferences, but he was a complete bust at doing his main job, that of maintaining the city’s basic services, its infrastructure.

Now Torrey thinks he should be elected again, when he could not do the job for eight years? Does he really think the people of Eugene have forgotten all that he left in ruins and unfixed in 2004?

You might forgive Torrey for being incompetent, but you certainly do not give him the same job again! That’s like giving a golden parachute to a CEO of a company when he’s dragged that company down the drain. Others may be stupid enough to do this, but I hope that the residents of Eugene are smarter than that!

Carole Hall, Eugene


If you’re voting for Obama, please don’t stop at the top of the ballot. If Barack and the movement behind him are to bring about real change, we’ll need Jeff Merkley in the Senate.

We all know the crimes of the Bush regime. But it could still get worse. Even with two disastrous wars still raging and the world economy all but blowing up in our faces, the neocons have been pushing us toward the nuclear brink. And Gordon Smith has been right there with them, backing a new generation of nuclear weapons and the Star Wars missile systems Bush plans to put right next to Russia. 

Jeff Merkley understands these issues. He also opposes the weaponization of space and supports nonproliferation and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He’ll be a voice for sanity in the Senate. So if Obama is your candidate for peace, help him out by supporting Merkley.

We also have our own local version of the military-industrial complex — the police-development axis — that threatens the politics of civility and sustainability Kitty Piercy has brought to city government. Its candidate wants yet more money for police at the expense of human services, parks, the library or other programs essential to our quality of life. Jim Torrey’s negative campaign already threatens to erode the sense of community Piercy has been working so hard to build. When Torrey says it takes too long to make decisions in this town, he means there are too many people involved in the conversation.

McCain-Smith-Torrey: all running negative campaigns and understandably running away from their records. But don’t be fooled. Please vote Obama-Merkley-Piercy to rebuild America and to keep on building a Eugene for all of us. Adding Yes on 20-146 — to support the police auditor — will round out a good day’s work well done. 

Robert Roth, Eugene


Consider voting with your own best interests in mind. Ask yourself: Which candidates and ballot measures truly represent me and my personal philosophy? If you earn under $250,000 per year and you aren’t a large corporation, then you most definitely will not be represented by the former Eugene mayor.

If you hang out with land developers/speculators, sand, gravel & concrete firm owners, or the families of bygone timber barons and other big money interests, then that previous mayor might be your candidate. Our current mayor favors alternative energy development for local job creation and has been working to create a sustainable and more healthy local economy. Mayor Kitty Piercy sincerely represents the larger percentage of our local population who work and pay the biggest share of taxes. The corporatists who support Torrey simply won’t represent you and the working families of Eugene. We can depend on an honest and truthful mayor like Kitty Piercy to support and defend individual taxpayers and small businesses, where the true wealth of our community resides. 

Think about Torrey’s large campaign contributions and support for the Bush/Cheney policies. Tens of millions have been siphoned away from the local economy by the Iraq War! Please support the slate of candidates that will genuinely represent your interests and those of the greatest majority of Eugene citizens. 

Your best interest is the Eugene Weekly voting recommendations. Great thanks to our indispensable community newspaper!

James Jacobson, Eugene


Disturbing times demand more than slogans, half-truths and leaders who rely on appeals that rival those of American Idol contestants. Information crafted specifically to appeal to our lizard brains erodes the vitality of our democracy. Have we, as a nation, lost our ability to think critically and to understand evidence?

The threats to our security have been terribly misrepresented by a government that demonstrably lacks leadership committed to constitutional principles; principles designed to ensure the greater good. Today’s threats to our security are not from foreign countries or Islamic militants, but rather from the destruction being wrecked on our economy. The enormity of the consequences of unemployment, loss of one’s home, alarming numbers of citizens without access to health care, and upheaval in the global economies is not yet fully appreciated.

What has this presidential election done to sharpen our critical thinking about threats to our security? Claims that we are “winning the war” are empty in light of the enormous inclusive cost of our wars. The misguided Iraqi war has not, although intended to, secured our oil dependent future. Afghanistan is a quagmire that cannot be “won” militarily. What have we won? There cannot be “wins” when the failure to attend to our infrastructure is bordering on catastrophic.

Do you really think that a next administration whose leaders use the same old clichés hell bent on military solutions is going to ensure our security? Based on what evidence?

Robert L. Weiss, Eugene


This election is historic no matter whom you vote for, and with all the talk of potential voter fraud I suggest people record their vote. I plan to take a photo — along with my ID — of my ballot before sending it in as a safeguard against being discounted. It’s damn shame that it has come to this, the fear that your vote-which is your right as a member of democracy, could be cheated by those who only pay lip service to the democracy they claim to serve.

Alisa McLaughlin, Eugene


I want to add my voice to all the others who are outraged at this shortsighted decision by a city employee. 

The Eugene Spay and Neuter clinic is one of the very few ways that the poorest people in our city can get their beloved pets spayed/neutered and/or vaccinated for rabies. Poor people love their pets just as much as people with extra money do. They shouldn’t be penalized for such a small amount of city funds needed to run this almost completely self-funded clinic. Vets can be found, if advertised in the publications that vets use to find jobs. It can be done!!

Also, don’t forget the increased expense to handle all the hundreds of unwanted puppies and kittens that will need to be picked up, cared for and hopefully adopted. But we all know that if we add to the overpopulation of pets that homes will probably not be found for them and some or all will end up being killed by county employees. That’s a horrible waste and a horrible burden for employees to bear when it is the council members’ mistake, not theirs. Or worse, the animals are killed on the streets where they are starving and alone. 

Please bring this before your councils and vote to reinstate the clinic. The communities need it desperately!

Laura Pajot, Eugene 

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we go to press this week we hear funding will be restored to the Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic.


On Feb. 4 in a speech at a campaign rally in Boston with Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline present, Obama tied together several themes of the American political tradition at its best. 

The revolutionary spirit of “a rag-tag band of patriots” at our country’s founding; “slaves and abolitionist resisting a wicked system”; Lincoln’s effort to insure “this nation would not remain half-slave and half-free”; the “greatest generation” led by FDR, “defeating Hitler, lifting itself up out of the Great Depression.”

And “immigrants traveling from distant shores, women winning the right to vote, workers winning the right to organize, young people traveling down South to march and sit-in and get beaten and go to jail — and some died for freedom’s cause.”

“That’s what hope is,” said Obama echoing John F. Kennedy’s idealism and Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. “Imagining — and then fighting for, and struggling for — what did not seem possible before.” 

So, “if you are willing to reach for what you know is possible and not settle for what the cynics tell you have to accept,” then “we will transform this country and we will transform the world.” 

After nearly 40 years of a near-continuous neo-conservative establishment — which transformed the United States into a brutal imperial republic abroad and a soft despotism of the wealthy at home — Obama represents hope. 

Obama talks a lot about hope, and that’s what he gives, not naïve optimism. 

His is a vision of hope continuous with the one my father, Charles O. Porter, held. In 1956, after 75 years of Republican rule, as the first Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Congress from Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District, my dad knew hope. It is a vision of the U.S. my dad’s mentor, the late Sen. Wayne Morse, embodied and enacted in his vote against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964, which got us into the Vietnam War. Morse knew courage. 

If you share this vision of hope and courage, vote for Obama. 

Sam Porter, Eugene


I’m just hardworkin’ Mike the Mason, and I’ll betcha guess who I’m gonna vote for. It’s either black Barrack Hussein Obama, who is for spreadin’ the wealth, or white John Sydney McCain III, who is for powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism, disdain for the importance of human rights, identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause, the supremacy of the military/avid militarism, rampant sexism, a controlled mass media, obsession with national security, religion and ruling elite tied together, power of corporations protected, power of labor suppressed or eliminated, disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts, obsession with crime and punishment, rampant cronyism and corruption and fraudulent elections.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


As a long time resident of River Road, I will be voting for Rob Handy Nov. 4. I have volunteered with Handy on community service projects and been very impressed with his character. He is honest and thoughtful and has a deep sense of commitment to our community. I feel he has vision as well as the ability to get the job done. His motivation for seeking office is truly to be a public servant, rather than to feed at the trough of special interests that profit from ruining our environment. 

Bobby Green has taken his position for granted and has lost touch with the interests of the residents of Lane County. He appears to think he is entitled to his job, rather than having to do something to earn it. A volunteer for Green’s campaign came down my street knocking on doors and asking to put signs up yard signs. When told “no thank you,” she began angrily spewing character attacks on Rob Handy. Those of us with Handy signs have them because we’ve seen him working in our community. I think the fact that Handy has over 1,000 individual donors while Green has fewer than 100 speaks volumes. 

While I realize that both candidates have positions on a variety of issues, I think my personal experience with Handy and my lack of connection with Green is indicative of how they govern. Handy will work hard and represent our community well.

Michele Renee, Eugene


Hillside’s last class of fifth graders has been in middle school for more than a month now. The results are great — these kids are all excelling in their new schools (at least four different middle schools) regardless of the ease at which academics came to them in elementary school. They are very organized and comfortable with the workload and the new responsibilities given to them. I thank the staff and others involved with Hillside over the years for giving their students an excellent head start as they head off for higher grades. They are better prepared for middle school than many of the kids they are now in school with.

Maybe the district was right and Hillside’s focus on traditional academics and a heavier homework load is no longer distinct enough for justifying an alternative school. But maybe, as 4J outlines specific “key results” in their annual goals for narrowing the achievement gap, and decreasing the drop out rate, they missed an opportunity. Hillside had a more diverse student population than some neighborhood schools, and all of Hillside students helped earn its “Excellent School” rating with the state. They are all well prepared to be successful middle school students. 4J should be embracing and emulating the programs in town, like Hillside’s, that are successful in narrowing the achievement gap. Thanks again to everyone involved over the years — our kids are now all over 4J, sharing a strong academic foundation.

Lynn Dixon, Eugene