Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.08.07


Once again, I find myself shaking my head with amused exasperation at Eugeneans’ eagerness to be offended by non-PC works. I enjoyed Dan Pagoda’s “Something Eug” comic (9/27) about the robotic crosswalk buttons at intersections.

I live in south Eugene immediately next to one of the intersections with the new signals and have often fantasized about introducing them to a sledgehammer. However, in this letter I would also like to extend kudos to the Eugene Accessibility Committee for installing these signals. Yes, they are irritating; yes, I am going to gripe about them and continue fantasizing about sledgehammers. But these Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS)s are useful, making crossing the street easier and safer for the blind — excuse me, “visually impaired.” Really what I would most like to see happen is people to choose to not be so easily offended.

Kat Schmidt, Eugene



The hissing rattlesnake in EW‘s ad (10/25) for the talk on “Free speech vs. Zionist power” reveals the poisonous message of the speaker. Mark Weber, America’s most prominent Holocaust denier, claims that even Anne Frank was not a Holocaust victim. Why? Because she died from typhus, not the gas chamber, at the Belsen-Bergen concentration camp (Register-Guard interview 10/31. See Weber’s website

The bigoted Pacifica Forum speakers dishonor Eugene and the university. Holocaust denial is a political movement which seeks to cast doubt on the Nazi genocide. Denying history desecrates the memory of all peoples killed for their religion or ethnicity: not just Jews, but Gypsies, Palestinians, Armenians, the African American and Chinese American victims of lynch mobs … and the original inhabitants of Eugene, the Native American Kalapuya. Fake “research” dishonors their descendants. Fake “science” may soothe us if we shun responsibility for the lethal denials of our own time: of global warming, of evolution and of tax-funded U.S. invasions, kidnappings and tortures.

More free speech is the best response to hateful speech. Come to a forum on Holocaust denial for an extended audience discussion of why hateful ideas gain traction and how to respond, from 7 to 8 pm Thursday, Nov. 8, at 207 Chapman Hall, UO (on East 13th, just inside the Kincaid main gate).

Mary Erbaugh, Eugene



I applaud Congressman DeFazio for his cover antiwar statement (11/1) but I have decided to give it more teeth:

I am gravely concerned about the shitty justification for military action in Iran and reports that the plan to attack is in advanced rages. This is familiar criminal territory for the Bush administration.

They used the same devious strategies to drive us into war crimes in Iraq … I do not intend to let Congress fail the American people by authorizing criminal mass murder a second time.

Bob Saxton, Eugene



On behalf of all the staff at Ring of Fire Restaurant and Catering/Lava Lounge, thank you. To our loyal customers who have supported us over the last nine and a half years — we love all of you.

We appreciate the recognition in the 2007 EW‘s Best of Eugene (10/25), though we are dismayed and perplexed by the quip, “Though you might receive the best best service if you’re a gay man, service for the rest of us ain’t too shabby either.” We feel that this comment is entirely out of context for a Best of Eugene review and is otherwise quite tactless.

Ring of Fire was voted Best Service because our philosophy is to provide happiness and contentment that comes from eating good food.

In other words, we strive to offer ALL guests memorable dining experiences ALL of the time. Period.

Seth Long and the Staff Ring of Fire Restaurant and Catering/Lava Lounge

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oops. We agree. We raise a Chili Margarita to Ring of Fire.



Many people in the Jewish community found quite disturbing the advertisement run by EW last week (10/25) promoting the appearance of the so-called “prominent revisionist historian” Mark Weber.

The imagery in the ad of the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, in the shape of a hissing cobra is chilling. It reminds us of similar images used throughout history to degrade Jews and denigrate the homeland of the Jewish people — the State of Israel.

Before running the ad, did the Weekly realize that it was promoting a “lecture” by a holocaust denier whose embrace of the myth of a world Jewish conspiracy informs his opinions about Jews and Israel?

Weber is also a white supremacist who has been quoted as saying that blacks cannot be assimilated into white society. (For more about Weber’s neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic views, go to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of ideologues and activists of the radical right — “40 To Watch” — at Weber was invited to lecture about race relations or affirmative action, would EW publish an ad with the imagery of a hangman’s noose?

Although advertising revenue is essential to the financial well-being of the press, one expects higher standards from a publication known for promoting a “progressive” political and social agenda.

Craig Weinerman , Chairman, Jewish Community Relations Council of Lane County



Annette Leonard writes (10/25 Viewpoint) that we should speak up if we think an APS (Accessible Pedestrian Signal) is “turned up so loudly that it’s more disruptive than helpful.” But the opposite is the case in several locations, especially at the noisy, busy new crossing just west of TJ Maxx on Coburg Road. Unless one stands within two feet of the speaker, its words like “wait” are inaudible due to incessant traffic noise.

Leonard refers to “the lifesaving potential for visually impaired pedestrians.” But how can the “unsighted” navigate this crossing on Coburg Road, let alone locate the button to press, if they can’t see? What’s more, we bet that a blind person wouldn’t be caught dead (literally not, we hope) at that intersection, choosing instead a different route or a different place to shop.

Charles Whitman, Eugene



Many people I know have been negatively affected by meth, so I am no fan of it. However, what I want to comment on is the disgusting anti-meth ad that EW has been carrying. Many people read EW in restaurants, including kids. Why does EW want to subject people to this gross ad?

In addition, crude anti-drug propaganda does not work. Marijuana, a drug that has never directly killed anyone, used to be demonized as much as meth is now. People still smoked it. The way to get people to not do drugs like meth is to tell them the truth. Propaganda is the true gateway drug.

Peter Howland, Eugene



I’d like to defend Chris Williamson’s position (9/20), if I may, from Tracy Lambrecht’s lame critical letter (10/18). She seems to be critical of capitalism in general. She won’t support unethical businesses. How about the others? Seems her exorcism from capitalism was not a complete one after all.

Basic economics: Capitalism encourages competition, polite competition or dog eat dog. It’s GREED. Whether it’s for “green” or family friendly businesses, greed is greed. She throws in that we need to be “thinking with our hearts” as well. That’s an oxymoron. Either you love or compete; you can’t do both at the same time! What’s so bad to lovingly say to a person or a group, “Sorry, I can’t bail you out anymore; you need to start dealing with your problems at home” with regards to illegal immigration?

It’s easier to run away from problems than to stay and solve them! Where in the capitalism manual says having a market economy will rid one’s country of corruption? Who’s fantasizing now? Let’s stop being in denial and get real with regards to the human condition: Greed is greed no matter what economic system exists. Capitalism, socialism, communism, theocracy, whatever name you tag it doesn’t matter. “Communist” China is probably the best example. Long live Mao! Ha! He’s waiting to give you a medal, Tracy.

Lou Andrews, Eugene



Could have been your mechanic who told you that warming up your car’s engine in the morning (by idling) is a good idea, or just your own preference for a warm steering wheel … it’s very bad practice either way. Idling the car to warm up its engine has technically only drawbacks: the engine warms up very slowly, running for a long time in “enriched mode” (very incomplete combustion), which generates much more hazardous air pollution, which in turn is not neutralized because the catalytic converter (being cold) isn’t doing its job yet. So, better ignore the bumper stickers that say “Breathe Deeply.”

By the way, cold and therefore thicker oil, at low engine RPMs, can’t lubricate the engine as well, resulting in increased abrasion. Worse yet: Micro corrosion of your cylinder walls due to briefly condensing water vapor makes your engine feel very unloved, believe me.

The upshot: Warm-up idling harms your engine and poisons the air that you, passing school kids and I breathe.

So please just start the engine and get going. Just don’t rev it up like a race car. By the way, regarding the comfort of a warm car: If it’s cold out, you’re likely to be wearing a coat and gloves anyway (perhaps almost enough to keep you warm on a bike?). See you on the bike path?

Peter Reppe, Eugene



I have a theory: The people who rise to the top of our governments and businesses are most often type A’s — they have a lot of energy and motivation and a competitive desire to win. I think that these people represent a very small percentage of the total human population and probably have a genetic chip sending them in that direction.

There’s likely a genetic predisposition for the more docile, cooperative types as well. I’m guessing it’s about 5-10 percent that have the leader chip, and most of the rest are followers. Of course, we have the capacity for being both competitive and cooperative, but there remain large differences in these two personality types.

Those in positions of power say things like, “Competition is good,” “We’re helping those poor people,” “Human nature is competitive” and “We all benefit from economic growth.” It’s certainly true they benefit financially, and it’s no wonder they want to convince the rest that it’s good for them too.

The cooperative types are saying, “How can we all get along?” “How can everyone win?” “Let’s work together and share.”

Competitive people enter relationships thinking about how they can win, what’s in it for them. Cooperative people are thinking about a mutual win/win situation. The followers are easily taken advantage of — just how our society looks today!

It seems to me that about 5 percent have control of the rest, and the rest are too passive to do anything about it. The rich sure aren’t going to start really sharing any time soon, and since they bought and own the government, don’t expect much help from them either.

It’s time for a cooperative revolution!

Patrick Bronson, Eugene



Let’s see. We have fires and droughts in the Southwest and the Southeast and droughts in the Midwest and here, too. So let’s change our forest practices so we cut down all the old-growth trees on public lands and also cut forests even closer to our riparian (waterways) zones. Make sense to you? It’s exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

How about increasing our hotel/motel room tax to raise revenue for schools and encouraging tourism by saving these beautiful and important groves? People don’t come to Oregon to see stick trees. We need to selectively cut only the smaller trees, end clearcut logging and also clear the underbrush to protect our forests against fires. Large trees are more resistant to fires, keep the forests cooler and sequester more CO2. Salmon need cold water to survive. So please do your part and give public input to the BLM before December on this devastating proposal by the Bureau of Land Management. Or maybe if this is implemented we should rename it Bureau of Insane Land Management.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter



Fellow Oregonians, I urge you to vote your hopes and not your fears in next year’s presidential primary. When the time comes I urge you to vote for Congressman Ron Paul. Not unlike Oregon voters, Ron Paul is very independent, campaigning for president with a third party in 1988. He is a doctor and a veteran, and is serving in the House of Representatives for his 10th term. Paul gained much attention when he voted against the Iraq War and the PATRIOT Act, earning him the respect of liberal Democrats who did the same. He has also earned the respect of anyone who values our Constitution as he has never voted for any piece of legislation that violates it.

He has chosen to use the Republican Party as a vehicle to get him into the debates but states that he doesn’t fit with either party as he is one of the only candidates who states we should “just come home” from Iraq.

Ron Paul has been featured in numerous documentaries as the solution to the problems we face. More information at

Ben Hollingsworth, Eugene



I have worked for one of the large grocery chains for 17 years. We are now in the process of negotiating a new contract that expired in February.

As a grocery worker, I am expected to be available from 6 am to 1 am seven days a week. We receive our schedules one week at a time. It is posted on Thursday to start on Sunday. Ninety percent of the time I have split days off.

I enjoy working this job and enjoy my customers. Not everyone can work retail — it takes a certain disposition to work it.

We have not had a raise in four years. The employers are suggesting that we renegotiate our health benefits that have worked for the employees for years. We have kept these by conceding other things in past contracts.

Now they want to be open on Christmas Day — the one day that we could always count on to have a day off to spend with our families.

Next time you are shopping at Fred Meyer, Albertsons or Safeway, take a few minutes to visit the manager and ask them why after eight months, we do not have a new contract and why we should be working Christmas Day.

Janet Harold, Springfield



When U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada joined the army, did he think he could pick and choose what war he would go to? Mr. Watada, no one forced you to join the Army, and before there was a war you had no problem in spending your paychecks.

Imagine if a fireman said, “I didn’t sign up to fight these kind of fires.” What would be our response? So why do we want to offer Watada sympathy and support? Sure, we shouldn’t be over there. I for one believe most wars are wrong, but Watada willingly joined the Army. Why? Well, only he can answer that, but I think he was after the free money and benefits of being in the army. Then a war breaks out, and he all of a sudden believes it is illegal and unconstitutional. Bullshit!

Mr. Watada, you don’t deserve to wear the uniform of a U.S. Army soldier, and for damn sure you don’t deserve the title of lieutenant. I usually agree with most of what is in the EW, but this just rubbed me wrong, and for the first time in my life I wrote a letter to the editor.

Keep up the good work, EW, and thanks for 25 years.

L. Paul Meier, Salem



Watching the GOP presidential candidates debate, restate and support President Bush’s failed policies about the war in Iraq and the privatization of Social Security set me to thinking about how good a job these candidates are doing. The GOP contenders are doing an excellent job of positioning the Republican Party into becoming the biggest political loser of all time. The ability of these personalities to parrot the party line at the expense of the existence of the GOP is truly astonishing and gratifying. As a lifetime Democrat, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the GOP presidential candidates for their best efforts in extinguishing the GOP once and for all. The GOP and all of its neocon nut jobs are headed for the trash can of history, courtesy of the words and deeds of their own candidates. Good job!

Gerry Merritt, Eugene



In response to the letter “Biodiesel Ain’t Bogus” (10/11) and other writings on the subject, here is a line of reasoning I haven’t heard.

First of all, I feel I am energy conscious. However, I wonder if converting your car to biodiesel is truly a net gain for the planet. Consider the amount of energy (personal and mechanical) that must be expended to design, build, market, distribute and install each converter, not to mention the additional energy (above gasoline) required to manufacture, market and distribute the alternative fuel. I am not an economist, but on the surface it seems like we are expending a lot of energy to conserve a little.

You also read about someone who has built a million dollar house that is energy efficient and based on sustainable materials. Isn’t there some hypocrisy there based upon that same logic? Whatever ongoing energy is saved seems to be way offset (by an exponential factor) by the energy expended in the production of the house in the first place.

It is possible the discussion of alternative fuels and sustainable housing is taking our eye off the real ball — that is to simply use less. People who buy new cars or biodiesel converters or those building new, expansive homes — even though they are energy-efficient — may operate under a guise of feel-goodism and may still be guilty of over-consuming our natural resources.

Think about it.

Michael Kelm, Eugene



Hello! I understand that Eugene’s “Readin’ in the Rain” series will be honoring Eugene author Kenny Moore and that the series’ kick-off event will be held this year at Barnes & Noble.

Wait a minute! This series is focused on a local writer and local readers, so why have the kick-off event at a corporate bookstore instead of at one of Eugene’s independently owned bookstores? Or coordinate this series with the local Artists and Authors Fair at the county fairgrounds; why not hold both events the same time at the county fairgrounds? Not only would it save Eugeneans’ money, but it would make sense to hold both at same locale!

Charles F. Thielman, Eugene



Climate and biological science now tells us that we are cruising on the Titanic, and the response by local officials at EWEB and ODOT seems to be adding fuel to the fire and to rearrange the deck chairs.

What will Eugene do if the glaciers on the Three Sisters and Diamond Peak disappear in the next 10 years because of global warming? Do EWEB and Eugene have projections and are they preparing for it?

How will this affect the power generation capacity of EWEB? Eugene customers depend on 20 percent of their electricity from dams on local rivers.

Instead of preparing for this inevitability, EWEB seems intent on spending upwards of $90 million on a new building in west Eugene. With $90 million, EWEB could greatly expand incentives to install solar water heaters, affordable heat pumps and heat pump water heaters to 60,000 Eugene homes and rentals.

ODOT, Lane County and Eugene/Springfield are preparing to spend upwards of $500 million for the expansion of freeway and expressway on and off ramps in Lane County.

We need real leadership that will prepare Eugene and Springfield for a future catastrophe of any kind that takes away the citizens’ abilities to receive agricultural goods as well energy supplies outside a 50-mile radius of Eugene and Springfield.

The people need to demand a moratorium of nonemergency preparation spending. If public entities avoid preparing based on current science, it violates their oaths of duty as public officials and shows lack of leadership and incompetence.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



I am responding to the letter “Snobby Hippies” by Will Nagy (10/18). I am a lifelong fan of the Grateful Dead and was very fortunate to have seen several hundred of their shows. One of my favorite aspects of the scene that surrounded the Grateful Dead was the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. I partied with doctors, writers, vagabonds, lawyers, scientists, ragamuffins, artists and professors. The one commonality we all had was the joy we all felt when listening to the fragile thunder of those bended notes. The Grateful Dead had the ability to channel psychedelic magic that drew people in regardless of their lifestyle, a type of person who relished diving headlong into the unpredictable face of danger and excitement.

The scene was never about us and them, them and us. It was not a members-only club. We were simply a bunch of free thinkers who, with the Dead, created the greatest dance party on the planet. I am embarrassed for the person who said that you did not belong here. She evidently missed the bus. The only way for the Grateful Dead scene to survive is, if through time, new generations come aboard. We will survive as long as people like you who enjoy the music and the scene are welcome.

Group dynamics are tricky. Every now and again an insecure person may say something hurtful. Remember that is their own trip, not yours. I hope you come see Dark Star again and bring all your friends. Just keep in mind that every silver lining has a touch of gray.

Steve Brown, Eugene



Regarding Tony Corcoran’s column Oct. 4, in particular his comments regarding how John Frohnmayer will be a spoiler for the Democratic candidate in the race for the U.S. Senate, how he will “hand Gordo the race.” He is right —

Unless you believe that if enough concerned citizens come together they can make a difference. Unless you believe that politicians, including the president, should be held accountable for their actions.

Unless you believe that neither major political party has upheld its promises or responsibilities to the American public. Unless you believe that ideals can become reality and that fundamental change can be made by people who are willing to work for it.

Unless you believe that those who hold office should be trusted to say what they mean and mean what they say. Unless you believe that the person is more important than the label.

Unless you believe that Oregon and America deserve more than the same tired promises, made to fit the political necessity of the moment, and that these old promises no longer serve our state and nation.

Unless you believe that honest new voices can do more for us than the cynical words of tired party hacks. Unless you look for yourself ( and see that John Frohnmayer has stated several good reasons for his candidacy for the Senate.

Unless you believe that the partisanship that has poisoned American political life for too long can be stopped. Unless, that is, you still have hope that what we do as citizens does matter.

If not, Tony Corcoran is right.

Jim McChesney, Eugene



Camilla Mortensen did a great community service exposing the BLM’s proposal for the Wild Rogue. I’ve had the chance to float this wonder of a river a number of times. This is a place where salmon still jump waterfalls, bald eagles school blue herons and black bears roam the river bankriverbank. It is hard to believe the Bush administration’s BLM is hellbent on logging this paradise. What is next? A mining operation in Three Sisters Wilderness?

Kudos to the local environmental heroes and businesses uniting to preserve this slice of heaven forever. I hope the congresscritters wake up and help save one of my favorite places.

Marilyn Morrow, Creswell



Just in case we U.S. residents get any ideas in our diverse heads, the Bush administration has recently activated a plan and protocol for the declaration and enforcement of martial law.

Martial law is the law of Mars, the law of war, pre-empting all local and federal laws. Since one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist, and since the covert track record of Bush’s CIA spying on peace groups and his FBI’s “green scare” campaign demonstrates their intent, it’s easy to see who would be on which side of the barbed wire.

I say would, not will, because we, the intended victims, can still work to stop this sociopathic gang in charge of the executive branch of the national government. This bunch of shirkers, who among them have not seen one minute of combat, are contemplating starting World War III by bombing Iran just so they can retain their grip on power.

We could unseat them if we had the concerted will to do so. It’s easy to fault congressional Democrats for failing to stop the Iraq war, but where is our resolve to stop it, especially now that it threatens to morph into a much larger conflagration? It’s one thing to fail to stop this monstrosity, but shame on us if we fail to even try.

Paul Prensky, Eugene



Do you find an image of a decaying, toothless mouth appetizing? How about rash-infested, pockmarked flesh covered in bloody lacerations? Am I the only one who finds the graphic, full-page anti-meth ads running every week in the EW disgusting? I’m not really concerned with the fact that the ads are disingenuous and misleading. (It’s the lifestyle fostered by meth-addiction that leads to the poor hygiene and nervous habits that creates those unsightly afflictions commonly associated with “tweakers”) What I’m offended by is the fact that 90 percent of the time I’m reading the EW is in a local restaurant. Has this happened to you too? You stop in for a quick bite somewhere, grab the EW that’s conveniently placed near the door of every burrito stand, pizza parlor or burger joint in town and start flipping the pages. Then, just before you’re about to enjoy a tasty taco/burger/slice of pie/bowl of noodles or other delicious conveyor of nutrients, you flip a page and see a decrepit semi-corpse woman cowering in a dark corner, carving her skin with her fingernails. Thanks a lot, drug-prevention groups. I’ll sure never try meth now, nor will I be able to finish my lunch. So much for perusing concert lineups and movie times during the noon hour. For shame.

Chris Fanshier, Eugene