Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.17.11


Let me get this straight. The Tea Party majority on the Board of County Commissioners has declared that many square miles of rural east Lane County is in Springfield metropolitan area, that the area of urban southwest Eugene where students attend Churchill High School is in rural east Lane County and that people who live in neighborhoods north of downtown Eugene (and mostly north of the city’s geographic center) are in south Eugene. 

I have to say, this is exactly what I would expect from the Tea Party, which is bound and determined to prevent progress of any kind, but want to return us to medieval times when commoners were subject to the whims of layers and layers of royalty and aristocracy. 

Unlike their predecessors who (mostly) worked as public servants, the Lane County Wonderland Tea Party majority wants to be our masters. 

By corrupting our language, the Tea Party majority attempt to disguise their corruption, favoritism and nepotism.

Like Humpty Dumpty, they declare that “when [we] use a word, it means exactly what [we] want it to mean, neither more nor less.” Up is down, north is south, east is west, morality is stood on its head.

Where and when will it all end?

Ann Tattersall, Eugene


I am writing in reference to the Oct. 27 letter from David Kennedy regarding the changes in the KLCC programming. I could not disagree more with his opinion on the issue. 

For years now I have cringed while working as the NPR news segments have ended and Fresh Tracks began airing the awful noises that some consider music in this town. I don’t want to hear music from some guy with clicks and whistles in his name as he beats on a gourd with bamboo sticks and sings in Swahili, nor do I want to hear the most Caucasian woman on Earth singing some turd of a folk song about Susan B. Anthony!

If that is your genre, I suggest you go to one of the New Age stores around town that sell world music, or terrible suburban folk music. Buy it and listen to it in your car, because I assure you that you are in the minority; nobody else wants to listen to it.

NPR should be the bulk of the content of KLCC. It is the reason I listen when I do, and I am finally considering pledging now that they have taken most of their daily air pollution off the airwaves. If I want to hear music that I enjoy, I have long since given up on radio. That is what an iPod is for.

Matt Watkins, Eugene


Let’s face it: when it comes to pizza, Eugene sucks. But for fuck’s sake, let’s at least show some discernment (Best of Eugene, 11/3). Pizza Research Institute? I’ve got news for P.R.I.: the Italians perfected pizza a long time ago, and no one comes closer to this ideal than Provisions (La Perla’s a close second). If you’re still doing the research, I’d suggest you stop and examine your methodology. As for Pegasus, they’ve been getting by on their laurels for so long, I think people who haven’t been there in 10 years are still voting for them. I appreciate a good nostalgia trip as much as the next stuck-in-the-past Eugenean, but give me a fucking break. 

Bill Shaw, Eugene


Residing within our national borders, scattered and largely unseen, is a Lilliputian country nearly the population of the Netherlands, with well more than 16 million people. One need not travel far to find its diminutive inhabitants: the nearest dental free clinic, urgent care, discount grocer, or public school. They are America’s impoverished children, and according to new Census data they now account for more than one in three of our friends and neighbors living in privation.

A record 49 million Americans now live at the bottom rungs of American life. Untold millions more live barely one rung up, hanging on by their overworked and bitten fingernails. Most have worked hard but are unemployed, studied hard but are unable to find good work. Few are the authors of their own poverty. Who would willingly write a tale of their own dependence, humiliation, desperation, and invisibility?

While children under the age of 18 account for just 24 percent of the U.S. population, they constitute 36 percent of the U.S. poor. And they make up America’s largest non-voting bloc, excepting those so harried by daily life or so frustrated by daily political theatrics that they abstain from voting. Politicians know only too well that children don’t vote, and that the poor seldom do.

Hungry, stressed, ill-educated and neglected — babysat years on end by television and video games — too many millions of our children have little real hope of future success. A society that tolerates this condition is one eating its seed corn.

Todd Huffman, M.D., Eugene 


I appreciated reading Anita Johnson’s tribute to Derrick Bell (10/27) and only wish he would have stayed as dean or visited more often our School of Law in Eugene. We do need to reflect on his and his wife’s leadership in these difficult times. More emphasis on civil rights in our community might have prevented the selfish behavior we find in the Tea Party’s climb to prominence in our community. Has the Tea Party inherited the Klan’s years of popularity and racist behavior? 

When I read some of the letters to the editor I can’t help but wish for someone like the Bells to respond with more understanding to those participating in the Occupy movement. Where is compassion and caring for our neighbors? With more than one person in three in Lane County in poverty we have hit very difficult times and those devoting their lives to the Occupy movement are seeking answers for a better tomorrow. I want my grandkids to have a more loving community in this beautiful state.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


“Who Are These People and What Do They Want?” (cover story, 11/10). So the first person queried is Peter DeFazio, a manager of this rotten system.

Or is Occupy Eugene like Portland’s; namely, its “representative” declared on OPB Radio Thursday (11/10) that “If you’re not nonviolent you are not part of Occupy Portland.”

I am wondering when resistance will replace the veneration of authority and property (which is not subject to violence, by the way, cannot be violated). When will resistance replace the prevailing liberal/progressive nothingness?

Community is gone and eco-catastrophe is arriving. Will the rules of the game always prevail? Will we have an unlimited number of opportunities to find out?

John Zerzan, Eugene


After reading Max Burris’ letter last week (11/3) I was somewhat annoyed. As a trans man myself, I know what it’s like to be in his shoes. It’s been 15 years since my transition and it has not been easy. Sure, would have been nice if insurance covered my surgeries, but it didn’t. So you know what I did? I worked for it — two, sometimes three jobs to make a little extra each month and eventually I reached my goal. 

I don’t fault insurance companies for not covering gender reassignment procedures; I do however think it’s wrong for anyone to exclude medical care to an individual because they are transgendered. (Be happy you have insurance at all!). In the insurance companies’ eyes, any SRS related surgeries are deemed “elective.” Well, in a way, they are right. Sure, we were born with GID, which was not a choice. However, like you, I chose to have surgery. Calling it a medical necessity is a stretch; I lived with tits and female parts for 27 years, and a few more after transition. It sucked a big donkey dick, but I got through it. Also, there are plenty of non-op FTM guys out there who don’t even want surgery.

On a side note, the proverbial hoops trans people have to go through are there for a reason. I can’t imagine what it would be like if all insurance companies covered SRS-related costs. To me it’s a scary thought because it would most likely make things worse. Yes, we would have an easier road during transition, but how soon or how many lawsuits would arise from people who discovered they made a mistake? Thus, creating higher premiums, costlier procedures, and probably stricter standards or screening procedures for all things involving SRS. 

Not to dis you Max, but since you have wanted this for 30 years, you should have been well aware of the emotional and financial burdens that transitioning from female to male would bring. If you took half the effort you put into waving your “I’m trans” flag, and applied it towards whittling down those six Gs needed for your surgery, you’ll probably get there quicker than you think.  

The road is long, but you’ll get there.

Scott Wilson, Creswell


For the many people who agree with the Occupy Movement, but can’t stay in the park, I have a simple suggestion: Take a piece of paper and a marker and write “99%” on the paper and then put it in the window of your house, in your car, at work. Show people that this movement is not just the folks in a park, but the vast majority of Americans who are fed up with taking a back seat to the 1 percent and the corporations.

Walker T. Ryan, Eugene


In response to the published letter last week (11/10) that called me a “basher,” I think the title is fair, and I welcome it when used in the right context. In this case, the context should be football, not college sports as the writer stated. Criticisms of UO football are valid, and should continue, whatever the source. Thank you for occasionally publishing mine. The public needs to be reminded.

 George Beres, Eugene


The second top pick for places to eat with children is to leave your kids at home (Best of Eugene, 11/3), as if children don’t deserve to be seen or heard. Are they disruptions to society or a charming component of it? Before becoming a parent I didn’t realize how often the rights of children are silenced. It really is astounding how many people feel children should be perfectly trained and groomed instead of allowed to enjoy their childhood with enthusiastic imperfection. 

I was in a local neighborhood restaurant and as my 18-month-old did something new, she screeched with joy. While hubby was respectfully explaining quietness to our daughter our meal was interrupted by a stranger barking frustration at us. Have we become so egocentric that we feel children should act as we want or stay home? Can we not embrace their newness in life, respect they have different needs, remember we were once children ourselves? 

Children are people, too, and they have a right to explore the world outside the confines of their home, even if it disturbs you. If you cannot share space with children compassionately then maybe you are the one who should stay home.

Natasha Joseph, Springfield


Kathleen Shelley’s idea (letters, 11/3) to occupy the Legislature will not solve McKenzie school’s problems. Even if a person managed to get elected to office it would take years if not decades to manipulate our starched system enough to direct money to a small rural school like McKenzie. 

The real gorilla in the room is the superintendent. Sally Storm has steamrolled over the staff and parents so effectively and often she is crushing the life out of the school. It is time to get rid of the gorilla and replace her with someone who treats everyone else like actual human beings.

 Sylvia Dion, Vida


 I am writing to express my thanks for your Nov. 3 story on how the EmX on West 11th will improve our city sidewalks. I have been an unhappy pedestrian in Eugene for almost 30 years. The sidewalks in this town are a mess and are in desperate need of repair! I am constantly walking around with my head down trying to avoid the giant cracks and upheavals so as not to trip!

I can only imagine how difficult getting around town in a wheelchair must be, or trying to push a baby’s stroller about. I was glad to see that someone is discussing the other benefits of the EmX for Eugene, other than the route expansions and speedy trips for us bus riders. Perhaps traffic interruption will piss off people enough to get them to leave their cars at home and hop on the bus! 

Amy MacMillan, Eugene




I want to speak to you from my heart. I am spending my mornings at the Elder Booth at Occupy Eugene, and what to tell you, what is happening is more of a religious movement than anything else. I do not mean organized religion. This is not a Christian thing, although from the moment I walked into the camp, I couldn’t help but think of the Christian movement that occurred when Rome was falling. It is a not Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist movement, but all of them. If you take all the good teachings from all the religions, and the loving spirit and morale of those religions, that is what is happening. 

What is happening here is happening all around the world. Sure we have different governments, religions, and cultures, but the spirit that moves us is the same. Technology has meant life improvements, never before imagined, and this means we are breaking into completely new paradigms. We can control population growth, and therefore control for well fed and healthy populations, and the end of tyranny and war. We can turn the whole planet into a Garden of Eden, where plants and animals are also safe and healthy. We just believe this is possible, and we are here to make that happen. 

I would like to meet with all the divided churches and speak about uniting with this movement of spirit. I will come to you or can come to me. I am in the Elder booth at the Washington-Jefferson Street Bridge, usually 10 am to noon. Can you believe the spirit moves in mysterious ways? Washington and Jefferson are best known as leaders of our democratic way of life. Occupy is so much about doing things democratically (power of the people) as opposed to being autocratic (industrial authority over the people). Our forefathers believed they were on a mission from God, and so do we. 

Carol Seaton, Eugene


The Register-Guard has learned nothing — as it re-runs the same Ellie Dumdi slant on county government. What does the R-G have to gain by boosting a reactionary board of county commissioners?

What has been called a “trial” of the previous board was fraudulent — launched and paid for by Seneca Lumber Co. Next and ongoing, the present majority is up to no good. Readers who know what is really happening deeply distrust the R-G editorial board for its lopsided commentaries on county government.

Surprisingly, R-G views on the recent redistricting gerrymander situation were clear-headed. Yet, the (county) board majority, aloof and completely out of line, ignored this and the wisdom provided by hours of ardent public testimony.

Lessons and penalties are overdue — though not the ones the R-G currently has in mind.

Elaine B. Weiss, Eugene


Question #1: Is there a capable progressive who could serve our neighborhood well and let Peter Sorenson know that he does not have lifetime rights to his seat on the Lane County Commission?

Question #2: Will the U.S. Supreme Court decide that Royal Dutch Shell can be sued for aiding and abetting the 1990s torture and execution of Nigerian dissidents? In the Nazi era, corporations were not held liable for war crimes. Now that the justices have changed the status of corporations to allow them rights traditionally reserved for persons, will the justices expect corporations share the same responsibilities as persons?

Candace Shorack Eugene


Over 100 years ago the International Workers of the World movement was formed. The IWW motto was “An Injury to One is an Injury to All” and their mission was to do away with capitalism.

The ruling class so feared the Wobbly movement they sent out gangs of vigilantes to beat and harass members. One IWW leader was beaten, castrated, lynched three times and shot.

Many of today’s workers’ rights, like the eight-hour workday and safer working conditions, came about because of the IWW’s power to unite workers.

The occupy movement is not a fresh grass roots movement, but a hundred year old living root, from a stump that the ruling class tried to destroy.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


In the 1800s and early 1900s presidents did not personally campaign; they stayed in the office and did their job. So with our president running around running for his job who is running the country?

Vince Loving, Eugene


Despite a lack of fair coverage by the mainstream media, Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul remains a frontrunner in the GOP primary. In fact, Paul is doing even better than most are aware. According to a survey conducted by Real Clear Politics, Ron Paul is the only GOP presidential contender besides Mitt Romney to have a chance at defeating President Obama in a 2012 presidential race. 

The same week that Herman Cain was propelled to frontrunner status by winning the Florida straw poll, Paul won the California straw poll, which received zero media coverage. Paul has also won the Ohio and Iowa straw polls, and would have won the Texas straw poll, which wasn’t held because they knew he would win. Paul is continuously voted the winner of the debates by a wide margin. 

Only Paul has a serious plan to eliminate $1 trillion in spending in his first year to reduce our $15 trillion national debt, and transition to a sustainable gold standard. Since all money is loaned into existence under our current fiat system, infinite economic growth is required to pay our debt, which is not sustainable. Ron Paul 2012!

Juan Zaragoza, Eugene


In 2003 the U.S. decided to occupy Iraq. This caused controversy regarding whether this was imperialism. The simplest definition for imperialism is a stronger country takes over a weaker one by the use of economics, political, and/or military ways. The U.S. occupying Iraq is not a form of imperialism. The U.S. was just trying to help Iraq by getting rid of a tyrant and replacing the tyranny with a better more stable government for the Iraqi people .

When the U.S. got rid of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was put into a position with no government. Soldiers from the U.S. stayed in Iraq to make sure no other countries would try to take it over while it was in a weakened state. Iraq needed a leader to help them. The U.S. also formed a temporary stable government for Iraq. This government included voting for a new leader that was from Iraq. The U.S. never tried to take over Iraq. Even now U.S. troops are being taken out of Iraq because they are getting closer and closer to being able to defend themselves.

The occupation of Iraq is still happening at this point. When it is over the U.S. will be out of Iraq and leave the country to the people of Iraq. This was in no way imperialism; it was just another case of the U.S. helping others that are in need of help.

Dakota Trumbull, Eugene


Jon S. Shisler’s attempt to transcend polarization in thought was well-meaning but misguided (letters, 11/3).

Social contracts are inherently states of allowance. We surrender authority and autonomy for purposes of a common good. If those granted authority abuse that good, it is because they have transgressed, not because we allowed them power in the first place.

To deny the possibility of a social contract is to deny the possibility of an organized “we.” We, as an organized collective, only exist insofar as we can enter into states of common allowance, relative to which transgression is the fault of the transgressor, not those who trust to begin with. To place the fault on those who trust is to make society itself the error.

It’s a complicated thought, fortunately we have a simple example. Taking Shisler’s formula as a model would require a woman not to say “He raped me,” but rather, “I have allowed myself to be raped.”

Timothy Shaw, Eugene