Eugene Weekly : Letters : 11.3.11


The letter Oct. 27 from David Kennedy about KLCC was way off the mark. As a public radio DJ, I do agree that NPR is overtaking the station with shows that are excellent in small doses and elitist and soul-sucking in large doses. Fresh Tracks and several of the specialty music shows have provided community-building and culturally enriching programming, and are indeed in danger of disappearing.

The problem with Kennedy’s assessment is he blames the changes of the program director when it is the public that demands talk rather than music. Public radio listeners have shorter and shorter attention spans, and they are increasingly lured by the mirage of “intelligent” talk rather than spiritual or artistic fulfillment. Based on feedback and trends, KLCC has no choice but to respond accordingly. They and KRVM still have great music that lingers while many city public stations have eliminated music completely.

Mike Meyer, Eugene 


While walking to the Oct. 15 Occupy Eugene march with my sign, a homeless man asked me what I had against rich people, said someday he was going to be rich and he wanted everything they currently have. John Steinbeck said: “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

At another Occupy protest, some obviously not-rich people yelled at us. Do these people identify with the rich and are willing to do what it takes to be a billionaire, by exploiting people and destroying the environment?

Then there are the fence sitters who are waiting until the movement grows or are so scared they’re willing to cling to the current shitstem.

This movement cannot be just about economic justice BUT must include environmental justice. What is the worth of more jobs, if it’s at the expense of the planetary life support system?

Humanity is on the edge of collapse due to climate chaos. This movement is a critical opportunity. Any fence-sitting parents who are not helping this movement should be charged with child abuse for having them and then denying their kids a future.

Scott Fife, Eugene


Before Don Richey (10/13) starts stating that people who don’t have their facts straight have a “low-IQ,” I suggest that he test his own IQ. The fact is that over the last three decades, the richest 1 percent of the population have seen their share of national income increase by close to 10 percent, which proves that it is easier for the rich to become richer than it is for everyone else. Independent of the actual percentage that people pay in income taxes, Mr. Richey doesn’t seem to realize that the richest people in this country get most or all of their income as capital gains and therefore only pay taxes at the 15 percent capital gains rate.

Another way in which the game is clearly rigged for the rich is that blue collar workers have been exposed to “free trade” competition and are losing their jobs to people from China and India who work for a lot less. Meanwhile, doctors, lawyers, journalists and many other well-paid professionals are protected from this kind of competition by trade pacts. So “free trade” competition is only applicable to lower paid people and not higher paid professionals.

I wonder why Mr. Richey is shamelessly promoting the plight of “the evil rich”? Assuming that he doesn’t belong to the richest 1 percent, he is promoting against his own best interest. I wonder how high his IQ is?

Arjen Hoekstra, Eugene


I’m grateful for your coverage of the Occupy Wall Street march in Eugene. Warren Weisman (letters, 10/20) and I agree that the Occupy Wall Street movement is a great and important step for American democracy. I do not agree, however, with anything else that Weisman wrote.

Weisman refers to the 1920 bombing on Wall Street as “propaganda through deed.” Apparently the propaganda worked on him. I’m pretty sure us normal people call that bombing “terrorism.” He laments that this terrorism didn’t kill more people. He asserts that organized anarchism (ha!) ended nearly a century ago, but that Occupy Wall Street is a descendant of the anarchist movement. He concludes that social movements that don’t engage in the mass murder of innocent citizens are “worthless.”

I hope that Occupy Wall Street maintains its focus on economic justice. I also hope that the movement doesn’t listen to anything that Weisman has to say, and remains a nonviolent demonstration of what democracy really looks like. By ignoring Weisman’s advice, the Occupy Wall Street movement may actually accomplish some of the social goals that the defunct anarchist movement aimed to achieve a century ago.

Finally, I hope that EW will try to print fewer nonsensical, contradictory, disgusting letters.

Gabriel Yospin, Eugene


I am in the process of transitioning from female to male. I have been wanting to do this for about 30 years. I have realized that this is an expensive process, as many have in the past. I recently checked with my insurance to see if they would cover me to have gender reassignment surgery, in my case female to male top surgery. I found out that there is an exclusion to the policy which does not cover anything to do with transitioning even with the proper documentation of my disorder. 

The surgery is about $6,000. This is a huge step for me personally, and medically necessary in my diagnosis of gender identity disorder. I strongly believe that this type of surgery/procedure should be covered by insurance companies. To not cover this is purely an act of discrimination.

Recently Seattle city employees voted to take out their exclusionary policies based on a letter sent to the health care committee. This encouragement to consider removing exclusions for city employees that were transgendered resulted in a more fair and equitable policy for all employees instead of just a few. This is a huge step forward and I would like all insurance companies to not have such exclusions allowed in any policy.

Exclusions regarding gender identity disorder are not fair and they don’t show social justice. Anyone with a disorder has a right to receive the appropriate medical treatment needed. Gender reassignment is not “experimental,” investigational, elective cosmetic or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexuals or profound gender identity disorder.

Please join me in fighting for equal rights for people who suffer with any disorders. Exclusionary policies based on this disorder are unfair and unjust.

Now is the time that employers are re-enrolling for the new year of health insurance. Let your voice be heard that you want equal access to health care coverage for all employees.

 Max Burris, Eugene


I appreciate the efforts and sense of justice offered by the people of Occupy Eugene. This occupation represents a cry for fundamental change towards balance and fairness in our society. This occupation is an example of people joined together out of a common sense of community. This occupation will require a sustained period of growth and support in order to succeed. I cannot attend the occupation full time, but I can go there, meet the people, and find someone whom I can help to get through the coming winter. Any positive act to make the occupation strong and safe is a direct response against greed and division.

 Bill Ganser, Eugene


Lia Gladstone’s “Shared Teacher” letter (10/20) is full of inaccuracies and misstatements. I sympathize wiith parents whose children are in two-grade classrooms. Because of inadequate state funding over a number of years, McKenzie has had to make drastic cuts in its programs and services. We have lost our school nurse, librarian, art teacher, shop and home economics classes, and most electives at the high school level. Since it was impossible to make further cuts at the high school/middle school and maintain a standard school, the only option remaining was to double up the elementary classes. 

Gladstone seems to think that if we cut the superintendent’s salary, it would resolve all of our problems. Even drastically cutting her salary (which will not happen) would not pay to add another teacher to the staff.

Everyone seems to be ignoring the real gorilla in the room. The solution for this problem lies in Salem with the state and the Legislature. Oregon is at the low end of school funding in the U.S. The McKenzie School Board, with the help of its Budget Committee, has made the best decisions possible for our students. If you want to resolve this problem, occupy the Legislature.

Kathleen Shelley, Vida


I was handed a paper stating the objections/complaints of the people protesting the current state of affairs when I was at the Saturday Market here in Eugene. I am in agreement with most of the statements listed, but I disagree with the way the statements are worded and I believe it is important.

A few examples: “They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses.” “They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.” “They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is, in itself, a human right.”

I think the wording should read “We have allowed” instead of “They have.” We have allowed bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses.

We have allowed our food supply to be poisoned through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization. We have allowed them to hold students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is, in itself, a human right. 

I believe that anything, including wording, that causes any kind of polarization in thought word or deed is counterproductive and should be avoided. In part that is what has gotten us all into the mess we are currently in in the first place.

Jon S. Shisler, Seal Rock


Thank you for betraying the students of the UO and teaching us not to vote Democrat anymore. Your recent blunder of supporting the campus police to have guns is not just appalling, it’s frightening. Students know that DPS officers are primarily responsible for handing out MIPs and open container fines to unsuspecting freshman. The idea that they need guns is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

In the last three years, DPS gave out 3,432 “disciplinary referrals” for liquor law violations, and zero for weapons violations — zero! For an area about one third the size of Central Park, DPS already employs 99 people. Students who have dealt with DPS know that they are cocky bastards on a power trip and would love nothing more than to shock you with their Taser. In 2009 DPS made 89 drug law arrests and 192 liquor law arrests and zero weapons arrests. Aggravated assault arrests? Also zero! 

Sen. Prozanski, I’m assuming you haven’t read the statistics because there is nothing that suggests the campus needs armed police. I regret voting for you, but I will certainly rest easy knowing that when DPS gets guns all those noisy drinkers will promptly be shot.

Eric Howell, Eugene


 In your Oct. 6 issue, a letter from Mark Robinowitz citing Abbie Hoffman criticized tattoos as a trend which lends to the entertainment industry’s distraction of would-be concerned citizens, as well as a source of untold (and undocumented) skin-borne maladies. Since turning 18, now 23, I’ve accumulated 26 hours “under the gun.” In my experience, few credible tattoo artists operate without strict sanitary procedures — or state licenses.

 Tattooing is invariably a flesh wound, an occasionally substantial one. However, despite stories we hear of infection or vain tattoo ideas some people must live with, the majority of tattooed people are not young wasted degenerates preoccupied with pissing off their parents with a pin and ink from a ballpoint pen. High quality ink is generally a form of self-affirmation or reverence to important things in one’s life — not a fashion statement.

 If Robinowitz has a problem with our “brave new world,” he ought to pick a fight with the advertising industry rather than a subculture based on personal expression. My sense of a future does not suffer from my love of the human body as a template for creativity, but my sense of the present is marred by adults in my community making assumptions about me.

Also, basal cell carcinoma is not typically caused by tattoos. Robinowitz might have a more crystallized opinion on the subject if he spent less time in the sun and more time at a tattoo shop. You know, asking questions and all that trendy s**t.

Max Miller, Eugene


When automation leads to unemployment, technology has built in obsolescence (new meters last a quarter to an eighth the time of old meters) and charging ratepayers more for what benefits?

Lane Electric installed smart meters six years ago and said, “these meters have paid for themselves many times over.” But when pressed to explain how, it became clear the only real benefit was more quickly identifying specific outages. The payback is associated with quicker reconnection to the meter to keep the charges flowing.

How many years of real time outage loss does it take to pay for a $500 meter when the meter lasts five to 10 years?

What debt has EWEB already saddled its ratepayers with regarding the new headquarters? How much can ratepayers absorb?

Personally, I think the health effects of smart meters are overblown when heath concerns are compromised by an increasing number of sources, cell phones, computers to electric heat all deliver electromagnetic fields.

More relevant is how many sources must we pile on before a critical mass of negative impacts become common place? What are the trends and tipping points? How does a public-owned utility justify/explain why their power contract with Seneca biomass is confidential? A lack of transparency typically breeds contempt and distrust.

Why would EWEB risk its historically good reputation for these highly questionable contracts?

Craig Patterson, McKenzie Bridge


On Oct. 9 at night my cat Mietzie was caught in an animal trap in the vicinity of West 8th Avenue and Polk and Taylor streets within the city limits of Eugene. His hind leg was useless, severely broken, fractured and splintered, including puncture wounds. When the merciless trapper finally “released” Mietzie, he had the incredible spirit to drag himself home. Can we ever feel the horrendous pain, agony and fright that he suffered?

An Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologist says animal traps that kill, amputate, break bones are against the law in Eugene! One can have a “cage trap” into which the animal walks but is unharmed.

When will we graduate from this Dark Ages mentality from the past that we can kill anyone we want? Animals are not “things.” They have a soul. Millions of buffalo, wolves, birds, seals have been killed in this country with sheer fun and violence. Enough!

All animals, trees, rocks and humans have the same molecules, same atoms and divine light. No difference. We were all created by the same great creator. That’s why the Native Americans and indigenous peoples say, “We are all one.”

Mietzie sends his unconditional love to the trapper. “The trap needs to go. No more violence!”

He has quietly suffered mighty pain. The surgery bill amounted to $4,720 and the veterinarian bill $344. How will this be paid? I have no idea. All life must be respected. It’s precious. It’s God’s gift to us.

Jutta Akulina Benner, Eugene


I’m so glad I saw your “Pit Bull Rental Prejudice” story (10/20). I moved here from Tennessee in August but spent the six months before trying to find a place. Pet-friendly housing is hard enough to find, but pit bull housing is nearly impossible. 

I mean seriously, is rescuing a dog a popularity contest or is it saving a life? Why is it that rescuing almost any dog gets you a pat on the back, but rescuing a pit bull signs you up for years of dirty looks and slum lords?

Would it be possible for you to do a piece on rental companies that are pet friendly, and specifically those that allow pit bulls and similarly restricted breeds? 

Alex Jenkins, Eugene



Who are the 1,027 prisoners released by Israel for just one man? In the first release of 477 the majority have been resettled back in either Gaza or West Bank with a handful going to Turkey, Syria or Qatar. They all have names and will enjoy tearful reunions, yet their freedom does not bode well for the future or safety of Israel. The worst of the worst are still behind bars, but a good number are ready to continue their jihad.

“I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,” said Wafa al-Biss to Palestinian schoolkids who visited after her release. Ahlam Tamimi said, “Of course. I do not regret what happened. … This was made possible by Allah. … I would do it again today.” 

Most released prisoners are lifers, sentenced for either murder or other felonies. Of the first group, 280 are serving at least one life sentence. Statistics from previous swaps show a 50 percent recidivism rate back to jihad. This includes women jihadists, of which all were released by Israel in this first group of 477.

Pictures of Shalit show a gaunt, thin man, reminiscent of K-camp survivors and his behavior during interviews show a man abused by his captors. Any group (Hamas) who boasts of using their women and children as human shields is not adverse to abusing a Jewish soldier.

Shalit is lucky to have returned home alive. Many Jews have not been so lucky.

Barry Sommer, Eugene



Mitt for Brains is at it again. It appears that we are all on the Mitt List for 2011. We are being treated to the Second Wave Mitt. The 2008 Mitt treadmark was not enough for the GOP second placer. Some Republicans think of the governor as some Serious Mitt. Most of us think that his opinion is not worth a Mitt. 

Now, the GOP game is to throw some Mitt against the wall and see what sticks. What they are hoping is that most people will accept the fact that Mitt happens. We all know that Mitt floats to the top. The question that Americans want an answer to is: will this be the advent of King Mitt or the same old Mitt? Stay tuned to your local talking heads for more history of Mitt.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene 


I gotta write a letter to the deanie,

I got sparks flyin’ out of my freshman beanie,

‘Cause I got too much kundalini in my weenie.

Too much kundalini in my weenie.

Every night I dream of any Jeannie,

But the girls are so meanie,

Lightning bolts flying out of my beanie.

‘Cause I got too much kundalini in my weenie.

Too much kundalini in my weenie.

Ron Ramsey, Eugene


The U.S. invasion of Iraq is one of the most blatant and most important examples of American imperialism in recent history. Officially, the only reason we went to Iraq was because they were violating sanctions. President George Bush said that there was “no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” There were, of course, no WMDs.

Regardless, America and its allies pressed forward with Operation Iraqi Freedom, and eventually overthrowing Saddam Hussein, allowing American oil companies back into the country.

Rather than simply allowing Iraqi citizens to create their own government with democratically elected leaders, America decided it would be best to create its own new government to force on them, and appointed its new leaders. Nearly ten years later, the American occupation hasn’t ended.

Giving large oil corporations access to Iraq’s some 115 billion barrels of oil is quite probably America’s single biggest reason for invading Iraq a second time at all, and it has made sure that it stays as cheap as possible for extraction operations to continue. It’s clear that the U.S. went to war for the benefit of American corporations, not the Iraqi people.

Disagreeable as Iraq’s former regime may have been, it was still a legitimate, functioning government. What gives America the right to invade another country to replace it with another regime of our own?

Michael Anderson, Eugene


Kevin Mechling from Portland’s Roosevelt High School laments that “society” isn’t providing for the “basic needs” of his students, such as food and shelter (Reforming Education Reform, 10/20).

Say what?? When did it become “society’s” duty, rather than parents’, to provide these “basic needs?”

Mechling is absolutely correct in pointing out that poverty is a major reason why many students have trouble learning. Of course it’s true that poverty can be caused by circumstances beyond one’s control. But there wasn’t a peep in the entire article about the rampant and irresponsible creation of babies by parents who can’t afford them, nor how that feeds the vicious cycles of poverty, hunger, despair and social unrest worldwide. 

Shifting blame is a trademark of both the left and the right but especially the former. “Society” is growing tired of paying for the lack of personal responsibility.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



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