Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.31.09


Is EW done corrupting our youth? Apparently not yet! 

Not so long ago, we had that whole fiasco with our children being subjected to images of sado-masochism. That was pretty awful, gosh darn it. But one of your recent cover images (12/10) disturbs me even more! You portray a wide-eyed girl staring wondrously and vacantly at a cluster of stars and misty currents while she is holding a book What kind of message do you think you’re portraying? I see only one possibility.

The staff on this newspaper like to indoctrinate our youth into believing that reading books will make them more intelligent and capable in society as they progress through their childhood and adolescence. The very idea that a child should be reading books instead of watching TV is insulting. The world is harsh and cruel, let them learn it from our tried and true television programming rather than the insubstantial prospects proffered by the intangible value of imagination. 

Would the entire combined populations of all readers of this publications please stop whining about cover pages already? There’s bigger news out there.

James McDonald, Eugene


The recent “celebration” of Nazism at the UO is the current low point of Pacifica Forum’s journey from occasional anti-Semitic presentations to a sponsor of full-blown white supremacist neo-Nazi dogma. Pacifica Forum’s anti-Semitic programs inevitably attract the hard core to whom anti-Semitism is a gateway drug to other bigotries, and who use hate speech as a rallying point to attract others to their odious cause, now attacking Muslims, African-Americans, non-white immigrants, homosexuals and Latin-American citizens as well as Jews.

The UO has considerable responsibility for hosting the growth of this cancer without sufficient remedy and response. The UO has taken some remedial steps: An evening seminar on the Holocaust and Holocaust denial responded to Mark Weber’s appearance at UO, and former President Frohnmayer strongly condemned the “gutter bigotry” being fostered at PF.

But Pacifica Forum’s weekly presence is more consistent and vigorous in spreading the message of bigotry than the university has been in its mitigation efforts. The UO campus has consequently become the primary public outlet for white supremacist/ white nationalist/ neo-Nazi propaganda between Seattle and Sacramento.

Public pressure works. Pacifica Forum has cleansed its programming of bigotry for two extended periods. One was spring 2005 to spring 2006, beginning after Pacifica Forum lost its last sponsor. The second was early spring 2007 through October, following public outcry, editorials, articles and official statements from the university following the “Anelauskas lectures.”

Pacifica Forum obviously can present programs within the bounds of our community’s morality and standards. Last week’s letter in EW from Charles Martinez, UO VP of Equity and Diversity, invited us “to take personal responsibility for creating an environment where hateful acts and the espousal of hateful ideas, without context to the university mission of continuing education, is not tolerated.”

PF speakers have the legal right to advocate loathsome doctrines, but we do not have to be quietly tolerant when that right is irresponsibly exercised. We can state loud and clear that while we legally tolerate these programs, we are not morally tolerant of the doctrines of hate and bigotry espoused there, that these have no place in our community. Let the university and surrounding community exercise our free speech by declaring that Pacifica Forum has violated our standards of acceptance, diversity and decency. 

Michael Williams, Eugene


Alan Pittman’s “news” article on the merger of Eugene and Springfield fire departments is about the most butchered rhetorical snip of opinion I’ve read in a long time.

He starts by calling the merger a “rush” and later talks about “the thousands of hours spent studying the merger.” So which is it? There are no secrets here. Both cities have discussed this into the ground. Both sides paid for an extensive study. Top managers on both sides agree with the study. Labor on both sides agree with the study. Where is the “rush”?

Pittman talks about the “ambulance ride to the hospital.” I am not saying the price is too high or fair or too low but Pittman describes it inaccurately. The “ambulance drivers” are not just a bunch of “high school graduates making up to $89,000 a year.” That salary would likely be an anomaly and not account for overtime. The average salary is much lower.

Most “ambulance drivers” are dual-role firefighter/ paramedics and most all have at least an AA degree, some have bachelor degrees. In the state of Oregon you must have a degree to be a paramedic.

I believe the merger would eliminate duplicity in upper management as in the fire marshal from Springfield supervising the deputy fire marshals from both cities.

Springfield firefighters currently train and respond sometimes daily into Eugene for emergencies. The wages from both cities aren’t that far apart.

Springfield has the resourses to provide mutual aid to Eugene. Some, but not all, of Springfield’s apparatus are leased. Springfield has much of the specialty resources you mentioned. We aren’t a bunch of hicks sitting around playing checkers.

As populations grow and boundaries blur, fire and or police mergers make sense. They are more efficient and save taxpayers millions.

Mike Sheppard, Springfield


I would love to trade places with the Tillamook farm couple who sent me a letter a few weeks back.

You may remember, their letter implied that if tax Measures 66 and 67 passed they would be forced to send the farm hands packing and sell off the cows and the lower 40. Their letter became a real knee-slapper after their website boasting of cooking classes in France and Italy for her and African safaris for him was revealed. Yes, I would like to see France, Italy and Africa, but that’s not the only reason I want to trade places: Not only would I now be wealthy — only families who make $250,000 or more per year have to pay the small tax, I can now help save the jobs of Oregonians.

I know, the No on measure 66 and 67 crowd are saying just the opposite. These are the people behind the Tillamook farm letter: those who can afford to pay their fair share and the bankers, credit card companies — and the like.

The recession hit Oregon hard. The $700 million or so to be raised doesn’t come close to restoring all the cuts.

This money will go to teachers, cops and health-care workers. Those who spend their money here and now in Oregon. 

So who do you trust to look out for interests of you and your family? Those who teach our kids and keep us safe and healthy? Or those who just raised your interest rate to 29 percent? 

Do yourself a favor, vote yes on Measures 66 and 67.

Leslie Weinstein, Eugene


In regards to the “Cannabis Café” (Viewpoint 12/24); it is easy to get drawn up by emotion, but logic is more effective. The good people who wrote it are clearly coming from a loving place, but I am concerned that they are making their arguments from fear — it is better to be conscious of danger than to allow it to dictate our actions.

Starting from the premise that criticism is cause for avoidance gives power to any who want it. Yes, there is a real danger from those who would prohibit the medicinal use, but they do not get veto power over the ethical argument for outright legalization. To limit advocacy to legally accepted causes is to use circular logic and cause a catch-22.

If one wants to deal with the prohibition of marijuana, then open the discussion to all logical arguments — and considering that the only logical arguments in favor of prohibition lead either to a massive infringement of liberty or support rule by fiat, it’s easy to see why the advocates of prohibition would want the discussion not be opened. I find it unproductive for those seeking incremental liberty to attack those seeking greater liberty — they are both seeking liberty. 

I think that it would have been a better use of a column in the Christmas EW to have the board president and executive director of the Compassion Center write an article touting the great work of the Compassion Center, even adding a note about the Cannabis Café — assuming it was more positive than negative (for the holidays). It was in poor taste to write a hit piece against their perceived competition.

Trevor Kiel Ballard, Eugene


Regarding the Invictus review (12/17) by Jason Blair: Let’s be clear; Invictus is not an exploration of apartheid per se. It is, rather, the study of Nelson Mandela’s hard-earned wisdom (to say the very least) and its manifestation therein.

I, for one, deeply appreciated the subtle nuances this film provided which enabled me to dwell upon this mans profound self assurance tempered by a constant presence of humility.

I suggest turning a blind eye to the film’s shortcomings and instead breathe in the reverence of this extraordinary human being. You’ll be richer for it.

Ellen Epstein, Eugene


A peaceful Sunday pre-Christmas hike on the Ridgeline Trail led to a rude awakening for three hikers. Upon returning to their car, parked and locked at the trailhead at 50th and Fox Hollow, they discovered a shattered side window and a theft of at least one purse.

An hour earlier I had parked my old Volvo and left on the trail for a walk with my dog. My car (old and undesirable, though locked) was untouched when I returned. 

I felt really bad for those folks. Then I looked around. On the ground in the parking area there were at least a dozen instances of shattered windows! Which is to say that this is a frequent and high property crime area. Which is to say that there is at least one organized gang who does this shit regularly. 

I noticed, as I left the parking lot to begin my walk, two people, kind of hanging out: one was an older, possible ex-Army/alkie type who was staring at me, kind of: medium tall. The other a much younger man in a baseball cap, dark dressed. Maybe these two had nothing to do with it, but …

I would assume that other parking areas are similarly vulnerable. 

Anyhow, here in little ol’ Eugene there are some Scrooges among us who care nothing for a fellow human’s well being. Beware, and let’s catch those suckers!

Note to city and county: Install highly visible signage and/or video surveillance at these vulnerable locations!

Peter Holden, Eugene 


Thank you for your reporting in the Nov.19 issue on Amy Goodman and Democracy Now.

 I wanted to add that the public can listen to Goodman’s reports on local radio station KWVA, 88.1 FM every weekday from 7 to 8 am. Also you can watch Democracy Now and see her on local cable access Channel 29 every weekday from 5 to 6 pm. Plus you can go to for links to hear and see her reports.

Bob Becker, Eugene