Eugene Weekly : Letters : 2.12.09


In “Journalism’s Appalling Condition” (1/22), Alan Pittman notes that “many media ethicists condemn public relations as propaganda.” He could just as credibly say that many media ethicists condemn subjective alternative newspapers (defined in Wikipedia as “a type of newspaper that eschews comprehensive coverage of general news in favor of opinionated reviews and columns”) as propaganda.

Pot, meet kettle.

John Mitchell, Eugene


The Weekly correctly criticized the Bush administration’s lies, damned lies and their statistics. These guys should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for what they did the last eight years and for lying to us about it.

I couldn’t care less who Sam Adams has sex with or if he lies to his significant other, family or friends. However, there can be little doubt that his lying about the affair was politically motivated as it had the potential to cost him the election.

So now, according to the Weekly (Slant, 1/29), we just need to get over Adams lying. Sorry guys, you can’t have it both ways. Either it matters when politicians lie to the voters or it doesn’t. What’s it going to be?

Robert Benedict, Springfield


I am writing to support the statements in your Jan. 29 issue by Bonny Bettman regarding the actions of the Lane County DA’s office in interfering with the civilian review of the Ian Van Ornum Tasering incident May 30. The fact is, Eugene would never even need to have a police auditor if the Lane County DA was doing his duty to provide appropriate civilian oversight of police conduct.

Instead, the DA’s office could not be more biased, and has never made any effort to provide a reasonable level of oversight. Former DA Doug Harcleroad would often show up immediately upon the scene of police shootings of civilians and make statements to the press that the shootings were justified, often within a matter of a few hours. No reasonable or unbiased investigation could possibly be done so quickly.

While the DA’s office complains about how badly strapped its resources are, it still decided to move Van Ornum’s misdemeanor case out of Municipal Court, where it properly belonged, and take over prosecution. So rather than prosecute any dangerous criminals on Feb. 10, the DA’s office will instead begin its prosecution of a UO student whose only “crime” was a desire to exercise his guaranteed right of free speech.

Van Ornum’s trial will clearly be a watershed event for Lane County. I urge all responsible citizens to protest this perversion of justice.

Lance Jacobs, Springfield


My husband and I were quite excited to attend the Last Friday Art Walk on Jan. 30, as it had been some time since we were able to experience the beautiful work that is the backbone of our community. Such a shame that we took your recommendation and stayed out late to see PotPie Improv Theater as well. 

We had hoped to sit down at the always-wonderful Lord Leebrick Theater and have a good laugh. Surely with all the talented young people in Eugene we could see something in the tradition of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” But shame on us for setting the bar so high. What we witnessed was a barrage of “jokes” that referenced lesbianism, Hitler and the late Heath Ledger, and also made mock of local individuals like Rick Dancer. I must admit that neither my husband or I know much about the two “comedians” in this “theater” troupe, but I am almost certain that they have accomplished nothing on the level of Dancer, failed campaign or no.

And perhaps I’m just dense, but could someone please tell me how these two unprofessional and hateful people spewing whatever popped into their heads onto the stage could in any way shape or form be considered “art” to begin with? 

Edith Marie Hurley, Eugene


Thank you for the recent article (Slant, 1/29) about the PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center. I think it’s important that families explore the range of options available for a baby’s birth.

In our community, we are fortunate that the freestanding PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center is one option. I wanted to deliver with a midwife, but I would have been distracted by the clutter of my home and medical nature of the hospital. The Birth Center was a perfect alternative.

I had a wonderful birth experience thanks to the certified nurse midwives, lactation consultants and nurses. I received top-quality, individualized care throughout pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. In an era where families are scattered and women do not regularly share experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, the Birth Center provided me with knowledge and encouragement through appointments, consultations, and weekly well-baby clinics. 

The Birth Center is the only midwifery practice in Oregon to receive the “Baby Friendly” designation from UNICEF and the World Health Organization for its exemplary breastfeeding support. Additionally, the midwives work with patients at the Birth Center and PeaceHealth pre-natal clinic regardless of a family’s income or insurance status.

I urge PeaceHealth to uphold its financial obligations and promise to our community to relocate the Birth Center in 2009 to the new facility planned at RiverBend.

Eleanor Vandegrift, Eugene


I read with delight Bonny Bettman’s assessment of Eugene’s hidden government and budget murk (1/29) because on the evening of Oct. 27, 2008, several dozen animal welfare advocates were forced to gather and provide testimony to the Eugene City Council in order to prevent the city finance director from eliminating a nationally groundbreaking city program. The experience showed all of us who provided testimony that Bettman’s assessment of Eugene’s governance is spot-on.

The city Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic has been in existence since 1978. Tax dollars subsidize the spay and neuter of pets. By preventing animal overpopulation and reducing the number of unwanted animals, the city reduces costs for collecting, sheltering and killing homeless pets. The cost savings for tax payers is 3-1.

At the October council meeting city staffers were forced by Bettman to admit the clinic was funded through the end of fiscal year 2009 and that ending the service six months prematurely was imprudent.

City staffers were assigned to meet with citizens and make long range plans for the program. One meeting was held in November, but beyond that city staffers have lost interest in the program as well as the clinic’s union-represented staff, who were previously and unceremoniously laid-off.

Due to hidden governance and budget murk, the city will claim the recession has forced it to cut the clinic when what really will have happened was that our unelected city executive staff, with all the power and none of the accountability, will have acted upon their long standing plan to ditch this service program. City executive staff are neither progressive nor humane, nor do they comprehend our legacy and that long ago taxpayers chose prevention over destruction. 

Joan Walker, Eugene


I would like to invite the citizens of Eugene to drive by Maple Street and Elmira Road to look at all the nice street trees posted with the dreaded city notice of removal. These trees (in my yard, two well-producing apples and an attractive birch) are being taken out for road work that nearly everyone who lives on the streets does not want. 

We are being charged thousands of dollars we can’t afford for work we wouldn’t want if it were free. The trees that give our street character are being taken down and our property taxes increased forever.

Not only is insult being added to injury, but plague and a little famine, too. Charging locals (under threat of losing their homes) for so called “improvements” is a strange and regressive tax that other parts of Oregon are moving away from. Can’t we do better?

We are entering a transition mandated by peak oil. Let’s not yoke ourselves to serving the fickle needs of the internal combustion engine at the expense of the trees and the neighborhood. After you see our trees, contact the mayor and City Council, please.

Gary L. Adams, Eugene


I owe a public apology to EW film critic Jason Blair. My letter of some weeks past (“Love the Slumdog,” 12/31) attempted humor and constructive criticism but ultimately came across as mean-spirited and unfriendly. I sincerely apologize for that. Whether I agree with Mr. Blair or not, I very much admire, enjoy and appreciate the fact that he hammers out a thoughtful film review each week. That’s not at all easy. Keep up the good work; I look forward to a friendly disagreement again soon.

Dave Sheehan, Eugene


After reading the piece in EW (1/15) on the hate crime committed against Joshua Fred on Jan. 9, I cried like a baby and then was compelled to write a response. My intent is not to go on a rant about this atrocity, but to come together with others who find this a completely unacceptable part of our community. The intensity of this article is to much a reality for people here in our community. Many of us being of Caucasian descent can barely imagine what it would be like to walk down the street and be in fear of our lives. It is time for this outdated, never should have existed, racism to stop! 

I know that many of us feel this way and many are working hard to stop these kinds of attacks, but it strikes me that this may not be a chargeable hate crime because there was nothing that made it a bias crime by ORS 166.155. One of the attackers was quoted saying “We are white supremacists and we’re going to fucking kill you.” This statement does not fall under committable hate crimes?! 

So what do we do? How do we send the message that we will not accept this anymore! 

I hope that this is not just another story that gets swept under the rug and forgotten.

Lydia Scott, Eugene


Our Oregon legislators face the dual challenges of an economic crisis and the need to meet the challenge of global warming. Fortunately, Oregon is blessed with tools to help in both challenges.

We have natural resources that lend themselves easily to the struggle to create clean energy and green jobs, and right now we have a well thought out series of legislative bills already in the hopper ready to take the moral high ground and make Oregon a national leader in green energy and green employment.

These legislative bills do, however, require legislative approval. A keystone bill in this effort is Senate Bill 80. A clear commitment to cutting global warming pollution; it is perhaps the most crucial of the clean energy and green job bills. SB 80 sets up a “cap-and-trade” system including a fund to help families and businesses achieve the reduction targets. Without such a bill, Oregon will be the only state on the West Coast without limits on its greenhouse gas emissions.

I would call upon our locally elected officials, especially Sens. Vicki Walker and Bill Morissette who will first get to vote on these bills, to do whatever they can to support SB 80.

Leonard Hockley, Eugene


The economic crisis in Lane County has many victims, human and non-human alike. When people lose their jobs, they’re forced to make difficult choices.
Sometimes that means they can no longer keep their pets. Responsible owners find loving homes for their beloved family members, while other owners drop their pets off in the streets to fend for themselves. These sweet, loving cats and dogs are simply victims of bad circumstances, and many of them end up at Lane County Animal Services. 

Currently, LCAS is inundated with homeless animals. Like overcrowded prisons, overcrowded animal shelters are not optimal for pets. And unlike other animal rescue organizations in Lane County, LCAS is the only one allowed to take in stray animals. Although LCAS recently made a policy not to put down animals due to lack of space, it’s difficult to enforce when there’s literally no room at the inn. They need this community’s help.

If you’re considering a furry family member, please go to LCAS first. They have a great website ( featuring their pets of the day. Not ready to commit to a pet? Then consider fostering a homeless animal. Fostering is a great way to test-drive a potential pet or simply give a homeless animal a more comfortable life while it waits for its forever home. 

Cheryl Kline, Creswell


I went to the Market of Choice on 29th Avenue to watch the inauguration Jan. 20 and drink my daily coffee. However, the TV was on the Food Channel. I asked if they would please change the station to the inauguration. The staff told me they are not allowed to change the station. What? Why? She replied, “We don’t want to take sides.” 

What are they thinking? There is only one president, so what side would they be taking? I was so angry. I left a business card with one of the checkers requesting that the manager call me. The MC manager Ron called with in the hour. I asked what the deal was. He said, “We always watch the Food Channel.” When I said, “This is a special day,” he laughed. I hung up. 

I get my coffee every day at MC and enjoy hanging out with the regulars. Since that day I have gone in a couple of times and have found myself reliving the frustration. I now avoid the market. Our family has always appreciated the fine quality that MC has put forth, and we
are disappointed by the choice they

Lisa Hammack, Eugene


I appreciate your dedicating space in your publication each week to remembering that many lives are still being lost and negatively affected as a result of our (U.S.) military presence in Iraq.

I note that the weekly pace of destruc-tion continues (on the U.S. side, eight more individual lives ended, 24 more individuals “injured” this week) without much public awareness or comment.

I’m not intending to focus on the morbid or minimize our hopeful moment as a nation, but I think it’s important to recognize that if any one of us had lost a child/spouse/friend this past week in this way, we would be outraged.

I wonder if “support our troops” might include not forgetting that, while so many other cultural diversions grab the headlines, so many are still in very real danger — both our loved ones, and our “enemies” who might be our friends, if we went about things differently.

Thanks for keeping this in the dialogue.

Don Schneider, Pleasant Hill


I am seriously questioning the man-made global warming theory. the earth recycles and cleanses it self. global warming happened before thousands of years ago, thousands of years before pollution, industry, auto emissions and hair spray.) If Al Gore has made millions of dollars exploiting created fears of global warming, then perhaps he should donate the funds earned to buy every family those special earth-friendly light bulbs that also happen to produce mercury poisoning to whomever is unfortunate enough to break one in close proximity. 

Ironically Al Gore uses massive carbon emissions (more then 100 regular families in a year) every time he flies for global warming speaking engagements in his two private Lear jets. I’m sure some of these politicians are laughing their asses off on how easy it has been to dupe the sheep, meaning the masses of nonelite regular citizens. 

Also I’m wondering why the scientists who oppose the “party line” always seem to end up shut up and unemployed? Decide what you will, but I prefer to investigate and research things like this before reaching any kind of rational conclusion and closing the book. Until then I’m thinking the Earth will outlast us. So let’s do something we actually can control, like halting nuclear proliferation from irresponsible parties like Iran.

Doing that would give me that warm, fuzzy, feel-good pat on my own back that some people get from chronic recycling. 

Tom Busch, Springfield 


Imagine you are struggling along financially, a member of what is sometimes called “the working poor.” You have no employer-provided health plan, and you cannot afford to buy your own coverage. Then consider what you would do if you developed health issues. To whom would you turn?

For many persons in the Eugene/Springfield area, this is not an intellectual exercise. This is daily life. Fortunately, there is someplace they can go for health care: Volunteers in Medicine.

VIM provides a wide range of services, including treatment of minor trauma, prescription assistance, and mental health services. The clinic emphasizes health education and prevention, and networks with other health care agencies and institutions to which clients can be referred for additional care. 

Although VIM patients are encouraged to contribute funds for their services, they are not assessed direct charges. Therefore, financial support from the public is greatly appreciated. Because of the incredible support by local specialists and hospitals, VIM estimates that for every $1 given to the clinic, $3 in services are rendered.

Contribution (tax-deductible) may be mailed to VIM’s Development Office at 3321 W. 11th Ave., Eugene 97402. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted.

Good things happen at the VIM clinic everyday. Lives are changed and often saved because of generous donors and volunteers. Join the “circle of caring” that makes this all possible. Please donate to Volunteers in Medicine.

Domimic Pallazola, Eugene