Eugene Weekly : Letters : 2.25.10


Recent circumstances dictate that the UO athletes require additional infrastructure; the Casanova Center needs a Criminal Elements wing. No minor effort, since such a facility will entail providing additional lecture rooms to instill basic sportsmanship training, a legal counseling floor, a separate area for bail bond services, a secure unit of short-stay incarceration facilities and, of course, office space for a cadre of PR people to handle spin control.

Let’s hope the enduring generosity of Phil Knight doesn’t fail us in our critical time of need.

Max Smith, Junction City 


The cover of EW (2/18) has gone a little too far for me. I am a liberal but really, the Liberty Bell with balls? That’s a little too over the top. In fact your publication is beginning to run over the top a little too frequently. Either you have changed your staff to extremists, or your original staff has gone over the edge.

I won’t be picking up your paper from now on.

K. Sowdon, Eugene


Kate Loftesness’ article “Different Paths to Mental Health” published in the Feb. 11 issue was indeed enlightening. I differ with the subjects quoted in the article because I believe that medications used to treat mental illnesses can be effective. Sure, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes there are side effects.

Mental illness is just like cancer, diabetes and lung disease. They all are biological in nature. I have high cholesterol, so I take a medication to lower it. It works. Meds for mental illness work, too. And, when coupled with group and/or individual therapy, the chances of successful treatment are greater.

David Oaks of MindFreedom International and I agree that consumers of mental health services have the right to make a choice whether to use medications or not. We both want the same result, but in differing ways.

 Terry Arnold, Executive Director NAMI Lane County


The recent case of the Tasering of a newly arrived Chinese student in his own apartment resonated strongly with the local Asian American community, many of whom had to deal with inappropriate or inadequate responses to their concerns by city authorities. Many from the Asian American community had never before gotten involved in any sort of political action,but felt that the egregiousness of the current case demanded accountability from the Eugene Police Department and the City of Eugene.

The group got little traction until Mark Gissiner, the city’s new police auditor, took it upon himself to file a complaint directly with the Civilian Review Board, which monitors the activities of the Eugene police force. Gissiner’s background as a past president of the International Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, which has worked in China extensively, gave him a particular sensitivity to the issue at hand. As a result, the Board directed the police chief to re-open the investigation of the incident, which we fully support.

Through this process, Eugene’s Asian American community has learned that more of us need to get outside our comfort zones and muster the courage to stand up for basic civil rights. We have learned that being an agent of change does not necessarily mean violating cultural norms. Hopefully, this will help the community continue to defend the rights of all residents, especially recent immigrants with limited English language skills and a lack of familiarity with bureaucracy in the U.S.

Remie Calalang, Angie Collas-Dean, Misa Joo, Reagan Le, Bobby Lee, Phyllis Lee, Victor Lin,Jason Mak, Steve Morizumi, Elena Nielsen, Mimi Nolledo, Pamela M. Quan, Rosa Sakanishi, Marvy Schuman, Mike Takahashi, Anselmo Villanueva, Bob Watada & Gennie Nguyen


Once again, Alan Pittman has chosen to print defamatory nonsense rather than bothering with the facts (“Downtown Shakedown,” 2/4). It’s unfortunate that EW doesn’t choose to use its influence to actually help the people trying to make a difference downtown instead of spreading Pittman’s uninformed, malicious tripe.

The Downtown Safety Task Team was formed in response to community demands to put a stop to the low-level crime that makes downtown such an unsavory place to be. The “behavior crime” that Pittman sneeringly dismisses (and which he misattributes to the homeless) is demonstrably the main inhibitor of downtown business and significantly erodes quality of life for downtown residents. Police Chief Pete Kerns is absolutely correct in addressing behavior crime as a top priority for lifting downtown out of its current depressed state.

Pittman’s smartass remark that stopping behavior crime “appears to be about criminalizing the homeless” is complete bollocks. What pisses off the downtown community isn’t homeless guys with cardboard signs, it’s the menacing lowlifes engaged in drug-dealing and other scumbaggery and the drunken jackasses who think “having fun” means acting like animals that just broke out of the zoo.

The Downtown Safety Task Team, like the exclusion zone and the ban on malt liquor, has the full support of the downtown business and residential community. In fact, it is likely that the community itself will be involved in enforcement once the Task Team’s programs are up and running.

If we — the city, the police, and the downtown community — succeed with the Task Team’s recommendations, the scumbag lowlifes and drunken jackasses will no longer be able to use downtown as a free-for-all. Don’t believe any Pittman pipe dreams that say otherwise.

Elizabeth Henning, Eugene



Your blurb about Facebook in Slant Feb. 11 was inaccurate. Facebook did not steal “$40 million in future taxes from Oregon’s schoolchildren.” The company was offered and accepted a $40 million local property tax exemption. In return, Prineville and Crook County are getting 35 jobs that will pay 150 percent of prevailing wages, and many businesses will profit from the company purchasing from locals. These businesses include office suppliers and local janitorial, security, landscaping and maintenance services. The project will also employ 200 construction workers, most of whom will be locals. Much, if not most of this money, will stay in the local community and the state of Oregon. So will the taxes that these people pay.

Prineville is located in Crook County, which has the highest unemployment rate in Oregon (17.4 percent in November). In 2008, Les Schwab Tires moved its corporate headquarters, along with 320 jobs, from Prineville to Bend. This relocation had a staggering effect on the local economy.

Besides the enormous boost to the local economy that will result from Facebook’s project, the company will pay various development fees and other charges to Prineville and Crook County, as well as transportation development charges. Community impact fees paid to Crook County will be approximately $110,000 per year.

Finally, I think that Facebook would take issue with your use of the word “stole.” The state offers a local property tax exemption to encourage companies to relocate here. Facebook did not strong-arm a deal; they merely accepted what was offered to them. Check out the comments left by local residents on the Facebook website. All 27 are positive.

It’s libelous to print an accusation that isn’t true. EW would be wise to do some research before leveling false accusations.

Dave Taube, Eugene


Lots of news about the old post office at 5th and Willamette closing but not a lot of details. It looks like the Eugene Police Department wants the back, which makes sense with all the bays and spaces.

But what to do with the historical post office building? Why not turn it into Eugene’s First Public Art and History Museum? I can see all of the auto association books mention this as one of the top “go-to” spots in the Northwest.

If Eugene truly is “The World’s Greatest City of the Arts and Outdoors” then downtown needs a place for public art and history. 

C’mon. We can do this.

Marc Time, Junction City


I am writing in response to the recent death of Janette Maples. As a social worker I feel compelled to respond to the media coverage regarding this case. Although this tragedy highlights many of the systemic problems within the Child Welfare System, we should pause and reflect before we blame individuals, i.e. case-workers. 

I feel that blaming such individuals overlooks addressing some of the structural issues that played a major role in this young woman’s life. If we approach this from problem an alternative perspective it is likely that we will have provided with a more inclusive view of the issue. 

• Currently case workers throughout the U.S. are overburden with case loads. Oregon more than doubles the recommended average case-load of 12-15.

• Currently we do not have the number of foster parents necessary to meet the demand within our community. This effects the number of safe places that teens are able to go.

• Each year we have witnessed an erosion in funding. This year alone millions were cut from the DHS budget which drastically impacts how Child Welfare functions.

• During the current economic climate it is even more crucial that these limited funds are used and distributed appropriately.

We applaud voters for passing measures such as 66 and 67 — yet this is not enough.

Firing case workers, putting the blame on individual case workers is far from taking action to address the problem of child abuse.

 Billie Fisher, Dorena


In live in the wonderful Whiteaker neighborhood. Just about everything you need is found here. Dining, shopping, entertainment and art are all within walking distance. It is not uncommon to see the streets peppered with pedestrians enjoying all of the wonderful amenities. 

But you better watch out! Here comes a car, and fast. It is hard to believe that a corner (4th and Blair) that is home to Sam Bond’s Garage, Papa Soul Kitchen, Tiny Tavern, Red Barn Grocery and Scobert Park does not house a single crosswalk, not even a white line. I frequently find myself making a dash for it while drivers seemingly rev their engine faster. 

Ideally I would like to see the street renovated to include bike lanes, landscaping, street bike parking and a possible roundabout crosswalk, but in the meantime maybe someone should get out the white paint!

Greg Gregers, Eugene


My family lives in the neighborhood serviced by LTD’s bus route 36b. We have been living on unemployment for a year as of last month, have one older car, and often depend upon the bus for transportation. Next year, when our daughter will change schools, we’ve been planning for her to take our neighborhood bus downtown so she can transfer to the EmX. Many of our neighbors also rely upon the bus. In one family, one of the parents is blind and uses the bus daily for commuting to work. They told me last night that if the bus service to our neighborhood is cut, they will have to move. 

The possibility of LTD completely cutting bus transportation to our neighborhood during this time of financial crises for many families is shocking. Bus service is part of the essential infrastructure that supports Eugene’s residents. Without the bus, adults will not be able to get to work, children will not be able to get to school or the library, senior citizens will lose independence and be more isolated, and an essential part of the fabric of our community safety net will be frayed. 

I urge LTD to step back from cutting routes and please reconsider other possibilities. Cutting bus service can’t be the first choice. The consequences for Eugene residents are too grim.

Pam Dillehay, Eugene


I can’t believe that Bobby Green was appointed be director of local government affairs for the Oregon Health Authority Board. Green will coordinate the purchasing of public health, addiction and mental health services. He is the very last person I would consider for this important position. Is it because of past football injuries? Is it because he never once made any positive suggestion for a change in health care?

It must be another push by the health Insurance industry to kill the needed changes for people in Oregon and further sink the Democratic Party. I can only imagine who arranged this. Maybe we need another Oregon party to form around health care reform? 

Ruth Duemler , Eugene


Last summer when Congress recessed from the health care debate, legislators returned to their home states to conduct town hall meetings. Therein, numerous proponents for health care reform attempted to describe what the House and Senate were planning. The public forums these legislators hosted were disrupted by an organized effort from right-wing interest groups. Representatives and senators were taunted and jeered as they attempted to answer questions and receive feedback from their constituency. The liberal left decried these tactics as being destructive.

Fast forward to the last couple months. The Pacifica Forum is under intense scrutiny of late for espousing anti-almost-everything beliefs. Protests arise at every meeting. While neo-Nazism is an easy thing to rally behind for both liberal and conservative ideologies, I think it’s fair to assume the majority of protesters would be considered liberal. The same liberals who taunt and jeer the Pacifica Forum to disrupt its meetings, the same liberals who cried foul when conservatives did it to them in the town halls.

Health care reform and hate speech vs. free speech are very disparate issues, but at the heart of both contentions one ideology disagrees with another, and attempts to silence it by disruptive behavior. 

Take a step back and think about how to enact the change you want to see, rather than use the same destructive tactics you lament when they are used against you. Else, you’re just a hypocrite.

James McDonald, Eugene


I don’t understand Eugeneans. For three years, out by LCC, we’ve had a shining model of sustainable business, SeQuential Biofuels. A solar-powered, green-roofed, local company selling biofuels that work in all cars; biofuels made not from corn, but from Oregon waste products. Yet with thousands of gallons of gas bought in Eugene every day, only a fraction is from SeQuential. 

Maybe shopping there sounds ass backwards to you? Drive out of your way, put an unfamiliar fuel in your car, and pay the same if not more per gallon. What are they thinking?

Explain recycling: Put all your garbage in one of three containers. Some you can just throw in there, others need to be clean and dry, no you can’t recycle the lids, only open the cans part way, remember which day it is or you have to wait two weeks for the next pickup. How easy and convenient it would be to just put it all in the trash.

Explain your food habits: “Get in your car and drive past the Safeway. Go out of your way to random people downtown, pay the same or more for a couple foods. Then drive past the Albertsons to the special store and spend twice as much buying organic, all-natural, local, bio-dynamic food.” 

Light bulbs? Go buy a strange looking bulb that puts out weird light, contains a toxic substance, and costs four times as much. 

The right thing to do is not always cheap, easy, convenient, or simple. Hmm … suddenly that whole biofuel thing doesn’t seem so ass backwards. Maybe it’s just normal, and by not shopping there, you’re the ass backwards Eugenean. 

Alan Twigg, Eugene


Yes, we do have rights. We have the right to remain silent and turn a blind eye to the sick, hungry, homeless and poor amongst us. We have the right to acquire as much wealth as we can. But we must never forget that our creator has rights also. Our creator has the right to strip our souls from our mortal coil and judge us by our deeds. Those who helped the sick, hungry, homeless and poor will receive all the eternal riches of Heaven. Those who chose to ignore and turn a blind eye to the needs of the lesser amongst them will be cast aside and receive eternal punishment and their wealth will turn to rust.

The debate over health care is as simple as that. We as a people and as a government must follow the Golden Rule rather than let gold rule.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


In the first six weeks of this year, Pacifica Forum has attracted more attention than in the whole of its previous existence. The overwhelming impression has been that the Forum is a “hate group.” From the LA Times to leftist student rags, the Zionist bias has been clear. As always, their tactics “plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation” (Charles Freeman, a diplomat axed by the Israel lobby). Honorable exceptions have included the Oregon Commentator.

“Militants” were urged to descend on the university Feb. 12 to protest an alleged neo-Nazi meeting. The presentation was nothing of the sort. But you won’t find apologies or retractions. The protestors will go quiet until the Forum has another controversial speaker.

Once again: Pacifica Forum does not spread hate. It does not advocate violence. It does not even know what “white supremacy” is. It’s a free speech group. That’s something to defend.

On the bright side, the website stats have gone hockey-stick:

Hopefully, some of the site’s more careful readers will notice the range of views presented by PF attendees, presenters and bloggers — pretty much everything but white supremacy!

Jay Knott aka Roderick McLaughlin, Portland


I wish to thank EW for writing a wonderful article (2/11), with photos of my (our) Valentine Weekend Open Studio in my warehouse space at 2nd and Blair. A beautiful, cohesive writing of a one page blurb discussed our benefit for Ophelia’s Place and expressed art as healing. The cover photo was magnificent, colorful and textural!

It seemed like all of Eugene came out and were interested in not only artwork by seven female professional artists, but about the workings of Ophelia’s Place. We raised some great funds for this important non-profit, located in our great city. I especially and wholeheartedly wish to thank Territorial Wines, the LCC Culinary School and Tarte Bakery for all their fabulous donations which made this weekend a very sweet, loving event and we look forward to creating it again next year. 

Susan Klein,


With the passage of Measures 66 and 67 last month, it seems clear to me that Oregon has lost its bearings. Most people wouldn’t lend money to a drug addict for the continuance of their bad habits, so why are they so aroused by higher taxes which subsidize an inept institution in our public schools?

We keep hearing pleas from the teachers unions about lack of funding, and every time gullible Oregonians pay the bill. Could it be that just maybe administration officials and teachers are just too lazy, greedy and unimaginative to come up with some alternative, creative ways to manage their budgets. You know something’s a little caca when the schools keep asking for more and more money like a gambler who can’t pay his/her debts, then expects the “malevolent” rich to subsidize their shortcomings. 

I would support our school system if it was invested wisely in education and kids, instead of Jumbo Gyrations! 

Our schools are in a shitty state of disarray, and no increase of funding is going to fix that unless we overhaul those Lipstick Lobsters in control. 

A psychotic envy of wealth will bite us all in the ass!

Ryan Mitchell, Eugene



I appreciated your recent article (12/24) about local nonprofits. I’d like to suggest one other nonprofit that provides a valuable service to many EW readers: the Breitenbush Fire Department.

The BFD is made up of volunteers from the Breitenbush community. It provides emergency medical and fire protection for Breitenbush Hot Springs and the surrounding area. If you’ve enjoyed this magical environment in the last couple of years, you have the BFD to thank for serving the first-responders team when wildfires threatened the area.

The BFD needs funds to pay for equipment, supplies, and a firehouse. You can make a tax-deductible donation via their website, Better yet, join the cause on Facebook and contribute electronically. 

George Beekman, Corvallis



Mary O’Brien’s timid criticism (1/7) of the Obama administration’s war on the Middle East seems an effort to cover up her successful efforts to install Bush’s successor into high office. The only thing more disturbing than a seamless continuation of right-wing national policy is how easy it was for the liberals to sign on to the entire fake democracy drama. (A previous letter I submitted to EW, which criticized Mark Harris’ endorsement of all things Obama was titled by the editor “Off To the Races” rejecting my own heading, “More Liberals for Imperialism”).

History for O’Brien is “human behaviors,” a sum of psychological events. She relates the wisdom of her father that, “the seeds of WW II were to be found in the Allies’ economically harsh and politically humiliating treatment of Germany after WW I.” Yet she undermines the content of this observation by throwing out the analytical power of it, with her reduction of historical events to “human behaviors” and attitudes (such as evil).

The analytical tool she dodges and maternalistically seeks to hide (disrespectful of her communist father) is historical materialism — understanding world history by understanding the largely economic processes which bring them about.

Similarly, O’Brien won’t call capitalism capitalism, but rather “industrious humanity[‘s warming of the globe]”.

There is a grave ecological crisis, with social roots. It is so potentially devastating of world ecosystems it demands sober analysis.

Since EW won’t/can’t afford to offend advertisers, readers should point their web browsers to the January issue of Monthly Review by John B. Foster (UO professor of sociology) writing “Why Ecological Revolution,” a paper delivered in Vietnam in mid-December. He explains that an ecological revolution is not possible without a social revolution (and vice versa); and the current strategies of denial by corporate environmental lobbies and faux radicals.

Kevin Hornbuckle, Eugene



The “news” recently saturated America with stories about the Tea Party movement and its first ever national convention. They talked about how this “grassroots” movement — whom many are calling an AstroTurf movement — is charging their delegates a fee to attend a meeting and they talked about Sarah Palin being paid $100,000 to be the keynote speaker at the event. 

One thing the elite reporters that represent America’s mass media machine failed to report on is that these Tea Party people are not only missing the point main street America is trying to make, but the tea parties are actually missing a huge proportion of America.

Take a look at photographs from these events and see if you can determine what’s missing. Is it money, surely not, and yet these people are complaining about taxes! These Tea Party folks drive SUVs, RVs, and Hum Vs. They dress well, have large families, own businesses and therefore are pretty well off. Still haven’t got a guess? The tea parties are missing people of color, as in zilch, zero, none.

I am discouraged by racial disparity and challenge people to think about the effect this has on our nation. How does the ratio of people of color at the national Tea Party convention compare to the number of persons of color one might see at a white supremacist gathering, or better yet, to keep it local, at a Pacifica Forum meeting? Let us never forget, a serpent by any other name is still an serpent and just as dangerous. Some would argue, even more so. 

Frank Leopald, Eugene



I keep reminding myself: When you hear from Sarah Palin, more is always less. In her latest zany incarnation as a hockey-mom “revolutionary,” Palin finally seems to be the surreal Republican reincarnation of Anna Nicole Smith — an exceedingly shameless ditz, dupe and dollar sign whose ample greed and habitual incoherence plop her into the lap of every breast-beating, breathless tea-bagger and Beck-babbling ignoramus that America produces like its endless debt and wars. I wish I were tired of her. I wish I were. But I’m not.

In fact, the more she showers her audience with endless banalities and confirms their belief that she is truly brilliant, the more she confirms my suspicion that Republican politicians are mere lobbyists, instruments of a shadow government identical to what we suffered under President Cheney. If my suspicions needed confirmation, the Supreme Court did it a couple of weeks ago. So now we know who’s holding the stronger hand. And it’s not democracy.

So perhaps Palin is someone to listen to, since she echoes what her controllers want her to say. But if all they want to say is the couple of things she cribbed on her hand recently — a skill undoubtedly honed in her school years — I have my doubts. She’ll eventually resort to repetitive slander, since issues bore her, and slander is so much easier to remember. That’s more in line with the nature of her wealthy corporate sponsors, since buying elections is the new paradigm, and Palin the established brand.

Tom Erwin, Veneta



In response to Michele Walter’s letter (1/21) regarding Oregon’s new 10-digit dialing requirement: While I understand the hassle some may experience with this, I would like to explain why the requirement is now in place.

The FCC requires that 10-digit dialing to be used in any area where an overlay area code has been implemented. An area code overlay means laying an additional area code over, or on top of, an existing area code that serves the same region. When an overlay is used, your area code becomes part of your telephone number and must be used in order for the call to be completed correctly.

Michele stated she was never required to dial 10 digits in Los Angeles. Like, Michele, I am also an Angeleno. In some areas of the Southland, a local call can still be completed by dialing the seven-digit telephone number. But locations where an overlay has been implemented, you must include the area code plus all seven digits of the telephone number to complete a local call. Overlays have been implemented in L.A. area codes 310, 424, 442, 657, 714, 747, 760 and 818.

Eugeneans should use all 10 digits when giving their number to family, friends and customers. This will help everyone to remember that the area code needs to be included in the telephone number.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene



What we need is solidarity, in the face of assaults, harassment, and intimidation. Where student faces and names have been published on the Pacifica Forum website and still more faces on literature. With the recent break-in and vandalism of the LGBTQA office, where a Swastika was spray painted on the floor, in the EMU. This hate crime was less than a month after the PF’s speech, which was promoting the swastika as a political tool and social symbol and where speaker Billy Rojas said “Homosexuality is a mental disorder” and “”[homosexuality] is really hetro-phobia.” 

The speeches, actions and deliberate targeting have a hurtful result. We cannot allow this group, who’s voice in the community contributed to these actions, to go free with impunity. We need to confront the hatful programming and consistent bigotry of Pacifica Forum. 

PF hides behind free speech. They were going to hold a meeting titled “The Threat of Islam” about a WW II alliance between a Muslim leader and Nazi Germany, by the tokenized ethnic Jewish member, Barry Sommer. They respond to fears of being labeled a neo-Nazi organization by targeting Muslims, proving only how deep their hatred goes.

The community must respond to every act of violence. This is our duty as members of this community! Respond with the students on Fridays in front of Johnson Hall. Not in our home, not on our campus, not in our town.

Cimmaron Gillespie, Eugene



Millions of Americans are disgusted by the sleazy behavior of the mega banks in this country and their cozy relationship with congress. After dragging our banking system to near collapse and taking billions in taxpayer bailout money these “too big to fail” banks have the audacity to pay obscene financial bonuses to their executives and lobby congress to block meaningful reforms of their corrupt practices.

Many of us have made phone calls and written letters to the White House and our congressional representatives urging them to reign in this out of control financial industry. Their “thank you for expressing your views on this important topic” response letters are insulting. If these congressmen and senators were honest their letters would say “You are naive if you think I’m going to vote against the interests of the banking industry which gives me huge amounts of money each year.” 

We recently learned of an Internet-driven movement (Move Your Money) urging people to move their accounts from mega banks into healthy community banks and credit unions. Most local banks and credit unions had nothing to do with the risky practices responsible for our current economic crisis and we should reward them by giving them our deposits. It’s such an easy and effective way to make the corrupt “too big to fail” banks a little smaller.

Wayne Ferrell, Eugene



In regards to “Thieves Are Us” by Jonathan Gruske, (1/21), It sounds to me like you’re endorsing crime. Let’s get something straight here bud — stealing anything, for any reason, is not OK. You have a moral duty as a human being to not attack or take from your fellow man.

So someone has hit a rough point in their life? They’ve become homeless or otherwise less fortunate? So what? That doesn’t give them license to steal. No one should need to accept that things are just going to get taken if they leave them in their own car. If you’re homeless, there are places to get food and shelter, if you’re an addict, there are places to get help. There’s no excuse for thievery.

Its a fact of life that this kind of thing is going to happen, but it certainly shouldn’t be condoned or endorsed and no one should be reprimanded for calling out a thief on their criminal ways. That’s right, whether these people are so much worse off, as you say, or they’re stoned/drunk teenagers, they are still criminals for what they’ve done, no matter the reason, and do not deserve protection or being overlooked.

Morgan Breden, Eugene



By any definition, health means life. Health also means freedom. Why has health care for all not become a national commitment? A moral commitment? Yes, our nation needs to return to moral fundamentals, and health care for all is one of the moral fundamentals.

 Health means life and freedom. We do understand that as a nation don’t we? 

Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries, with the exception of the United States. It is also provided in many developing countries. Health care for all is a family value. Health care for all is the compassionate way to go. 

 A healthy nation is a productive and creative nation. A healthy nation is not easily crippled by fear. We need to stand for health security because it is deeply patriotic.

Are we not our brothers keeper? ”I was sick and you took care of me,” said a great teacher who many in this nation follow. Health care for all is a religious value.

It is time to return to the moral fundamentals. Health care for all is the moral choice. We do see that don’t we?

What are we prepared to do to make this moral choice a reality?

Christopher Michaels, Eugene