NO FREEDOM TO GATHER
Conspicuously missing from last week’s (2/14) EW list of community meditation offerings was the Dharmalaya Center — not due to reporter oversight, but to the Eugene planning director’s draconian application of the city’s land use code.
Last May, city staff told Dharmalaya that none of its activities were permissible, including its popular meditation classes and group meditations.
When the staff’s position was formally questioned, the planning director eased off on the full closure of Dharmalaya. But her new allowable standard — no more than eight people meeting no more than once a month without special permission — not only keeps Dharmalaya’s meditation programs shut down but presents a threat to other meditation instruction and groups in Eugene.
For at least 35 years, Eugene has benefited from small spiritual centers, located in residential areas, offering meditation to the public. These centers have enriched the lives of many, and the community as a whole.
The closure of Dharmalaya’s meditation programs was not precipitated by citizen complaint but by aggressive, staff-initiated investigation. Most groups that advertise meditation classes in the Weekly could be subject to the same treatment. Without obtaining special city sanction and undertaking costly property alterations, their classes offering access to inner peace may face similar restrictions.
The federal Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act prohibits discriminatory and burdensome application of land use laws to limit people’s right to participate in group meditation. When the planning director dismissed the relevance of this law to Dharmalaya’s meditation programs, concerned community members filed an appeal.
A March 3 appeal hearing (open to the public) will determine whether the city can proceed with its clampdown on public access to small meditation centers.
Acharya Ravi, Dharmalaya, Eugene
For far too long those citizens of Eugene who have been abused by Eugene cops have had little or no recourse. The police department’s process of internal review of allegations against abusive cops has been nothing but a farce, with Eugene’s police chief joining in an arrogant display of self-protection at any cost. Lying and storytelling to protect one another has been all too common. Though the police chief reports to the city manager, who is hired by the City Council, little has been done in the past to address or correct the abuses of Eugene’s cops. Perhaps hiring the police auditor can make a difference.
The presence of Eugene’s new police auditor, Cris Beamud, an outsider who is not a member of the club, must be a real threat to the police chief and those responsible to him for investigating allegations of abuse against his cops. Though sticking with the facts, being honest and taking corrective action sounds simple, it will require a major shift from the arrogance and bullying that were allowed to become the standard way of doing things.
As long as our police auditor is doing her job, let’s hope that the police chief and his cops will take this opportunity to give up tactics of the past and do some self-reflecting about their role and behavior in our community. Protecting the well-being of citizens of Eugene must come first; arrogant behavior and abuse by cops will not be tolerated. Failure to properly investigate or participate in an investigation or lying to protect a fellow cop are grounds for dismissal. And this applies first of all to Eugene’s police chief.
Wayne Pierce, Eugene
RAIL VS. RUBBER
I visited Eugene Jan. 24-25 specifically to ride and analyze the EmX bus line. I’d like to share my observations and hope they will add to your debate over streetcars vs. BRT (cover story, 1/10). I’ve been an outspoken supporter of light rail and streetcar lines in Portland a long time. I have that bias. But I am favorably impressed with the EmX line.
There are two overriding aspects of transit system design to consider: the transit system itself and how transit routes will serve existing development and guide future urban growth. The latter is the far more important consideration. Transit users are, first of all, walkers. Because EmX stations are well designed, they should be seen as an appreciable pedestrian amenity for users and to surrounding neighborhoods.
I bring up the development consideration first to elaborate upon a critical 21st century paradigm?— development patterns of the 20th century are failing because they are obsolete. The more ideal development pattern now is “infill” rather than sprawl, strip mall, isolated shopping center and grandiose super structure.
Infill should create a complementary mix of uses and economic elements. The only way to reduce traffic to manageable levels is to guide future development to where more households are less separated from occupation, retail, institution, public amenity, etc. Such development has the potential to be admirable and equitably distributed throughout metropolitan areas.
In my opinion, the EmX system should succeed as well or even better than if it were constructed as a streetcar line. This is not to say Eugene shouldn’t build?the streetcar line on Willamette proposed in the Jan 24 “Slant” column.
Because of its service frequency and capacity, EmX could form the basis of a “trunkline,” especially if it were extended west to, say, Garfield, and some bus lines rerouted to transfer points on the EmX line. This is how light rail systems are typically designed to work.
The proposed streetcar line could also act as a trunkline, similarly creating transfer points to east/west bus lines through the center of town where fewer buses could provide better service. Bus lines throughout the LTD system can be thus streamlined and transfer points offer development potential.
I had a very nice visit and wish Eugene a brighter Bushless future.
Art Lewellan, Portland
THE MUSIC SCENE
How does culture die? And who cares if it does? I am specifically talking about the health of the live music scene in our little city. I have been playing music live in this town for decades, and I have seen the hills and valleys that only long-term vision can provide.
Back in the ’90s there were enough local venues that supported live music to be able to play regularly and develop a following if you had the rest of the package in place, namely talent and good music. Today, to get a gig in one of the few venues that still has live music and occasionally hires local bands, you need to guarantee you can bring in a crowd. Clubs find it easier to hire a DJ, have a karaoke machine or host open mic nights than to deal with the booking, logistics and promotions involved in hiring local bands on a regular enough basis to build clientele.
Our live local music scene is overflowing with talent, but unfortunately the conduits to deliver this talent to the public are not in place. Those conduits include events promoters such as the city, organizations, fundraisers, the UO, etc. hiring more local musicians for their events, local nightlife establishments booking and promoting more local bands and local radio stations playing more of a role in playing/promoting local music.
And, of course, it also means that occasionally instead of staying home and watching TV, you get up, put your dancing shoes on and go to a club, pay the cover and enjoy some excellent homegrown music. Then everyone will play their part in keeping culture alive. I, for one, thrive on culture. It is one of those intangibles that make life so much richer.?
Dana Vion, member of TouchyFeeliacs, Samba Ja, Vega, formerly-Kalamity Jam, Transister
FEED YOUR HEAD
Why isn’t the university getting rid of some of the more mainstream junk food vendors instead of pitting two natural foods restaurants against each other? Certainly students learn more when their brains are fed real food.
Laura Stuart, Eugene
TOO BLOODY TO BE GREEN
The 1/31 article by Suzi Steffen in praise of the Americanized Iraqi Azzam Alwash and his dream, so-called, of re-greening the marshlands of Iraq invites a countering reality check. Apparently the UO Department of Architecture, sponsor of the Alwash lecture, and the enthusiastic audience in attendance had no difficulty with the fact that the marshland venture is predicated upon the illegitimate U.S. invasion of Iraq.
“Eden Again,” the Alwash return as he now works with the “Canadian, Italian and U.S. backing … making plans for new villages” is possible only in the larger context of U.S. empire building, nation destruction and interminable warfare.
As it is now Iraq is too blood-soaked to be green and the American war machine bears direct responsibility and has since the early 1990s. The Alwash/U.S. plan amounts to little more than eco-fascism.
John Hickam, Eugene
One has to wonder, sometimes, what goes on in the heads of people when they do such things as our county commissioners did last year. I’m sure many of you remember last year when Lane County commissioners voted to impose an income tax on everyone who lives or works in the county with the exception of those on PERS and other pensions. The three commissioners who voted for it made sure that they themselves would be exempt from the tax when they retire. This smacks way too much of the stuff that goes on in Washington, D.C., but I’d like to think we have greater control over our lives at the local level
I found this vote disgusting for several reasons, the most important being that they tried to pit those of us facing retirement against each other. They asked the public employee unions to support this tax because they promised that their retired members would never have to pay, while other retired folks would still have to pay.
There’s an election for some county commissioners coming up, and this is to remind you not to forget that vote of Feb. 21, 2007, where Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green and Faye Stewart imposed a tax on many of us against our will. We had already voted it down.
Bill Fleenor and Pete Sorenson did not. I will not forget that when I get my ballot in the mail. Hold our politicians accountable.
Robert Thompson, Eugene
EDITOR’S NOTE: Only Green’s and Sorenson’s positions will be on the ballot in May.
The LCC Peace Conference and the peace rally on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq have good intentions but avoid the reasons for the resource wars marketed as the “War on Terror.” Being against war is admirable, but that does not stop war.
The LCC event has a speaker from United for Peace and Justice, a national group that has the “Communist Party USA” (whatever that is) on its steering committee. UFPJ is silent about how 9/11 was allowed to happen to create a pretext for the Peak Oil Wars. The real purpose of the war on Iraq is to create ethnic cleansing to redraw the boundaries to consolidate control of the oil. See the maps at www.oilempire.us/new-map.html The Take Back America rally will be another ritualistic waving of signs at an empty Federal Building while listening to speakers tell us things we already know.
One speaker is Mayor Piercy, whose police department just bought Taser torture devices. She voted for the Regional Transportation Plan for $817 million more in highway construction through the rest of the oil era. Nice speeches distract from governmental budgets.
It’s good that the city of Eugene calls itself the “Human Rights City” since otherwise people might think the city endorses fascism by subsidizing upcoming Olympics games. The Beijing games is one of the worst examples of fascism in sports since the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Countless Chinese citizens have been evicted from their homes for Olympics facilities. Beijing is installing an ultra-sophisticated Orwellian surveillance system to suppress dissent.
Mark Robinowitz, Eugene
The solution for Eastside’s problem with getting along with Parker isn’t a move, especially not one that would force at least one other successful school to relocate. I’m willing to bet that the issues are almost entirely due to Eastside students (and parents) being elitist and unwilling to interact respectfully with the neighborhood school kids. Eastside needs to be told that unless its students can learn to get along with the other children, it will be closed. A move because of a poor relationship between the two schools would do nothing but reinforce Eastside students’ feelings of superiority: they don’t like being around “normal” kids, so they get to go to somewhere else.
As a former Fox Hollow student, I can vouch for the fact that alternative schools breed arrogance in already affluent population.
Bullying within the schools themselves is common — kids are either “in” or they’re stigmatized horribly — so I can imagine what it would be like if one building housed an alternative school and a neighborhood school.
The parents and staff are just as resistant as students to “outsiders.” When I was at Fox Hollow, a parent proposed an alternative to the annual fifth-grade Quebec trip for those who couldn’t afford it, saying that there should be a democratic process in making the decision. The parent who was in charge of the trip said that she didn’t think it needed to be a democratic decision; after all, anybody who mattered would be wealthy enough to put their 11-year-old child on a plane to Canada.
When a student is having trouble socially or academically, the staff is unresponsive. There seems to be a general philosophy that if a kid has a problem, it’s their fault, never that of their teachers or classmates.
Obviously Fox Hollow is not Eastside, and of course not all students at alternative schools are elitist like this, but I’ve known plenty of Eastside graduates from Roosevelt and South, and the majority of them have been awfully similar to the French Immersion kids. They’re cliquish, they have no qualms about bullying “normal” kids and, not surprisingly, they quickly group together with the Frenchies.
It would be one thing if the proposed move was into a building whose current occupants also wanted to move, but the fact that the only apparent option would displace a successful, diverse, community-oriented school is too much. The district needs to stop giving preference to elitist alternative schools.
Katelyn Best, Eugene
STRENGTH OF THE WEST
The natural environment of the West is its economic strength. The WOPR proposal will jeopardize that strength for the benefit of the few. Not even counting the impact on watersheds, wildlife and general health of people and families, the WOPR will compromise one of our most important assets: our beautiful natural environment.
A Haynes and Horne report found in 2000 that roadless areas derived only 11 percent of their economic benefit from timber harvest. The other 89 percent was from recreation and services that the forests attract. Forests make more money for Oregon when they are healthy and growing, not clearcut.
Yes, we need thinning, but the WOPR is not about thinning. It is about clearcutting and cutting old growth, and that will not lead to positive long-term changes in Oregon. Eco-tourism and related industries are the third largest in our state. There are more than 73,000 jobs from the natural environment that gross more than $310 million in taxes annually.
Growing the economic tax base is what we need.
Besides, the WOPR plan is highly illegal. A BLM official told us after the meeting at the Cottage Grove community center that the plan is not likely to pass the Clean Water Act. How can such a plan be considered when the salmon and owls are dwindling? Why do you think the BLM will not meet with the public?
The answer for our economic woes has to come from somewhere, other than nickel and diming our forests to death. Our country is richer than ever, even when adjusted for inflation. Growing the economic tax base will help our state, not depleting the resources that sustain it.
Kerstin Britz, Cottage Grove
For those finding similarities between the Iraq War and the Vietnam conflict, you left out one very obvious parallel: The post-war syndrome. That’s the one where all those who are in favor of supplying cannon fodder for useless, totally avoidable conflagrations, as long as the cannon fodder doesn’t include any of them or their kin, claim that victory was only another “surge” away. They will blame this country’s infamous defeat on all those commie, tree huggin’, liberal “defeatocrats.”
“We could have won in Vietnam if we just stayed the course and fought a little while longer” will be repeated with just the word Iraq replacing Vietnam. That’s when/if a Democrat is elected in November. Guaranteed if the Democrat’s name isn’t Clinton.
John DeLeau, Springfield
COMMON SENSE PREVAILS
Kudos to the Oregon Legislature for the overwhelming approval of SB 1080 (the Secure Drivers Licenses bill) and to Gov. Kulongoski for signing it into law.
True, a handful of Democrats caved in to the protests by CAUSA and the rest of the open borders, pro-illegal immigrant crowd. But in the end, common sense and courage prevailed. Those who have played by the rules and have respected our laws have nothing to fear from this legislation.
SB 1080 was an important first step in ending Oregon’s long-standing status as a sanctuary state for illegals, but there’s more to do. You can help by downloading, signing and returning the “Respect For Law Act” initiative petition at oregonir.org.
Jerry Ritter, Springfield
FIXING THE PLANET
Recently, I was chatting with an older acquaintance. We mentioned my major, environmental studies, and he said it gave him hope seeing my generation working to solve our problems. That’s nice to say, but I found it irksome. I said I wasn’t going to be able to do anything by myself, but that, if we were serious about fixing the planet, we would all have to work together. The idea that a handful of well-meaning people can solve a societal issue is deeply flawed. A societal issue is inherently a byproduct of society and will be best fixed by the same society that created it. The linked problems of global warming and climate change are the challenges of the age. If we don’t act now to reverse the current trends, millions of people will lose their livelihoods, and the earth will be forever altered. This isn’t debatable scientific theory. This is terrifying reality.
But what does “act” mean? The best thing that any one person can do is to be conscious of the issue at hand and use that knowledge to guide their actions through their daily lives.
Max Tepfer, Eugene
I am a secular pacifist internationalist, which means that I believe that religion, war and nationalism are all mostly obsolete bullshit. If you believe in religion/war/nationalism that’s OK, but it indicates to me that you are hopelessly stuck in the dark ages like George W. Bush.
Bob Saxton, Eugene
Why has the media ignored the issue of impeachment? By an overwhelming 79 percent, Americans want to change the disastrous direction George Bush and Dick Cheney have taken us.
If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he wouldn’t be sniping over the Voting Rights Act of 1964 or Iraq War speeches in 2002. He’d be leading the largest protests our nation has ever seen to end to the occupation of Iraq, restore the Constitution, massively shift funds from the military to humanity and impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney for their war crimes and lies.
If the Democratic candidates for president want to compete on who is a better agent of change, it’s time for them — all of them — to stop talking and start acting. Email Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to oppose any more Iraq War funds; support Sen. Chris Dodd’s filibuster of Telco immunity for warrantless wiretapping; support Rep. Robert Wexler’s call for Cheney impeachment hearings; and support Rep. John Conyers’ single-payer nonprofit health care plan.
Richard Walling , Eugene
NO MORE SANCTUARY
Once again, CAUSA is asking Oregonians to not only ignore the crime of illegal immigration but to reward those who flout our laws (“Rally Against Driver ID,” 1/10). This is totally irresponsible.
Gov. Kulongoski should be applauded for finally mustering enough backbone to issue his executive order requiring proof of citizenship to obtain an Oregon driver’s license. If you’re here legally and can prove it, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
We are finally going to take measures to end Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state for illegals. If you want to do something very easy to help, go to www.oregonir.organd download, sign (exactly as directed) and return the “Respect For Law” initiative.
Jerry Ritter , Springfield
THE BALL TELLS ALL
As a good lib, I own a cracked crystal ball made from recycled glass. I forgot where I put it until a recent bathroom overhaul revealed it submerged inside my toilet tank. I now remember angrily dumping it there after it predicted that Al Gore would win the 2000 election by 500,000 votes.
Anyway, I absently polished this thing with some organic EcoClean and — lo and behold — it tosses up some startling images of the 2008 presidential race. I now regret that I didn’t polish it with sulfuric acid or depleted uranium, as the images appearing ain’t too pretty. This is what appears: The Republicans are intentionally running a bunch of hapless losers. Why? Because no mere mortal can fix the incredible mess they’ve created. Republicans won’t nominate McCain — he might win. And any one of the other guys will surely lose. Why? It’s obvious. Romney has a funny religion, Huckabee has a funny name, and Ron Paul is just funny looking. Get the picture?
We’re heading towards inflation, unemployment and a deep recession. The dollar is dropping like Cheney’s hunting pal. Most of our money is owned by a billion Chinese commies. They also own our industrial base. There’s no miraculous four-year fix — it’s a colossal four-year fall. So the scheming Republicans have decided to let Hillary or Barack take it.
Next time, they’ll finally get their revenge for 1992.
Damn, they’re clever. We libs are doomed. My crystal ball says so. And it was right the first time.
Tom Erwin, Springfield
NOTHING LIKE IT
A few people voted without consulting the greater community of the UO, and now Holy Cow is in danger of being replaced by the Laughing Planet. I’m not downing Laughing Planet, but we do have “Mexican -style” burritos in several venues at the Marketplace in the Erb Memorial Union on the UO campus. They have “some” vegetarian foods, but only the Holy Cow is totally vegetarian and even covers vegan needs. There is no other venue on or off campus that does that fulfills that need within walking distance. I can eat all of the foods offered at the Holy Cow with the exception of one item that is too spicy for me. I can rarely find anything that I can eat at all the other food venues because of food and dairy allergies and personal preferences (religious) for mostly vegan food. So for me, if Holy Cow left, it would be difficult to eat out … I would always have to bring my lunch.
Those who frequent the HC do so for lunch, snacks, dinners, drinks, etc., enjoying the organic food drawn mostly from local growers, with a staff that is ecologically conscious and a venue that has served us well. There are few food venues on campus or 13th Street area restaurants that serve the type of food that I and many, many students and faculty eat. Holy Cow came to the UO one year after I started working here and I was so glad that the UO was looking out for those of us who are not only health-conscious, but also those of us with food allergies, dairy allergies or a predisposition for vegan foods. Now I am wondering if this is still true.
I have spoken with many people in our international community while in line at the Holy Cow who have said how pleased they were with the UO for having the Holy Cow on the premises.
Shirley Marc, UO employee
Will it take economic depression to stop our rampant consuming, wasting and polluting greenhouse-gases and rapid deforestation to slow global warming and climate crisis? Most city-zens are addicted to multiple habits of imported energy, goodies, fun and rescue from crises, accidents, disasters and pain with numbing drugs. Too comfortable to change — unless struck by big storm, fire, flood or earthquake?
Maybe we need more hurricane gusts, deluges and floods blasting the NW to realize we’re affecting our weather with our petro-chem addictions.
In the ’70s we realized that conserving energy and recycling are natural ways to stop pollution, save money and be more efficient at home and work in 100 ways. So how much voluntary conserving, recycling, bicycling and efficiency is growing now with our awareness of pollution and climate crisis consequences? Maybe 1 percent of Americans are simplifying, localizing and naturalizing habit-patterns of consuming natural resources. Is our consuming having ethical effects on life?
Are you spoiled by luxury on credit, not feeling compassion for the wage-slaves who make your goodies in toxic work-spaces? And paying 50+ percent for shipping our treats, toys and tools thousands of miles to your store, work and home to consume! Well then, maybe the shock of shortages and extreme inflation will make you stop consuming those throwaway taste thrills, disposable fun and planned breakdown to buy another, the novelty of new better one!
Micheal Sunanda, Eugene
BUSINESS AS USUAL
A white liberal will vote for a conservative black candidate because he is black and fits in well. Most white liberals did not vote for the liberal black presidential candidates Jesse Jackson, in 1992, or Shirley Chisholm, first woman to serve in Congress, who ran in 1972.
Now, white liberals are excited about Barack Obama, whose campaign is paid for by the coal companies. Why do you think global warming is off the table? Women will vote for Hillary Clinton, who tells us the election is all about her chance to break a glass ceiling.
John Edwards’ campaign died when the corporate media and the Democratic Party accused him of being “anti-business” because he stood up for the right of workers to join unions, called for international trade agreements to respect the rights of workers and to protect the environment and called for good green jobs to employ American workers. In contrast, the Democratic Party promises business as usual and a hot air chicken in every pot.
Edwards challenged the other Democratic candidates to make fighting poverty a part of their campaigns. They accepted the challenge. From Obama, we are getting empty slogans, tax breaks for poor people making $150,000 a year ,and we will have more coal mining jobs. And from Clinton we will get more non-union Wal-Marts selling goods made in China and a wall on the border to keep impoverished Mexicans and endangered species out of the U.S. From either one, we will get endless war and more global climate chaos.
Ann Tattersall, Eugene
THE RIGHT PACKAGE
I have been very impressed by Barack Obama’s expression of the national emotional response to this presidential cycle. At first I thought Hilary Clinton’s policy “wonk” candidacy was going to work again as it did for President Clinton. I am having some doubts now that John McCain is going to run as Bush Again. Senator Obama may have found just the right and proper application of appeal and promise that will carry him to the presidency. Should that happen there will come a time when the policy “wonks” will be needed to prepare the nation for the changes that Senator Obama has promised, but for now his appeal as a person is what continues to attract me to his run for president.
Gerry Merritt, Eugene
EVIDENCE OF FRAUD
During these interesting times I have found a new hobby, which is checking the news each day to find yet another instance of fraud. Fortunately, evidence of fraud appears within a page or two of opening the newspaper.
Of course, there are many, many examples in the public sector. In recent weeks we have read of huge amounts of money lost in Medicare fraud, including over-billing for an item such as a can which should cost around $11, but is charged to Medicare for $20. Millions of dollars were misappropriated in the business of loans to college students. Then, of course there are contracts to Halliburton to build the magnificent new embassy in Baghdad, the contractors and the private army paid to protect them receiving huge salaries. On the day on which we declare war, our government reduced the money for veterans’ hospitals, and failed to supply troops with armor for vehicles, body armor and weapons.
Then there is the private sector, with no end in sight for creativity in cutting expenses and providing shoddy, even dangerous goods. The toys we give our children are painted with lead paint, our toothpaste, pharmaceuticals and even food are tainted. Which of us can forget the horrific sight on TV of diseased cows tortured so that they might walk into the slaughterhouse?
How soon will it be when there is decimation of Oregon’s magnificent old growth forest because the BLM ignored the terms of its contract and failed to take environmental assessments of endangered animal and plant species? We are now threatened with even greater cuts in social spending because the feds refuse to grant much needed funds.
Sadly, my new hobby gives me an adrenaline rush that I would cheerfully forgo. Each day brings the challenge of which letter shall I write, which new decision to make. I look forward to better days.
Phyllis Kesner, Eugene
I am shocked and saddened to hear that Holy Cow’s lease at EMU is not going to be renewed. What makes Eugene unique? Our small, sustainable locally owned businesses. Holy Cow is an extraordinary example of running a business in a sustainable and socially conscious manner. It uses and purchase locally grown organic food and minimal packaging and turns every scrap of organic waste into compost. It turns spent cooking oil into biofuel and have 100 percent wind power at their offsite facility. Holy Cow gives excess food to the mission. I hope it is the study in many a sustainable practice class at the UO.
I understand our mayor is supporting Eugene in becoming a more sustainable city. How hypocritical it must seem if the UO doesn’t renew the lease of one of the most sustainable businesses in Eugene and instead passes it on to a franchise that sells meat. Please keep Holy Cow and continue to promote local businesses that are exemplary in providing excellent healthy food, in a manner that respects people, animals and the environment.
Ruth Weinberg, Eugene
I’m deeply troubled by the fact that we praise Martin Luther King Jr. for taking a stand against segregation between races but there are still other kinds of segregation — that is between non-smokers and smokers, gays and straights, and the list continues to grow.
The real threat here is kicking smokers to the curb because of their weakness towards this type of addiction while on the other hand turning a blind eye to alcohol addiction mainly because non-smokers drink too. But what if non-smokers didn’t consume alcohol? Would the City Council and Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) kick drinkers to the curb just like they did the tax-paying smokers? What’s fair about treating anybody this way? Now because of those pesky smokers the City Council and OLCC have to keep making changes to appease themselves when it comes to the required smoking decks that they had to build in the first place.
First they said “You have to build a smoking deck.” Then they said “You need to knock the walls down to allow at least 75 percent airflow.” Why? “No real reason, just do it.” Then they said “If your deck is not built at least 10 or 20 feet from the building, well, you’ll just have to start all over again.” Now because the smoking decks have no walls, the City Council and OLCC are prohibiting smokers to take their drinks on the decks because of some rumor that those troublemaking smokers are passing their drinks to passersby or people under age. The City Council and OLCC are reviewing more rules for these smoking decks.
Where does the smoking taxpayer stand on these issues? Outside in the raw elements while trying to rewind after a long hard day of working so they can continue to get screwed and pay the same amount of taxes as non-smokers do and considering their addiction maybe a little more. The City Council and OLCC have come up with one more shallow plan for these smoking decks, and that is “If you want your smoking patrons to drink on the deck, you must build those walls back up but you have to take the roof off.
We can end this taxpayer mistreatment to smokers by going back to plan A and that is just build the smoking decks to shelter your smokers from the elements, period. I can only suggest to the City Council and OLCC to lay this issue to rest once and for all and let the tavern owners build decks they want for their smoking customers. It should be up to them not the almighty non-smokers, city councilors or OLCC. You do not own their businesses; they do. You do not run their businesses; they do, but when it comes to controlling their business, well, that’s all you, hands down.
Think about what your next step is, because in my eyes all you’re really saying is that smokers are less important than non-smokers. All you did was separate those who Eugene favors the most when in all reality smokers’ tax paying money is just as green and just as eagerly accepted as you do when you collect taxes from non-smokers. Stop segregating and start creating a suitable compromise.
Smokers liked the smoking decks when they were first built, so give it back to them, make them fell just as important as you have made the non-smokers feel, otherwise your just prejudiced and should not be allowed to occupy a seat where we all have to pay you for your one-sided decisions or better yet stop taking a paycheck from all taxpayers and occupy a seat in the City Council by volunteering your position like it used to be not so long ago.
Tracy Mahoney, Eugene