Eugene Weekly : Letters : 3.10.11


I am a nudist, but not one of those in-your-face types. Nudity is nothing to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of. The “problem” with that titty cover fromlast month(2/10) wasnot about nudity. There wasnt even an areola in sight!

Heres what it was and is: a photograph of a womans cleavage with a blue-liquid filled test tube that was made to look like a dildo at first glance. It could not be more obvious.

I took that stack of papers in the window of the store I work at and I turned them over, and then put some old recreation guides on top of them. Why? It was embarrassing, thats why.That crap belongs in a Castle store or behind a stained curtain at the nearest quickie mart, not a health food store. We dont sell dildos or porn at the store I work at.

Kate Hawn, Cottage Grove


As a faculty member of LCC since 1995, I would like to say a few words about a highly respected colleague, Mark Harris (see letters, 3/3).

During my early years, I taught health in Lanes High School program, serving an at-risk teen population. I was fortunate to have Mark as a guest presenter on substance abuse prevention, which always had a deep impact on all of us. Following his presentations, many students had openly expressed a need for support and counseling regarding drug and alcohol issues. I remember one in particular who could not wait another day and asked me to walk him to Marks office. Mark has an extraordinary ability to be powerful, compassionate and patient.

Over the years, I have served on a few committees and collegewide activities with Mark and have consulted him at times for my continuing professional development. He is very honest, generous, kind and creative. At times when I have found myself to be less skillful or less experienced in certain matters, Mark has always communicated his expertise and knowledge in the most humble and diplomatic manner.

Most importantly, on issues of racism, freedom and separateness, I have benefited greatly from Marks contributions in Eugene Weekly and The Community College Moment. His words have turned my mind and heart in many directions and I know many other people who strongly agree with me. I look forward to reading many more articles by Mark Harris.

Amy Gaudia, Eugene


Last Saturday night a woman who is dead shared with me her love for her parents, her intense need that her non-violent presence in a war zone would make some impact and her growing anger at the pain and devastation about which she could do nothing. The woman who is dead was brought to vivid life by actor Nicole Trobaugh, who was Rachel Corrie in Lord Leebrick Theaters production of My Name is Rachel Corrie (which continues through March 12).

This play should be seen for Nicole Trobaughs stunning performance; for Rachel Corries own words, used throughout the play; and for the insight this evening of theater gives us into why people risk their lives, because they “can do no other.”

Dina Wills, Eugene


The Fern Ridge bike path was constructed around 1970. The underpasses below Chambers, Garfield, Acorn Park, W. 11th, Bertelsen, and Danebo are helpful in providing safe, efficient bike transportation to and from West Eugene and downtown. Crossings are still needed at Polk and City View. After 40 years, its time for a few more! These are dangerous crossings, where riders must zigzag across busy streets to continue on the bike trail. I suggest diagonal overpasses at these two locations, spanning both the creek and the roads.

At present, cars have the right-of-way at these and other at-grade street crossings (e.g., Bailey Hill and Oak Patch).The streets are posted with yellow signs warning motorists of a pedestrian crossing, and bicyclists are warned to yield to cars. I suggest a different system of street posting: Place yellow cones in the middle of the streets at bike path crossings with a sign that reads something like: “State Law: Must stop for pedestrians and bicycles.” (This is similar language to what appears on cones in the San Francisco Bay Area where the bike trail along the BART tracks crosses city streets in the East Bay.)

The Fern Ridge path provides reasonably good transportation from west Eugene east to Jefferson Street. After that, bicyclists are essentially on their own. Improved safety is need for bikes traversing the downtown area. One way to provide safer passage for bikes is to separate bikes from cars with a line of parked cars approximately 8 to 12 feet from the curb, with a bike lane along the curb where cars currently park. If extra space is needed for bikes, a street like 10th or 12th could be made into a one-way street.

A north-south bike path, with overpasses or underpasses, is needed in the vicinity of the streets named after Presidents (i.e., between Lincoln and Polk). Bicycles going north or south in this area must cross 6th, 7th, and 11th avenues ã streets with extremely heavy traffic. There are stoplights at Polk and Monroe, but the wait times at these lights are long, and many bikers like myself often avoid these lights because of the length of the waits.

If Eugene wants to truly be a green, bike-friendly city, it needs to start giving bicyclists priority over cars.

Steve Goldman, Eugene


I dont believe there is a snowballs chance in Hell that the voters will pass the education income tax being shoved down the throats of 4-J School District residents. The budget for running schools should come from the countys property tax, and that tax should be made adequate for the purpose of running local school districts and other county services ã period. There are also additional funds that come in from the lottery and other sources. If the property tax needs to be raised then so be it to insure a functional education system. As a property owner in Oregon I pay that tax as well as a tax on my income.

I am gay, and theres the rub. I am legally denied due process by the Oregon Constitution because of a recent amendment added by popular vote and support of, among others, people with children in public schools. My working-class mom and dad sent me to private school without vouchers or any credit to their property taxes. They taught me the meaning of “The Social Contract” ã each giving without complaint for the better good of all.

This proposed additional tax is not an opportunity for giving, rather it is a taking. It appears from what Ive read in both this paper and the R-G that many of the very people who will gain the most from this tax are seeking exemptions from it, in addition to whatever exemption they already enjoy by claiming dependents on their state and federal income tax statements. They want me to pay more for them! Im sure for Hilary Johnson and her ilk this is a simple case of doing “whats right for the children.” I respectfully point out that they are deluded.

Tim Hilton, Springfield


Its time to condemn the sin and redeem the sinner. Fleenor, Handy, Sorenson and their appointed budget committee members willfully engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the public when they participated in BIG. We all need to recognize bad governance and reject it. Doing so does not require the condemnation of the individuals in perpetuity, but just because the statute of limitations has run is no reason to encourage them or any other elected officials to continue bad behavior.

Their actions were willful ã sanctions are appropriate. The sanctions should not last beyond the next election cycle, but they should be meaningful. I would support excluding the commissioners and their appointees from any committee/commission not specifically required by the charter. This would send a strong message to any group of elected officials that willfully conspire to defraud the public of due process.

Mike Tayloe, Springfield


Its not only aboard the HMS Pinafore that things are seldom as they seem. In Lane County, the skim milk of private timber company control over public forests masquerades as the cream of fastidious adherence to the public hearing law.

The legal attack on County Commissioners Sorenson and Handy had the behind-the-scenes funding of the Lane County equivalent of the Koch brothers. It has more to do with a desire to destroy opposition to lumber company interests than with curtailing the common practice of what Judge Michael Gillespie described as “continuing multiple conversations.” With more understanding of the legislative process, he would have called it consensus building.

In reality, the lawsuit brought by the lumber company surrogates has as much to do with funding part-time assistants as ending collective bargaining for public employees has to do with Wisconsins budget deficit. The collateral damage of destroying Sorenson and Handy, as Judge Gillespies decision does, is to curtail consensus building among local and county officials. Thats a steep price to pay for sour skim milk.

Arnold Buchman, Florence


EmX advocates would have us believe the economic and environmental health of Eugene depends on reducing greenhouse gases and reliance on fossil fuels by spending $90 million on monster buses and extensive road construction for motorized vehicles. From the Slant column (2/10): “Its not a perfect plan, but it is a solid step toward reducing traffic congestion in west Eugene and connecting West 11th to the rest of the metro area.”

The Fern Ridge Bike/Ped path already connects west Eugene with the downtown area. From my observations, at its widest, the path is 14 feet; its narrowest is only 9 feet. Walkers, runners, children, dogs and bicyclists of all types use this path. Even on winter days, theres some congestion and dangerous situations involving bicyclists attempting to pass families out for a walk. Another parallel path needs to be developed along Amazon Creek ã with bicyclists on one, and pedestrians on the other.

The future of a healthy, thriving community does not lie on its motorized roads. It dwells in the energy and freedom of movement of its people.

We could learn a few lessons from Bhutan. In a recent Yes! magazine article “Why the Kings of Bhutan Ride Bicycles” reads: “Bhutan has pioneered the use of Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a measure of progress, instead of the more commonly used GNP. GNH measures not only economic activity, but also cultural, ecological, and spiritual well-being.”

Many excuses are made for laziness. Heres one: “But were getting $90 million from the state and the feds, so we should just spend it on an imperfect transportation plan.”

A perfect transportation plan for Eugene can be envisioned from its “people paths.”

Robert Simms, Eugene


Please provide attorney Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center with a new dictionary (News Briefs, 2/3). Possibility does not equal likelihood. It is a possibility a satellite could fall on Eugene, but it is not a likelihood.

Harold Preece, Eugene


The coordinated attack on working people around the nation have led to some interesting revelations by Republican governors. We now know that Scott Walker of Wisconsin thought about sending thugs into the crowds at Madison to disrupt a peaceful demonstration. We know that Republican anti-middle-class governors complain that public employees donate money to unions which then usually back Democratic candidates. But where is the complaint from every taxpayer about government leaders who issue tax breaks to business? Corporate welfare costs taxpayer money just like the cost of providing public services, or paying for wages or benefits. Corruption comes in when those same government leaders then receive direct campaign contributions and other assistance from those same companies, like the Koch brothers and Wisconsin Gov. Scott. This is simple, pure corruption, and it is happening at many levels of government. We need to kick corporate welfare queens off the public dole.

David Peden, Florence


I feel sorry for Frank Skipton (letters, 2/3), and people like him who believe they are punished for being successful by having to pay an income tax. What if we got rid of both income taxes and activity taxes, and simply have an, “its all about me” tax?

Mary Sharon Moore, Eugene




On Feb. 10, LCC held an all-staff meeting. The current construction funding deficit for the learning facility planned for the former Sears site was one of the items on the agenda. LCCs president estimated this projects funding shortfall at $5 million. She then quipped that “it was better to be short the $5 million” rather than the buildings entire cost.

Available public domain data put the underfunding between $650,000 and $8 million. Given the various funding numbers being bandied about, the time may be ripe for a tactical time-out to allow the colleges budgeting, finance and construction management experts to develop and propose the most responsible stewardship tack forward. The recently completed audit of the Matthew Knight Arena by Marsh Risk Consulting, perhaps offers the most cost effective way for the LCC Board to put this impending funding quagmire to rest. Doing less, or worse nothing at all, may expose the board to dereliction of duty charges that would make a recently asserted governance entropy description appear to be a mere walk in the park.

Jose Ortal, Blue River


Imagine: a government run by and for the rich and powerful; leaders who lecture others about “sacrifice” and deficits while cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy; a system so corrupt that rich executives can break the law without fear of being punished. Increasing poverty and hardship even as the stock market rises. And now, a nation caught between a broken political system and a populist movement that could be hijacked by religious extremists at any moment.

Here’s the reality: Income inequality is actually greater in the U.S. than it is in Egypt. Politicians here have close financial ties to big corporations, both personally and through their campaigns. Corporate lawbreakers often do go unpunished. Poverty and unemployment statistics for U.S. minorities are surprisingly similar to Egypt’s.

Jonathan Knight, Eugene


The civil war has begun. The battle lines have been drawn. Do you believe that workers have the right to strike or not?

I think that President Abraham Lincoln said it best, “I am glad to know that there is a system of labor where the laborer can strike if he wants to! I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world” (March 5, 1860).

Twenty years earlier as a congressman, Lincoln jumped out of a second story window to try and deny the Democratic majority a quorum vote. Nothing new under the sun for that trick.

The firestorm in Wisconsin is a fire that has always, and will always burn, as long as the working man has to fight for his rights.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


There is a new phrase being bandied about: “Using violence against your own people.”

George Bush used it as one of the reasons to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Now President Obama is using it as a reason to impose sanctions against Gadhafi .

“Using violence against your own people” seems to represent the most heinous crime a leader can commit. And yet both Bush and Obama are waging war against American citizens who smoke marijuana.

Chris Pender, Eugene




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