MARCOLA HIT, TOO
I read the cover story (2/28) on Triangle Lake School with much interest. The schools in Marcola are in a similar situation. The Oregon Toxics Alliance has a series of maps that show the spraying that has taken place over the past 10 years within a mile radius of both the grade school and the high school. Both schools have been drenched, it would seem, with herbicides.
The Mohawk Valley is currently being aerial sprayed by Weyerhaeuser in several of its watersheds. And the county is threatening to bring back an herbicide spray program of its own.
I wonder what the long-term health effects are on the people who have lived in this heavily sprayed valley over the past 40 years. I personally know people with birth defects, autism, asthma, kidney disease and cancer who have been born, raised or currently reside in the Mohawk Valley. Perhaps you could do a story on the Mohawk Valley spray situation next.
Diane Albino, Mohawk Valley
JUSTICE FOR PEDOPHILES?
On Feb. 14, 2007, Jeff Luers received a long overdue Valentine when the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the prison sentence of almost 23 years imposed on him in 2001 by Judge Lyle Velure. Recently Judge Jack Billings reduced Velure’s disproportionately harsh, politically motivated, and illegal sentence to 10 years.
Just a few days after Judge Billing’s ruling, lawyers for the Archdiocese of Portland forced a return to federal court for the victims of pedophile priests in the 175 cases settled last year. They refused to release documents currently kept secret under seal in the bankruptcy court file — even though Archbishop John Vlazny had promised openness regarding how much church leaders knew about the abuses and subsequent cover-ups. “Getting the secrets out,” said abuse-victim attorney Kelly Clark, “was a big part of what my clients wanted.” The Archdiocese also insisted that victims who file new lawsuits be identified by name in court proceedings, despite the time-honored practice of using only victims’ initials to safeguard them in child sex abuse lawsuits.
Here’s the kicker: Judge Velure, now retired, will mediate the question of which, if any, documents are released. If the two sides do not agree, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan will settle the matter through binding arbitration. Velure and Hogan worked together to protect the financial interests and the secrecy of the Archdiocese in negotiating the original settlement.
How convenient for the Portland Archdiocese. Let’s hope that the sexual abuse victims of pedophile priests receive more justice than Jeff Luers did. Don’t, however, hold your breath.
Jerome Garger, Yachats
A CONCRETE PROPOSAL
The 4J School Board is currently considering the future of two properties it owns. One is Fox Hollow School on Mahalo Street. The other is Civic Stadium. Although no decision has been made yet regarding either, it seems likely that both will be sold to developers in the foreseeable future.
I have an idea for redevelopment. I propose that we tear down the existing structures and replace them with two prisons, one on each site. Perhaps they can be joined by a tunnel.
The potential benefits to the community are numerous. First of all, the school board will make a mint on the land sale. Secondly, prison building is a growth industry. Their construction provides high paying wages, not to mention the additional long-term jobs. The extra security will only add to the feeling of safety in the neighborhood.
Prisons can be imposing buildings, but with proper native landscaping they can be made to blend right in to the surrounding neighborhood. Some might worry about the security risk of housing prisoners so close to a residential area. Don’t worry! With modern technology, the security risk is basically zero.
In future years the prisons could be increased in size, providing a neighborhood economic engine for years to come!
Perhaps at the entrance to each prison we could place a small historical plaque with a note memorializing the old run-down buildings that were gladly mowed down to make way for progress. Although it’s hard to imagine, some old fogies might want to remember the past, and these plaques might satisfy them and help convince them to support the project.
Blake Andrews, Eugene
Yes, the Blue Monster must go! It’s about time that the Civic Stadium eyesore, the defacto heart of summertime downtown, gives way to something with much better bathrooms. Imagine the cool tax breaks our city will be able to give to some multi-million-dollar corporate developer to slap up a strip-mall or a Wal-Mart or a root-canal clinic on the site. Imagine what great parking they’ll have, what great bathrooms! Those medical clinic bathrooms are amazing!
No more crowds of people marching together through the neighborhood from their far-flung secret parking spots of a summer’s eve. No more bleacher seating where you have to rub elbows with the riff-raff. Bleachers are for poor people and losers. The new stadium will have a nice big cement parking lot and sky boxes and real seats so you won’t have to meet anyone you might not like.
What’s more, instead of those horrid hot-dog and beer stalls which contribute so heavily to the shoddy stadium experience we’ve endured for too many years, there will be a beautiful new concession area with character and personality, like the food court at the Denver airport. And did I mention the bathrooms? Oh my god, the bathrooms! The bathrooms are gonna be world class!
But here’s the best part: no more dirt and no more grass! Playing baseball on grass and dirt is for old fogies and Luddites! C’mon people, get a grip! The new stadium will feature Astro-turf field and base paths (gorgeous doormat green and baby-poop brown, respectively). No more smudgy chalk lines. No more sliding into second in a cloud of dust.
I can’t wait. And speaking of can’t wait, the new bathrooms are gonna be awesome.
Billy Barnett, Eugene
HANDY WALKS THE TALK
Recently I had the pleasure of accompanying Rob Handy as he walked the neighborhood and introduced himself to voters.
In an exemplary display of genuine democracy, Handy is running a grassroots campaign for the north Lane County Commissioner seat. He is visiting and talking to individual voters face to face, instead of the incumbent’s practice of accepting a few large donations from special interests.
I was impressed with Handy’s knowledge and experience as he explained his views. But I was even more impressed with his sensitivity and dedication to public service as he listened to people’s concerns.
Rob Handy will do an excellent job of representing the people of our district as county commissioner. He will bring decades of knowledge and experience in Lane County matters along with fairness and intelligence. He has the energy to get the job done and won’t be caught napping in his office.
Beverly Barr, Eugene
EW has done a fine job of presenting the issues and opportunities regarding Superintendent George Russell’s recommendations for 4J’s “Schools of the Future.” But in Alan Pittman’s March 6 article “Schools Choice vs. Equity,” he implies that students at Adams Elementary, with a 59 percent Free and Reduced Lunch, don’t learn as much as students at other schools. This is NOT the case.
Ninety-six percent of students at Adams met or exceeded the reading benchmark (district average was 86 percent). Seventy-nine percent met or exceeded in math (district average was 77 percent) in the 2006-7 school year. In the 2005-06 school year, 99 percent met or exceeded in reading, 93 percent in math.
Adams is a highly successful school, clearly disproving the misconception that our neighborhood schools are lesser than the alternative schools. Adams teachers are masters of differentiated curriculum, individually meeting the needs of each student. Adams is also noted for its success in closing the achievement gap — the difference between scores of low income students meeting standards and the scores of all students.
I am weary of the suggestion that Adams’ small enrollment reflects that something is “not working” at Adams, when quite the opposite is the reality. If Adams must grow in enrollment, adding a Spanish Language program will certainly make Adams even more attractive to school shopping families, and in the meantime, Adams is a great neighborhood school!
Barbara Dumesnil, Adams parent
THINKING OF THE KIDS
We are an elderly (OK – old) couple who relocated to this area in 2001 to escape the extreme air pollution of New York City, which had caused us to have pulmonary issues. Coming to Eugene was literally a life saver for us. Which is why we were dismayed to be informed of the spraying by helicopter of the grass on the nearby areas. We understand that people must make a living, but there must be a simpler and environmentally friendly way to achieve the goal.
We’re not asking this for us. We are well past the biblical three score and ten allotted to us. No, we are thinking of our grandchildren and of their pets, not to mention the avian population and other fauna in the area.
Orren and Vivian Champer, Eugene
COVER THE OTHERS
Since this is an election year and all the “regular” media are hanging on every word and motion of the “sweetheart” candidate but no one is giving any coverage of the other political parties and their candidates, why doesn’t EW do articles on these parties, their ideas and who their candidates are?
I look forward to such interesting articles in the following weeks.
David Richards, Eugene
So they caught up with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a reformer caught using the services of prostitutes. And at what a price! The papers are saying $80,000! You could buy a lot of “entertainment” in Eugene for that kind of money. What a shame, and he, of all people should have known that they’d catch up with him sooner or later.
Frankly, this just reinforces my feeling that Democrats are more virile than members of other political parties. Look at the record of Bill Clinton and “that woman” whose name slips my mind, and remember Gary Hart, an aspiring presidential candidate, caught in another sex scandal, years ago, who was forced to drop out of the race? Then there’s Franklin Roosevelt, a great Democrat, a man in a wheel chair, who was reputedly having an affair with his secretary. Logistically difficult I’m sure, but we Democrats know how to overcome obstacles. More recently there was John F. Kennedy, a man with a bad back, of whom it is said more women passed in and out of the back door of the White House than in and out of the front. Good back therapy, I’m told.
How about other political parties? They have their scandals too, but of a different kind. Recently a member of another party in Washington was caught slipping a message under the door of a stall in a men’s room; unfortunately the recipient was a police officer. A bit sordid, no? Not long ago, a male member of the same party was sending messages to one of the pages, a young man, and it wasn’t an invitation to play tennis, he had other games in mind. The irony of this is that he belongs to the party which is dead set against same-sex marriage. Well perhaps he felt that as long as he didn’t propose marriage to the young man, it was all right.
George Clarke, Eugene
PITY FOR BLINDNESS?
If I were a Palestinian who did not distrust or have fear of Americans, I instead would pity them for their blindness to reality in the Middle East. They rightly acknowledge the tragic horror of students killed in the Jerusalem seminary library but take little notice of the far greater number of Palestinians killed by Israel.
That myopia causes many Americans not to notice (or not want to notice?) tragic contrasts of one recent report on National Public Radio: “In recent days, 102 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in Gaza. There was one Israeli fatality.” How can our people tolerate leaders who support Israeli militarism that kills children and women while claiming to target guerilla fighters?
Israel’s goal and ours is genocide in Palestine. Were I Palestinian, my choice would not be to pity Americans.
George Beres, Eugene
Regarding Pam Driscoll’s letter (3/6), “Share Our Wealth,” I think Driscoll makes some valid points. The subsidizing of oil companies should be restricted and redirected toward federal social programs, and tax loopholes for giant corporations should be eliminated and a fairer tax plan instigated.
As to the homeless living under the bridges, that probably wouldn’t have been an issue if they hadn’t shown such disrespect for the property where they were dwelling. Is it so difficult to pick up your trash and not defecate where you reside (oh my!)? Even my pets know not to do that! The truth is, there are many homeless who respect the environment and know better than to trash it. My guess is that if we did set up programs for those roadside poopers, they would treat subsidized housing the same way.
Homelessness isn’t an excuse for creating disease and repugnance. If I remember my Bible correctly, Jesus wandered without a home for a few years, and I sincerely doubt he was crapping on people’s lawns or shooting up on their porches. If Driscoll wants us to think what Jesus would do, maybe she should dialogue with the homeless who act like anything but saints. By the way, how many composting toilets for the homeless does she have in her backyard?
J. Quincy Lipbuc, Eugene
STANDING ROOM ONLY
In January 1995 a small group of dedicated citizens, Friends of LTD, began a campaign to bring bus service to southern Lane County. After five years and four ballot measures, they succeeded in establishing Route 98, connecting Cottage Grove and Creswell to the greater Lane Transit District, and providing a much needed service to our community.
Now, the public transportation needs of our community are exceeding the provided. It’s rare that I find myself on a bus that is not filled beyond seating capacity, with no room for bikes on board, and many riders standing.
I often hear folks talking about the need for more buses, for later buses, more room for bikes and for an express route direct to Eugene. These are all suggestions that I support and I am sure that in time, with enough public pressure, LTD will make the necessary changes. I would like to see those changes addressed during the 2008 LTD Route Review.
The Board of Directors is currently accepting feedback for all routes in our district. It is my hope that each of us who would like to see increased services to south Lane County will take the time to contact the folks who have the authority to provide the services we need. Please call, or email, the LTD board today! Call 682-6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathaniel (N-T) Nordin-Tuininga, Cottage Grove
END THE MADNESS
Five years later with over a million dead Iraqis, a destroyed Iraq, trillions of dollars spent and worst of all close to 4,000 dead U.S. soldiers. Yet, we Americans still sit by and watch helpless and hopeless to do anything to change the downward spiral of the country we love. We have waved our peace flags and attended a few marches. Some of us have even gone to D.C. and gotten arrested.
We’ve heard the same speeches from the same people for years now. Isn’t it time for ALL of us (U.S.) to step up and do more? Camp at the federal building until we have all been arrested? Boycott the fossil fuel mongers? Why isn’t the American flag at half mast every time another soldier dies? We could be real radical and keep the death toll of this illegal and immoral occupation in Iraq on the front page of every paper until the killing stops? Will that be too real for the nice safe lives that we all pretend to live?
Make Eugene a sanctuary city so the brave Iraq veterans who do not want to go back for their multiple tours can have a safe place where they will not be handcuffed by Eugene Police Department and thrown in jail. People like the Iraq Veterans Against the War are working to end the madness of this administration. I am heading to Washington, D.C., to support my daughter and other Iraq veterans as they speak their truth, bare their souls and give their testimony at Winter Soldier.
Sara Rich, M.S.W., Eugene
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sara Rich is the mother of Suzanne Swift, an Iraq veteran who was prosecuted by the Army for refusing a second deployment to Iraq where she was raped and harassed by her fellow soldiers.
Americans beware! You are being fed a line of green shit. The true environmental movement is not a catch phrase or a product to be sold.
Products are advertised and marked as environmentally friendly when they are still the same old resource-based consumerism. It is a strong misconception that you are somehow helping the world by buying these “green” products. Conservation is the foremost key in softening the blow on mother earth. As a guideline: Use what you have, buy only what you need and when you do, purchase local.
Tom Tompson, Eugene
NOT THE SAME
I am a concerned citizen who lives at the Lorax Manner housing cooperative on Alder Street near the UO campus. I think Laughing Planet is awesome, and I’m in solid support of their business practices to a huge extent. I am also very much in support of Holy Cow staying on campus and any other small business that upholds their support for social, environmental and nutritional justice like Holy Cow and Laughing Planet.
However, Panda Express and Subway are less desirable, and I don’t understand why, instead of replacing the unique and rare local business that seems to run along the lines of the UO’s “commitment to sustainability,” instead of the corporate chain stores that don’t confront any of the real and relevant social and environmental issues except the lack of convenience to human beings. Panda Express does not offer anything that is gluten free or vegetarian, let alone vegan. I don’t approve of Subway’s sources of meat at all, like many other sources of mainstream restaurants and corporations, and while claiming to help humanity they simplify this idea of Jared and his sandwich, and how they change history, totally diverting attention away from the relative human issues which come up in the presence of such business models. This, to my fellow housemates and many other students and co-oppers on campus, renders the argument that Holy Cow is “not consistent with modern business standards” invalid as these standards were set by the corporate chains they benefit.
It’s time for our local decision-makers to wake up and say no to these corporate chains and show appreciation for our local community.
Max Smoot, Eugene
I read with total disgust that in a federal report, the state of Oregon failed in 11 out of 14 areas crucial to the safety and well-being of foster children. That is not even doing a little badly; failing in 11 out of 14 areas is horrible. We are leaving the most vulnerable kids in our community rotting in the gutters.
I called the Department of Human Services and was told that the state pays foster parents $400 to $500 per month to care for these extremely needy children. If you have the stomach to become a foster parent, you will receive a whopping $21 per day. That’s less than 50 cents per hour to care for a child who has been abused, neglected, witnessed violence, is probably malnourished and has extreme hygiene problems, and has just been taken from his or her meth-addicted family by the police or some other stranger and dumped into your home.
I know that money should not play a role in this; we should just open our hearts and give love. Well, I have enough love to take in 10 kids. But love only goes so far and doesn’t buy food or pay the rent. Then I read that we are going to spend our money, some $250 million of it, on big fancy buildings where we can scream and yell at people bouncing and hitting balls. Oh, I forgot; not all our money. Nike (Phil Knight) is dangling $100 million in front of the crowds. He’ll pay for part of his edifice with profits from his sweatshops and child labor. I am truly ashamed to be a citizen in this society.
Ellen Furstner, Marcola
With one in 100 Americans in prison, the highest of any country in the world including those we label repressive tyrannical regimes, and incarceration consuming such a large portion of the Oregon budget, it’s clear that nowhere is change needed more than in our imprisoning system.
The most obvious waste of money and human lives is the Drug War — prosecuting people for “victimless crimes” and “crimes of (someone else’s) morality.” With half a million nonviolent U.S. drug prisoners, prohibition accounts not only for a huge percentage of prison budgets, but equally large shares of police and court budgets.
European experiments and studies concerning drug decriminalization have shown the overall social benefits greatly outweigh prohibition. Harm reduction strategies reduce even non-drug crimes, because many thefts, which sometimes lead to violence, are motivated by addiction/alcoholism. Most violence associated with drugs is because they’re illegal. Abuse/addiction is better addressed through rehabilitation.
Decriminalization improves public health because of less sharing of dirty needles, cleaner drugs, etc. And more addicts and would-be prisoners live normal lives, working and thus contributing to economic productivity.
Similar arguments can be made concerning “economic crimes” — poor people lacking opportunities in the legal economy trying to hustle in the illegal economy. Much of this could be alleviated with adequate social programs and/or a redistribution of the wealth — giving workers their fair share and the unemployed a piece of the pie.
Nick Frabasilio, Eugene
HILLARY DOES IT
Barack Obama has presented himself as a unique political figure who says what he means and does what he says.
In the Ohio debate a few weeks ago, we saw a glimpse of the real Barack Obama — the Barack Obama who became chair of a national security subcommittee, put it on his resume, but did not hold a single oversight hearing because he was too busy running for president; the Barack Obama who spends his time talking about change you can believe in instead of change you actually can count on.
Given the opportunity to take the reins of leadership and shape two critical areas of U.S. foreign policy — Afghanistan and our alliances in Europe — Sen. Obama has done next to nothing.
As chairman of a key Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, Obama had an opportunity to assert his leadership and set an agenda for America to help address the war in Afghanistan and strengthen some of our most important alliances.
But by his own admission, he was too busy running for president to conduct a single substantive hearing of the committee he chairs. So he would rather talk about what he would do rather than do it through the responsibility he had.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t just want the job of president. She wants to do the job of president.
How can we tell what Barack Obama would be like as president if he did not carry out his responsibility here?
Curtis Taylor, Eugene
THINK BEYOND WAR
I find the current political process that we’re forced to endure is too long and begs to be dismantled, hopefully sooner than later. That being said, the next occupant of the White House is going to have to clean up the Bush mess. His elitist war and fear-mongering has destroyed the trust of the American people. His contrived bombastic sense of rightness has cost us in ways we may never recover from. For those who have given their last full measure will have something in common their Vietnam-era brethren. Their deaths seem to a causality of disastrous war planning as well with little value placed on their sacrifice. Then as now those deaths could have been avoided if only our arrogance stood in our way. We can no longer be part of blind braggadocios that cause our leadership to continually do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
Recently Sen. Obama stated that he wanted to bring our personnel home and change our thinking about war and aggression and its aftermath. There is an organization called Beyond War whose main focus is that war should no longer be considered as a viable option. Three fundamental ideas are the basis for action: 1) War is obsolete. 2) We all live together on one planet. 3) The means are ends in the making.
Along with these ideas individuals are asked to claim three personal imperatives: 1) I will resolve conflict and not use violence. 2) I will not preoccupy myself with an enemy. I will maintain an attitude of goodwill. 3) I will work together with others to build a world beyond war. Check out www.beyondwar.orgGeorge G. Brooks, Eugene
RETURN USURY LAWS
I wish Ben Bernanke would worry more about inflation and less about bailing out his banking buddies.
I called my broker a few days ago to put my money in three-month treasury bills. He told me I couldn’t do that because T-bills only pay about 2 percent interest. Inflation is at 4 percent, so I would be losing money.
My credit card company just informed that because my payments have been late twice in the last 12 months, they are raising my annual percentage rate from 12.9 percent to 26.4 percent. That takes the fun out of using credit cards.
We need to bring back usury laws. There should be a limit on how much interest lending institutions can charge us. It’s not right that they can borrow money for 2 or 3 percent while we get it up the ass with “adjusted rates” of 14 percent for mortgage and 26.4 percent for credit cards.
If the lending companies hadn’t been so damn greedy they wouldn’t be on the mess they’re in now. They’re crying like stuck pigs because people are defaulting on their loans, leaving them with big losses. Usury laws would have prevented this. It should be against the law to charge more than 10 percent or 12 percent interest. A 10 percent limit would probably stimulate the economy.
Gloria Bell, Blachly
NURTURER OR BUTCHER
Willful negligence. The withholding of technology that would improve upon the condition of life. This is one of the many crimes that our government and corporate agencies are guilty of. This is a crime against humanity. We the people need to hold those that knowingly continue to commit such crimes accountable. We the people are deserving of compensation. The mass wealth that these criminals have accumulated should be seized and used for the good of humanity. It’s time we stand up against this corrupt empire that somehow thinks it is above the law. My entire life I have dealt with bullies who coerce and intimidate. One thing I have learned is that when bullies are confronted by someone willing to fight, they suddenly are not so tough. Another word for bully is coward. These are people that rely on tricks and treachery. The practice of fools that don’t have brains enough to be honest.
We the people must demand honesty from those entrusted with position of power and authority. We the peoples’ future is at stake. Wake up!
It’s time we simplify a few things that our own government seems to have worked so hard at confusing. I wish we could change the way we vote for our elected officials. I propose that candidates choose new terms to describe themselves. No longer Democrat or Republican, no more left wing, right wing, no more political jargon that the common man cannot even comprehend. You either run as a nurturer or butcher, either you are for the good of your fellow man or against. Each has attributes that the common man can recognize. What would an honest candidate have to fear with choosing an affiliation with one of these new political parties. It would reveal the true nature of an individual.
Our country and this planet need healing not more killing. What kind of thinking would choose to kill the world, to make it a better place?
If you claim to be educated and intelligent, and advocate nurturing children as a means of proper development, and don’t practice nurturing in adulthood towards adults, you have raised your hand as a butcher!
Gerald Lee Davis, Eugene
KEEP THE SPEED
For the last seven years at Diamond Lake, boats going more than 10 mph and fisherman have worked together and enjoyed the lake side by side. Due to the comeback of the lake (overmanifestation of the trash fish tui chub are now gone) the law is reverting back to the historical 10 mph. The last seven years have been wonderful for all recreation users at Diamond Lake. I propose that Diamond Lake stay the way it has for the last seven years because:
1. Boats these days are not made like they used to be — the majority of boats go over 10 mph.
2. Boats make more of a wake going 10 mph than they do at 20 mph.
3. The best fishing holes are on opposite sides of the lake, and it takes forever going accross the lake at 10 mph.
4. It has not been a problem having boats go faster than 10 mph these last few years.
5. Brings in more business and econonmy if more people can use the lake.
6. It is a win-win becase Diamond Lake is not known to be a waterski lake because it gets so windy.
Biologists have deemed this a purely social issue as studies have shown that there is no effect to the lake whether it be 10 mph or 45 mph.
Fishermen and waterskiiers need to voice their opinion to June LeLarte at the Oregon Marine Board to stop the enforcement of the 10 mph on Diamond Lake by March 31. June.LeTarte@state.or.us
Lynsey Turek, Eugene
The contract with EWEB has another very interesting consideration. The cost of operations is now so expensive the EWEB Board is almost going to be forced to consider contracting all operations out to the private sector — the same way Jackson County (which includes Medford) public libraries were contracted out to the private sector.
At least the board can no longer ignore that possibility. If they do, they could be sued for breach of fiduciary duty to the citizens of Eugene.
I wonder what the bid from the private sector would be?
By the way, why doesn’t Lane County, like so many counties in Oregon, have only one public library system? See www.publiclibraries.com/oregonFrank Skipton, Springfield
$3 Mil, Going Once, Twice
Bernhardt Heights Road is official by “Order of Alteration” #08-2-20-6 at the Commissioner’s regular meeting two weeks ago. The price tag is $2,689,339 according to information from Finance. This excludes maintenance on the bypassed original 0.25 mile road, work on the new 1.25 mile road project prior to 2000 and after 2007, and future costs to mitigate the severe hazards created. This is my final report in keeping the taxpayers informed.
This “realignment” has a 1/4- mile long, 22 percent grade stretch with two blind curves, which during winter gets slippery and icy. With never an accident nor injury on the old road, the new already experienced a head-on collision, with injuries, and with the front wheel ripped off one car.
It’s pushing $3 million to benefit seven homes; that’s $400,000 each. The community petitioned twice and spoke at hearings twice in favor of keeping the 100-year-old road. It was cut out of the rock slope and converted to a public road in 1934. The community requested a minor improvement which private road builders and a reputable Eugene engineering firm estimated at $40,000. They even obtained a formal bid to make the existing gravel into a two-lane paved road for $450,000.
Public Works claimed they would build a new two-lane paved road five times longer and traversing a deep ravine for a third the cost. I published and spoke advocating this $150,000 project would exceed $1 million. Building roads is everyday stuff; so, it must be group incompetence or fraud when a needless project is recommended by Public Works and approved by commissioners at 5 percent of its true cost of $3 million to taxpayers.
The county website allows automated access to some databases; why not include accounting? Using historical road cost figures via the net, this atrocity was preventable. I offer to assist bringing 30 years of computer expertise in accomplishing that claimed impossible. The people could better manage its workers through greater transparency of government. Elected representatives would benefit from additional eyes spotting errors, waste and fraud. And knowing it’s visible, those considering fiscal irresponsibility would be motivated to remain honorable.
Keith Stanton, Florence
SO MANY MEXICAN NAMES
I’m having trouble reconciling an innate compassion for the plight of illegal Mexicans in our community with reading daily in the R-G that virtually every assault, murder and traffic fatality is attributed to yet another inebriated person with a Mexican surname.
Can someone out there with Internet access blog the actual demographic arrest records with the clear intent of citing the R-G for biased reporting?
I resent the profiling, the souring of my attitude against these, my neighbors, and I’m not the only one.
Lori Kasprzak, Eugene