Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.1.10


I have been attending basketball games at Mac Court since 1973. I cheered for Ronnie Lee, Ernie Kent, the Lukes, Aaron Brooks and many other Ducks. Mac Court was an exciting venue when it was the home court of an exciting team. Unfortunately, the old arena has a host of problems. Many of the seats have restricted sightlines, the guest accommodations are poor and the locker rooms are among the worst in college basketball. In recent years, without an exciting team, Mac Court was exposed for what it really is — an old building in disrepair that no longer meets its objectives. 

The new Matt Arena, rising along Franklin Boulevard, will be the premier college basketball arena in the nation. With its steep contours, it will provide the intimacy of Mac Court but with excellent sightlines, modern facilities, comfortable accommodations for the teams and room for more fans. The investment in Matt Court is a better use of funds than trying to turn Mac Court into a modern arena. The extent of renovation that would have been required would have had Mac Court lovers crying foul and the result would have been a compromise. The Ducks and their fans deserve, and are getting, better.

As for the future, the value of a basketball arena without a basketball team is like the value of a baseball stadium without a baseball team. Eugene will soon have both. Do we hold on to these old buildings amidst dreams of the past or do we move forward and put the places to better use? I believe it is time to let them both go.

 Randy Kolb, Eugene


There are many reasons we need to put arts education back in the public schools. The arts are proven to help close the achievement gap. The collection of research described in Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development finds that learning in the arts may be uniquely able to boost learning and achievement for young children, students from economically disadvantaged circumstances and students needing remedial instruction.

Arts education helps prepare a creative workforce. According to a 2007 Conference Board report “Ready to Innovate,” there is overwhelming support from school superintendents (98 percent) and corporate leaders (96 percent) that creativity is of increasing importance to the U.S. workforce.

Most importantly, art gives meaning to life. We are robbing the next generation of that meaning by withholding art from our public schools.

David Wade, Eugene


What a great idea to concentrate learning about energy across from the library and the bus station! We citizens of Lane County need to encourage our City Council to approve all funding avenues available to the city of Eugene to help build the new LCC Energy Center in the Downtown Urban Renewal District.

We should remember that Oregon community colleges have lost proportionally more funding than any other public education entities since the budget cutbacks started in 1992, due to passage (just barely in the state and rejected in Lane County) of Measure 5. Lane County has a unique opportunity to establish an anchor for the new wave of green businesses. Oregon has a proud heritage of progressive thinkers and cutting edge endeavors, and our own Lane Community College plays an important role in making the future happen by bridging the gap between smart ideas and their local implementation.

Linda Powell, Eugene


First and foremost I want to say thanks. As a medic currently in Iraq and a local I want to thank EW for putting in a positive story about our troops in Iraq (cover story, 3/18). It was truly nice to see something about the positive work that we are doing here. I was happy that you showed that we were helping injured locals and can say honestly that most patients I have treated here are locals — and were not injured by coalition forces.

I don’t ask you to stand behind this war, the people who started it or the reasons we are there. Just please understand that the soldier on the ground wants nothing more than to be back home with his or her loved ones.

Douglas MacArthur once said “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

David Ure, Eugene


Eventually we will have health care for all. I remember speaking up for Medicare in the 1960s against some future John Birchers. I guess it isn’t too different with today’s tea baggers screaming their selfish rants.

This is not a great health care bill, but hopefully it is a first step toward a more caring society that believes every sick person should be cared for. And hopefully it will become a caring society that believes everyone should have an opportunity to be fully educated and have a roof overhead and a meal to eat. We need to help each other, and health care must be there for everyone.

As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote after the vote: “Don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican (a private market approach) rather than a New Deal foundation. The New Deal foundation would have offered Medicare to all Americans or, at the very least, featured a public insurance option.”

Maybe in Oregon? 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


I am old enough to remember when breeders (i.e. heterosexuals) defined “gay” only as “bright” instead of “homosexual” as Sally Sheklow (3/18) does, or “dumb” as slackers do today.

I believe this etymology of “gay” irritates Sheklow as it did the owner of The Gay Blade men’s clothing store chain in Oregon and Washington because he felt forced to drop the word “gay” from the stores’ name in the 1970s.

Sheklow misses that slackers were raised on the gay-friendly cartoon “South Park” Republican values. They defend obscene speech and reject censorship for “political correctness.”

As a child, I vowed never to become like the old nags who forbid me from saying “God damn it” because it is blasphemy. I hope Sheklow isn’t becoming an old nag like me.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis


An opportunity to revitalize and strengthen a portion of downtown and meet the educational needs of our students is at hand. We have an opportunity to train future leaders and workers in green jobs via the innovative LEED-standard Energy Center. We have an opportunity to bring short-term and long-term jobs into this area via the project, as well as bring additional stimulus to businesses in the surrounding area. We need this now.

LCC President Mary Spilde and the LCC Board are committed to this project. Let us join them, creating not only an educational legacy, but also the start of an economic one. It’s a project that will provide jobs, bring more people into the area, stimulate existing businesses in the area and prepare students for the future.

Our library and Hult Center are solid examples of what we can do together. Let this be one more example.

Harriet Merrick, Eugene


In 1948 producing a dollar of GDP required 20,000 BTUs while today it requires only 8,500 BTUs due to efficiency improvements. And yet, energy use still rose over three-fold due to profound economic growth. Today the party’s over. According to Jeff Rubin, chief economist of CIBC world markets, how could the U.S. sub-prime mortgage market be big enough to blow up the world economy? Why was the Japanese recession twice as deep, and in Germany 50 percent deeper? Why did those countries enter recession before the U.S.? 

The answer is simple: All of the major U.S. recessions experienced since WW II followed sudden oil price hikes, and the run-up to $147 a barrel in 2008 was the biggest ever experienced. Banks failed because they lent more than they had on deposit, confident that tomorrow’s expansion was collateral for today’s debt. Expect $225 oil by 2012 and the end of globalization. 

According to two oil company CEOs, Margerie of Total and Gabrielli of Petrobras, the world has already passed or is close to peak oil, the point when new oil production capacity additions cannot compensate for declining production from existing wells, which is now 5.1 percent per year, meaning just to keep production flat now requires “a new Saudi Arabia every two years.” That means by 2014, the world will need a new 20 million barrels a day of oil production just so it can use the same 86 million it currently uses, let alone keep up with demand growth. 

Zachary Moitoza , Eugene


Rebecca Riley’s mother has been found guilty of murdering her, while Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, the psychiatrist who prescribed 3-year-old Rebecca Zyprexa, clonidine and valproate will not face criminal prosecution. Nor should she — selling patented items is what the business does. There is no medical test (such as a blood test) to confirm any one of psychiatry’s billable diagnoses. Thus the doctor uses word tests and professional opinion to classify you abnormal, and since it is not testable, they cannot be wrong! 

“Antipsychotic” drugs prescribed for children between the ages of 2 and 5 doubled over the past decade. Kifuji was doing the job as set out for her by the leaders of psychiatry such as Joseph Biederman, Raquel Gur, Donald Klein and Janet Wozniak. It is they who should be prosecuted.

New light has been brought to bear on the astroturf nature of “grassroots” Pharma front organizations such as NAMI and The Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation through investigations by Sen. Charles Grassley. NAMI received more than $28 million from pharmaceutical companies in the last four years.

Vera Sharav states, “Drug manufacturers are hardly the only ones to blame — American children are being victimized by a consortium of influential psychiatrists at prestigious academic institutions. These commercially driven stakeholders are condemning children to a life of drug dependency and drug-induced disabling chronic physical and mental illnesses.”

Daniel Burdick, People’s Antipsychiatry Movement, Eugene


Jerry Ritter (3/11) is right on. It is definitely time to abolish and prohibit all political parties. Only then will our elected representatives stop following the party line and start representing their constituents. This garbage of all politics and no governing has got to stop.

Frank Skipton, Springfield


Jason Blair, in his review of Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon forcefully states, “writer/director Michael Haneke is suggesting that a village of outwardly pious, inwardly malicious teens might possess the strain of hatred which metastasized during wartime — a reach that is aesthetically and morally weak-kneed.”

Well, the German-born but raised-in-Austria director actually is about far more than that simplistic mischaracterization (the action is pre-WWI not II). Haneke’s motivation, he stated in an LA Weekly interview, was to examine how Nazism grew in Germany. In this brilliant film, he shows its genesis from powerful, unforgiving German Protestant origins (pre-World War I) — in contrast to the more forgiving Austrian Catholicism.

To miss this is to view, as Blair obviously does, the film as a two-dimensional horror film; this is a grave injustice to the film, the director, and lovers of film. I might also note that, in the header, Blair reveals much of the film’s suspense, its mystery. He should be forced to wear “The White Ribbon.”

Jayme Vasconcellos, Eugene


Thanks to EW for the surprise of finding my picture on the cover of the March 11 “Nesting” issue. 

While countless politicians and bureaucrats could be expected to nonchalantly refer to my environmentally innovative approach to building as “sustainable,” the fact is that most of what I do doesn’t even come close to what I call “genuine, meaningful sustainability.” 

For sustainability to be taken seriously, it needs to involve a rigorous set of criteria including energy, economics, the use of nonrenewable resources and exponential growth within a closed, finite system (Earth). When viewed through the lens of reality, one discovers that true sustainability is a dauntingly complex, remote, far-flung ideal. 

Strangely enough though, in spite of such difficulty, there is not one shred of doubt as to whether the human family will achieve true sustainability. To do anything less is unsustainable. We will either achieve it voluntarily, or we will achieve it involuntarily as it is forced upon us by reality. There is no guarantee that the end result will be pleasant or feature the conveniences that we take for granted today.

Those interested in learning more about the intriguing challenge of designing and implementing a sustainable world are welcome to attend my talk and presentation, “Embracing the Inevitable – Humankind’s Reluctant Yet Certain Transition to Sustainability” at 7 pm Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, at Tsunami Books. I’m also happy to present to classes of any age group. 

Robert Bolman, Eugene


As I read Greggory Basore’s excellent letter (3/11) about K. Sowdon’s letter (2/25), it occurred to me that the two smartest balls in the world are the two hemispheres of the human brain.

Bob Saxton, Eugene


I’ve seen Eugene’s downtown in nearly all its incarnations since the late ‘60s. We’ve struggled as a community for years to bring life back downtown and every plan is met with opposition from some group or another. The local divisiveness on this issue has become an embarrassment. We mock our leaders in D.C. for being unable to get anything done, yet we are modeling the same territorial behavior here at home.

As a person who loves Eugene because of and in spite of its challenges, I feel that the door to revitalization is closing fast. Many people I know simply overlook downtown as an important part of our community’s personality. They are tired of the constant battles and roadblocks and are, quite simply, bored with the whole thing. Their shopping and dining loyalties are shifting to the Oakway area, the south Willamette area and even Crescent Village. I urge you to get behind the LCC downtown proposal. The sooner it gets started, the better. It may represent one of our last opportunities. Please don’t let it go by.

Cheryl Crumbley, Eugene




To Jarod Walker (letters, 3/18) and anyone else who thinks they know me:

Why am I writing from Portland? I too lived in Eugene and got my first letter to the EW published while living there. Let’s just say the EW knows why I know longer live in their distribution area. You don’t know me. I am a young disabled US Air Force veteran, former EMT/firefighter and I spent many sleepless nights protecting 30,000-plus American military and their families’ lives. 

You can oddly conjugate all the seldom-used smart-sounding words you want but it means nothing to me. I used to fight for freedom and the Bill of Rights with an axe and halogen bar; now I use my keyboard. If you came to my house with the Torah, I would welcome you and any hardy debate you might have. I am a Buddhist in case you cared. 

As for the Uzi, I assume you think I am anti-gun? Well I am not and my wife, a decorated combat veteran, even ran a NATO armory. Maybe she could teach you something! Only needed 181 words.

Christopher George Hughes, Portland


Recently, Rich Linton mentioned a new UO “technology incubator” facility to be built along with some points about the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) building controversy in a letter to The Register-Guard. In the letter he did not disclose any location for the incubator building. A 2004 report by a consultant about the incubator building is titled “Business Plan for a Technology Incubator” and mentions it could be sited at the current ORI site if they were to move. 

What is really going on here? Where is this technology incubator being built and what is it? Is the incubator project being stalled by ORI being tangled up in appeals court? I do not blame Rich Linton for not mentioning all the details. I blame reporters for failing to ask him about the newsworthy and largely unknown projects under way. 

It is hard for the public to appreciate or be interested in the academic research at UO if they know nothing of it. Less sports reporting and more research about UO research initiatives and potential building sites would result in better UO planning and greater public support. 

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene


Republican legislators persist in saying that health care reform is being passed against the wishes of the people. However, it absolutely depends upon the way the question is asked. The same people who rail against “government-run health care” due to inefficiency are the same ones who are concerned that a majority of the public will opt for it, which would result in “unfair” competition to current insurers. If the government does such a poor job, where is the threat?

If you inquire as to whether one is in favor of “a government takeover,” many will emphatically insist that they are not. If you ask these same people if they would like lower-cost health care, or if they would like to eliminate being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, they respond in the affirmative.

It seems to me that any of the legislators who were so fervently against “government-run health care” should immediately drop the health care that is currently being provided to them by the government. I will contact as many of these legislators as I can with this message, additionally reminding them that the government is the U.S. It feels like so many have forgotten “We, the People” instead favoring “They, the Moneyed Conglomerates.” The money taxpayers save not covering these contrary legislators might go towards lowering the deficit and providing funds to implement the new Health Care Reform Law.

Hope requires our participation.

Rita Babauta Kiley, Eugene


Even before retiring to bed Sunday night I knew I would have nightmares. The passage of the health care reform bill is not a wonderful dream come to fruition but a dark time for the future of all Americans. Another $1 billion added to the already monstrous debt accrued under Obama, no meaningful reform of the true villain, the insurance companies (and the AMA) and most heinous of all, the requirement which forces everyone, under penalty of some kind of punishment, to buy health insurance. 

Supporters claim it’s no different than auto insurance requirements, I say phooey on you. Your health cannot be compared to driving a car, one is an absolute necessity, the other a tolerated privilege. There is, buried in the more than 1,000 pages of the bill a provision called a “hardship waiver” for those who really cannot afford the legal requirements, no mention however of how many hoops one must jump through to get that coveted waiver. 

As one who is currently unemployed and collecting unemployment until it runs out at the end of the year, how do I get coverage? No mention in the bill about this. Will they tax my benefits to pay for health care, along with the IRS who takes from my unemployment check each week? Will I have to become homeless to get healthcare? Too many questions and not enough answers. I am very afraid.

The new motto of the Wellness Police will be “To sleep, sleep and dream the dreams of kings, as long as your policy is up to date and legal.”

Barry Sommer, Springfield



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