Eugene Weekly : Letters : 4.30.09


In this week’s issue (4/23) you have two items concerning the newest proposal for a new police station. In both pieces you make the claim that “the city is raising taxes and slashing services.” As a member of the city Budget Committee, I am writing to challenge this characterization. What taxes are being raised, and more significantly can you point to any place where services provided by the city of Eugene (not Lane County or the state) are being slashed? 

While I will admit I don’t stay up to speed as much as I should on the taxation side of this issue, I can say that unless I fell asleep during the most recent Budget Committee meeting and missed something dramatic, there are no plans to “slash” city services in order to fill the $12 million deficit in the city budget. There will be some programs that were funded on a multi-year basis whose funding is about to expire and may not be renewed, but those are decisions that will be made over the course of the upcoming budget committee hearings. 

That fact is that the city manager (Jon Ruiz) has proposed a budget that seeks to retain current service levels and close the budget deficit without laying off any city workers, an approach that has earned him kudos from some and criticism from others. Your paper does a disservice to our city when it casually throws around unsupported  statements about “slashing” services. I hope you will take some time to actually look through the city manager’s proposed budget which was just released this week, and provide our community with much needed accurate reporting on how Ruiz plans to close the budget deficit. 

Claire Syrett, Eugene


I am not a fan of spraying, especially in these current sensitive times of random lawlessness in that area. I am as anti-chemical as anyone could be. But I also grew up on the East Coast during the onslaught of the gypsy moth infestation, and believe me, you do not want those things destroying the Northwest. If I have to choose between permanent neurological damage and gypsy moth infestation, I will choose the former. I repeat, you do not want those fuckin’ things ruining the West Coast. They get into every little corner, cutting a swath, destroying plants with disgusting little egg sacs, leaving a wake of wanton wee folk.

I would love to see an alternative to spraying. It was effective in the East, if way too late. I sincerely hope we won’t have to resort to sprays, but if the gypsy moth is allowed to get a foothold I am so outta here! Believe me, something must be done.

 Ken Sokolov, Eugene


I am writing with the voice of Eugeneans who are speaking out, with an overwhelming majority, against biomass extraction. Biomass is not green energy. Please do not allow desperate industries to decide the fate of Oregon’s health and natural environment. Please listen to the vote of the people whom you lead and represent when we say “no biomass.”

Vote “no” on HR 1190 and S 536. Please, let’s stop these bills that destroy the meaning and hope of a green energy future. Burning biomass will pollute our air and cause irrevocable environmental damage. Biomass is not a green or clean energy. Just because trees are green does not make burning them a source of clean energy. The Seneca biomass plant that is almost in effect will release tons of lead, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, dioxin, particulates, mercury, benzene, chromium and many more hazardous air pollutants. These pollutants from Seneca biomass, and all biomass plants, will leave Eugene in a haze of pollution that we will breath every morning, afternoon, evening and night for decades to come. Please join the many Eugeneans who are coming together to stop this hazardous industry.

People are organizing under the guidance and help of Cascadia’s Environmental Advocates, locally active in Eugene. If you are interested in saving Eugene from economical and environmental disaster please visit and contact Samantha Chirillo. 

Laura Perdomo, Eugene


The letter written by Jessika Jenson (4/9) is exactly what I went through at Turtles on Willamette Street a couple of months ago. I agree with Jenson that these are hard times, but these people do not care. They are out to make as much money as possible. 

It cost me $250 in cash to get my car back after having dinner. I am now in the process of trying to get my money back and have proof that their signs are not posted properly. I would suggest to anyone who feels they’ve been wronged by Emerald Valley Towing to file a complaint with the Department of Justice, Consumer Protection Section, and (503) 378-4320. If more people call and complain, maybe we can alert others to this type of business antics. 

Debbie Paulson, Eugene


Since Alan Pittman is so into public disclosure, I wonder if he would be so kind as to publicly disclose where and when he received his law degree. This would help those of us who are not so learned as he to better understand his pontificating about the federal and state public disclosure laws. 

While his diatribe (News Briefs, 4/16) was probably satisfying to his rather large ego, I am afraid it is of little probative value on the actual law to which he refers. A five-minute search of the Oregon Revised Statutes on the Internet came up with all the information one might need to determine that the photos that were given to the attorney were exempt from public disclosure due to the pending litigation against the city regarding that matter. See ORS 192.501 (1). 

In addition ORS 192.502 (8) prohibits disclosure if federal law or regulations prohibit doing so. Since disclosing medical records to anyone (even his attorney), other than the person to whom they refer is a violation of federal HIPA regulations, [Interim Police Auditor Dawn] Reynolds should not have released the photos without authorization. The attorney knows or should have known that he must obtain a subpoena from the court under rules of discovery to obtain that type of information. 

Finally, and this is the most troubling, Reynolds apparently still does not get it, even after being suspended and disciplined by Council. She continues to justify her conduct as the correct response. Perhaps Council needs to have another session with her to reinforce their condemnation of her actions. 

Robert Walker, Eugene


I was diagnosed as bipolar in the summer of 2005. I was hospitalized eight times within a year and half. Prior to being diagnosed, I was a noble and law-abiding citizen. I was known for my outgoing personality, kindness and consideration for others. This all changed when I became manic. Paranoia and delusions consumed me. I became so paranoid that I thought my husband was out to kill me for life insurance money. This caused me to hitchhike across the country and ultimately to become homeless. 

While I was homeless, I was driven to destruction. I engaged in criminal acts, had unprotected sex and found a new love for crack cocaine. Fortunately, after two months of being missing, I was found at a 7-11 parking lot stripped down naked, masturbating and screaming into thin air at pimps who tried to prostitute me. The police arrested me, and instead of jail, they took me straight to a mental institution. This is where I got my second chance at life. I was stabilized on medication and sent home for recovery. 

Today I lead a very fulfilling life. I have a very loving and nurturing relationship with my husband, I work part time, I’m going to school and I’m writing a memoir. I truly believe that if it wasn’t for the mental health system that rescued me that at best I would still be that crazy woman wandering the streets that everybody hurries to pass by. 

Mechelle Stone, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: A much longer version of this story can be found online this week as a Viewpoint.


When the Oregon Department of Agriculture (DoA) first announced that it was going to spray a biological pesticide over 626 acres of southeast Eugene for the invasive gypsy moth, many area residents called Oregon Toxics Alliance. The callers were in need of guidance and representation. In response to community concerns, OTA advocated putting public health and ecosystem protection at the forefront of all decision making. 

 The beneficial outcome of our involvement was collaboration between OTA, the Southeast Neighborhood Association and DoA to provide comprehensive public information. We also worked together to modify application procedures to minimize pesticide exposure. This is critical for all children and anyone with immune deficiencies, allergies or a chronic respiratory condition. Residents in the spray zone have been mailed a fact sheet with suggestions for protecting health during and after the pesticide application.

 OTA’s collaborative efforts also helped Eugene School District 4J and the Eugene Christian School set up precautions, including turning off ventilation systems and informing parents about keeping kids safe on the way to school.

 OTA used the precautionary principle as a framework to bring the local, state and federal agencies together with local residents to build a better public process. Instead of asking, “How much harm will be allowed?” we asked, “How little harm is possible?”

 OTA appreciates the reciprocal efforts of Dan Hilburn from the DoA and we thank Mayor Piercy, the city’s Risk Service Division and Lane County Public Health for playing a positive role in this process. Eugene residents can now make informed choices for their own safety. 

The jointly issued Gypsy Moth Information Sheet can be found at

 Lisa Arkin, Executive director, Oregon Toxics Alliance


I was surprised by the editorial comments about the police station being considered by the city (Slant, 4/23). I opposed all previous plans for new quarters for the police but immediately had a positive response to the new proposal.

Unlike some, and like many others, I saw no value in having the police and the City Hall in one building. Some felt it was a nice image to have those uniformed police visible around the City Hall — like a welcoming committee. Some thought city staff, or others, needed to be looking over the shoulders of the police to keep them in proper behavior. And some think that the presence of all those police cars, etc., congested in the current downtown area is really needed, or at least needed to combat downtown crime.

I’m not impressed by any of this. I would prefer not to have the gun and taser toting police welcoming people to our City Hall. Eight years of close observation did not spot the Magaña abuses or change the police culture in any discernible way. A downtown substation or walking police would sufficiently handle any downtown local crime.

The original $29 million that had been set aside for a new City Hall/police building, now reduced to about $20 million, could be used to house the police in the $16 million building, after improvements are made. In many ways the building appears to be a natural for police use — particularly the parking space, which needs to be secure for both the fleet and the personal cars.

I say it’s worth considering.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene


In response to your News Briefs article “New Legal Service Available” in the April 23 edition: Your article brings much-needed attention to the thousands of Lane County residents who need alternatives to the “traditional” (i.e., expensive) family law attorney, people who make too much to qualify for legal aid but cannot afford to pay $200-plus per hour for legal services. The issues this population struggles with are life-changing and often heartbreaking, including custody and the abuse of young children, divorce, domestic violence and denied parenting time.

 Since 2001, I have devoted my law practice to representing and counseling more than 1,000 Lane County residents in these family law matters at a much-reduced hourly rate. My fee is based on a sliding scale, and ranges from $60 per hour (for those who qualify for the Oregon State Bar Modest Means Program) to $100 per hour. Most of my clients pay between $75 and $85 per hour, which is still a considerable hurdle for many Oregonians.

Referrals to my practice have always been by word-of-mouth, mostly from prior clients, community counselors, other attorneys, and the Oregon State Bar. I have never advertised, not even in the Yellow Pages. However, I am writing you because it seems now would be a good time for your readers to know that they have more than one resource for affordable legal services. 

I wholeheartedly welcome Billie Tarascio to this rewarding and worthwhile area of practice.

Kathleen Mercer, JD, Eugene


There used to be a time when the hardest thing to do in town was to cut down a tree. Now the skyline around Eugene is becoming a lot more gray and a lot less green. It’s shocking when you’re walking along and suddenly you feel something has changed dramatically. You can just tell: 18th and Jefferson, 13th and Pearl are just two simple examples. 

I was born and raised here. I have seen more trees cut down in the last five years than anytime previous. If a limb falls on someone’s car, no big deal, that’s why they have insurance. If a limb fell on my mom and killed her, heck, she lived a good life and that’s an interesting way to go. 

I think the city is a little too afraid of lawsuits if you ask me. Do they replace the trees they cut down? Not that I have seen. If they do get replaced, they get replaced with these crappy little “car friendly” curb trees. I think the 140 years of combined experience means they are too caught up in serving the city and less the people of Eugene. As the saying goes, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Mayo Finch, Eugene


People run for public office for a variety of reasons. Ten years ago Beth Gerot was appointed to the 4J School Board and emerged as a genuine public servant. Since then she has proven her credentials by being chair or vice-chair for seven of the past 10 years. She is a thoughtful, calm, deliberate and dedicated advocate for children and their education.

 It has not been easy. Constant budget cuts have made choices few and hard, and most decisions have been heartbreaking. Conditions have not improved. At this time, we especially need Gerot’s approach to problem solving. She is not a person to rigidly maintain past practices or decisions but rather to use such as a guide to better decisions and avoidance of dead-ends.

 As a former three-term member of 4J’s School Board, I think I have an insider’s view on a “best fit” for our board. At this very critical time, we need Gerot’s experience and dedication. We should be profoundly grateful that she is willing to continue on the board for another term. Join me on May 19, and vote for Beth Gerot.

 Judy Moseley, Eugene


It’s rare to find a really in-depth and accurate depiction of what it’s like to be a successful musician. I am a musician myself, and so I feel obligated to share a few of my award-winning secrets with all of you.

Use a minimum amount of chords, but to truly express thoughts, feelings and emotions, it is absolutely best to stick to single note melodies and better yet, just one note. With two or more notes, the song becomes confusing and disorienting to the listener. When the average listener is taken out of their comfort zone, they will change the station or pop on a Volifonix CD in order to feel safe again.

To ensure your message is clear, repetition is the key. If the whole song is just a hook, then you are guaranteed to be a success. Try using just one word that is one syllable. Multisyllabic words can again confuse the listeners and embarrass them at their own parties.

At 43 seconds the listener should already know the word of the song and at fade out at 3:14, the listener will have had enough time to practice and prepare for an inevitable sing-along. You don’t have to fade out; choose from up to three different rock ’n’ roll endings. Beware! If your song doesn’t end at 3:14 then there is no point in even playing it.

Instead of wasting your time at law school or putting up with all the hassles of starting your own business, just follow these guidelines and craft a pop song. I’m sure you’ll have no problem hitting the top 40 in just a few short weeks.

Ethan Pierce, Eugene


It seems that Ruth M. Atcherson (Letters, 4/16) has her head screwed on wrongly in most imaginable ways as proven in her last sentence: “anger and discontent, the antithesis to progress of any kind.” Anger and discontent are, in fact, the prime generators of most kinds of real progress. President Obama, the current great generator of political progress, could not have been elected without the great anger and discontent generated by the Bushie criminals.

Bob Saxton, Eugene


First and foremost, I would like to send a word out to all Oregonian bikers who may be unaware of the law: Front lights are required while riding in “limited visibility” conditions. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.

A few months ago, I was biking to my carpool in the nearly dark morning, flashing merely a rear light, when a man in a Lexus SUV turned from a stop sign into my path, hitting me and destroying my beloved bike. The following week, laden with bruises, I was contacted by his insurance company, who deemed me at fault, although in truth I had the right of way. I am currently being hassled by debt collectors in regards to a $1,400 bill for damages to his Lexus.

Where is the justice concerning a biker’s rights and protection from not only automobiles but also the agencies that protect them? Unable to afford an attorney, I have sought advice from various sources but really all that has resulted is a mass of stress on my part. I can be reached at if anyone has any suggestions.

My hope is that others can avoid finding themselves in a similar situation. Please wear a front light — and a helmet. As for the rap Eugene has as a “bike friendly” city, I am left severely disappointed. 

Fawn Farley, Eugene


I recently went grocery shopping for a few items at a local grocery store. For the six or seven items I bought I was handed a receipt I could have wallpapered my bathroom with. I am likely not the most environmentally minded, but even I was struck by this huge waste of paper. 

In this day and age when every store requires a “club card” why has this process not been digitized? Stores could easily provide a “paper free” receipt option. They would simply store your receipt electronically using the information already on the card you carry in your wallet, purse or on your key ring. You could then either stop by an in-store kiosk to view it or look at it online when you get home. Heck, someone could even make an iPhone app that looks it up for you! This would not only save stores a huge amount of expense in receipt paper, but it could cut down on the forest worth of trees and ink that likely walks out their doors monthly. 

It seems like a simple solution really. Maybe someone reading this out there knows someone in the industry? I know this isn’t the outraged political content you usually have in your editorials, which I find incredibly funny most days, but maybe you could print this so some guy out there with more time and know-how can pick the torch up and run with it.

Dan Rux, Eugene


Dan Johnson (Letters, 4/16), after whining about the trucks leaving UO’s basketball arena worksite with un-tarped loads, suggests “shifting the focus to winning basketball games.”

I suggest that the proper “focus” of a university should be on education, not on providing a four-year training camp for semi-literate “student athletes” in between high school and “professional” sports careers. Let ’em find somewhere else to hone their skills in date rape, animal abuse and ego inflating. I’d rather have “Ducks” that can waddle around our parks without being B-B gun targets, and a college that puts its funds into teaching REAL students.

Amy Carpenter, Eugene


The recent cover story “Do You Pay Taxes? Sucker” (4/9) points out the huge problem of corporate welfare plaguing us on both state and national levels. Tax breaks for multinational corporations lead to major losses in government revenue, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers. We taxpayers do not have to be suckers; we could be agents for social change. Rather than being suckers for paying our fair share of taxes, we must push for increased fairness of the tax code.     

President Obama’s proposed budget begins the process of restoring balance and fairness to the tax code. If passed, off-shore tax haven loopholes will be closed and corporations won’t be able to hide their billions in the Cayman Islands. Hopefully, closing these loopholes will mark the beginning of the end of corporate welfare and the power special interests wield in Washington, D.C., and Salem alike. Speak out for fair tax policies by thanking Congressman DeFazio for his vote for the budget.

Kyla Walters, Portland


It’s a relief that we’re improving our relations with Cuba. I’ve never understood the acrimony after Cold War/Angola stuff. 

Cuba can teach us a lot about medicine, agriculture, hurricane survival and keeping old American cars running.

Let’s not forget the old leadership has one foot on a plantain peel and the other on El Muerte. Also, they gave us Desi Arnaz (Babalu), a great sandwich and a cheap lease for Guantanamo Naval Base. If they cash those checks, we’re screwed. I wear my calypso shirt and smoke a Cuban cigar every day.

I doubt any Cuban government will allow Batista corruption and debauchery to return, but Cuba is a beautiful island where Yanqui touristos can blow a lot of cash.

I believe most of the world’s woes could be solved if everyone had food, clothing and shelter. Cuba is a good place to start.

Greg Hume, Creswell


I’ve noticed a couple of local plumbing businesses and was intrigued by the graphics on their trucks. E. E. Plumbing has very nice lettering, but shouldn’t it be in all lower case? The La-Z-Drain truck shows a mischievous youngster dropping a rubber duck down a toilet. Is that the owner’s way of telling us he’s from Corvallis? I wonder what Plumbing companies are DOWN in THE town of DRAIN??

Glenn Leonard, Eugene


Torturers are an insane bunch of killers, molesters and more.

Torture is an insane attitude and belongs put away somewhere for a long time.

Don’t believe in torture in anyway, shape, or form: It is a disgrace to everybody. It is time to wipe it out of all our minds and doings forever.

Jackie ONeil, Eugene





As a wheel-chair bound, Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) cardholder who has absolutely no chance of ever “growing my own,” I find the current state laws extremely frustrating.

The program has its good points, but the supply of marijuana for thousands of OMMP patients has been sadly lacking since the program’s inception.

This shortage prevents patients from properly utilizing cannabis’ preventative and healing qualities to address the major medical problems we patients face in order to get an OMMP card in the first place!

Most frustrating for me is I have the legal right to possess 18 ounces of marijuana, but no legal means to purchase any. My gnarled hands are further tied since it is illegal for cardholding growers to sell to me, their fellow cardholder, any excess. And for someone who isn’t “in the know,” it has to be even more disheartening to find some marijuana when they need it the most.

This supply issue is continually getting worse. Statewide, nearly 3,000 doctors have written marijuana recommendations with approximately 24,000 patients currently enrolled. 

Voter Power, the medical marijuana advocacy group, has written an innovative way to solve this problem.  

Initiative 28 creates a revenue-generating, regulated medical marijuana supply system of nonprofit operated dispensaries. The initiative also provides the state with an estimated $75 million in revenue in the first five years to conduct scientific research on cannabis and other DHS programs, like the Oregon Health Plan.  

After all, wasn’t safe access for all OMMP cardholders the voters’ intention in 1998?

Jim Greig, Americans for Safe Access, Eugene


Before Tasers were purchased by the city of Eugene, several citizens warned that they were likely to be misused. I was one of them. The Register-Guard packaged Tasers as a key tool for saving lives. The R-G published an entire campaign that suggested Eugene police needed them. No hearing was held and the city of Eugene purchased $60,000 worth of the weapons. I knew some of the local police would get themselves in trouble with these devices. 

I was shot in the crotch with a less lethal “bean bag” gun in 2003. The “bean bag” gun rounds are actually Kevlar pouches filled with lead pellets. As I worked my way through the courts, and years of committee meetings, I came to realize there would be no investigation of less lethal weapon misuse in Eugene and the shooter would not face any consequences. By failing to admit wrongdoing, the police were, in effect, reserving the right to misuse weapons in the future. When my incident showed up in the paper, the police spokesperson fabricated a story about me attacking police. Diane Dietz diligently reported the police spokesperson’s version of events. Two different video cameras recorded the shooting and proved that the police version of events was entirely fictitious. Later, police destroyed the close-range video of the incident that had been recorded by an officer. 

The pattern of weapon misuse and the following cover-ups can be broken. Strict protocol for weapon handling procedures needs to be established. Greater details in the rules regarding video evidence after incidents need to be established. Rules against the police spokesperson fabricating events surrounding shootings need to be enforced. 

I faced retaliation and charges in court after the story of my shooting appeared in papers and on the radio. The police detained me and insisted that my private parts had to be photographed. The district attorney needs more scrutiny into who his office chooses to prosecute and why. Obviously these events have been a significant source of stress for me over the years. 

We need to get the Tasers out of the hands of Eugene police. It is regrettable that city leaders and the media allowed and encouraged that they be purchased in the first place. They had all been warned in great detail about how the existing weapons handling issues would be exacerbated with the new Tasers. 

As for the picture of my private parts, I have no idea what database that ended up on. I suppose if the police auditor were to try to help me find out, the Eugene City Council would try to further undermine her position, like most of them did recently. The current police auditor should be retained as permanent city staff for that position. She is highly skilled and very professional.

Zachary Vishanoff, Eugene


It is our freedom to be transported to one place to another in whatever way we choose. We can’t control much in this beautiful life but our actions and reactions to situations. We are creatures that undoubtedly live by example. Show our future what is smart, responsible and safe by wearing helmets and obeying traffic laws.

Years back, we were all enforced to wear seatbelts in cars and I don’t seem to recall very many if any drivers stopping driving. We adapted and moved on. Allowing cyclists (as I am) to be careless and carefree is a selfish act. A motorist that obeys the existing traffic laws (as I am) has a greater chance of hitting a non-obeying cyclist. To be on the surviving end of that is unimaginable. If to click on a helmet or to stop at a light or stop sign will deter a cyclist from continuing their commute by bike, one might ask what their motive is in biking in the first place; to get somewhere in record bicycling time or in fashion?

Lets all work together and have an all around positive situation between cyclist and motorist and not a negative shit-uation.

Maria Martin, Eugene


Ballots for the May 19 Special Election will be mailed out in early May. Bonnie VanCurler, Jeff Hendrickson and Don Beck are seeking reelection for the Mapleton School Board. Both Bonnie and Jeff are running unopposed, while Don’s seat is being contested. I am urging you to reelect all three sitting board members. In particular, please support Don Beck in his contested bid for reelection. Don’s family was one of the first pioneer families to settle in the Siuslaw Basin. His experience and knowledge of our community is unmatched, and his commitment to serving our interests has been consistently demonstrated over the years. His background as a forestlands worker, merchant and citizen make him a great asset for our schools and all of us. 

It is no secret that we are facing seriously challenging times at our school. Now more than ever, we need to maintain continuity and stability on our Board to see us through this period of crisis. Don has served Mapleton Schools well and knows the needs of our district. He is a team player and brings his considered vision to the table. Now is not the time to change the make up of our school board. The shared history our Board holds now is our greatest strength. Please vote for Don Beck, Bonnie VanCurler and Jeff Hendrickson.

Michelle Holman, Deadwood


With the release of the Bush administration’s secret torture memos, we now have evidence that the Bush administration authorized the CIA to use torture against detainees. Torture was committed in our names. It is time for Attorney General Holder and our elected officials to appoint an independent prosecutor and launch a criminal investigation. In this country, no one should be above the law, including high-level government officials. Our government has a legal obligation to prosecute grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. The entire truth about these abuses must be exposed, and those who authored the policies on torture, and those who carried them out, must be held accountable. To move our country forward, we must ensure that these abuses do not happen again!

Karen Kennedy, Eugene


I recently moved to Eugene and last weekend visited the coast. After a wonderful stay in Yachats I stopped at Beachside State Park for 15 minutes. During that time I had my window smashed and all my personal effects stolen. Most disheartening was the reaction of law enforcement stating that this is such a common occurrence that they do not have, nor allocate support to deal with it. 

 Upon speaking with area residents I find my situation to be common. I hear it is not a matter of if, but when, so try to minimize the damage. Coming from a state that does not tolerate such criminal behaviors, I wonder why the citizens of Oregon are so willing to accept random theft as their responsibility and not that of law enforcement? I can understand why Oregon’s criminals are so brazen, with little consequence for their crimes. 

If Oregon law enforcement is aware of who, what, why and where, as they state, then why are they not trying to apprehend criminals instead turning a blind eye? If funding is the issue, I would rather pay an increased park fee or taxes to have security instead of suffering identity theft.

It was insinuated that I encouraged victimization by leaving my valuables in my vehicle. I find this notion absurd and demeaning to the citizens of this state. I encourage all to write to their local and state elected officials demanding a solution. 

Kristy Bishop, Eugene




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