Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.15.08


I am mystified by the Weekly‘s lukewarm endorsement of Andrea Ortiz for Ward 7 city councilor. While she may have “frustrated progressives with some votes,” she has impressed this progressive with her vision, leadership and timely and effective response to constituent concerns. Ortiz is an independent thinker whose decisions reflect her ability to see issues on their own merits and in the context of a value set which I view as consistently progressive. The Eugene City Council has self-immolated in the past by refusing to allow one another the ability to disagree occasionally within a progressive framework. Statements like the one in the Weekly endorsement do little more than encourage that past to repeat itself.

Andrea Ortiz takes the time to be well-informed on the vast number of issues that come before the council despite the fact that she holds down a full-time job and volunteers her time elsewhere as well. In addition to her service on the City Council, Ortiz is a former member of the Bethel Budget Committee and Bethel School Board and has represented the council on the Eugene Police Commission and Eugene Human Rights Commission.

Please join me in financially supporting her campaign and vote for Andrea Ortiz for Ward 7 city councilor. She represents the very best in public service.

Ron Chase, Eugene



I am hoping this letter can offer another perspective to China and related issues.

China bashing has been trendy in the media and among the public in Western countries. It is even more so with the recent Tibet riot and free Tibet demonstrations during torch relays. For Tibet issues, please do a little bit research about history of China and Tibet before you use the word “invasion.” It is very complicated, and both sides have evidence to support their claims. Also, if you look up the definition of “terrorist,” what some Tibetans did during the riot fits in the definition. Apparently, these dictionary-referrings don’t solve any problems.

I agree that there are many serious problems in China. However, before we make any conclusion, let’s put everything into historical context. The real development of China started about 30 years ago. Astonishing economic growth is unfortunately accompanied by problems such social inequality and pollution. On the other hand, the U.S. has been developed for more than 200 years, and as recently as 50 years ago there was still serious race segregation.

I point this out not to justify what is happening in China but to illustrate that economic and social development just don’t happen overnight. It is a good thing to keep some external pressure on China. At the same time, we need to critically think about what is good for China and the U.S. Finger-pointing and confrontation are definitely not the answer. We need to keep the communication going and develop mutual understanding for further collaboration.

Yongjun Wang, UO Dept. of Physics



Even if I were not an Obama supporter (which I am), I would find Kenneth Elsbree’s reasoning outrageous (5/1). His Clinton signs have disappeared, so it follows that the “Obama Mafia” has stolen them.

Maybe it was the McCain Mafia. Maybe the Chicago Mafia. Maybe no Mafia at all. Maybe just some kids with too much time on their hands.

Did he actually witness some shifty-eyed gangsters wearing glow-in-the-dark Obama buttons creep up and scuttle off with his irreplaceable Hillary signs? Will the absence of these signs destroy her chance for nomination?

Come now, Mr. Elsbee. You are giving Clinton supporters a bad name.

Karen Ecker, Eugene



I ask you to vote for Vicki Walker for secretary of state. This office performs the critical tasks of chief auditor and administration of elections. She believes that tax dollars should be spent effectively and efficiently for programs that make Oregon a great place to live.

As Senate General Education Committee chair, she increased K-12 funding by 18 percent; expanded Head Start for 300,000 children; and made college more affordable by working to expand the Oregon Opportunity Center. She promises to make the federal government turn over the 2,673 acres of state trust land they owe us to invest in our common school fund.

She has created the Oregon Sustainability Board and landmark pesticide use reporting to preserve Oregon’s rare natural resources of forests, waterways, deserts, grassland, pasture, farmland and scenic wonders. Her environmental record received the highest score from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

A person of high integrity, she stands up to powerful interests to protect us from fraud and abuse, whatever the political affiliation the abuser may have. She is in Salem a voice for all of us, regardless of social or economic status. Examples are her laws requiring the secretary of state to accept anonymous reports of waste, inefficiency or abuse, and to increase fines for ethics law violations. Another taxpayer saving was her law limiting the amount of “golden parachute” additional salary school districts can pay administrators when ending contracts.

Walker will perform effectively for good and transparent government. Her record proves this.

Mary Ann Holser, Eugene



Sometimes a leader comes along who has the courage, ability and compassion to show what a forward-moving community could look like. Mayor Kitty Piercy is such a leader. In just three years, our community is infused with more momentum and optimism, and involving more voices, than was felt in the previous mayor’s two terms.

Momentum can be elusive at times, but it can be seen if you look. I’ll cite just a few examples. There is every conceivable vested interest at work on the West Eugene traffic issue. That’s momentum while leaving something already dead to continue to rot is not. The voices of the people who live and work downtown are now involved in the downtown issue. That’s momentum. Planned growth based on need rather than developers’ wishes is healthy momentum. Street repair is needed but not at the expense of other services. That’s devastation and division, not momentum. Environment? Jobs? Awards and growth are flooding in to prove momentum in both. I have yet to hear a single criticism from the mayor’s opponents that is actually constructive rather than just oppositional politics.

We have a choice of old history or new, invigorating momentum for our community. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Don’t let this important election be bought by mere money. Let it be bought into with appreciation and commitment to let Mayor Kitty Piercy continue her policies of new ideas and inclusion of all interested people … AND healthy momentum! Onward!

Judy Moseley, Eugene



My EWEB bill was high this winter, and I know it is expected to keep going up every year. I’m voting for Bob Cassidy to look after the cost of utilities because of his years of financial experience running a business and assisting others with their financial plans. Cassidy has for years testified and participated on community boards to help make our Eugene a great place to live. I’m counting on his expertise.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



Watching the Lane County Comm-issioner race unfold, one thing is clear: Rob Handy should have run for City Council, not County Commission.

Handy’s fortitude at tackling city issues is commendable, but he seems to lack full comprehension of what the commissioner job entails. For example, he begrudges road funds for committed road projects outside Eugene when they could have been used to “fill potholes in Santa Clara and River Road.”

By the time the potholes occur, the roads have already failed — more than crack seal and gravel are needed to fix them. The board’s responsibility is to serve all of Lane County. For decades, they have given double-digit millions to the City of Eugene, which spends the money on new projects rather than upkeep of existing roads. Green cannot be held accountable for the city’s failure to preserve local streets.

Green is the only commissioner working at federal and state levels to overcome the financial crisis Lane County faces due to fading timber monies, and soon, road funds. Had he not proven he is a man of honor, no doors would open for him. No one else can step in and assume those contacts when they are needed most.

Green has guts — he took the dire step of implementing an income tax that ultimately was doomed to fail, and he is the only elected official in Oregon who spoke against the proposed hospital on North Delta, knowing the traffic nightmare it would create.

We need Green on the board — he works hard to help preserve our quality of life in Lane County.

Ann Simas, Eugene



I am writing to remind everyone who supports Kitty Piercy to please, please vote in the primary. If she gets 50 percent plus one vote, she wins the mayoral race outright, Jim Torrey is out, and Piercy does not have to keep campaigning. Please, tell your friends and family: This primary vote is critical in more ways than one. Take care of our community: Vote for Piercy in the primary.

Amy Isler Gibson, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: In nonpartisan primary races, a candidate who gets 50-plus percent of the vote will stand alone on the November ballot, but could still lose to a write-in campaign.



As precinct committee persons for the Democratic Party of Lane County, we are very concerned that we choose the best Democratic candidate for Oregon’s next secretary of state. Therefore, we attended a forum hosted by KLCC at which we could hear the three major candidates and ask them questions.

We gave a lot of thought as to what were the major responsibilities of the position and what types of decisions they may be forced to make if elected. In 2000, there was a census, and in 2010 there will be another one. One of the requirements that stem from such a census is that, due to changes in Oregon’s population, a reapportionment of all legislative districts must be done to reflect these changes. We know that as a consequence of the 2000 census, it fell to the secretary of state to play a major role in this process, so we asked the following question of all three candidates:

“What do you see as the likely role which would be played by Oregon’s next secretary of state in the reapportionment of legislative districts after the 2010 census, and why would you be the best candidate to play that role?”

All three candidates addressed this question with varying degrees of clarity and specificity. The only male candidate simply stated that he had lost part of his district the last time and offered no further comment that answered the question. Both of the other candidates did better in laying out the procedures they would follow, but Sen. Vicki Walker had the best answer and stated that she would not see it as her job as Oregon’s secretary of state to protect the legislative districts of incumbent senators but to protect the interests of Oregon’s citizens!

We have known Walker for quite some time and worked on every campaign she has run for positions representing the citizens of Lane County. We believe she has served us well and would serve the state of Oregon well as our next secretary of state. Therefore, we would like to add our endorsements to those she has already received.

G. Dennis Shine, Kate Wallace, Springfield



In 1905 there were only 150 pollution spewing, sprawl inducing automobiles in the entire state of Oregon. In 1905, Eugene had compact urban growth, more density than at present, a local foodshed, no herbicides, lots of surrounding old-growth timber, intact wetlands, good anadromous fish runs and people who got around by walking or utilizing organically powered horses whose “exhaust” contributed only minutely to global warming. Downtown was the unquestioned commercial center of the community. Taxes were low and government was close to the people.

What current “progressive” would not want to return to those idyllic days? Just one question: If the above described state of affairs is the current progressive ideal, why aren’t we proudly calling ourselves “regressives”?

Jenny Moos, Eugene



I’ve known Cynthia Sinclair (justice of the peace in Springfield) for most of my life. I know how much she cares about public safety. I know how much she cares about her community. I did environmental volunteer work with her back in the 1970s before it was considered trendy or even important. I’ve worked with her doing animal welfare work and I know how much she cares for the defenseless.

I have seen her work on the Springfield school’s Budget Committee, Parks Committee and Truancy Task Force. She does everything she can to keep a child from throwing away his or her future by not going to school.

She wants the public parks to be maintained and clean and safe. She wants boaters to wear their life vests; she wants people to buckle up, yes, because it is the law, but more importantly because she knows what happens in a crash to an unsecured driver.

Sinclair has lived here and worked here for almost 30 years, through good times and bad. This county is her home, and her loyalties are here. She works at her job and volunteers her time to others because she cares, not because it’s required to complete a program or pass a class or because an election is coming up. Her history of caring and volunteering goes back more than 30 years because she has a caring heart and character.

Join me in keeping a good person on the bench.

Rita Castillo, Springfield



During my life in Eugene, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Weekly. I am excited about your passion to support our local community and your attempt to rise above most modern media censorship and partial truths. That is, until this week’s edition.

Your full page color Budweiser ad has me appalled and confused, as does your additional color Bud Light ad following just a few pages afterward. “Buy corporate beer!” you say, and “Support China’s rice exports!” I am disappointed in your ability to remain an independent newspaper going against the demand for sell-out media.

Thanks, EW, for selling out what your supporters stand for most: Eugene and its people. Down with Bud!

Suggestions for improvement: Support local breweries who support local economies — there are many to choose from. Highlight the organic brewing movement — help from the media is just what it needs. Tell the public about home brewing — many people in Eugene participate.

Tobias Schock, Eugene



Taxation without representation; that what I’ve got in current Lane County Commissioner Bobby Green. Inaccess-ibility is what I’ve got in Bobby Green. After several phone calls to his office that went unreturned I was assured by a staff person that “Bobby really does care about your concerns.” He certainly has an odd way of showing it. I have never had the experience of his “caring for my concerns” at any of my neighborhood meetings.

I, a citizen and taxpayer, deserve so much better in a county representative. I want a change.

Rob Handy is the change that I and all in District 4 need and deserve. Handy is accessible and willing to share his input on matters that concern me: railroad “plume,” congestion and safety on River Road, back-door annexation by the city, etc. As leader of the River Road Community Organization, Handy reaches out to all. He has done an amazing job of organizing, communicating and following up on information of concern to us.

Please join me in voting for “Leadership for a Change” and electing Rob Handy Lane County commissioner.

Ruth Perkins, Eugene



“Where are the Eugene feminists?” a woman asked at the Hillary Clinton booth at the Saturday Market. “What do they mean that only older women and uneducated people are for Hillary?” another female Ph.D. asked. People have found the Hillary booth a welcome place to state the obvious: The male/female double standards have never been more evident, even in green Eugene. Why?

For one thing, got it wrong several months ago but ran with it anyway. They decided to make a preemptive strike to promote only one candidate instead of letting the democratic process unfold in this primary election. Then, the Democratic National Committee also decided that the old-fashioned process (to let all citizens vote and count all the votes) should be replaced by emulating the Rovian way of disenfranchising voters and votes by repetitive bully talk., the DNC and the Obama camp have tried everything short of hog-tying Clinton to stop her from running for president. But she won all the big states with big electoral numbers anyway. Besides that, she has Wesley Clark and Joe Wilson at her side! Those two men are exactly whom you would trust in a national emergency. Also, two very wise writers, Maya Angelou and John Grisham, are campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

Not everyone has accepted the double standards, the voting debacle, the cool corporate-like logo or commercial hitchhiking on the coattails of JFK. Bobby Kennedy’s activist kids stand with Clinton. Half of all of us are with Hillary for President.

Deb Huntley, Eugene



In the March 20 issue, the letter from Sara Rich headed “End the Madness” starts with the words “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.” When I read this, I thought, oh boy, here come the letters condemning the disproportionate value she puts on U.S. lives as opposed to Iraqis. But, to my dismay, nobody wrote anything. Am I the only reader who finds it repugnant to say 250 Iraqi lives aren’t worth one American life? How arrogant Americans are! I think it is obvious, at least to the rest of the world, that one American life is worth only something like about 30 or maybe 40 Iraqi lives. Certainly not anything above 100!

Fred Roellig, Eugene



I am a disabled senior in a wheelchair living alone on River Road. Now that there is no funding for police or the Sheriff’s Department and the county jail is letting people out, I can no longer even report vandalism to my place. The police will not even take a report. However, when I asked, “What am I supposed to do, get a shotgun, and get someone who burglarizes me or attacks me?” The police said, “Oh no, you cannot do that! You cannot shoot someone who attacks you, breaks into your house! Then we make you the legal criminal!”

So much for law and order. There are no more police, they refuse to take vandalism reports, criminals are all being let out of county jail, and yet, we seniors, disabled, are refused the right to protect ourselves? Is this England?

I have been a victim of rape and, in a big city, was beaten up and put in the hospital years ago; I almost lost my eyesight. I refuse to let that happen to me again. If the police can no longer protect us, why are we not allowed to protect ourselves? I would like other seniors and disabled to answer this — and our elected officials. This should be a big topic in the elections.

Dorothy Bucher, Eugene



I am writing in response to Jeremy Ohmes’ review of the Scotland Barr band (4/17).

I work at the Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove, and it is certainly not a “dive.” Apparently the writer has never been in the A&F, or else he won’t be satisfied with less than the Top of the Mark in San Francisco.

I have worked in clubs, bars, pubs, concert halls, arenas, etc. for over 30 years, and I have never found a friendlier, more relaxed and aesthetically pleasing entertainment environment in any of the places I have been. The people are so friendly, and it is the kind of place where you want to bring a date or your spouse. Good food, good spirits and truly friendly people in a beautiful building — a fine combination and a wonderful lack of violent, rowdy people.

Perhaps Ohmes should use a little gas and make the trip here, hear some of the really fine music provided by the Axe & Fiddle and get over his prejudices about Cottage Grove as a town that can only have dives for entertainment.

R.L. Cook III, Cottage Grove



We have been an advertiser in your paper in the past and a distribution point for over two years. You have added “Kinks” to your personals column area, and we at Shambala think you have gone too far. We were against the folks who were up in arms about the Dan Savage column because we feel that his column has some redeeming value, in that he gives good healthy advice.

The Weekly has had a fine reputation in the past, but when you allow language and content like we see in “Kinks” in a community paper that is free and easily accessible to minors, we think that reputation has been degraded quite a bit. As a store, we will not consider advertising or being a distribution point for the Eugene Weekly as long as these types of forums are a part of the paper. The people who are taking out these ads have a right to advertise and look for what makes them happy, but we feel that a certain amount of discretion is necessary. There must be other publications that these folks can advertise in that do not represent the community.

We are against this column because the ads in Kinks are promoting practices for an adult audience that should not be available to children. We know it is a fine line, but we feel that you have taken a huge step across it. This paper represents Eugene to the visitors and guests to this city, and we are asking you to ask the big question: “What does this say about our community?” and “What does this say about this publication?”

John R. Hicks, Owner/Manager, Shambala



It is rare for a business to affect the heart of a community, but Flicks n Pics, the now-closed movie rental store, was such a place. Friday nights, the smell of popcorn and opportunity for good conversation were as welcome and expected as my morning coffee.

It’s a comfort to know that most of their unique movie collection can be rented from the Eugene Public Library. What may not be known is that the library’s purchase of the collection would not have happened without quick action by Mayor Kitty Piercy.

After reading news articles of the pending sale of the Flicks n Pics movie inventory in just a few short days, I contacted Mayor Piercy and asked her if the Eugene Library could purchase the collection. She immediately contacted library cultural services and the collection was bought from its civic-minded owners.

Although the mayor’s action may not rank as high as issues raised in the heat of a contentious political campaign, to me it demonstrates how Kitty Piercy quietly and effectively gets the job done. I’ve lived in Eugene since 1978, and this is the first time I’ve felt that a mayor would take my suggestions or concerns seriously.

Regrettably, Flicks n Pics is gone due to changing video technology and economics. But I’m told the former owners are pleased with the outcome. Thanks to Mayor Piercy, both the collection and legacy of a much-beloved neighborhood video rental store continue.

Leslie Weinstein, Eugene


I am seeking candidates who will invest in processes to find a problem’s root, undertake the thinking needed to solve it, then take the action necessary to end the problem. This process must involve the community for citizens to trust the solution and be willing to make changes.

I heard a story that two women were very hungry and went to then-Mayor Jim Torrey. He took them out to breakfast. So they think he is a wonderful man. But Mayor Kitty Piercy has observed the problem of homelessness and established a committee to examine the local impact of homelessness, identify strategies and make recommendations to the City Council related to new funding and finance options. Being a nice person isn’t sufficient for public office; we need candidates with policies that address and end problems.
In like manner, I will be supporting Rob Handy for north Eugene County commissioner as he works to first establish a relationship of trust with county citizens. He has knocked on more than 12,000 doors in his district to genuinely represent us when decisions are made. Rob will continue to broaden his knowledge before implementing actions for long-lasting benefit.

Andrea Ortiz for City Council and Vicki Walker for secretary of state will also work for long-term solutions that benefit citizens. Andrea listened and advocated for Ward 7 constituents on annexation, railyard pollution, and air pollution when Bobby Green didn’t show up. Vicki has proven she is the only candidate who will fight for the powerless, giving everyone a voice in Salem. Her Counting for Oregon plan is full of ideas on how she will move Oregon forward. Skip candidates who offer short-term fixes that don’t solve problems. 

Carleen Reilly, Eugene


Today (5/8), Sen. Hillary Clinton cited an Associated Press poll “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening.”

 I was hoping that Clinton would not go so far as to use race as a specific criteria for a person to become president of the U.S. It appears that is exactly what Clinton has begun to do.

 Clinton’s statement that Obama’s support is changing with “white Americans” indicates to me that Clinton believes that other races of Americans are not as important as “white Americans” and that a non-white American cannot win the votes of “white Americans.” 

This idea is racist and needs to be confronted. It is obvious that race has been and continues to be an issue in all elections in all areas of the U.S. This is a fact of the conditions of the American polity brought about by attitudes and beliefs generated by the forced enslavement of human beings performed by persons who perpetrated their crimes many years ago. These attitudes and beliefs are false and should not be used to justify a presidential candidates run for office in the 21st century.

We cannot change history. However, any politician in the 21st century who attempts to profit politically from these false attitudes and beliefs needs to be rejected and reeducated about what it means when we say that we all are created equal in the sight of God.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene


You guys really crack me up sometimes, because you write like you’ve only lived here a year! And I know it’s not the case. Let’s start with where we agree and devolve from there shall we?

Under the current council/manager system, the mayor is essentially a figurehead. I can’t believe you haven’t tried to get your little army of prog activists to change the system. That would truly serve ALL Eugene.
Yet neither Piercy nor Torrey care enough to try to change it. Why? Because that’s their excuse when you ask them why nothing has been done!

You went to war when Broadway Place went up, yet not even a whimper now it’s being replicated one block up. PeaceHealth told the city to eff off because the council (esp., Bettmann and Taylor) thought they could dictate terms to the hospital. Torrey was mayor, and couldn’t take control, so all of ’em effed up! We got empty spaces with Torrey as mayor, and more empty spaces with Piercy. Where the hell is your memory?

In Piercy’s four years, what one thing, other than it “being Kitty,” has truly differentiated her tenure from a Torrey administration. Nothing, other than you feel a little better. Wow, kudos.

Thanks for the entertainment, especially all you fascists who write in and try to tell the paper whose advertising they can accept or not. Truly naziesque. Well done!

Scott Zeppa, Eugene


Your vote counts, what do you want? This election is the first time I can remember that my vote really means something on a national level. As the election grows closer it becomes more clear that the voters want their voices heard. We are ready for a president who is in touch with the people. We are ready for change. The local election is no different; the time for change is now. Thirteen years by the incumbent County Commissioner is long enough. I want someone who is in touch with the people. I want my local voice heard.

I am voting for Rob Handy for Lane County Commissioner. I know he will provide the leadership we need and the change we want.

Teri Kohley, Eugene


As we ponder our choice of leaders, we should consider values which are basic to the general welfare of all the people. Values of greatest importance are those that lift us out of our self-centered pre-occupations. In an interdependent and interrelated world, the major hindrance to a new and better planetary culture is national, racial, political, religious, economic and individual selfishness.

Transcending selfishness ensures the vision of a better world becoming factual. 

Contrary to the picture that is presented by the media, there is a growing tide of aspiration towards a new vision for better ways of life for all people everywhere in the world. Our consciousness is opening to unifying ideas and to the realization that there are desirable, inclusive values to be built into every aspect of life, superseding the materialism which has controlled humanity for centuries. 

A significant value currently needed is goodwill, which is an inclusive, cooperative attitude of mind, and is literally “love in action.” Goodwill encourages justice and integrity in those with influence and authority. It is the cornerstone of a human society responding to the values of the new planetary culture. The development of goodwill can lead to right human relationships and economic stability, based on the spirit of sharing.

As we go about our daily lives, in all of our decisions and relationships, let us support in thought and action those who act with goodwill on behalf of the general welfare of all the people.

Christopher Michaels, Eugene