Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.29.08


Is it me, or does any one else see what is happening to our planet with all of these latest wraths of natural destruction that have killed thousands around the globe, not to mention the record touchdown of tornadoes in our own country? Well, if you’re choosing to acknowledge and then ignore these such tragedies, then this reality has not slapped you in the face hard enough. With all the signs that are happening right before our own eyes, we should be changing the way we treat each other, our mother and our ever-growing needy, greedy adult sitters, a.k.a. our government.

Why on earth are we waiting for change in another leader? We all know it takes more than one person and one vice person to try to change what has been left for them to clean up by a military monger who made a fine mess of our financial stability by funneling our money into a war rather than our own backyard. Any leader who does such things — lie about weapons of mass destruction or allow his own citizens to be accused of being terrorists or beaten or shot to death by police who once served and protected us citizens — should himself be held accountable for all the losses we have faced. 

Are Americans just so damn afraid of our government that we will let our political officials get away with just about anything? The answer is yes because it takes fools like us to ignore what is happening to people around the world, not to mention in our own backyard. 

Our leaders should be ashamed of themselves for not boycotting the Olympics in China. Jimmy Carter had no problem boycotting the Olympics, so why is Bush pushing us forward towards a nation that sets boundaries and limitations on its people’s freedoms? 

Trazy Maholney, Eugene


Attorney General Hardy Myers is now enforcing a new Oregon law against the robotic phone calls from Barack Obama that I complained about in my May 1 online letter “Can’t Hang Up.”

Ironically, it was the Clinton campaign that finally got the attention of the Attorney General, but the campaign was also found to be violating the Oregon do not call law.

Before Meyer’s public announcement, my friends were probably dismissing my complaints as paranoid delusions because they had not received any such calls. Despite my numerous complaints, the Obama campaign never responded.

However, The Oregonian (5/16, p. A1) quoted an apology from Nick Shapiro, spokesman for Obama’s Oregon campaign.

I accept Obama’s apology. I doubt the campaign would have displayed its toll free number on caller ID if it was intentionally violating the law.

Opponents to this new law say it violates the free speech rights of politicians.

Baloney! Our Constitution does not give robots any rights of citizenship.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis


In addressing the many views of climate change that have been represented, it is provocative to also examine several crises that are occurring simultaneously all over the world. Australia’s drought has resulted in a 90 percent decrease of its rice exports as compared to only five years ago, which has serious consequences on certain countries that import the crop, like Senegal and Haiti, which recently had massive food riots. Problems are exacerbated in using arable land for vineyards in Australia or corn for ethanol in the Midwest. Tornadoes have caused massive destruction from Myanmar to Oklahoma. At home, we are all painfully aware of the dramatic increase in gas prices, and the mortgage crisis has had huge effects that have rippled across the world.

This is all depressing stuff, but it is possibly no coincidence that this pattern of crises is a sign we are all interconnected. We are beginning to see possible stepping stones that will lead us (not without some challenges) to a more sustainable future, such as algae for biodiesel, biomass waste for energy and net-zero energy buildings. One person can adapt to a changing world, but millions doing so causes a transformation that can lead to a more equitable world order. A global movement is already afoot, and the decisions we make are choices that affect more than just ourselves, whether choosing the cars we buy, the amount of energy we use, the food we eat or even the wine we buy. Just look for the signs.

Ali Gartlan, Eugene


I have never met John Self or Christopher Fraley from New York City.

I do know that they met through an online dating service in 2003. Self, 37, is the director of operations in New York for a chain of health clubs and graduated from University of Virginia. Fraley, 38, works as a partner and senior vice president of Rockwood Capital, and graduated from New York University and received an M.B.A. from Yale.

Self sent an e-mail message to Fraley after the couple was matched by the dating service, and after weeks of phone chats and corresponding through email messages they met in person. After dating eight months, they moved in together in Brooklyn Heights.

The Rev. William Warner-Prouty, a United Church of Christ minister, led a commitment ceremony on April 26, 2008.

Self and Fraley are working with Growing Generations, a Los Angeles-based agency that arranges for surrogate mothers to have babies for same-sex couples

How do I know so much about this couple? Their picture and all the above information was in The New York Times wedding/celebrations section on April 27, 2008.

After reading their celebration column and sharing their excitement, sadness fell over me. If Self and Fraley lived in Eugene, they would not be allowed the joy of having their birth announcement of their planned child in The Register-Guard. It is past time for The Register-Guard to change their policy and print all birth announcements.

Shirley Gauthier, Springfield


Here I am, sitting in a certain park in south Eugene, and I meet this young kid named Thomas. I ask him, “Did somebody throw you out of the house or something?” And he says, “Yes.”

Well, all this just blows me away. I’m looking at myself, years ago, when my own family disowned me. I remember the feeling of rejection and abandonment and the loneliness. When we do this to our kids, we’re not helping them. This schoolboy feels as if he was thrown away. Why?

As for you parents doing this, thinking that maybe if they were out on their own they might straighten out: Don’t be a fool with that old way of thinking. You have no idea the danger — spiritual, physical and mental danger — when you throw your sons and your daughters out in the street.

You have not a clue of what you’re doing. You call this love. Well, I don’t see it. Why can’t you just let your kids be kids? Nobody can control another person. Is it so important for you that your kids say and do every little thing you want, and when they don’t — What? You just throw them out?

I’ll tell ya what. These kids on the street here in the Eugene and Springfield area are mostly from local families, and they are going to school and sleeping wherever they can. This Thomas is just one of many out here, and he is a good human being. 

Is this really what you want for your kids? I mean, I’m a homeless man, 51 years old. Do you mean to tell me that a homeless man cares more about your kid than you do? 

Step up and be parents.

You’re just taking the easy way out when you throw your own flesh and blood, your children, out in the streets.

Fred J. Huttinger, Homeless


Since when has the cover page been a site for arbitrary news? Thursday morning I walked onto campus and stumbled upon a picture of myself on the Eugene Weekly. Aside from being completely unaware of my cover picture debut, I was mystified as to why I was selected. In the week before this publication, the residents of Eugene were honored with the presence of two noteworthy political figures, Senator Obama on May 9 and former president Bill Clinton on May 12. How did a random UO student who stopped for a six question interview beat out these extraordinary public figures for the front page? If you were determined to feature a student, I think it’s fair to say your journalists missed out. Just a stroll through campus would show you who was making an immediate difference in our community — like the dedicated group who spent their week spreading awareness on human trafficking, the amazing UO track stars who brought medals back from Arizona or even the faculty and students who are gearing up for a summer of community service and international volunteering. With so many exciting choices to be had, I wonder if the EW just choked at press time for a cover. As the reluctant face to the “Word on the Street,” I feel I speak for many of your dedicated readers by asking EW to use your cover page more appropriately. 

Jenna Nishimura, Eugene


I would like to thank all of the residents in Eugene wards six and seven who took the time to vote in the election on May 20th.

I am very humbled by the support I received for EWEB Commissioner and I look forward to serving our community in the years to come. I hope the residents of Eugene will contact me throughout my term as to the issues affecting our utility.

Rich Cunningham, Eugene


The queen of daytime television, Oprah Winfrey, has decided to go vegan for 21 days, and she invites her viewers to join her. Her website provides a helpful menu, recipes, and opportunity for comments at

Oprah’s stated reason: “How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” As an added benefit, she expects to cleanse her body of the saturated fat, cholesterol, pesticides, antibiotics and pathogens contained in animal products.

I hope that Oprah’s experience leads her to continue a vegan diet for life, and I invite your readers to take her 21-day challenge and discover the benefits for themselves!

Elijah Hennison, Eugene


Hello, Eugene. I am an at-large board member on the Whiteaker Neighborhood Council. On May 16 at 4 pm, I attended an event that had been advertised and announced as a public forum on a proposed mixed-use commercial site on the corner of 5th Avenue and Blair Street.

A forum is “an assembly for the discussion of questions of public interest,” (Webster’s Word Encyclopedia). This event was not a forum but a presentation of commercial interests and planning on this location. Two documents were also presented which described this planning and development as a fait accompli. One of these documents is actually a grant application that recently failed consideration due to its false claims of neighbor and WNC involvement. The other document several times makes the claim of “ongoing WNC involvement” when in fact both of these documents have been (until now) kept secret from the neighborhood and WNC and were conceived and written by a city planning commissioner.

I am writing the public to urge any group to describe your public events accurately and to disclose any conflict of interest from the outset. A lot of suspicion and bad will can be generated by secretive actions that will ultimately affect the people and the places where we live.

Sybil Natawa, Eugene



I am absolutely outraged by the low, idiotic depiction of public servant Bonny Bettman on the Eugene police union’s website. Whoever drew that sexist, anti-Semitic cariacature is a graffiti-punk and a coward. That the president of the police union allowed it to appear on their website is reason to have him immediately fired.

When we people of the U.S. hire men and women to use all manner of deadly weapons to protect and serve us, we do not take away their political rights. However, it is implied in the relationship that all law-abiding citizens will be shown public respect. Anything less will not be tolerated. Also, it is city tax dollars that channels city payroll into the various union funds; as such, [Eugene Police Employees Association President William] Edewaard’s act is at best marginally legal, and ultimately libelous.

Willy, if this is how you deal with your frustrations, there are plenty of places around that would that would love to have you. Man up in Myanmar, Willy; strap on in Syria. Go find a place where it is appropriate for police to belittle women and denigrate Jews. You, Willy, are not welcome in this town.

If I were a member of the Eugene police, you better believe I would have been in your face the instant that punk-ass picture appeared. I’m certain there are many fine officers in this town who were upset with your actions, but were held back by the dictates of your union.

I promise you, Willy, I am going to do everything I can to have you fired. Perhaps you’d like to meet me, man-to-man, at a City Council or City Club debate, for the sake of clearing the air, and to begin to get this violent divisiveness redirected in some positive way? My only other suggestion is that you turn in your resignation, effective immediately.

Scott Landfield, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The caricature is taken from a series of cartoons published in the R-G in 2001 by the anonymous Gang of 9 targeting progressive councilors. We believe the original cartoon was drawn to order by Steven DeCinzo, a California illustrator. DeCinzo denied the allegation, sort of, saying it was “none of your fucking business.”


The Register-Guard (5/24) reported that Eugene’s police union displayed a mean-spirited caricature of City Councilor Bonny Bettman on the home page of their website. I am not willing to shrug off the union’s behavior as inevitable side effects of local political conflicts, as former Mayor Jim Torrey suggested. Torrey’s response is extremely worrisome because he is condoning abusive propaganda. Political disagreements do not justify the police union’s lack of civility and decency.

According to the article, the police union president “defend(ed) the union’s right to political expression.” However, I see this as a calculated attempt to promote derision of an elected public official. Their cartoon of Bettman, along with union’s relentless tirade against Mayor Piercy, shows their deep contempt for women who serve as community leaders, and for liberals in general. That is worrisome because, either way you slice it, the union is showing scorn for about half of the Eugene community.

My brother is a retired police officer in a city in California the size of Eugene — he stood guard at city council meetings during many years of his tenure to protect the right of his city officials to meet in public to do their job. That didn’t mean he agreed with or liked each official — however, he took his role as peace officer seriously and acted with professionalism and respect. Also, his city hired a police auditor long ago. He told me that the police department and the residents approved the office of a police auditor to ensure fairness and accountability.

Contrast this with the Eugene police union. They publicly, and rudely, called Bettman’s public service a “reign of terror” because she has promoted the creation of the police auditor’s office. What could they possibly mean by their use of the word “terror?” What is the police union terrified of?

Let’s not forget that Eugene police officers Lara and Magaña operated a real “reign of terror” against innocent women — for which they are now in jail — under Jim Torrey’s supervision as Eugene’s former mayor. There is no justification for union’s targeting of Bettman because of her hard work to restore accountability in our police force after the debacle of police sex scandals.

Lisa Arkin, Eugene


I just visited the Eugene Police Employees Association website and was disturbed to find a completely unprofessional posting of a continuous countdown clock showing the time “UNTIL BETTMAN IS GONE.” The police union is entitled to its opinion and free speech, but how they have publicly chosen to exercise that right so far does nothing to improve the image and trust of police officers, or to aid officers’ ability to do good work in the community.

If I didn’t personally know that there are many more very professional and well-adjusted Eugene police officers than those who are not, I would be tempted to blame the whole bunch for this and for other recent bullying attacks on our city councilors, police auditor and mayor. Their work to ensure public accountability of the EPD in compliance with our 2005 citywide vote apparently makes some police officers unduly nervous and angry. I am concerned that anyone so paranoid and bitter carries a lethal weapon and wears a badge of authority.

Even as their website clock counts down second by second, the Eugene Police Employees Association’s Mission Statement link is empty, proclaiming “Coming Soon!” And yes, this is the same police union you’ve seen on the list of law enforcement organizations supporting Jim Torrey with a great big endorsement and $10,000 in cash. 

Ilona Koleszar, Eugene