Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.8.08


The Lane County Board of Commissioners in their capacity as the Board of Health recently took comments regarding the Department of Public Works’ request to use herbicides along county roadsides. The official comment period ended March 10, and by our tally as listed on the website, there were 42 comments generally in favor of the herbicide use plan and 96 opposed. In addition, 213 petition signatures were submitted opposing herbicide use.

Individual responses supporting herbicides were often favoring very limited applications such as spraying the most invasive weeds. Government agencies also submitted support, including the BLM, Army Corp., several eastern Oregon counties, Oregon Department of Agriculture and employees and the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife as well as employees of OSU and timber companies or their representatives.

Those opposed to herbicide use were mainly individuals. Groups listed on the website as opposed to the Public Works plan were Lane County Public Health Advisory Committee, Oregon Toxics Alliance, Cascadia Ecosystems Alliance and the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP). NCAP thought the 2008 plan was premature, without specificity about details such as alternatives to herbicides tried. Petition signatures were gathered from individuals and meetings including Health Care for All, Lane County Beekeepers Association, the local chapter of the North American Butterfly Association and the Grower’s Market.

The Public Works roadside manager announced at the April advisory committee meeting that he would discontinue plans to use herbicides this year. The commissioners have not yet made a decision whether or not to approve the use of herbicides in the future. The herbicides requested would include Aquamaster (same active ingredient as Roundup) from Monsanto, Habitat from BASF, Garlon 3A from DOW, Milestone from DOW and Oust Extra from DuPont. These products are typically mixed with other chemical ingredients which are not reported. If new information regarding any of these herbicides shows harmful effects listed in the “Last Resort Ordinance,” it may be excluded from consideration.

While the official comment period has ended, citizens are always encouraged to contact elected officials, county staff and VMAC regarding their concerns.

Michael Koivola & Jan Nelson, Lane County Vegetative Management Advisory Committee (VMAC)



I was saddened to see the way the Weekly portrayed Eugene’s new city manager on the cover of the April 24 issue. I am also now convinced that the Weekly is run by angry teenage boys. Clearly you were trying to imply he is an emperor and are hoping to sway the public against Ruiz before he even has a chance to start.

I know you want to advocate for change in many circumstances, yet you seem unwilling to see any person, position or topic in a new light.

Typically in communities where I’ve lived, I wanted my out-of-town visitors to have a copy of our local lefty weekly paper so they could find out about local interests, music, dining, etc. While I do pick up the Weekly for those reasons, I am too embarrassed to let any visitor take a peek at your short-sighted world view.

Please grow up. You have adults reading your paper. Some movement in that direction would be nice.

Kristine Nelson, Eugene



I was shocked … SHOCKED to read that new Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz refused to give reporter Alan Pittman his business card during an interview (4/24), instead offering up a PR flack for future enhanced interrogations. So much for openness and accessibility — and friendliness for that matter.

It appears that our city’s powers-that-be have rounded up the usual suspects and picked one for more of the same — that being information dribbled out on a need-to-know basis to city councilors and citizens when it is deemed by the king, aka city manager, that we need to know. Right now, 120,000 inquiring Eugene Weekly readers want to know: Who are you, Jon Ruiz?

Maybe where you hail from — south of the Oregon border down Fresno way — folks are cautious and conservative. But up here in Eugene, we’re just a bunch of happy-go-lucky tree huggers. So, c’mon, Jon, open up and give us a big one!

Benton Elliott, Eugene



So we have a candidate for mayor who doesn’t want to share his budget cutting ideas right now because it will anger some voters who might then mobilize against him. Democracy?

He doesn’t hesitate to wave his proposal for $7 million for potholes and police, though. How courageous.

As a member of the Police Commission (speaking for myself here), I recently was able to experience close contact with officers and listen to some of their concerns. I agree that we need more money for police — who are buried under overtime and unanswered community needs. But I also learned that police are just one part of the public safety system.

Jail space, prosecutors, addiction treatment, children and family services, 911 call capacity, homeless shelters, sobering stations, crisis mental health beds and more are also integral parts. I learned from members of the Police Department that upping officer numbers without similar investments in these other areas — addiction treatment in particular — would solve only part of the problem.

Our public safety system in Lane County is a mess. Programs that provide hope to desperate people are cut more and more, leading them to more desperate acts of crime. The police are always playing catch-up. We need sustainable investments in addiction recovery, in family safety, in economic opportunity, in mental health and wellness services, in true community policing.

I just don’t think more cops in schools is gonna do the trick.

Tim Mueller, Eugene



On behalf of the more than 2,000 Basic Rights Oregon supporters who live in Eugene, I am proud to announce BRO’s endorsement of Kitty Piercy for mayor.

Mayor Piercy has been a vocal champion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality for years. In contrast, Jim Torrey has refused to fill out the most basic questionnaire stating where he stands on questions of discrimination and legal recognition for same-sex relationships. Why? Torrey knows that the only way he can win this race is if Eugene voters don’t know who he is and what he stands for. One year he is a registered Republican; the next year he is an Independent. The only sure thing we do know about Jim Torrey is that he is a major contributor to George W. Bush.

We know that although Jim Torrey switched his party affiliation from Republican to Independent, campaign finance reports show that the same rich and powerful Republicans who have given him money in the past are filling his campaign war chest right now.

We also know that because of his backward-thinking notions about members our community, Eugene has a human rights ordinance that offers less protection than Wasco County’s.

During this critical time when Oregonians are threatened by out of state right-wing groups that want to roll back the clock on basic protections, we need someone we can count on — someone who is in step with Eugene values and will move us forward. That person is Mayor Kitty Piercy.

Becky Flynn, BRO, Eugene



I’m grateful for the critical, watchdog scrutiny EW provides for us. I applaud the responsible and dogged pursuit given to those issues that could devalue or harm others and our town. Yet the occasional intolerance displayed within the pages of EW, especially the role Alan Pittman casts for himself, often has me cringing.

His latest “hit piece” maligns, insinuates dark intent and passes judgment on Eugene’s new city manager, Jon Ruiz, even before the poor man is settled into his new position. The article welcomes him with a smug assurance that his military career, initial support for the Iraq War, political affiliation (Republican!), even his marriage (“Ruiz has been married for 27 years, but has no children”… what the hell does that insinuate?) pegs him not just suspect but obviously a malignant match for Eugene.

So here we go into the familiar territory. EW has set the tone and the stage for our next chapter, insisting on continuing the divisive, suspicious, noncompromising stance that has locked our community into rigid positions where very little moves forward and much stagnates under the banner of self-righteous dogma — on both sides.

I don’t think I’m alone in being so very tired of the crippling stalemate.

Joseph H. Alsup, Eugene



If you had a job opening and had a choice between an experienced, caring professional and someone who just needs a job — which would you choose? Both are willing to do the job at the pay you offer — you’d want the person with the knowledge and heart.

Lane County has had the blessing of an ethical, honest, smart, community-conscious Justice of the Peace in Cynthia Sinclair. From her own pocket, she provided hearing assistance devices and books on parenting; she has thoughtfully re-arranged hours to facilitate court appearances, and she uses everyday language for complete understanding of court proceedings. See more at

She has years of experience “on the bench” and in justice administration. You want the person who can do the job — you want Cynthia Sinclair.

Linda Wagner, Noti



Will someone please go get the gun out of Charleton Heston’s hands now?

Eric Miller, Eugene



This evening (4/24) I was unexpectedly invited to sit at the conference table with about 20 elected representatives from Lane County’s municipalities and public service agencies, hosted by Lane Council of Governments.

After the initial discussions regarding mechanics of LCOG, such as budget and management changes, and an Oregon Toxics Alliance presentation regarding benzene pollution, Commissioner Faye Stewart gave a detailed report addressing solutions for the serious budget problems the county is facing. There was a lot of hand wringing — justifiably, some talk about the impact the coming budget cuts will have on the needy among us, and a lot of talk about crime and jails.

At the end of the roundtable discussion I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer and blurted out something like this: “I’d like to see something — it’s a little different from what all you are talking about. Every minute of every day, Bush is spending $144 million. Every day, every minute, he’s just pissing it away! He’s bankrupting our county, and he’s bankrupting our nation. All across this country, cities, counties and entire states are passing resolutions denouncing this vanity war of his. I’d like to see all you guys here sign on to a resolution denouncing this huge waste of money while we cry about not having enough money to run our governments. LCOG could be the catalyst putting this resolution together. It wouldn’t do any good, but at least it would make us feel better.”

Well, my rant didn’t go over very well, but it was fun! Thank you, Pete Sorenson, for showing me the courage to find my voice.

Neil Friedman, Westfir mayor



State Sen. Vicki Walker — wife, mother, home maker, business owner, activist, Democrat, independent, leader, diligent, concerned and caring. Caring and concerned about her family, neighbors, community and state — ask any one of her constituents, any colleagues, with her or on opposing side of an issue. They will all agree that Walker is all the above and many times more than these descriptive words I have chosen.

Walker works hard, does her research and is prepared to do her job regardless of party politics because she believes everyone should be represented honestly, fairly and with vigor. Vicki Walker will bring all these attributes and work ethic to the office of Oregon’s secretary of state.

Charles Crawford, Sr., Philomath



The city manager hasn’t even had time to unpack the boxes in his new office, and he is already being subjected to Alan Pittman’s cheap shot journalism (4/24).

If Pittman and Piercy’s Kool-Aid Kommandos think they have the votes to conduct a city hall coup d’état, they should circulate a charter amendment petition. Otherwise they should just grow up and work with the existing governmental structure.

Douglas Newton, Eugene



While glancing at the most recent trashy American Apparel ad (4/24), my friends and I had the same humorous thought. The hot model’s “emergency!” seems to be an impending explosive bowel movement.

Better reach for an old copy of EW

Jacob Swearingen, Eugene



Shame on you, Jeremy Ohmes! In your review of Scotland Barr and Slow Drags (4/17), you referred to the Axe and Fiddle as a “Cottage Grove dive.” Have you lost your mind!? I know a place called the Axe and Fiddle in Cottage Grove, but it is a wonderful club, tastefully decorated, with an excellent selection of beer and wine; a marvelous wait staff; a killer sound crew; local, regional and national acts; and a clientele that have a true appreciation of music. I don’t know where you have been hanging out, Mr. Ohmes, but it ain’t the Axe and Fiddle.

Kathleen Wheeler, Eugene



Sally Sheklow wrote in the April 17 “Living Out” column of Jim Torrey’s bigotry. Possibly that was what she was writing about. The actual message of her column remains opaque, clouded by a lack of skill with the English language which is truly staggering.

Sheklow uses no less than four rhetorical questions in her brief column, not counting the eloquent one-word sentence “Huh?”

I think I probably agree with 95 percent of Sheklow’s opinions about gender identity and rights. Unfortunately, her prose is impossible to stomach, and her methods of picking a fight are highly questionable. When one tosses out the term “bigot,” one should probably use facts to support the claim — her column contained none that pertained to her argument although it did lambast Torrey for not allowing facts to “sully” his political positions.

Even when you agree with the political majority — and in Eugene, Sheklow does — it is simply not enough to be a lesbian and slow-witted. Particularly not as a columnist. Torrey may lack word-of-mouth support around Eugene, but a few more awfully written columns, and Sheklow may turn the tide.

Michael Crane, Eugene



Thank you for “Welcome to Paradise” in the April Chow! issue. Because this is Eugene, the writing of “Lent admits the café is not 100 percent green and local” has prompted several inquiries (interrogations) into my commitment to green and local.

From inception the business was designed around recycling. With a new business start-up, it is very tempting to tear everything down and start new. I made the decision to cause as little impact to the environment as possible. Although old and outdated in appearance, the floors, fans and light fixtures remain untouched. The café uses full spectrum energy efficient lighting. Ninety-five percent of the café was designed from recycled materials. This includes tables, booths, counters, displays, foliage, art and equipment. All glassware, bowls, cups and glasses are made from recycled glass purchased from local favorite Down to Earth. The café recycles all containers and coffee grounds and is in the process of implementing worm composting. Coffee cups and products are made with recycled post-consumer waste. Other packaging products are green.

Many items and specials are not available “to go” based on the environmental impact of the packaging. My greatest green commitment is in reducing as much soy in product as possible, with the exception of fermented soy. The World Wildlife Federation opposes soy due to rapid deforestation of rainforest for planting. Unknown to most, 90 percent of soy has been genetically modified by Monsanto to accept Liberty (RoundUp). This crop receives twice the amount of pesticide as others, killing beneficial micro-organisms and higher rates of groundwater pollution. Soy processing requires high petroleum use, bleaching, denaturing and the direct use of Hexane.

Most key base ingredients are organic. Our mocha is fair trade certified and 50 percent organic. The café makes regular purchases from The Kiva, Red Barn, Market of Choice, Bread Stop and more. As less waste permits, I will again try Le Petite Gourmet, New Day Bakery, Kekau and Sweet Life goodies.

Norman Lent, Paradise City Cafe, Eugene



If you supported the recent efforts to place the $85 million EWEB Bond Measure on the Eugene ballot, please support EWEB Board candidate Joann Ernst, who seeks to unseat the incumbent in Wards 1 & 8. (Rich Cunningham, a candidate for Wards 6 & 7, also stated that he supported the EWEB bond measure being decided by voters.)

If Ernst is elected, it would send a clear message to the EWEB Board and the City Council that the decision to build a $85 million complex near Roosevelt and Beltline on top of wetlands (past and present) with public money, encouraging urban sprawl, as well as increasing your utility rates without a public vote, is not acceptable to you as owners of the publicly owned utility known as the Eugene Water and Electric Board.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



This election year, I have really tried to keep in mind when reviewing the various candidates for office last year’s Supreme Court’s decision that money is protected as a form of freedom of speech, granting the rich a strong mechanism for swaying our opinion during an election cycle. Using their dollars to sway public opinion to their point of view is now protected by law.

The current mayoral race for Eugene is a prime example of what I mean. Incumbent Kitty Piercy is being outspent 6-1 by Jim Torrey with TV ads, etc.

When I listened to Piercy talk to voters at a friend’s house, I was totally aware of her humanness, her openness to talk about mistakes and success in her four years as mayor. She is not smooth, slick or know-it-all; she is accepting of all and I believe has been a mayor for all because she listens to her people. What comes off most is her humanness!

When I listen to Torrey, I hear above all the money behind him, speaking in slick programmed fireside chats over the dining table, concern for children, etc., but to me it doesn’t come off as real. What I hear is moneyed interests trying to sway the votes their way.

My hope is that the money will not win out, that people will listen not only to the words, but feel the humanness behind the words, feel for the compassion that needs to be, especially in our city government. Government of, by and for US.

Gene Okins, Eugene




I do not know Hillary Clinton personally, nor do I know Barack Obama personally. All we know is what we hear about them through the news media, television and now the internet.

What I do know is that Hillary has been on the scene a lot longer than Obama, and she has had to stand by and watch the Bush administration drive this country into bankruptcy with a war that should never have happened; she has seen our respect and admiration throughout the entire world diminish, our economy is in the tank due to several reasons, the nation is in a health care crisis, and the list goes on. To sum it up, we are in deep trouble!

With all of this in mind, you have to be asking yourself: Would we want to vote for John McCain, a man that has stood with George W. Bush on most of these issues? Can we afford another Bush clone?

Can we trust that Obama has the skills, brains, determination and work ethics to pull this country back into some semblance of order and to lead us back to what we should be? It’s going to take much more than a good orator to govern this country and to deal with other countries of the world. People want action, not words! People want results, not promises. Can Clinton deliver her promises? I know one thing for certain: She sure will try.

I’m voting for Clinton not because she is a woman, but because I am. Women are the unappreciated backbone of this country. They make it happen. It’s time a woman gets her due.

Kelly Droege, Corvallis



Message force multipliers: Retired military officers used for spreading clandestine propaganda by the Pentagon. They were given classified information to pose as military analysts and journalists for television and radio to promote the Georgie Crusades. It’s like the insurance companies hiring surrogate doctors to tell you when you’re sick to go home; everything is fine.

Speaking of blatant propaganda lies: the CIA photo of Syria’s nuclear reactor released by the Associated Press on April 25 before Israel bombed it. I find it suspect. I am an engineer, and I know it takes a lot of water to run those puppies. But don’t take my word for it; a picture is worth a thousand words. I would ask the editor to run the CIA’s photo next to one of the Trojan plant in Washington or the Three Mile Island facility in Pennsylvania and let the public decide for themselves.

May the freedom of the depressed be exorcised to bring the truth to the light.

Vince Loving, Eugene



In the private sector, when one applies for a responsible position one is required to submit a detailed resume. This resume must have a chronological listing of employment and education. Each employment should include periods of employment, duties, responsibilities, etc., and the reason for leaving if applicable.

This same requirement should apply everywhere. If not employed in a paying job, it should be so indicated.

We have a right to know whom we are voting for — i.e. the candidate’s real life experiences.

If the U.S. Senate can require nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court to have complete disclosure and transparency, then “we the people” can demand the same from anyone holding or running as a candidate for any public office.

The complete detailed resume for anyone who is a candidate for, or holding any elected public position, should be available on the Internet. And all of the candidates for any particular office should be available in one location. We should not have to search all over to get the information.

Frank Skipton, Springfield



Bill Clinton, “Mr. Low Balls” himself, came to Oregon to campaign for his wife in the coming weeks. The ex-president and his Democratic Party hit men have stooped to new lows in their efforts to discredit Sen. Barack Obama. In fact, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s inexcusable willingness to let this happen has tarnished her own candidacy.

One thing voters need to keep in mind is that support for her is not simply a question of voting for a smart, dedicated woman. In reality, it’s a vote for a continuation of the Clinton dynasty. Whether you like it or not, with Hillary you get ugly Bill as well and all the other political thugs associated with the right wing of the Democratic Party.

As Obama has said, it’s time to end the politics of fear and to disavow the sleazy tactics of these Republican lookalikes who depend on thinly veiled, racist mudslinging and swift boat slander to achieve their opportunistic ends.

Pay attention, Oregon voters: This year your vote really matters because it can finally put an end to the corrupt ideals and moral hypocrisy of both the Bush and Clinton dynasties.

Violet Ray, Eugene