Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.21.07


Personally I don’t have a problem with euthanasia, but I do have a solution to the overwhelming pet problem. Tax all pet products just the same as liquor, cigarettes and gas. If you don’t drive a car, then you don’t pay a gas tax. If you have a pet, you pay a pet tax. The only reason we have so many abandoned pets is because of the irresponsibility of pet owners. Rather than lay the burden on those of us who don’t want pets, pet owners should have to ante up for this responsibility. Tax all pet products: food, toys, litter boxes and litter, leashes, the pets themselves, all veterinary services and medicine, everything. This would easily raise enough money to take care of the overpopulation created by the very people who are responsible for the problem.

Then fine pet owners a substantial amount when their pets are picked up running loose. This amount would need to be high enough to pay for the personnel needed to pick up the wayward pets, and make the fine an ever increasing amount for each violation. Pet owners who abuse their animals need to visit the slammer, and the fine should be large enough to pay for the entire life of the pet.

Paul Gillespie , Creswell



My grass allergies were so bad the other night that I was up until 2 am sneezing nonstop for five hours, to the point where I thought I had to go to the emergency room. All this despite being on a $3 a day prescription allergy medicine. In Eugene, we have the highest grass seed pollen count in the world, thanks to Linn County (“Grass Seed Capital of the World”) grass seed growers. While health hazards from grass field burning are finally in the public’s (watering, bloodshot) eye, why are we not addressing the misery of allergy sufferers that comes from simply growing the grass seed in the first place?

I propose that grass seed growers be held accountable for covering the costs of every allergy sufferer in the Willamette Valley. I, myself, will be sending copies of my allergy medicine receipts, along with a letter asking for financial reimbursement, to the industry lobby group: Oregon Grass Seed Council, 1193 Royvonne Ave. S., Suite 11, Salem 97302. I encourage all other allergy sufferers to do the same. Come to think of it, with all this recent talk of “sustainability,” why are we still wasting water, fossil fuels and topsoil to grow hundreds of thousands of acres of grass seed for ornamental lawns instead of the crops we need to feed ourselves?

Michelle D’Amico, Eugene



I just wanted to contribute my support for Dan Savage and his column. I am so delighted that EW runs this refreshing and sometimes informative feature. I am a mother of six children and work in the sex education field and feel strongly that open communication about all sexuality should be respected and tolerated. America has the highest teen pregnancy and abortion rates in the industrialized world because here in the U.S. sex is treated in such an unhealthy manner and children are taught to fear their impulses and hide their curiosity. Nations (such as Germany) that have more honest and open exposure to sex have astoundingly lower teen pregnancy rates. Check out great resources such as www.theresnoplacelikehome.comand

Thanks again for continuing to publish my favorite feature in EW!

Alex Julian-Swift, Springfield



How does federal Judge Ann Aiken explain away a paltry nine year sentence for those found guilty of $40 million dollars of arson/electrical transmission line damage? This points glaringly to the need for a new judge, one who can administer sure and swift justice. A life sentence would be too lenient. And what does “eco” have to do with it anyway?

Joel Douglas, Bellingham, Wash.



I am a volunteer dog walker at the Greenhill Humane Society, and I feel very fortunate to work with a group of such dedicated volunteers and staff alike. But I am deeply troubled by a recent spate of euthanasias at this facility. Five dogs that I had spent time with were all euthanized within a period of less than two weeks. And one of these dogs was featured in the May 24 issue of Eugene Weekly as Greenhill’s Pet of the Week. The dog, “Paws,” was described as being cute, well-behaved and well-loved, and the last time I saw this dog he was relaxing in the grass in the arms of a volunteer. Was this a dog that was supposed to have been euthanized? Was he euthanized by mistake? I shudder to think so.

If there is a lack of communication between the people who make these “final” decisions and the Public Relations Department, then this needs to be addressed, and fast. This is a disgrace to the Eugene Weekly and to Greenhill. The community needs Greenhill and the animals need Greenhill, but I believe there is a desperate need for a review of the “inner” operations of this facility. Either something is horribly wrong here, or I simply do not understand the concept of a “humane” society. Greenhill has been evaluating dogs for some time now and now I believe it’s time for the community to evaluate Greenhill.

Catherine Mish, Springfield



We in the U.S. make up about 5 percent of the world’s people. We few spend more on war, the aftermath of wars and preparing for future wars than the other 95 percent combined, yet we count ourselves among the most insecure. There’s gotta be a lesson in there somewhere.

The fights we pick (Vietnam, Nicaragua, Afganistan, Iraq) and those we are girding for (notably Iran) show us to be on the wrong side of history, in effect if not by intent. For our trouble we have bought the hostility of a large majority of humankind, a dangerous legacy for our kids and grandkids (not to mention the fouling of our nest, Earth — we’re responsible for one-third of all greenhouse gasses — causing greater climate change than any other factor in eco-history). I want to believe that we have a potential for benign influence equal to the malign influence we’ve thus far expressed. To that end, I’ll continue to work for positive change even if that’s more against the odds than ever. Our only world is much too beautiful to give up without a (nonviolent) fight.

Paul Prensky, Eugene



Recently I heard an interviewee proclaim that the U.S. has become a net importer of food. This condition probably makes sense to the commodities markets, but from any other standpoint it is beyond ridiculous.

The North American continent is the only land mass on the globe which has consistently been able to produce food surpluses. Asia, Europe and Africa have all experienced famines. China had to implement population growth restrictions because neither they nor we can support the increases they would have experienced without their one-child limit.

Since WWII, the U.S. has been paving over farmland to make space for suburban sprawl. Our population continues to grow, and restricting that is unacceptable to most people. We have no collective memory of famine to influence behavior or policies.

As we sprawl, the food can get pushed into less productive acreage so that even if the same amount of land is used, it may not produce as much. And when agriculture gets pushed into hilly areas, there are additional problems with erosion. Global climate change is also going to cut into the food supply. There have already been losses from the recent freeze in California.

As anyone who shops for groceries knows, prices have been climbing. Much of this can be blamed on fuel price hikes. Florida oranges are as common in Oregon as California oranges. We will probably be unable to afford food before we are unable to find it at all. But the time will come when that happens. Just keep sprawling.

Karen Carlson, Eugene



The June 7 viewpoint by Karen Kennedy, so critical of the Taser stun gun, greatly exaggerated its risks. As a member of Amnesty International, she obviously has an agenda to promote the propaganda that her organization has put together.

The long overdue decision by the Eugene PD to finally evaluate the Taser came about after the tragic killing of suicidal Eugene teenager Ryan Salisbury on Nov. 14 last year. There was no way for Ryan to possibly survive the horrific gunshot wounds that police inflicted on him. Many readers probably do not know that an automatic military M4 rifle (the same weapon issued to our troops in Iraq) was used to kill Ryan. This weapon shoots a bullet with three times the destructive energy of bullets from police handguns. The four high-velocity bullets that ripped through his body were thus equivalent to him being shot 12 times by police handguns.

On the Taser International website, you will see numerous studies by police departments in many major cities, showing what an effective and non-lethal tool it is when properly used.

Ms. Kennedy would better serve our community by promoting restrictions on the use of the M4 by the EPD rather than trying to unfairly demonize the Taser. For example: The M4 should never again be deployed against suicidal people.

Not another person should be allowed to so easily commit suicide by cop in Eugene. Please support the EPD having the Taser.

Lance Jacobs, Springfield



Suddenly, the same Republicans who histrionically proclaimed Bill Clinton’s perjury about a personal intimacy with a consenting adult reprehensible are now defending Scooter Libby for perjuring himself despite the seriousness of the offense. His lies, besides exposing a covert CIA agent, may have caused the deaths of other covert agents who were actively working with Valerie Plame Wilson. According to the former President Bush, revealing the identity of a covert agent is tantamount to treason.

It is amazing that the now proven blatant deceptions of the American public to steer our country into an unwarranted war that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 do not cause all these same self-proclaimed “moral” people to be up in arms against this administration. Nor have they reacted to the revelations about the numerous cover-ups about the feigned energy crisis, Congressmen Foley and Tom DeLay, Katrina victims, torture, war profiteering, NSA spying on anti-war Americans and so many other incredible offenses against the Constitution.

It would seem that all Republicans who feel betrayed by this administration and all of their dishonesty would contact their legislators and demand that they stop supporting the damage this administration is causing to our country. The 9/11 incident, the worst attack against America on our soil, happened on their watch. The Iraq Occupation is their creation, and it is not anyone else’s responsibility to clean up after them. Since the Democratic majority is so slim, only forcing Republican legislators to vote against this administration will change our course.

Rita Babauta Kiley, Junction City



I learned a few years ago about a program in Orange County, Calif., in which the entire school district turned out the lights in classrooms when empty. It saved $1 million in the first year. Simply turning out the lights. What if we in Lane County used as many ways as possible to conserve energy in all our government buildings? Think of the money that would be saved to assist financially the programs that are currently underfunded. We could invest a percentage of the money saved into purchasing solar panels, solar hot water heaters and other alternative energy sources, and the reamining funds could go to Lane County programs needing funding. There are enormous amounts of energy wasted in our government buildings in Lane County.

We could hold a contest among the schools, businesses and homes to see which group could save more energy! It would be fun and educational and also help light a fire to get active on these problems.

As a member of the publicly owned utility EPUD, I think we have an obligation to do what we can to help conserve energy to help slow climate change and prepare for it as well. We have an obligation to deal with this monumental problem that is literally changing the face of our beautiful planet! Please consider this, for future generations of all species.

Pamela Driscoll, Dexter



I applaud Thomas William Baxter’s conservationist opinions (5/24) concerning the natural Oregon wonders featured in the May 3 issue of EW. Unfortunately, I also feel that he possesses a bit of an alarmist perspective on certain things, specifically his recommendations that certain roads to these areas be blocked off and/or completely removed to prevent access to certain remote natural (think fragile) areas.

You won’t find the legendary Hell Hole on any map printed since the 1930s. In fact, I had to make several calls to connections at the USGS just to find someone who actually did know where it was. Only after a lengthy discussion in which we agreed on the condition that I tell no one how to get there did he provide specific directions.

I count myself among the lucky few who now know of this secret place, and when I make my trip this next month, I will more than likely feel slightly disappointed that more people cannot be trusted enough to enjoy such purity in nature. It’s easy to quote “one rotten apple,” but if we are to fully understand certain aspects of nature we must allow those with specific goals to bring back knowledge and observations.

The Hell Hole has never been scientifically surveyed, and I intend to take thousands of pictures of the location to be later studied by my associates, some of whom have tried many times and failed to find the place. My intentions are good; my plan is solid. No harm will come to that Oregon wonder — I promise you that.

Jordon Eaton, Corvallis



I have been following the case against these defendants since the first were arrested in December 2005 because I believe it has important and far-reaching implications for how our government handles the treatment of people who act in opposition to it.

When I talk to people about this case, I often start by asking them to give me their own definition of terrorism. Inevitably, they refer to the attacks of 9/11 and the visceral, panicky, deeply fearful reaction many of us had to those gruesome, deadly attacks. Here in New York, searchers continue to find remains of some of the thousands who were killed.

Thus, though I have been following this case closely for a year and a half, it still came as a shock that Judge Aiken deemed the acts of these 10 activists to be “terrorism.” I was stunned. These men and women burned buildings, not people — they never hurt anyone, and that is because they purposefully took every precaution to make sure no one was hurt. How could they possibly be compared to those men who drove planes into crowded skyscrapers?

With the recent rulings, the federal government has succeeded in distracting many of us from real threats of terror — that is, real threats against our lives. They have succeeded in minimizing the suffering of those who have lost loved ones and felt the true terror of being targets of those attacks.

Eliza Calhoun, Brooklyn, N.Y.



The GOP is in trouble, and we need a candidate. I know, let’s find a second rate actor with a nice speaking voice and little original thought — there’s this guy from Tennesee. Sounds like a plan. OK, next if we can get someone to grab 50 American hostages and blame the Democrats, we’ll be on our way. Once elected, the hostages can be released on inauguration day, and we can sell arms to the captives, the profit from which can fund death squads in Central America. Great.

Now let’s fire some union workers. I know, how about air traffic controllers? Nice. We’re on a roll now. Let’s do away with the Fairness Doctrine which protects the public airways from our political propaganda and have the first lady lead a fantasy war on drugs with mandatory sentencing so we can disproportionately jail African Americans.

Yeah baby, but there’s more. How about spending gazillions on a Star Wars defense system? The kids love Star Wars. Who cares if it has as much chance of working as Wile E. Coyote’s big slingshot thingy, it costs a lot and our pals need the cash. Besides, it upsets the Russkies, who are much easier to fight. We’re sitting pretty now.

Oh yeah, how about an interior secretary from the oil biz — Cheney will need a job. Done. All we need now is Pat Buchanan to write Freddy’s speeches, and we’ll have the new Great Communicator, and he can give out jelly beans, and we’ll call him the Gipper.

Harper Keeler, Eugene



The revitalization of downtown presents a unique opportunity for Eugene; a plot of prime real estate where we can make anything happen! Affordable housing, good resturants, distinctive shops, meeting places and beauty in design, presented with the architectural grace to invite and please visitors — it’s all possible.

Tourism is a clean, green industry which could provide the overall economic boost we need. Covered walkways, or porticos, are the architectural necessity to maintain year-round foot traffic downtown, as are plantings, benches and free parking. Eugene is a prime location for year-round tourism, and now is the prime time to redesign downtown for it.

Alicia White, Culp Creek




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