Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.4.09


There is no gap in midwifery services in Eugene (News Briefs, 5/28). Maybe if you want to be exclusively affiliated with some big name hospital, but if you’re going for a loving, caring, unmedicated birth, there are midwives out there that do that. 

Sacred Waters Birthing Center, Anita Rojas and all the excellent midwives and students there are a wonderful example. They offer a birth center experience with or without water as well as a home birth option with or without water. Even when my labor stalled and I did consider drugs, they knew exactly how to positively support me and my family. We had a loving, powerful, unmedicated homebirth, perfect for us. There are options out there, and the gap is not so wide.

Rachelle de Bary, Eugene


On May 16 there was an AP story about a cross burning in Alsea, located in Benton County. A single white woman and her adopted African-American son found a 5 ft. wooden cross burning in their front yard. There is nothing unusual about that. Cross burnings are as American as the rebel battle flag decal found on many pick-up trucks.

The mother, Summer MacLean, said, “I feel terrible, and I feel like I want to leave.” “It’s so stupid. Prejudice is the height of stupidity.”

What was unusual was that the crime was classified as a simple “reckless burning.” Sgt. Clay Stephens stated “because there weren’t any threats or evidence of prejudice, the crime was not being classified as a hate crime.”

Sgt. Stephens must have flunked the part of American history concerning the KKK and their hate symbols. At the top of the list of American racist hate symbols is the burning cross. Erecting and burning a cross is intended to be a threat in and of itself. It is a warning to leave or face violence. This should not be new information to someone who claims to be a law officer. He seems more concerned with protecting the perpetrators than the victims.

This is just one more reason why we need a civil rights office in the Oregon Department of Justice.

Charles Dalton, Eugene


Now that the Eugene City Council has, at long last, hired a new permanent police auditor (PA), it’s time for them to reconsider their relations with our police oversight system. Ten months is way too long, but in and of itself it caused no harm, as we were well-served by Dawn Reynolds, the interim auditor, who will now resume her post as deputy police auditor.

Having attended the Police Auditor Ordinance Review Committee meetings and some of the Civilian Review Board (CRB) meetings and followed the council’s course closely, I have to say we’re farther from having a fully functioning oversight system than we were a year ago. The council has all but ignored the CRB, choosing instead an end-run around the two voter-passed ordinances. Their attempt to micro-manage the interim auditor was ill-advised and could poison the waters for the new auditor.

The ordinances empowering a CRB and a PA established their independence in the City Charter. These ordinances contain specific and sufficient checks and balances. The council members’ job is to hire or fire the auditor, appoint board members and keep up their end of interactive communications with these operationally independent entities. It’s long past time for them and for the obstructionist police union to get out of the way so we can finally make progress toward restoring our trust in the EPD and let the Police Commission do their job and develop policy reforms needed to achieve that goal.

Paul Prensky, Eugene


Scott Zeppa’s letter (“Incovenient Joke,” 5/28) is just further confirmation that nothing attacks like a chimp on Xanax more than a mind confronted with the erosion of the context for its economic well-being.

Gordon Kenyon, Eugene


The cover article of the current Eugene Magazine touts the investment this community has made towards sustainability, and as a student I am somewhat removed from the politics, tomfoolery and shenanigans that go on down at City Hall. But recently EW reported (4/30) that the City Council voted 6-2 to move hundreds of jobs at the Eugene Police Department out of downtown. The council also passed a motion 5-3 “to support a state bill that subsidizes edge development”(EW, 5/14). Looking down that road appears to be an expansion of the urban growth boundary. 

More recently, the majority of the council opposed a mass transit line in west Eugene (EW, 5/21). Pandering to “businesses opposed to losing driveway access,” the City Council lacks the common knowledge of a decently educated urban planner: Mass transit is inefficient in urban sprawl, which, in general, promotes an eroded sense of community. I find it perplexing that a significant number of individuals and businesses support a culture promoting a more sustainable community while the council has failed to provide the leadership and vision to foster eco-effective community growth.

Ethan McCoy, Eugene


Thank you, PeaceHealth, for your ongoing support to build a new Midwifery Birth Center at RiverBend. However, when designing an interim plan to preserve the practice and maintain continuity of care between the closing of the current facility and opening of the new facility, please listen to the 875-plus petition signers posted on the Lane County Friends of the Birth Center blog ( and client letters posted on Facebook. 

Please include in your interim plan an adequate location to meet all aspects of the Birth Center practice: pre-natal appointments, out-of-hospital birth, weekly well-baby clinic and 24-hour lactation support. These services make the Birth Center a very special place in our community and helped it receive American Association of Birth Centers accreditation and the prestigious UNICEF/WHO Baby Friendly designation. 

The Birth Center and every member of the staff are important jewels that exemplify PeaceHealth’s mission to “serve the community and hold ourselves accountable to exercise ethical and responsible stewardship in the allocation and utilization of human, financial, and environmental resources.”

Women who are current clients selected the Birth Center months ago for the advertised pre-natal, labor/delivery and post-natal/lactation services, and now these services may not be available to pregnant and nursing mothers after June 30. PeaceHealth, please get back on track to show your support by expediently crafting an interim plan that preserves all aspects of the practice, ensures continuity of care, and puts patients first.

Eleanor Vandegrift, Eugene


America — ya gotta love it! The humor alone is worth the price of admission. I often pity the oppressed and controlled populations from other countries who struggle so hard for mere existence, deprived of freedom of speech and deprived of a good laugh.

We, on the other hand, are zany, wild and hilarious. Have you ever seen our parades? Our commercials? Our comedies? We are a riot. And I love us. We have a never-ending supply of humor. It’s everywhere — even where you would never expect it. 

Who knew, who would ever guess, that the stuffy old Supreme Court of the State of California had it in them to pull a jolly good prank! Which one of the justices has spiked the water cooler? I’m telling you, what a bunch of monkeys. This unexpected parody is a real hoot. “Freedom and justice for all.” Well, for some. If you are gay and were married prior to this year — you are married. If you are gay and have not gotten married — you may not.

Stop it! Stop it! My sides hurt, you clowns. Really, what is your verdict? Which is your decision on “freedom and justice for all?” Surely, you can’t mean “freedom and justice for some” up to a certain date. I love it. Now quit cracking us up and get back to work. We await your verdict, you zany pranksters.

Candy Neville, Eugene


I agree totally with Pete Mandrapa’s May 21 letter. It is quite clear that Obama has been bought by the same rich, warmongering, peace-hating, war-loving, gun-loving, money-loving, poor-hating, empire-continuing assholes that bought the Bushies. Where is the change that Obama promised? Did he stick it up his ass?

Bob Saxton, Eugene


Lee Norris in “More Paths” (letters, 5/14) is misinformed. His comment that “people who plan cycling routes do not ride bikes” is not accurate.

The majority of the city of Eugene’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee’s 14 members are full or part-time bike commuters. One uses a skateboard when not biking. A sight-impaired member and a pedestrian advocate both walk or take the bus everywhere. We as volunteers give non-auto transportation needs a well-rounded perspective.

The city planning staff members who implement our suggestions are also avid cyclists. They are compassionate and knowledgeable about what it takes to get public projects completed.

I think the misperception about any public planning process is how long it takes. The walking and biking bridge over Delta Highway you mention has been in planning for eight years. The seven years of planning and implementing the I-5 bridge repairs include extensive accommodations for bike commuters through BPAC, staff and public input. The next five years of mixed-use path repairs paid for by the bond measure are prioritized by the BPAC annually in painstaking detail with much volunteer effort.

Norris or anyone who has solution-oriented input about bicycle or pedestrian issues can join many who are regulars at the Eugene BPAC’s public comment period at the beginning of our 2nd Thursday of each month meeting, 5:30 to 7:30 pm on the first floor of the Atrium Building at Olive and 10th. The public comments period is first, so please be on time. Check the city website for more information.

Tom Schneider, BPAC, Eugene


To Eugene property owners: A developer buys the property across the road from your home. Suddenly the city decides to improve your neighborhood: They change the road alignment, widen the country road into a “major collector” and add sidewalks. The city accesses your property for more than $10,000, demolishes your frontage, cuts down your trees, annexes your property, dictates that you hook up to city sewers and pay these costs as well. You have a limited income, have lived there for 40 years and think your road and your house are dandy the way they are. 

How much justice can you afford?

Judith Clayton Van, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter writer is referring to Old Coburg Road behind The Register-Guard in north Eugene. Van says final action on the assessment is coming before the City Council June 8.


There are two letters that have caught my attention. First, this whole issue with lesbians hating men!? Where in the world did someone think up this theory? OK, I’m a lesbian and I have a wonderful domestic partner, but does that mean I hate men? No! I actually get along better with men then I do women. My father is my best friend and I talk to guys all the time. Granted, there may be some lesbians out there who don’t like men at all. But guess what, not all lesbians are men haters. It’s all this big stereotyping that ends up causing issues. Please just let it stop. And for the ones that think this: Get to know a lesbian or gay guy. Who knows, you may get your eyes opened.

Second issue is “Enough, I Say!” (5/21). Pete Mandrapa (and whoever else agrees), do you seriously think that all the change Obama was talking about going to happen overnight? Because if you did, I hate to break it to you: You’re sadly mistaken. Things can’t happen overnight, but (and this coming from a Republican) he’s been doing a damn good job. He’s raised food stamps, given out stimulus checks to people in need, tried to get Medicare to every American, and he is doing what he believes is going to help our country. Sometimes in order to fix something you have to take a few steps backward to be able to move forward. Plus, if we want universal Medicare, guess what? Taxes will go up. So either you weren’t paying attention to the news for the past five years, or you just chose to look for the negative in people.

Melissa Ross-Holtz, Eugene


As I waded through the immense pile of advertising in the newspaper, I groaned when I saw the article about the three and a half year wait for Section 8 housing just opening up. Some 7,000 people had waited years for the few openings available.

As a disabled person, I had given up trying to get government housing. Now I was losing my Medicaid as it was too costly and didn’t function: I was being dumped off senior and disabled anyhow. President Obama was cutting my Medicare, to give money to uninsured people’s insurance. I would get charged more for my co-payments. Specialists that I needed refused to accept Medicare, so my disability was going untreated.

I opened up the classified section; there was one cure for me: Get a full-time job.

Dorothy Bucher, Eugene





Dick Cheney is a war criminal. The false framing nurtured by corporate media that torture “kept us safe” won’t mask Cheney’s criminality no matter how many Sunday news shows he parades around on. Besides, he failed us on 9-11.

Torture is a war crime. It is explicitly stated in the U.N. Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Convention, and the U.S. Constitution. It is absolute and unequivocal. Under section 2340A, it is a 20 -year prison sentence for one infraction and a possible death sentence if torture results in death. 

A Human Rights Watch report states that, “approximately 100 detainees, including CIA-held detainees, have died during U.S. interrogations, and some are known to have been tortured to death.” Additionally, newly released memos implicate Cheney in the waterboarding of detainees in the attempt to extract false confessions tying Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda to justify the Iraq War. The dark lord should be worried.

Unfortunately, instead of portraying the documented abuses that have occurred as war crimes warranting accountability and condemnation, the media portrays the monstrosity and abomination of torture as some kind of casual debate. The framing goes something like this: Does torture work or doesn’t it? Should we use it, or not use it as a national policy? Let’s talk about it.

The first tactic of a tyrannical dictator is to convince their people that it is in their best interest to suspend civil liberties and torture people in order to protect the country from external and internal threats. This is Cheney’s national soul-rotting mantra. America must reject it, unequivocally.

Gerry Rempel, Eugene


Steve Downey wrote one “downer” of a letter (5/7) falsely claiming that columnist Sally Sheklow believes “that being a lesbian necessarily involves hating men.”

I remember arriving in Eugene more than a quarter century ago, and Sally was and has always been as friendly as can be.

But let me think back. There was that wild truck tour of the women-owned warehouse collective when I first got here. Friendly. There was support for human rights activism at our nonprofit MindFreedom. Friendly. There was that hilariously crowded cabin on the coast. Friendly. Successfully firm encouragement to get an elevator here at Growers Market where we have an office. Friendly. Improvisational humor. Friendly. Random fun “hello’s” from coast to city. Friendly. Dozens of bro-friendly columns. Friendly.

But am I a real man? Let me check. Yep. Even though once upon a time in a peace protest an affinity group of lesbians voted me an honorary lesbian.

Downey may have something in common with Sheklow: a unique sense of humor. Just consider his apparent irony. He quotes John Lennon about the need for more love, and then sends out this anti-love letter. He informs us that he is The Man In Charge of Picking Lesbian Role Models and Sheklow has lost. Where does Downey hold auditions? Is this some kind of fantasy T-shirt slogan, like “Official Beach Bikini Inspector”? I think how it works is that lesbians get to pick their own role models. I don’t know where; they just do. (And in case anyone’s wondering, bikini owners get to pick their own inspectors.)

Message to Steve Downey: Buddy, we “real men” also get to pick our own role models.

David W. Oaks, MindFreedom International


German pastor Martin Niemöller said when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

Now we have a new president that ran on promises to end the past presidents’ unconstitutional mandates. The most deadly to the Bill of Rights is the PATRIOT Act, which allows warrantless monitoring of our phones, email and Internet. It has the ability to eavesdrop on people like my doctor, lawyer, priest or representatives. They can search with no probable cause. There can be detention with no trial.

The new president seems to be going after what is left of the Bill of Rights. Congress will say there is nothing they can do, right after they vote for gun control.

Thirty-seven states have a sovereignty resolution. Five have passed both the state House and Senate. They are Alaska, Idaho, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota. Montana has passed a gun bill stating sovereignty to control their guns. This act in Montana will probably challenge the Supreme Court on state sovereignty. Seven states have passed a sovereignty resolution in one of the houses of congress.

Oregon has House Joint Memorial 17. A memorial is only a statement, not a new law. It states to the federal Government to remember the 10th Amendment, which says that the powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Rep. Arnie Roblan from Coos Bay is the chair of the Rules Committee; he has the sole power to kill HJM 17 and is doing it. He will not let it get a hearing to be voted on. His office is saying there is no support behind it. There are 25 Cosigners behind it. None from Eugene or Springfield have cosigned. I met with Representative Chris Edwards and he said he will not cosign and wants a hearing to learn more about it.

But he can’t because Roblan will not let it go to the floor. Speak out! We must protect the Constitution before there is none left.

Call Roblan’s Salem office (503) 986-1409 and your state representative. They took an oath to protect the Constitution. The Capitol switchboard number is (800) 332-2313.

Duane Taylor, Eugene



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