Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.5.08


I can only react with disgust to the home page of the Eugene Police Employee’s Association website ( where a hateful cartoon of one of Eugene’s long serving city councilors was posted accompanied by a countdown clock as to when her “reign of terror” will end. The drawing looks to be a remnant of the hideous “Gang of 9” ads that bring to mind one of the most disgraceful phases of Eugene public and political life. The police, supposedly our public servants, claim to need no citizen oversight. And yet they have apparently authorized a representative to behave in way that hardly befits a mean-spirited middle schooler. These are the public servants with whom we entrust with our lives and safety? It’s shocking. If a middle schooler had drawn a hateful cartoon of a fellow student and distributed to his/her friends, he or she would have received stern consequences from the school and from the parents. Who will hold these malicious “adults” accountable? In fact, am I at risk just for writing this letter? On behalf of those EPEA members who actually honor values of compassion, decency and respect, I share your embarrassment. As to those of you who authorized this childish, reprehensible public prank, shame on you. Shame, shame, shame.

Cheryl Crumbley, Eugene


I don’t have any sympathy for all you fast food eatin;, SUV drivin’, Costco shoppin’, sprawl lovin’ folks complaining about “high” gas prices. You haven’t seen anything yet, you AM radio lovin’, Starbucks drinkin’, debt and waistband heavy Americans. The very lifestyle you hold so red white and blue is based fundamentally on black. Crude? Yes I am, but I’m talking about oil. Your food, clothes, trips to grandma in the Midwest, silky panties, vitamin supplements: All consumer products are linked some way to black gold. Good luck! Maybe it’s time to burn off that high fructose, partially hydrogenated belly and get your ass on a bike.

I know this may seem harsh, and I apologize. We are entering a crucial time in which our personal hypocrisies must be fundamentally and intently broken down.

Greg Craigers, Eugene


Your recent article “Climate Apocalypse: Euglena Academy educates on global warming” by Eva Sylwester erroneously states that “James Lovelock, an independent British scientist Fuller frequently quoted, has predicted that Earth’s human population will drop to less than one billion by 2010.” The correct date in the original quote by Mr. Lovelock was 2100.

I know Fuller and have attended his courses, and the information he has to share is both enlightening and extremely sobering. The body of scientific data to support his positions at this point is simply staggering and is simply not being addressed to the needed extent by any mainstream academic or media establishment. This unfortunate typo paints Euglena Academy in an unflattering and inaccurate light, and considering Fuller’s decades-long commitment to the study of this extremely timely body of information and his important public service in teaching others about it, it deserves a prominent correction.

Chris Krell, Portland

EDITOR’S NOTE: See Corrections in our News Briefs section. Our Internet version of the story has been fixed.


My grandmother, active in community theater her whole life, disparaged newspaper critics as frustrated artists who channeled their own personal disappointment into simplistic reviews. How surprised and delighted she would have been with Eugene Weekly’s intelligent, sensitive art and theater reviews. 

Your reviewers thoroughly research their subjects, mining theater productions for historical relevancy and art exhibitions for cohesive themes. They avoid lazy analysis based on “this is good/this is bad” reactions to a work of art, instead providing readers with intelligent information and allowing us to make up our own mind about a production or exhibition. 

Thank you for your thought-provoking and respectful arts coverage. It’s much appreciated.

Melissa Hart, Eugene


The feature story about PFC James Burmeister and the war in Iraq (“Back to Iraq?” EW 5/22) was a provocative and personalized piece. As a veteran of military service in Afghanistan, I appreciate it when editors and journalists will research and break a story that carries the force necessary to shake the ambivalence that we often show toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, toward the foreign policy of the U.S. and toward veterans. However, the force and effectiveness of your efforts are undermined by your sloppy proofreading and fact-checking.

Your article described soldiers in Iraq firing “762 millimeter rounds” and cited “Operation Enduring Freedom” as “the official title of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.” While the deletion of a period in what should have been reported as 7.62 millimeter rounds is a relatively minor mistake, confusing “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (the invasion of Iraq in 2003) with “Operation Enduring Freedom” (the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001) is irresponsible and only adds to the conflation of the two separate theaters and the reasons behind the two separate invasions. 

Veterans and nonveterans alike will appreciate your attention to detail when discussing the effects and practices of war and when venturing to inform debate about the justness or injustice of our wars and the personal and collective accountability to ethics and morals.

Josh Grenzsund, Eugene


I am writing in regard to the cover story (5/22) by Camilla Mortensen. The article could have started and finished with its first sentence: “PFC James Burmeister enlisted in the military because he thought he would be doing ‘humanitarian work’ in Iraq.”

I am not sure what the point of this article was. Was it a travelogue of an individual’s poor decisions, or was it an indictment of military practices in a combat theater? From the information offered in the article, I do not see Burmeister’s actions as an orchestrated protest.

The anecdotes and descriptions of the battlefield and the associated atrocities should not be surprising to anyone remotely familiar with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Spanish American War, Boer Wars, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the war in Vietnam, military action in Grenada, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf War or the American Civil War. Even someone with no education is likely to have seen The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, The Big Red One, The Thin Red Line or any of the thousands of war and anti-war films that have been released since the 1950s.

I am empathetic to Burmeister, and I hope that his situation is resolved quickly, peacefully and satisfactorily.

I enjoy your newspaper and hope that Mortensen is able to produce more meritorious articles in the future.

Craig Murk, Waldport


In the past few weeks, I have engaged in an email conversation with County Commissioner Bill Fleenor. My original email informed him I am a constituent of his and asked him to do everything in his power to fund public safety first, funding other services after public safety was sustained. His replies in the following days began with political doublespeak and ended with arrogant, condescending responses. He enlightened me by telling me that my emails were “indignant,” I wouldn’t be satisfied until “every single penny of tax payer money is placed in your pocket,” and that he hopes I “get what I deserve.”

I have looked at Fleenor’s biographical information. It appears he’s well educated and even has a master of science and doctorate in animal physiology from the University of Arizona. Apparently within that coursework he was not taught communicative skills, humility or tact. While I only have a bachelor’s degree, I have a basic understanding of American civics. One of the fundamental principles of our democracy is permitting citizens to give their opinions to elected officials. Elected officials should then, in theory, take the information gathered from their constituents and make informed decisions.

I have suggested to Fleenor and encourage his supporters that his campaign slogan for his 2010 re-election should contain one concise slogan to articulate his sentiment towards the citizens he represents. This slogan should simply declare: “Vote for Fleenor: If you don’t, you’re greedy, indignant and you will get what you deserve.”

Dustin Barton, Eugene


I have a friend who sometimes comes up with damn good ideas. His latest: Turn Mac Court into a “columbarium,” that is, “a vault with niches for urns containing ashes of the dead” (American Heritage Dictionary). Why not? Enterprising individuals did that with the old, discarded Tillamook lighthouse; why not the old, discarded UO basketball arena as well?

There’s even a ready source of starter material just across the street!

Doug, you’re a freaking genius. Now: Get us out of Iraq, OK?

Bill Smee, Springfield


As someone who for 30 years read the comparable Santa Cruz Good Times weekly, I grew accustomed to a certain ease in negotiating the listed entertainment options. Now, as a Eugene resident, repeatedly I find your calendar of events irritatingly difficult to navigate.

Here are some suggestions.

Bother to write the address, time, phone number and cost of events at each mention of said event. Your modus operandi is to refer readers to some other section/page to get the relevant data. Each time you do this, I feel like using you as fire starter.

Another problem is that very few of your club listings tell what genre the band plays. This is so incredibly irritating. Can’t you insist that if groups want to be listed their main genre statement be a “required field”?

Your club listing is so minimal. Why? Do you or don’t you have a stake in keeping as many clubs open as possible? The Santa Cruz Good Times graphs all the club offerings for the week on a two-page spread so that everything is obvious at a glance. For any given day you see every club, the name of the groups, the styles of music, the cover charges, the phone number, location and start time.

In your weekly a person has to go several steps on several pages before determining that the dive in question is out of town.

I go out almost every night. Just remembering my bad experiences with your rag causes my jaw to tighten.

You owe me more than an apology. You owe me reform.

And by the way, your art reviews. Well, I’ll let that slide;  I don’t know your audience. All I know about them is that they insist on scruffy beards and old-timey symphony programs. Sigh.

Patricia Burkart, Eugene


The WOPR & Beyond and Climate Change & Peak Oil Coalitions — consisting of 25 locally-based organizations — insist it’s a priority for the city of Eugene to save the Amazon Headwaters forest from being paved for upscale housing developments. One of the Willamette Valley’s last flagships of biodiversity, this 70-acre native forest should be made a permanent part of the public commons as Eugene parkland.

One of the qualities that makes Eugene a national model of urban livability is its forested South Hills, crossed by the popular Ridgeline and Spencer Butte trails, which the Amazon Headwaters Forest borders. These threatened parcels of forest are particularly valuable because they are so easily accessible by bus or bike. In light of the ongoing rise of petroleum prices, the local recreational and educational values of this forest will continue to increase.

Given that forests are important carbon sinks and buffers against climate change that retain water and soil, the value of this threatened forest soars ever higher, especially balanced against the landslide risk at this highly unstable site if development were to occur.

In 2004, during the Torrey regime, the City refused to buy what is now the Greene parcel for $326,000, less than one tenth of the current offer. Our coalitions support the recent efforts by Mayor Kitty Piercy and the City Council to find additional external funding to preserve the Amazon Headwaters forest in perpetuity for all Eugene.

Samantha Chirillo, Coalitions Facilitator, Eugene


The Bush administration rhetoric on Iran is chillingly familiar. We just issued severe new sanctions, supposedly to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment. However, the IAEA already concluded there is no evidence of an active nuclear weapons program. When mercenaries smuggle weapons to Iraqi insurgents, we blame the Iranian military. Some neo-conservatives are even talking about regime change.

Last time, Bush sold us the Iraq War using the justification that Saddam Hussein had massive WMDs and was somehow connected to al Qaeda. We were promised that once Saddam is removed, Iraq will become a democracy and welcome us with open arms. After many thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars, none of this proved to be true.

In September, Alan Greenspan said: “It is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.” It seems this same politically inconvenient truth is driving the current Iran rhetoric.

President Bush said anyone who wants to prevent World War III should want to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In reality, to prevent World War III, the Bush administration must be prevented from bombing Iran. That my friends, is up to We the People.

Todd D. Johnson, Eugene


Having worked my way through eight Pacific Northwest and Denver universities while employed over 65 years, since 1988, I’ve enjoyed more education at the UO and LCC, two of my most favorite colleges to date. Tuition­free education is available for 62-year-old and older adult students at most U.S. schools, especially here in Oregon. All three presidential candidates favor free or reduced-cost education for returning U.S. Iraqi war veterans. Both Democrats and Republican candidates advocate more reasonably priced education, especially for returning wartime veterans. All Iraqi war veterans can look forward to these benefits in years to come.

J.J. Albi, Eugene


I can understand Israel’s reluctance to opening the border between Gaza and Egypt, but maybe the Hamas peace offering is real because you won. They are hungry, sick and maybe tired of getting bombed by missiles every time they shoot their pop guns at you. Give peace another chance. If they blatantly break the truce, the whole world will be behind you. (Well, almost the whole world.)

In Iraq the problem is we have a president who has stated he hears voices and claims they are from God. I suggest he beware in case history repeats itself. If my memory serves, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for hearing voices, and she won her war. Since we live in a somewhat civil society, we could just send him to Texas and make him eat burnt steak.

Vince Loving, Eugene


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