Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.16.09


I would like to correct some of the misstatements published in the Viewpoint “An Issue of Equity” concerning immersion programs (6/25). All scholarship recipients of federally funded academic programs must be U.S. citizens or in the process of completing citizenship. Some UO Chinese Flagship students immigrated to the U.S. with families or as adoptees; the majority were born here and studied Chinese in school and in after-school programs.

Way’s article makes dangerous claims that immersion programs are elitist and will exacerbate middle-class unemployment. A high percentage of Flagship students are the first in their families to attend college. The students in the K-12 Chinese immersion program in Portland come from similarly diverse backgrounds. Many professors who have taught for Flagship are foreign born. For the record, I was born in Canada. This internationalism is true of the entire UO faculty and is a positive indication of our ability to attract talented instructors from all over the world. Will immersion programs displace American teachers? Sadly, Americans are more likely to be monolingual than their peers abroad; it is exactly this deficiency immersion programs seek to redress. But to claim that immersion programs will be forced to hire foreign nationals is to overlook the diversity already in our local communities.  

Maram Epstein, Academic Director, Chinese Flagship at the UO, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures


I question Edwin Way’s Viewpoint (6/25) that asserts only upper-class citizens would benefit from a Chinese immersion program.

He erroneously assumes that all students in the UO’s Chinese Flagship Program are citizens of China, Taiwan or Singapore because they are non-Caucasian students with traditional Chinese last names. This is ignorant. Not everyone with the last name of Chen was born in China. All but one Flagship student is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and that one is in the process of applying for residency. Sixty percent of the students were born in the U.S. All graduated from U.S. high schools. All met the university’s admission requirements.

Way also wrote that the program pays Chinese nationals to teach Mandarin to other Chinese nationals. Yet the program’s directors are not Chinese. Perhaps he meant that the language instructors were Chinese citizens. That’s not surprising in a job where native or near-native language ability is required to help students achieve high levels of Mandarin proficiency. How else could they help students learn a language if they themselves do not completely know it? And again, how can he be sure that an instructor is not a U.S. citizen simply because her last name is Chen or Mao?

If Way cannot correctly gather the facts of a program he graduated from, I doubt his assertions that immersion education privileges upper-class citizens, causes American teachers to lose their jobs and employs only Chinese citizens as educators.

Mandy Lindgren, Springfield


I’m constantly reminded that Oregon is “ale country,” and there are a lot of great local ales. When summer comes, however, my thirst craves a real, craft-brewed pilsner-style lager. I’m hoping that some of our area hand-crafters are now taking on its more laborious production. At the moment, though, the only Oregon pilsner I know of is a superb one by Jerry Miller’s Wild River Brewery in Cave Junction and Grants Pass.

Douglas Leedy, Corvallis


In regards to the current Waxman-Markey Bill, Congressman DeFazio’s stubborn politics cannot be tolerated. It has been a perilous battle to pass a plan on a federal level that fights global pollution, and we now have an opportunity that cannot go by the wayside.

DeFazio is forgetting the fact that the clock is ticking. The battle against global warming has breached beyond political ideologies, and is now recognized as a battle for our own survival. Although I admire him for remaining loyal to what he believes will be the most socially and economically just model, we need to move forward. Compromises have to be made up front so that we can take the first step towards environmental justice. Global warming won’t hit the pause button so that we can debate.

As natural disasters and biodiversity loss continue to increase, and the global temperature climbs higher, DeFazio needs to consider the context of the issue at hand. More and more people around the world are consuming at “American” levels, and we must redefine “American” energy consumption to change that. If the Waxman-Markey bill is passed, we as the largest energy-consuming nation will take the first step forward towards redefining our globally idealized lifestyle.

By the projected goal of 2025, we could have a global community that might idealize our lifestyle even more. If our lifestyle is energy-efficient, this could be extremely positive. Congressmen DeFazio needs to acknowledge the situation at hand and make compromises to his agenda. We as a state are at the forefront of environmentalism, and he needs to be the face of our efforts and take the progressive step forward by supporting the Waxman-Markey bill.

Mark Costigan, Eugene


To State Attorney General John Kroger:

This is an excellent opportunity for you to “walk the walk” on your pledge to get tough on environmental crimes.

Unless you intend to maintain a double standard in your treatment of Oregonians under the law, the actions taken by protesters in the Elliot State Forest certainly qualify as environmental crimes including trespass, destruction of property and physical damages caused by overturning a vehicle to use as a barricade. These crimes occurred on state lands.

I would be interested to know the cost of the arrest operations and whether or not those costs could be recovered.

Michael James Scarpitti (alias Tre Arrow), Angela Marie Cesario and Jeremy David Rosenbloom all did time for arson and related crimes. The FBI investigated and closed more than a dozen eco-terrorism crimes dating back a decade including bombings, attacks on research labs, destruction of logging equipment and attacks on federal facilities. Many of those convicted are still serving time.

The ball is in your court!

Ted Ferrioli, State Senator, District 30


I applaud and support the protesters currently and previously in the Elliott State Forest. 

Forest management in the Elliott is a perfect example of Oregon’s dysfunctional funding system and corrupt tax laws. For decades the Elliott has been liquidated in an unsuccessful attempt to fund public schools while at the same time, the state loses millions of dollars each year by exempting the largest private timberland owners from the timber harvest tax.

Unlike other nearby states such as Washington, landowners of more than 5000 acres are exempt from paying the same tax that smaller family foresters pay when they cut their trees. This not only punishes small mom and pop foresters, including those developing the most sustainable forestry practices out there, but it is yet another example of corporations getting a kickback while the public — in this case public lands — foots the bill.

There has never been a better time to decouple funding for schools and clear-cutting public forests. It’s time to turn the Elliott State Forest into a biodiversity and carbon reserve. We have a looming climate crisis, the timber market is down and the policies of clear cut and spray poisonous pesticides have failed to address our these issues.

Let’s stop the cut in the Elliott and support our schools without sacrificing a forest which holds more carbon per acre than any other in the world and which is habitat for the endangered spotted owl, marbled murrelet and coastal Coho salmon.

Let’s protect these wild lands for our children and our children’s children instead of passing on problems we couldn’t solve.

Trip Jennings, Eugene


My husband and I turned down four free camping passes to the Country Fair this year. Why would we turn down free passes to the biggest party of the year?

1. For starters, we don’t want to hang out with thousands of drug-addled, drunk people.

2. We love camping, and we prefer to do it with just a few other people, or by ourselves.

3. The music there sucks. I acknowledge this is just a matter of taste.

4. We prefer not to trip over diapers, beer cans/bottles, and trash while “out in the wilderness.”

5. I don’t care what anyone says; I’m not willing to engage in inappropriate adult activities just because I’m “out in the wilderness” and intoxicated.

6. When the Fair is going on I get to work extra hours because everyone has to take two weeks off for a three-day event.

7. The rampant illegal activity, both drug and sex related (16 year old girls + 50 year old men = not cool).

I AM A HIPPIE. And I do not feel the Country Fair is a beautiful place. It’s reprehensible, or at least what occurs after hours, which is the major attraction, is. I just wish others would sober up and realize that as well.

Eve Cienfuegos, Eugene


I very much agree with David Pirie’s views on demonstrations and protestors in Eugene (“Be Polite, Protestors” 7/2). I have also worked in private security, as well as five years in the D.I.A. During that time I have had car battery acid thrown on me, and I saw a co-worker get hit with a “Carolina Pancake” — the principle ingredient was lye. He was burned severely before we could get his coat and shirt off. I might add that 85 percent of the individuals in the demonstrations and protests were quiet and orderly, making their views known without violence. It was the unruly 15 percent that caused the majority of the problems.

Ian Van Ornum should consider himself lucky. If he had confronted me and made the “spray with poison” remark, he would have gotten the crap beat out of him then and there, regardless of witnesses or charges filed. I think the EPD officers were very restrained.

Lon Miller, Drain



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