Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.19.07


I have been a fan of the television show The Simpsons since the first season (when I was in elementary school). Though the quality of the show has dropped off (and this is pretty much undisputed by everyone except the show’s writers), I actually was excited by the prospect of a Simpsons movie. Such a film has been rumored for over a decade.

It seemed obvious that Springfield, Ore., would be chosen as the location of the film’s premiere. One only has to visit Portland and see Flanders, Lovejoy, Quimby and Terwilliger to immediately understand Matt Groening’s love of Oregon. If you research further, more and more evidence piles up for Eugene and Springfield, including, of course, Principal Skinner, named after Eugene Skinner, founder of our fair city.

And yet, Springfield, Vt., will hold the film’s premiere. Could there be a place less like the Simpsons’ hometown than Springfield, Vt.? This is such a colossal missed opportunity that I don’t intend on buying a ticket to see the movie in its true hometown, Springfield, Ore.

This will easily be the worst premiere ever.

Peter Fehrs, Eugene



When Republicans held control of Congress in the 1990s, they had occasional sex scandals with prostitutes and fathering children out of wedlock. But by 2006, Republican morality had sunk to a new low with conservatives like Reverend Ted Haggard having gay sex on methamphetamines and Republican Congressman Mark Foley trying to have gay sex with underage boys.

But now Republican Senator David Vitter has publicly apologized after his phone number was linked to being a client of an alleged Washington prostitution ring. What this means is that Republicans are making a moral comeback, moving from gay sex with boys on drugs to adult heterosexual sex with female prostitutes. This shows that Republicans have reversed course and are now heading back in the right direction. If this trend continues, they might start talking about getting out of Iraq and balancing the federal budget.

I’m Marc Perkel, and I approved this message!

Marc Perkel, San Bruno, Calif.



The traffic congestion in Eugene and in Lane County will only get worse because our planning department and local goverment are catering to it. The more freeways, huge highways and commuter roads that they put in, the worse it will get. They are inviting more traffic and commuters to come in because they are “improving” the highways for this.

We are going to become Detroit, which did exactly the same thing, and all the business left the area, because it could not function there. Detroit is now a slum. The only “cure” is to STOP and discourage all freeway, highway, etc. improvement and development. If no one believes that, go ahead, investigate the history of Detroit, how it got that way and what happened. You’ll be looking at the future of Eugene and Lane County.

dh bucher, Eugene



During the time I have spent at Greenhill, I have had the pleasure of being part of a team that truly, honestly cares about what they do. We are a family.

There is no divide between “management” and “kennel staff.” We are not “hamstrung” by policies we don’t agree with. We are not out of the loop, ignored or uninformed. We spend our lives at the shelter; we see the dogs every day. We feed them, clean their kennels and take care of them when they are sick. We tuck them in at night and dream about them when we go to bed. We rejoice when they find a “forever home” even when saying goodbye is bittersweet. We share our lives with them. They are our lives. To imply that we would sit by and watch as they were mistreated is unthinkable. We are bound by the trust these animals place in us. I would not violate that trust for anything. No one at Greenhill would.

I hold on to that knowledge even as I am an active, willing participant in the decision to euthanize some of these animals. As a Certified Euthanasia Technician, I am also called upon to perform euthanasia. I do this with full confidence that it is the right decision. I have never euthanized an animal arbitrarily, nor has anyone else at Greenhill. We are all in communication constantly about the health and happiness of our dogs — it is not unusual for the entire staff to meet to discuss an animal. We are a team. We are a family. We work side by side to care for the animals that we have a calling to help.

Kelly Orleman, Kennel Lead, Greenhill Humane Society


It’s a hot day, but the facts are cold — the Iraq casualty and cost facts. This fifth summer of our first major pre-emptive war, the talk is of “bipartisan coalescence” around the Baker report’s recommendations. You remember the Baker report, don’t you? It arrived DOA this January, cut down by Bush’s surge. Now it’s being resurrected, with a timeline to begin drawing down the troops in a year or so, next July or September. Well, while we were looking away the combat deathrate has surpassed 100 a month.

These are the facts — the first thousand U.S. war dead took 18 months, the second 14, the third a little more than 12. The four-thousandth U.S. troop death is set to occur 11 months since the Baker report/Bush surge, just in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas. To get the Iraqi war dead numbers, simply multiply by 100. According to this “end-the-war” plan (with a good chance of passing Congress) by the time our role shifts and troops begin drawing down, somewhere between 4,700 and 4,800 American lives will have been squandered in a criminal war, the cost of which has surpassed one half of one trillion dollars. Ain’t democracy grand.

Paul Prensky, Eugene



I am writing in regards to Mr. Pittman’s article “Road Taxes” in the 7/5 issue. As a member of the public that attended most of the city council’s subcommittee on transportation, I would like to shed some light on the discussion.

First I would like to thank the councilors and staff who worked very hard to find some solutions to the growing backlog of street repairs in the city. The whole transportation system was taken into account, i.e. cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians.

With regards to the heavy trucks that Mr. Pittman was talking about, whereas Mr. Lidz said it would be possible [to estimate their impact], there were also many drawbacks to this, and the majority of the committee felt that they were enough to take it off the table.

The trucks that we are talking about are taxed through the weight mile tax through the state, and the city gets approximately $2 million a year that is already being used for road repairs. There was one recommendation from the subcommittee that the whole council chose not to forward for more research, a fee for waste haulers in the city. On a 4-4 tie with the mayor voting no, they cut a proposal that would have added a small fee to everyone’s — residential and commercial — garbage bill.

The true cost of picking up our garbage has to also include the cost to the transportation system and the damage that it causes. In one of the waste haulers’ own publications, they boast that their trucks are on the roads 16 hours a day seven days a week. They are also on the type of roads that are not designed or built to handle the type of weight that they carry.

It was estimated that a 50 cent fee on home pick up and a larger one for larger containers that commercial and business use could generate $1 million each year. It is my hope that we will do what we need to do to make Eugene the best city it can be.

John Barofsky, Eugene



Regarding the current massive wildfires in at least nine states, I’m outraged at the U.S. Forest Service refusing to use the supertanker water bombing aircraft like the DC-10 supertanker in Victorville, Calif. (the only online 12,000 gallon supertanker firefighting aircraft in our country); [search for] DC-10 supertanker (on Internet). The DC-10 unfortunately is down for maintenance but should be back shortly.

I saw an interesting media report that is a solution while the DC-10 supertanker is being repaired. The Russians at or 1-804-240-4065 have a fleet of six supertanker aircraft like the DC-10 that have been successfully fighting fires around the world for over 12 years and have always offered to come in and stop our fires on a cost-only basis. However they have always been unjustly refused by our U.S. Forest Service mismanaging our forests as shown at wildfire). As they can respond immediately and stop massive fires that would otherwise burn for weeks or months, it seems prudent to call them in at this time to save homes and lives.

Meanwhile we should get the Evergreen Aviation Boeing 747 supertanker, in Oregon (24,000 gallon capacity), ready for service as a back up tanker ([search for] evergreen supertanker on Internet). We need this quick action now as hundreds of homes have been burned and lives destroyed with obviously more to follow! Only public outcry will force these supertankers to be used. Contact every public official and demand these aircraft stop these fires now and build more supertankers!

Larry Swanberg, Victorville, Calif.



Modern genetic engineering and DNA research confirm what Darwin wrote years ago. From a scientific perspective, based upon DNA studies and fossil remains, scientists can put together how different species developed and evolved. Humans have been around for just a brief period, considering how far back we can now trace our roots. Ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct. A common genetic link can be traced to all life on Earth, starting 3.5 billion years ago. Homo sapiens are one of a few evolutions from chimps, dating back 200,000 years — the only one to survive.

The DNA of chimpanzees is about 99 percent the same as humans — whether we are black, white, yellow or brown. All people living today have 99.9 percent the same, highly complex, DNA. Geneticists can map out how life has evolved for billions of years and show where we fit into the picture. There are no gods out there, making us in His or Her image, telling us what’s right and wrong and how to behave in the world. The many gods are just a creation of our highly developed human brain.

We think we’re special, but we’re just another passing species with a big brain, wishing there was a god somewhere to look after us. Belief in a god has not helped us to end wars, share wealth equally, or respect nature. We would be better off not believing in a god — if we could learn to live in harmony with one another and nature.

Patrick Bronson, Eugene



Seems like every time you turn around another large corporation is calling itself an “environmental leader” or “green.” Usually all it takes is a little scratching at the surface to uncover just another coat of greenwash — much like the greenwash currently flaking off our local (PC) Market of Choice.

By projecting the image of a local supermarket alternative, Market of Choice attracts many eco-conscious shoppers. Yet how would MOC customers feel if they knew their purchases bankrolled the clearcut destruction of hundreds of thousands of acres of Oregon’s life-giving forests and the poisoning of countless miles of rivers and streams?

With the climate crisis upon us, protecting forests remains the most workable and significant step we can take to reduce our carbon footprint — with logging responsible for 1/3 of all human-caused emissions; number two, after fossil fuels. Surely, any business supporting further devastation of our global warming safety net — our forests — should get its green credentials revoked, right?

Sadly, Market of Choice IS making this poor choice by investing its $100 million accounts with Umpqua Bank — or StUmpqua — whose board of directors include the most notorious clearcutting, poison-spraying timber barons in Cascadia. I wonder how many MOC customers would be pleased to know their purchases provide dividends for Umpqua’s timber baron board, whose profits fund further forest-eradication and influence for their Earth-eating agenda.

MOC customers, please encourage CEO Richard Wright to get MOC to live up to its green image by removing all accounts from Umpqua and investing in a local, environmentally-conscious bank.

Josh Schlossberg, Eugene



I must respond to Greg Norman’s “Killer Kitty” letter from the 6/28 issue. He includes the statement, “J.R. Yeager in San Francisco, who started the trap, neuter and return program …” In truth, J.R. Yeager was on the SF Animal Control & Welfare Commission for two years. I volunteered at the San Francisco SPCA Feral Cat program in trap, neuter, return and monitor (TNRM) programs, and I can assure you that TNRM was around long before Mr. Yeager appeared on the scene.

Yeager re-trapped colony cats he’d been involved with and deposited them at S.F. Animal Care and Control. He gave feral cats a death sentence by insisting the life of a street cat was dangerous and therefore not worth living.

Yeager’s partner was a West Coast regional associate for PETA. Apparently, this PETA connection has blurred Mr. Norman’s version of the facts. While I agree with Mr. Norman that an indoor cat is a safe cat and free roaming cats may victimize the bird population, many times cats will prey on an easier target, such as a mouse. Free roaming cats can fall victim to cars, predators, maladjusted people and toxic substances — many of the same issues that face declining bird populations. But stray cats don’t deserve to die. There are countless advocates committed to fixing, feeding and monitoring these cats in places they already call home.

Are we teaching our children that it’s OK to kill one species over another? Many of the anti no-kill letters come from PETA supporters. Many of them believe that feral cats should be euthanized. If PETA and Audubon supporters want to broaden their support and reputation, they must work with no-kill advocates and TNRM programs, not against them. With effective public education, TNRM and affordable spay and neuter programs, together these groups could humanely reduce the cat population and ultimately protect the bird population.

Barbara Gunther, Junction City



“Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into,” Oliver Hardy used to say to Stan Oliver. Can’t you just imagine Tony Blair saying that to George W. Bush? But then, who would the Brits be to talk? The British made a mess of things in their two previous wars in Afghanistan (1839-1842 and 1878-1881). By the time it was over, they had little to show for their glorious campaign except for death and debt. The Afghans really didn’t like being invaded and occupied.

Then there was the British war in Iraq from 1920 to 1932. After drawing the map of the new Iraq and occupying the country, the Brits had to fight Iraqi insurgents who, surprise, really didn’t like being invaded and occupied. T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, wrote, “The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information … Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows …” Ah, but the dream of empire lives on.

Each imperial war, of course, has its own rationale that far too many people fall for: invading Vietnam (dominoes), invading Panama (drug-dealing dictator), invading Grenada (medical students at risk) and invading Iraq (dangerous weapons). As long as we keep glorifying war and militarism, we will keep getting into these bloody messes.

Roscoe Caron, Eugene



Nick Chase’s tirade against Brett Campbell is an odd bit of writing to say the least (Viewpoint, 7/5). Brett Campbell writes a fact. Then Chase complains that the fact was “de-emphasized … to the detriment of clarity.” Confused? Me too. Chase proclaims that “any self-respecting composer doesn’t compose for the hell of it, but because s/he has been asked and, in some form, paid.” Yikes! I called my therapist and scheduled a session to make sure my self-respect was intact.

I’ve been guilty of “self composing” any number of times. Chase didn’t mention Charles Ives, a rather famous composer who became an insurance salesman to pay for his composing habit. Perhaps he wished to “de-emphasize” Ives in pursuit of clarity. The great American composer Lou Harrison wrote continually for himself, in addition to his commissions. Chase could check that fact with Brett Campbell, who is co-authoring Harrison’s authorized biography.

Tom Manoff, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Manoff is a classical music critic for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered



The effects of global warming are so evident in our own backyard that Congress is finally forced to find ways to reduce the pollution. There are good solutions, clean, renewable solutions, like wind, solar, geo-thermal and biomass power. Development of these resources will provide jobs and save money for consumers as well as reduce pollution.

I hope Representative De Fazio will cosponsor the Federal Renewable Electricity Standard (HR 969), a resolution which will require utility companies to generate 20 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2020. This is one very effective step to cut global warming pollution in the next 13 years.

Amy Raven, Eugene



I was totally disgusted with Ms. Sheklow’s “LGBTQ Quiz” in the 6/28 EW. Not to sound hateful, but I think Ms. Sheklow should not crow too soon because the 2008 November election will decide. I think putting these so-called “Are you gay friendly?” quizzes in EW will have an opposite effect than what she wants.

Why doesn’t Ms. Sheklow admit she is sick and get help? What she does is an abomination according to God. If she doesn’t believe in God, what does she believe in? The Devil? Wiccan theology?

And why does she refer to her partner as “Wifey”? I think this is demeaning and disrespectful. Is Ms. Sheklow afraid if she reveals Wifey’s true identity some bull dyke will mess up the relationship?

Finally, (God help me!) I must ask Ms. Sheklow a final question: Who wears the “organ” (artificial or otherwise) during lovemaking?

Lon Miller, Drain



Can’t we agree that at least a companion solution to the problem of global warming is to stop vitriol emissions because we get hotter when we weep?

Lori Kasprzak, Eugene



Any truth to the rumor that Halliburton’s cornered the ski mask market in the Gaza Strip?

Tom Tracey, Eugene



First, an admission — United States history was only my minor in college. However, I have been unable to recall one U.S. president who allowed foreign nationals to attack the U.S. land mass without retaliating directly against the government of that foreign nation. Nor can I recall an American administration which sacrificed more of our life, fortune and sacred honor, all for personal enrichment, family vengence, crony protection and foreign and domestic advancement. Perhaps some UO professor can enlighten me. To the mind of this English major, only Shakespeare’s Richard III approximates.

M. Clark Wilde, Blachly



Perhaps your readers would be interested in what the citizens of this area have to say to the various city councils and the county commissioners?

All of the city councils and the county commissioners meetings should be public information. Perhaps the notes of the secretary/recorder could be downloaded to EW? And EW could summarize the comments.

Even if your presentation was a couple of months late, it still might be interesting. It might even encourage citizens to participate in their government. Your coverage would certainly be a lot more than the citizens are currently receiving from the various local news media.

Frank Skipton, Springfield



That a teenager like Kip Kinkel is a victim of mob mentality is understandable. Mob mentality has been with us since humans lived together. So Kip’s prison sentence of 120 years for killing his mother, father and two high school students and wounding several others is understandable if psychophrenic personality goes untreated.

Example: When the friend of our son suddenly exhibited periodic bizzare behavior, we and our neighbors informed the teenager’s parents, who, like Kinkel’s parents, failed to face their son’s personality problem.

After a day of surfing with my sons, the teenager heard voices that told him his mother was the epitome of evil and a menace to society. While his parents were watching televison, the teen called his mother into the kitchen where he stabbed her; she staggered into the living room and died in her husband’s lap.

The teenager, judged insane though he seemed sane to the community, was confined to a state mental hospital for eight years of treatment. Friends and family supported him, including me, who visited him whenever I returned to southern California.

Today the teenager is a married successful businessman with his kids in college.

Jerry Copeland, Florence



Front page news says: “Bush wins the battle over timelines.” The deadly game leaves Bush gloating while the American people helplessly await a new president.

The commander says August could prove to be a bloody month in Iraq (more names for next Memorial Day). To ward off the death toll, the opportunity for a showdown of congressional power over the president was squandered by the Demorcratic leadership handing Bush a bill of his liking while he held the troops in a hostage situation. Now it’s full speed ahead.

You can put your own meaning on “support the troops,” be it “Johnny come marching home” or “Go get ’em, tiger!” But the funding issue is not about the troops; it is about Bush’s inner circle’s war policy. Sadly, the pro-war crowd and the Republican stronghold are supporting the wasteful death of many good men.

Only peace from withdrawal can relieve the frustration of beating war drums and scrambling for exit strategies at the same time. Saddam might have been a tyrant, but the Iraqis lived in a functioning society, not the mess we handed them.

Floyd Hulegaard, Eugene



I think EW did an outstanding job covering the Vice President’s trip to Saudi Arabia awhile ago. Who could have possibly imagined that Middle East arms brokering and Lynn Cheney have anything to do with Eugene? The wonders never cease around here!

Thomas R. Estes, Corvallis



Who do these illegal immigrants think they are? Why do they think they should have the right to live and breathe on American soil, as if they were as good as a legal American citizen? Real Americans are born in this country, and if they aren’t, they have some fancy paperwork to make up the difference. These illegals might be nice people, hard working, honest, willing to do the work the rest of us are too lazy to do and of some real value to the survival of our economy, but come on, let’s face the facts — they don’t have the right credentials for us to treat them like real human beings, do they?

Now let’s get real. When are we going to stop looking at imaginary boundary lines, bureaucratic nonsence, useless paperwork and our own selfish ignorance as a basis for judging others? It is time to recognize our responsibilities to fellow human beings, if for no other reason than they are fellow human beings.

By the way, if you are worried about people receiving services who don’t pay taxes, maybe you should think about the fact that these people probably could have paid taxes if we didn’t call them illegals.

Stuart Banister, Eugene