Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.5.07


Looking at the U.S. Census data comparing Eugene to Springfield (cover story, 6/21), I’m inclined to suggest that Springfield be allowed to sprawl to its heart’s content while Eugene makes the obviously better choice to (at least attempt to) limit sprawl development. We can all rest assured that Springfield’s sprawl will only go so far. It is a fact of physical reality that growth is unsustainable. Period.

Unsustainable behavior will not continue, but what Springfield and Eugene both may wish to consider is that while achieving sustainability now through bold leadership and sacrifice may be somewhat traumatic for the economy, it will ultimately be less difficult than waiting for unsustainable behavior like rampant growth and development to stop as a result of reaching the natural limitations of resources, energy or space.

As a footnote to this letter, when I refer to sustainability, I mean genuine, meaningful sustainability. This is distinct from what politicians refer to as “sustainability,” or what I call “sustainability light,” which in reality is not sustainable at all.

Robert Bolman, Eugene



I do not support “our” troops in Iraq. I realize most of them were too young to know what they were getting into when they signed up to be part of the Wrecking Crew, but what they are doing is immoral. The only support I would offer them is to bring them home and give them adequate medical care and social services.

We ought to raise the legal military enlistment age to 21 so these stupid kids would have to grow up some before they could volunteer to be paid killers for the American imperial war machine. Almost no one at 18 or 19 has the faintest idea what American foreign policy is about, which is expanding the American empire and making money for large corporations. (I joined the Navy at 19, a long time ago.)

In a recent article on www.counterpunch.organ Army surgeon who treated soldiers wounded in Iraq is quoted as saying that he “amputated the genitals of one or two men every day.” Well, there go the grandchildren. I don’t care how large a bonus they give you to join, is it worth spending the rest of your life with no sex?

Lynn Porter, Eugene



At a Senate hearing on “ecoterrorism,” Sen. Jeffords stated succinctly: “In our current state of fear, it is easy to get headlines by using the term terrorism. But sometimes, a criminal is just a criminal.” Unfortunately, the motive for labeling the recently convicted eco-saboteurs as terrorists is not simply to grab headlines. Instead, just like with the COINTELPRO, the label seemed to be intended to discredit their important message and downplay or dismiss the very real and frightening environmental realities which motivated these activists’ desperate acts.

Throughout the sentencing hearings, the government attorneys flippantly quoted ELF communiqués as if the messages contained therein were the rantings of lunatics.

Sadly, their messages cannot be so easily dismissed. Biologists estimate that by 2100, half of the species on the planet will be extinct. Global climate change is already swallowing populated islands. Genetically engineered crops are irreversibly altering the genetic integrity of biodiversity. Toxic chemicals are building up in our bodies, in our soil and in our drinking water. Humans, of course, are causing these problems.

It is understandable that the young people born into this ecological catastrophe feel overwhelmingly deep despair because they realize that our life support system is unraveling. Indeed, it is not only young people who feel this despair. A recent Gallup Poll indicated that almost 70 percent of Americans believe environmental quality is getting worse. It is no longer possible for any of us to ignore these issues in good conscience.

Rebecca Smith, Graduate Student, Environmental Science, Missoula, Mont.



Your June 21 cover was priceless! I got one of my biggest laughs in ages. Politics aside, the artist [Dan Pegoda] totally caught the essence of Kitty and Sid. Seriously, I certainly hope that in the future they do become better bedfellows.

Jane Dods, Springfield



“Splitsville,” EW‘s article (6/21) detailing recent state legislation allowing Springfield to establish their own urban growth boundary, was itself a piece of work. I certainly don’t expect to read conservative journalism in the EW, but I do think opinion pieces should be labeled as such. Nowhere in the article was it mentioned that state law requires all UGB’s to maintain a 20-year supply of buildable land. By ignoring this mandate, (or at least hiding from it), the Eugene City Council invited developers and the city of Springfield to act.

It is my belief that the Eugene City Council was unwilling to participate in a land study because they were afraid of the outcome, but judging from the chart comparing Springfield vs. Eugene, being the larger, wiser municipality may have led Eugene to believe they could “save” Springfield from its own demise.

I was also was amused by the chart itself. I suppose the author didn’t include the category “number of residents whose knuckles drag the ground” only because he couldn’t cite an official source. But again, I guess we all intuitively know the results that such a survey would find. Perhaps EW should sponsor such a test. It might come in handy for those wanting to trash Springfield the next time around.

Of course, if it doesn’t, that fact can simply be ignored.

Rob Harvey, Eugene


The Iraq quagmire is an indication of the limits within which U.S. foreign policy must operate. The U.S. may be the last remaining superpower, but antagonists can resort to guerrilla warfare, terrorism and nuclear weapons.

The U.S. must stop trying to dominate the world; it must instead relinquish power. The U.S. government must agree to make concessions to people of color and poor people. Lack of change will result in more and more disastrous wars.

The U.S. government attitude toward global warming is probably the most important example of the refusal to cede power. The Kyoto Accord necessarily makes concessions to the countries of the Global South, whose people labor under the insulting condition of living in “underdeveloped” countries.

If the world expects China to stop burning more and more coal in a drive for economic development, global economic inequality must become a priority target. If people in China are going to give up their quest to follow in the footsteps of the richer countries, then the U.S. lifestyle must be up for negotiation.

Milton Takei, Eugene



Thank you for Suzi Steffen’s excellent and entertaining guide (6/14) to teen novels featuring queer and transgender characters and issues!

The article began by acknowledging that it can be tough to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) in middle and high school, and asked the question, “So what’s a queer or questioning young adult to do?”

Just want to let your readers know that in Eugene and Springfield, LGBTQ teens are doing plenty, along with supportive friends, teachers, parents, and community members. They’re running Gay Straight Alliances at local high schools and colleges. They’re writing articles for their school papers, creating skits and speaking up in class and on panels to inform others. They’re meeting in support groups to share good times and bad. They’re getting together to learn about and do everything from arts to political organizing. They’re biking, dancing and going out for coffee.

Want to know more about local events for LGBTQ teens and their friends? Call 684-3466. Or for general information and support, visit Outproud! ( Advocates for Youth ( teens who’d like to talk to someone right now can do that 24/7. Call the national toll-free hotline for GLBTQ youth at (800) 850-8078; White Bird at 687-4000; or Looking Glass Station 7 at 689-3111.

Laura Philips, MSW, GLBTQ Youth Group



It never ceases to amaze me. Once again, I just witnessed a woman on a bike with a kid trailer attached riding in traffic, going north on Willamette and getting into the left-turn lane (the traffic lane) to go west on 29th. The amazing part: She had on a helmet, but the two toddlers in the bike trailer did not! Wake up, please!

Christin Knechtges, Eugene



I was amazed to learn that Eugene’s police chief is trying to increase the number of police officers in his force (news story, 6/14). Based upon my observations, Eugene has an overabundance of police officers with little to do.

In the recent case where the teenager had become unruly and the mother called the police for help, she specifically told them not overdo it because this would aggravate her son. Six police cars showed up on the scene. One kid with a kitchen knife against six or more cops who overreacted and shot and killed him.

Last summer a body was found in the Willamette River near the EWEB facilities. On the south side of the river where the body was found were three police cars and two sheriff’s cars. On the north side of the river was another police car. Everyone stood around watching while the men from two rescue boats were in the water attending to the man who had drowned.

A couple years ago a canoe overturned in the river and was held against the small island near the footbridge leading to Valley River Center. There was a group of maybe four or five police officers on the footbridge standing around watching as, again, men from the rescue boats were checking out the canoe. Anytime there is an incident of any consequence in Eugene, the response by EPD is overwhelming.

We’ve had a number of noise complaints in my neighborhood — mostly due to barking dogs. In every case that I have witnessed, at least two police officers have shown up to address the problem.

And of course we know of at least two cops who had plenty of leisure time while on duty in which to visit street ladies and take care of their sexual needs. Maybe a nap was also in order? And of course, there was plenty of time for a number of other cops to listen to complaints from these women and then cover for their buddies by not reporting it. We will never know just how many police officers were involved with abusing these women while on duty, but it was probably more than two.

Wayne Pierce, Eugene



OK — I won’t argue with the feds wanting to call that bunch of idiot arsonists “eco-terrorists” and tacking a “terrorism” charge on ’em — as long as they’re willing to use the “terrorist” label, and prosecute as aggressively, those so-called “right-to-life” thugs who bomb Planned Parenthood clinics and post “hit lists” of doctors who offer abortion services.

Likewise, let’s apply the “terrorist” sentencing enhancement to all the violent white-supremacists and the gay bashers. These people are our own homegrown “Taliban” and are a much bigger threat to our lives and freedom than a dozen tree-hugging monkey-wrenchers.

Amy Carpenter, Eugene



As a volunteer at Greenhill Humane Society for more than three years, I have been involved with every aspect of the kennel. I am outraged by the false accusations and assumptions by Catherine Mish in the June 21 issue of this paper.

Ms. Mish never bothered to communicate with any staff member regarding the five dogs she claims were euthanized. In fact, five dogs were transported to the Oregon Humane Society in Portland on Friday, June 8. If these were the five dogs she was talking about, she easily could have found this information.

Greenhill’s Second Chance Program provides dogs who face euthanasia at other shelters (including LCARA) a chance to find a home at Greenhill. Sometimes, Greenhill also sends dogs to other shelters to meet adopters in other parts of the state. The foster program provides temporary homes to puppies too young for adoption and dogs that need extra socialization or time to recover from a surgical procedure. A dog you see today may go into foster or to another shelter tomorrow. Would Ms. Mish assume they were all euthanized?

No dog is euthanized by mistake; no need for Catherine Mish to shudder. There is no problem with the evaluation of dogs at Greenhill. The only thing “horribly wrong here” is that ignorant people make misleading statements put into print by a newspaper.

Had Ms. Mish simply asked a question, her horrible letter would not exist because I know she would have received the open, honest answers that I always receive from Greenhill staff. Now the dominoes are falling — negative attention has been drawn to Greenhill. If that prevents one adoption or causes one donor to change their mind about giving, I think the blame should fall squarely on the shoulders of Catherine Mish.

Dru McCarthy, Eugene



I enjoy the situation comedy Scrubs. For me the show has an enjoyable combination of slapstick humor and factual information. In one show I remember, the salty Dr. Cox turns to Newbie and says, “You know, Newbie, if you eliminate the emergency room and the maternity ward one out of three people who come to this hospital will die.”

I have lived in Eugene for more than 15 years, and in that time the women I have known who have given birth have chosen to use the birthing center instead of the hospital — including a nurse.

I remember when the big plan for Eugene was for nodal development. Why not have a small emergency room in each neighborhood? If a child falls on a playground in Bethel, why do the parents have to drive 20 minutes to a hospital? Wouldn’t it be best to have an emergency room in Bethel five minutes away?

And as for dying, I read an article which said many people are choosing to die at home — surrounded by things they know and love instead of in a sterile hospital surrounded by strangers or being ignored.

Maybe hospitals are soooo 20th century. Maybe the age of the mega-hospital is over.

Chris Pender, Eugene



In last week’s (6/21) EW, a volunteer wrote regarding a dog named Paws. I found that this dog was killed on May 19, nearly a full week prior to being featured as “Pet of the Week” in the May 24 issue of EW.

How can something like this happen? There seems to be a a serious lack of communication between Greenhill’s marketing department and what actually goes on at the shelter on a daily basis. I agree with the volunteer; it is past time for the community to evaluate Greenhill.

Tamara Barnes, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Greenhill tells us Paws was a “sad case” and all efforts to find him a home were fruitless as his mental health declined and he became depressed and unresponsive. The staff was unaware he had been submitted as Pet of the Week.



Kip Kinkle is seeking a retrial. After the recent Virginia Tech murders by Seung-Hui Cho, I wonder if his lawyer and people in general are paying enough attention to the antidepressant defense. Michael Moore, who did the Bowling for Columbine documentary which asked why the school shootings were happening, found no adequate explanation. Moore has since found out about the suppression of information by the drug companies and FDA about these drugs inducing suicidality and homicidality. At the Drug Awareness site online, it opens with a video on this, where Michael asks why the drug marketers aren’t in jail yet.

Kinkle’s lawyer should speak to neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock about the florinated SSRIs. We should multiply our anger at the murderers by a million and apply it to the pharmaceutical/medical profiteers who suppressed the evidence from the beginning and continue to do so now.

Daniel Burdick, Eugene



Perhaps I’m one of few who have a different opinion concerning the development of the Beverly and Green properties in south Eugene. Not unlike the housing presently surrounding these properties, this proposed development is within the urban growth boundary and is zoned for residential building. Fifty years ago, many of the existing homes were not there. What contribution are these homes making to the current alleged degradation?

These special interest groups who oppose development also cite urban sprawl as a reason not to build here. Preventing building in south Eugene forces the increasing population to seek affordable housing outside of the UGB. This is witnessed by developments in surrounding communities. Because it’s happening “over the hill,” its impact is less significant?

And as long as I am on the track of thinking globally, do you believe the citizens living in these outlying areas are not employed in Eugene? This not only creates increased fossil fuel consumption and congested highways but also a working class that is utilizing the resources of Eugene and not contributing to its tax base.

With increasing population, growth is inevitable. Why is there never a mention of compromise? If you don’t approve of the proposed development, what is needed to meet your approval? As citizens living in a capitalist society you, too, are dependent upon growth.

With no hard and fast regulations for future development, Eugene’s City Council is allowed to continue to vacillate, exercise eminent domain and be persuaded by special interest groups. Does the acronym NIMBY have a familiar ring?

Daniel Henderson, Cottage Grove



I am opposed the the national I.D. (news story, 6/28). Driver’s licenses are enough to prove who you say you are. I find it ridiculous that Andrea Meyer of the ACLU doesn’t seem to realize that, for as long as I can remember, you needed a driver’s license to do just that, which included cashing a payroll check, buying liquor and the list goes on. The only reason she “happens” to omit this fact is to show her support for illegal aliens; yes, “illegal” means just that, not the politically correct and absurd term “undocumented ” immigrants. I suppose you can call an illegal drug dealer an “unlicensed” pharmacist!

As a child of legal immigrants, and having an elder sister who’s also a legal immigrant, I feel insulted at the persistence of those who chose to abandon their country when they are really needed there to strive for change, for a stronger and healthier economy. They need to stay and fight for positive change.

There is a well known saying: You can’t fix your problems by running away from them! That said, this situation is the result of the actions from two groups: the rich elite of the U.S. and the rich elite of the countries the illegals come from. I’ll also include the failed foreign policy of the U.S. regarding Latin America going back to James Monroe and his Monroe Doctrine.

Don’t you think it’s time for those desperate people who hop the border fence to stay home and kick some ass? Long live the Mexican people in southern Mexico, in Chiapas and Oaxaca, who are staging a revolt against corruption and foreign corporate interests. Hey, how about the rest of you pussies do the same?

Chis Williamson, Springfield



I would like to answer Curtis Taylor’s (and PETA’s) response to my letter in the June 28 EW. Curtis and PETA completely miss the point about the kind of no-kill community we are trying to build here in Lane County, and for some reason known only to them, find it necessary to muck up the issue and stand in the way of saving adoptable animals’ lives.

I can’t say it any better than Kylie Belachaikovsky’s letter May 31, where she said, “Fortunately for Mr. Taylor, animal welfare advocates in Lane County are not calling for the construction of an isolated, underfunded, overburdened no-kill shelter. They are instead wisely building a self-sustaining no-kill community philosophy. This is not just semantics; a no-kill community philosophy is one in which the entire community takes responsibility for all animals in need, rather than leaving it to a single agency or shelter.”

The cornerstone of this philosophy is affordable spay/neuter availability. Willamette Animal Guild (WAG) is currently in the process of opening a clinic. Yes, there is a huge animal overpopulation crisis in Lane County. If you want to make a difference, spay or neuter your pets and send WAG ( donation.

The no-kill shelter of old where animals are warehoused is not what we are striving for. The self-sustaining no-kill community we are building is already a success in many communities all over the U.S. Read about it here www.nokillsolutions.orgWe will build this new community with or without help from current “experts” in charge. To them I say get with the program or get out of the way!

Bev Jorgensen, Springfield, Homeless Animal’s Lifeline Organization



I have been following the letters of Catherine Mish (6/21) and Johnni Prince (6/28) regarding the recent euthanasia of dogs at Greenhill Humane Society.

Ms. Mish stated that five dogs were euthanized in the span of two weeks. Ms. Prince (executive director of Greenhill) wrote that she was distressed about the letter and confused about which dogs were euthanized.

I may be able to help clear things up. As a long-term dog-walking volunteer through May 2007, I knew some of the dogs who were euthanized. They were not sent to a shelter in Portland, as suggested by Ms. Prince. Let me help refresh her memory of some of the dogs euthanized in May: Shiner: May 1. Bronwyn: May 1. Bucket: May 5. Peanut: May 14. Precious: May 14. Paws: May 18. Lindie: May 19. Cleopatra: May 26.

These dogs were ones that I met, walked, played with and cuddled. In addition to these eight dogs, there were numerous other dogs killed at Greenhill during the month of May. Other dogs that come to the shelter are euthanized without ever being placed for adoption. At the May 15 Greenhill board meeting, it was stated that approximately 33 percent of animals that are transferred to Greenhill by other shelters or surrendered by owners are subsequently euthanized.

I believe that Johnni Prince should indeed feel very distressed, not so much about Catherine Mish’s letter, but regarding the policies for the care of the dogs at Greenhill. Some examples: dogs being left in their kennels for days on end, being underfed and losing significant amounts of weight, temperament testing procedures which appear to be arbitrary (and the outcome means life or death for the dog) and the percentage of animals being euthanized.

The kennel staff that I met at Greenhill were absolutely wonderful people who care deeply about the well-being of the dogs. However, they too are hamstrung by the policies of Greenhill. Like Ms. Mish, I believe that a review of Greenhill animal care and euthanasia policies is long overdue.

Cindy Munyon, Eugene



Many associate beer with Independence Day. My husband is a member of Teamster Union Local 206 and works for a company called Western Beverage that delivers for Anheuser-Busch company, i.e.: Budweiser beer. After months of negotiations, they decided to go on strike. The company’s main objective was to get the union out. They want to join the rest of “American” big business and slash workers’ benefits.

American unions like the Teamsters are there to protect our workers. When big business tries to intimidate and bully them out, it is not only un-American, it is the most un-patriotic thing I have ever been witness to. Pension plans and solid health care benefits should not be up for bargaining.

On the picket line, a Western Beverage security guard attacked one of the wives who was there supporting her husband. He grabbed her by the hair and pepper-sprayed her face. All because she is standing up for her family’s right to health care! Western Beverage trucks were almost running over families that were there walking the line. Shame on Western Beverage for being violent, greedy corporate mongers and thinking only of their own profits. Who is going to protect the American worker if not unions like Teamsters?

As our families celebrate the Fourth of July, please boycott Anheuser-Busch and Western Beverage with us. It’s time to stand up and say no more shameful un-American union busting. We, the American workers, have a right to our benefits.

Sara Rich & John Buckendahl, Eugene



As a member of the Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network, I want to express my support for the striking workers at Western Beverage, and my outrage that Western Beverage Co. employs security guards who find it acceptable to grab a peacefully protesting woman by the hair and pepper-spray her in the face.

That action on the part of a Western Beverage-contracted security guard on Saturday highlighted the company’s disregard for the safety and well-being of employees and their family members!

The workers on strike at Western Beverage aren’t asking for anything special; they just want to maintain the pension and healthcare plans that they’ve had for years. As a community member who cares about workers’ rights, I will not be purchasing any Western Beverage-distributed products (including Budweiser, Busch, Red Hook and Widmer) until the company settles a fair contract with the workers!

Jean Schauerman, Eugene



As a taxpayer, I oppose funding any entity of the U.S. government that is not answerable to us. Giving millions of taxpayers dollars to Vice President Cheney, who claims to be both part of the executive and legislative branch and answerable by his logic, therefore, to none, seems grossly inappropriate and contrary to every American tenet.

We don’t do kings! I have always strongly felt that we accept “No kings attached” along with “No strings attached.” Each branch of government is answerable to the others, and no one, Republican or Democrat, standing president or covert president, king or regent, is exempt from accountability. Apparently, not even the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor were party to Regent Dick’s machinations regarding torture permissions for over two years and learned about his ideas when they read it in the newspaper.

If Co-President (aka Regent) Cheney wants unbridled power, unchecked authority, then Americans should not pay his VP expenses. Let him pay for his own covert kingdom.

Kate Wallace, Springfield