Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.2.07


I had the pleasure of attending the first “Lane County Commissioner’s Listening Tour.” This is long overdue. On April 22, 2004, The Register-Guard reported that “the Lane County district attorney’s office will cease prosecuting more than 100 nonviolent misdemeanor crimes in a budget-cutting move to save $271,000 by turning away 2,000 charges.” This was three years ago.

Most people I talk to feel that the commissioners have not listened. The commissioners seem to have two ideas: more taxes or cut services. The problem is, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, “as the tax burden has shifted from corporations to individual taxpayers, low-income taxpayers have been the hardest hit with the increases.” Those with the “deep pocket” in Oregon, the corporations, paid 18.5 percent of all income tax in the early 1970. Now they pay 4.6 percent, and by 2009 it will be 4.4 percent.

City council and school board members are mostly volunteers. However the five Lane County commissioners each receive an annual salary of over $70,000 plus benefits and a paid staff member. That amounts to a total cost of more than $500,000 a year. For that kind of money we should expect a lot more creativity, not just three years of attempts to increase taxes and cut more services.

The county government is sick and dying. It needs “intensive care.” The commissioners maybe the solution or the problem. Two of the commissioners, Dwyer and Green, “declined repeated requests” for an R-G interview regarding this issue. Perhaps they are totally out of ideas? Perhaps they could do Lane County a favor and resign. Then the remaining members could interview creative people, listen, learn and get some life support systems for our needed government. If nothing else they could not fill the two positions and save the county government over $200,000.

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove



I live in the Fairmount neighborhood and pay close attention to the uncontrolled and predatory growth of the UO’s development goals.

It’s obvious that President Frohnmayer’s proposed arena project is actually the center of a larger public/private shadow campus he and his investor friends hope to construct and sustain. One of the main problems with this sprawling development focus and annexation is that Frohnmayer has accumulated nearly $150 million in deferred maintinence on the existing campus. The only way to get Frohnmayer to do his job and upkeep the main campus is to deny him his ability to sprawl on top of existing neighborhoods utilizing the power of eminent domain. Reining in Frohnmayer’s ability to kick off construction of his new private dream campus would help preserve the integrity of the main campus.

Nike’s yearly payments of $40,000 to Frohnmayer have ensured the sustainability of Frohnmayer’s underhanded dealings in favor of the company over the years. Frohnmayer’s current threats and use of eminent domain against existing businesses on Franklin (R-G, 7/11) will collapse his proposal. Alan Zelenka’s advocacy for the arena project and the recent approval of $35,000 for “traffic calming” in anticipation of Phil Knight writing the long awaited $130 million check shows the city of Eugene and the UO Foundation are in direct collusion in soliciting this final private donation.

Eric Eiden, Eugene



While living in the People’s Republic of Eugene for more than 30 years, I have seen more than my fair share of “political correctedness.” As an adult, I have the option to “take what I want and leave the rest.” However, it is my responsibility to help facilitate my daughters’ learning experiences while they are in my care.

One of my favorite things to do every Thursday is to pick up the latest edition of the Weekly. In fact, my oldest daughter loves to go get a paper for me from the “red box.” Because of the interior content, I read the Weekly after my children (who are 8 and 5) mostly after they go to sleep. I don’t shield my children from reality; I try to put reality into an objective age-appropriate format. I was completely taken aback when I saw last week’s (7/19) cover: severed cougar heads, complete with flies.

Because I have lived in Eugene for so long, shock value has little effect on me. However, my 8-year-old daughter was so distraught after seeing the cover she cried, nay, sobbed. Twice. I read the article and relayed it to her the best I could. To the best of my ability, I don’t participate in emotional manipulation or have materials that promote that energy in my lilfe. It’s hard enough filtering those things for myself, much less my children.

In fact, I find emotional manipulation immature, a level I thought was below the Weekly‘s standards. Come on, Weekly. Step it up. If for no one else, our community’s children.

Amy Sweany, Eugene



I feel called to respond to Lon Miller’s letter (7/19) re: Sally Sheklow’s “LGBTQ Quiz” article.

Mr. Miller indicates that homosexuality is an “abomination,” but like many other justifications of hate “supported” by the Bible, the evidence in the Bible in context tells otherwise.

Two examples frequently cited; the “abomination” talked about in First Timothy 1:9-10 read in context is about condemning a practice of child sexual abuse. The Sodom and Gomorrah story (Genesis 19:1-29) is about violating the necessary social norm (pre hotels and inns) of extending welcome and protection to travelers/strangers. What did Jesus, Son of God, say about homosexuality? Nothing! How important of a “sin” can it be if it wasn’t mentioned? What Jesus did say is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No exceptions!

The comment re: Sally being “sick” doesn’t fly — the American Psychiatric Association recognized its error of classifying homosexuality as a mental illness and dropped it in the early 1970s.

As an educator and a Christian, I hold great hope for the upcoming generations. My children (and most of their peers) have learned it is their responsibility to extend love and support to everyone, including gay people. Homosexuality is found in every species, but only our species engages in the fear and ignorance of homophobia.

Regarding Mr. Miller’s parting shot about “who wears the organ during lovemaking” — sex is no bigger or smaller part of loving gay relationships than it is of straight relationships and being focused on this one aspect — to me — tells more about the accuser than the accused.

I appreciate Mr. Miller sharing his thoughts — we need to be having this discussion. I appreciate Sally’s commitment to using friendly humor to “irritate” us a bit. Like oysters, maybe we’ll create pearls! In the meantime — the Golden Rule will do!

Deb McGee, Eugene



Well, isn’t that special, Lon?

First off, Lon (Miller, 7/19,) thanks for describing the intimacy between Sally and her “wife-y” as lovemaking. (Some people would not, I’m guessing; but what a curious place for you to be nosing about.)

Your question regarding the [use of an] “organ,” oddly adolescent, suggests short shrift, I think, for folks dealing with loss of use of a penis through a variety of possible conditions and accidents. (War comes to mind, as well as disease, incapacity or old age.) Does lovemaking suddenly require a penis? And for those relationships where there are two, is there now twice as much love?

Lon’s letter tears into Sally Sheklow (the person more than her article) with a blinkered, single-minded vengefulness. My money’s on Sally — she can take care of herself. But I’d like to know: Why the spitting viciousness in that diatribe? Such reactions are generally found over turf wars in catfights.

Something you’re not telling us, Lon, or is this the sort of ugliness we can expect (as usual) in the November 2008 election from the, hmmm … honorable opposition?

Matt Friday, Eugene



I’d like to thank the Weekly for printing Lon Miller’s letter (7/19) in response to a recent Sheklow column.

Such diatribes operate as a refreshing reminder to us all that, in fact, the true “aberrations” and “abominations” are the hate-mongers who contaminate our society.

Peace out.

Sabrina McNamara, Eugene



I am greatly disturbed by the idea that there is a group of people out there who believe they have the right to tell me and others what to do, how we should conduct our personal lives. How our conduct, out of sight from everyone, influencing no one, is now their concern.

They have formed a powerful coalition which has great sway over too many less informed individuals. Some are truly concerned for my “soul,” but many more simply use religion to further their own selfish interests. They are hypocrites of the highest order. They seek gain at the expense of their fellow man even, at times, his life.

This group has great wealth which they use to buy shills who may or may not believe in what they are selling. They have a “base” of which a large part consists of the poor, the uneducated and deluded people who simply cannot understand that they are voting against their own interests when they support this group. A base whose wretched selfish goals are the same as theirs, which also include bigotry, racism and intolerance of others who do not hold the same belief system as their own.

They claim that thay have higher moral standards than “us,” but at the same time they lie us into an unnecessary, costly and fearfully deadly war. Practically everything concerning their public conduct is kept secret in direct conflict with everything considered democratic and often in conflict with our Constitution. Their arrogance and disdain for the concepts they promised to uphold on taking office are without bounds.

If the Democrats don’t gain the upper hand in the next election, it will be from ignoring the majority of Americans fed up with this incredible misconduct and also possibly by adopting too many of their foe’s immoralities.

John DeLeau, Springfield



In regard to Deb Huntley’s letter (“Being Edgy?” 7/12), I offer these definitions of “edgy” from 4. [things] which tend to challenge societal norms and reveal the dark side” 5. “high-strung, nervous.”

By the first definition, the nightclub/bar in question is indeed edgy. Deb provides an excellent example of this by her own letters in protest of their theme nights featuring consentual BDSM and, if I’m not mistaken, the only nude sushi night in town.

By the second definition, Deb herself appears edgy as she continually tries to convince adults of legal age that their consensual commercial sexual preferences are inappropriate in spite of the fact that power exchange does not promote violence when exercised with a strong ethical principle.

These are not the Woodstock days you grew up with, Deb. In fact, that generation may have taken “edgy” so far that we have little choice but to push the limits of societal acceptance with ideas and actions that make your stomach twist right up in knots.

That’s what edgy is. Now you know. While I respect your desire to achieve a level of safety and security for those in peril, please remember: As long as we have freedom, we will never be safe because people will be free to make dangerous choices which may cause harm to themselves or others.

Darrel Coon, Eugene



Will Oregon hound cougars to death (cover story, 7/19)? Since cougar hunting with hounds is illegal and Oregon supports a healthy population of 5,000 or more cougars the answer is, of course, NO!

The HB 2971 Agent Use Bill is simply a wildlife management tool for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to use that will save $100,000 dollars per year while removing problem animals. The passing of this bill does not mean more any more or fewer cougars will be removed. The removal of problem animals is not hunting and should never be confused with hunting. Targeted removal is a tool for professional wildlife biologists to use that is designed to manage animals that have become a threat to livestock or human safety.

Anyone not in favor of HB 2971 does not understand the simple intent of the bill and has a blatant disregard for Oregon’s wildlife.

The extreme animal rights groups point to Measure 18 because they want the public to believe that the will of the voter is being tested. This of course is misleading and untruthful. Creating illusion and stirring emotion is all they can muster when going up against sound wildlife management and research.

The Oregon Legislature as well as the governor saw right through their propaganda and passed the bill handily. Thanks to their conservation-minded efforts, Oregon’s wildlife will continue to be managed professionally and efficiently.

The public is finally waking up and noticing the intrusion of these animal-rights extremist groups. We can not allow these outside influences to force decisions that put our state’s wildlife in jeopardy. Not managing our wildlife professionally and effectively is irresponsible and bad for Oregon. Sound wildlife management programs based on science and research should always be the goal. Our wildlife will not be here for future generations to enjoy if these extremist groups begin to have success with their narrow-minded legislation and extreme ballot initiatives. Oregon deserves better than that.

Chad A. Gooch, Lafayette



Well, I don’t know what’s lurking out in your garden, but mine’s oozing with slugs and their glowing trails. It must be an omen. Yep, it’s true. Time’s up — it’s time to choose a new queen at the 25th Siiver Jubilee coronation. Now, do you want to go where the action is?

Then come on down at 6 pm Saturday, Aug. 11, to the Broadway Plaza (and bring a chair).This doozie of a jubilee is FREE! However, donations are greatly appreciated for the cause, ’cause we just love to party down. Either watch the zany old queens slimily strut their stuff and witness the chosen one — the 2007 S.L.U.G. Queen in all its regalia — or try out yourself. How would you like to be queen for a year? Forms can be found through Saturday Market. And as Queen Inspira suggests, “Bribe early and bribe often!”

There will be celebrity judges, so all y’all really must check it out. And as if all this foolishness wasn’t enough, to top it all off, we are honored to have J.C. Rico and Zulu Dragon play celebratory music so that anyone who wants to dance with the new reigning queen will have an opportunity. But if its dance card is full, don’t forget us old queens. Oh, Fiddle de dee, just come on down. I’d be pleased as punch! I heard through the grapevine, the theme for the Eugene Celebration is “Lighten Up.” Ain’t it the truth.

Queen Scarlett Old Slimera, Eugene



Upwards of 36,000 Oregonians make their living driving trucks. The campaign to push these jobs out of the middle class and into minimum wage without benefits is coming from two directions. The current administration wants access to U.S. roads for drivers from south of the border, whose terms of employment are far below U.S. or Oregon standards, and employers in the U.S. are cutting pay and benefits. The drivers are getting squeezed in between.

This isn’t just an issue for the affected employees. The income from these jobs is spent on housing, cars, food and all the other stuff that families need. The income from a bracero trucking fleet will not flow into the local economy (except for the truckstop fast-food operations), but will be sent home to wherever. This will be a huge loss to local businesses, not to mention the tax base. It will benefit a few owners of trucking companies and their management, but fewer people disperse less income.

The issues provoking the strike against Western Beverage Co. (Budweiser, Michelob, Widmer, etc.) aren’t just a problem for the drivers — they affect the local and state economy, and therefore all of us.

Karen Carlson, Eugene



Mr. Bush is reviving the Cold War, and bringing us closer to a hot one, with his so-called missile “defense” deployment near Russia, supposedly to defend against Iranian long-range missiles. Russian President Putin comments, “We are being told the antimissile system is targeted against something that doesn’t exist. … It would be funny if it was not so sad.” (Frida Berrigan, “The Elephants of Missile Defense,” 6/13, less humorously, Russia has tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile and threatens to pull out of other arms control treaties in response.

Militarization of space was Clinton policy too, but it took Bush to prompt China to shoot down a satellite in orbit. Other destabilizing policies include developing new nuclear weapons, withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and undermining nuclear nonproliferation with his proposed deal with India. He may even order U.S. troops to attack Iran, with the likely result of a truly regional conflagration. All this without mentioning Iraq, Katrina, global warming or the shredding of the Constitution.

The policies I mention are not legal grounds for impeachment, but they are further reasons why removing Bush from office would serve the public interest. Impeachment proceedings would slow the march to disaster that picks up speed every day Bush remains in office, and deter his successors from similar actions.

Robert Roth, Eugene



I have been reading your newspaper online, and I really want to congratulate you, and all your reporters, for the great job you are doing, and the great newspaper you are putting out. You really surpass the other major papers in content and intelligence. Thanks so much for a great newspaper.

Dorothy H. Bucher, Eugene