Dear Mayor Piercy and members of the City Council: I am writing to express my disapproval of the current implementation of the downtown exclusion zone. I have no qualms when such a restriction is the result of a conviction; however, basing an exclusion order only on a citation or arrest violates the due process rights of a defendant. Before such a sanction is imposed, the defendant must have an opportunity to appear before a judge on the original allegations.
Essentially, the downtown exclusion ordinance permits law enforcement officials to bypass the judicial system. While this might be appropriate under some emergency situations, the crimes enumerated in the ordinance do not rise to the level of threats to public safety that would justify this extrajudicial sanction.
In addition, law enforcement officers in Eugene have sought to extend their powers into the realm reserved for the legislative branch as well. The no-tolerance policy for the “Alley of Evil” was never approved by the City Council. Similarly, the “No Standing” areas at the LTD station should have been vetted by the City Council in a public meeting before being implemented.
In these and many other areas, the executive branch of our city government has repeatedly overstepped its bounds. If you have any doubt about this, review the current state of external oversight of the police department that was twice voted for by an overwhelming majority of the electorate. The office of the police auditor has essentially been subsumed into the executive branch. How this can be characterized as “independent” is beyond me.
Separation of powers has been the keystone to maintaining freedom in the face of an all-too-powerful government. We cannot permit these violations of individual liberties to continue at any level of government, municipal or otherwise.
Michael L. Quillin, Eugene
DROPPED THE BALL
How is it that an artist the stature of Jackson Browne comes to town and all EW has to say is a tiny photo (7/22) with a cutesy caption? I mean, this guy is a first ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who was named by Rolling Stone as “the preeminent rock lyricist of the 1970s,” and whose work since then has been continually powerful and eloquent. Not to mention that he is the proverbial doer of good deeds and provider of benefit concerts for progressive causes, who has taken courageous political and environmental stands that certainly have cost him some of his fan base and plenty of Benjamins over the years.
I think you got scooped by The Register-Guard on this one. Serena Markstrom’s full length article previewing the concert and reviewing Browne’s new CD with David Lindley, Love is Strange, was entertaining, thoughtful, and funny.
C’mon, don’t drop the ball next time. I’ve seen EW devote endless space to obscure acts coming through town who play in front of 30 people and are never heard from again. Not that these lesser known artists don’t deserve some love, but you missed a big story here.
Ken Merrell, Eugene
EDITOR’S NOTE: We write about the big acts when we have space, but Jackson Browne doesn’t need a story in EW to have his talent discovered, and most of our readers already know his music by heart. It was a stunning show that packed the Cuthbert to the walls.
HEAR MY WORDS
Dearest neighbor, Eve Cienfuegos (letters, 7/22): I see from your Facebook page that you label your spiritual path “Atheist/ godless heathen/ dirt worshipper.” I don’t know if your tradition supports prayer of any kind, but if it does, I hope you can hear my words from your own perspective, because I sincerely hope that you will understand them.
I pray for you. I pray that you will never become the victim of a traumatic brain injury, such as can happen from an auto accident, a viral or bacterial infection in your brain, or a tree branch knocking you on the head. I pray that your memory is healthy and intact until the end of your days. I pray that you and your husband never want for gainful employment and that you are never arbitrarily fired or laid off unexpectedly from your source of income. I pray that you are never forced to leave your home against your will, either for cause or because of circumstances beyond your control (such as the death of your landlord, for example).
I pray that you are not burdened with unexpected and unaffordable medical expenses due to an accident or the curse of cancer or chronic illness. I pray that you are always beautiful as you are now and that nothing disfigures you in any way. I pray that your home and belongings are safe from fire and earthquake and theft. I pray that if anyone you love ever makes the choice to serve in the military that they are able to do so without any injury or traumatic experience that could leave them devastated emotionally, mentally or physically. I pray that neither you nor anyone you love will be stricken with the horror of mental illness or chemical dependency.
But most of all, I pray that should any misfortune ever affect your life, you will be surrounded with individuals who will treat you with more compassion and forgiveness than you yourself are willing to extend to the homeless on our streets.
Gail M. Karuna, Eugene
NOT A CHOICE
Obviously Ms. Cienfuegos (7/22) hasn’t had to try and find a job lately. Or rent an apartment. To begin with there is an application fee with almost any apartment rental now. I know people who have gone through $200 in application fees only to get turned down at each one. Of course you not only need a job in order to rent but a good credit score, and first, last and deposit. That can easily ad up to $2,000 or more. To call someone in this situation a douche is completely unacceptable.
I lost a very high paying job in 2008. I took a 35 percent pay cut after a year of looking and applying everywhere. I am losing my house and finding it nearly impossible to rent another. None of this is by choice or because of laziness. I applied for a job delivering newspapers and was told more than 200 people applied. Most jobs are applied for online and you never get to meet anyone in person. I hope someday she finds herself in this position and realizes it’s not that easy.
Christopher Klein , Cottage Grove
NEED A RECEIPT?
I was happy to hear that the public library has switched to BPA-free receipts. I’m sure those little steps add up to a healthier populace. But while they’re at it, might I recommend that they go back to their old computer checkout system which asked patrons if they wanted a receipt or not to begin with? Those of us who get email notifications when books are due, or check our online accounts, don’t necessarily need a paper slip as a reminder, which I bet usually ends up in the trash regardless.
I imagine that all those receipts, day after day, really add up to a lot of paper that could be saved with a simple checkout option. Those who still wanted one could have one, but the rest of us could help cut down on needless waste.
Kate Winter, Eugene
DON’T COME KNOCKING
Feels like a déjà vu, another letter (7-22) from Eve Cienfuegos. And another letter from me asking you to not print stuff that sounds like a 10-year-old complaining that she doesn’t like peanut butter because it sticks to the roof of her mouth. Who cares? She doesn’t like the Oregon Country Fair, she hates homeless people. What’s next? She hates farmer’s markets? And Eve, if you ever become homeless, you can’t stay at my house.
Scott Kirkpatrick, Eugene
TREES COMING DOWN
In regard to Andy Vobora’s response to the Green Dragon flyer (News Briefs, 7/22), I find his assurances far from reassuring. He tells us that no heritage trees will be cut. However, every tree on the south side of 13th Avenue from Jefferson to Polk will be cut. This includes the 11 sweet gums (which are 50 years old) in front of the Extension Office. They are not heritage “street” trees because they are set back from 13th, but they are 50 years old and of the required size. LTD will also cut four trees that are about 40 years old on the west side of Jefferson between 12th and 13th. They aren’t the only ones. Keep in mind what they did in Springfield.
There are more than a few business owners with businesses located on West 11th who have opposed siting the EmX on West 11th. In fact, I haven’t talked to one owner who wants it, not to mention a lot of unenthusiastic employees. I am surprised that LTD thinks they are all suddenly in favor of it.
Contact your City Council members (e-mail them and Mayor Piercy at firstname.lastname@example.org). Ask them where LTD will get the money to run this marvelous system when it’s all built. The $75 million in federal funds will have to be borrowed from China to pay for the construction of the West Eugene EmX. How can we afford this? Why do we need it?
Betsy Payne, Eugene
I am disappointed in the recent Land Use Board of Appeal’s (LUBA) ruling granting the UO a three-year extension to build the ORI building according to the outdated and expired 1989 Riverfront Research Park plan. Why build a suburban style office complex along our sensitive and scenic riverfront? Do we not have plenty of vacant office buildings and pits downtown?
I am even more disappointed in President Lariviere’s disregard for public opinion — overwhelming against this archaic plan — and subversion of the required public planning process. He says he will conduct a review of the plan after the ORI building is completed. Sounds like reviewing our offshore drilling regulations after pouring millions of barrels of oil into our oceans.
The lack of popular power in our university, community and country is frightening.
Julien Harrison, Eugene
I have been following riverfront development closely for the past year, and the July 8 decision by the state Land Use Board of Appeals — reaffirming the university’s master plan for the Riverfront Research Park — was disappointing. Their particular decision was not as disappointing as the continuation of an oligarchic planning and development process. I had hoped that, as a new president at our university, Lariviere would be able to separate himself from an outdated plan that hardly included meaningful input from the university or Eugene communities. His continued endorsement of this plan is disappointing.
The decision does not prevent him from finally allowing the university and the city of Eugene to have a voice in how we use the south bank of the Willamette River. Listening to what people have to say would make the process more democratic, and we should make decisions about public land democratically. Listening to what the public — including many experts at the university — has to say might change his mind about the master plan. After all, replacing riparian habitat with a slightly “greener-than-it-might-otherwise-be” parking lot is still a net loss for recreation, ecosystem services and wildlife habitat. I would be much more comfortable with whatever plan resulted from a democratic process.
Gabriel Yospin, Eugene
It’s always been one of the joys of summer to take in an Ems game. I was pissed that they had moved out of the classic Civic Stadium, but what the hell, I thought I would try out the new digs at PK Park. They sold me front row seats. The whole experience from charging $3 to park in a gravel lot (parking at Civic was free) was starting to sour. Strike one!
I had four premium seats, but one of my friends got sick so she couldn’t go. It was retro jersey give away night and I told her I would get her one since she couldn’t go. We got there early and they had boxes of jerseys they were handing out. I explained my friend’s situation and they just gave me a cold, “No we can’t give her a jersey” as they ripped my unused ticket from me. Strike two!
The friggin’ seats were so close to the backstop you couldn’t even put your legs out and the net was almost against your face! Oh well, live and learn, I thought as I went to get a beer. $6!, a dollar more than at Civic. Strike 2.5! The view beyond the park, which at the old ball park was spectacular, was just a row of trees. The field was all AstroTurf except for the batter’s box and pitcher’s mound. The old classic hand-placed score board was replaced by an electric one that was undersized. The JumboTron screen was more distracting than entertaining, constantly advertising something. The new electric green mascot Sluggo seemed to be trying too hard to be funny, slapping people’s glasses off, lifting his shirt to expose himself and making humping gestures all the time.
The Ems played with no energy getting shut out, leaving runners on base every inning. The fans tried to pump some energy, but stomping your feet on hard concrete is not the same as stomping on old-growth wooden bleachers. Every thing about the new park seemed forced and artificial. Even the new safety net took away the excitement of a stray foul ball into the fans. Strike three! I doubt that I’ll be back, while the bitter sweet taste of glory days of past lingers in my mouth.
Michael Hinojosa, Eugene
I am saddened by the loss of the Master Preserver program at the OSU Extension this September — an invaluable community resource. However, I am excited to share that in their final months, they are going to partner with the Skinner City Farm to help develop food preservation demonstrations in each of the city’s six community gardens. Skinner City Farm received funding from the city’s Neighborhood Matching Grant to establish this Mobile Cannery Project. Canning equipment and supplies will be hauled to the community gardens this summer via a cargo trike to inform folks of simple, safe and satisfying techniques to preserve food. The start-to-finish demonstrations are geared towards folks with home gardens, community gardens, and CSA shares who have extra produce they want to preserve.
If you’re interested in canning or helping out, come see one or all demonstrations this summer. For more information contract Tracy at email@example.com or call 344-8322. Putting up local food for the winter months is one way we can improve our food security. I hope this project will help bring together a community of canners who can share experience and resources.
Tracy Gagnon, Mobile Cannery Demonstration Coordinator, Eugene
It’s a mystery to me why the Weekly would publish a letter as demagogic, bigoted and ignorant as Donovan Worland’s attack (letters, 7/22) on all Americans born between 1946 and 1964. That’s the Census Bureau’s criterion for membership in the baby boom that came after World War II.
One focus of his venom was politics: “Accept it, you voted in the Bush dynasty.” In fact, most elections have little to do with voters’ age. Other demographic factors, such as residence, race, religion and income, are far more determinative. By Worland’s illogic, one would therefore assume that few baby boomers live in the upper Midwest, or on the coasts except in the Southeast; see http://wkly.ws/pc for details.
The 2004 elections were marked by the outpouring of evangelicals in support of Bush; are they mostly baby boomers? The 2008 election had both Jews and blacks favoring Obama by roughly 90 percent margins; did the baby boom skip them?
Worland’s letter would be laughable if it did not try to fan flames of prejudice, a dangerous ploy, using words like “spittle,” “harridan,” “daft” to back his assertions. EW should leave this stuff where it belongs: in the recycle bin.
Larry Koenigsberg, Eugene
LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows, with priority given to timely local issues. Please limit length to 200 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to letters at eugeneweekly.com fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.
Our government has been telling us for years that the number of illegal immigrants in our country is 11 million. That’s a lot of people, but is that the correct number? Are we to believe that with millions of illegal aliens allowed to cross our border freely, the total number never increases?
I looked up the official statistics for illegal immigrants on the Internet. What I found is certainly food for thought. In January of 2004 the official number was 20 million. And it is estimated that there are at least 12,000 new illegal immigrants per day entering our country. That amounts to 4,380,000 per year. Other estimates claim the actual number to be more than five million per year. So if you do the math, 20 million in 2004 plus five million per year for the next six years adds up to 50 million people in 2010. And that does not even include the millions of their children who become automatic citizens. This is probably not the correct number, but certainly 11 million is not correct either.
When you consider that more than 50 percent of the illegal aliens coming across the border do so in Arizona, it is easy to understand why the citizens there are so upset. With all the free benefits and jobs for illegal aliens in this country, that has got to be devastating to the economy, not to mention the increase in the crime rate.
Roy Toll, Eugene
HYPING THE HYPENS
Looking ahead at some of the Eugene Ems promos, I found this lovely paradox:
“Aug. 9, Hyphen Hatin’ Night. Join the Ems as we take on arch rival, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, and their annoying hyphenated name.”
OK — cute, funny, irreverent. Great! But on the same night we also have:
“Every Monday night is The Register-Guard Junior Ems Night at the ballpark. Sign up today! Presented by The Register-Guard.”
Now that’s comedy, people! pure comic gold!
Glenn Leonard, Eugene
This letter is in response to Eve Cienfuegos’s letter (7/22) about homeless people. Her lack of compassion and understanding is appalling. There is so much to take issue with in her letter, I don’t know where to start: perhaps with her derisive reference to “worthless people.” Aside from differing opinions about what makes someone “worth” something, it conveys an elitist and heartless worldview, one that views certain groups of other people as less than human, and one that does not help the problem one bit. And yes, some people really can’t get jobs or places to live. Yes, it’s really that hard for some people, for numerous reasons (criminal records, medical issues, children, no employment or rental history, etc.), which Cienfuegos seems to be completely unwilling to face.
What she and many others have is a lack of understanding of the subtleties involved. True, some people are indeed homeless by conscious choice. Others, for some inexplicable reason, fail to do what it takes to get back on their feet, even though they can. Others, however, are victims of circumstance, and have an extremely hard time even with the help of the services available. And what all too many fail to realize is that many, if not most, chronically homeless people suffer from addictions and other mental illnesses. Untreated, many of these people simply cannot help themselves. This is only one reason why many of them cannot hold a job. Unfortunately, many people do not even really understand addictions and how they ruin people’s lives, despite their best efforts to overcome them.
Adopting an attitude of “people should do this or that” is to live in a fantasy world. Regardless of what you think people should be doing, they aren’t, and going around contemptuously telling them that they “should” do this or be that way, again, does not help the problem at all, and more likely, exacerbates it.
I am not advocating holding everyone’s hand. Most people have to learn their life lessons the hard way, and sometimes lessons take a long time to learn. But one step in working towards eliminating a problem is to understand it. Cienfuegos’ letter shows that there are still people who really do not understand homelessness and its root causes, and that we have a long way to go.
Damien Bradley, Eugene
GIVE HER MORE SPACE?
Another issue in which EW addresses local concerns: another opinion posted by Eve Cienfuegos (7/22), our local version of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama rolled into one. The loving and compassionate understanding of her fellow human beings practically drips from every word of her kind and empathetic letters as she extols her opinions on the causes of some of today’s problems, as well as well-conceived and open-hearted solutions to these concerns.
I encourage EW to offer her a regular column in which she will be able to continue to share her wisdom and concern for the homeless, the dispossessed, the down-on-their-luck, the mentally ill, the addicted, and those whose existence falls far below the poverty level in our community. With such a regular forum for her ideas on how to improve our society, perhaps she will be offered public speaking opportunities at which other concerned citizens can listen and learn from such a good-hearted individual.
Perhaps those about whom she knows so much will be in attendance to join in an open dialogue about the realities of classism and social inequity.
I strongly believe that we are missing out by not heeding the guidance of an individual who follows the words and guidance of great spiritual leaders and interprets their messages for the modern day human being. I can only hope that she will offer her time and ideas to serve on some of the many committees and volunteer projects within our community in order to once and for all truly help those whose lives are not as blessed as others.
Michael Connelly, Eugene
SMART ON CRIME
The Board of Church Women United of Lane County (CWU) supports the work for justice done by Sponsors Inc. and the Partnership for Safety and Justice. These agencies have programs that work with those who have committed crimes, with those who have suffered crime against them, and with those who support members of both groups.
We need to be “smart on crime.” One way is to work to end the revolving door to prison. These agencies do that work.
Sponsors programs help formerly incarcerated people become employed and drug-free citizens, assets to Lane County.
The Partnership for Safety and Justice, based in Portland with a local group here in Lane County, provides CWU with information on legislation that will improve our actions for justice, helping to end crime.
As women, many of us elderly, we want safe communities. We want our tax money wisely used. We question mandatory minimums. Why? They eliminate the experience and wisdom of our judges. We study alternatives to prisons. Why? Because they are expensive and do little to rehabilitate. Work for justice is work in progress.
There are no perfect answers. Work for a just, peaceful and caring society (a CWU national priority) requires continual study and effort. May Oregon be blessed with citizens who have the courage for this hard and ongoing task.
Cynthia Kokis, Church Women United of Lane County
CUTS NOT NEEDED
I was appalled to read a Register-Guard headline Aug. 2 showing Lane County workers participating in their own cutbacks. This is a horrible practice that lulls workers into thinking the cutbacks are necessary. They are not.
County services, especially human services, will continue to be cut if workers keep buying into the premise their services are expendable. The truth is these cuts were trickled down from national and state savagery of funneling money to the military, big banks, a counterproductive drug war, prisons, and other corporate pirates.
I want to urge county employees from participating in their own version of the Stanford Prison experiment by suggesting cuts and fees that hurt the people they are supposed to be serving.
Mike Meyer, Eugene