Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.11.08


Jim Torrey is running for mayor — again. How many wished-for and real jobs does this make for Torrey in the last three years: four? He’s so ready to leave his 4J School Board post if he wins, the one where he was going to do so much good for Eugene’s children, with about as little time accrued as for his forsaken Kidsports job. That’s commitment for you. He was going to save children with that job, too. If he did win the mayorship, would he quickly leave that job too if a state post opened up that he could actually win? 

I’m most concerned about Torrey’s “common-sense solutions that our comm-unity needs,” particularly the “boosting student enrollments by making enough buildable land available to provide
affordable housing for young families.” First of all, will this be boosting enrollments in Eugene or in Bethel or some other outlying area? That’s where the new buildable land is, not in 4J. And secondly, since when has (“business-friendly”) Torrey ever been interested in affordable housing?

It looks to me like Kitty Piercy has got this issue covered with the new Tate and Westtown apartments on 8th as well as her leadership in the coming development of the two downtown “pits,” and these are actually in the 4J District.

We’ve got a truly common sense mayor already who continues to lead us into the 21st century. Why would we go backward to someone who will say anything and abdicate any commitment to get elected?

Dora Parys, Eugene


Kate Brown, the Democratic candidate for Oregon secretary of state, was in Eugene Sept. 2 to kick off her campaign. I heard her when KLCC held a forum for the three Democratic candidates for secretary of state, and I was impressed by her legislative experience, her education and her understanding of the responsibilities of the Oregon secretary of state. 

Two of those responsibilities were of great interest to me. The law requires that the Legislature be reapportioned to reflect the results of the 2010 census. In the past, because the other parts of the Oregon state government failed to agree on such a plan, it fell to the Oregon secretary of state to do this. I would like someone with her political and legislative background to be in charge of this rather than the Republican candidate, Rick Dancer, who has no political experience at all. 

The second responsibility, which should be of concern to all of us who consider ourselves to be environmentalists, is that the secretary of state has a large role to play in timber and lumber policies of the state of Oregon. Dancer’s political contributions have largely come from those businesses in Lane County who make their living by cutting down our forests. 

Both of these responsibilities, that of overseeing the reapportionment process for 2010 and the welfare of our local forests, are at stake in this election. Therefore, I would ask your readers to join me in voting for Kate Brown for Oregon secretary of state. 

Dennis Shine, Springfield


I really enjoyed your “Ask the Dogcatcher” column in the most recent (8/28) edition of EW. It was well written, entertaining and informative.

If Kylie B. is willing, I urge you to carry this column every week. I, and I’m sure many other animal welfare advocates, will promote it, and I believe you will gain many new readers if you carry this column on a regular basis.

Thanks for being willing to “think outside the box” in introducing this new column to the Weekly!

Diana Robertson, Shelter Animal Resource Alliance, Eugene


I enjoyed Mark Harris’ excellent analysis of the current state of “justice” in Oregon/U.S. (8/28 Viewpoint). In a nutshell, we need to move from the current system of emotionalized pseudo-justice to a rational system of justice that takes into account all of the current foibles that infest American society from racism/sexism/ orientationism/crackpotism/dominionism/ greedism/cronyism and rigged elections to an addiction to mass-murder war crimes. Perhaps Obama can integrate these ideas into the changes he is proposing.

I also greatly appreciated the Viewpoint in the same issue by Carol Berg-Caldwell and Amy Pincus Merwin. From everything I know about the Taser incident, it seems to me there is a massive enforcement conspiracy to illegally convict innocent people involving at least Federal Homeland Security people, the district attorney, the local police chief, local police and numerous other government people. The people of Eugene and elsewhere deserve to have honest law enforcement and honest prosecutions, not a bunch of heavy-handed government officials creating an illegal conspiracy in violation of our excellent constitution. Police and other public officials are to protect and serve the people, not to conspire to torture and imprison innocent protesting citizens in massive gulags.

Change America into a decent society instead of trashing it with bumbling conspiracies.

Bob Saxton, Eugene


One form of greenwash is the focus on individuals to become more environmental while ignoring corporate and governmental policies. This narrowness resembles the U.S. government’s claim that poorer countries need to reduce consumption before the U.S. will agree to reductions. Some greenwashers also claim we need to make “baby steps” toward sustainability — has some examples and explains why this is inadequate (our society spent decades ignoring peak oil; now it’s here, and we’re unprepared).

On Wednesday, Sept. 3, the Lane County Commission held a hearing on their request to ODOT for nearly $200 million for road expansion funds. Rob Bolman and I spoke against this plan, talking about peak oil, peak traffic and the need for transportation triage. Details are at

Three of the five commissioners admitted during the hearing that peak oil is real and asked the staff to rewrite their letter to ODOT. Will they still ask ODOT for money to widen Beltline, I-5 and Hwy. 126 and rebuild Franklin Boulevard (again!) even though traffic has peaked? Rep. DeFazio sits on the Transportation Committee and needs to be pressured to prioritize road maintenance, Amtrak and public transit instead of more superhighways when the new transportation bill is written in 2009. The Oregon Highway Plan claims to prioritize maintenance before expansion, but it is just empty rhetoric that lacks legal power.

I urge everyone to take the Eugene Sustainability Quiz at, which focuses on the full scope of the problems and some sincere steps toward solutions.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene


Wow! I just returned from an Amazon Neighborhood Association tour of local vegetable gardens, and I saw some of the most mouthwatering fruits and vegetables I’ve ever seen! These family gardeners are not only supplying food for their families but they are sharing with other neighbors and with those in the community who need help with their family budget. This is their answer to the escalating fuel and food prices as well as building a community of friends. This is also their answer to finding delicious food on their table every night.

Future plans, I understand, have large lot owners allowing neighbors without garden space to garden in the neighborhood. They will be working together and sharing the great produce.

I want to thank Mayor Kitty Piercy for urging our neighborhoods to commit to a new and sustainable future where every citizen can participate in neighborhood groups, discuss city issues and build strong communities. Maybe other Oregon cities will duplicate our success. If you live in Eugene, there is a neighborhood association waiting for you to join. Do visit the next free garden tour in a few weeks. I’ll be there too with my grandkids.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


Regarding the article on CatBibs (8/28): I discovered them years ago when my three kitties started bringing home dead birds (or half dead birds) and decided to outfit them all. Within 48 hours all three cats had been attacked by other cats, and two of them required emergency veterinary care and antibiotics to clean out deep wounds. My cats had never been in a fight before — all I can assume is that the bibs made them highly visible and easy to attack since they couldn’t fight back. Yes, the bibs will impair their arms, claws and coordination enough to stop the bird killing, but it will also impair them enough to make them unable to defend themselves. I took off the bibs and started to feed my cats a high quality diet of organic cat food, including a wet food snack every night. Surprise! Within a week, no more dead birds.

Carri Eilers, Eugene


As a cat lover, as well as a bird lover, I was very gratified to read Inka Bajandas’ article (“Ferocious Felines,” 8/28) about Sue Mandeville’s CatBib, which was designed to prevent kitties from bringing down wild birds. Mandeville is to be commended for her proactive and responsible attitude towards cat predation, a leading cause of the 68 percent decline in North American bird populations since 1970. (Now if we could just stop the habitat destruction and the window strikes!)

As clever as the CatBib is, Mandeville’s invention is nonetheless an incomplete solution. The research cited on her website says that 11 percent of the 63 cats in the six-week study lost the bibs at least once. Furthermore, as stated in the article, the bib stopped successful predation of birds in only 81 percent of the cats studied, and was much less effective against predation of mammals (45 percent) and reptiles (33 percent). Given that on the order of half a billion North American birds are killed by housecats each year, we’re still looking at a hundred million dead birds.

More troubling is the fact that the study only counted instances of actual capture of prey by the cats. Even “non-hunting” cats disrupt mating, feeding, bathing and much-needed resting by migrating birds, all of which impact a bird’s chances of survival. Furthermore, no mention is made of the fact that even a bird that escapes a “playful pounce” may be too crippled or traumatized by the encounter to survive.

The best way to be a responsible cat lover is still the old-fashioned way. Report stray or feral cats to an animal control center or take them to a shelter or sanctuary yourself. Keep your own kitty indoors, on a lead or in an enclosed area on your property, and urge cat-loving friends and neighbors to do the same.

Elizabeth Henning, Eugene


I hope you will continue to feature Kylie Belachaikovsky’s “Ask the Dogcatcher” column in the Weekly. Kylie is the best thing that’s ever happened to LCAS, and, in her former capacity as animal control officer, has seen it all. Fortunately she managed to bring up one of the most important issues of pet ownership that were otherwise ignored by the editorial staff: spay and neuter (S/N). But then, she sees the consequences of this disinterest every day. No “Pet Issue” does any service to the pet-owning population of Lane County without reminding them of their responsibility to address the problem of pet overpopulation by spaying or neutering their pets. 

Money is no longer the issue when a cat spay can be had for $47 at the WAG clinic and S.P.O.T. is ready to subsidize those who can’t afford dog S/N. Those who argue that S/N interferes with the animal’s “right” to bear “children” should remember that every animal-rights group, including the most radical (PETA), endorses S/N. And those who feel it’s “not natural” should remember that neither are clothing, tattoos or cell phones. 

We live in what is supposed to be a civilized society and as such should take responsibility for individual actions that affect our fellow citizens and the innocent, powerless beings that we make part of it.

Katherine Ford, Eugene


Every day I drive Delta Highway to the Beltline Interchange around 5 pm, and nearly everyday, I see an accident that slows traffic even more.

I ask myself why this has not been fixed. This has to be one of the most dangerous intersections in the Eugene area.

After looking into this issue I found out in 2006 the money had been allocated to fix this problem, but that Commissioner Bobby Green, yes, our North Eugene elected commissioner, drove the decision to pull the money and use it for the Bob Straub Parkway in Springfield. I understand that Bobby Green is a county commissioner, but he should serve the people and problems of his north Eugene district first and foremost! He is sitting in our seat, yet it seems to me he puts Springfield before his constituents.

It is time to fix the dangerous Delta and Beltline interchange.

It is time to elect Rob Handy commissioner. He will serve the people of north Eugene. We can’t wait any longer; it is time to fix these problems.

Teri Kohley, Eugene




Every time I’ve seen an article or editorial about how polarized our society is, both nationally and locally, I used to wonder if we would ever be able to come together enough to find some solutions for the problems facing us as a community, nation, and species. Then I found out about nonviolent communication (NVC). Also called compassionate communication, it is a way of making sure that all parties in a discussion feel heard and assured that their needs are being considered. 

Better yet, there’s a conference called “Nonviolence as a Way of Life” coming to the UO Sept. 11-14 that is bringing the creator of NVC, Marshall B. Rosenberg, to Eugene, along with dozens of other presenters working to bring healthy, heartfelt communication back into public and private discourse. Imagine how good it would feel to live in a world where that was the norm. If you want that experience for at least a weekend, contact to find out more.

Denise Burns, Eugene


John McCain has picked a vice presidential candidate to run with him, Sara Palin, good for him. I have never heard of her, her programmed speech at the Republican convention was good Republican propaganda, but who is Sara Palin?

McCain and the Republican pundits want the media to go easy on her.  Are they out of their minds? She has a very good chance, if the Republican party wins, of being a heart beat away from the Presidency. Which thanks to a totally spineless Congress, has gained huge power, enough power that it can do no wrong. The constitutional right of America to impeach is “off the table” for our current administration.

Which is all the more reason Sara Palin needs to demonstrate her right to that presidency, to be trusted not to defraud us. She needs to show that she is capable of performing that duty, and the way to do that is to face the hard questions from the American people and its media, not just spin another page from the Republican play book.  She is first and foremost an American citizen; let her demonstrate it. We do not need John McCain to tell us about her.  We need Sara Palin to tell us who she is and what she stands for.

The media needs to confront her with the same tenacity they are showing with the other candidates, above all do not weaken our Democracy further, with another unchallenged presidency.

Gene Okins, Eugene


My first reaction to the choice of Sarah Palin was, “Who is that?” I’d never heard of her before, and I imagine many people feel likewise. Senator McCain’s maverick behavior may well be suited to him, but I find that the choice for the person next in line to the succession to the presidency needs a lot more thought and consideration on the part of the person making the choice. If Barack Obama is elected, I feel that Joe Biden is completely qualified to take over the presidency if it were ever needed. I am not concerned about Joe Biden at all. But Sarah Palin? Sorry, I think she may be a wonderful person, but she is not qualified to be president and therefore not qualified to be the vice-president either. Too bad, Sen. McCain, but your first presidential decision really failed for me.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene


I support the policy decision that sent coalition troops into Afghanistan, intervening on the Taliban government’s harboring of al Qaeda terrorists and its ongoing severe repression of women and its officials’ penchant for sexually abusing young boys. That large oil fields and pipelines exist just north of the Afghani border and that Unocal Oil was considering building a pipeline straight through the country was probably seen by others as reasons to attack. Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karsai, was once an Unocal executive.

Many did not and do not support the Bush/Cheney policy decision of creating reasons for going to war in Iraq then sending a too-small, poorly armored force composed of the dedicated men and women of our county’s military into Iraq to kill and/or be killed on false pretenses. The unjustifiable Iraq War has depleted our military, harmed our economy and our country’s reputation worldwide; to continue this war would be thoroughly unpatriotic. I support removing our troops from Iraq as quickly as humanely possible; we owe this to Iraqi families as well as to our troops and their families. More than 4,000 American troops have died in Iraq as well as more than 50,000 troops seriously injured, physically and/or mentally, many needing long-term care. I support increasing funding for veterans’ health care, not decreasing it as Bush/Cheney have sought to do. 

How many innocent Iraqi civilians have died in this war? Moe than 300,000. I support fully funding reparations and reconstruction, paying Iraqi construction companies to re-build what we have destroyed.

 Charles F. Thielman, Eugene


A lot of lies were told and a lot of offensive things were said at the Republican National Convention, but perhaps the most offensive thing I heard was mockery of community organizers by both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin. These individuals should be ashamed of themselves for attacking people who sacrifice material comfort to help those in need. Maybe if elected officials like Giuliani and Palin did their jobs, we wouldn’t need community organizers to fill in the gaps. 

I’m just glad Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony and other community organizers who have done so much to advance social justice in this country didn’t have to hear this shameless smear. I’m proud to be voting for the former community organizer and not the guy who can’t remember how many mansions he owns.

Scott Lucas, Eugene