Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.24.09


Eugene is the last place on earth to get its carbon footprint erased or nonexistent; we have tons of people who have moved here from Southern California, and the rest of the country, whose main purpose in life is to drive cars everywhere, and use as many appliances as they can buy. 

Oregon has never been a conservationist state; we have cut down every single tree we could, killed every wild animal we could, and screwed up the land every which way we could, and we haven’t stopped doing it yet. Oregon has always been this way, and now it has millions of miles of traffic to disease all the air. 

So I really think that the last town and county and state to go green is going to be Eugene and Lane County and Oregon. I’m a native, I should know. Only powerful conservationists could change this backward primitive state of mine; thank god we finally have some conservationists here. But they have a very hard road against all the other population who just loves their Starbucks, and that’s all.

 Dorothy “Dot” Bucher, Eugene


Still can’t find a job? I know it’s bad right now, but you can still get value from your free time. Has everyone in your town seen a copy of your résumé? Spruce it up and join a temp service — or a few, holiday seasonal jobs will be opening soon. Get projects done around the house, collect cans, sell some old stuff. Read a self help book.

I could go on for days! Yes, and pray too, get your intention out there; ask for help from all your sources. Most of all, spend time with your family — what could be more valuable? Buck up. Stay positive. Things won’t look up until you do.

Shelah E. Van Meer, Springfield


Once again I seem to have enraged the bantams with my comments in the EW. Being called a coward by Eric Blair in the last issue deserves a comment.

Blair may not realize that I have spent nearly half of my adult life living in the Third World, devoting myself to community development and solar electrification. I do this so that poor traditional communities will not have to burn kerosene for indoor lighting, and their families will have better literacy, better health and better futures. I had the “urgency” about the sad state of the planet (that Blair speaks of with such gravity) a long time ago, and did something important and meaningful about it. I didn’t burn anything down, but built something instead.

Many young activists like Blair feel that they are alone with the fire in the grate, and time is getting short, and it’s so easy to become hysterical with grief because we are inheriting a sinking ship. I too was at one time a scary radical, and felt it was of vital importance to stop the wheel of time by doing something so incredibly attention-getting that it literally shocked people. I had wanted to burn down those new housing developments on the edge of town, and found myself hatching plots. So, I understand the impulse that drives certain activists like Rod Coronado or Jeff Luers. But what I pointed out in my EW letter that enraged Blair is that this movement is itself so completely divorced from the realities of wind and water that their own spokesperson was actually driving an SUV while preaching against them. Bad PR, bad policy and a very loud expression of false awareness. When I was this kind of radical in the ’70s, you either walked the talk or you had zero credibility, and this precise issue was always hotly debated within the movement. To assume that you are above the judgments you so heartily mete out to others is pathological, and will kill your message and make the activist community look stupid. Maybe Blair can tell us who the real cowards are.

Den Ramsey, Eugene


While I recognize that you people probably have an allergy to real factual news, I find it very noteworthy that John Brown — who you (Alan “National Enquirer” Pittman) labeled a conservative — is going to be testifying before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Sept. 30 regarding riparian issues and water resource protection. 

Here’s your opportunity to show that you’re not more rigid and dogmatic than the right wing.  Have at it and maybe it will be the first step in ceasing to be the Sean Hannity of the left.

Ruth M. Atcherson, Eugene


In response to a letter written by Isabell Norman (“Cat Vandals.” 9/3): Dear Isabell, just admit you hate cats for no good reason. Cats were made to roam outdoors. Imagine how torn up your garden would be if there were no predator animals roaming? The gophers and lots of other vermin would tear it to shreds. I suppose you’d rather poison the gophers. Cats are a necessary part of the ecosystem to controlling rodent and bird populations. They’ve evolved to do this long before they were ever made into pets. 

People like you and that idiot with the pen name “Inka Bajandas” who wrote that (8/28/08) EW article promoting “Cat Bibs” should just admit you have some weird dominatrix control issues and frustrations you want to take out on innocent animals. Or that you can’t handle the idea of self-reliant predatory wildlife creatures doing their natural God-given job. 

If you don’t want a pet that is a predator don’t own a cat, buy a sheep or a goose or a goat for a pet instead.

Any organic agricultural operation with half a brain will involve a good colony of feral cats. You really see this in the friendly exceptionally large athletic hybrid Bengal/bobcat unneutered tom cat in my neighborhood who roams around the countryside siring hundreds of kittens, and sparing organic farms from compromising their ethics all over the countryside. I almost seldom need to feed him. One time he killed an adult nutria nearly his own body weight! 

Cats were made to roam outdoors. 

Gary Halford, Junction City

EDITOR’S NOTE: Inka Bajandas is the author’s real name. 


I am writing this letter in response to Diane Devillers’ letter “Town Hall Yellers” (8/27).

I am one of those “town hall haters, gun-toting radical right wingers,” so described by Ms. Devillers. Unfortunately for her, I am an Independent, an engineer, a professional pilot, and I am well versed in history and the U.S. Constitution. The issue is not solely about health care reform. It is about the misuse of power, violations to the Constitution, the socialization of American society, and the excessive taxation of the private sector.

Our outrage is not focused on any single Republican or Democrat. It has nothing to do with race, color, creed or gender. It is aimed squarely at the entire executive, legislative and judiciary of the federal, state and local governments who have consistently abused their power and position to implement programs aimed at promoting the underachievers of this country while blatantly stealing the money away from the private sector.

Nowhere in the Constitution is power bestowed upon Congress to force health care upon anyone or to levy taxes for such a purpose. Do I owe you health care? Do I care that you have health care? Do I owe you alcohol, substance abuse and gambling rehab programs? No.

Do I owe you any of the myriad of other social programs because you lack the education, wherewithal and personal responsibility to be a contributing member of society? No! I took my education seriously. I applied myself seriously. I have worked hard for my money, my home, my retirement, and yet the government sees fit to take more and more from me to give to the likes of you!

Unfortunately, many on the left believe I and others like me, are put on this planet to serve you and clean up your irresponsibility. You have roused a sleeping giant and we are charging to the forefront.

Dane Smith, Eugene


Every week I take my 2 year old to the public library. We look forward to the outing, the books, the videos, the children’s courtyard and the interactions she has with other kids while we’re there. 

But every week, without fail, when we leave I am forced to walk my daughter through a cloud of cigarette smoke as we exit the front doors. It doesn’t matter if we turn right or left, there is inevitably a crowd or several crowds of smokers idly puffing away while I rush my daughter, library books in tow, back to our car. I think it’s interesting that the library staff are so big on rules that they’ve come up and told my daughter to lower her voice while we’re inside but they don’t seem to mind that every patron has to inhale secondhand smoke right outside the front doors. 

I’m thoroughly appreciative of all the services the library offers but its patrons, especially children, shouldn’t have to be exposed to toxic air in order to receive them.

 Danica Stiles, Eugene




Can you imagine? Italy just held a state funeral for six of its brave soldiers killed in Afghanistan! — along with a day of mourning, no less, to which people from all over the country came. Attended by none other than Prime Minister Berlusconi and other political leaders, along with the victims’ families. The event had all the trappings of a true state funeral, with flags flown at half mast at schools and public buildings, along with a minute’s silence and was carried live on state and private TV channels.

Can you imagine such an event happening here, where for virtually the entire Afghan and Iraqi conflicts, we’ve heard about the thousands of American deaths only by way of statistics, dryly, diligently, reported on the inside of the front page, and eventually perhaps a story on the background of some of the dead? Imagine the incredible “sadness and intrusion” on the families of those six soldiers — concerns that in this country, promoted by politicians ad infinitum, have caused them to deny any media coverage of the returning dead ­ such that American families are basically left to mourn their dead by themselves, leaving the rest of the country to continue their shopping, oblivious of the pain suffered by their fellow countrymen. What do you suppose might have happened if such state reactions were to have happened here?

According to, there would have had to be more than 1,000 such ceremonies if done for every six killed. Would our troops still be overseas? 

Bob Thompson, Eugene


 So, how many people really do not know the difference between health care and health insurance? On July 10, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio, King George the Dubya stated, “All people have access to health care in America. After all, just go to the emergency room.” He was referring to the “poor” Americans who cannot afford health insurance and those who are denied due to pre-existing conditions. But in this country, no one is turned away from the ER, not even illegal immigrants. 

 Health insurance that people can actually afford is the problem. Any person who can read would be able to see that the proposed reform does not include health insurance for people living in the country illegally. Having insurance would allow people to see a physician for a problem before it became serious enough for an ER visit, thus reducing the overall cost. When the overall cost is lowered, insurance becomes less expensive. Health insurance and drug companies support this reform because more people would then have the care and prescriptions to make them better. It is the fear mongers who apparently cannot read — or do they just lack intelligence?

I will be seeing my physician this week and turning in my advance directive. I am so excited! This will be my first “death panel.” It makes me wonder, will I have become so expensive that my insurance company will recommend immediate termination?

 Sandrea Agne, RN, Junction City


It’s that “deer are in the road” time of year since deer are extra active in the fall. Does and fawns are moving farther for food and water. It’s mating time, and the boys and girls are not as wise about traffic. I work for Lane County and with citizens on issues relating to traffic safety, complaints and requests. This time of year, many of the calls I get are requests for deer signs, and unfortunately the front desk gets many more calls to pick up dead animals: 360 calls in 2008. 

The county currently has 120 deer crossing signs. $165,000 was spent last year on sign vandalism; much of that on deer signs that were shot at. The stray bullets are a very real concern. The sad truth is that the deer signs are not very effective. If drivers see the sign and don’t often see a deer they tend to ignore them. Also, partly because of the lack of funding for enforcement, I get many calls relating to speeding drivers, which adds to the deer-automobile crashes. 

The best answer is to think about deer, especially this time of year. If you do see a sign, know that the possibility of seeing deer is much greater. Watch carefully for deer at daybreak and daylight. Often times you can spot the reflection of their eyes. Drive with your high beams on, when you can. If you see one deer, the chances are that you will see more following. Many times fawns are killed because they’re following their mothers, who were first in line and did not get hit. Slow down when you are in areas where deer are present. If a crash in inevitable, your chances are better if you do not swerve and lose control of your car. 

As sad as it is when an animal is killed, the true intent of the signs is to protect the motorist. Nationwide there were 1.5 million deer-auto crashes, resulting in more than 200 fatalities, 10,000 personnel injuries and over $1 billion in property damage. 

Eric Wurster, Lane County Public Works, Traffic Engineering Technician II 


Presidents and Congresses have addressed the need to reform our country’s profit-driven health care system for more than 60 years with little to no success, because CEOs have deep pockets to fund lobbyists and campaign contributions for both parties. And they can pay for television ads on corporate run media stations to censor and control the message heard at a heavy premium to the American people.

After 60-plus years of discussing the problems of a profit-driven health care system, it’s time for the debate to end. And time for legislatures to take action for the people who send them to Washington, instead of only the CEOs of large corporations represented by the large health insurance lobby! 

Today a health insurance policy for the average American family costs $1,200 per month. This amount, paid month after month to health insurance companies by individuals or employers, is a heavy burden while these insurance companies use this money mostly to pay employees to search for any reason to deny those customers so they can pocket this money and pay for more lobbyists, and to ensure their companies have large enough profits to keep Wall Street happily investing in their products. 

Annette Woodmark, Eugene