Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.3.09


It was really a good thing that the founding fathers did not privatize basic education for all. We might have invented insurance companies for parents to make sure their kids got a good education. They didn’t even put this public education into the Constitution as a basic right. There were enough people that knew this was the right thing to do.

We now have a parallel issue in health care. Basic health care is a human right that everyone deserves. The insurance companies could continue to cover the major problems that can come up, but everyone should be able to get basic health care, preventative care. The possibility for this is there. It is called single payer and it will be voted on in September. 

Peter DeFazio has not, at this time, committed to vote for this bill (HB 676). He is having town hall meetings for us to tell him what we want in health care. You can call it socialism if you wish. You can even call it a banana, I don’t care. It is what we need now. Show your support for single-payer health care.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene


Please, please do not make the health care debate hinge on Sen. Edward Kennedy’s death. The man, as we all know, was a staunch voice for President Obama’s ideals, but please consider the millions of us in the U.S. who do not wish to be a part of those ideals. I am neither Democrat nor Republican any longer, because I feel betrayed and disenfranchised by both parties, but that does not mean I am not politically active in my community. 

Thank you for your respect for my thoughts and feelings!

Terry Cramer, Eugene


The Democrats’ health care “reform” bill boils down to a deal with the medical insurance corporations. The uninsured will be forced to buy expensive individual insurance policies from the corporations, with government subsidies to help pay the premiums for some. In return the corporations will stop playing games.

The only good part of this deal is that, for some, it will break the connection between employment and health insurance. The bad part is that it will increase our dependence on the corporations. The public plan, if it happens at all, will be too small to make a difference.

The really bad part is that nothing happens until 2013. Meanwhile, the growing number of uninsured are out of luck. This is morally unacceptable. We need to demand something better.

Lynn Porter, Eugene


The Emeralds’ move to the UO is all set, balls out; they only need $3 million from the city and county to make the fair play deal. Doesn’t this boil down to the canker of socialized baseball? Where do we draw the line between church, state and sports? Looking at the money the pros and the sponsors make, they should pay us. Next thing you know we’ll have socialized churches.

Vince Loving, Eugene


Thanks for publicizing my recent talk, “Trial by Indymedia” for Pacifica Forum, in the Aug. 6 issue (News Briefs). However, your report is a little one-sided. Indymedia sounds fair in your interview with one of their hacks, but it is misleading for them to claim that they simply censor “hate speech.” They censor anyone who disagrees with their views, including contributions which do not break their guidelines. 

I and others in Portland have been subject to trial by hearsay. People who disagree with us tried to get us fired, stole documents and used Indymedia to publish our names, photos and details together with the allegation that we are “racist organizers,” and comments like “If an average person should kick one of their asses, we should applaud.” We do not support ethnic identity politics. We invited Valdas Anelauskas to Portland to share his opinions, and attended a meeting addressed by David Irving. We have never said we agree with any of their views.

Portland Indymedia has not served the community well in this affair.

Jay Knott, Portland


I read in the Register-Guard that the Eugene Ems would like the city to procure $2.3 million to $3 million for them to play at PK Park. I strongly believe that if our city is going to invest this kind of money in local sports, specifically baseball, we should invest in the renovations necessary to refurbish and preserve our existing Civic Stadium. 

Our beautiful wooden stadium is a local and national treasure ­ one that generations of fans love and enjoy. General Manager Bob Beban cites many failings at Civic (faulty electricity, breaking chairs, out-of-order bathrooms) as reasons to move. However, the fan base has stayed strong and the community vibrant over the 20 years I have been attending ball games as a child, a teenager and now as a parent. We don’t seem to mind the inconveniences of our stadium.

The city should give the Ems the $3 million. But only if they will keep playing at Civic.

Thank you for all you do.

Taylor Rutledge (and Arthur Rutledge, age 3), Eugene


You gotta love the lady who told Sen. Arlen Specter, “I don’t want socialized medicine. You are not taking my Medicare away.” Beauteous. The talking points play quite well with the lowest common denominator of the masses.

For-profit health insurance is a system devised to drain money from health care. It profits by denying healthcare. It does not sell a product. It sells limited access to health care. For-profit health care should be outlawed.

Let’s come together, people. Let’s devise and design the very best most efficient not-for-profit health care system in the world. Let’s progress.

Sarah Ruth, Eugene


Cats belong indoors or need to be confined in their owners’ yards for many reasons. It’s not only healthier for cats because of fewer attacks by other animals, but they don’t get run over, and they have a longer life span. I don’t understand how people can claim to love their cats and then expose them to the dangers of roaming.

Another reason: Your neighbor should not have to deal with your cat, the damage your cat does to his plantings, belongings and the smell your cat leaves on her property. 

I garden year round, so I have always new seeds planted, new beds prepared, just to have cats dig up my seedlings, deposit their poop or walk over the tender young seedlings, crushing them. I tried covering my seedlings up with fleece, and the cats shred it to pieces. I can’t even protect my plants from cold nights because of this. I had cats get into my plastic hoop houses and damage the plants. Aside from covering everything in wire cages, I really don’t know what else I could do. Who will pay for that? Who pays me for my damages? The cat owner? Why do you burden me with your pet? Why do you feel you are entitled to my property or the wildlife your cats eats?

What makes you think what is mine is yours? What makes you and your cat so special? If people actually would think about this, they surely can’t justify letting their pet roam.

Isabell Norman, Eugene


A few months ago (4/23) you ran an article about The Ridgewood Group, Eugene’s first low-cost legal services firm. I just wanted to thank you and let you know that many of your readers called to make appointments. I wanted to let you know how many people your story affected. Many indicated to me that they had been putting off legal help or were in some way disenfranchised with traditional legal services. One even came to me after spending more than $100,000 over the past 10 years in a long-term custody dispute. I really appreciate your running the article. 

I also wanted to let you know that due to my husband’s employment, I am moving to Arizona. Thankfully, an attorney who has worked with The Ridgewood Group is buying the business and continuing the mission of providing high-quality, low-cost services. Peter Schannauer has more than 25 years of legal experience in family law, landlord-tenant, wills and civil litigation. The office location is the same within the Oakway Center, but the phone number for reaching Peter is now 647-2521. 

 Thank you for all that you do. You truly offer Eugene residents a high quality alternative magazine.

Billie Tarascio, Eugene


Bicycles are becoming a popular method of transportation. On my daily commute on my bicycle, the most frequent danger I encounter comes from — other cyclists! I have observed the following dangerous or illegal maneuvers by cyclists:

Running stop signs or red lights. Going the wrong way on the road or bike lane. Cutting off traffic without right of way, forcing an emergency stop. Emerging from blind alleys at high rates of speed. Merging from blind locations onto bike trail without yielding. Riding abreast when inappropriate. Speeding dangerously on sidewalks. Switching rapidly and unpredictably from sidewalk to road.

The local police must not give out many traffic citations to cyclists. Otherwise, why would cyclists be so nonchalant about observing traffic laws? I would appreciate it if cyclists were generally more aware and considerate of the many other users of the public roads, trails and sidewalks.

I would also like to see every cyclist wearing a helmet! (OK, call me a “helmet fascist” — on that you’re right.) Statistics have proven that most fatal bicycle accidents would have been non-fatal had the cyclist been wearing a helmet. If you fail to wear a helmet, ignoring your own safety, it seems to me that you are much more likely to disregard the safety of others as well.

Berkley Palmer, Springfield


Eugene/Springfield politicians would like us to believe that their city is going green. Don’t you believe it, especially for “not-so” green Eugene. One would think the politicians would lead by example. Their example is leading us backwards, not forwards. New York is planning to close Broadway from 47th street to Times Square to create a giant pedestrian mall. This along with other street closures and street narrowing truly makes New York the leader in natural ways of propulsion — not Eugene or Springfield. 

Eugene will provide free downtown curbside parking to promote car traffic so the lazy yuppie scum and obese rednecks don’t have to crawl more than 20 feet from their cars to shop at overpriced secondhand stores. Those clowns at City Hall are still stuck in the pro-automobile age. 

Springfield is still run by the “good old boy” rednecks — a town where not a single arborist can be found on the city payroll; a town where 800 acres of prime farm land is being stripped to make way for commercial and residential lots; a town where 300 trees were butchered to make way for the EW-supported, pork barrel, not-needed EmX, which is actually designed for mid-large sized cities, not small hick towns like Eugene/Springfield.

Why all this madness from city officials and “progressives” alike? All the years of heavy pot smoking and meth abuse has left these towns with people who have minds either lost in the fog or just plain fried. 

When you have a mayor who openly supports publicly financed parking garages for private use, you wonder what kind of green she’s really been smoking. As for Springfield, they’d rubber stamp any multi-million dollar project, even if it were sponsored by neo-Nazis. 

Lou Andrews, Staten Island, New York (former Eugene/Springfield resident)






There is a glaring omission in almost all of the debates regarding health care in the U.S. As usual, if you follow the money, you get to the truth. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in the second quarter of 2009 the pharmaceutical and health product industries spent $67.9 million on lobbying, and the insurance industry spent $39.8 million. An additional $25.5 million was spent by lobbyists for hospitals and nursing homes — a total of $133.3 million in just three months. What are they afraid of? Competition from a public option? Single-payer health care? Affordable health care? How outrageous — the thought we could afford the cost of our medicine and visits to the doctor. 

The number one reason for most personal bankruptcies is medical costs. If we had a single-payer system, costs would be dramatically lower. Right now, an MRI costs Medicare about $400 while an uninsured person pays about $1,200. How much do the executives make in the health insurance business? Millions of dollars every year. The last thing people with health problems need to be thinking about is losing their homes and life savings to huge medical bills. The current system is sick and needs some healthy competition to bring down costs. The few are getting wealthy while the many suffer. This is not democracy. Follow the money, follow the money, follow the money.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter


Ex-Alaskan governor Sarah Palin was for death panels before she was against it. On April 16, 2008, Palin signed an order and officially proclaimed a “Healthcare Decisions Day” for Alaska, “designed to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important heathcare decisions.”

Alaska Statute 13.52 provides the specifics of advance directives law and offers a model form for patient use. 

Perhaps the reason that Palin is lashing out like a wounded wolf against “Obama Death Panels” is that it was revealed last week that under Palin’s watch more than 254 people have died from poorly managed services of Alaska’s Division of Senior and Disabilities Services. The situation is so bad that Alaska is forbidden to sign up new people until the state makes necessary improvements. 

Until the public is made aware of the real truth, the fairly unbalanced lies of those against health care reforms will continue to block any hope for change.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


A friend and I where having coffee outside of Sweet Life when I noticed none of the cars actually stopped at the stop sign on the new intersection.

They slowed down but never actually stopped. The only ones that did stop were because they absolutely had no choice as another car was in their way. It was quite hilarious to watch. I know they looked both ways and I understand wanting to save your brake pads but it is a better bet just to stop at every stop sign. I know it seems silly. You know what you’re doing, you didn’t hit anyone. Stop signs mean exactly that. 

For one thing the cops can ticket you, and it is a law for good reason. You just never know when some bicyclist will come out of nowhere the way they do here. They don’t always obey the laws; nobody can all the time. 

I’m an expert since I got pulled over for rolling through a stop myself and was lucky enough to talk my way out of a ticket. The officer explained you should feel the car stop and feel yourself fall back into the seat. I tried it and it was actually a nice feeling. I didn’t need to hurry through. I had time. I felt safer. I know how to stop! Drivers of Eugene try stopping at the stop signs. 

Ken Sokolov, Eugene


Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. For seniors living on fixed incomes, this economy is especially terrifying as we watch our retirement savings disappear before our eyes, our houses lose their value, and the cost of health care skyrocket. That’s why I can’t understand why some in Congress are urging cuts to Social Security and Medicare at a time when these programs are all that is keeping many people afloat. 

The truth is millions would be in poverty without Social Security and Medicare. If the current meltdown has shown us anything it’s that Social Security is the one reliable component of America’s retirement system and Medicare often makes the difference between affording health care or doing without. There is absolutely no reason programs like Social Security and Medicare should be cut to pay for the failed economic policies of the past. A strong America needs a strong safety net to help us through these difficult times.

Dennis Thompson, Eugene


In the article “Gold Dreaming” (7/23), Roy Kerene states that: “It is still illegal for private citizens to own gold bullion or coin, excepting for modest amounts held as collectibles.” This is an incorrect statement. As of Dec. 31, 1974, Americans were once again allowed to own gold bullion or coin in any form and in any amount. This was due to Public Law 93-373 being signed by President Ford.

Barry Polonsky, President, American Metals Corporation


Surtax is not an innocent-sounding word. Nothing with the word tax can sound innocent. But a surtax on the wealthiest Americans is far overdue.

Complain as the grossly rich will, it is the only just way to redistribute the wealth and create equity as we grow more financially polarized. As the rich still celebrate their George Bush tax breaks, the gap between them and the poor grows wider. It’s not only the poor — the economic gulf continues to spread between rich and a struggling middle class.

It will take more than restoring the level of tax Bush reduced for his big money buddies. A just surtax calls for an understanding that an income of $500,000 a year is more than enough for an individual wage earner or CEO. Everything above that should go to the IRS for eventual investment in schools, social services and health care.

The rich may have to forego extensive upkeep on their yachts. Oregon football and basketball coaches may have to descend from their million-dollar cloud nine. But financial fairness is the only way to go at a time when the economy stifles the little guy, and hardly touches those who build palaces.

George Beres, Eugene