Letters to the Editor: 10-04-2012


Once again Betty Taylor is the clear choice for City Council to represent south Eugene. Betty has done an outstanding job of representing her progressive and environmentally conscious district. She listens to all perspectives and always makes careful, thoughtful decisions. She works hard to represent us and has a fantastic track record of service. You can always reach Betty by phone if you need to talk with her about city issues.

Betty is being challenged vigorously in this election by Juan Carlos Valle. Valle has already secured the conservative, pro-business, developer vote. But to win our district he needs to cast himself as an environmentalist and progressive. To do this, he raised large sums from developers and real estate interests.

Recent campaign funding reports show he is outspending Betty 2-1, with his largest supporter being the Eugene Association of Realtors ($3,266). The Realtors association has a thinly veiled agenda to expand Eugene as fast as possible and eliminate all development restrictions. Valle is also being funded by the Community Action Network, another right-wing group representing timber and developers. 

John Brown is funding him, the same guy who filed an unfounded complaint against Commissioner Rob Handy just before the last election. If this group gets their way, our City Council will take a big swing to the right. Why would we want to give away our most progressive district in the city to yet another developer representative? Betty is a retired school teacher with the experience and vision we need.

Eben Fodor, South Eugene


“The Grange.” It conjures up warm, fuzzy feelings of country life, homemade pies and community gatherings. But The Grange in ads we’re being bombarded with on television and radio is none of those things. What it is, instead, is an attempt by greedy developers to establish the first non-Indian casino in Oregon. If The Grange didn’t include a casino, it wouldn’t be on the November ballot as Measures 82 and 83. In fact, Measure 82 is not only a referendum, it’s constitutional amendment!

It’s bad enough that tribes have been relegated to only being able to make a living by operating casinos, since their entire way of life was taken from them in the 1800s and 1900s. Now even that is at risk because some people resent that non-Indians can’t own casinos, and can’t stand the fact that they can’t get their fingers into every single pie.

I urge you to educate yourself about The Grange. Look past the buzz words “thousands of jobs,” “for our schools,” “for Oregon,” and please consider voting no on Measures 82 and 83. The Grange could still be built without a ballot measure if it drops the casino option. But it won’t be. Because it’s all about the casino; the rest of it is superfluous camouflage. 

Laurel Hanley, Eugene


Councilor Betty Taylor is up for re-election Nov. 6. I’ve worked with Betty on a variety of issues and I want everyone in Ward 2 to know that I wholeheartedly support Betty in her re-election.

A lot of people know that Councilor Taylor is the conscience of the council, but I think that it’s important that her background in Eugene issues goes back many years. The UO and higher education community is significant in our ward and she’s the only councilor who’s earned a Ph.D. (in English) and thus has a better idea of what the city’s relationship with the UO should be.

Councilor Taylor and I served together on the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency board for several years, and Betty was chair of the LRAPA Board for two years. I also appreciated the work that she did in organizing a health care forum. Mayor Piercy and I both spoke at that forum, but it wouldn’t have happened without Councilor Taylor’s leadership. 

Dr. Taylor, as she also could be called, stands for the environment and civil liberties. Her opponent’s political money — the vast majority of it — comes from interests that represent an extreme right wing perspective.

I urge Ward 2 voters to re-elect Betty Taylor.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner, South Eugene District


As the owner of a small business on South Willamette, I offer this friendly notice to the folks who live, shop and drive through our neighborhood. Please tell everyone you know. 

The speed limit on Willamette from 18th to 33rd is 25 mph. It has been 25 for many years. In fact, my business partner and I took the initiative of having the city lower the limit soon after one of our elder customers was hit while crossing the street. 

Willamette Street is a shopper’s district. Thousands of good people shop here every day. We value your business, and do all we can to keep this neighborhood friendly, safe and clean.

The lives and vehicles of our customers, as well as our businesses, are threatened by speeding drivers. As I write this someone just raced by at upwards of 50 mph, horn blasting! 

I promise you such arrogance is going to end on Willamette Street. Willamette Street businesses are presently working closely with the Traffic Enforcement Division of the Eugene Police.

Traffic stings have begun and will be a regular occurrence so long as people are speeding. The police will not be giving warnings. Driving 32 through our shopper’s district will earn you a ticket upwards of $140.

Amazon and Chambers have speed limits of 35. If in a hurry, use them. If you’re looking to shop Willamette Street, we welcome you to slow down and make yourselves at home.

Scott Landfield, Tsunami Books


We can depend on Betty Taylor’s vote for our community. Too many times I’ve worked for candidates who promise to support our neighborhood values and they turn around, swayed by developer and timber contributors. Betty has always been there for us on every important issue! Look at who is contributing to her opposing candidate, it’s the timber and developer big boys!

 Ruth Duemler, Eugene


Jeff Holiday [Letters, 9/20] has a point about fashion for fashion’s sake but misses the mark with his take on Native American politics. I am not sure who is included in his “world” that is moving on, nor do I understand exactly who is “better off.” Certainly not Native Americans if you look at any kind of statistic that measures quality of life. I, for one, do not think my family has benefited historically from the cultural acclimatization they underwent, for the sake of survival, from the 17th century onwards. 

Cultural appropriation is a two-way street, sure. But individuals and institutions coming from the point of view of the dominate culture do it selectively and for fashion and for fun. Families indigenous to the country had those same fashions, and the traditions that supported them, declared a crime. The ramifications of that injustice play out in the lives of all who feel connected to the Native cultures, be they fashion-forward and politically ignorant and Euro-American, or absolutely legitimate, disenfranchised and misnamed, in a pair of Levi’s.

Anne Gregory, Eugene


 Molly Templeton’s review of Samsara [9/27] reveals a cardinal tenet of liberal Eugene Weakly philosophy. “I left the theater thinking, yes, consume less, stop making garbage, all our time is spent on silly things, yes, I know.” 

The arriving eco-catastrophe, however, is not mainly about one’s private consumption choices. To ignore every social institution, from domestication and civilization to industrialism, capitalism and the nature of technological mass society, conforms to liberal dogma but not to reality.

 Disaster is guaranteed as long as the merely personal is seen as the whole picture. So much more urgently needs to be challenged.

John Zerzan, Eugene


I work with a “percent” of the “47 percent.” I work with the elderly who can no longer afford their health care, their rent, their utilities and their groceries. These same people helped mold and frame this nation through their hard work of waitressing, teaching, plumbing and doctoring. I work with the disabled who, through no fault of their own, were born and unable to join the work force. I work with the disabled that through accidents and illnesses have rendered them unable to work. I work with people who daily strive to maintain their health and abilities. I work with people who strive to recover and return to their work. I work with people who have served this nation as hard-working, honest members of this society. 

In fact, I have been truly lucky to not be a part of that 47 percent. I have had the opportunity of education. I have had the opportunity of a good family. I have had the phenomenal good luck of not having an injury or life-threatening disease. Not everyone is so lucky. 

I pay taxes, and I’m lucky to do so. Not lucky in that I have to pay, but in that I have the ability to do so. 

Do not quickly judge the 47 percent until you know who some of them are. Yes, I do believe that there are many free-loaders in this world. I do believe that there are people who are not working who could. I do believe that laziness still exists. But I also believe that by and large, there is a community of Americans out there that would willingly paying taxes, but simply can’t.

In short, it’s easy to judge by the numbers. It’s harder to judge when you have the facts. It’s even harder to judge when you meet someone up close and personal who still wants to contribute, but can’t. 

Melissa Quinn, Eugene social worker


The new school year brings a wonderful volunteer opportunity, reading to young children. The SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) program is a program that provides volunteer readers for the communities’ schools. Depending on each particular schools’ need, students in pre-k through third grade are chosen by their teachers and approved by their parents to participate in either weekly or twice a week sessions throughout the school year. The chosen students pick out books from out large selection and the readers read individually to each child — or else the child reads, with assistance if needed, if that’s what the child prefers. Thousands of Oregon’s young children are given this one-on-one time, encouraging a love of reading. We’re also able to give the students books to keep. 

 My husband and I are the coordinators this year for the SMART program at Eugene’s Cesar E. Chavez Elementary School. We are looking for volunteer readers, as are the coordinators of other schools throughout Oregon. Anyone who would like to participate as a volunteer reader can visit our website at getsmartoregon.org and apply. All volunteers are screened and then assigned to a school of their preference, or to one in their area if they have no preferences. Please help us put excited smiles on young students’ faces.

Richard & Barbara George, Eugene


Visiting Barnes & Noble often, I have noticed a mounting hate campaign in their display section called “2012 Election,” which is carefully and visibly placed between the café and the aisle that you must walk to reach the rest room.

Today there were 11 hate books about President Obama, who was called anywhere from amateur to dictator to unmaking the American dream.

I called two supervisors to inquire about these hate books and why, asking for a fair balance of books to choose from as an intelligent reader so that I can be informed about both Mr. Romney and President Obama regarding our upcoming election.

Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope was not on display, for example, to remind people of the dream that he had and still has and will fulfill, whenever Congress realizes that they are here to serve us, the people, not serve themselves or corporations.

The supervisor told me that Barnes & Noble corporate headquarters determines which books are to be displayed in this section. And here we are.

When visiting Barnes & Noble, presently our only large book store in Eugene, I do expect to find books of many subjects, topics and opinion. A section carrying hate books about Obama only instead about important information so that we can make a wise decision and choose from is hardly a “Noble” thing, Barnes!

Freedom of expression and speech and many books to choose from on this or any other important topic is still our American dream!

Jutta Akulina Benner, Eugene


In 2010, the Oregon House rejected HR100, proposing that access to health care is a fundamental right. In 2011, the Legislature passed, HB2721, which eliminates reliance on spiritual treatment as defense to certain crimes in which the victim is under 18 old. As a result of HB2721, in 2012, Brandi and Russel Bellew were prosecuted for the medically preventable death of their 16-year-old son. The Bellews pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and were sentenced to probation. Unsaid in this scenario,is the fact that some 500 Oregonians die each year from lack of access to health care. 

Ironically, in our, “morally/ethically” based legal system, the same legislators who designated a lack of access to care, based on religious beliefs, to be criminal, apparently believe that a lack of access to care for those who have no religious conflict is acceptable. The bellows should have made available to their son the medical care that might have saved his life. However, those legislators who rejected HR100 are as criminally negligent as the Bellows for ignoring the people who suffer and die from lack of access to care. The Legislature should embrace the concept that health care is a human right.

Marc Shapiro, Eugene


Now I know what class I am a member of. Thank you Gov. Romney for correcting a huge misunderstanding I have had about myself for many years. I thought that since I was employed for decades, paid taxes, raised a family and even took vacations I was a member of the middle class. Now I know that I was deceived all that time. I didn’t know that I was a taker and a victim too. I did not realize that all those tax credits I took were actually me acting out on my entitlement issues. Now I know that I am a born member of the 47 percent class. Wow, what a relief! 

Now that I am retired, after having paid into Social Security and Medicare for all my working life, I can feel OK with joining up with the other 47 prcent crew with our hands held out for the next government check. And, God willing, if Romney and Ryan make it to the White House, I will be a member of the last generation of the 47 percent of Americans who are entitled. After a long life of working for bosses like Mitt Romney, the next generation will be all on their own. God Bless them for their belief that vouchers for elementary and secondary school, vouchers for medical care after retirement, and no more government handouts will be what they are entitled to. 

Gerry Merritt, Eugene 


My fellow Americans, today I am announcing my independent candidacy for the presidency of these United States, in 2016. I know some will scoff and write off my efforts. Cynical and conniving, they’ll say, to run for the next election before this one has been decided — indeed before the first debate has begun. 

But the mark of a great leader is knowing when your time has come. Mine is not today, my friends. And it is not tomorrow, nor likely to occur for many weeks or months or years to come. November of ’16 looks damn good, however, and so we must begin today.

My journey to renew this country can be summed up in three simple bullets:

• On the world stage, I have a plan that will bring peace and stability to the Middle East in my first 90 days in office. Beginning Jan. 21, 2017, we will use the foreign aid budget of our federal government to give every member of Hezbollah a subscription to the Harry & David Fruit of the Month Club. Because we all know it’s impossible to strap a bomb on yourself and kill innocent people when someone has just bought you a fresh box of kumquats. 

• In the area of global warming, I’m all for it. We’re heading into the winter now, and I’m sick as hell of being cold. Sometimes, when no one is looking, I stand on my back porch and empty aerosol cans into the night sky.

• But the crowning achievement of my administration will come in domestic policy. I promise to sign an executive order banning the further building of any future Starbucks franchise. We have enough. In my home town of Eugene alone, there are more Starbucks stores than coffee beans.

If we are not careful: One day, you’ll step out of your front door. The sun will shine and the birds will sing. And a fresh-faced teenager will ask, “Can I get something started for you?” You’ll peer down the sidewalk, and on every lawn, there’ll be a Starbucks. This will not stand.

I guess the real reason I am running in this next election is I have uncovered a vast and sinister conspiracy. Only from the vantage point of the Oval Office can I hope to lead the human race to safety. I recently learned that every employee of Starbucks, from the janitor to the corporate executive, is a space alien. Every Starbucks franchise, in every town, is a space ship. And they are just biding their time.

Now some may ask: “What would make an extraterrestrial want to become a barista?”

This is a serious threat, My Friends, and one that is likely to succeed with the skeptics and entrenched nabobs of America. 

For years now, they’ve gotten us hooked on highly charged beverages. Quadruple-shot lattes and carmel macchiatos. And when the day of reckoning arrives, and they receive word from their mother ship, they’ll switch it to decaf. Then they’ll just walk right over us.

So vote for me, my friends. Vote for Timothy Lee Mack. Vote for change. Together, we will lead humanity into a new, post-apocalyptic salvation. 

God speed.

Timothy Lee Mack, MA, Eugene