Letters to the Editor: 3-14-2013


The full page ad on the back cover of EW Feb. 28 illustrates the interesting psychological conditioning that happens to politicians over the course of their careers. The ad extensively quotes Peter DeFazio calling for a moratorium on a whole class of toxic chemicals used in commercial forestry. The facts and detail presented make DeFazio sound like the kind of strong, environmentally conscious leader that we’d like to have holding office.

Unfortunately, DeFazio wrote those words back in 1985. Having spent the subsequent 28 years building a solid career in politics, DeFazio has found it necessary to replace the principles and idealism of his youth with the pragmatism of a seasoned politician. He now supports legislation that would place thousands of additional acres of protected federal forest land into commercial logging with massive clearcuts and helicopter spraying of toxic chemicals.

From the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street, concerned citizens of all stripes are wondering what’s wrong with our “leadership.” We must bring a discussion of human psychology into politics. Politicians, bureaucrats and corporate executives fall across a psychological spectrum. At one end is willful ignorance, at the other end is psychopathy. But the vast majority of the people running the world are in some degree of denial or delusion, and therein lies human kind’s biggest problem.

Robert Bolman, Eugene


On Thursday, Feb. 28, in the late afternoon, a rather huge, somewhat salt and pepper colored, tailless cat found its way between some hedges for a bit of rest in the Glenwood area on Franklin Boulevard. I saw this cat resting from inside a building and as I approached the window for a better view, the cat saw me and ran off into the street and was killed by a passing car. After my sadness I got a box and went out into the street, stopping traffic, and put the remains in the box. 

This was a tragic incident and I am sure the owners of the cat are wondering where it is — maybe kids too. A family member has died with no way to contact the owners and it was important for me to let the Glenwood community be aware of this. A donation to Greenhill has been made in the name of “Glenwood Cat.”

Dennis Lyons, Glenwood


As a parent of a junior at Churchill High School, I am wondering why no one is asking the students and parents at Churchill how the 3×5 schedule is working for us? If we have to be the guinea pigs in this experiment, wouldn’t it be respectful for the School Board to put our suffering to good use in informing their decision about the fate of the other high schools? 

How can the School Board not challenge Superintendent Berman’s comment (at the end of the March 6 meeting) that he is committed to making sure the new schedule allows students to take both music and a full IB [International Baccalaureate]? When is he planning to make good on this commitment? Because my daughter is losing her band class right now. As both my daughter and CHS parent Julie Butler explained at the meeting, there is no way to make this work in the 3×5 schedule. 

This year at Churchill, my daughter is attending the School of Hard Knocks and learning that the adults running the world don’t really know what they are doing, that people don’t really mean what they say and that even when you speak truth to power (as she did so well) and even when you have an overwhelming majority on your side (80 percent of high school teachers!), the people in charge can still ignore you. Is this what the 4J School District wants her to learn?

Sharon Blick, Eugene


It is not surprising that Delta Sand and Gravel (R-G, March 3) has plans to expand its mining operations on 68 acres of farmland and has hired Bill Kloos as their attorney.

Lane County mining interests are now emboldened by the stripping of public input by the recent ruling of no site review for the residents of Dexter/Lost Valley (Parvin Butte). Lost Valley Rock Products also used Bill Kloos as their attorney.

Bill Kloos’ comment “I am confident (the county) will see it the way we see it” should cause much concern to the opponents of Delta’s expansion.

The influx of political money from mining interests to Lane County commissioners has tainted the planning process. The commissioners no longer represent their districts and we shall remember them on voting day.

Arlen Markus, Dexter


Please, anyone who cares about keeping our parks open to public access, go to the Glassbar Island Facebook page and read all about it and sign the petition, and tell your friends too. The county is telling us we can’t cross 100 yards of parking lot to get to the state-park! The river and Glassbar Island are wonderful treasures that are loved by many, and we must be allowed to get there without having to take a boat! Please also write and/or call the Lane County commissioners and come express your opinion at the board meetings, especially the meeting on March 19.

 Alice Stroud, Eugene


Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution reads, “all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness.”

As a longtime resident of rural western Oregon, I can attest to the utter disregard for the inherent rights of “we the people.” For more than 40 years, we have been pleading with the government to protect us from the common forest practice of spraying toxic chemicals from helicopters to control weeds. The usual response from government officials is that this dangerous procedure is legal. Corporate rights trump community rights. 

How is this possible? The short answer is that corporations and their owners purposefully created a structure of law that protects them from community control and shields them from the cornerstone of our constitutional rights as stipulated in Section 1.

Corporate rights shall not continue to override our constitutional rights. Inspired and guided by Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (www.celdf.org), communities across the nation are organizing to demand our constitutional rights. Local ordinances protecting people from unscrupulous corporate practices exist in 150 communities today. When we wake up to the notion that power is inherent in the people, there is no turning back. Stay tuned, Lane County.

Michelle Holman, Deadwood 


I enjoy Tony Corcoran’s commentaries on the Oregon Legislature. But he needs to focus on the really important bills instead of the ones dealing with trivial stuff such as guns, the budget, etc.

As one of those evil lobbyists, part of my job is to review all legislation. The most important bill I’ve seen so far – bar none – is House Bill 2352. It designates Aug. 9 of each year as “Boring and Dull Day.” It recently passed the House on a 59-0 vote with one excused.

The negative implications of 2352 should be obvious to residents in Eugene and certain territory around Veneta. As everyone surely knows, Aug. 9 is already a sacred day: the anniversary of the death of patron saint Jerry Garcia. You can see the problem here. Jerry was many things but certainly not “boring and dull” (at least not around these parts). There will undoubtedly also be scheduling and traffic issues with the two celebrations happening on the same day.

There are other bills in the current session that might warrant a casual glance, e.g., dozens to impose new or higher taxes or fees, even more saddling state agencies with new tasks (costing more dollars) and others invading our privacy and taking away our rights. But these pale in importance to HB 2352.

 I’m hopeful that Tony will address this matter in an upcoming commentary.

Jerry Ritter, Secretary & Legislative Affairs Rep., Oregon Communities For a Voice in Annexations

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those not tracking the Legislature, the “Boring and Dull” bill would commemorate a partnership of sorts between Boring, Ore., and Dull, Scotland. 


Albert Einstein was quoted saying, “If bees disappear man will have no more then four years to live.” Bees are much more then just the honey they make. One study cited in The New York Times states that annually bees pollinate more then $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the U.S alone!

Colony collapse disorder among our honeybees has been a concerning problem in over 24 states and yet hardly any large-scale media attention has been drawn. Every year thousands of bee hives are mysteriously dying and we can thank the widespread usage of pesticides and herbicides, along with GMO seed contamination and radiation from cell phones. 

In response to Doug Hornaday’s letter [2/21], I feel for our beekeepers who are seeing first-hand these effects. My father for four years caught swarms and nurtured his bees and has sadly found them all dead every year. He uses no chemicals on his acre farm and has no explanation for the death of his bees. It’s heartbreaking to see a hive build their colony for several months then mysteriously die!

In a single trip a bee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers carrying half its weight in pollen, and to make just one pound of honey a colony of bees will fly 55,000 miles and gather pollen from 2 million flowers! Spraying poison on our food doesn’t make sense. And now the city of Eugene is demanding $7,000 to release records of this information to Beyond Toxics because it’s not in the best interest of the people. Obviously they have something to hide?

The Safe Public Places Act will establish an integrated pest management plan to reduce environmental damage due to over-spraying. Go to safepublicplaces.org or info@beyondtoxics.org to help.

 Heide Kost, Eugene


I’m writing in support of the views expressed by Doug Hornaday [2/21] concerning pesticides, bees and water quality. I live in Springfield and I, too, have noticed a decline in the bee population in the native plants in my yard.

I also agree the cities of Eugene and Springfield need to stop using pesticides for the sake of the bees, water, plant life and human health. I would also like to urge homeowners and gardeners in both cities to stop using pesticides so they don’t end up in our rivers.

Cynthia Orlando, Springfield


Trying to mitigate peak oil and climate chaos separately makes both worse. Focusing on energy shortage while ignoring ecology led to the false solutions of tar sands, shale gas, offshore drilling, liquid natural gas, biomass electricity, mountaintop removal and nuclear power.

Focusing only on “carbon” while ignoring energy limits is one of the reasons for the political backlash against climate change awareness. Environmental groups frame these concerns as we should reduce energy consumption instead of we will reduce consumption because we cannot burn fuel that does not exist. 

Framing the question as how we will use the remaining oil could bypass the problem of climate change denial. We will reduce our “carbon footprint” whether we want to or not. How many governments or corporations will still exist in 2050 when our footprints are supposed to be smaller? How much oil will be left in 2050 to extract?

Our exponential growth economy has hit the end of growth of resource consumption, imposed by nature as well as politics. Building lots of wind turbines, railroads and relocalizing agriculture would require reallocating resources used for endless warfare and wasteful consumerism. After “peak everything” there will be fewer resources available for transition. We need triage on a planetary scale to wisely use the remaining fossil fuels and minerals. 

Living on our current solar budget would power a smaller, steady state economy. We will live on our solar budget as the oil, unnatural gas and coal go away. Future generations need us to choose wisely and use remaining fossil fuels for relocalization and power down. We are past the limits to growth on our round, finite planet.

David Holmgren, a co-originator of permaculture, is author of Future Scenarios: How Communities adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change (see futurescenarios.org):

“Economic recession is the only proven mechanism for a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions … most of the proposals for mitigation from Kyoto to the feverish efforts to construct post Kyoto solutions have been framed in ignorance of peak oil. As Richard Heinberg has argued recently, proposals to cap carbon emissions annually, and allowing them to be traded, rely on the rights to pollute being scarce relative to the availability of the fuel. Actual scarcity of fuel may make such schemes irrelevant.” 

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene


Hey, anyone happen to notice the visibly hideous scalp-job that one of the Giustina brothers(?) is doing on Mount Zion? This largess of a butte is visible from Eugene, looking south, as it sits alone exposed and prominent in the landscape. It is part of a chain of small mountains that lead up to Mount June and sits close to Eagles Rest. Can someone look into this? Go see for yourselves!

What a gross display of arrogance and greed! The top 80 acres is BLM. The rest is history and we are left with an incredible eyesore, a land denuded and degraded. Poisoned by ignorance and a lack of morals. Shame on the property owners who own hundreds of thousands of acres and cannot leave alone the stellar visual features of Mount Zion’s slopes. Scalped, raped, scarred, demoralized and dead. 

Once again, our property is invaded by fleeing wildlife, refuges from an industrial war zone. If you happen to be driving up Lost Creek Road, or even Hwy. 58, just keep your eyes fixed on God’s road, don’t look up! Keep your eyes on God’s glorious road! For shame!

Thomas W. Baxter, Dexter


One of the best pieces of cinema from 2012 –– if not the best –– was the film that got snubbed by not only all the various award ceremonies, but even EW. Just because the depth of the story befuddled poor Roger Ebert, does not spell a pass for EW’s reviewers [2/21].

I refer, of course, to the three-director masterpiece titled Cloud Atlas. See it and enhance your notions of evolution, struggle, liberation –– and existence itself!

Vip Short, Eugene


I am writing to expose some of the cracks in the rosy picture that “no-kill” animal shelters try to paint.

Glorious-sounding no-kill shelters generally turn away many more animals than they accept, picking, choosing, and admitting only the youngest, healthiest, prettiest and most adoptable, if any, because on most days, they will tell all comers, “We’re full.” The rest are sent away to suffer on the streets or to be left in the hands of people who don’t want them. 

Some no-kills do accept animals when they shouldn’t, by which I mean when their facilities are already crammed beyond capacity, subjecting all of the shelter’s tenants to crowded, unsanitary conditions, illness, and often a painful death from parvovirus or from fighting. And if the animals they do take in are not adopted, many so-called no-kill shelters warehouse them in cages for years, unwanted and unloved, even after they are driven “cage crazy” from the stress of confinement. I’ve seen them sit with their back to visitors, withdrawn into a world of depression and lost hope.

No-kill advocates are quick to throw stones at open-admission shelters, which offer refuge to every animal who comes through their doors and euthanize animals when they are not adoptable, when they run out of appropriate living space for them, or when the animals brought in are injured, aggressive or gravely ill.

As long as outspoken no-kill proponents continue to criticize open-admission shelters even in the face of the animal homelessness crisis, I will continue to save animals by helping expose no-kills for what they really are: “slow-kills.”

Curtis Taylor, Eugene


David Ivan Piccioni’s letter March 7 on legalizing drugs quotes members of LEAP as realizing the war on drugs is one of the greatest evils. Another man made the same point 22 years ago in a book entitled The Wars of America. To quote author Robert Leckie: “To these (wars) there may be added the government’s obvious inability to win the so-called ‘war on drugs’ — a policy as disastrously misguided as the attempt to enforce prohibition.” 

Ann Kneeland’s letter March 7 says the U.S. Constitution is a living document and must “evolve.” Who should do the “evolving”? The people or five unelected lawyers in black robes? Our Constitution “evolved” from many previous documents and writings — but only after ratification by the people. Are we now going to accept a government that is a dictatorship by five unelected lawyers? Without ratification or participation by the people?

Thomas Jefferson disagreed with Justice Marshall’s reasoning in Marbury v. Madison (1803): “You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” 

Frank Skipton, Springfield

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