Letters to the Editor: 7-3-2013


The debate about logging public lands is like a Hatfield/McCoy feud — it just goes on and on. Over the past 30 or more years we have heard many of the same arguments over and over and over. 

It is especially tiresome because the arguments are not relevant anymore. What is relevant is that forests are the critical terrestrial sink for carbon emissions. The scientific effort to find this “missing” terrestrial sink — a sink that had to exist based on carbon balance calculations — has borne fruit. We live in the midst of an extraordinarily productive global forest, and that forest sucks up carbon dioxide like a global-scale Hoover and turns it into organic matter at incomparable (and essential) rates. We need to leave that carbon in place — sequestered.

Scientists have been pursuing the nature of the missing sink for decades, and now we know that we live in it. The scientific trail is long, but it culminates in a study by Pan et al. in 2011 in Science magazine. I quote: “Our total forest sink estimate is equivalent in magnitude to the terrestrial sink deduced from fossil fuel emissions and land-use change sources minus ocean and atmospheric sinks.”

Global emissions of CO2 are still growing greater each year. The evidence of warming is obvious. The highest and best use for trees is to keep them vertical and growing.

Tom Giesen, Eugene


When Gary Crum’s name appears at the end of letters to the editor, his ideas consistently have merit. Then there is the exception that proves the rule, like his Viewpoint on gun control June 28. Maybe he was pulling our legs with his proposal for a registry of gun ownership acceptable to gun owners, as well as to those who challenge private possession of guns.

He refers to “legitimate gun owners.” I think he realizes there is no such thing. Some gun owners have good intentions, but there are times when the best-intentioned, like all of us, are subject to moments of passion or great anger that result in impulsive behavior, including use of guns. Or they may be careless about where they place their guns, enabling innocent youngsters to take them and become unwitting killers.

I suspect Gary knows that just as he has “no panacea” for protecting the public from guns, there is no such thing as a safe gun.

George Beres, Eugene


After a long process of seeming to try too hard — the UO has succeeded in starting the arming of campus police with high-powered handguns. This seems strange since the most reported crimes on campus are bike theft and computer theft. The most likely big event — a large party out of control.

More military-type weapons is a bad step toward looking like Anaheim. If that does not call up an image, one can Google or YouTube the recent militarized police actions in that California city.

It is not too late for the UO and Eugene. Sell the handguns and buy less-than-lethal weapons like Tasers and steel ball-shooting paintball guns used for riot control.

Here is a working hypothesis as to what the results will be in a year or two: Having the less-than-lethal weapons will mean more students on campus, or at least fewer dead or gravely injured ones.

Michael Lee, Eugene


I, too, question the choices being made to grow our core community (June 20 Slant). Slant zeroed in on the giveaway of tax exemptions to developers in fear that they won’t step up to build megaplexes. A real lose-lose proposition. Ever since Capstone leveraged its way into a prime open space downtown, I’ve alluded to my senior friends that once the over-building of student housing becomes evident, that building just might be the option for our low-income housing needs in the not too distant future, as the Slant piece quipped. 

At this point I see little imagination or grace in the “borg” building and its parking garage looming next to it that would entice me to find it home. Is there really any consideration to diversify the downtown between all ages, ethnicities and income levels? Is there any green space being planned? Will families want to live downtown? How about a senior artist colony in the downtown, a new and wonderful trend being built in some communities (Google engAGE). 

We deserve a downtown with a year-round, full-spectrum community — not unlike Jerry Diethelm’s vision of Emerald Canal, printed last week.

 Martha Snyder, Eugene


In loving memory of Karl Sorg — who was a deeply and actively involved observer and free legal consultant from the heart. A dear friend of the homeless, friend of the court, friend of mine in my earlier time of need. I was shocked at the news that he had passed away at 90. Then I realized it had been so many years ago that he and I and a whole big group of homeless supporters struggled together for the sake of human rights. 

Rest in peace, my friend. 

Danielle Smith, Eugene


While you highlight issues that more mainstream local dailies often ignore (eg. environment, police hostility) may I propose that you are not quite as “liberal” and “progressive” as you seem to make yourselves out to be.

I was delighted to see that a person of color made a sporadic appearance on the front cover [6/27 “Green Tribunal: Will India Lead Enviro Law?”]. Yet, why the need to describe Rahul Choudhary as “a tall, dark and handsome Indian” who “speaks in a British-tinged accent”? If Choudhary were white, would it matter if he was handsome or not? I believe it would’ve been possible to write about Choudhary’s work without other-ing and fetishizing the person.

To well-meaning Eugene folks (tie dye and dreadlocks or not): It would be great if I could ride my bike by the river, saunter in the Rose Garden or walk down the street without being called out to, “Konnichiwa!” and eat pad thai using chopsticks in public without being watched and commented on, “You do it so well … because you’re oriental.” 

 Adeline Chak, Eugene


The Eugene Water & Electric Board is now considering signing a $26 million contract to buy wireless smart meters. They plan to install these on homes and businesses. 

 EWEB says that the safe, dependable analog meters that are on our homes now, which use rotating gears and have worked well for the past 40 to 50 years, need to go!

Wireless smart meters are made of plastic and have a computer chip with a transmitting antenna. The life span is seven to 15 years. These will need to be replaced at a cost to consumers.

Many health concerns have been raised by doctors, including reports from The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (aaemonline.org) Jan. 19, 2012. The academy opposes the installation of wireless smart meters in homes and schools based on scientific assessment of the current medical literature. Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation (which smart meters emit) is a preventable environmental hazard. The academy calls for a “moratorium on smart meter installation until serious public health issues are resolved.”

Many smart meters are placed on outer walls near bedrooms, kitchens and playrooms, exposing humans to pulsed microwave radiation. This should be immediately prohibited.

In California, where PG&E and other utilities have installed smart meters, 57 jurisdictions have placed moratoriums on these meters. EWEB seems to only look at industry reports on this subject. 

The people of Eugene need to understand this issue and tell the EWEB commissioners to vote “no” on this smart meter contract. See FamiliesForSafeMeters.org or email info@FamiliesForSafeMeters.org.

Neil Hunter, Eugene


One need look no further than to the behavior of drivers in Eugene in order to understand pedestrian behavior. How many times have you seen one, two or a dozen people standing at an intersection, either downtown or in the neighborhoods, waiting for traffic to clear in order to cross the street?

Visit Santa Monica, Calif., to see what courteous, informed driving looks like. A pedestrian waves a toe in the general direction of an intersection and traffic stops. Offending drivers (those who don’t stop) are cited and fined. Jaywalkers are ticketed as well. The locals, at least, know the rules and follow them.

Conversely, here in Eugene, most drivers must not know the law or simply choose to ignore it and are seldom (or never?) cited. Ticketing drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the street is clearly the place to start the campaign to increase pedestrian safety. The Eugene Police Department would do well to get at the root of the problem rather than focusing on the arguably reasonable “misbehavior” of pedestrians.

Pedestrians and bikers also play a role in the ongoing game of pedestrian roulette. One particular spot where their behavior is most brazen and potentially fatal is adjacent the intersection of 24th and Amazon Parkway, where the bike path crosses 24th. I have seen some of the most spectacularly clueless moves from bikers  and pedestrians. I have yet to see anyone get crushed there, but it’ll happen eventually. To their credit, most drivers tend to be particularly cautious approaching this area.

Since so few people read the newspaper these days, it’s incumbent upon the police and other media (TV, radio) to educate through response-cost actions (that would involve the police ticketing offenders) and through public service announcements. It likely wouldn’t take long to decrease the incidence of these risky behaviors once the police and local media focused on the causes rather than the effects.

B.F. Skinner knew his stuff. 

S. Lea Jones, Eugene


Countless independent studies and now the congressionally funded bipartisan National Research Council have found that windmills and solar energy schemes do not reduce greenhouse gas release, and biofuel production increases greenhouse gas emissions. Windmills and solar projects take too much energy to construct, yield very little usable energy in return, and always require fossil fuel backup. They are really only valuable as public relations gimmicks. America has wasted $48 billion subsidizing wind, solar and biofuels with a net result of increasing greenhouse gas release and dramatically increasing the cost of food and energy. Global biofuel production has killed millions worldwide through malnutrition and related illness, and has dramatically increased water pollution, deforestation, and topsoil erosion. Without topsoil the human race will starve.

There is hope. Recently, seven professors from three separate universities tested Andrea Rossi’s “Hot Cat” Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) device and found that it works as promised. All the scientists involved in the test were highly qualified, and one, professor Hanno Essén, is a former chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society. These respected scientists had no financial incentive to falsify a test, and all have admirable reputations to protect. LENR does not use radioactive materials, does not create any radioactive or chemically toxic waste, and promises us an endless supply of electricity at just one cent per kilowatt hour. LENR reactors produce clean, safe, carbon-free energy 24-7-365, not just when the sun shines and the wind blows. Expect the first LENR products to hit the marketplace in 2014. 

Christopher Calder, Eugene

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