Letters to the Editor: 8-15-2013


In years past I have taken great pride in claiming the UO as my alma mater. Sadly, as the UO has morphed into the University of Nike, I am no longer proud. This last gross expenditure of funds on the amenities for the so-called “student-athletes” is merely the latest in a long list of misspent money. 

Some folks are making a huge, huge amount of money on the backs of these student-athletes. However, sad to say, neither the university nor the student-athletes are doing so well. The student-athletes arrive from out of state and often unprepared for university study. Their graduation rates are dismal, and if they are removed from the team, their scholarships evaporate; and if injured, there is no workers compensation for them. After all, they’re not employees, they’re students — right? Many of them believe a professional sports career awaits them; however, my reading indicates less than 1 percent will reach this goal. 

According to my reading of The Register-Guard, once in Eugene, these student-athletes smoke pot, drive drunk, break and enter, sexually abuse and batter women and generally act like the young princes their handlers/ coaches have convinced them they are. As a rule, when they are busted for their misdeeds, there are few if any repercussions for their behavior. 

I’m disgusted with Nike U! I want my UO back; I want to be proud again. 

Susan M. Connolly, Eugene


The taxpayers of Lane County owe a heartfelt thank-you to the EW for Camilla Mortensen’s ongoing coverage of what former county administrator Liane Richardson cost Lane County. An open-minded second look is absolutely critical when you can’t trust the source of the information.

I hope the commissioners do the right thing now and re-examine her hatchet jobs on all the employees and activists whom she and her minions threatened, bullied and mauled during her gory tenure. 

At least, thanks in part to the EW, that tenure was blessedly short.

Rita Castillo, Springfield


Junkie parents used to send me to the Church of the Calvary Assembly of God every Sunday so they could get high and do whatever. So I was indoctrinated. We got a 3-foot Baby Ruth candy bar if we brought three children to church who had never been to the church. LOL, they used to send a bus just to pick up us poor welfare kids.

They had this “Scale of Faith” thing — a balanced bar of wood with two buckets attached, one pink bucket, one blue. Whichever group (boys or girls) that donated the most weight in coins was given those little individually wrapped Baby Ruth candy bars. I think I was 6 to 8 years old.

I guess the church thinks Baby Ruth candy bars are the quickest way to win hearts and minds of children. Personally I prefer Skor candy bars, but what the hey. 

Evil shit, eh? Why, you may ask? Because I was taught as a very young child that if you donate more money to the church than everyone else has donated, you get sweet rewards. If you bring people to the church you get a giant sweet reward. That is a kind of textbook pyramid scam. Except, you know — with children.

Charles Echols, Springfield


While the public was looking the wrong way, a cabal of right-leaning elements (some would say Tea Party) managed a takeover of county government. Starting with a strong offensive move –– a “citizen” (but read corporate) lawsuit designed to take out the two environmentally conscious commissioners — we began to see that, just as on the national level, there would be no time wasted on silly notions like cooperation for the good of the whole, getting actual business done for the public, etc. 

Then came the usual maneuvers: unnecessary and expensive voter redistricting to ensure a board supermajority; needless but expensive purchase of alternative voting software, lining a friend’s pockets; rubber-stamped mountaintop removal; attempts to buy up local water rights. My list is abbreviated, but unless you have just recently tuned in, you get the picture.

But hubris eventually takes care of its own. Government by vendetta is neither effective nor sane. We should be outraged that our supposedly scarce and precious public money has been squandered by arrogant employees –– elected and fast-track selected –– who were ostensibly there to direct the best use of our resources.

Administrator Liane Richardson is gone, and everybody but Sorenson should go. We should not wait for the rest to irremediably slip up before turning them out. 

Kevin Matthews will make an excellent new commissioner.

Vip Short, Eugene


I’m no football fan, but that doesn’t mean I begrudge those having a little fun. What I do begrudge, however, is the enormous expense of the new football center that the UO has recently opened. Yes, the money was given privately, and why shouldn’t someone be able to spend their money on whatever they want to? Perhaps because there comes a point when that spending crosses the line from generous to obscene. 

To be honest, I am less concerned about what Phil Knight chooses to throw his fortune at, although like many others I feel we have more than enough memorials to Knight. I am more troubled by the university’s willingness to accept these gifts while academics — the true purpose of a university — seem to suffer. Whether it’s classroom buildings, programs and curriculum, class size, faculty or the enormous cost of education to students, there are better things for the UO to focus on. 

I firmly believe it’s time the university made a stand in favor of its core responsibility — education. Stop taking money for these ridiculous and excessive projects and put the energy expended to acquire it toward funding truly important things. And, Phil Knight: If you really want to help Eugene, how about investing some of that money in our schools, in health programs or in endeavors that will help those who can’t even think of affording attendance at the UO to obtain further education — even those who can’t play football.

Jake Gariepy, Eugene


Maybe I missed something, but it seems like every time I pick up a EW there are articles about School District 4J. I rarely even see anything about Bethel School District. Bethel is not just for trailer homes and tweakers anymore. It is a great school district that is run responsibly and better than 4J. I have experienced both 4J and Bethel as a parent, and Bethel is better without question.

So, how about including more about Bethel? We do not even live in Bethel but in Santa Clara. Many of the newer neighborhoods are in the Bethel School District.

A. Gilchrist, Eugene


I was disappointed to learn that the American Legion regional baseball tournament was being held at Swede Johnson Stadium instead of Civic Stadium. Civic Stadium was built just for such an event, but sits abandoned and for sale by School District 4J.

It is hard to understand the district’s listing of this historic stadium as surplus when this tournament is just one of many such events that could be held here if the district would only make it available. Rather than sell this stadium for short-term financial gain, the district should renovate it and manage it for the ongoing revenue it can produce.

Lonnie McCulloch, Eugene


Smart meter opponents fear adverse health impacts from radio emissions largely based on studies (some persuasive) linking cell phones and cell towers to increased headaches, nausea and even cancer. But the technology EWEB is considering installing on our homes and businesses emit radio signals for a microsecond each time they communicate. Over the course of a year it adds up to less than two minutes per meter! 

Comparing cell phones to smart meters is not very instructive. Cell phones emit so many more watts, are held right up to your head and can expose you to hundreds of hours of radio emissions per year. So what might be a better comparison? Garage door openers. You hit the remote control button twice a day and for a fraction of a second its radio switches on to communicate with the motor in the garage. 

Smart meters create options that EWEB ratepayers want. And let’s be clear: Smart meters will also create new challenges. We haven’t yet decided which path to take. 

Let’s use the right analogies to understand the impacts. It makes all the difference.

Steve Mital, EWEB commissioner, Wards 1 & 8


Wow, the new football building is sure getting a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Foosball tables from Spain, barber tools from Italy, hand-woven rugs from Nepal. Gotta hand it to the UO athletic department. What an innovative way to teach young football players about geography.

And the new water features outside are spectacular. Cascades of bubbling Perrier amidst a new forest of trees imported from the Ardennes. Much more inspiring than the buckets sitting in the middle of the math classrooms.

And how about those lockers? German-engineered air conditioning in each one takes out all the foul odors so the air inside stays fresh and cool. It prompted one English professor to exclaim, “Air conditioning? What’s that?”

Athletic Director Rob Mullens says the new building is not excessive and I believe him. Of course, he said the same thing about the Spanish Inquisition.

Paul Roth, Springfield


I am responding to the letter Aug. 8, “Drinking in the Whit.” I am hearing more and more that this is becoming the Brewery District, yet there are no programs in place to help combat drunk driving.

I have recently founded Rides for Intoxicated Drivers of Eugene, or RIDE, a service where we will get patrons of sponsor organizations home in their own vehicles. We offer this free to the patron, with the sponsor organizations covering the costs. 

We feel that this lets the sponsor organization show that they are committed to reducing drunk driving in the local communities. I wanted to respond so people knew we were out there and looking for sponsor organizations. I would like to ask the community to let the local bars, Ninkasi included, know that they should become sponsors and help bring our service to the community.

We haven’t found our base of operations yet and the Whit could make an ideal choice. It will only happen if the community shows their support and helps to convince the local bars and nightclubs to become sponsors.

If anyone wants to be a volunteer chauffeur or wants to sponsor RIDE, they can visit rideeugene.org or find us on Facebook and Twitter. 

Jonathan Russell, Eugene


All the world’s a stage and this summer Eugene’s own itinerant theater troupe, The Roving Park Players, has transformed our lovely parks and open spaces into a delightful stage where children and adult actors prance, dance, prowl and growl while entertaining families in the adorable adaptation of Ruth Gannett’s My Father’s Dragon

Summer lingers and evenings are still long. Perfect for a family picnic at one of the remaining performances: this Thursday and Friday at Peterson Barn Community Center; Saturday and Sunday at Island Park in Springfield. Canopies provided in case of rain. The mission of RPP is to make the magic of theater accessible to everyone; thus, all performances are always free. What a deal. Shows start at 6 pm. Visit website for details, RovingParkPlayers.org

Eva Kronen, Eugene


Since the enactment of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1993, marbled murrelet and spotted owl populations have declined at a rate of about 2 to 3 percent per year. The Endangered Species Act-listed salmon runs, like the Coho, are likely declining at a faster rate, but Oregon Fish and Wildlife is not tracking this decline for some reason. 

Climate change chaos is happening right before our very eyes and yet Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio want to ignore these inconvenient truths and promote more ecosystem destruction by increasing logging on Oregon’s public lands.

Their legislation calls for clearcut logging and privatization upon 2.5 million acres of BLM-managed O&C lands to subsidize the failing mega-tree-fiber operations owned by the wealthiest people in Oregon. These timber elite have clearcut and exported all of the mature trees on their so-called private lands and at least 70 percent on public lands. Now Oregon’s timber elite are clamoring for the rest of our endangered ecosystems on public lands, and it seems Wyden and DeFazio are ready to hand it to them on a gold-plated platter. 

I am sure glad we have Democrats leading Oregon into the abyss at the behest of the big timber elite, aren’t you?

Shannon Wilson, Ecosystem Advocates NW, Eugene


I am disappointed to see Rep. Peter DeFazio’s proposed O&C Trust Act moving forward. The bill further fragments our public forestlands, takes away public process for forest management and relies on the weak provisions that private timber companies use for their clearcuts.

Though he doesn’t mention it in his recent opinion in the R-G, DeFazio’s bill is linked to some of the worst environmental legislation in decades, HR 1526, promoted by leading Republicans. This legislation would mandate a huge increase in logging on our national forests and would gut environmental laws and prioritize timber production over all other public values.

Our federal public lands provide Oregonians with clean drinking water, fish and wildlife, world-class recreation and scenic beauty. The proposals in HR 1526 — including the O&C Trust Act — jeopardize these values treasured by the people of our state. DeFazio should reconsider his support of the O&C Trust proposal, and our senators should view it as a non-starter.

Roxana Monjaras, Eugene


We are writing to support the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County. It is important that local communities across this country take control of their food sources.

Corporate agribusiness has gotten state and federal laws to support corporate dominance over local community rights.

People need to work together to regain local sovereignty and rights. To grow, distribute and consume foods free of chemical and genetically modified contamination is a basic human right.

Thank you for helping to put the Local Food Systems Ordinance on the next Lane County ballot.

Robert M. Jacobs & Barbara J. Jacobs, Eugene


In ancient India, there was the practice of giving someone a sacred white elephant. The maintenance of this cynical gift would bankrupt the person, who received it.

The football palace given to the UO by Phil Knight is the same kind of present. Taxpayers all over the state of Oregon will have to pay for maintenance such as heating and cooling systems, repairs, sidewalks, road surfaces, water, window washing, sweeping, cleaning, etc. Millions of tax dollars gone for the benefit of the football staff and it’s players. Phil Knight gets a tax break, we get a tax bill that has no end.

John McClash and Anastasia Baio, Eugene