Letters to the Editor: 10-31-2013


Regarding “No More To Give” [Letters, 10/17]: Jessica Hannah, what’s wrong? Your facts are as accurate as they are cold. The way you only point out what is wrong invites me to look between the lines for something constructive. How very clever. When your way becomes the law, then the only problem left will be one of enforcement. The work camps will be far from your sight. Instead of bums on every corner there will be a camera. 

If your neighbor won’t volunteer his free time, say, reading to the elderly, he will have to go. Your reference to “work camps like they did way back when” must be a reference to Stalin or Hitler. You didn’t say. What you did say was that “they demand respect while showing none for the citizens.” If you marginalize them by calling them non-citizens you make it easier to use the same tactics that worked so well 150 years ago with the American Indian “problem.”

You’re not going to be able to put a cap on the number of transients, even if you force them to register themselves, or tattoo a number on the forearms of the ones already here. I can only assume that the term “sensitive wetlands” refers to the ones that haven’t already been drained and developed. 

Shoplifting is a sport invented by spoiled suburbanites, not by poor people. Ever notice the way the University District has more litter than any other neighborhood in Eugene? Or how the party riots get swept under the rug like the crimes of some football hero? I have. The biggest message that I read between your lines is that not only is a class war needed, it’s overdue.

Brooke Fisher, Eugene


Jessica Hannah’s letter [Oct. 17] well delineated the common complaints against the homeless. But her letter also belies the common misconceptions about who is living on the streets these days. And she offers no solutions, but for the implication that many are just personally irresponsible, and the inference that they just need to be run off to some other community.

I’m not an expert on the subject, but I doubt most homeless folks chose that way of life. Does Ms. Hannah believe it is coincidence that increasing homelessness parallels the rise in poverty? Is there no connection between the neo-liberal austerity policies, offered as a solution to recession, and the dearth of public resources to help the unemployed? Is there no cause-effect relationship between 40 years of economic policies that precipitate the transfer of wealth to a small group of citizens, outsource and automate millions of jobs out of existence and reward and encourage the investor class while denigrating and deprecating the working class?

The fear-mongering exaggerations of “garbage everywhere, needles everywhere” and “we cannot use our parks” are not an accurate description of the diversity of people who have found themselves homeless. And there is no mystery about how to reduce these problems: Jobs! Every study has shown a direct relationship between the reduction of homelessness and crime, and the reduction of unemployment.

Perhaps Hannah and her ilk can offer some ideas for better governance and public policies that mitigate, rather than exacerbate, the situations about which they complain.

James Stauffer, Eugene


It appears to be true that EWEB decision makers have committed the vile and reprehensible act of voting to install “smart” meters on the residences and businesses of Eugene. This level of disregard for the health of the humans and animals in Lane County is beyond horrifying. EWEB is now in the same bag as Monsanto and all war criminals, (Colin Powell for instance) and insane “developers” who want to annihilate a beautiful, tranquil meadow off River Road. (Green! Sustainable! Bullshit! Why don’t they go to some blighted eyesore of a place and turn it into a piece of Paradise? That’s green development.)

Clearly EWEB doesn’t care about the hard evidence that this technology may endanger the health of your young daughter’s eggs and her future fertility and what may happen if she does conceive. Not to mention a score of other mild to deadly effects some living beings may encounter. Those of you reading this who have not personally done research on this subject owe it to, at least the children and animals, the birds and the bees, if you are not concerned for your own selves, to do your own investigating. Pay attention to who has sponsored the research you give your attention to. If this sounds paranoid to you, you may have had that cell phone next to your ear too long.

Perhaps if every resident of Eugene looked into this and came to the conclusion they must inform EWEB that they are not opting in and will not allow a “smart” or “advanced” (whatever deceptive euphemism EWEB is using) meter to be installed on their home, apartment or business, this could still be reversed. Soon someone from EWEB will attempt to placate you. Probably right here in this paper.

And while I’m at it, go Mark Robinowitz! That I may find a factual, well-researched letter by someone such as yourself who doesn’t have their head buried in the sand or up the arse of the ministry of propaganda is the only reason I ever pick up a copy of this pro-EmX rag. (Let’s murder at least 200 trees and call it far-sighted planning!) 

First do no harm.

Genelle McDaniel, Eugene


In the grand scheme of things it hasn’t been that long, about 150 years, since 99 percent of the people who lived in Oregon slept each night in tents pitched in public places. We called them pioneers or Native Americans, and sometimes the tents were called teepees.

The ancestors of some of those people slept outside or in temporary shelters for tens of thousands of years, a lot longer than most of those now living in Eugene can claim of their forefathers. Now we call them homeless, houseless or transient, and many people look upon them with derision and scorn.

They’re subject to arrest for sleeping because they don’t have a bed in a “traditional” structure (note my use of quotation marks, given that true traditional structures were tents, teepees or shoddy lean-tos, not houses as modern people define them).

Sleep is a medical necessity and a human right, and people shouldn’t be arrested for doing it. Our local government should make itself more useful in dealing with the homeless issue and find a long-term solution.

I’ve been writing letters about this matter for the entire 25 years I’ve lived in Eugene and we’re no closer to a real solution than we were 25 years ago.

Gary Cornelius, Eugene


Alison Erdman [Letters, 10/24] would like us all to believe that a majority (?) of school kids are gobbling down the fresh fruits and veggies procured for them at such high cost. This ignores an unpleasant (not “baseless”) reality documented in The New York Times and elsewhere. Google “school kids waste produce” or similar. It also goes against what is witnessed in school cafeterias locally. 

I am one of those who wish that kids would eat better and believe the fast food industry has become a blight on the country (world). However, wishing and dealing with reality are two very different things. There needs to be a better way of dispensing/monitoring the amount of food that is set out for the students and actually consumed vs. feeding the garbage cans. 

A large part of the problem is a federal mandate (Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act) that requires kids to be given fruits and veggies, ignoring a simple reality that kids cannot be made to eat what is put on their plate, especially when given alternatives (fast food and similar food choices). 

To ignore the large-scale waste that is occurring will, in the long run, harm any fresh food programs when enough people see it as a mismanagement of precious resources.

Karl Stout, Eugene


US Bank Visa Buxx cards are a scam. Teen accounts at US Bank seem to be ideal for parents seeking a way for their teens to have a way to get some money in case they get in a pinch. It’s unfortunate that no source of news covers such an important topic.

Visa Buxx cards seem to be a great way for parents to transfer money onto their kid’s debit card for instances like gas or food. What US Bank doesn’t tell you is that if you pay at the pump at a gas station, they will put an automatic $75 hold on your account for seven business days. Not only that, most fast food places such as Taco Bell and McDonald’s as well as most restaurants will not accept the card. The few restaurants that do accept the card also put an automatic hold of a few dollars on the account.

Arguably food and gas are the main reasons for adolescents to need money in their teen years. After thinking about all of the hassles that come with a Visa Buxx card, it doesn’t seem to live up to what it’s supposed to be.

Cody Valenzuela, Eugene


Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley was appointed to the new budget committee to work out a budget deal. I would like to share a letter I sent to him. And I would encourage anyone with similar sentiments to contact him as well. 

Senator Merkley: I hope that you will argue forcefully, along with all other Democrats in the room, for elimination of the cap on earnings subject to Social Security withholding. Additionally, it would be easy to argue, I think, that in the name of fairness all income from all sources should be subject to this taxation. When the vast majority of Americans will pay this tax on all their income all their lives, those who have reaped all the rewards of income growth over the last 30 years pay virtually nothing to support this system that is so important to most Americans.

I would also like to see you call for elimination of the special retirement programs for members of Congress and others in the federal system. Social Security would be better protected for all Americans if lawmakers and policy makers had their own skins in the game. 

David Peden, Florence


I have a dream and it is to make Eugene’s gardens and lawns pesticide free. With all the new evidence that pesticides are playing a major role in the decline of the honeybee and all pollinators, we need to act now! Many of us rely on our locally grown, organic, healthy food to sustain us, and without these pollinators we are all doomed. Local farms didn’t have enough bees this year!

We can use the bees as a way to get all of our neighbors to unite to insure our local natural food will be abundant year after year. In order to do this we must protect our local pollinators. I suggest we ask our neighbors that use pesticides to stop in the name of the honeybee. If they say no, at least they are aware they are poisoning our natural world. I would like to speak for all beekeepers when I say please stop the use of pesticides in your yards and gardens. Do we have to wait till all our bees are dead and there is no food left?

We also all need to set aside a native flower garden for bees to insure they have a food supply that lasts throughout the year. I hope you all inspire your neighbors to sign the Honey Bee Friend Pledge, plant a garden and personally do your part to protect this most precious resource, the insects that we all rely on for survival. 

Doug Hornaday, Eugene 


When President Obama took over the helm, our country was floundering. President Bush, with tax cuts for the rich, two unfunded wars, an unfunded prescription drug scheme and an unregulated vulture banking system plan, had emptied the coffers. The 20-year war against the middle class and the image of a black man in the White House created the recipe for a grass roots rebellion.

Sensing the opportunity to pump some blood into the Republicans’ electoral dysfunction problem, the Koch brothers started bankrolling the emerging Tea Party. The Koch-bankrolled and engorged Tea Party was able to take control of the Congress and soon after the disastrous side effects became evident. Total obstruction to anything with Obama’s name attached and a $24 billion government shutdown became the new playbook for the emerging leader of the GOP, Sen. Ted Cruz. 

Hopefully this new Koch blood will wear off and the big heads in the GOP will take back control from the little inflated heads of their party.

Michael T. Hinojosa



Inspired by the little old grandmas who biked supplies through the bombed-out Ho Chi Minh Trail to aid in the Vietnamese victory over the last of the invasions from the West, there is now a Eugene-based bicycle cargo carriers club, and it is gearing up training to prepare for disaster emergency response [“Biking Out of Disaster” story, 10/24.] 

Jason York, Eugene’s emergency manager, has been found guilty of spreading misinformation. He said, “The biggest post-disaster advantage to cargo bikes is that they don’t require a fuel source.” This is an outright lie; everybody knows the delivery personnel have to be fed.

Vince Loving, Eugene


We must write our elected officers about a more permanent solution to the fiscal crises (which have merely been postponed for a few months).

We should sell to the world’s tropical rainforest owners the expertise for harvesting their land much more profitably (and sustainably). This is discussed at rain-tree.com/facts.htm, which has links to various rainforest organizations who might supply the experts. If we took a quarter of the increased profits for a certain number of years, it would yield $1.4 trillion a year — twice the federal deficit. It might mean temporarily raising the debt limit, but only for the last time in awhile.

Then with the surplus it could shift some of the onus for Obamacare from individuals and businesses onto the government, at least for a while. The deficit reduction, the pay-down and the shifting of Obamacare could all be more permanent, however, if we take 20 percent leases and/or invest some of the surplus.

 As for the issue of subsistence farmers, there is a discussion of this at rainforestsaver.org. Regarding the cutting down of trees for firewood, one can contact Solar Cookers International.

Alex Sokolow, Santa Monica