Letters to the Editor: 2-13-2014


The teachers are on strike in Medford, and to fight the strike and stonewall negotiations the Medford School District is reaching out to substitute teachers in District 4J, and probably other districts, looking for what, in my day, we called scabs — hiring teachers to cross the picket line and weaken the strike.

I have it on good authority that this is what Medford is offering their “alternative employees”: $340 per-day pay, $30 per-day dinner allowance, free breakfast and lunch, round-trip mileage for a trip home during the week and a hotel room for the duration.

That’s $1,700 a week, exclusive of meals, mileage and hotels. Has the Eugene 4J School Board budgeted for this?

Walker T Ryan, Eugene


Those who say “crazy people” are too lazy to work must think that people in wheelchairs are too lazy to walk. Are people who are paralyzed on the right (side) from a stroke too lazy to shake your hand? Are people who lose their sight or hearing from a brain tumor too lazy to notice you? Are people who survive a gunshot to the head but can’t speak too lazy to say hello? Or are people who think those demented thoughts, suffering from frontotemporal neurocognitive disorder, whose symptoms are marked by the loss of sympathy or empathy — are they psychopaths?

The trend to empty psychiatric hospitals started in 1967, when newly elected Gov. Ronald Reagan immediately laid off 4,000 state employees — 3,700 of them in the field of mental hygiene. Twenty years later, President Reagan is stricken with a mental health disorder, Alzheimer’s. Was he then too lazy to campaign for fellow Republicans? Was Bush the Elder pissed that “The Great Communicator” couldn’t communicate so great? Or was God saying, “Because you have harmed the weak, the infirm and the feeble minded, whom I love, I will inflict you with Alzheimer’s. You will not remember you were president of the U.S. And that goes for your NRA buddy Charlton Heston, too. He won’t remember he was Moses. Jesus, I hate Hollywood!” A cautionary tale.

This is not Cuckoo’s Nest, circa 1962. This is 2014, with MRI, PET, CAT, EEG, the human genome mapped and stem cells. What? Too lazy to stay informed?

Troy Kelly, Eugene


Many great scientific discoveries have been made in the fields of paleoanthropology and genetics in the past 13 years. In 2000, we cracked the code of the human genome. In 2003, the first discovered remains of Homo floresiensis, the “Hobbit People,” were found. In 2010, Neanderthal DNA and the DNA of a newly discovered human ancestor, the Denisovan, were extracted from fossil remains and decoded.

Analysis of genes from various human populations around the world has revealed that outside of West Africa, most of the world’s population is 1 percent to 4 percent Neanderthal. Known deviations are the populations of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Philippines). These populations have Denisovan genes intermingled. Papua New Guinea has the highest mingling examined thus far, with 4 to 6 percent Denisovan.

There is evidence suggesting that Neanderthals in some regions, like Europe, had light-colored hair and eyes. The remains of a 7,000-year-old Homo sapiens that were found in Europe had blue eyes, dark skin and an inability to digest lactose. Where are signs of evolution, the creationists ask.

Pondering this information and various other questions about how the human species became the kaleidoscope of ethnicities that it is today, I can’t help but expect more human ancestors to be discovered. 

The above-mentioned contemplation has revealed to me a great irony: White supremacists’ claim to “racial purity.” All people with native European ancestry have Neanderthal genes. 

Humans of purely West African descent are the true human race — racially pure, at least more so than Europeans and Melanesians. The rest of us are a bunch of crossbreeds.

David Alexander Rosenzweig, Eugene


Kudos for not using our government’s much-beloved phrase “terrorist” in your own description of “eco-saboteur” Rebecca Rubin [1/30]. You could have gone one step further and dropped the “eco” as well. How do actions taken on behalf of domesticated dogs and feral horses benefit our planet’s ecology?

Steve Kyte, Corvallis 


I am writing on behalf of Deep Green Resistance (DGR) Steering Committee and Advisory Board about the article which your paper found fit to publish Feb. 6 about Lierre Keith’s appearance at this year’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. 

Reporter Shannon Finnell makes a number of assertions about Keith and “her supporters” which are completely untrue. The assertions that any of our members have ever “outed” people on the internet or made their information public is absurd, false but, more significantly, endangers the safety of members planning to attend PIELC.

Not only did Finnell not engage in due diligence as a journalist before publishing lies but she did not contact Lierre Keith or anyone else from DGR to check on the veracity of the information she decided to print.

Keith and other DGR members have already received threats of physical and sexual assault for our stance on gender politics and this article has now made that potential of violence even greater.

We expect EW to publish a full and complete retraction of the lies this article contains and we hope that your paper decides to interview Keith or other members of DGR so that we may speak for ourselves.

Saba Malik, DGR Advisory Board & Steering Committee

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story led to a letter-writing and voice-message campaign from DGR members and supporters expressing nearly identical complaints. The dozen or so letters are on file.


I am writing in response to Carolina Reid’s article, “Professors To Speak On Anti-Rape Movement On College Campuses” published Jan. 30. I agree that sexual assault and harassment should be reported and that teachers be required to reveal these instances to authority even if found out confidentially. If it goes unreported then it is likely to happen to someone else.

It would be hard to relive the tragedy but if it can save others, why would you not want to spare them from it? The victims should feel comfortable knowing if they can share it with one person then steps can be taken against the perpetrator. These instructors are here to help, not make the situation worse. If the decision is already made not to speak about the incident, then don’t worry; this law is for those who want to tell but are scared and maybe don’t know what steps to take.

Speak up, don’t hide what happened! Only then can action be taken to prevent this horrifying experience from happening to others. Start counseling so healing can begin.

 Raina VanVleet, Springfield


The title of the latest anti-Greenhill letter, “The Usual Bullshit” [1/30], absolutely sums it up. The usual bullshit is the relentless and hateful attacks against Greenhill and the 1st Avenue shelters, with especially mean-spirited and vicious attacks against Greenhill’s director and shelter veterinarian.

It is not bullshit that there are not enough homes for all the animals, as claimed in the letter; it is reality. Another criticism is not enough volunteers and adoptions. Is it possible that the hate campaign against these shelters is making people not volunteer, adopt and donate? A lack of volunteers and donations leads to lack of care for animals and fewer animals saved. Precious time and resources are used every time allegations have to be responded to. How exactly is any of that helping the cause?

Every day across our country there are shelters that euthanize literally barrels-full of healthy and adoptable animals. That is the kind of situation that begs for people to raise their voices and demand that it stop. Perhaps the people in this community, who have endless energy for criticizing Greenhill and 1st Avenue at every opportunity, might find a better use of their time there.

Randi E. Golub, CVT, Eugene


The experience of the Dexter and Blue River communities in their approach to long-term and current water-quality improvement may serve both Goshen and Lane County as they seek additional funding to complete a wastewater feasibility study.

For more than 30 years the Dexter Sanitary District has been dealing with water quality issues. The $90,000 Blue River wastewater feasibility study was commissioned “to assess the current facilities, and develop alternatives and recommendations for wastewater systems that would allow more businesses to open within the community, provide existing residences with a solution to their failing septic systems and preserve the water quality of adjacent river systems.”

The R-G [March 13, 2013] reported that the East Lane Commissioner stated that Lane County is determined “not to use public funds to pay for the [Goshen] redevelopment.” It now appears that even though Goshen’s wetlands have been “nationally inventoried,” the county is moving forward with a Goshen sewer-service feasibility study. At a minimum, feasibility consultants, who may propose privatized approaches to Goshen’s sewer-services needs, should be thoroughly vetted.

Lastly, ensuring that the Lane County Strategic Plan: Building a Prosperous Community’s “pay no less than 150 percent of the median wage” promise is kept is important.

Jose Ortal, Blue River


The emperor actually has no clothes. The Pentagon press secretary said so on Feb. 5 when he revealed that Defense Secretary Hagel fears the military has a systematic problem with malfeasance, which is long standing and getting worse. 

Recent examples include: Navy nuclear trainers and Air Force nuclear launch members accused of cheating on competence tests and extensive fraud in the Army National Guard when recruiters and civilians got bonuses for recommending recruits who had already signed up. The military itself estimates that an average of 71 rapes and sexual assaults occur each day. 

How is the military planning to fix this? By training. Vows by leadership to stop sexual assault by training for years have not worked. 

The military promotes an image to the public — especially to prospective youth recruits — of service to country, glory, grit and integrity. That image is in stark contrast to recent revelations. Because the military spends so much money on managing their public image and their recruiting messages, too many high school students who dream of giving back to the country see the military as the only such avenue.

We all know military veterans who served with integrity, though many were so changed by life in the military that they returned to civilian life a changed person. The rot lies in leadership failures, Congress throwing money at the military, congressional failure to require effective oversight and too much public reverence for the military. Time to see that the emperor has no clothes.

Carol Van Houten, Coordinator, Truth In Recruiting, Community Alliance of Lane County


It’s high time people who don’t believe in contraception get out of the way of men and women’s reproductive rights. 

The miracle of birth can become a problem for society, for the parents and, not least, for the children born. It’s a little hard talking young people into abstinence. Having been a teenager myself, I believe that for healthy and well-adjusted youth, this idea is all but impossible.

I think the solution is to subsidize condoms and contraceptive pills and thorough education on how to use them safely. This includes pregnancy and STDs.

I would rather pay for the whole world (not just the U.S.) to have free, unobstructed access to these preventative gifts than to have babies born into immature families, maybe addicted to hard drugs or living a life of misery when people aren’t ready. 

If the girl or her boyfriend are too young mentally or are physically not ready — perhaps they are still in school — or if their financial situation is not secure, I believe the ultimate measure, abortion, should be considered and remain the couple’s best choice.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene


In Craig Childs’ Apocalyptic Planet he lays out two specific likely scenarios for the future of the biosphere: A major ice age or a desert-ruled planet. In conclusion, Childs makes it clear that there is hope — though not necessarily for the continuation of the human species — in the not-too-distant future. He states that the best we can do as individuals and as a species is to attempt to save what we can of current Holocene-epoch ecosystems before we exit. 

With that ideal, ecosystem defenders across this bioregion are attempting to stop an all-out attack being launched upon Oregon’s last ancient forests on public lands by the Democratic Party. It seems foregone that concerned Oregonians must battle with Sens. Wyden and Merkley, Reps. DeFazio and Schrader, Gov. Kitzhaber and any other Democrats or Republicans who are supporting this attack on ancient ecosystems. 

Wyden has two logging bills in the U.S. Senate, one targeting about 10 million acres of Eastern Oregon’s National Forests and the other targeting BLM O&C lands. Kitzhaber has launched two executive initiatives, one to privatize the Elliott State Forest and another to “modernize” environmental laws applied on National Forest lands. Both seek to prop up “too big to fail” mega-tree-fiber operations and an untaxed raw-log fiber-export industry. A few of the wealthiest families in Oregon will benefit greatly, while all Oregonians will inherit silt-laden rivers and sterile, dying tree farms if the Democratic Party succeeds in their reckless endeavors. 

Shannon Wilson, Eugene