Letters to the Editor: 5-1-2014


Donating $400,000 to help unhoused people in the Eugene area is a very positive step in a humane direction, but so much more needs to happen. For example, Utah has moved 2,000 people off the streets and reduced chronic homelessness by 78 percent in the last eight years by simply providing people with apartments.

Many other cities throughout the U.S. use the “housing first” approach for at least some of their chronically homeless. A National Coalition for the Homeless publication puts it this way: “Substance abuse is both a cause and a result of homelessness, often arising after people lose their housing.”

Housing first gives the chronically homeless a stable place to work on their substance abuse and mental health problems.

I strongly urge the mayor and city councilors, plus all the organizations affected and involved with unhoused people, to come together to seriously consider the “housing first” approach and decide what practices to embrace for the community.

Planet Glassberg, Fort Collins, Colo.


If agents acting in their own self-interest spread a toxic substance, designed to kill, over a community with no regard for the health of the community’s inhabitants, what would you call it? A terrorist attack? An act of war? In Oregon, apparently, it is called timber business as usual. 

When aerial pesticide applicator Pacific Air Research’s helicopter sprayed an Anarchist Cookbook-style mix of chemicals designed to kill biological matter over the community of Cedar Valley in October, it was just the latest in a series of state-sanctioned and timber industry-implemented attacks on the health and security of men, women and children in Oregon. As in the aerial sprayings at Triangle Lake where 2,4-D and atrazine were found in residents’ urine, and a number of other less publicized but equally horrific incidents of chemical trespass, Oregon’s timber industry continues to manage their tree farms at the expense of public health and our government allows and even encourages them to do so. 

We need to stop the aerial spraying of pesticides in Oregon immediately. Contact Gov. John Kitzhaber, (503) 378-4582, and demand that he honor the public good and his Hippocratic Oath and issue an executive order banning aerial spraying. Tell your state senators and representatives to pass a law banning aerial pesticide application for good. It is unconscionable that in 2014 we continue to allow our children, families and the environment to be violated. While Oregon couldn’t figure out how to create a functional health care exchange, here is a simple health care policy we can implement immediately: Stop poisoning our citizens!

Marshall Gause, Cottage Grove


In my opinion, there are two types of human behaviors not conducive to good public service: political ideology and/or dishonesty. Politicians from both political spectra appear to be progressively succumbing to these bad behaviors. 

One candidate for West Lane County commissioner has distinguished himself as both a political ideologue and dishonest. His primary objective is to use his political office to protect special interests. One example of his political ideology was the unnecessary gerrymandering of county districts resulting in a grossly unfair advantage for his cronies and their partisan views and financial profits. Regrettably, this behavior is being played out nationally, and this commissioner is just another partisan cog attempting to subvert our democratic system.

Additional to being a politically driven ideologue, this commissioner has a sordid track record of disingenuously attempting to steal credit for other people’s hard work and accomplishments. Recently a campaign flier listed a variety of his purported accomplishments — taking credit for bringing jobs, reducing regulations, advocating for forest reform, etc. In reality, all of his accomplishment claims were either already in the works, were due to circumstances completely out of his control or were achieved by the hundreds of dedicated public employees and other reputable leaders. The worst example of his dishonest behavior has been evidenced by his misconduct and denials regarding the Liane Richardson compensation scandal and cover-up. 

I know some may perceive this letter as hypocritical, but I believe what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Bill Fleenor, Former West Lane County Commissioner


At a recent county commissioner candidate forum sponsored by the UO College Republicans, Jay Bozievich displayed his true colors — Tea Party — the very same party that shut down the government last year at enormous cost to us taxpayers. When asked to respond to the question of a carbon tax as a way of addressing climate change, Bozievich first asked for a show of hands of how many people had taken an economics class. He then announced that we must all know then that any tax represses the economy. He further added that climate change has always been occurring otherwise we would still be in the Ice Age. This is pure Tea Party.

Bozievich’s “repressing the economy” comment raises the question of how we, the people, the government, raise money to build our roads, schools, infrastructure and safety net. Is Bozievich, co-founder of the Tea Party’s Americans for Prosperity Chapter here in Lane County, in the political arena so that he can whittle it down — the small government and anti-tax position being sugar-coated as the careful stewardship of taxpayers' money and county resources?

The hypocrisy here is that Bozievich, along with the other conservative board members who voted lock-step with him, Faye Stewart and Sid Leiken, has squandered county money by embroiling the county in lawsuit, hiring an inept administrator, by costly and unnecessary redistricting/gerrymandering, and by venturing into costly and inefficient privatization of services.

In further hypocrisy, the three-term East Lane incumbent, Faye Stewart, has voted for at least six tax increases, including a sales tax, a local income tax, as well as his own pay raise.

Lane County needs a clean sweep.

Zenia Liebman, Junction City


On a recent Sunday, a group of seven hardy hikers were introduced to the Cummins Creek Wilderness Area, guided by Chandra LeGue of Oregon Wild, a nonprofit with a mission to protect our natural resources. 

The hikes Oregon Wild conducts throughout the year have given me the incentive and ability to go where not many people go, and it is such an honor. To be surrounded by nature’s way gives everyone a huge perspective. 

In Cummins Creek, as we followed an elk trail, we “hiked” over a forest bed that has never been logged. It was physically challenging but spiritually rewarding. We saw many giant Sitka spruce and even measured one we could walk all the way around (most we couldn’t because of dense undergrowth), which was 28 feet in circumference. 

According to Oregon Wild and lots of scientists, these huge trees store the highest levels of carbon, thereby helping to protect the earth. If increased logging, as proposed by plans in Congress, is allowed on BLM lands in Western Oregon, it will release 180 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere over the next 100 years. That is equivalent to adding one million more cars to the road and those cars being on the road for 132 years.

For our future climate and well being, we need to protect our forests.

Kim Kelly, Eugene


Many thanks to Larry Deckman for his op-ed on train horns in Eugene (R-G, Feb. 15), and to Whitey Lueck for partnering with him to start a grassroots effort for a “quiet zone” in Eugene (EW story April 24). 

I live a half mile from where the trains start to blow their horns at the Van Buren crossing, and depending on atmospheric conditions, sometimes they seem like they’re in my backyard. I can’t begin to imagine the impact it must have on those who live much closer to the tracks. How many people are unable to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep?

This isn’t simply a “noise” issue. An internet search on side effects of interrupted sleep reveals how adversely it affects our health — from babies (see wkly.ws/1qh) to the elderly.

“It was the quality of sleep that predicted future cognitive decline in this study, not the quantity,” said lead author Terri Blackwell, senior statistician at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, and everyone in between. H. Craig Heller, professor of biology at Stanford University, explained: The findings “point to a specific characteristic of sleep — continuity — as being critical for memory.” 

It’s truly discouraging to have a city government that seems to be more concerned with throwing tax breaks at developers than it is with the health and well-being of its citizens. Maybe if everyone paid their fair share we’d have the money to fix the problem. 

Ted Chudy, Eugene


Have you seen the new Voter’s Pamphlet for Oregon’s May Primary Election? Nauseating. It’s divided by party block, not by race or region. Interestingly, Republicans are listed first. Does R precede D alphabetically now or was this decided on a coin toss?

All the candidates, incumbents included, are woefully underqualified for public office, each having tantalizing lists of college degrees and selfish jobs such as lawyer, neurosurgeon, investment counselor, and one former Marine with no education or experience. Not one has credentials I associate with working for the public convenience, necessity, nor good. Not one. If the Marine were an independent, I’d consider voting for him simply due to his lack of sheeple points.

Seeing as the status quo seek not to benefit any group who doesn’t have degrees, corporate titles, fraternity stints and otherwise elitist aspirations, maybe we would do well to encourage the un- and under-employed, those lacking college degrees and those who stand to be hurt the most by the fewest to run for these offices! I see no Democrat challenging the incumbent corrupt governor nor congressional posts, only incumbents seeking record-breaking stints snubbing the founder’s concept of doing good for all then going back to the farm.

Perhaps we’ve forgotten that civic duty does not have a minimum education requirement. Civic duty is so all might participate. Why do we all not participate in such vast numbers?

James Kaplan, Springfield


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana. Please bear those wise words in mind while you consider these names: Juan Lara, Roger Magana, Sefan Zeltvay.

In honor of sexual assault awareness month I respectfully remind each of you who lives here in Eugene, new citizens and old, that our police have a long history of obstruction of justice where sexual assault has been carried out by law enforcement, because after all, when you are raped by a cop, who will you report it to? See EW archives for Dec. 8, 2005, April 20, 2006, March 29, 2007, July 24, 2013.

If you have been assaulted and need someone to turn to for help consider Womenspace, 1577 Pearl St., Eugene, or call 485-8232.

Tawasi, Springfield


I just finished watching the press conference about the NBA’s decision to ban Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, from being involved with the Clippers, due to his racist remarks. (Now mind you he was in the privacy of his home, which brings to light its own impropriety.) He was immediately fined $2.5 million and will most likely be pushed out of ownership; and he was banned from any NBA games. Bravo! 

To bigots, racists, sexists everywhere, be warmed: This will not be tolerated in the modern day in which we live. Beware of what you say and to whom. If there is hate in your heart you will be routed out.

But let us not forget the other systemic problems in the NBA and the rest of the sports industry as a whole, where constant bad behavior of its players is played out in the press. The whole sports industry has dealt with common offenses such as sexist behavior, abuses to players’ wives and other women, rape, gangster involvement and even murder. Many of our sports heroes think they are above the law.

I would like to see such outrage the next time a players wife says she’s been abused, we should expect to see all the mayors of Los Angeles and Sacramento, the NBA or NFL to stay up and boldly cast out one of there own. You know who you are: players who continue to play, continue to be treated like celebrities, who have committed these crimes.

 Zero tolerance should mean zero tolerance for all hateful acts. 

 Diane DeVillers, Eugene


It’s perversely ironic for rancher Cliven Bundy to excoriate poor people for collecting government subsidies, while ripping off the federal government of a million dollars in grazing fees. But, even if he were to pay up, Bundy and his fellow ranchers would still be living on government welfare.

Livestock grazing is subsidized by federal agencies on 270 million acres of public land in 11 western states to the tune of nearly $300 million annually. Monthly grazing fees per cow and calf on private rangeland average $11.90, but corresponding fees on federal lands are set at a paltry $1.35. 

Even so, grazing subsidies are dwarfed by other government subsidies and the medical, environmental and other external costs imposed on society by animal agriculture. These extra costs have been estimated at $414 billion annually, or $3,600 per household.

Each of us can make our $3,600 annual contribution to the common good by replacing animal products in our diet with the rich variety of grain, nut, and soy-based meat and dairy alternatives in our neighborhood supermarket. 

Elijah Hennison, Eugene