Letters to the Editor: 10-2-2014


During a work session, the Eugene City Council — with strong support from Mayor Kitty Piercy — voted 6-2 to demolish City Hall and to construct a new one. In making this truly momentous decision, councilors studied a cost approximation prepared from “conceptual” data provided by the city’s hired architectural firm. How long did the council deliberate over these numbers? Months? Weeks? No. Mere minutes. Would a private citizen so conduct his affairs?

The council’s decision spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and condemns the city, perhaps permanently, to be a renter. Currently, Eugene spends $1.2 million per year in rent that we didn’t when City Hall was functional. Obviously, Piercy and six councilors are unperturbed by the thought of burning $24 million over 20 years — and having nothing but rental receipts to show for it.

Demolishing City Hall razes the likelihood of escaping tenant-hood: great news for the city’s landlords — but not for citizens. So who do the mayor and six councilors really represent?

The Hyundai/Hynix debacle should have been a lesson. Not so, apparently, for Mayor Piercy and “yes” voting Councilors George Poling, Alan Zelenka, Mike Clark, Greg Evans, Claire Syrett and Chris Pryor. If ever citizens have had an issue upon which to base their votes, this is it. 

I salute opposing Councilors George Brown and Betty Taylor who asked for non-biased information — and time to study it. 

Yes, the mayor will get a plaque in the new City Hall. But her legacy won’t be etched there — it will be swirling through our streets within a river of red ink.

Jayme Vasconcellos, Eugene


Too many people are homeless because they don’t make three times the rent. Actually they do but can’t prove it because some of their income is in cash and the nosy landlord/rental agency wants to see a bank transcript. Many legitimate professionals may not even have a bank account — waiters, hairdressers, musicians, babysitters, flea-market sellers,  plasma donors — all get paid in cash, no pay-stub anywhere. Many shrewd city dwellers can live efficiently enough so as to make this nasty three-times-the-rent consumerist formula an inappropriate form of discrimination.

We need an arrogant-landlord override law: If you can show five-plus years of responsible tenancy, no evictions, crime, etc., they can not deny you shelter.

 In the meantime, everyone reading this: Tell off your stupid landlord. At cocktail parties, at the market, around town when you see him or her, say “Hey, make it easier for decent people to get shelter, you ruthless tyrant!”

Too many are homeless here for no good reason!

 Kelly Blair, Eugene


A time honored tradition at the UO of Saturday figure drawing is about be terminated due to issues by the UO concerning liability. The three-hour figure drawing sessions have been available to the public and students alike for at least 42 years, perhaps longer.

The issues raised concern a possible model “who might be an exhibitionist” or an artist “who might have wrong thoughts” and that there is not a university representative there to monitor the sessions.

I have to wonder if this is not an overreaction on the part of the UO to the recent rape scandal. With even President Obama commenting on campus rape issues, perhaps a witch hunt fervor is taking place that is targeting anything that could be perceived as adding to “rape culture.”

While the issue of campus rape is deadly serious and a problem, I think the UO would be better off educating incoming freshman men and women about the issue and ending the preferential treatment of student athletes, where the athletes may perceive themselves entitled and act accordingly.

In my five years of attending the sessions, I have never seen a case where either an artist or a model have acted inappropriately. We even have artists that are also models, so I’m sure that they wouldn’t model if they felt threatened. Models depend on the extra income and one has gone on to model as a full-time profession. The UO figure sessions have had models of all shapes and sizes, both male and female, ranging in age from 20s to 60s. The artists themselves are multigenerational, enjoy sharing techniques and the general camaraderie of artists.

Perhaps the UO would consider a liability waiver signed by both artists and models? Let’s not end what has been a tradition of artists for centuries with an overzealous and misguided reaction.

Scott Fife, artist, Eugene


EW had an article Sept. 25 explaining how Measure 88 would allow Oregon to issue four-year driver’s licenses to those who cannot prove they are in the country legally.

I recently had to renew my driver’s license and brought my old driver’s license, Social Security card, original birth certificate, EWEB bill, VA medical card, Medicare card and voter’s registration card. I was informed I could not renew my driver’s license because my original birth certificate was issued by a hospital. I would have to contact Illinois and order a certified birth certificate for $15. They gave me a 90-day temporary license. 

While waiting I listened as the woman next to me was issued a 90-day temporary license with no identification other than the name on an EWEB bill. She told the clerk she was not a citizen, had no green card and had no passport.

Legal citizens have an extra burden of proof, while illegal aliens just need an EWEB bill. Apparently the inmates are in charge of the asylum. Again!

Bob Springenberg, Eugene


Carla Bengtson, head of the UO Art Department, canceled the Saturday drawing sessions. I have been attending these sessions many years. I was shocked as to why the department canceled these sessions. The tradition of studying the nude figure is nearly comparable to doctors studying the true functions of the body. The artist needs to understand the body structure as well as the muscles of the figure in order to draw different body movements. 

Bengtson indicated our models may take indecent poses. Our models are professionals who also pose at Maude Kerns Art Center, Emerald Art Center, LCC and other venues. They never take vulgar or sexual poses. All the participants respect the models and there is no indication of vulgar remarks or actions. Many artists would appreciate if the Art Department should reconsider canceling our drawing sessions. It will be a sad day if we cannot attend the drawing sessions at the UO again.

Ellen Gabehart, artist



Does anyone know of a technology better than trees and all other forms of vegetation that puts greenhouse carbon dioxide back into our soil? I have studied environmental and organic chemistry including organic labs as well as physical chemistry and know it may be possible to fix CO2 (gas) into a solid organic compound. It is possible, but not feasible and not without using toxic solvents, reagents, catalysts etc. And what would the final product be?

Plants manufacture cellulose (wood) which has many uses. Also produced are complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats and in general all of the life-sustaining, nutritious food that humans and other animals need to thrive. The byproduct of this process is breathable oxygen. The energy for this reaction is the sun or other light sources. Photosynthesis also needs another ingredient: water. This is why a stable climate with reliable rainfalls is essential. Aquifers also supply this clean,fresh liquid but they are being depleted at a much faster rate than water can filter down through layers of dirt, rock, clay and/or sand.

From the Sept. 21 People’s Climate March it is clear from people’s signs, the conversations and the speakers that there are many people clear in their emphasis to move away from fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear and any other suicidal energy producing mechanisms.

The solutions? Reduced consumption, conservation, divestment from toxic lifestyles, truly renewable energies, protecting and growing plants are some that were proposed.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene


God put marijuana on earth for His followers to use with special ingredients to enlighten them and bring them closer to God. There is a place in heaven reserved for those who use and/or support the use of God’s marijuana. There is a place in hell reserved for those who oppose or support laws penalizing the use of God’s marijuana.

Gary W. Cook, Eugene


In December 2011, I proposed the following amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

The U.S. shall have 1 percent ownership of each and every copyright and patent issued and registered by the U.S. government. The ownership shall be limited to the pre-tax gross revenues generated by any and all uses of that which is protected by U.S. copyright and patent law, and all such ownership shall be without exception. All revenues earned from such ownership shall be used to fund the free public education guaranteed to citizens by law, with all revenues from patents supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education exclusively and all revenues from copyrights supporting either Arts and Humanities education or Physical Education and Health education exclusively according to the general categories that create the revenues (i.e. computer-related patents support computer science education, music copyrights support music arts education, sporting event copyrights support physical education, and so forth).

My analysis concludes that my proposed amendment would generate $100 billion per year “to fund the free public education guaranteed to citizens by law,” and that the Eugene share of that funding would be approximately $49.41 million per year, which is more than six times the funding that would generate from the local option levy (Measure 20-222). 

To scrutinize my analysis, read the 18-post thread beginning at wkly.ws/1tk. 

Steven A. Sylwester, Eugene


Michael Life, who submitted a letter in the Sept. 25 issue, really needs to get a life. I really doubt he reflects the opinions of this eclectic and diverse neighborhood. Apparently the lines have been drawn and those who attempt to cross it will have to deal with a jerk like Mr. Life. 

John Carlson, Eugene


With reference to Vince Loving’s letter last week [9/25] about our city’s need for six Hummers to keep parity with Ferguson, Missouri: Fear not! If things get really bad with the Brewery Cartel we can seek the assistance of the Lane County Sheriff’s Department which has a green camouflaged armored personnel carrier also known as an urban tank. I know as I saw it a couple of weeks ago leaving Delta Highway and heading down the Beltline. Why we are in possession of this weapon of mass destruction is quite beyond me, but Vince should take heart.

 Peter Tildesley, Eugene


Chuck Kleinhans [“Silence of the Lambs” letter, 9/18] made a good point regarding the lack of ethical difference between eating veal or lamb. The same applies to chicken nuggets, tuna sandwiches, cheese slices, omelets, etc. All involve cruelty and the killing of animals far short of their natural lifespans.

For every hen suffering inside the undeniably abusive egg industry, an almost equal number of “useless” roosters have their lives snuffed out, usually the same day they hatch.

In order for milk to be produced, a female must give birth, and the mammary fluids meant to feed her baby are instead stolen for human consumption. Within a day or two, the babies are usually traumatically separated from their mothers to become either veal, meat, or “milk-machines,” replacing worn-out females who have been repeatedly inseminated and forced to give birth; these “spent” mothers are normally killed for low-grade meat products.

What Chuck didn’t mention is that while tofu production does unfortunately involve the indirect, unintended killing of wildlife when fields are ploughed for soybeans, the vast majority of soybeans and corn harvested is actually fed to farmed animals. So, anyone eating animal products is eating both directly plus indirectly killed animals. A vegan is responsible for far less animal suffering, overall.

The new documentary Cowspiracy addresses the many far-reaching, incredibly destructive effects of animal agriculture. It will be playing for one night only, Oct. 9, at the Bijou. See wkly.ws/1tl for further information.

Barb Lomow, Eugene


 After reading the article [9/4] about biologist Michael Hansen’s support of Measure 92, it is clear that the argument surrounding GMOs is lacking consensus. As of right now, the debate over GMOs should not be based on whether they are good or bad. Before we begin to understand the effects of GMOs, we first have to know how much they’re being consumed. Without any type of labeling system in place here in the U.S., it is harder to tell who is eating GMOs and in what quantity. 

What Measure 92 boils down to then is simply knowledge. Not only does it give consumers the right to know what is in their food, but it also gives scientists and researchers the ability to run better experiments. Therefore, the first step towards GMO research is GMO labeling. Until GMOs are labeled, we may never truly understand their effects here in the United States. 

Sarina Klein



The decision on the part of the UO’s Art Department to discontinue to the Saturday morning open figure drawing session is shameful. Their insistence that the decision was made out of concern for the safety of the models comes across as weak, given their neglect to acknowledge the volunteer coordinator who is always present to run the sessions and the fact that in 20 years there has been no history of such incidents at the group. I have heard some people speculate that this action was in direct response to the basketball team’s sexual assault scandal. I’ve modeled for them a number of times and never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. 

I found the group to be a wonderful place for artists in the community to practice their art and make connections. Personally I wonder if this decision was less about safety and more about not wanting to invest in something which doesn’t provide a monetary return for the department, regardless of the return it provided to the community. After all, this session was free and open to all artists in the community. It was hardly as lucrative as one of the university’s beloved basketball or football games.

Tahni Nikitins, Uppsala, Sweden