Letters to the Editor: 11-06-2014


Many of us have been told that we use something every day because it is safer, faster and more convenient. There is a cost to this luxury of modern technology that needs to be realized. As a manager of a small business here in town I can tell you that at the end of the year 2013, our profits were cut down by the usual suspects — wages, energy expenses and maintenance — but what surprised me most was the charges incurred by customers using their debit/credit cards. In fact, we were charged nearly $24,000 last year. 

These cards are easy to hold and use but the benefits virtually end there. With technology advancing at a breakneck pace these cards make us more susceptible to identity theft and hackers. Also, I challenge you to have a faster transaction anywhere when using your card as opposed to paying in cash. Cash will win every time. Furthermore, all the lovely local businesses in town have to pay a hefty price for this so-called convenience. If you really want to support local and small businesses in the future, use cash only. 

Why allow the banks to run off with even more of our money while doing a jumping heel-click of happiness while the ever-reliable greenback sits in our pockets? Cash is fast, cash is safe and cash saves businesses money. 

I use my cards when I pay bills, get gas at Chevron or for the inevitable trip to Target to get cheap bedding. Otherwise, at my favorite local shops, I will always use money, real money. This way as I shop local, I’m not lining the pockets of those who take so much already and would prefer a society where nothing “one of a kind” exists, nothing homegrown can be profitable and monopoly is the only game on the shelf.

Chad Hodgert, Eugene


 Regarding Alley Valkyrie’s Oct. 23 Viewpoint where she complains that merchants are misusing the cities “outdoor café” permit program, is she perhaps aware that the main purpose of sidewalks (note the sub word “walk”) is to allow pedestrians to move from place to place on them? The misuse of them by vagrants, including sleepers, boozers, druggies, panhandlers, buskers and the like is not a protected right. 

The fact that businesses have to resort to a form of subterfuge illustrates the problem, which is that the rights of vagrants have, in the minds of some, superseded the rights of business establishments to conduct business. 

If I owned a downtown business I would consider getting an “outdoor café” permit as essential as having lights and plumbing, even if I didn’t set up so much as a chair on the sidewalk.

 Karl Stout, Eugene


I’ve noticed a trend in recent articles or the lack thereof in The Register-Guard that seems to support the timber industry. The one that is particularly interesting was covering biologist Tyrone Hayes’ lecture Oct. 23 on his research and findings on the herbicide atrazine, developed by Syngenta and used by the timber industry. It is extremely biased and misleading. The title is “Controversy surrounds UO speaker.” Near the end of the article it states:

Then Forbes magazine jumped into the fray, labeling the New Yorker article a “puff piece,” and asserting that Hayes was “almost completely discredited (until) the New Yorker piece breathed new life into his fading career.” The Forbes article said Syngenta had asked Hayes to “stop spreading lies.” The UO will pay Hayes $400 for his appearances, and will also cover all his expenses, including meals, airfare and hotel, the UO said.

After hearing Hayes’ talk Friday night and learning the details of his decades of scientific research that is peer reviewed and published in prestigious journals, it is obvious that his work is worthy and valid. He referenced the R-G article title often in his presentation. Where is the controversy? He kept implying.

It would have been a balanced article if the R-G included information from independent scientists on herbicides and not just the corporation that would be harmed if its product were banned. 

The way the article ends implies the UO is spending money to pay for a liar. I wonder if this is because Hayes is helping to make the case that the timber industry, along with big agriculture, has been given carte blanche to use harmful poisons, which hurt amphibians, birds, wildlife and humans at very low dosages, and the R-G gets big bucks in advertisement dollars from logging moguls to support them no matter the consequences for everyone and everything else. 

Pam Driscoll, Dexter


On Oct. 6, Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles Carlson decided, for the second time, that the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County failed to meet pre-election requirements. In February, a Benton County judge ruled that an almost identical ordinance did, in fact, comply. The Benton folks are now gathering signatures to qualify for the May 2015 election, but here in Lane we are being stonewalled by this judge. What’s up with Carlson?

Judge Carlson’s decision is a victory for the corporations that profit from GMO agriculture in Lane County. It is a setback for local farmers, food-related businesses and residents who are personally and economically invested in local agricultural products — both conventional and organic.

This decision is a roadblock to county residents’ access to the initiative system — one in which citizens have the right to write laws and put them to a vote of the people. In the absence of a law protecting local farms, corporations like Syngenta and Monsanto will continue to bring more genetically engineered food varieties to the Willamette Valley.

However, Support Local Food Rights is undeterred and already planning next steps for our efforts to protect our county’s food system. We remain committed to advocating for a law elevating the community’s right to decide what our food system looks like, over self-serving decisions made by corporate executives who don’t even live here. 

For more information, visit LocalFoodRights.com.

Michelle Holman, Deadwood


While there is no doubt Alley Valkyrie’s heart is in the right place [Viewpoint, 10/23], I find that it has been mislead and fooled. She has been an outspoken advocate of the homeless, who need a leader, but she is not leading them to any sort of long-term solution. Instead of finding a permanent solution (real jobs, real homes and useful help for the mentally ill), she chooses to demand that taxpayers provide public property so that they can live in tents. The only thing created was a large, dangerous and unsanitary camp that attracted more homeless people to the area, spread communicable disease, violence, drug use and was less attractive than a refugee camp. 

Now she wants to allow aggressive, vulgar bullies to loiter around businesses, driving customers away. I have given up on trying to take my family downtown. I have gotten in several near confrontations with these bullies because I stand up to them and call them on their low-class behavior. 

The so-called poetry reader Valkyrie refers to was not harmless, but like the rest of the Broadway loiterers, was very rude, interruptive and confrontational. Anyone who goes downtown with his or her family to have a nice afternoon or evening knows better. The businesses and police are only doing what needs to be done to save the businesses downtown and to keep the bullies in check. These folks are not the poor, downtrodden, weak victims of society. 

If Eugene wants to protect and encourage the cool downtown vibe, then it needs to encourage the folks to become productive members of society or to keep moving along. Maybe instead of trying to bring the businesses down to the “buskers and panhandlers” level, Valkyrie should try to bring the buskers and panhandlers up out of the rut they have dug themselves into and to help them become productive members of society like the rest of us.

Beau Johnson, Springfield


The city of Eugene has legal footing but does it have the political will to protect neighborhoods from intrusive cell phone towers? Eugene’s telecommunications ordinance needs a major overhaul, and the city needs help. Eugeneans must let the City Council know that not one more residential neighborhood will be sacrificed. 

Neighborhoods have one at a time fought the siting of towers near their homes. It can be an expensive proposition — just ask the neighbors near the Oakway Golf Course AT&T site. There needs to be a comprehensive solution.

 Until this is done, Eugene should at least be utilizing its one protective provision — mandatory independent peer review of technical information at the expense of the applicant. This is not a comprehensive solution, but complying with its own code would be a good start. 

If I were a neighbor in the Oakway area or near the AT&T Rest Haven site on Willamette, I would be seeking restitution from the city for legal fees and wondering why my own attorneys didn’t raise this non-compliance issue for appeal purposes.

 City Council has tentatively set a work session on this issue. Radio frequency radiation is nobody’s friend and afflicts some, especially children, more than others.

 Mona Linstromberg, Tidewater


I was shocked when my co-worker told me he thought he was going to have to sell his house last summer to finance weekly chemotherapy for the life-threatening auto-immune condition his son contracted as a grad student in Chile. Nearing retirement after 30-plus years as a project manager and IT professional, this would change his plans significantly. 

Turns out the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) covers his son’s expensive treatment. Now that’s good news! But it’s still not enough. We need a health care system that supports people when they are faced with catastrophic, expensive or chronic illness, not a system that forces people to lose their financial independence after a lifetime of public service. 

We need universal publicly funded health care that prioritizes people over profit. Every other industrialized country in the world has a form of health care that everyone pays into and provides for a healthier, stable society. What are we waiting for? Some say our health care system is number one, but studies show it costs more per person than in any other country, and is 37th in medical outcomes. We can do better. You shouldn’t have to sell your house to pay for health care!

Patty Hine, Eugene


Several recent letters complaining about noise from railroads — I agree. Some 150 years ago, every city wanted the railroad to go through town. Now a lot people just want the railroads to go away. All complaints fall on deaf ears.

 The railroads spend most of their time, money and energy “hiding” behind federal statutes. And they have no interest in being a good citizen, contributing to society or doing any long-term planning to make this a great nation and a better place to live.

 Every other source of noise in society has done just the opposite — and for the most part is improving every year. While the railroads get worse and worse. What could the railroads do if they “came out of the closet” and stopped relying on the federal government? We would welcome them as member of society along with the airlines, trucking, shipping, etc. This is where the railroads belong. They do not belong inside of a bureaucracy.

 With modern technology and the cooperation of local citizens and authorities — the federal statutes and the federal bureaucrats could be done away with. I have been debating this subject with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio since 2006. Pete’s position is that the railroads are a national resource — I agree — but they are also a national disaster by increase in medical costs by the noise and lack of sleep. It’s time for Pete and the RRs to wise up.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

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