Letters to the Editor: 11-20-2014


In your Slant column of Nov. 13, EW posted a “WTF” photo of Shannon Wilson’s protest sign objecting to EW supporting “Big Timber Lapdog Democrats.” EW responded that most Republican candidates are “rotten” about the environment and other current issues.  EW also said that third-party candidates “are still very much on the fringe.” Both are certainly true statements.

Yes, as EW said, the way for a minor party to progress is to start at the small, local offices and work up.  But there is a major glass ceiling for minor parties when they aren’t taken seriously and endorsed by responsible media such as EW.  (Remember blacks and women trying to be taken seriously for political office in earlier times.) 

Media should endorse a candidate (and people vote) because they’re the best qualified, not based on their chances of winning or how many TV ads and billboards their supporters pay for.  Otherwise the “status” will remain “quo.”

Remember, too, that both the Democratic Party and Republican Party are controlled by the ruling plutocracy (who funds their campaigns, then wants favors in return). The Democratic and Republican parties are, at bottom, just one two-headed monster, differentiated only as “good cops and bad cops.” I call them “the Republicratic Party.”

Levelheaded minor parties like the Greens deserve our full support.

Pete Benson, Fall Creek


Graduate employees at the UO are planning to strike due to a lack of medical and parental leave and livable wages. Many talk about students struggling to pay bills while recovering from accidents, or choices a parent makes when deciding whether to bond with their newborn or return to work. 

As someone fortunate to have not faced these situations, I’ll speak to my own experience instead. My education suffers when the diversity of my peers is limited to the healthy, wealthy, male and childfree.

I rely on my peers to collaborate on research, review my teaching, supervise my clinical work and challenge my thinking. 

When a sick student can’t to return to school, I lose out on the perspective of someone who could have helped me understand the experiences of a client facing a tough diagnosis. When potential parents go elsewhere to study, I lose out on peers whose experiences would have been invaluable in designing our family intervention research. When students without financial means are excluded from my field, my own privilege and class assumptions go unchecked, biasing the work I do.

When we foster intellectual diversity, everyone benefits. I hope our administration can see this too.

Hillel Samlan, M.A., UO doctoral student


Shannon Wilson’s protest [WTF, 11/13] pointed out that EW does not support the environment by endorsing “Lapdog Democrats.” Voting for the Green Party candidates who would take votes away from the Democrats that propose selling off our ancient forests in O&C lands (Rep. Peter DeFazio) and the Elliott State Forest (Gov. John Kitzhaber) would get the Democrats’ attention. As their margin of victory decreases, their interest in real forest reform should increase.

Ed Cooley, Elkton


As one of the hundreds of volunteers who participated in the annual RiverKeepers Willamette cleanup last month, I, too, was frustrated and annoyed at the huge amount of trash and garbage along the Union Pacific right-of-way. According to Matt Roberts, senior director of community relations at UO, Union Pacific spent many thousands of dollars this spring in cleanup, but hasn’t allocated staff to patrol and maintain their trackside land. The UO is trying to clean and rehabilitate its property, yet it is a struggle to keep on top of the filth that some homeless campers bring and dispose along the river. 

Word went out along the river that the cleanup was coming and some campers actually left full trash bags for us to retrieve. Yet along the railroad riverbank we could not possibly manage the removal from small boats and could only shovel garbage out of the river and back onto the land. It was disgusting to see nice Coleman tents surrounded by piles of junk and debris often just tossed into the convenience of the river. 

Yes, we are all polluters in many ways, but it takes a special ignorance to squat in the river and let the rest of us drink the water.

Mark Murphy, Creswell


So why did the Democrats, excepting places like Oregon, take a beating in this last election? It is all very simple. A mind-numbingly stupid, disgraceful and pathetic campaign strategy adopted by national Democratic strategists that some call “Republican-lite.” It is quite possible that a few of the seven close Senate races could have been won had Democrats simply acted like Democrats.

This tactic has been proven to be a losing strategy again and again. At a time when the economy has been gaining strength with 10 million new jobs and millions of people covered under the Affordable Care Act, these candidates ran from the successes — almost apologized for them. At a time when economic populist issues are polling very high, they assumed the fetal position and decided to stand for nothing. And of course the base stayed home and didn’t vote.

Is it all just raving stupidity and lack of understanding on the concept of “offense” or is it something even worse? Gaius Publius at Truth-out.org and other analysts make the case that some of these strategists are so adverse to the concept of economic populist issues winning the day that they would rather risk losing Senate seats than embrace the progressive issues platform — basically Kryptonite to the corporatist masters that they serve.

I strongly believe that this is the case. Democratic strategists took the despicable low road on this and the result is absolute disaster. It is time to metaphorically throw these scoundrels out of their office windows and purge the machine. This anti-progressive dynamic cannot be allowed to remain within the party for the upcoming 2016 election.

Gerry Rempel, Eugene


Recent missives to the Weekly have pinpointed a local scourge, namely — the dastardly train whistle. Exposure to its Valkryie-like shriek has actually infected me with TWAIDS, that is to say, train whistle AIDS. My poor housecat has been infected with FTWAIDS (feline train whistle AIDS), due to exposure to the whistle. 

Additionally, my houseplant has become infected with Hebola (houseplant Ebola). This malady, too, has been closely linked to GMOs and, of course, the train whistle. Black mold, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity disorder have all been proven to stem from the nightmarish wail produced by oncoming locomotives. Chronic Lyme disease and autism, too. Science shows it and stuff. High dudgeon and taxpayer dollars are obviously needed to rid us of this menace.

Or maybe chelation therapy.

Mahla Shaebanyan-Bady, Eugene


We Americans are known for our lack of geographical knowledge, so I wasn’t especially surprised to see an image of Cape Perpetua accompanying a list of Best Lane County Vacation Spots [Best of Eugene, 11/ 6]. But Cape Perpetua is actually in Lincoln County.

There are, of course, many equally picturesque sites along Lane County’s own shoreline, which extends from Captain Cook Point — a mile or so south of Cape Perpetua — to just south of the Siltcoos River estuary. Stunning Heceta Head — seen from the north side, without the lighthouse — comes to mind. Maybe next year?

Whitey Lueck, Eugene


The last election just showed that the U.S. has the best government money can buy.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United, the “citizens” of corporate America were allowed to flood TV and radio with anonymous attack ads. Over $4 billion was spent, the most expensive yet, on a mid-term election. Some 74 percent of Americans are either too stupid or disillusioned to even vote. Compare this to Norway where elections are 74 percent government funded, political ads on TV and radio are banned and voter turnout is 81 percent. In Australia, voting is compulsory with a $20 fine for not voting.

I have a few suggestions to improve our obviously broken system. Ban all political ads on TV and radio. Printed ads only allowed. Make all the FCC-controlled TV stations broadcast for free, in prime time, all final debates between all those running for Congress, Senate or president. All debates must not exclude any third party candidate. 

It’s time for American voters to become more informed and evolve beyond a 20-second sound bite. 

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


Sadly, in my 78th year, I am dropping my subscription to The Oregonian.

I have great memories, among them the journalism class at Portland State University in 1958-59 taught by Oregonian editorial writer Malcolm Bauer, a journalist in the highest and most honorable sense of the word, who firmly implanted in me the principles of truth and justice, and the role of the Fourth Estate as the watchdog of democracy.

I published my first essay, my first poem and my first short story in The Oregonian’s Northwest Magazine. The essay was occasioned by the closing of Mayor Bud Clark’s first tavern, the Spatenhaus, in 1967. Dozens of literary pieces followed, as well as scores of letters and a handful of op-eds. Toss in the news releases printed during my long career in public relations, and I’ve filled more column inches than I care to count.

 I was pushed to the tipping point Saturday, Nov. 15, when I reached the Letters page and read yet another rant by right-wing fanatic Dave Luck of Lake Oswego. Leading up to it was yet another pointless front-page puff piece on Monica Wehby, accompanied by an enormous photo — yet another outlandish and overblown attack on Gov. John Kitzhaber — and a shameless and unwarranted validation of Tea Party presidential wannabe Sen. Ted Cruz dissing net neutrality on the Business page.

 Coupled with the booting of left-leaning editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman, the demotion of left-leaning columnist David Sarasohn from the editorial board, and all the steaming heaps of radical right rubbish that stain both news and editorial pages with increasing frequency, my reasons are abundantly clear.

 As we ended our news stories in the good old days of manual typewriters and even-handed reporting: — 30 —.  

 David Hedges, West Linn