Letters to the Editor: 1-7-2016


I’ve had the privilege of being Peg Morton’s scribe for her many writings in the last months of her life. More of these writings will be disseminated after her memorial service as she requested. In mid-November she wrote a proposal that was communicated throughout the world to her “peace-building, nonviolence-loving groups and others, including faith communities, friends and family.” Thousands of people have now read, shared and are acting upon Peg’s proposal, which begins:

“I am envisioning the rise of a broad, nonviolent movement that calls for this country to face itself, to publicly and humbly acknowledge the suffering and destruction which we have been engaged in throughout our history and in the present. We need to seek forgiveness and to make amends. And we need to grieve. We cannot be healed as a society until we have deeply and honestly faced ourselves.

“My dream is that we, our country, will learn to step back out into the world and our planet humbly, as citizens of the world, of our planet, joining with others in its healing. Let’s give it a start.”

During the days of Peg’s dry fast she was writing fervidly about this being a prophetic moment in time, “for a new world filled with the energy, humility and love for our beloved planet.”

Be a part of fulfilling this prophecy; this was her dream!

“Granny” Laurie Granger, Eugene


We’re not giving up! Oregon’s grassroots organizers for universal publicly funded health care have a solid plan that builds on success: action groups in 14 counties with 120 organizational members and 18,000 supporters; over $500,000 in donations to date to conduct voter polls and an economic study; and we now have a funded bill from 2015 to study models for financing our system. 

The groundwork is being done. Now Oregon’s Legislature needs to complete the job: We want a funded work group to design a health care system based on the study in 2017, a bill with a defined tax structure in 2018 and the plan referred to the voters in 2020. If that fails, we will collect signatures to qualify an initiative petition supporting publicly funded health care in 2020. 

We know what we need to do! We will attend town halls and speak to our representatives. We will create a mandate. Our opportunity is to create a health care system designed to serve people, not maximize corporate profits. 

This is obviously the right choice. For Oregon to be a leader, we each need to do our part to bring our state health care system up to par with every industrialized county in the world. Get involved. Go to HCAO.org, see what statewide activists are doing and plug in, come to the monthly Eugene chapter meeting at 7 pm the first Mondays of the month at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. Let’s create the world we all want together!

Patty Hine, Eugene


What kind of society allows a young, vulnerable, developmentally disabled, homeless woman to roam the streets in a thin sweater on a freezing Christmas night? No matter what you think of homeless people, those who are not able to take care of themselves or protect themselves should not be left out to wander the streets in freezing weather. 

It was my first week of volunteering for the Egan Warming Center when this sweet woman came in. She was too afraid to stay, so we went for a walk and looked at some pretty Christmas lights, but then she got too cold. All the donated coats had already been taken. We went back inside but there she was nervous around so many people. 

Another volunteer went to her own house and returned with her own coat to give to this woman. Later she calmed down enough to lie down on her mat and go to sleep. The volunteers were all great, caring and patient, but a vulnerable woman like her should not have to depend on random kindness to help her. 

This is insanity and this is one reason why I am supporting Bernie Sanders. Our current government is saturated in greed and fraud and it has to stop. There are enough resources to take care of people and our needs if we get rid of the corruption. Bernie is the one to do it; he is not beholden to the rich and greedy, but only to us, the people.

Ellen Furstner, Marcola


Our own Lane County leaders have felt caught in a financial bind. This has ended up meaning that our beloved sisters and brothers who live in rural areas have not had their basic needs met. Where is protection for them? Where is 911 in an emergency? Their schools and other services are neglected. They are suffering.

So what is their response? Militias are forming for their own protection. Some are rising to take over the governments of their towns and villages. There is an increase in the threat of guns and violence.

We can, we must do better. Lane County, we have neglected our rural areas. Let’s reach out and truly provide for their needs, so they can live fully and with dignity.

And, my friends, let’s reach out to our national government to withdraw from our endless wars and war preparations, and divert the trillions of dollars to the deep needs and struggles of our people, and of all people everywhere. 

Violent wars can only lead to more wars, to more pain and suffering. We can reach out to the world, the planet, our county brothers and sisters, in peace.

Peg Morton, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peg Morton wrote this letter before she died Dec. 19 and it was submitted by a friend.


A small group of armed white Christian militiamen take over a federal building in southeast Oregon. The sheriff claims these men have intentions to overthrow the county and federal governments. These men, some of whom crossed state lines to get here, claim they have no intentions of leaving, have stocked up food and have a generator.

This isn’t the first time. A similar scenario occurred at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy in 2014. Even though the “protestors” ignored lawful orders given to them by local and federal law enforcement officials and pointed their weapons at federal law enforcement officials, the government backed down and left them alone. As far as I know, the government has yet to collect any of the grazing fees (over $1 million) owed by the Bundy family for grazing their cattle on our public lands.

If these “protesters” had been of some other religion, race or foreign nationality, would they have been dealt with the same way? Recent events would suggest otherwise. This country is governed by the rule of law, which does allow some latitude.

However, if the government were to correctly recognize these people as terrorists, as their actions clearly indicate, there would be no latitude given, and law enforcement would meet the threat with overwhelming force.

If these people think they are protestors and not terrorists, we should refer to them with appropriately less severe names such as Yocal Haram, Ya’ll Quada or Vanilla ISIS.

Jay Schwartz, Eugene


Peg Morton always worked for the betterment of our world, and I cannot think of a better way of honoring her memory than by doing what she requested in her letter printed Dec. 17. In it she clearly explained the need for a green, welcoming place in the city center and she asked our city leaders to make this possible. Let us all join her in that request.

Margaret Buerk



Unless I missed it, your Dec. 24 “Give Guide” neglected to mention the First Place Family Center’s pre-school program for homeless kids which is slated to close unless funds ($20,000) are raised. Certainly this oversight was unintentional?

Karl Stout, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Give Guide is by no means a comprehensive list of organizations deserving of donations. EW published a news story on the First Place Kids Early Childhood Program on Dec. 17, and since First Place Kids is under the umbrella of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, we chose to mention the larger nonprofit and in doing so gave limited print space to other nonprofits that had not recently received attention. Donate to First Place Kids at firstplacekids.org.


The streetcar has rejuvenated downtown Portland and connects the southwest neighborhood with the northwest neighborhood and now goes over the Steel Bridge to the Lloyd Center. The original streetcar was built by Skoda in the Czech Republic in 2002 and is still running without a problem. 

A similar streetcar runs in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Little Rock, Arkansas. Why doesn’t Eugene have a streetcar on either Franklin or Willamette? Have you wrongly convinced yourselves you are too small? 

Downtown Eugene needs revitalization, since people shop where there’s parking at the Valley River Shopping Center. Eugene hasn’t fallen for the bigger-and-faster myth. The streetcar is even quieter than the remarkable Sky Train in Vancouver, B.C. 

Why isn’t there a streetcar in iconoclast Eugene? Is it because Eugene people haven’t been to their sister city Portland?

Marc Batko, Portland


For the past 19 years I have been my partner’s caregiver; I doubt I will make 20. While Obamacare has brought many additional opportunities for health care, it has also brought lots of rules and regulations. 

Home-bound individuals have lots of opportunities for visits by nurses, therapists and social workers to deal with specific issues. But while they’re in your home these people also check for violations of the many regulations. 

One nurse actually said to me, “You don’t want the state coming in and seeing these supplements.” I'm not sure whether she was referring to the number of supplements or the fact that a couple of them had expired. (We had stopped taking the expired ones.) In any case, she made it sound almost criminal.

Stuff like this makes me think long and hard about retiring.

John Kiely, Eugene


Take away the money, breakdown the inner wall, plant the seeds of change and harvest it in the fall. Walk away from the monetary system we live in. We all pay taxes but what is the corporate personhood given? 

We all know the corruption at hand, but when the brave step up, will you stand? We need radical action, not what the system has planned. 

No more time for peaceful protest. It’s time to demand: no more politics, no more “solutions.” This isn’t about money, it’s about pollution; it isn’t about who’s right, it’s about a resolution. No more: It’s time for revolution.

Phalen Petersen, Springfield


I was dismayed to hear about the 2-year-old girl shot in the face Christmas day by an adult “cleaning a gun.”

It is impossible to clean the bore of a gun while it is loaded. Virtually all accidental (or rather negligent) such shootings are the result of an idiot behind the gun, pointing the gun and pulling the trigger. It is really as simple as that. In most cases it is because the idiot assumes the gun is not loaded and “dry fires” it. 

For those who wish to check a gun in this manner, please first point the gun at your own head and pull the trigger.

Daniel Schlender, Springfield


It’s quite impressive that the Paris agreement on global warming was agreed to unanimously by the nations of the world. Kind of a mind-blowing accomplishment, actually. But, so far, there’s no evidence one way or the other that this agreement will translate into actions that will prevent more global warming.

While we’re waiting to see how things turn out, there’s every reason to immediately start reducing our own personal contributions to global warming. You might feel that there’s nothing significant one person can do to impact global warming, but I would say there’s nothing so insignificant it’s not worth doing. 

Consider a 12-ounce to-go paper coffee cup. The reality is that how you dispose of that one cup will have an infinitesimally small effect on the world. Why bother? 

But I think of that one paper cup differently. I don’t think of it as one paper cup getting recycled, because it’s not just me recycling paper cups. It’s me and a million other like-minded people recycling one paper cup. That’s a million paper cups. That’s getting somewhere. 

If you drive one less mile a week and are joined by a million others, that’s a million miles less driving. It’s worth doing. Be a one-in-a-million kind of guy or gal.

Jack Van Dusen, Eugene