Letters to the Editor: 4-7-2016


I’ve lived in Eugene almost five years and one of the things I love best about this place is the one- and two-story homey feel of this friendly small town. I intend to stay. 

Unfortunately, powers-that-be are working to turn our downtown into Portland’s Pearl District. Yuck! Every time I turn around, City Council has said OK to another eight to 10 or 12 story apartment building close to or inside downtown. Save Kesey Square. The South Willamette scheme is a whole other discussion.

In a Register-Guard story March 30 we find that the MUPTE’s new “affordable rents” can be as high as $970 for a studio and $1,108 for a one bedroom. That’s not affordable housing! What we need in this town is new, smaller, truly affordable, well-built rental housing for low-income folks. Maybe even some downtown. Horrors! 

City Hall must not be allowed to continue supporting big-business interests and high-paid workers downtown at the expense of the rest of Eugene. The question really is, will only tech people be able to afford to live downtown? San Francisco’s rents went sky high when dotcoms took over. Most of us who grew up there were forced out.

Voting for local and statewide races might be more important than voting for the president these days — OK, maybe not Bernie — but get educated about all the local candidates, make sure you are registered in the right party and vote for our community’s health and livability. Ballots coming out soon!

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene


The Springfield City Council has passed an ordinance basically making it illegal to panhandle. Caring people who want to give a hand up to someone in need face a $50 fine for handing anything of value, even a sandwich, to someone from an un-parked car. 

This isn’t just ludicrous; it’s cruel. Compassion seems to be being outlawed all over the Springfield-Eugene area. The fences they are putting up under bridges are a slap in the face, and this new “safety” ordinance banning panhandling is salt in the wound. Whether people need a handout or a hand-up should not be outlawed; compassion should not be penalized and instead, it should be encouraged. 

Many people will scour this society and find many problems, but I can tell you that compassion is the solution. The new ordinance discriminates against an already very marginalized community and will only damage the situation more than it’s already damaged. This is discrimination under the guise of law and anyone with half of a heart and brain can see that. The way I see it, the Springfield City Council is saying, “Let them eat cake.” What will be the community’s response?

Adam Levon Brown, Eugene


Two Lane County Commissioner seats are up for election on May 17, and the other three seats will be up for a vote two years from now. 

 I have to wonder who they consider their constituents to be. I’ve been attending Lane Parks Large Events Task Force and Parks Advisory Committee Meetings for almost two years and have sent the commissioners occasional reports on my observations. 

 A funny thing: South Eugene District Commissioner Pete Sorenson is the only commissioner ever to send me a reply, and he replies to all of them. 

 The four other commissioners don’t even have the courtesy to acknowledge receipt of my emails. I live in north Eugene, not south Eugene. Am I not considered a north Eugene constituent?

Instead, the four Republican commissioners act as if they only listen to moneyed interests, spending $84,000 of taxpayers’ money to sue the U.S. Bureau of Land Management before its timber harvest report is out, refusing to enforce our state’s new gun-sale background check law and objecting to the new minimum wage law as being an unfunded mandate — after giving hefty pay raises to county government managers. 

 Tony McCown, a Democrat who’s running for election to the North Eugene District seat, is the only person in this voting round who might help break the four commissioners’ cycle of non-responsiveness. Try emailing McCown, and Sorenson as well. See if they respond. But good luck hearing back from the other four commissioners. 

Ellen Otani, Eugene


With the Park Blocks and Kesey Square building proposals moving closer and closer, I haven’t heard any discussion about the impact of construction. Like any construction zone, these areas will have to be fenced off and closed to the public for unknown periods of time. Then consider that building atop existing buildings around Kesey Square will require demolition of the square itself. Remember, foundation improvements and earthquake prevention mean lots of digging right into the square with big heavy machinery.

Is it possible that both of these public spaces will be fenced off for an entire year or more? Then where will public gatherings and Saturday Market go? I hope you don’t say into the hands of the county.

Robert Howarth, Eugene


The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) at the UO proudly endorses Chris Wig for Eugene City Council in Ward 1 because we know we can count on him to fight for working families in Eugene.

Two years ago, Chris stood with the graduate employees during our fight to secure a fair contract with basic health coverage and paid family leave. He came out in support of our members during bargaining and led the local Democratic Party to support our strike by hosting our organizers in their office and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us on the picket line. Chris contacted media, recruited coalition partners from the community and helped secure support and action from elected leaders.

Chris is an advocate for working families and he has proven he possesses the knowledge and energy needed to grow community coalitions that consistently show up and speak out. 

We especially support his advocacy on behalf of renters in Eugene. Many graduate employees rent their homes, and tenant issues such as the high cost of rent and no-cause evictions greatly affect our members. We support his work with the Eugene Community Alliance of Tenants and his proposal to require 90-day notice for all no-cause evictions in Eugene.

Our graduate employees understand our community endures because of our commitment to one another, and we are excited to work with Chris Wig to build a better Eugene together.

Kadie Manion, GTFF VP of political education, Eugene


T​he Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently ​shot and killed four members of the Imnaha wolf pack: OR-4, OR-39 and two yearlings. How do you feel about that? I am disappointed, angry and heartbroken.

OR-4 played a significant role in the history of wolf recovery in Oregon. He sired OR-7 and numerous other dispersing wolves that have been critical in re-establishing this native predator to​ the Oregon ​landscape. Science shows that a healthy wolf population makes for a healthy ecosystem.

​Why would our state waste taxpayer money recovering Oregon’s wolf population only to now​ gun wolves down? This makes no sense. And it is heartless. Wolves were here first and have a right to continue to exist in what remains of the Oregon wilds.

Old prejudices and old ways have to change. We need new leadership with a 21st century vision informed by science, both at ODFW and on its commission. Let’s round up the usual suspects — Oregon’s politicians — and insist that happens.

Benton Elliott, Eugene


You have made it quite clear that you hate Hillary Clinton with that hideous “artwork” on your cover of March 24. I actually laughed because it was so blatant. Diseased skin, huge wrinkles and actual blood dripping around her. All I can say, I guess, is that I am a fervent supporter of this tough, brilliant woman. She is bloody but unbowed. Viva la presidenta!

Deanna Kuhn, Eugene


Seth Clark’s Viewpoint column [March 31] raises one easy question and several difficult ones. His easy question regarding Oregon’s new minimum wage law is, “How come I didn’t get to vote on this?” The simple answer is, “You did.” Clark got to help choose the lawmakers who passed the wage hike. Perhaps his preferred legislators were not elected, or he’ll change his mind next time. Such is representative democracy.

A harder question is, “Why did Salem settle for a simple but misguided solution that will cause multiple negative repercussions?” As Clark states, people deserve to make a living. A blanket wage increase is not a great approach. Unanswered questions include: How will the state help cash-strapped small businesses manage higher wages and payroll taxes? Will consumers readily accept increased charges for traditionally low-cost goods and services? Will Salem increase payments to social service agencies facing burgeoning personnel expenses? When will government realize that adding to the burden of small, local businesses is a lousy way to grow the economy?

In short, Clark is right on. Employees need to make a decent living. So do employers. Really, we’re on the same side. Let’s have solutions that work for all of us. Personally, I’d change the tax code.

Michael Sussman, Eugene


I agree with Ben Ricker; it is much easier to find a group to get drunk with in Eugene than Springfield. They even have an area dedicated to the inebriated called the Fermentation District. A great place to get soused but who wants to live there?

Norman Bellitt, Springfield


Marijuana (cannabis) is a medicine. Edibles, tinctures, creams and oils are potent medicines and should be recommended by a physician who understands their properties and side effects. Allowing people to get anything they want at a dispensary is the same as allowing them to go to a pharmacy and get medicine without seeing a doctor or a pharmacist.

Our bodies, just like the cannabis plant, make cannabinoids (major ingredients) and we have receptors for them everywhere including the brain, blood system, liver, lungs, ovaries, kidneys, etc. The cannabinoids in marijuana are very therapeutic.

Getting high is a side effect of cannabis. Historically it was used by the plant to protect itself from animals that liked to eat its leaves but would go to sleep when intoxicated. Most of my patients do not like to get high and have learned to adjust the dose so that the psychoactive effects are minimal. They use marijuana because of its remarkable medicinal properties (pain, nausea, appetite, seizures, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, neuropathies, PTSD, cancer).

Like all medicines, marijuana can be dangerous for patients who have not been educated in its appropriate use and have not seen a physician. The risks are particularly high for seniors and mid-lifers: heart attack (tachycardia or rapid heart rate); stroke (increased blood pressure); losing consciousness (lowered blood pressure); fractures secondary to falls (poor motor control); bleeding internally (may interfere with blood thinners); psychotic episodes (predisposed or using large amount of oil); children becoming intoxicated with edibles (concentration unreliable).

You have a moral and legal obligation to protect the citizens of Oregon. Please use your God-given privilege of serving others to promote what is right and honorable. Keep medical marijuana as a separate entity and do not legalize the purchase of edibles, tinctures, creams and oils without a doctor’s recommendation. Do not cater to those who think that money is more important than human lives. Also please save our small farmers.

Dr. Judy Emanuel D.O., Ashland


Some recent letters regarding “fat shaming” all seem to have the same original source, that being the Feb. 11 EW story “Big Love.” And, though several subjects have been covered, none have hit the center.

The laws of physics and biology are simple: If a person consumes more energy (measured in calories) than he burns, he will gain weight. It doesn’t matter if the food is paleo or Mediterranean; some will have it easy and some will have it difficult, but the equation is still the same.

And if a person wishes to consume more than they burn, I do not care. It’s their life — until they are in my health insurance pool, in which case I would prefer they were not because the medical issues surrounding obesity are numerous, unavoidable and expensive. Therefore, in the same way that ObamaCare handles smokers, why not the same with obesity?

Grant Roberts, Corvallis


Is that blood dripping from the American flag wrapped around Hillary Clinton on the cover of your March 24 edition? If not, it should be.

I wonder if any of Hillary Clinton’s supporters has ever taken the time to figure out the death count in Libya since NATO — Hillary and the West’s military Leviathan — destroyed that country and murdered Gaddafi. Hillary’s deep political analysis after the fact? “We came, we saw, he died. Yuk, Yuk, Yuk.” And what about the shenanigans at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi when Hillary was secretary of state? Let me give you a hint: There neither is nor ever was a U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. But don’t tell Hillary. It might mess up her narrative.

Over one million dead in Iraq as a result of the greatest terrorist attack (by the U.S. military) in history. Yep, Hillary supported that war. She supported the illegal military coup in Honduras in 2009 and is now all for sending (with due process, of course) the Honduran refugees fleeing that violent military establishment back to their miserable fates in their native country. (After all, it’s all “For the Children.”)

Dead teenagers with crushed skulls and stab wounds in Mena, Arkansas, back in the day when the Clintons occupied the governor’s mansion and the CIA was running drugs through the Mena airport; Whitewater and The Arkansas Development and Finance Authority, the Rose Law Firm and Tyson Foods; Travelgate; “The Strange Case of Vincent Foster” (go ahead — read the book); strong-arming the female victim’s of Bill’s “imbroglios”; unequivocally supporting Israel while the Israeli state slaughters Palestinian women and children; the current email scandal; the list goes on and on and on (see arkancide.com).

I suppose, given the above, Hillary Clinton does deserve to be the chief executive of what is rapidly becoming the bizarre goat rodeo people call the United States of America. Some of us, however, have a better idea: Hillary for prison 2016. 

Steve Johnston, Creswell

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