Letters to the Editor 6-16-2016


Finally a homophobic, religion-based murder of American gay men and women has been labeled “terrorism.” Islam is no worse than Protestant Christianity in this regard.

Tim Hilton, Springfield


My heart is with the victims and survivors of the massacre in Orlando, Florida, an act of terror now being reported as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

I stand in solidarity with the families and friends of all those who were killed or injured, and my thanks go to the dedicated first responders who rushed to the scene.

Americans are now coming together to say enough to hate and violence, and to show our support for the people of Orlando and for our LGBT brothers and sisters. As communities across the country celebrate LGBT Pride Month, we are reminded that every life is precious.

The bottom line is that in this country, it is far too easy for those who hate and are intent on doing harm — including radical jihadists — to access guns. We owe it to the people of Orlando — and to all of the 90 Americans killed each day by guns — to do everything in our power to prevent this kind of violence.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene


Thank you for the article on “Oil Train Crashes” on page nine of your June 9 issue!

Surely safety precautions should have prevented this accident, and according to The Register-Guard, there have been “26 similar railroad derailments in the U.S. and Canada.” This is especially shocking since it occurred in small towns in this modern era!

My two sisters and I witnessed this accident firsthand as we were driving to Washington state and this caused us and many motorists nearly a three-hour delay.

The EPA and other organizations must be properly monitored so a similar needless accident never occurs.

Stace Webb, Eugene


Tonight my family and I went to see the film that Robert De Niro says “everyone should see” — Vaxxed, at the David Minor Theater (despite the Weekly’s misleading blurb which featured a jumbled and myopic echo of the pharmaceutical establishment via The Washington Post).

This is a film about scientific integrity and the way that this integrity is compromised by the pressures of industry, specifically as revealed by Dr. William Thompson, former head scientist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and coauthor of the study (enshrined as vaccination/autism gospel) used to prove that the MMR doesn’t cause autism.

The film shows plainly how Dr. Thompson comes forward and reveals that the study’s data was manipulated by the CDC because it showed a correlation between the MMR and autism (they actually threw parts of the study into the trash in a secret meeting and manipulated numbers in their official report).

It was particularly poignant to see pediatricians changed their practice after reviewing the version of the original study (preserved by Dr. Thompson) with the real data un-retracted by the CDC.

It is also a film about how the lives of many children and their families have been tragically changed by the MMR vaccination.

Sabrina Siegel, Eugene


I just want to say how disappointing, if not unsurprising, it is to see that the Weekly published Janet Bevirt’s crass letter [Letters, June 2] in opposition to the Downtown Urban Renewal District. Using the acronym “DTURD” was not a mistake, not funny and not productive. That crassness is not convincing, only repulsive. Not to mention wrong-headed.

Why would you want to end a program that’s been so successful and instrumental in making our downtown a place that people actually want to use, where we don’t feel scared at night and where there are actually jobs that pay a living wage? This is an example of local government policy working really well.

Anya Dobrowolski, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Former city councilor Bonny Bettman McCornack gets the credit for coining “DTURD.” See another viewpoint from her on the topic in this week’s issue.


What a relief! After months of waiting, Willamette Street is finally restriped! I have driven South Willamette Street half-a-dozen times since the restriping, and I must say that it greatly improves the driving experience.

No more being nervous about people changing lanes abruptly. No more waiting in line if you happen to be in the left lane for somebody to turn left. No more speeding! All it takes is one person doing the speed limit to bring traffic back to a reasonable pace.

In the past, I completely avoided Willamette Street due to the above issues. I really have no problems whatsoever driving it now. I haven’t noticed any difference in how long it takes to get from one end to the other.

My daughter has ridden her bike along Willamette Street a few times since the restriping and says that it is much more enjoyable, not to say possible, to ride a bike along Willamette Street now to commute or to go shopping. The pedestrians seem to feel safer too, since they are further away from the traffic. As soon as we get a day that’s not incredibly hot, I plan to ride my bike there, too!

I hope everybody concludes at the end of the test period that this venture has been a success.

Good job, Eugene City Planning Department!

Duncan Rhodes, Eugene


Frank Skipton, in his June 2 letter, hit the proverbial nail on the head. Yes, Frank, “all power” once relegated to the people by the Oregon State Constitution has, over the last century, been re-allocated to government, corporations and their lobbyists. Our rights to the democratic, majority-driven determination over our own health and well-being have been cleverly reduced over 150 years.

The theft of our rights is deeply rooted. James Madison, a principle architect of the Federal Constitution, in explaining the new structure of law said that the purpose of the drafters was “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”

On the good side of local news, the Rights of Local Community Self-Government Charter Amendment has finally been cleared by Lane County’s Circuit Court out from under corporate-funded opposition for the gathering of signatures. Community Rights Lane County is now looking for volunteers to move the Charter Amendment toward the ballot.

No one will ever come knocking on your door to give you your rights. Like the suffragists, the abolitionists and civil rights fighters of generations, it will take work and unity. Join us at communityrightslanecounty.org.

Eron King, Triangle Lake


Well, another school and testing year is over. This year, Oregon started giving standardized tests to kindergarten kids. Apparently, you’re never too young for data collection. And while California just joined 29 other states in no longer giving invalid, unfair high school exit exams, Oregon still insists on them. More data.

Beyond the federal and state over-testing, Eugene School District 4J administered 72 additional reading and math standardized tests from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Wait, there’s more. Kids at three local low-income middle schools may wind up taking up to 36 more reading and math standardized tests. Wow, up to 108 tests worth of data!

Confused about the use of Smarter Balanced test scores, which come out after students have left for summer? That’s because they are really designed to score teachers and schools — even though the American Statistical Association says they are worthless at doing that.

And weren’t the Common Core curriculum and accompanying tests invented to have a common comparison between states? Guess what? Only 42 states now adopt Common Core, with many more having second thoughts, and only 30 states now use the Common Core-related tests.

Aren’t the Common Core and Smarter Balanced tests necessary to fix education? Guess what? Recently, more than 100 educational researchers in California found no improvement in educational quality or achievement gap with Common Core and found the tests lacking “validity, reliability and fairness.”

Meanwhile, corporations make bundles, politicians and school boards pretend they are doing something worthwhile and educational testocrats get high-paying jobs. Kids pay the price.

Roscoe Caron, Eugene



Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has called the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) a “cesspool of corruption” and a “snakepit of Big Pharma lies.” Strong words for the agency tasked with protecting the public health, don’t you think?

Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe explores one particularly heinous cover-up, which came to light when Dr. William Thompson, a lead research scientist in the CDC vaccine division, divulged key details to researcher Dr. Brian Hooker in a series of recorded phone calls. Approximately 10,000 documents were thrown into a trashbin that showed a clear link between the time of administration of the MMR vaccine and an increase in the rate of autism, particularly in African-American males.

There is a reason why Robert De Niro went on the Today show and called this film “a must-see.” When government agencies commit fraud, the American taxpaying public deserves to know about it, especially when it concerns the collective health of our nation’s children.

I urge you to see this film while it is in Eugene, and bring your friends and family. This just could be one of the greatest scandals of our time.

Jennifer Grafiada, Eugene


Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, and it’s preventable. Nine out of 10 people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental health condition, like depression, at the time of their death. Together, we can help people who struggle to seek help, improve the quality of their lives and stop this tragic loss of life.

My family has had to grieve the losses of three men who lost their fight with suicidal ideation. I personally live with bipolar disorder and have spent my adult life trying to advocate for myself and others who are trying to find happiness living with mental illness. I volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness and teach our communities ways all of us can help to prevent suicide.

I will be traveling to Washington, D.C., next month to tell my members of Congress how important this issue is to me. It is important to me because it affected me and my family directly.

Please take five minutes right now to call your U.S. representative and senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to make mental health a national priority by funding suicide prevention research today.

Join me in this fight to #stopsuicide. Together we can make a difference.

Sara K. Scofield, Eugene