Letters to the Editor 8-11-2016


If the Lane County Board of Commissioners votes in late September to give themselves the power to yank duly approved initiatives from the vote of the people because they decide the initiatives are not “of county concern,” there is at least one bright spot: the subsequent people’s initiative to reverse that unconstitutional ordinance will most assuredly be “of county concern.”

To Commissioners Bozievich, Stewart, Farr and Leiken: The initiative process belongs to the people!

Keep your eye on the Board of Commissioners’ agendas at goo.gl/J7Alni.

Cathy Barr, Deadwood


Both the Third Annual Interfaith Peace Walk and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration remind us of the importance of working for peace in our world (Activist Alert, 8/4).

Of course with hunger, disease and lack of educational opportunities, it is hard for peace to take hold. But we can support the bipartisan Education for All Act of 2016 in Congress, to focus on helping the 59 million children without educational opportunity to finally go to school.

Your calls and letters to your representatives about supporting this legislation can make a difference.

Willie Dickerson , Snohomish, Washington


We are concerned that some members of the Lane County Board of Commissioners do not understand the concept of separation of powers enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The commissioners’ interest in giving themselves the power to deny “we the people” the right to vote on countywide ballot measures that we ourselves have initiated seems decidedly un-American, given that the courts in this country are the bodies that decide on the constitutionality of laws, not elected lawmakers.

After a ballot measure has been approved by voters, then it can be challenged — in the courts. If the commissioners enact this illegal ordinance, they will certainly be wasting taxpayer dollars defending it in court. Ironically, saving money is their stated reason for considering the ordinance, but perhaps they have other motives.

The commissioners who have expressed the most interest in selectively squashing citizen initiatives are the same ones who are well-funded by the timber industry, which opposes a citizen initiative currently collecting signatures for the ballot.

The Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society, Leslie Rubinstein, Cathy Bellavita, Steve Kilston, Gail Hoelzle, Julie Parker, Brian Forge, Alice Doyle


I appreciated the recent issue, “Black Lives Matter,” and Camilla Mortensen’s brief section “And So Does Oregon’s History of Racism.”

However, it was a great oversight in that article to omit mention of the nationally recognized and immeasurably important work on this topic by Walidah Imarisha, former Oregon Humanities Foundation Fellow, longtime Portland State University Black Studies professor, author, poet, organizer and frequent public speaker on Oregon’s white supremacist history.

She is the creator of the acclaimed Oregon Black History Timeline and associated presentation/related curriculum, “Why Aren’t There More Black People In Oregon?” I have heard that when she gave this talk at the Eugene Public Library, it attracted a near-capacity crowd. Professor Imarisha is also a local expert: an alumna of Springfield High School. As an Oregonian, African-American, woman scholar with recognized expertise on the subject of Oregon Black history and its founding as a white supremacist state, she and her work should have received attention in an article on Oregon’s racist history, over a book published more than 10 years ago by an (apparently) white man. I encourage anyone interested in the roots of modern racism in Oregon to explore Imarisha’s work, much of it accessible online.

 Bayla Ostrach, Boston, Mass.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Agreed it’s preferable to cite a source from the community of color when writing about that community, in this case Walidah Imarisha herself cites Loewen as her source on sundown towns. See one of our previous stories on Imarisha’s research at goo.gl/VdzRi6.


“Our religious and cultural heritage is to deny … that we’re in any way connected to the rest of life on earth. We don’t come from it … we own it and we’re put here to run the place. It’s deeply threatening to our ideology … to admit that we’re constrained by … biology … and our puritanical heritage.”

I quote author Barbara Kingsolver from her book, Small Wonder, in order to bring context to the strictly white, Christian, entitled world in which both Jerry Ritter [Letters, 7/21] and Lon Miller inhabit. Within this context, their white privilege justifies such ignorant arrogance that belies hatred. But enough of Miller. I want to address Ritter’s letter, “Grim Statistics.”

Let me start by countering his Taylor Swift lyrics with “I’ve never heard such stupidity quite like this.” His soundbite, easily disputable, lazy generalities are akin to the flatulence of Trump’s pink, puckered piehole.

It is Ritter’s “(in)convenient truth” to avoid something called facts and history, where black lives lived and died, so since he sarcastically inquires as to where are those who have cared about his statistical concerns, I have an answer: 240 years of founding fathers’ slaves (and their offspring); slaves building the “White”(!) House; Buffalo Soldiers and their forced killing of Native Americans; Sojourner Truth; Booker T. Washington; Frederick Douglass; Jim Crow; NAACP; lynchings; segregation; Rosa Parks; Medgar Evers; Fred Hampton; Paul Robeson; James Baldwin; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King; Julian Bond; COINTELPRO; the Black Panthers; MOVE’s firebombing in Philadelphia; Grace Boggs; Cornel West; Muhammad Ali; War on Drugs; Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance”; Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me; Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow; unsung activists in every town, city and state.

How many more centuries do African-Americans have to wait for whites to “pay their respects” to dignity, fairness and decency?

Sean S. Doyle, Corvallis


It is true that we Americans have it better than people in many places in the world. There is a place for patriotism and celebration. However, the founding principles of this country, those such as democracy, liberty and equality, are not being well cared for and could be lost. These ideals have been eroding due to the agendas of greedy corporate interest and power-hungry politicians as much as from public disinterest and neglect.

The habit of ignoring problems with superficial solutions has become the norm in American society. Coping is the currency of capitalism. But understand that democracy, liberty and equality are living things. They cannot be protected only by a piece of paper or law. Rights like these are protected when people are active in practicing and developing them further. Until we as a society mature to this truth, we may as well expect to be taken advantage of by others who are more cunning and greedy.

So let’s dream of a future to believe in. And not just dream, but also act, embody, practice, investigate, encourage. Get educated and involved with local political or activist groups, and aspire and support each other to be our best possible selves.

Luke Grossmiller, Eugene


Your dreams are your soul speaking to you.

Dreams are guaranteed to everyone every night for recording. Drink a tall glass of water before sleeping and you will awaken in the night to relieve yourself, but you will awaken from a dream. Record it first. Dreams are incredibly fragile; wisps of memory visions are quickly lost unless you record as much as you can before they fade away. And they will, guaranteed. Now relieve yourself; this is the discipline of dream recording.

Your soul is speaking to you. Recording your dreams welcomes the wisdom of your numinous essence into your daily life. All you have to do is to chronicle each visitation.

It is with this method for 38 years that I amassed over 18,600 dreams. Did it work for you? Email drinkwaterdreams@gmail.com.

One dream at a time.

Glug, glug.

Dennis R. Archambault, Eugene


When I was born (1936) there was no TV, internet, artificial intelligence, computers, Medicare, DNA, stem cell, freeways, jet engines, air conditioning, digital printing, digital music, automatic transmissions and a very long list of other things.

I wonder — will the trend continue for another 80 years? Will people born today want to advance/change society? What do young people want today? Is the age of the “Brave New World” over?

Another thought — for young people — should old people be allowed to determine the future?

Old people are certainly not going to be around for the next 50 years to pay for or put up with the laws, court decisions and policies put in place today.

When one reaches a certain age, should the right (power) to vote, hold elected office or sit in judgment be terminated? If so, perhaps certain qualified old people should have a “formal” way of providing advice and counsel to the younger generation.

Frank Skipton, Springfield

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