Letters to the Editor 2016-10-27


Congratulations on your masterful promotion of Emily Semple in the Oct. 20 issue. You not only gave her the cover but also quoted her in the article “Who Runs the City.”

Her cavalier attitude toward climate change — less City Council discussion and more tree planting (EW endorsements, 10/20) — belies any pretense at understanding the council’s responsibility for enforcing the Climate Recovery Ordinance. Josh Skov does understand this responsibility of the council and has the intelligence, tenacity and preparation to act accordingly.

As a former city councilor representing the inner-city neighborhoods and the Whit before it was the Whit, I know the value of prepared, pragmatic progressive voices on the council. I think Josh is such a voice and I hope the voters of Ward 1 share my assessment.

Shawn Boles, Eugene

Editor’s Note: In addition to the print letters, please go to eugeneweekly.com for more Skov endorsements.


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, it was a dark and stormy night in the autumn of our discontent. Though it was the best of times, it was also the worst of times: The less-than-charming prince, having become a small-handed, underhanded, fire-breathing dragon with weird hair and strange complexion, was feeling his oats (or maybe it was just his hemorrhoids). Searching hither and yon, over hill and over dale, he hit the dusty trail in his tour bus in the quest for a beautiful princess to work his wiles upon. 

He found her working at her spinning wheel and, being the prick her fairy godmother warned her about, slipped roofies into her curds and whey, whereupon he non-consensually kissed the sleeping beauty and grabbed her Puss-in-Boots, believing he could do so with impunity because he was rich and famous. 

The princess, who had by that time already overcome her sensitivity to peas, vanquished the Wicked Witch of the West, subdued her narcissistic and equally wicked stepsisters, left those sniveling dwarfs to do their own housekeeping, overcome food poisoning from that apple and broke her bitch-of-a-mother’s mirror, cut her hair and escaped the tower, found her lost glass slipper and donned a pair of ruby slippers … upon awakening and realizing what was happening, gagged, vomited, wiped her mouth and decided she didn’t want to kiss this toad of a frog again. So she kicked him in the balls and told him to f*** off … then picked up her kitty cat and rode off into the sunset alone over the river and through the woods on a bicycle built for two and voted for Hillary.

Richard Leach, Coburg


The No on Measure 97 letters and ads are laden with the phrase “massive corporate tax increase.”  Let’s take a closer look.

Corporations that make less than $25 million in gross receipts pay a minimum tax of $30,000. Measure 97 will not change that.  Do the math —  it is anything but massive. Currently, small businesses are paying a much higher tax rate; the large C corporations are truly not pitching in their fair share.

Measure 97 is simply asking that those big C corporations making over $25 million pay an additional 2.5 percent on gross receipts over that $25 million. A 2.5 percent increase at those levels is hardly massive and will marginally move Oregon from dead last position in corporate tax in the nation.

What is massive is the impact that the estimated $3 billion in revenue will have on education, healthcare and senior services.  Keeping in mind that businesses and families will not move to Oregon if our schools and services are in such poor shape, it is a bogus argument for opponents to suggest that the money would be diverted.  Why would it with those services in such desperate need?  It is in our common interest to fund them.

Opponents would have us believe that corporations making those amounts in gross receipts would have difficulty paying their respective tax rates. This while corporate profits and CEO pay have skyrocketed in the last decade.

To suggest that the tax would be passed on to consumers is speculative hyperbole and a scare tactic. Market competition would negate that action.  

Zenia Liebman, Junction City


I must admit I was disappointed in your Slant article regarding the “downfall” of Oregon Ducks football and how happy your writer was.

To describe a down season as a “collapse” compared to the 2008 housing bubble is absolutely idiotic. It is very clear that whoever wrote the article must’ve overheard someone else’s rants at their sweaty yoga class.

The Oregon football program has enjoyed much success over the past 20 years. It has been especially good over the last 15. The Ducks have been in the top 10 as long or longer than any other school in the nation over the past 10 years.

Oregon football is responsible for much of the success for all of the athletic programs at the university and has allowed women soccer and softball teams to have world-class facilities.

It is clear that whomever the neophyte writer was who penned the story is performing a knee-jerk response to a situation many other schools endure. Take a look at Notre Dame and Michigan State, two storied powerhouse football programs who have found themselves on losing streaks.

For your information, the “real Ducks” will be supporting their team come hell or high water. To find joy in a losing season because our major donor is a Republican or that our fans are entitled is almost as insulting as “we soggy denizens” are better at losing. It is quite clear who the loser is here.

John Carlson, Eugene


The pro-Measure 97 opinion piece by Tad Shannon and Pete Mandrapa closes with, “Don’t be fooled by corporate propaganda.” No, they want you to be fooled by their propaganda.

Measure 97 in and of itself is a lie. Remember the ad campaign for Measures 66 and 67? That’s right. We were promised a bazillion times that our yes vote would mean that the rich and corporations would “finally” pay their fair share. The same clowns are back with a far larger tax measure.

Flip back a page in the same issue of the Weekly and you’ll see the letter from Rachel Rich claiming that 97 will not tax “food, gas, electricity or medicine.” Patently false.

Only two scenarios can explain why Editor Camilla Mortensen would print such a letter. 1) She knows it’s a lie and printed it anyway. 2) She’s ignorant of the mechanics of this critical initiative which disqualifies her and the Weekly from being taken seriously.

The biggest lie of all is that the left champions progressive taxation. Measure 97 will hit the poor and elderly disproportionately.

Bruce Mackey, Eugene


It has been brought to my attention that in my guest viewpoint in the Oct. 20 issue of Eugene Weekly, I chose a poor example to illustrate one of the potential pitfalls of ranked-choice voting (RCV), because the scenario I suggested would not likely happen. I was attempting to convey that the redistribution of ballots in the RCV counting process can have unintended results, which Anthony Gottlieb expressed well in The New Yorker (July 26, 2010):

“[Ranked-choice voting] elections can behave in topsy-turvy ways: they are what mathematicians call ‘non-monotonic,’ which means that something can go up when it should go down, or vice versa. Whether a candidate who gets through the first round of counting will ultimately be elected may depend on which of his rivals he has to face in subsequent rounds, and some votes for a weaker challenger may do a candidate more good than a vote for that candidate himself. In short, a candidate may lose if certain voters back him, and would have won if they hadn’t.”

Proponents of RCV say such scenarios are too rare to worry about, while critics of RCV say we cannot ignore the fact that these scenarios can happen, and may happen more than we know in RCV elections. 

Robin Quirke, Eugene


According to Donald Trump, not paying taxes is a good business practice. It seems like the large corporations doing business in Oregon agree. In Oregon, they are paying the lowest taxes in the country, and are doing all they can to continue and protect their shareholders. 

Wells Fargo, Comcast, Monsanto, etc. are pouring millions (close to $20 million at the last count) to defeat Measure 97.  Comcast owes the state of Oregon $120 million in back taxes but found close to half a million to donate to the effort to defeat 97. Wells Fargo has been fined $180 million by the feds for cheating its customers but is contributing hundreds of thousands to defeat 97.

The people of Oregon have been paying their fair share in taxes for years. Now is the time to have the shareholders of these corporations pay. We are not chumps, but hard-working Oregonians. Their workers are using education and other services in the state, yet they are not paying to support the services being used. Let’s make them pay their fair share. Vote yes on 97.

Linda Smart, Eugene


The “Voting Problems” viewpoint by Robin Quirke was an oddly timed argument. Ranked-choice voting is on the ballot in Benton County. Arguing that the Benton RCV initiative is an opportunity to explore different voting systems is like arguing that a race between a challenger and an entrenched incumbent is an opportunity to explore the various potential challengers who are not running but could hypothetically be better than the challenger who actually is. It distracts people from the choice at hand.

There is a reason RCV has political traction and other voting systems do not, and that is that people who have looked into the different systems and are willing to invest time in getting a new system adopted have decided that RCV is the best alternative.

Let’s not make an imagined “best” the enemy of the clearly better.

Alane F. Zundel, Pacific Green Party candidate, Eugene


I’m voting for Jim Weaver for Emerald People’s Utility District (EPUD).

Weaver is experienced, involved and informed. As a former congressman, Weaver helped write the original public power act and supported the formation of EPUD as a public utility.

His opponent still lives at home with his parents and has probably never paid an electric bill.

Weaver will work to keep electric rates stable and our utility strong.

Vote to elect Jim Weaver for EPUD.

Laurie Smart, Marcola


We’re fortunate to have two progressive candidates running for Eugene City Council, Ward 1: Joshua Skov and Emily Semple.

Because Semple doesn’t have government experience, Councilor George Brown and former Councilor Bonny Bettman are coaching her. Brown and Bettman McCornack do their homework addressing important issues with intelligence and passion. Along with neighborhood activist Paul Conte and other Semple supporters, however, they have a long history of confrontational politics. They write divisive opinion pieces that polarize neighbors and treat city staff with contempt. Such cynicism is both disrespectful and ineffective in creating the change they seek. While they’ve raised some valid concerns, they’ve lost my support because I expect civic leaders to treat people with respect.

Semple might have a different disposition than her allies, but hasn’t yet proven herself through public service.

As a local leader of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and a member of Eugene’s Active Transportation Committee, I’ve witnessed how Skov responds to complex community issues. He’s detailed, analytical and asks tough questions with civility. Skov works well with others and has demonstrated his commitment to neighborhood livability, reducing our city’s carbon footprint and fiscal accountability. As a result Joshua Skov has earned my support.

Allen Hancock



Elections have consequences. As we suffer perhaps the worst presidential election in living memory, it is critical to make wise choices at national, state and local levels.

In the Eugene City Council Ward 1 race, one candidate tells us that we can freeze Eugene circa 1978. Judging from her website, she wants to build walls around our existing neighborhoods, build a wall around our city, and generally oppose efforts to create opportunities for new residents to find attractive and affordable housing. But such policies are guaranteed to drive up housing prices and push out all but the most affluent.

Joshua Skov supports a compact, vibrant city with ample economic opportunities for folk at various levels of income. On his website, joshuaskov.com/issues, he offers specific ideas for holding government accountable, increasing housing affordability at all income levels, fighting climate change, creating family-wage jobs, and improving transportation choices.

For the sake of my children, I choose a path toward a vibrant, low-carbon community with opportunities for my kids and grandkids. Elections have consequences. For the future of Eugene, I’m voting for Joshua Skov.

Steve Adams, Eugene


As an environmental engineer, I help tackle technical and regulatory problems in pursuit of local environmental sustainability. Over the last decade, I’ve collaborated with Joshua Skov in both my professional and civic life on topics such as renewable energy, atmospheric carbon reduction and active transportation. In these endeavors, Skov consistently impressed me as one of the most articulate and well prepared people in the room. He is solution-oriented, and has the temperament and discipline to be a leader on the Eugene City Council.

Skov also “walks the walk.” For example, I routinely see Skov on his bike, sometimes leading a pack of kids to elementary school. Skov has an impressive history of community involvement. Skov has served on the Eugene Budget Committee, Eugene Sustainability Commission, Eugene Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Committee, EmX Steering Committee, and the EWEB Integrated Electric Resource Plan Advisory Committee. In addition, Skov co-founded a successful consulting firm dedicated to helping companies and government agencies implement sustainable business practices. In comparing Skov’s qualifications and those of his opponent, I strongly support Joshua Skov for City Council.

Joshua A. Newman, Eugene


In a world in which negative campaigning has become the norm, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see a local candidate who is so positive. Joshua Skov, candidate for Eugene’s ward 1 council seat, has focused on constructive things the city can do on climate change, transportation, housing and homelessness, and even government accountability. Many of his ideas build on proposals we’ve heard before or ideas from elsewhere, but maybe that’s the point: the world is full of good things we can do, we just need political leaders who will raise the issue, propose something, and start gathering support. 

Josh has that rare combination of intelligence, empathy and resolve that is seriously needed now, as the city moves to tackle complex questions about how to grow Eugene while enhancing the qualities we all love about it. His candidacy makes me optimistic, and I look forward to his leadership on our City Council.

Jennifer Smith, Eugene


Eugene Weekly’s endorsement of Ward 1 candidate Emily Semple left out her proposal for a homeless camp at the former City Hall site downtown.

I don’t understand how this proposal would work. Semple does not tell us: How would we protect people at the site and handle public safety, already a huge problem downtown? How would we pay for the site? What services, such as sanitation, would be necessary and how would we provide them? And how long would it be there? I’m sure this proposal is well-intentioned, but it doesn’t appear very well thought out. Eugene is not well served by solutions that create new problems or make existing problems worse.

I support Josh Skov because he thinks about problems at a level of detail that provides a better chance that the final policy will actually accomplish its intended goal. Josh has laid out a comprehensive strategy for addressing homelessness (joshuaskov.com/housing). That is the kind of thinking that I am looking for in a city councilor.

We need progressives that offer thoughtful solutions that work.

Tom Barkin, Eugene


I value people who have put in the volunteer time in service to their city and community.  Josh Skov has served on seven different committees, including the Eugene Budget Committee. He lives and works on sustainable issues and he has demonstrated his commitment. I don’t choose a plumber, an electrician or a doctor with no experience. Why would I choose an elected official without good credentials when I have a better choice? Skov studies the issues, talks to all members of the community and knows how to deliver results. His website lists policy briefs on his positions. I care deeply about addressing housing and homelessness issues and so does he. We are lucky to have Josh Skov as a candidate for City Council. He’s earned it!  

Richie Weinman, Eugene


I’ve been a resident of Ward 1 in Eugene for 20 years, and I honestly can’t remember having effective representation on City Council. Bonny Bettman and George Brown came in without any civic experience and left without any real accomplishments other than leading the “coalition of no.” This year, finally, we have a choice. Josh Skov has the background and the experience needed for the job. He also has a proven record working with the council and city staff. Without a doubt, Josh is the most qualified of the candidates. It’s time we had effective representation in Ward 1. Let’s elect Josh Skov.

Mike McCann, Eugene


If some of the electorate consider Trump a Frankensteinian monster, then through their actions, the Clintons are the Dr. Frankenstein that created him.

These include policies on trade, deregulation and wars of aggression.

Unable to move under the Republicans, Bill Clinton passed NAFTA and started the Democratic Leadership Council’s move to abandon the working class for the professional class. NAFTA displaced two million Mexican corn farmers who couldn’t compete with U.S. agribusiness and destroyed the Mexican middle class overnight. Many Mexicans desperately came north, starting the mass immigration that Trump rails against.

Newt Gingrich and the Republicans swept the House and Senate in ’94 when Democratic voters stayed home, stung by Clinton’s betrayal as manufacturing jobs moved south.

By passing the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clinton pushed through deregulation that started waves of media mergers, allowing corporations to buy newspapers and TV and radio stations — once illegal monopolies. Clear Channel and Fox News with its right wing bias, now saturate markets with Rush Limbaugh and other “hate media” and have infused Trump’s minions with anger against the Democratic Party.

Hillary, as senator and secretary of state, championed wars of aggression that fuel radical Islam. Having not learned from the Iraq and Afghan fiascos she voted for, Hillary engineered the invasion of Libya, a once prosperous, stable nation. Chaos ensued and ISIS filled the vacuum, creating more refugees and a breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism. The Trump campaign feeds on Islamophobia.

Dr. Frankenstein or Frankenstein’s monster? The only “Stein” I’m voting for is Jill.

Scott Fife, Eugene


I notice The Register-Guard endorsed Mr. DeFazio, Mr. Wyden and Mrs. Clinton. This letter is asking why.  Just so folks won’t think I am a Republican hack, I will voice my displeasure with all of our political leaders, including the Republicans too.

How much time do they need to get it right? Mr. DeFazio has had 16 terms, Mr. Wyden has been in Congress and Senate since 1981 and Mrs. Clinton has 30 years of experience. Not to leave out Mr. McCain, Paul Ryan, the Bushes and all the Republicans, too. These people have been in charge since the ’80s, and what have we to show for all that experience? Balanced budgets, full employment, peace throughout the land, homelessness a thing of the past, no one on food stamps and no poverty or war? What is the end game for these politicians? I suppose they still have time to make it even worse.

If these “leaders” were running a company, it would be bankrupt and they would be in the breadline. Since the company is just the U.S., I guess they should get a trophy for participation. Instead of a trophy they all become rich while we all get poorer and in debt.

I grew up in California, and when a guy or girl graduated from high school, there were numerous factories where you could get a good paying job and raise a family. Now with the help and guidance of our great leaders, those factories are all gone, and they have been replaced with giant warehouses. The new places to work are barely above minimum wage jobs, moving Made in China goods from those warehouses to Walmart and other stores selling mostly foreign-made products.

I hear that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is crazy. That is exactly what we are doing by keeping these career politicians in charge.

David Northey, Walton


It is clear who is behind all the “No on 97” ads, right? Big business, of course. But who is funding the yes vote? Public employees unions, of course. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice — no way! Why should we trust our state to do the right thing? I am voting no!

John Carlson, Eugene


Rural parents admonish their children: “Do not bring home a skunk for a pet.” The kids may plead, “But he’s so cute,” and “We can tame him,” but the parents know the little rascal’s DNA reads skunk and, in the end, things would not work out well.

The GOP has learned the hard way that such sage parental advice should be followed by political parties, as well.

Gary Crum, Junction City


It’s interesting that the old movie poster for The Wolfman looks so much like Trump — of course there’s a “helpless” woman with her breasts exposed. Ah, the past! Is this guy getting therapy? Schoolyard babies are losers — thank goddess most people are quietly caring.

Carla Green, Florence


Yes, campus life is costly for out-of-state students [News, 10/13]. But if you’re an illegal immigrant, you can get in-state tuition and an Oregon Opportunity grant.

I’d have been less opposed to that had the Legislature also offered in-state tuition to American students from other states, but that wasn’t part of the deal.

What do you suppose the outcome would have been had the “tuition equality” proposal been submitted to Oregon voters? Anyone remember Measure 88?

Jerry Ritter, Springfield


I support Joshua Skov for Eugene City Council Ward 1. I have been involved in Eugene’s civic life for 26 years, advocating for better schools, libraries, child care and health care for children. I have knocked on thousands of doors in Eugene to advocate for kids, and I know it really matters who we elect to represent us locally. Joshua Skov is just the person we need. He cares and has worked to support families, children and livability. He has a deep understanding of the issues. And he doesn’t just talk: He has demonstrated his commitment to our community with years of volunteer service. I know he will work with parents and advocates when we need to step up for schools and children. I am wary of rhetoric; I’m much more interested in proven service. That’s why I am proud to support Joshua Skov for Eugene City Council.

Joy Marshall, Eugene