Letters to the Editor 2017-04-06


In your March 16 article about House Bill 2921 (“‘Anti-sanctuary’ Legislation Brewing in Oregon”), bill sponsor Rep. Mike Nearman says, “I’m on the budget committee for my school district, and we spend a lot of money to teach students who don’t speak English.”

Apparently, Nearman is not aware that many non-English-speaking students in Oregon’s schools move here legally with parents who bring sought-after skills to benefit Oregon’s companies and academic institutions. Other students may have learned the language of their families at home before learning English.

Mr. Nearman, please take note: English proficiency does not indicate a person’s immigration status. Your assumption otherwise does a disservice to many Oregon residents in your district and across the state.

Pam Dillehay, Eugene


On March 17, we and several other Oregon State University community members insisted that OSU’s Board of Trustees submit to democracy.

Where some may find our demand for democracy misplaced, we believe that those most impacted by decisions should be at the center of governing processes. The Board of Trustees is an unelected governing body. It is composed of people who are not directly affected by its decisions. The board gives pay increases to upper-level administrators while voting for tuition increases, cuts to underfunded departments and furloughs on teachers and staff at the bottom of the university income-ladder.

Over the past two years we have provided public testimony at each Board of Trustees meeting, a few of us sit on the Student Budget Advisory Council, and we even attended the Finance and Administration Committee meetings during summer break in 2016.

All to no avail: These decision-makers did not listen. The board continued to raise tuition, maintaining its pattern of raising tuition every academic year for nearly 20 consecutive years. Numerous officials and insiders made it clear they were poised to increase tuition again during their meeting on Friday, March 17.

For these reasons, we insisted on democracy. Any cuts that need to be made should come from administrative spending, the highest paid, and not from faculty and staff salaries or student services. Nothing less than a redistribution of resources and a transformation of university priorities is necessary.

Oregon State is not powered by orange; Oregon State is powered by students, staff and faculty.

A collective of indignant students, Corvallis


Wow! Pastor Bryant and the First Christian Church of Eugene (“A Day in the Life,” 3/23) are providing a much needed service to the unhoused. Eugene could use a dozen more of him.

Beverley Mowery, Eugene


To the three or four clean-cut white young gentlemen who think it is acceptable to shout anti-Semitic German at pedestrians on West 18th Avenue, around 6:30 pm on St. Patrick’s Day while speeding in a newer dark-blue SUV:

I will admit, I was shocked into inaction for a couple of seconds after being randomly shouted at. It took me a couple of seconds to put together that what had just happened was not cat-calling or a strange greeting, but a group of people who think that their racism is not only acceptable but also something to be shared with the world.

There is something I think it is important for you to know, however. I am not scared. You did not terrorize me. You have pissed me off. I want to alert anyone with a conscience in Eugene to be on the lookout for these “young gentlemen” and others like them.

Remember to try to pick out identifying details (vehicle models and plates) and pre-practice the choice insults to scream back at them as they drive off like cowards. It will take a group effort to make clear that these sorts of actions are not going to fly.

Dylan Cianci, Eugene


There is now irrefutable, empirical evidence, with corroborating testimony from the big brains at CERN, that in every traffic bottleneck in Eugene, the front car causing the logjam is always a Prius.

It used to be Buicks.

Probably the masterminds at Honda and Nissan marketing are working on a powerful negative campaign.

Ron Ramsey, Eugene


We have been treading water for too long on climate change, waiting for action elsewhere, hoping for time before the impacts are felt here at home in Oregon.

The time to act is now; we clearly can no longer wait for movement at the federal level and the local impacts have arrived in soaring summer temperatures and smoke-choked days, to name a couple.

With Oregon Senate Bill 577, we can join West Coast partners in putting a cap and price on climate pollution and putting the revenue toward solutions to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions; build our resilience to impacts of climate change; and protect the most vulnerable members of our population.

There are so many positive ways to invest: transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure to decrease transportation related fossil fuel use; energy efficiency measures for low-income and rental housing; assistance for our coastal communities, who will be hit the hardest; improved water management for a future where more of our precipitation falls as rain instead of the snow that sustains us through the dry summers.

I urge you to contact your state legislators to thank them for their leadership on this issue and ask that they take action this session.

Sarah Mazze, Eugene


Across our state, weather is unpredictable: devastating snowfalls, more droughts and forest fires, flooding, pollinators dying, fisheries collapsing, wildlife struggling, growing seasons out of whack.

Let’s quit bickering and come together to make changes that soften the blows from climate change while we still can. Our livelihoods depend on it.

Oregon can join with two Canadian provinces, California and Washington state in creating a solid West Coast powerhouse to find economies of scale to head off the worst of it. We are stronger if we band together.

The Clean Energy Jobs Bill (SB 557) would cap the amount of carbon large polluters are emitting, lowering the cap each year. Thirty-five percent of that money would be reinvested into rural and low-income areas, communities of color and impacted workers traditionally left behind.

The bill supports clean energy jobs training to create jobs in energy efficiency upgrades on homes and businesses, installing and designing solar and wind installations and expanding public  transit. Healthy family wage jobs strengthen Oregon’s economy.

Other programs would expand mass transit statewide, upgrade roads and bridges, etc. This investment will bring in money with very little up-front costs involved.

Contact your state reps now! Get involved.

Robin Bloomgarden, Eugene


Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart is leaving the board for a shovel-ready (pun intended) job provided by the good-old-boy network in Cottage Grove. I had to remind myself that it’s all about politics — not what you know, but who you know.

A recent Register-Guard editorial (3/23) states Commissioner Stewart was not an ideologue, but this misses the point. He voted with the other Republican and Libertarian board members a majority of the time, particularly with respect to redistricting and land use resource extraction decisions.

Because Stewart is not an engineer, a reasonable assumption suggests he is actually a paid lobbyist on the development side rather than a public works director.

Pat Reilly, Eugene


As a parent, I support Jerry Rosiek for 4J School Board. I have observed him to be thoughtful and caring. He is comfortable greeting an old friend and making new ones.

A military brat, I was often the new kid. As an adult, I see how parents often feel outside of things. Jerry reaches out to everyone.

Jerry will not shy away from conversations needed to create and protect an education system worthy of children. A good example of this is talking about parental rights to opt children out of standardized tests. Dissatisfied with available information, Jerry held community-wide sessions to help inform and answer parent questions.

I saw Jerry offer factual information about rights and exercising them. His position on testing was clear, as was his respect for decisions made. I cannot say the same about the district information session I attended.

I have a sense of how well Jerry does or does not work with others. I know people who share his views and people who do not.

Jerry is as transparent about his positions as he is positive toward others whether or not there is agreement. I support him because he will positively disrupt our current unsatisfactory status quo.

Katharine Gallagher, Eugene


I appreciate the Eugene Weekly honoring David Monk for his lifetime accomplishments and commitment to
making this community a better place (3/23), especially as it immediately followed the Beyond Toxics celebration honoring all his work fighting for clean air and water for residents throughout the state of Oregon.

But I was shocked that the writer of “Happening People” used the loaded word “corruption” in his piece, implying that David used it. I have worked with David for at least two decades and knew instantly that the word “corruption” had not actually been uttered by him. And it wasn’t.

I have never heard David use that term to describe opponents to the change he seeks. He sees activism in terms of making thing better and would not characterize peoples’ motivations in such a way.

I, on the other hand, have frequently said: “You can’t call it corruption anymore because they’ve made it legal.”

Bonny Bettman McCornack, Eugene


I believe it was my letter that Joe Tyndall referenced in his latest screed against Social Justice Warriors (Letters, 3/23). However, I’m not interested in the debate Joe offers. Debates are entertainment where two
polemics slug it out for the amusement of their respective fans. I have never seen a debate resolve an issue or solve a problem — and that’s what I’m interested in.

Segments of both Trump and Bernie supporters complain of economic inequality and dismal futures. Polling on specific issues, when devoid of partisanship, shows surprisingly high agreement among the general population. Why are we not working on issues of agreement and having resolution-oriented discussions on
points of disagreement?

The big issues must be addressed. Shortsighted political arguments serve the longevity of the two-party system, but the resulting stagnation and lack of leadership is killing us; multi-party democracy with proportional
representation could redeem our politics.

Leadership must keep pace with changes in society; automation will continue to displace workers but a guaranteed-income scheme would alleviate poverty, negate the need for social services and allow people to live on the part-time, low-paying jobs that will dominate the future.

Earth’s resources are finite and its ecological balance is delicate; society must learn to restrain itself within Earth’s life supporting limits.

These are issues I would like to hear discussed by the solution-minded people and leadership of this country.

James Stauffer, Eugene


School counselors perform critical roles. Even in the best of times our task is challenging, but with ballooning class sizes and slashed programs, many days feel like we are performing triage in MASH units.

In these difficult times we need champions for public education. This is why I am endorsing Jerry Rosiek for position 3, 4J School Board.

As a former science teacher, parent of a 5th-grader and a current University of Oregon faculty member, Jerry would bring invaluable knowledge and passion to 4J’s board. What sets Jerry apart from the other candidates is that he takes strong, public stances on social justice issues. This is evident in how he helped transform the UO teacher studies program into one of the leading social justice teacher preparation programs in the nation.

As a 4J School Board member, Jerry will speak up for statewide revenue initiatives, stand against vouchers and unnecessary testing, provide invaluable expertise on recruiting and retaining staff of color, and insist on more transparency and responsiveness to community concerns.

I am confident about this because Jerry is already doing these things in his current role. I strongly encourage you to join me in voting for Jerry Rosiek for 4J School Board.

Tibor Besskó, Eugene 

Web Letters


There’s another option for funding parks and recreation in Eugene, and The Register-Guard editorial (“Paying for parks,” 3/16) touched on a few of the reasons it might be the preferred choice: trust, accountability and fiscal management.

Forming a Eugene Parks and Recreation District would dedicate funding, offer residents more decision-making involvement and, very important, add stability and sustainability to the list of benefits. It’s well past time for city, county and willing partners to collaborate on that already-agreed-is-needed feasibility study to learn more about this option.

Park and recreation districts obviously work very well in many jurisdictions. Other municipalities, both large and small, have successfully moved to a district model. Transition-to-a-district templates exist, and there are professionals and elected officials, from near and far, ready and willing to share their experiences and expertise with us.

Forming a Eugene Parks and Recreation District may ultimately prove not to be the most feasible solution … but we can’t know unless and until we study it. To make the best-informed decision, voters deserve to have this option presented. Having a district that all Eugene property owners contribute to would certainly be “something totally different” — another option the Parks planning manager predicted could emerge.

Steve Norris, Eugene


When I was walking around downtown Eugene on St. Patrick’s Day I couldn’t help but notice the chalked messages everywhere, such as “Go Green: Go Vegan!” All the slogans got me curious, so I checked out the GoVeg.com website included in many of the messages and read some interesting stuff and got loads of tips on how to easily go vegan.

Then, I went to another website that had been chalked on the sidewalk — Meat.org.

Thankfully, I watched it on an empty stomach. What I learned about how animals are mutilated, imprisoned, beaten and slaughtered for food is enough to make anyone lose their lunch. The moment I saw how animals are treated, I decided right then and there to never eat them again.

The truth is that a vegan diet is healthier for us, and there are thousands of vegan foods to choose from at our grocery stores and restaurants. I challenge everyone to visit Meat.org and decide for yourself whether you want to support cruelty to animals through the foods they eat.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene


As a lifelong rural resident of Oregon, I support SB 458, which would allow rural counties to permit the use of dogs in hunting cougars. Back when the ban was passed, a majority of urban voters felt it just wasn’t fair to cats to chase them with dogs, so outlawing the practice seemed like a good idea.

In the years since, we have been seeing some negative unintended consequences of this well-intentioned legislation. Every generation of cougars born since the ban has been losing its fear of dogs and man. This is not a healthy trend for people, pets and livestock.

Dog owners should be huge supporters of the proposed bill. Both you and your pets will be safer in areas where the ban is lifted. When hound hunting was legal, all it took was a single barking dog to keep cougars away from homes, livestock, children and pets. Now cougars eat dogs.

The ban seemed like a good idea at the time, and the city folks get points for trying to do the right thing, but now they should realize it had unfortunate unintended consequences. Now the responsible thing to do is recognize the error and correct it.

Allow rural residents to resume their traditional practices of chasing the big cats with trained dogs. You will be safer, and the farmers who feed you will be happier.

Marshall Dunham, Blodgett


Here’s a common sense solution to the Oregon PERS [Public Employees Retirement System] problem: wait.

That’s all that’s required. Wait, and soon enough the entire problem will disappear. The medical profession can continue to find cures for cancer and other diseases, with no fear that their efforts will prolong the agony of the PERS problem.

Now, the reality is that the problem generation, PERS Tier 1 retirees, is just getting started on retirement. It will be several decades before the entire cohort has left gainful employment and gone the way of all flesh.

But, no worries, because most of the money paid to PERS retirees will be spent on taxes, mortgages, health insurance, food and utilities. A full circle of all the money paid out and back into the economy will be accomplished before anyone gets to take their leave of Earth.

Don’t forget the chief beneficiary of the all retirement funds, PERS included, is that stalwart icon of rectitude: Wall Street. You sure don’t hear financiers complaining about bloated retirement funds. That’s because a good portion of the money is invested with those institutions that have brought us those terrific social experiences such as the Great Depression, the Great Recession and Wall Street bailouts.

So, you see, just waiting will solve all the problems that the awful, depressing and horrible PERS dilemma presents us. And great financial windfalls to the job creators and government tax collectors will continue for the indefinite future.

What’s not to like?

Gerry Merritt, Eugene