Letters to the Editor – 2017-07-06


I enjoyed Rick Levin’s perceptive article about Ashland’s culture [“Taming of the Shrewd,” June 29], except for his line comparing Hillary Clinton to Lady Macbeth. Clinton is not a murderer, nor a woman who can only go mad when defeated. I would compare Hillary Clinton to Queen Catherine, first wife of Henry VIII.

In Henry Vlll, Catherine faces a rigged trial. Shakespeare used some of her actual speeches directed to the King, from Holinshed’s Chronicles. She speaks with dignity and fierce anger to a court that is completely biased against her (Benghazi).

When Henry fought French wars, he had left Catherine in charge of governing England, knowing that she had been a wise counselor to him (Senator, Secretary of State). During their marriage, he was flagrantly unfaithful to her, which she endured (Bill Clinton).

Until 2016, Hillary Clinton had the respect of many people in our country, as shown by her victory in the popular vote. By this year, people were disrespecting her in terms such as Levin used, adding to the general air of our country as a nasty, bitter, dirty-mouthed reality show.

Hillary Clinton will have another act in her life, when she has healed from the wounds of the last election.

Dina Wills, Eugene


I grew up on an organic farm west of Eugene. My dad cofounded Organically Grown, bringing healthy, local food to the people of the Willamette Valley from local farmers. He also sold his produce at the Farmer’s Market and to local restaurants. People liked eating garlic, rhubarb and horseradish that hadn’t come to the U.S. in a container ship.

Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods concerns me. Amazon’s purchase undoubtedly will further Walmartize a supply chain that already transports food great distances at a high carbon cost.

Sure, like most people, I’m happy to order small electronics and other little items from Amazon. But what will it mean for the environment if we start getting the bulk of even our organic food from the other side of the planet?

Amazon’s prices for imported foods would not reflect the actual cost of their business practices. Our children will pay the full price through climate change. I don’t begrudge anyone their Costa Rican banana, but your kale shouldn’t come from Kazakhstan.  We can grow it at a reasonable price here without damaging the environment.

Marty Wilde, Eugene


Kudos to Mayor Lucy Vinis for proposing a rational, fact-based approach to improving city transparency by creating an independent performance auditor [Viewpoint, June 22]. As she points out, other communities have performance auditors in place — I wonder how much they cost and what are the best ways for Eugene to implement an auditor’s office.

The extreme polarization of Eugene’s political discussions is silly. Community wide, political activists aside, I believe the vast majority of community members agrees more than we disagree. An independent performance auditor would be very helpful in improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of city services and the tenor of our community discussions.

Vinis’ example of combining auditing efforts with Lane County is intriguing and might deliver multiple benefits including cost-savings and measurably better outcomes from better alignment between city and county priorities.

In establishing a new position to build community trust (sorely lacking lately at every political level, alas), the devil is always going to be in the details. How we do it will be critical to the success of this important venture.

We should be careful to avoid a rush forward willy-nilly to implement any one person’s idea of how this should be structured.

I look forward to learning from other communities what has worked well (and hasn’t), and exploring our community’s options so I can participate in a rational discussion to select the best way forward for Eugene.

Dawn Lesley, Eugene 


As far as I can tell, Bonny Bettman McCornack (Viewpoint, 6/29) is offering a solution to a problem we don’t appear to have. She claims that there is escalating community distrust of city government, a claim backed up by nothing. This is the opposite of what I hear. In my experience most everyone I know is proud that our city government is so untainted by the kind of corruption that plagues other cities in our country.

This initiative only adds to the city bureaucracy and an already strained budget, and sows seeds of distrust and division in the community. This is an issue that needs to be discussed publicly and without rancor to determine if we really need an independent auditor or if there are other ways to proceed if we do need one. Narrowing the discussion to only one option is not good policy.

David Funk, Eugene


We are getting wonderful news about the proposed civic performance auditor. The proposed initiative plans have undoubtedly caused this.

And thanks to the mayor’s comments and the public meeting with Gary Blackman, the past elected performance auditor from Portland, many are recognizing the value of this service to the community.

We were close to getting that service 15 years ago from the city charter review committee. Apparently the independence of the auditor was still too threatening to certain key people in the decision making position.

Independence is the key word for the description of this office, as Lane County has discovered with the past three performance auditors. As with the police auditor of the city, the important issues are who will hire, fire and direct the research and recommendations of the auditor? Will the results of the auditor be public at the same time to the council, the city manager and the public? And will plans developed for changes that are audited to insure follow up?

Yes, the city does already have a financial auditor. The assumption always is that they will uncover any embezzlement that may be there — despite the disclaimer that is always on the first page of any audit. This is so even with the audit of credit unions. That is why they have their own supervisory committees.

What is needed is information on how that money can be better spent. What new ideas can be developed by staff to do their mission better?

Portland has loved their performance auditor service for 20 years. It has saved them money and improved their service over and over.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene


I am writing to voice my disgust with Trump’s sham ‘Election Integrity Commission’ and my non-consent to its request for my voter records. Kris Kobach is a known voter-suppressor, and his request to the secretaries of state is a direct, explicit and agenda-driven violation of the central democratic principle of the secret ballot, put in place for the specific purposes of 1) preventing coercion and 2) empowering society to know the authentic and considered collective will of its constituents.

That principle was put in place with the assumption that society would have the self-respect to consider the authentic and well considered will of its participants.

Let this message serve as a public and principled record of my non-consent to the release of any personal voting data that isn’t already publicly available. It was not enough to contact Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, so I’m making it known here as well and hope that this letter will inspire a lot more calls and emails.

Much thanks to secretaries of state in California and Connecticut for vowing non-compliance. I expect no less from Oregon. Regardless of whether the courts uphold the so-called commission’s request, immovable non-compliance will ensure Richards and his department an honorable place in history.

Mark Scott Lavin, Eugene 


There are 7.4 billion humans living on this planet and this high number complicates every other difficulty. The 75 million people added yearly require food, housing, education, energy, space to live and garbage dumps. This means we will need additional fertile soil, fresh water, cement, steel, glass, fossil fuels and lumber, as well as land for farming, burying trash or building.

A higher standard of living helps people expand their identities and find their boundaries. Homo sapiens are much more than baby factories. Access to birth control and, when desired, abortions have much value. Careful deliberation of possible dependents that one can take care of must be done much more deliberately. Some First World nations’ citizens have this choice while poverty and exponential growth go hand in hand in the Third World.

The 1.1 percent world-growth average could be tackled by putting a limit on people who create children but don’t fulfill their parental responsibilities. Those who don’t provide care, money, education, effort and the sacrifice needed shouldn’t qualify as parents.

Often, the procreators flee and figuratively or literally go somewhere else. There they repeat their pattern and burden their offspring with moms and/or dads who don’t want them.

This is unavoidable, isn’t it? Vasectomies or tubal litigation of these careless deadbeat breeders can be done. This is not eugenics. The criteria for this treatment are not determined by ethnicity, race, gender, nationality or religion.

Population growth and lack of responsibility are the issues this is meant to address.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene