Web Letters – 2021-05-06


Roy Keene, public interest forester in Eugene, died March 31 at the age of 77. He worked for the timber industry until he got blacklisted for his integrity. He exposed sweetheart deals for industry, helped protect wilderness and sought to end raw log exports and aerial poison spraying.

Keene’s last op-ed was in The Register-Guard on Jan. 2. Titled “Don’t Support Token Logging Reforms,” it denounced the memorandum of understanding between 13 environmental groups and 13 timber corporations brokered in February 2020 by Gov. Kate Brown. The enviros suspended their efforts for aerial spraying buffers on corporate forest lands; sadly, they don’t support spray bans. In June, the Legislature codified this deal via Senate Bill 1602. Then the governor hired the former vice president of Nike to facilitate negotiations between these groups and big timber. “Collaboration” in a bad sense.

Keene said, “This reform compromise allows landscape-scale clearcuts and aerial pesticide spraying to continue with little change in Lane County’s corporate forests… Though 15,000 Lane County voters signed an aerial spray ban initiative, none of us was consulted or considered by the environmental groups before they agreed to timber industry’s clever compromise… Some of Lane County’s largest and most visible environmental groups dismissed our watershed’s health and Lane’s voters, choosing instead to join and even promote this industry-extolled logging compromise. They don’t deserve support.”

These groups include Beyond Toxics, Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands. An annotated copy of their deal is at SustainEugene.org.

Mark Robinowitz



I’m a North Eugene High School graduate and current New York University freshman and, via absentee ballot, I am about to vote in my first election ever! When I heard Judy Newman would be on the ballot, I was excited to be able to vote for her. While in 4J, I was involved in many issues such as the bond campaign for the new NEHS building, lobbying in Salem and increasing NEHS involvement with the school board. I saw firsthand Newman’s passion and how integral she is to the students of 4J. She is the real deal, knocking on doors with students, teachers and parents, and joining us in meeting with legislators.

As a student of the high school with the most financially in-need students, I want the community to be aware; I was surrounded by one of the most vulnerable populations and saw who actively fought for what we needed. It has always been Newman. We need somebody who shows through her actions over decades that she truly believes in equity.

Real experience is one of the most important qualifications for the school board. Newman knows what she’s doing. While I’m just starting out studying education equity, it’s clear to me that she is doing the necessary work to improve student outcomes, and that is why we need her. After all, isn’t it all for the students?

This May, please join me as I cast my first vote ever: a vote for prioritizing students’ needs and re-electing Judy Newman.

Emma Burstein



As a native Chinese American retired from teaching, I have faced hate and prejudice my entire life. I grew up in Tucson and lived in a predominantly white neighborhood. My home and my family’s grocery store were stoned and egged. Later, I lived in upstate New York, Boston, Chicago and San Diego. In each place I was accosted with racial slurs and told to “go back home where you came from.”

By many, I was never seen as an American citizen, but only as a “slant-eyed” foreigner who seemed to “speak English very well.” Growing up, I experienced fear, shame and humiliation. Eventually, those feelings were replaced with anger at people’s willful ignorance.

Now racial attacks are becoming common against Asians in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, NYC and other cities. My brother lives in the Bay Area and says there have been daily attacks against Asians in the past few weeks. According to data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, Asian hate crimes have increased 150 percent since March 2020. Those attacks started when Donald Trump blamed the COVID-19 virus on China, calling it the “Kung Flu” virus.

To refresh memories: Asians have been second-class citizens throughout our history. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 stopped Asian immigration, but not European. Executive Order 9066 of 1942 stripped over 100,000 Japanese citizens of homes and businesses and relocated them in internment camps in remote, rural areas.

America has again become a country of great shame.

Karen Lim

Carlsbad, California


“White people are clueless about race” (Letters, 4/1), eh?

Interesting comment, considering white folks are indeed a race, too. A better way of putting it is that many white people are clueless about your prejudicial version of racial dynamics. Here are some questions for you to answer before you publicly shame yourself again:

What races are guilty of slavery? Who sold the African slaves to the Europeans? Who is more important: Dead plantation owners or modern sex slaves?

What was the demographic makeup of the Congress that freed the slaves?

What did the freed slaves that chose to move to Liberia in the 1800s do to the previous inhabitants?

What do you know about the United States v. Amistad SCOTUS circumstances and decision?

What was the demographic makeup of the Congress that passed the Civil Rights Act?

What demographic group is most responsible for violent crime committed toward any given racial demographic? Hint: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization.

Do racism and subsequent discrimination exist within minority communities?

If “Whitey” vanished tomorrow, do you believe you and your Brown brethren would suddenly get along?

Where does racism live? Will it ever go away?

Is your personal racism forgivable?

Three more points: Actual victims don’t make a habit of calling attention to themselves. Exercising one’s First Amendment rights is, in fact, a luxury of the privileged. Nobody is clean, and you are a hypocrite if you think otherwise.

Arik Shulein



Did anyone notice that during the Trump reign that most of the automobiles on the road, or parked, were either black, white, shades of grey or silver, with a very occasional deep red? I found it symptomatic of the Trump forces’ thinking and behavior. Also difficult to find my car.

Under the Joe Biden guidance I am beginning to see bright blues and occasional greens and other colors. Praises be for variety! There is an amazing real variety of life that we can enjoy and celebrate now that we are pulling free of the extremist isolationist xenophobic Trumpisms.

Alice Orsini



The leaders of our local Lane County Stand for Children parent advocacy group wholeheartedly support Judy Newman for re-election to the 4J School Board. Newman literally walks the walk, not just talks the talk. She has knocked on countless doors, listens to parents and voters express their thoughts, and puts their needs into action. 

Newman has 40 years of experience with children from early education to special education and has served on the faculty of the UO College of Education. As founding director of Early Childhood Cares in Eugene, she has served more than 25,000 families and students with special needs. And over the years, she has spent countless hours advocating in the state legislature for expanding education funding, sound policies and equality. Her desire to serve the community’s students by running for re-election provides a continued voice for children and important continuity on the board. Newman’s experience and actions are needed now more than ever!

Kelly Colvin-Smith

Stand for Children Lane County strategy team



When walking around Eugene, I often stop to see what’s in those decorated mini-libraries that people put in their front yard. 

Lately I’ve noticed some of these mini-libraries feature canned food along with the books. I assume that’s for people who are homeless and/or strapped for cash. That’s a very thoughtful gesture. 

Please don’t take this wrong if you’re one of the generous people offering these canned and packaged goods. But I have suggestions for improvement based on the setups I’ve seen and the food offered, which is often canned vegetables.

Carbohydrates are not hard to come by in our society. But protein with healthy calories that doesn’t need refrigeration is a bit tricky. If I were putting out canned food for people who might be walking by, I’d offer canned beans, especially chickpeas (garbanzo) because they offer the highest amount of protein of all the beans. Black beans are good, too, and kidney beans are not bad, either. Beans are vegan, for those who prefer that diet. And, a pull-open top is a good idea. Not everyone is walking around with a can opener, or has the finger dexterity to use one with ease. In addition, why not put in a plastic fork or spoon to go with each can?

I’m not homeless, nor do I pretend to speak for the homeless. But I couldn’t help but think what I would find useful if I were hungry and relying on easy to access, free food.

Alex Li



I am writing to support Tom Di Liberto for 4J School Board position No. 3. I was fortunate to have my oldest daughter in Di Liberto’s class for three years at Monroe middle school. He was an important ally for me and my daughter as we went through the important process of getting diagnoses for my daughter’s complex health and learning disabilities. He was always available for information and questions about my daughter’s behaviors and performance in his Spanish immersion classes.

I appreciated his sincere interest in my daughter’s wellbeing as well as his sense of humor. One of our many emails concerned an accident my daughter had at a church activity. She hit her head while engaged in a “Sumo” wrestling match, where the teens were bumping into each other while dressed in oversized bubble suits. After describing the somewhat embarrassing incident and asking for help in monitoring my daughter’s health while in class, he replied, “Those church-related Sumo wrestling injuries definitely need monitoring.”

I know from experience that Di Liberto is an understanding advocate for both children and parents. This, combined with his leadership with the EEA Teachers Union, will make him an excellent school board member who understands the special needs of children and teens.

Karen Creighton 



The 4J School Board will be facing tough challenges this coming year. Tom DiLiberto can bring a much needed classroom teacher perspective to the table.

Schools will be coming out of a yearlong online instruction mode. What needs to be done to get back to normal? What have we learned from online instruction? What can we keep? What do we need to change going forward? DiLiberto’s 40 years of classroom experience will be invaluable to the board’s decision making.

The board will be hiring a new superintendent. What kind of leadership will be needed going forward that will have the most impact on student learning. DiLiberto knows what the kids need.

How will the district use the extra money from the Student Success Act that will help our students succeed. DiLiberto will make sure that the money goes directly to the classroom to benefit the teachers and students and not the district bureaucracy. 

We haven’t had a teacher on the school board in 40 years. We need a classroom teacher on the board now more than ever, and Di Liberto is the one. 

Pete Mandrapa



I’m voting to re-elect Judy Newman to the Eugene 4J School Board. The choice is easy: She is a person with high integrity who has decades of experience in childhood education; she is co-director of an organization that supports children with disabilities and their families; and she has proven abilities on the school board at finding solutions that benefit all students. She has been a thoughtful, reasonable and calm voice supporting parents and teachers alike. Please join me in voting for Newman.

Martin Jones



Did you see the horrifying story of a 13-year-old black child assaulted by gang of 15-16-year-olds at a skate park in Albany? As a teacher in Eugene-Springfield, I went to a well attended rally recently in support of this boy and his family. In a call to action, I write. 

Oregon schools are the institutional power base to galvanize meaningful responses to hate crime by youth. I pose many questions as a voice from the teaching trenches. How are racist children bred? How are our educational systems complicit, at the very least, by passive inaction or ineffectual actions? 

There are many questions districts need to be asking. How do we, here in Eugene-Springfield, respond to this local incident? As a wake up call to adopt anti-racism as a value and action? Is there data collected on childhood hate crimes, hate speech and racialized bullying in our districts? How many incidents go unreported?

Are current events, such as this, being discussed in classroom settings, to increase critical thinking and raise compassion? Are BIPOC children supported and protected by their schools, as targets of racialized hate? Is there anti-bias curriculum embedded in the early years? Are there models of anti-racist curriculum to adopt in schools? Are there preventions and interventions for child vigilantes? As fellow citizens, may we respond to current events, such as this story, with action! Without interventions, violent children morph into violent adults.

Jane Farrell



Finally a large majority of Americans accept the reality of climate change and that humans extracting and burning fossil fuel is the cause. In Oregon, we have certainly seen the beginning of the ramifications with fires and drought.

People of all ages are working on so many different aspects of this big problem. One way to jumpstart the transition is to place a rising fee on carbon pollution.

The policy has support with key members of the Biden administration, including Climate Envoy John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Noah Kaufman, the newly appointed senior economist in the White House Council of Economic Advisers, says, “Putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions is a no-brainer.” 

I am happy to report that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR 2307, was reintroduced on 4/1 with 29 cosponsors. This bill will help get us to net-zero emissions by 2050 and protect ordinary Americans so that everyone can afford the clean-energy transition. Please contact Sen. Merkley, Sen. Wyden, and Rep. Defazio and urge their support. For more information visit CitizensClimateLobby.org.

Carol Yarbrough



A letter April 8 (“Let’s Consume Less Energy of Any Kind”) mentioned the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which has now been reintroduced into the U.S. Congress as HR 2307. This act could reduce carbon emissions by as much as 30 percent in the first five years alone, and is the single most powerful tool we have to hit net zero by 2050.

A carbon price will save 4.5 million American lives by 2050 by restoring clean air across the country. It will have a particular impact in communities of color, which have suffered the worst health impacts of burning fossil fuels. Exposure to air pollution has also made people in communities of color more vulnerable to the worst impacts of COVID-19.

A carbon tax becomes affordable for ordinary Americans because the money from the tax on fossil companies is returned to every American as a monthly payment “dividend.” Studies show these monthly dividends are enough to cover increased costs produced by the carbon tax for 95 percent of the least wealthy and 60 percent of Americans (overall).

Please call or email Rep. Peter Defazio to ask for his support of this bill. More information at CitizensClimateLobby.org.

Carrie McGranahan