WILL THE VOTERS GET TO DECIDE?
I’d like to thank Michelle Holman and Kai Huschke for their insightful and powerful Viewpoint on Nov. 30, “Making Democracy Illegal: The increasing attacks on citizen initiative power.”
It provokes some questions. What will happen with the Protect Lane County Watersheds initiative, currently being circulated for signature gathering? Will it be successful in getting to the ballot? Will it get the votes needed to make it into law? Will that law be contested in court? Our water and community would be well served by the proposed protections in this initiative. Let’s give it our best, Lane County! See ProtectLaneCountyWatersheds.org.
NO PUBLIC BAILOUT FOR MLB MILLIONAIRES
Let me get this straight: Our local minor league baseball team would like hefty contributions from local, county, state and even federal taxpayers to build a $100 million stadium right next to an established residential neighborhood.
The story we’re told is that Major League Baseball (MLB) will not pay for the stadium; if we want a team here we need to foot the bill.
Well, here’s what MLB recently announced they will pay for: a $700 million, 10-year contract for a player named Shohei Ohtani. This means that, averaged over the 10 years, this person gets $70 million a year, $5.8 million a month, $1.3 million a week, $192,000 a day. And that’s just one player! Yet they ask us to pay for a stadium. I find that insulting.
I look forward to voting no on any ballot measure asking for stadium funds.
YET ANOTHER LAWLESS TIMBER GRAB
The Warner Creek road blockade — declared the “Cascadia Free State” — in 1995-96 was a coalescing of a deep ecological resistance movement brought about by then-President Bill Clinton’s enactment of the lawless Logging Rider in 1995 to log and clearcut million acres of our national forests. Road blockades and tree sits against Clinton’s lawless timber grab proceeded for 10 more years.
Twenty-eight years forward, President Joe Biden and the U.S. Forest Service have enacted a new “Lawless Logging Timber Grab” upon 45 million acres of national forests across the country using the Orwellian guise of “wildfire risk reduction” and “restoration” to again log and clearcut our last ancient forests. The provisions were snuck into the Infrastructure Act of 2021. If allowed to proceed, this new timber grab upon our national forests will release an estimated 4 gigatons of carbon equivalent by 2030, which would completely wipe out any gains the Biden administration has enacted against climate upheaval.
Will the people of Cascadia and beyond defend their homeland and biosphere by beating back Biden’s lawless timber grab like citizens did from 1995 to 2000? Defending and preserving our last ancient forests will create real gains in curtailing the looming ecological and climate collapse.
THE U.S. STANDS ALONE IN OPPOSING A CEASE-FIRE
What keeps me up at night is all the children buried alive under the rubble in Gaza. They live right now, trapped in utter terror and desperation, waiting for rescue. Right now they cry, hoping someone will hear them. This is the fate of dozens, maybe hundreds, of Palestinians.
Our country stands alone in its vote to continue the violence. The hypocrisy of our veto against a global consensus for cease fire is plain for all to see. Whatever tenuous lie we feed ourselves in the isolation of the American perspective will bear only poison fruit. Until one day we may find our own children screaming in the darkness under the rubble, and wonder how the world can sleep at night knowing of such injustice.
I can no longer sleep soundly as an American. Not because of some privileged self interest for my own kin and country, but because nothing could ever persuade me to set aside empathy for any child suffering alone in darkness. All the world, save our narrow Anglo-Israeli alliance, acknowledges that same human empathy. This is the line in the sand which all of conscience should rush to find themselves on the right side of. It’s the right side of history, which opposes selfish and short-sighted political interests that any free people should turn their backs on. I turn my back on this America, and I pray we can look our own children in the eye if we allow the totality of this genocide to unfold.
Online Extra Letters
THANKS FOR GIVING US AN OPINION FORUM
As the year comes to a close, I want to thank Eugene Weekly for the incredible opinion forum they provide for our letters. Current opinions include the conflict in Gaza, the mayoral campaign, health care, the need for the astrology column.
Many of us learn from the points of view of others, on national issues like renewing the expanded Child Tax Credit, local issues like elections, global issues like the End TB Now Act and conflicts like Gaza. And this is just one aspect of a very informative and entertaining local paper. Let’s continue to share our ideas and speak up in response to others, this supports the paper and our democracy!
FOCUS ON KINDNESS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
With so much fear, chaos, wars and hateful voices, my sense of sadness turned to hope as I once again watched It’s a Wonderful Life, seeing George Bailey, in his darkest hour, rescued by his neighbors and singing “We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne.”
I can choose kindness instead of complaining or shutting others out of my life. I have my wonderful neighborhood, where we come from different countries and backgrounds but care for each other through thick and thin. My UMC faith community has “Open Hearts, Open Doors.” Health Care for All Oregon is leading the way to a simplified health care system with everybody in and nobody out. I can work with these folks and groups that are seeking peace, justice, hope and health for all, thus not contributing to the anger, hate and sadness in our country and world.
As a 94-year-old retired nurse, I am hopeful that we’ll all share cups of kindness as our gift to family, friends and even with those we may not agree with this holiday season.
SAVE OREGON’S INITIATIVE PROCESS
Kudos to Michelle Holman and Kai Huschke for sounding the alarm on the erosion of Oregon’s direct democracy (“Making Democracy Illegal,” Nov. 30). The undermining of our rights to craft and enact local legislation is an affront to every Oregonian’s ability to safeguard our well-being.
Despite our hopes for the government to fulfill its duties, history has shown us that it frequently falls short. That’s where citizen lawmaking comes in, offering a vital recourse to protect our families and communities when governmental processes fail us.
Take, for instance, the longstanding issue of aerial pesticide spraying in clearcut logging areas. This practice has resulted in illness and even death among rural populations, yet for over four decades, it has been sanctioned by our legislature. It’s clear that relying on political will to resolve such matters is futile. It is incumbent upon us, the citizens, to take decisive action. We must preserve our initiative process to ensure our voices are not only heard but heeded.
CLIMATE CATASTROPHE AND WAR ARE LINKED. TAKE THE BUS.
Traffic is getting worse while the clock is ticking toward planetary meltdown. To that end, I’m pleased that another mayoral candidate has joined the race in a primary in May: Shanaè Joyce-Stringer vs. Vinis-endorsed candidate Kaarin Knudson. If free public transportation is not on the agenda, what is? More war on the unhoused, aka “safety,” aka “be afraid?”
Truth is, climate catastrophe will happen as long as there is war. War is an economy: burns fuel, uses technology, gets some people rich. Read Matthieu Auzanneau’s Oil, Power, and War for a full geopolitical understanding of the mechanism.
So, unless we stop war, we’re screwed. But Eugene can at least do something. Every city could do something. If every city had free transportation, at least the public sector would compete with the mercenary economy of oil and cars.
The neoliberal establishment in Eugene and every city will say that free public transportation can’t be done, won’t “pencil out.” In balance, they will say that war must be, because, again, it pencils. More dog whistle fear: of math, economic collapse, being forced to the street.
I ride a bike. Bike infrastructure is not the answer. The city of Eugene isn’t doing it fast enough. And most people are not going to ride anyway. This is not Denmark. We aren’t Danish. The public sector has to compete with auto traffic, which is more convenient and cheaper than taking a bus. It can’t stay that way.
A STATE OF EMERGENCY SHOULD HAVE AN EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Since taking office, Gov. Tina Kotek has declared a state of emergency on homelessness — yet a state of emergency, one should think, demands an emergency response which is clearly not noticeable among the many communities hit by homelessness.
Sure, more affordable housing needs to be built, but that is a long-term solution to a problem that, based on its severity, requires an immediate response.
In the Midwest there were many day labor places where people could at least earn enough for a motel room accommodation. These days, labor places do not exist in many communities in Oregon. In addition, why do I need to tell an employer my educational history, if I merely want to clean his motel room?
Other solutions would be shelters. But for example the city of Florence has opposed that one, in contrast to the city of Newport, clearly preferring to keep us all unsafe. With this state of public denial, homelessness will get worse until it blows up into all our faces.
STOP SUPPORTING ZIONIST EXTREMISTS
Hamas commits a massacre of 1,200 Jewish Israelis, and Israel retaliates with massive ongoing bombing and shelling of all Gaza: 18,000 Palestinian dead, including 7,000 children, no health services, no food.
Justice, revenge, genocide? There seems to be an intellectual and emotional void in this country regarding the realities of life for Palestinians since the expulsion of three quarters of a million of them from their homes and lands 75 years ago by the newly formed state of Israel — dominated by Zionists, then and now.
With a mind toward having a “pure” Jewish state, Israel has continuously pursued the removal of Palestinian-Arab peoples from this land: large and small actions are continuous/ pregnant Palestinian women dying at checkpoints because of inability to proceed to hospital, crushed by bulldozers while protesting destruction of homes, the penalty for throwing rocks at lDF personnel, non-violent protesters shot with special bullets, fired by IDF sharpshooters, designed to shatter bone and mandating amputation, generational family olive groves destroyed to make way for settler land takeover, the “mowing the lawn” of Gaza (see plumes of white phosphorus smoke). Read Drinking the Sea at Gaza, a euphemism for suicide.
Not all Israelis desire this cultural demolition. If there can be hope for peace, it cannot be attained with the ongoing support that the U.S. government has continuously provided to Zionist extremism.