More Butts and Jake Brake Complaints in Letters! 

THANKS, BUTTS…

Thanks for running our “Butts and EW” letter (6/27). You missed the mark in Slant, however.

Tobacco kills people! That’s different from “ads for political candidates we didn’t endorse.” Remember, ads showing dying smokers? We and the surgeon general have been battling tobacco since the 1960s! The current surgeon general just announced placing firearms under the same label (public health crisis) as tobacco. It’s just like second-hand smoke killing innocent people. More than “feelings about,” it’s life or death. Where lies EW’s moral compass? Can we expect ads from the NRA because it “pays the bills?”

Jan Walker, Bill Winkley, Elaine Holcomb and Linda Gordon

Eugene

CROSS TALK IS GOOD

Do city departments talk to each other? Apparently not. Consider two current actions! The restoration of the original quality of the Amazon Creek vs. approval of 24 home sites in the headwaters of the same!

J.W. Cox

Eugene

A LOSS OF THE CHRISTIAN MISSION

On Wednesday, I spent 10 hours at Riverbend ER with my husband. He has cancer, was hurting, weak from vomiting and he needed a bed. For nine hours, there were no beds because ambulances arrived throughout the day. He lay on a double seat with his knees tucked up and his head on the metal armrest. No sick person deserves that, and neither does the deeply dedicated ER staff who did everything in their power to provide appropriate care. The system has lost its way. PeaceHealth, and local and state officials who allowed University District ER to close, made decisions that have a human cost.

Before UD closed, Riverbend ER treated about 150 patients a day. The count since has been up to 269. McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center helps, but its ER can’t take as many ambulances, so immuno-compromised folks like my husband wait hours in the Riverbend ER lobby alongside contagious people. Also, University District had 12 locked rooms for patients in mental health crises; Riverbend has just two.

Sadly, it seems PeaceHealth has lost sight of its stated Christian mission. ER staff, their patients, and the community are hurting because of that. We need to find a way to do better and to support our ER staff until remedies are found.

Debra Levinson

Eugene

COMPLAINTS NOW BEING HEARD

To Penelope Pascal (EW letters, 6/27): We’re having the same disturbance of the peace on the Beltline from Royal Avenue to Roosevelt Boulevard. Every night from 9 pm to 2 am, some jerk trucker has to slow his truck for the Roosevelt light by blasting out his jake brakes! It reverberates for a half-mile radius!

The Department of Transportation red tape to get a prohibition sign put up is laughable. I hope someone in traffic control reads our complaints and at least pulls these guys over and gives them a warning. 

If I could see at those hours of the night, I’d get the company names of the trucks and call their bosses!

Annie Kayner

Eugene

AN INHUMANE DECISION

On June 28, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of Martin v. Grants Pass, which ruled that if a person has nowhere to sleep, then they should be allowed to sleep on public property without penalty. In doing this, the court determined that the constitutional edict against “cruel and unusual punishment” is limited to how governments treat criminals under their supervision.

Forced sleep deprivation is declared to be an inhumane torture by the U.N. and many human rights organization. This decision has made this form of torture unacceptable for criminals, but completely enforceable by police and others to non-convicted citizens of our country and state. People most desperate to survive are punished for not being lucky enough to retain housing or to win the lottery of public housing. Why should we continue to give money to police departments to criminalize the poor instead of spending that money providing public trash receptacles, bathrooms, camp sites and housing?  

When we fail to grant our citizens a place to sleep without punishment, we create an even worse mental health crisis that makes the whole city feel unsafe. When we lock public bathrooms, we see more feces in public. When we do not provide adequate public disposal, then our whole city looks like a dump. Forcing camps to move from public land by ticketing or arresting doesn’t make poverty disappear, it makes it move to business and residential areas. Poverty must be solved, not criminalized or else we all reap the consequences.

Steve Kimes, pastor, Eugene Mennonite Church

Eugene

BIDEN MUST GO

Soberly and with sadness, I must suggest that President Joe Biden step down and relinquish the presidency to Kamala Harris as soon as possible in order to allow her to be seen as president as long as possible before the election. Then the search for the vice president should be the forum for assessing the greatest support for the ticket from Democrats and the general public. This will leave a destabilized Trump election process, for he has the same age problem and has not yet formed an approach to dealing with the new Democrat ticket. The hardest thing to do is to start over, but that is a measure of what you are. 

Leo Rivers

Cottage Grove

BIDEN WAS “GISHED”

I was really disheartened after the June 27 presidential debate. This morning I discovered what happened that made President Joe Biden’s performance so uneven. He was taken in by the Gish Gallop rhetorical technique. This technique involves overwhelming your debate opponent with multiple often unrelated arguments one after another, so the opponent has to try and respond to each unrelated argument in their timed response. This can make them seem disjointed as they try to jump from one argument/topic to another quickly.

What was in evidence last night was a new “spin” on the “Gish.” Instead of presenting accurate and truthful points, one of the debaters presents multiple unrelated lies about themselves and their accomplishments in quick succession. Their opponent is then forced to try to show that each lie is in fact a lie, jumping from one lie to the next in a rushed and often disjointed sounding response.

The “Gish Gallop” is often used to disguise one debater’s lack of actual policy details or plans on how to solve current or future problems since they focus on false details of their past accomplishments. This new “Gish Technique” requires a seasoned con man to really pull it off.

Hal Heustis

Eugene

NOW WHAT FOR HOMELESS?

What do we do, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed cities to harass the homeless to their little heart’s content?

We need to get political. The last time the homeless camping issue came up on the Eugene City Council, it voted 5-3 for an ordinance to make it easier to impound homeless RVs.

The five were Randy Groves, Mike Clark, Greg Evans, Emily Semple and Matt Keating. These are our enemies. The three who voted no were Alan Zelinka, Lyndsie Leech and Jenifer Yeh. These are our friends.

Groves is the leader of the council’s conservative faction. The ordinance was his idea. He should never have been re-elected, but being a councilor is a heavy job that doesn’t pay enough to live on, so no working-class people were willing to run against him.

Leech has been a leader on homeless issues. She tried to stop this ordinance but didn’t have quite enough votes. Next January, Semple will be replaced by Eliza Kashinsky, and Lucy Vinis, a weak mayor, by Kaarin Knudson. Maybe then the vote will go another way.

Politics is about rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies. All social movements have depended on disruption: unions striking, civil rights activists marching and doing sit-ins, students occupying campus buildings. While we wait for the council to discover some kind of moral compass, we need to throw sand in the gears.

Lynn Porter

Eugene

DYSTOPIAN SHREDFEST

The Shredfest drift car racing event at the Lane Events Center (aka. the Fairgrounds) this past weekend is proof positive that it’s time for the Fairgrounds to move out of downtown Eugene. Over the weekend, neighbors ears as far as 2+ miles away from the event were assaulted by revving engines and squealing tires for over three hours on Friday and 10 hours on Saturday. If you were within 200 yards outdoors or 100 yards inside your home, you could smell burning tires. Does this seem like a compatible land use in a downtown neighborhood? I say “No.”

For years, we’ve heard that the county is struggling to make ends meet. Why not sell this land to Homes for Good and move the Lane Events Center to the area where the old race track was near the Eugene Walmart? Or another location that isn’t adjacent to a dense neighborhood that suffers from housing insecurity, that could use another grocery store, a community center, a real dog park and more shade? 

This weekend felt like a dystopian future novel, where late stage capitalism and facism moved into a sweet small city. We need to choose how this novel ends. Do we let out-of-touch administrators from a land-owner that seems to not care about how they show up in our neighborhood make it unlivable or do push out this bad actor? Let’s choose our adventure. 

Anya Dobrowolski 

Jefferson Westside Neighborhood

Eugene

AND AN IMMORAL DECISION

With the recent 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing cities to arrest and fine unhoused people for sleeping in public spaces, the mayor of Grants Pass tells the Oregonian (Register-Guard, 6/30): “I’m relieved that Grants Pass will be able to reclaim our city parks for recreation.”

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs makes clear the irresponsibility of such a comment.

Some years back, following the death of Carrie Miller through exposure on a bitter cold night on the porch of White Bird Clinic, someone who knew “Mama Carrie” and the complex burden of sorrow that she bore told the reporter: “She needed shelter. She needed basic shelter, and we failed her.”

We who enjoy the benefits of shelter continue to fail humanity in its most fragile and exposed forms, oblivious to “the complex burden of sorrow” and the crushing weight of a world that works mighty well for some, and tragically for others.

Maybe we can be ready, at least sometimes, to share a sandwich, a listening ear, a little “real presence” of kinship and compassion with people who do not look like us or live like us.

Maybe we can be ready, at least some times, to show up, speak up and join with others to press with all our might for social good for all, amidst a sea of indifference to intense and relentless human suffering.

The Supreme Court’s ruling isn’t just disappointing. It’s immoral, and runs completely counter to the innate human intuition to preserve life, no matter whose, no matter the cost or inconvenience.

Mary Sharon Moore

Springfield

ALLOW THE VOTE

What is democracy if not for the community? The values of democracy are founded upon the freedom of choice and equality. Our oneness and our unity depends on our American birthright to the freedom of speech. Find common ground with your neighbors, for we all have hearts, families and suffering. You are a strong minded and good willed person if you can find empathy for those different from you; a difficult human lesson. We the people of this United States are facing the challenges of division and it is up to each individual citizen to place yours and your neighbors freedom as a top priority. 

Let the free people of this nation hear the voice of every political candidate, let them have the personal power to choose a candidate that they feel their values align with. 

Your allowing of this freedom is not a stance or point of view, but a stand against the 1 percent who wish to control our ballots and a mutual respect for your neighbors, the very fabric of Eugene. RFK Jr supporters simply want the opportunity to freely vote and participate in this election the way they feel in their hearts.

Mercedes Cervantes

Eugene

THAT DAMN SHRED FEST CAR RACE

A Saturday afternoon birthday party of friends and family in the Jefferson Westside District a block from the fairgrounds was run over by the day-long screeching of tires and screaming of race car engines from the Shred Fest Car Race. The noise decibel level exceeded permissible neighborhood standards accentuated by testosterone induced race enthusiasts exiting the event through neighborhood streets. This persisted all day long.

Lane County and the city of Eugene both have Climate Action Plans that call for carbon emission reductions from the transportation sector. Issuing permits for day long car races will not achieve these carbon reduction goals. Not only was the noise of the vehicles offensive but the waft of unburned fuel exhaust was pervasive in the neighborhood.

I urge our elected officials to revisit allowing permits to groups that negatively affect the health and safety of whole neighborhoods with air and noise pollution while not following the goals set by the city and county in reducing our carbon footprint.

Jim New

Eugene

ONLINE LETTERS

MORE SUPPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Jayna Yoo is so right about the critical importance of our International Affairs Budget for global well being and peace.  (EW online letters, 6/27). Her letter calls for Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to support this effort. Kudos to both of them for their work in this area. Currently they could co-sponsor Senate Resolution 684 supporting Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  Since 2000, Gavi has vaccinated 1 billion children and saved 17.3 million lives. Gavi now wants to reach another 500 million children with life-saving vaccines over the next five years, saving another 8 million. Yes, those are amazing numbers that create hope and help end the unnecessary deaths of millions of children. And this is just a small part of the international aid budget that is less than 2 percent of America’s total budget. So take a moment to contact Wyden and Merkley, 202-224-3121, and ask them to take actions to make Gavi’s life-saving work continue.

Willie Dickerson

Snohomish, Washington

BACK AND FORTH ON PALESTINE

In my previous letter (EW 6/6), I mentioned terrorist groups that have come out in support of pro-Palestinian protesters.  In response, Charles Dunaway (EW 6/13) claimed that I “associate protesting students with the Hamas movement…without providing context.”

 Well, Dunaway, the tents for protest encampments on university campuses would themselves cost a fortune. Few college students could afford them. And how did so many protests occur so close together? 

And the ones to benefit the most was the Hamas movement in their losing battle against Israel. The protests serve to put pressure on the Biden administration, which is vulnerable in this election year, to stop supporting Israel. There have been warnings to Israel and a single embargo on arms shipments. Yet the Biden administration continues to support Israel. Moreover, despite warnings by protesters and others, the Rafah invasion is nearing completion.      

The most that university protestors “accomplished” is vandalism and disruption of university life. Their latest is interruption of the investiture of the university president and painting of the Duck statue and the door of Matthew Knight Arena red. 

Was all this for the purpose of trying to prevent the destruction of Hamas terrorists dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the murder of the Jewish people, like Iran and Al-Qaeda? And who might be coordinating and financing them?  Recently, Al-Qaeda stated: “[W]e support the assassination of the infidel Zionists and the beheading of them… [and]value the movement… from Western universities…”

Michael Sturman

Eugene

KEEPING THE ANALOG METERS

 I opted out of  electric and water smart meters on both units of my duplex years ago after Families For Safe Technology fought long and hard to make that option possible.

In February, I received a threatening letter from EWEB. It accused me of “taking actions to hinder or obstruct utility personnel’s ability to manage and maintain utility equipment, or indicated an intent to do so.” Not true!

I have never blocked anyone at any time. I ask questions — which should be my right as a customer, yes? What happened to our friendly consumer owned local utility?

EWEB gave me three options, two of which included changing all meters to smart. I “chose” to go with the manual reading option, but with the implicit threat of a future fee determined later. The third option was to remove my electric service completely, with a charge of $225 to reinstate service. Not much of a choice, just ultimatums!

I’m checking both meters regularly to make sure the smart function is off.

I am EMF sensitive to 5G cell phones and anything “smart” (think radiation) and don’t want any of it in or near my home. I get bad headaches from these things! My tenants have a Wi-Fi router and I’ve blocked the radiation by wallpapering between them and my bedroom with metal screening. It works, but what a pain! Luckily, both smart meters are on the outside wall of the garage so I just stay the hell away from there.

My water meter is old, and I aim to keep it!

Robin Bloomgarden

Eugene

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