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Public needs accurate information.
Is land use controversial? Absolutely. People care about land use issues. At stake are people's finances, homes and environment. However, Norm Maxwell's Viewpoint in EW Nov. 7 contained inaccuracies. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But, facts differ from opinions — facts can be proven.
The public requires accurate information about Lane County's Land Management Division (LMD). There are important changes in the works for the division. In September a new task force was convened to scrutinize LMD's programs and recommend changes to the Board of Commissioners. This is represented by a wide range of stakeholders including LandWatch, Board of Realtors, Lane County Planning Commission, 1000 Friends of Oregon, citizens, Eugene Home Builders Association, Public Works, commissioners and county administrator, and Lane County Human Resources. It is important that we collaborate to make land use process work for everyone.
To set the record straight:
Item #1: The performance audit findings are part of the reasons Lane County is clamoring for more bonds and levies to be funded by increased property taxes. Fact: There are no property taxes funding LMD activities. The division was reorganized as a fee-based division a decade ago. LMD permit processing is supported by application fees and Title III federal reimbursement. Performance audit findings have nothing to do with the ballot measures. The six ballot measures were for capital projects to support public safety emergency communications, jail improvements, courthouse plaza improvements, parks improvements, public health building, and planetarium. None of these items contained funding for Land Management.
Item #2: Viewpoint implied that LMD does not put out sound legal land use decisions conforming with Oregon land use laws. Fact: By definition, land use decisions are decisions where discretion is exercised. Findings of fact and conclusions of law are provided in support of each land use decision and notice is given to surrounding property owners.
Item #3. LMD land use decisions cost taxpayer dollars defending developers' highly questionable development plans. Facts: LMD has been a fee-based division for approximately 10 years. Permit processing is supported by application fees and Title III federal reimbursement. There are no property taxes funding LMD activities. Development plans are proposed to the LMD. However, many plans are rejected by LMD and those that are approved are usually changed extensively from the original proposal to address code requirements and other legal issues.
Item #4: LMD does not provide notice to affected citizens. The facts: A land use decision is not final until it has been noticed to affected parties. Who is affected is determined by the process within which the decision is made. If the process is quasi-judicial, the notice is required to be mailed to all surrounding property owners within 750 feet of a resource land designation (agricultural or forest land) or 500 feet of a developed or committed land use designation (residential, commercial, industrial). If the process involves a public hearing, there is a requirement that notice be mailed to all parties of record. A 12-day appeal period begins upon the notice being mailed. If there are no timely appeals filed, the decision becomes final.
Item #5: It costs up front $3,000 (just to start) for a dissatisfied citizen to try to challenge a questionable action. Fact: For the first evidentiary hearing of an appeal it costs $310. Appeals on the record are $1,810.
Item #6: The hearings official is a county employee. Fact: The hearings official is provided through a contract for services with the Lane Council of Governments. Application fees pay for this. The hearings official is not a county employee.
Item #7: The county staff lawyer is funded by the taxpayers.Fact: County counsel for LMD is paid by fee revenue that is collected from application fees, not taxes.
Items #8-9: The 2001 audit was a performance audit and that it cost $90,000. Facts: In 2001, an external audit was done on the surveyors program and an internal audit was done on reporting on cash handling procedures. The internal audit carried forward progress on the 1993 internal audit, which was a permit processing performance audit. The surveyors program audit cost $77,230, a portion of which was charged to that program. No costs were incurred by the planning or building programs.
Item #10: The 2001 audit recommended LMD needed to establish a coherent land use policy. Fact: It was a 1993 permit processing audit recommendation that the county commissioners should establish a comprehensive land use and development policy framework for Lane County.
Land use decisions by nature are high-charged issues. People's livelihoods, finances and homes are on the line. Let's commit to an accurate public discussion.
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We might have to buy something from time to time.
I'm a bundle of contradictions, and right now my most vexing dilemma is how to celebrate the warm season of Solstice, the birth of that bearded guy and the generosity of that other one, and the nine-day fest of the friends with the great potato pancakes. It is a huge strain to maintain a radical perspective in the face of participating in the retail blowout that will keep me fed while the light does its returning.
I wear my pirated Buy Nothing Day T-shirt on the biggest retail day of the year and it doesn't hurt my sales, which are good. We get shoppers at Holiday Market on the day after the National Day of Gluttony, but they don't fight over bins of sale items and they don't rack up credit card debt for more electronics for their tuned-out kids. Our tuned-out kids are at the malls themselves, or at home with their games, and we are trying to not look desperate and wondering how much we care about our pure ideals.
Obviously one of our country's biggest problems is our overuse of the world's resources and our arrogant attitude about our right to do it. If they hate us it is not because we are beautiful. As people who care about how we live, we find it impossible to extract ourselves from the experience of living in the nation that promotes the most violence, the greatest soulless consumption, and some of the scariest flawed reasoning of any people on Earth. We can look at our soft underbelly, but it is stretched tight and we don't want to deny ourselves that extra piece of pumpkin pie. It won't help to suffer.
I can bring my sandwich from home but if I don't buy coffee from David and cheesecake from Colleen they won't be buying candles from Phil and bowls from Susan or Frank. What goes around won't come around to me, and I'll have to stop painting the silk scarves from China and printing the shirts sewn in Honduras. Some of my retail income needs to buy the goods of my fellow iconoclast artists, or they'll have to get real jobs and stop pushing the limits of their imaginations for my benefit. If I don't make the No War T-shirts that I sit nervously trying to sell, the Market kids won't have a way to march through the fashion show and express their deep concern about the shape of their futures.
We're all horrified by the war machine and the uncertainty of our lives on the material comfort level and the deeper levels, too. Last winter several of my fellow artists died, quickly and with no safety nets. Someone will always be next. Reality is harsh. Christmas warms us and joins us and helps us treasure what is so primal and life-affirming. We don't want to destroy the safe place we've carved out to huddle together, against the freight-train winds that drive in from the ocean, or the waves of fear and pain that wash in from the far reaches of the globe. We need each other to be producers and musicians and farmers and workers and yes, consumers, so that we can all look around at the faces of our circles and be grateful. We need to feel alive amid the slimy leaves and forgotten tomatoes of the gardens we nurtured.
Eugene needs the Holiday Market, and some of us need the batteries, perfumes and the silk suits from the other malls. We all need to learn tolerance and to walk in beauty and to be in alignment with our deep beliefs. We have to reach out to those who are different and we have to feel good about what makes us unique.
We might have to buy something from time to time. It could be from our neighbor, or someone far around the world who needs to eat as well. It feels good to push up against right action as close as we can, but we need to learn forgiveness, too.
My teacher friend says she likes to imagine George the Unelected on the blue rug where the preschoolers go to sort out their moral dilemmas. Use your words, George. Stop and think. It's good to cry, and then you go comfort the ones you hurt. Share.
I'll get the coffee and the cheesecake. I'm not giving up culture jamming, and I'm not going to stop asking myself hard questions. But you might see me singing the lovely carols about the baby Jesus. It's the harmonies that compel me.
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I just received a postcard from PeaceHealth stating, "It's time for public comment on the proposed PeaceHealth RiverBend campus," yet none of the options to check and return allow dissent. How typical that they tell the public what they think is best for us, rather than holding themselves accountable to their mission statement pledging cooperative collaboration to promote the health of the community. How sad that they did not ask for public comment before they decided to abandon the downtown Willamette Clinic site and become the largest incentive to sprawl in the history of Eugene-Springfield.
I'm so tired of the lies claiming that the Eugene City Council chased them out of town. It was PeaceHealth who abruptly canceled plans to stay on the Hilyard campus, loaned Arlie the money to buy the RiverBend property, and refused to work with the Council to look at alternative centralized sites to the politically unfeasible demolition of six to eight residential blocks. The Council's continued efforts to find a new hospital site compatible with Eugene's citizen-approved planning goals show where the good faith was in those negotiations.
So, as the postcard urges, please provide public comment, but consider urging Springfield to keep their hospital, and send ours back, for the health of both communities:
Richard B. Coolman, MD
So the listeners of the "Michael Medved Show" and the "Savage Nation" (Michael Savage) are worried their voices might no longer be heard? Too bad. Now you know a little of what it is like to be a minority in this country, or a woman, or gay.
I am an employee of KUGN. I am also a student at the UO. I strongly disagree with the current programming on the station and support the ASUO coalition on diversity in their opposition to KUGN as "the Voice of the Ducks."
I simply wanted to clear up a statement attributed to President Dave Frohnmayer in the Nov. 16th edition of The Register-Guard. The article reads, "But he noted that the station airs disclaimers...." I've worked here four years. We have never aired a disclaimer. Not once. This may seem minor, but the whole issue actually turns on this. If Frohnmayer believes the station already airs disclaimers, he may not see any need to support the ASUO's stand.
That these shows are offensive is not in question. Similar statements to those quoted by opponents are made every hour, every day that these shows air. They are not only racist. They are misogynistic and homophobic, and if you are not gay, a minority, or a woman, don't worry, you haven't been left out. Simply attending the University of Oregon makes you subject to their diatribes. I've heard both hosts equate a university degree with brainwashing, and Savage repeatedly calls students and faculty perverts and sexual deviants.
I am a Duck, but that is not my voice. That is not my home.
Thank you for running Marshall Kirkpatrick's column (11/21) on water privatization. This is extremely important information, and the sooner we act to prevent the privatization of our water the better chance we will have of success.
While I am grateful for Kirkpatrick's research and for his foresight in publishing it, I disagree with his strategy for action. He states that it is useless to write to our senators, and implies that we will need violence to attain our goal. This is a view held by many of the anarchists who write letters to EW. The writers of these letters generally believe that it is useless to vote. They could learn something about strategy from my self-defense class. In that class we learn how to fight, but we also learn that it is better to avoid a fight. It is best to stay out of dangerous situations. If we can't do that, it is best to embarrass or scare off the attacker. If we can't deter the attacker, it is best to run or get help. If all other strategies fail, we disable the attacker quickly and get away.
We might have avoided this situation. If every disaffected leftist, anarchists included, had voted in the last election, we might now have a Senate that wouldn't even consider privatizing our water. Since that didn't happen, the next step would be to convince, cajole or embarrass the Senate into doing the right thing. If that fails, let's discuss direct action tactics.
Pete Sorensen (EW 11/21) stated that paying petitioners by the signature was a "loophole" in the initiative process that provided a "perverse incentive."
Payment by the amount of work accomplished is no loophole. In fact, it provides people with a very healthy, positive incentive to work as hard as they can to maximize their success.
I know. In the 1980s, I helped earn my way through college as a paid petitioner. I quickly learned what worked and what didn't. I always had several clipboards circulating in public places with high foot traffic. That increased my signature rate. I tried to be friendly and courteous at all times. That improved my signature rate, too.
I appreciated the opportunity to contribute to several progressive campaigns in California, including measures to pass a bottle bill, conserve water, limit the use of cancer-causing pesticides, save the Headwaters forest, protect mountain lions and promote public rail transit.
I also appreciated the opportunity to get paid by how hard I worked, not merely by the number of hours I put in.
If we really wish to reform the initiative process in Oregon, then we need to take a close look at what happens after a measure qualifies for the ballot, not what happens during the largely mundane process of gathering signatures. Today's elections are too often dominated by big money and the outcomes determined by aggressive campaigns of misinformation. That's the place to focus attention if we wish to create genuine reform.
When Sally Sheklow wrote (11/21), "I am thankful for so much today. Like both my nostrils breathing after the nasty cold that hit everyone around here but nobody is saying could be the work of biological warfare."
What? Maybe because it never occurred to anyone else that it was biological warfare. Since when is a routine outbreak of flu biological warfare? If everyone in the city, county, state, nation or even continent got the same symptoms within say, four days or so, and it was the middle of August, I might be more inclined to believe claims of biological warfare. I am admittedly no expert on such things, but the cold I had this week seems no more peculiar to me than any other in the past.
It just got a lot easier for our government to spy on the average citizen, but not a lot easier to track suspected terrorists. Why? Because Attorney General John Ashcroft refuses to allow the FBI to use the National Instant Check System (NICS) to determine if terrorists are purchasing guns in the U.S. Ashcroft is obviously willing to trammel the rights of everybody but gun purchasers. Why?
It is difficult to buy more than one handgun at a time. But how many of us know it is not difficult, nor illegal, for anybody to walk into a gun shop and purchase not one but 900 AK 47 "knock-offs"? It happens all the time. And why do we not know about such purchases? Because the dealer who sells those 900 AK 47 "knock-offs" is not required by anybody — most of all by our own government — to report that sale. All the dealer must do is run the name through NICS. If the name passes (the system is not difficult to circumvent), then the gun dealer has done his job, and nobody ever knows that 900 long guns are now on their way to Columbia, Chechnya, Afghanistan or wherever. What kind of shell game are we playing here?
The NRA is not interested in protecting the Second Amendment. The NRA is the lobby for the U.S. arms industry, and their profits in guns and bombs make what pharmaceutical companies take home look like chump change. Not allowing the use of NICS is a guise to keep the truth about the multi-trillion dollar American arms industry from becoming common knowledge. It is the U.S government in collusion with our arms industry that is the true "axis of evil" in this world.
Progressive candidates can and do win. In the recent congressional elections, only eight incumbents lost their jobs. Half of those were losses (due to redistricting) to other incumbents. Only one Democrat who voted against the Iraq war was voted out, He lost to a Republican incumbent who spent over $3 million, almost twice as much as the Democrat. No other progressive representatives were voted out.
The world is in peril from the aggressive programs of Cheney Co, and the democrats want to talk about whether to give Bush absolute power or just near absolute power. And that's just the point. One party represents "let's give absolute power to the wealthy elites," and the other party represents "let's give near absolute power to the wealthy elites."
Furthermore, it's accepted as fact that third party candidates can't win. Does it really surprise anyone that a large majority of people don't vote?
The only thing that can effectively change what our government does is to effectively change our government. The way to do that is to provide real choices that will make people want to get out and vote. Now is the time to start laying the groundwork for that to happen. I invite groups and individuals to contact me at email@example.com to discuss what actions might be taken now.
So I finally made it out on Thursday night to listen to jazz at one of the local hot spots. I was determined to go out and listen, even though the show started after 9 pm and I had to work the next morning. I love jazz and I had a great time, despite having a less than stellar Friday morning due to lack of sleep (and a slight hangover). I'm hoping I'll get to do it again sometime soon, but I have to admit that I'm disappointed so many of the clubs in the area choose to have live music later in the evenings. At age 30, I'm not exactly getting old, but it's hard to stay out late and live on a few hours of sleep like I did back in college.
If any of the restaurateurs and barkeeps out there are reading, please consider having your music start a little earlier — at least on weeknights. I'm sure there are plenty of music lovers out there who would appreciate and patronize.
I would like to thank the Eugene City Council for passing a resolution opposing the unconstitutional provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. The Registar-Guard news article said the councilors acted under duress because the crowd was threatening them. Ridiculous! A third of the crowd left early, at the end of the public hearing, an hour before the council even took up the issue.
What moved the Council was the very eloquent testimony of a number of first and second generation immigrants stating that they have been afraid since the USA PATRIOT ACT went into effect because they have been targeted for surveillance and have been threatened; sometimes their homes and cars have been searched for no reason except their ancestry.
The council acted to protect members of our community. That was its primary motive. The councilors were very clear in stating that they were not impressed by emotional outbursts from the crowd in attendance.
I would particularly like to thank Gary Papé for working out the "friendly amendments" that clarified the wording so that all members of the council felt that they could vote "yes." Also for helping to clarify that a primary reason for voting yes was to provide support and reassurance to members of the Eugene community who are afraid. He changed the minds of at least two councilors (Nathanson and Meisner), who initially opposed the resolution.
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