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BULL SHIFTING
Recently former Eugene City Councilor Pat Farr continued the year-old charade about Eugene's City Council being to blame for PeaceHealth's land purchase in the flood plains of Springfield's RiverBend.

Actually Mr. Farr is one of two Eugene city councilors who performs as political bull shifter as they attempt to shift the public's attention away from the timing and connection of PeaceHealth's CEO Alan Yordy to land trader John Musumeci. Contrary to the bull shifter's claims, many of the Yordy/Musumeci business transactions took place many months before Eugene's City Council ever spoke on the subject of relocating the hospital.

In December 2000 PeaceHealth made the decision not to expand the Hilyard Street hospital. Within a period of 12 months the Yordy/ Musumeci RiverBend land deals was wrapped in gold and delivered to Musumeci as his $15.6 million dollar reward for pulling the wool over the eyes of politicians like Pat Farr and some members of the general public.

In addition there are a number of local and state politicians who have chosen to ignore the far-reaching community damage that extends to the McKenzie-Willamette Hospital and ultimately the taxpayers of Springfield and Eugene.

As a brilliant land trader, Musumeci is no doubt entitled to tap PeceHealth's $357 million investment fund for as much as PeaceHealth is willing to pay. However, PeaceHealth may have forgotten the origin of their profit making investment fund came from general public medical payments, contributions, and extensive government funding,

As Bellevue Washington's gargantuan medical system gains total control of the Eugene-Springfield medical community, the cost of medical care will continue to rise far above the average cost of living. State-of-the-art health care may be a wave of the future many people will never be able to afford.

John Fluent
Eugene

 

BONGS AWAY
In John Husby's news story (2/27), he failed to mention two important reasons that were key to Operation Pipe Dream. A lot of these stores' merchandise was to have found its way into the hands of children. And last time I checked, not much other than marijuana was smoked in bongs anyway (the main focus of the sting, not just glass).

Glass "art" is something that I myself own, but bongs are not "art." They remain paraphernalia no matter how you shape it. A gun is a gun is a gun, not metal "art."

And what is the new interpretation? Marijuana, no matter how freely you think you should be able to smoke it, is still illegal and for a good reason. Marijuana is a problem among children under 18 (which account for 19 percent of "consumption"), and is a problem for anybody in this country because, oh yeah, it's still illegal.

And just because they have a sign in the window does not negate them of their responsibility. They are a business putting out a product that has the potential to hurt people, thus they have a responsibility to their consumers. Why do you think McDonald's stopped giving toys with small parts to infants? They realized there was a problem. Even gun manufacturers are responsible for their products.

And most people can smoke pot out of a can or a paper, but it is still the main way to smoke it out of a bong (which is made of glass).

As for the profiling, the majority of stores targeted were found to have had their merchandise in the hands of children.

James Ready
Springfield

 

COMMITMENT-PHOBIC
In the article "Charting a New Course" (2/20), I question Jim Slemp's comment that the Eugene school board is "committed to choice." In 1999, when approached about opening a Montessori alternative program, the district said that they would approve no new alternative schools. Even if they would have considered it, elementary alternative school start-ups require a unanimous vote of the district's elementary principals! I struggle to see how this approach is "committed to choice."

This dismissive attitude came at about the time Oregon's charter school law passed. And — after groups developed charter proposals that documented, among other things, the great demand for new educational approaches — the district did not show commitment to choice. They complained about being forced to grant the charters and proceeded to make life hard for these new schools — including charging them double the rent that they charge to other non-profits.

Other Oregon districts saw crisis as opportunity and funded innovative new programs by starting their own charter schools. But the Eugene School Board could not seem to think outside the box. You'd think that a district where more than half of the parents in some neighborhoods (up to 71 percent) send their children to alternative schools would be open to working with people who donate vast amounts of time and talent to bringing greater school choice to our community. Let's start seeing some evidence of a school board that is truly "committed to choice."

Kristin King
Eugene

 

AVERAGE OUT
John Zerzan (2/20) feels that well-behaved protesters are ineffective, but indeed the rally of Feb. 15 was the most effective and successful example of nonviolent civil disobedience that I've ever seen in Eugene. The sheer numbers of people gave the police no choice: The streets were closed to traffic for the duration of the rally, an irrefutable demonstration of the support that the anti-war movement has. That success was made possible by a broader cross section of people turning out. When combined with the millions that protested around the world, it could well have been a turning point in whether or not a war with Iraq will happen.

Toward the end of the rally, a much smaller "splinter group" went marching off on its own with the intention of blocking traffic elsewhere and taunting the police. In my opinion, that "splinter group" did nothing to further the cause of peace and justice and very possibly did the cause a disservice by turning off the moderate, undecided people that saw it broadcast on Cascadia Alive.

The peace, justice and environmental movements are going to change the world when the large masses of "average folks" get off their sofas and come and join us. Average folks are not going to join us because they're impressed by anger, property damage or insults to the police. Average folks are going to join us when they're impressed by the intelligence, dignity, creativity and spirit of community with which we carry out our activism.

Robert Bolman
Eugene

 

WHAT HAPPENED?
Teachers forced to work for free (Portland), elderly poor evicted from subsidized housing, and the sick are suffering and dying from lack of medicine.

Meanwhile, our diplomats are scurrying around the globe spending billions buying friends; CIA is flashing cash inside Iraq enticing Sadam's generals to switch sides; and the war budget seems unlimited. What has happened to America?

Pete Mandrapa
Eugene

 

RHETORIC OF RACE
"What is with Eugene readers?" asks Marilyn Shefa Marcus (2/6), over an apparent lack of civic outrage over a small display ad in EW that depicts "flagrantly pornographic" (albeit clothed) cleavage. The writer is also of the opinion that stating one's ethnicity in print is "racist" (unless it's in the Arts section, I suppose).

Should I adjust my scorecard accordingly? I prefer to think most of my fellow Eugeneans carefully consider their use of accusational descriptors so as not to dilute their powerful meaning.

Steven Bee
Eugene

 

HETERO WORLD
In reference to Tracy McGeehan's letter (2/6), I would like to make a couple of remarks. In American society that which is defined as "normal" also becomes invisible. In a situation where heterosexual writers are writing about their lives, rarely do we recognize that their sexual orientation is the center of their writing. When the "other" writes, it is immediately recognizable that their sexual orientation is their focus. This is the where the term heterocentrism comes from.

Tracy, is Sally Sheklow's column too much for you? Go to the grocery store. There you will find hundreds of magazines with heterosexuality as the focus. Of course you're sick of reading about her sexual orientation. I'm just as sick of reading, watching and hearing about heterosexuality. Every time I step outside my door I'm bombarded with heterosexuality. Tracy, try stepping outside your box and realize that the world doesn't rotate on a heterosexual axis.

Kirista Trask
Eugene

 

TALE OF TWO CITIES
Most Americans are probably against launching war, at least when the question is asked honestly. Most Americans won't make obscene amounts of money from guns, rockets, or jet bombers — or from oil contracts signed with a new "friendly" dictator in Iraq. But some will — especially some in Texas and the desert southwest.

I just returned from a few days in Arizona. No Volkswagen buses in Phoenix. Big new SUVs with American flags prevail. And everyone I talked to down there was in favor of going to war. Many said it made sense economically.

"My company had been in a slowdown since the last Gulf War," confided one Arizonian qued up in a line with me. "Of course after 9/11 things started to pick up. Now Phoenix is in line to get a lot of national security and defense contracts. "

I told people in Phoenix, in as nice a way as I could, that I was from Eugene and that most Eugeneans were against the war. Just as nicely, they said they wanted war. Of course many were not as outspoken about war being good for their pocketbook as the man who worked for a defense contractor. Shop owners and restaurant workers alike hadn't thought much about specific war issues, but they did know that Phoenix was in line for war booty (they didn't call it
that).

I was glad to return to Eugene, glad that our citizens, if not our politicians, aren't bought up by munitions and oil company payola. I was relieved by every handmade "no blood for oil" lawn sign on Friendly Street. Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Houston may well get their war profit, but we should let the "high rollers" contribute their sons and daughters for the cannon fodder. And when some Iraq-like country actually gets powerful and vengeful enough to drop bombs on our cities and burn our babies in retaliation, let Eugene be well down the list.

Ralph McDonald
Eugene

 

OLD SCHOOL
I remember in fifth grade being chosen to be the curtain monitor. My job was to make sure the window blinds were shut in case of a commie nuclear bomb attack. Tomorrow some fifth grader will be chosen as the duct tape monitor, whose job will be to seal the door in case of a terrorist attack. It's funny how some things never change.

Michael T. Hinojosa
Drain

 

CHANGING DIRECTIONS
As we watch the slow, deliberate march toward war we yearn to cry out, "stop!" A feeling of futility stifles our shout.

Words like cruelty, murder, suffering and revenge play across the mind, each bringing images of the results of the impending war. Why can't leaders see, why can't leaders think, why don't leaders prevent such bloodshed? Words like greed, power, conceit and heartlessness are brought to mind each bringing images of our selected president.

Changing directions calls for contemplation, changing directions calls for persuasion, and changing directions calls for action. Now words like hope, peace, brotherhood and solidarity are raised across the land, each bringing images of a true patriotic spirit.

Slowly the sleeping giant of the real American ethos stirs. Can we awaken it in time to leash the dogs of war?

Frank Vignola
Eugene

 

PRANCING CARROTS
With regard to the 3/5 Spirit of the Dance performance at the Hult Center: There's more uniformity in a bunch of carrots, more spirit in the overfed geese along the McKenzie, and more talent among the Dallas Cowgirls — easily. So, why did I pay $45 for this? Because, like many others in attendance, I made the mistake of assuming this performance would parallel the excellence of other quasi-Celtic dance performances I've seen such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, for example.

Not so. Poor costumes; second-rate dancers; overly simplistic dance routines; strange lighting (often blinding the audience with lights shining directly upon us for some indeterminate effect); ghastly, unnecessary lip-sync numbers; synthesized music; and the complete lack of any sets made many of us feel like we'd been had. On the way home, we stopped for ice cream at Prince Puckler's and got the rush we were after for a mere $1.95.

Ann L. Yee
Eugene

 

BIGOTRY PERPETUATES
I am a white man with a quadriracial wife and quadriracial descendants. I have a lifetime of experience with Oregonian and Californian "religious Christians" who claim to be nonracist but who usually are clearly racist. There is a whole spectrum of racist "Christian" schools in the U.S. from Bush's beloved Bob Jones University to Northwest Christian College.

Of course, there are many nonracist Christians, but there are so many racist "Christians" and racist "Christian" institutions that it taints the respectability of the whole sea of Christianity. If we cannot get rid of overt racism and other ethnic "superiority" viewpoints at a small Oregon school like NCC, it means we are doomed to perpetuate racism and other bigotry long into the future which is a sad comment on the future viability of the American Dream.

Fixing the rogue school NCC and renaming Centennial Martin Luther King would be two nice baby steps in the fight against Eugene's racism. Two small steps for a community but no giant leap for our species. With Bush humping for war the giant leap cannot be seen in any microscope or telescope. Our old world leadership based on bigotry, greed, deception and violent pre-emptive killing has made our eyes go blind.

Bob Saxton
Eugene

 

NEW GUARD
Have you seen the new Register-Guard? They say they spent a long time researching it before they deciding on this format. The tiny print of the news makes it easy to flip through the paper without reading anything but the headlines of each story, and the comics are smaller than ever. The editorial page is forbidding and less reader friendly since they eliminated photos of Molly Ivin, George Will and the other columnists.

On the other hand, the advertising is plenty large and easy to look at, and those new cartoon pictures in the classifieds really make up for the tiny comic pages! I like the way the woman in the employment section is standing below the man. It accurately reflects how women are still beneath men in pay and job opportunities. Yep, those guys at the R-G really did their research well. Less focus on news, zero in on the advertising, more money for the big boys at the R-G!

As for me, I'm glad I don't subscribe to it, and I'm not going to waste my coinage on it anymore.

Janice Sunseri,
Eugene

 

IT'S POSSIBLE
Let's imagine that Mr. Bush means it when he says that war is the last option and that his intent is to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Here's what we can do. The Bush administration can begin to actively cooperate with the inspectors by giving them the coordinates programmed into the cruise missiles targeted on Hussein's alleged stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. They can renounce violent regime change as an instrument of foreign policy. This would give Hussein an incentive to continue disarmament and, as a bonus, give North Korea an incentive to abandon its paranoia driven nuclear program.

The U.N. can do its part by passing a resolution offering to lift the economic sanctions on Iraq if it successfully completes the inspection process and agrees to allow permanent monitors to guard against a future resumption of illegal weapons programs.

Mr. Bush can pledge 10 percent of the hundreds of billions we will save to humanitarian assistance in the region, 20 percent to alleviate the dire fiscal situations of the states and the remainder to providing health coverage for those lacking it.

Everybody wins. Bush gets credit for being a statesman, 30 percent of our soldiers don't have to come home with disabilities and Iraqis don't have to suffer massive increases in cancers and birth defects from exposure to uranium oxide dust from depleted uranium ordnance like the last Gulf war, the states are happy, and people are healthier. Everyone can breathe again.

Remember, peace is possible.

Michael Wherley
Eugene

 

CLEAR MESSAGE
I'm saddened by, and I tire of, the EW letters column's continued, misguided excoriation of the majority of voters who opposed Measure 28. Harshest example: In last week's EW (2/13), Brian Ellis, justifiably concerned about budget cuts, castigates us with, "When a young child dies a violent death due to lagging support from budget cuts, the blood will be on your hands."

No, Mr. Ellis, the "blood" will be upon the Legislature's hands, where it always was — during the special sessions before Measure 28 and in the current session. Focus your anger — and your activism — on the Kruses and the Corcorans who still don't "get it," despite the loud and clear message from the majority of us. Add your voice to the effort to require accountability and responsibility from Salem. Try and make representative democracy work, OK? For the long term well-being of those kids you are so rightly concerned about, somebody has to.

Tom Warren
Pleasant Hill

 

Getting Our Attention
Does George W. have a hidden agenda? Think about it. No person in recent history has brought more people together around the world to march and gather in the name of peace than George W. He has single-handedly and with resolute passion made people stop, look and listen to what is going on in the world today.

Instead of dirty politics behind closed doors and backroom deals with large corporate contributors, he has exposed the military industrial complex in a way that has allowed the world to see, in vivid detail, what profiteering from war is all about.

If the current "Axis of Evil" bad guy Saddam Hussein had only had a visible tie to al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden, we would never have been exposed to the hypocrisy going on with our government. We would have all gone along with the charade of killing innocent people, like in Afghanistan, because they were part of the 9/11 gang.

But by using the tactic of a pre-emptive strike George W. was able to show the world that in order to bring peace he is willing to kill more innocent people because "Saddam tried to kill my daddy." Some might think he didn’t get his fill of killing people he doesn’t know while he was governor of Texas.

What if we are judging him wrongly? If we look at what he has done to bring the people of the world together in a common cause for peace it is hard to find anybody his equal. He has done more in a year to get people to talk about world peace than all the world leaders put together since Biblical times.

Now is the time to step forward George, with your real agenda: to be the peace that you wish to see. I can’t wait until you step upon the world platform and announce, "Now that I have your attention …"

Dick Blackstone
Springfield

 

Keep Talking
This letter is in response to Tracy McGeehan (1/6), who may not be aware that the point of Sally Sheklow's column, "Living Out," is to talk about her experiences as a lesbian. I'm sure Ms. Sheklow would agree that people shouldn't be defined by their sexuality. Until our culture reaches this desirable state, it's good that she and others are talking about it.

Rosemarie Ostler
Eugene

 

Off With the Blinders
Letters to the editor in The Register-Guard attacking the suggestion to name a Martin Luther King Boulevard in Eugene have, in every instance, reeked of racism. Letter writers offer many excuses.

"We should name a street after a woman." Agreed. How about 20 or 30 of them? There are many award-winning teachers, activists, authors, singers, scientists and other over-achievers of color among whom we could choose.

"Everyone has a Martin Luther King Boulevard." Everyone? To my knowledge, there are none in Lane County. How many in Oregon? Very few. As Oregon's second or third largest city, what are we waiting for?

The prize-winning excuse is the claim that Martin Luther King Boulevards are always "centers of drugs and prostitution" (R-G letters 2/21). Well, we should certainly emulate that!

Drugs and prostitution choose poor neighborhoods. African-American home buyers and renters are often shut out of middle class neighborhoods, so middle class African Americans live among the poor. We don't want to name a street through a white neighborhood after an African American, so we name the main street through the poor neighborhoods after Martin Luther King, and we think we've completed our duty to "minorities." That is the reason for the jokes on TV. Evidently white people just don't get it.

The only way to be "non-racist" is to oppose racism. To oppose racism, you must see racism. In order to see, take off your blinders.

Ann Tattersall
Eugene

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ms. Tattersall tells us this letter was rejected by the R-G.

Simplistic Reporting
On open letter to NPR: I wish to thank you for your live coverage of the U.N. Security Council's discussion of the crisis with Iraq on Friday, March 7. It was quite refreshing to listen to your broadcast, and to hear the calm and rational opinions of so many of the representatives of the Security Council member states. Given that much of NPR's broadcast time is devoted to repeating and reiterating the rather strident and irrational position of the Bush administration vis-a-vis Iraq, I enjoyed hearing these logical and yet heartfelt refutations of the U.S. government's rush to war against Iraq.

Given that this "logical and yet heartfelt" position does not seem to be forthcoming from within NPR, I wonder if you could expand your coverage of the Iraq crisis to regularly include live feeds from the radio broadcasts of nations such as Russia, France and Germany. Even substituting your biased coverage for that of the BBC would be a wonderful change for the better from your ridiculously simplistic reportage on this matter.

In conclusion, I ask again that you please cease your war-mongering, sycophantic reporting and "analysis" of the Pentagon's push for war, and allow the voice of the majority of our nation's population to be heard. You can best do this by shutting down your own microphones, and giving the American people what they deserve – logical, yet heartfelt analysis of U.S. imperialism in the region, as expressed by so many people in other nations of the world.

Scott Miksch
Eugene

 

Impeach Bush
The time has come to do something constructive about the madman who occupies the White House. Since taking office, George W. Bush has done more damage to this country that any president in history. He is planning a pre-emptive strike, possibly using nuclear and chemical weapons, against a country that has done us no harm and poses no threat to us. He has ignored the economy and allowed it to slide further into disarray, and has allowed the deficit to grow to enormous proportions while pushing huge tax cuts for the rich. He has shrouded much of his operation in secrecy, beginning with the public record of his father's administration and continuing with his secret negotiations with Enron, one of the most nefarious corporations in recent history.

But worst of all, he has exploited the Sept. 11 tragedy to advance his right wing agenda and to rob Americans of their freedoms. The USA PATRIOT Act was bad enough, but now he wants to create a massive database containing personal information on all Americans, down to the foods we buy and the videos we rent; and is planning to introduce an even more frightening measure, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, later this year.

We saw a harbinger of things to come here in Eugene last week: several legitimate local businesses were shut down by the feds, throwing hundreds of local people out of work.

We don't need to wait until 2004 to kick this unelected psycho out of office. Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark is spearheading a movement to impeach not only President Bush, but his entire administration. Articles of impeachment have been drawn up and are available at www.votetoimpeach.org. If you believe as I do that America cannot survive another two years under the Bush yoke, I urge you to contact Rep. DeFazio and ask him to support this effort.

Jim A. Johnson
Eugene

 

Breaking Laws
As war with Iraq looms ever closer, and the peace movement grows, I would like to comment on many peace activists' concern with "law-breaking" in the course of protest, specifically, but not limited to, taking to the streets in the absence of a permit to march.

Many peace activists have used Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Gandhi’s philosophies and actions to justify their assertions that no one who is against war should in any way break the law. (In Eugene, this has included trying to keep other people from stepping off the sidewalk while protesting). However, both these men (among countless other people) recognized that the role of a civil disobedient is to provoke and to essentially be ungovernable. This included putting themselves in situations where they knew they would be beaten by the police or other henchmen, or where they could be arrested for their actions. These men (again, among countless others) spent considerable time in jail for provoking and being ungovernable in the pursuit of justice. They understood the importance of provoking a response in order to be effective. Protesters who fail to draw attention to their protest are doing little to actually further their cause; in addition, those who use the names of MLK and Gandhi in advocating full compliance with the law are misrepresenting what these men espoused.

Which brings me back to the sidewalk/street issue. Do we want to stop this war enough to step into the streets, stop a little traffic and business as usual, provoke and be ungovernable?

Not breaking any laws, even ones as minor as stepping into the streets, to stop the murder of who knows how many innocent people is less about pacifism than it is about not wanting to risk anything personally. In addition, strict adherence to all laws, regardless of their validity, is equal to implicitly acknowledging the right of those who want to wage this war to also set the rules for how we can express our opposition. If we accept that, we will have no effect on the outcome of their venture.

Incidentally, I have seen and participated in protests in many countries. The U.S. is the only place I have ever seen people reluctant to take to the streets‚ be it planned or spontaneous. Taking over the streets is usually the first course of action when people want their voices to be heard.

When thousands of innocent people face imminent death, this issue of staying on the sidewalk becomes not only trivial but ludicrous.

Janine Sepulveda
Eugene

 


LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows. Please limit length to 250 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to editor@eugeneweekly.com,
fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.


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