I want to know when any young womyn and men can have the right to attend a congressional meeting and truly have a say in the outcome of the laws and regulations that control our freedom and justice system.
I want to know when our people are going to join together and say "No;" when society is going to realize that the "leaders" of our country are only in power for themselves and act as puppets to the monopoly that our country is run on; when money isn't going to have precedence over the well being of our people. How long until people start to realize that our 12-year-old girls look like they are 15 because of the hormones in the foods they eat? How long can pharmaceutical drug companies sell us legal amphetamines as diet pills? How long will our presidents receive money to support the little blue pill that gave my neighbor a heart attack?
Some day justice will prevail — the privileged people who are willing to step on anyone's toes will get what they deserve. How long can you wait for these days of true freedom and justice? How long until we admit that the high school drop out level is so high because only the people willing to conform are accepted and helped? How many kids have to turn to drugs for acceptance before we reevaluate our school systems? Our agricultural system is fucked, our economy is bombing as our "leaders" remain rich and powerful. The most useful plant on this planet is illegal — our brothers and sisters spend more time in jail than the rapists and child molesters, simply because they grow a plant made illegal because of money. How long are they going to tell us cigarettes are safer than smoking pot, or that alcohol is a social drug?
I want the right to choose to go to an alternative high school for all four years. I want to know that I won't be considered a terrorist for having an opinion. I want to live without fear, because I am more fearful of the police in this town than I am of walking around at 2 am in almost any part of this town. Who's going to carry on the knowledge of organic farming and low-impact living if we don't teach it in the schools?
When are we going to do something and join as the greater power, because in the end the people are the greater power. Let's use our freedoms and rights that have changed this country before.
DIVERSITY AS STRENGTH
Kudos to the Eugene City Council for maintaining the racial purity that simmers just below our comfort zone. Our liberal persona reeks with the disrespect that the council has shown a great American. At the same time, however, their decision speaks to the broader issue that to honor one you raise them all. Added to that, it seems pathetic that with all Dr. King's contributions to the quality he sought for all Americans, the council continues to cow to racist pressures.
Even the cost was addressed when the Lane County commissioners offered to cover the cost. As to the charge that this issue "just" became either/or, the renaming has on the table since June 2002. If renaming a street is no big deal, then why did six of the eight councilors continue the racist charade? Back in the day, "if you're white, you're right, if you're black, get back." In addition, other racial and cultural groups benefited from the actions Dr. King inspired all Americans to rise to.
Yolanda King reminded us that we are not a "melting pot," but rather a mosaic. She goes on to say that until the races respect each other, only then can we work together for the good of us all. With all the progress our society has made, the implied status and access to the real power remains with the traditional venues. Sadly, the outrage we should feel is momentary and will be put back on the shelf.
Liberals complain about being bashed, conservatives rant and threaten the loss of values, the extremists want to dismantle the whole system, yet coming together to honor a great American remains out of our own reach. More meetings and other options are a way to support and give nothing. Our diversity should be our strength, not our demise.
George G. Brooks
The Tenth Amendment reserves to the states, or to the
people, the powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.
The government cannot force a state to raise its drinking age to 21,
lower its speed limit to 55, its DUI limit to .08, require motorcycle
helmets, seatbelts, car seats, etc. It compels compliance, then, by
threatening to withhold badly needed (and usually already spent) highway
funds from recalcitrant states who always buckle under the duress,
giving a false impression of the authority
Now this same government is threatening to deny our police access to their bottomless pockets and unlimited resources in retaliation for our audacity in passing the medical marijuana initiative in blatant defiance of the Controlled Substances Act, whose sole legal standing is Congress' plenary, or absolute, authority over intrastate commerce and its alleged inability to distinguish intra-state commerce in controlled substances from not only inter-state traffic, but even drug use.
Personally, I would love to see the bogus War on Drugs collapse under its own weight and the legions of spies in our midst driven to produce something besides information on my personal life, should the Feds make good their bluff, but I don't see it happening. It's too good to be true. They need this diversion to identify, isolate and disenfranchise those of us who insist on applying the test of our own conscience to the laws we obey. Nothing short of blind obedience is acceptable. Besides, you don't have to pay cops to look in everybody's pockets — they would do it for free.
I was listening to the radio the other day about a possible casino coming to Florence, and I heard the reporter say that the casino developers were "encouraging their detractors to look inside the state at other towns with tribal gaming." I thought that was very reasonable advice, so I looked.
I looked at U.S. Census data for 1990 and 2000 on three casino towns — Lincoln City (Chinook Winds), Coos Bay (The Mill) and Canyonville (Seven Feathers). Lincoln City's population is about the same is Florence; Coos Bay's population is about twice the size of Florence; Canyonville has about one-fifth the population of Florence. Casinos were built in all three towns at about the same time, around 1995. Here's what I found:
Population growth from 1990 to 2000: Florence 42.2 percent; Lincoln City 25.9 percent; Coos Bay 2.1 percent; Canyonville 6.1 percent.
Unemployed (percent of working population): Florence 3.3 percent; Lincoln City 5.6 percent; Coos Bay 4.3 percent; Canyonville 5.5 percent.
Families below the poverty level: Florence 10 percent; Lincoln City 12.5 percent; Coos Bay 12.7 percent; Canyonville 15.8 percent.
Per capita income: Florence $18,008; Lincoln City $15,597; Coos Bay $18,158; Canyonville $14,017.
In almost every category that is normally related to prosperity and growth in a community, Florence — without a casino — did better than the casino towns. Yes, indeed, the casino developer had some very good advice.
As a former employee of BRING Recycling, I was disgusted by the obvious lack of research displayed in your recent article on the company. BRING most certainly is "a victim of its own success." Just another company that has made the almighty dollar more important than its workers. Had even one employee — not on the management staff — been interviewed, I am certain your article would not have had such a rosy glow.
As a resident and business owner in Glenwood, I am very concerned with the possible impact such an unethical business could have on our community.
"Trash Talkin'" was a more appropriate title for your cover than you could have guessed!
Many thanks to Aria Seligmann (cover story 6/12) and EW for the excellent survey of what's happening at the federal, state and local levels regarding reproductive rights, services and education. With so much antipathy toward the pro-choice, pro-child position among the powers that be, it is essential that the truth be told, and told frequently. Ms. Seligmann's article did that admirably.
I would like to add to James Johnston's great article (6/5) on the McKenzie River Trail. He's right: This area is known for its "outstanding scenic and recreational features." In addition, it is also the watershed for the Eugene/Springfield area, home to many rare and endangered species (red tree voles, for example), threatened native fish runs and some of our last stands of old growth.
Even though the McKenzie River Trail is designated a National Recreation Trail, it is still not protected from logging, not to mention the many acres beyond the trail on our National Forests. Right now, more than 1,000 acres in the McKenzie River area are literally on the chopping block. Many more are "sale pending."
What can we do about this? Call the McKenzie District Ranger Station (822-3381), responsible for these timber "contracts;" Lane County commissioners, who should be speaking out against these timber sales; Rep. Pete DeFazio (465-6732) or Sen. Ron Wyden. Or check out the website: www.wildernessdefenders.org
You can also take the city bus (#91) and your bike to the McKenzie Ranger Station and find out which areas are going to be logged. The Willamette National Forest contains some of the most beautiful forests in the world and many threatened animals and plants that rely on an intact ecosystem. The Forest (dis)Service is destroying our national forests at an alarming rate. If you care about trees, clean air, the quality of our drinking, water, fish runs, recreational areas, or any other number of things clearcuts impact, please do something about it. Silence = complacency.
THE GOOD FIGHTER
Below is the text of a message that I sent today to West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd. If you haven't heard or read his speeches (EW, 6/5) please make the effort, because he appears to be one of the few people in the halls of congress who understands his duty to the people and the constitution.
Dear Sen. Byrd, I am writing to express my deep admiration and heartfelt thanks for your service to our nation, to our republic, and to our Constitution, at this, perhaps, the most critical moment in our great history. I can imagine no greater tragedy in the history of humankind than if the United States of America should slide into a cynical, deceitful autocracy after waging nearly a century of honorable struggle against the forces of ignorance and dictatorship throughout the world.
If, at the moment of our victory and greatest power, we should forsake the simple though exacting values that guided and inspired our fighting men and women to great sacrifice over two centuries, we will have been complicit in a far greater betrayal than any so-called treachery of dissent. In dark moments, as the single voices of conscience have been drowned by the cacophony of jingoism, your speeches on the floor of the Senate have kept my hope of a better future for my daughter alive. Indeed, I suspect they will long be remembered for keeping the "last, best hope of mankind" alive. Thank you again, and keep fighting the good fight.
Even the Bush administration can no longer debate the fact that our planet is becoming steadily warmer as a result of carbon accumulation in the atmosphere, and that this is the direct result of human use of fossil fuels combined with massive global deforestation. We are only beginning to experience the effects of this phenomenon, with increasingly severe tropical storms, melting polar ice caps, and northward migrations of such detrimental organisms as the West Nile virus. Combined with the ever-increasing human population and dwindling natural resource base, it is becoming very difficult to predict a long-term future for the human species.
In June 2000, two sincere, dedicated and frustrated young men took an action against sport utility vehicles (SUVs), a particularly blatant agent of global warming. Jeffrey Luers and Craig Marshall planted incendiary devices under two SUVs in the Romania Chevrolet lot on Franklin Boulevard. They took all possible measures to ensure that no human being would be harmed by their action, and no one was.
Given the dire global forecast, this loss of property by a company that actively profits from the sale of low-fuel-efficiency vehicles would seem to be a relatively minor incident. Judge Lyle Velure, however, did not see it that way. Although he made a point to tell Jeff Luers that it had nothing to do with his politics, he proceeded to hand down a sentence of nearly 23 years. This sentence, as punishment for an act that caused no harm to human life, in a judicial system that frequently releases rapists and murderers in a fraction of that time, classifies Mr. Luers as a political prisoner.
Not only is Howard Dean's position on war fundamentally the same as Bush's, his concern for alleviating the pain of the terminally ill is similarly lacking. Though of the candidates, only Sen. John Edwards has gone so far as to say that he would continue Bush's paramilitary-style raids on medical marijuana patients and cooperatives, Dean has made his position quite clear: As governor of Vermont he threatened to veto a medical marijuana bill that was expected to pass the Senate. His strong-arm tactics caused the Senate to drop the bill and instead adopt a toothless bill that created a committee to further examine the medical marijuana issue rather than one that would protect and help patients.
Only Rep. Kucinich has expressed a willingness to extend a compassionate hand to those who cannot find relief from regular medicine. He has announced that he would issue an executive order that would permit qualifying patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. This makes Kucinich the only anti-war candidate and the only candidate to support a patient's right to use medical marijuana. If the Democrats want to run a compassionate candidate who is easily distinguishable from Bush, then Howard Dean is not our candidate.
We are very concerned about the additional traffic that will be caused by the proposed casino on the Hatch Track on Highway 126 near Florence. A conservative estimate of traffic increase due to the casino would be 200 to 300 percent, and the Regional ODOT Manager has said recently that, "Hwy 126 will not be widened in your or my lifetime …"
The tribe says they plan to do most of the marketing in the Eugene/Springfield area. With resulting traffic, this windy, partly mountainous road could become known as "Death Alley." Siuslaw High School is in the Sky-Em Athletic League. Athletic teams, along with their families and fans, have to travel Highway 126. Their safety will be jeopardized by the huge increase of traffic caused by casino travelers.
Jack and Jan Woodford
Tom Lininger ("Out of Commission," 6/5) criticizes legislative proposals to bring Major League Baseball to Portland on the basis that the state shouldn't fund private ventures. Well, he's wrong on that point as the team will be financed by a tax on player's salaries, though there is a possibility that taxpayers may incur liability if revenue is insufficient.
Lininger qualifies for the state's biggest hypocrite
award. He is or will be a professor at the UO Law School. This is one
of the most worthless uses of public funds in the state. He has his
snout in the public trough up to his ass. Say hypocrite. If he is opposed
to public funding, why is he in favor of a public law school? The answer
is simple: He wants
We should trade Lininger and a player to be named later to Montreal for their ball club. We should throw in the Law School as an added inducement. At least then I can enjoy watching a few baseball games. What enjoyment does Lininger provide other than some stale, old jokes?
The ads for the skanky chicks in the back pages don't really do much for me — but the hot hippie vixens in the Sweet Potato Pie ads (Get Yo-Self a Piece) are another matter. The patchouli fumes just waft through the newsprint, and the gals look like they might be vegans, which is a mega turn-on. The cold showers don't bother me in this weather, but I may have to drop the Weekly come winter.
IT'S UP TO YOU
A strong America is a working America. A strong America is a safe America. And what does it take to keep America strong? It takes Americans working together, it takes an infrastructure that helps Americans work together, and it takes a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Many of us seem to forget that it is government by the people that makes this country great, and in order to have a good government, the people must participate as well as pay taxes. The more of us who don't participate and don't vote the easier it is for special interests to fill the void and "game" the system so that they can reap huge profits.
So if you want a strong America, it is up to you to really look at what is happening at City Hall, Salem and Washington, D.C. Write or call your representatives and tell them what you want and ask them what they are doing to make that happen.
It is very important to take a little time to learn what is really going on. This may require reading some of the articles in the back pages of your newspaper or thinking about what is really behind the sound bites that are basically propaganda with little informative content. And if you can't find the solid facts in your newspaper, demand that as well. But always remember to vote.
Frank and Mary Lou Vignola
THEY'RE IN COURT
Pete Mandrapa (6/9) wants to know, "Where are our unions?" when it comes to the recent atrocities committed on PERS by our "friends" — the governor and Sen. Tony Corcoran.
They're in court, that's where, actively challenging unconstitutional contract-breaking legislation, and most definitely not "quietly acquiescing," or passively "hoping for some judge to overturn this mess," as he states.
As for a strike — well, something like 90 percent of state, county and municipal contracts are being negotiated right now. If some sort of satisfactory resolution on this and other issues cannot be reached, I for one will be on the picket lines this summer, along with thousands of my brothers and sisters.
By the way, since the Ted and Tony Show has given us further evidence that there is really only one national party with two scarcely divergent factions, neither of which is on the side of the common folk, in the future Mr. Mandrapa might consider voting Green — and convincing his friends to do likewise. I certainly am.
BRING ON THE TRUTH
On a recent trip to BRING Recycling, I noticed the current addition to the front entry way. There is a very colorful sign board applauding the great acts of this recycling warehouse. What is most noticeable about this list, however, is what's missing: the constant insurance cuts thrown at yard workers; the continuing efforts to force the most critical employees from their jobs; management's ever increasing demands to raise the cost of donated items and present a more suburban, less scary image to attract consumers with more disposable income, preferring those to BRING's most loyal and longtime customers.
BRING Recycling has taken great advantage of their status as a community educator and nonprofit organization. They treat their workers like garbage and hide behind community involvement to cover the stench. Is this what BRING's founders really had in mind when they started such a great recycling center in 1971?
Please think twice before taking your usable building materials to their site. Perhaps someone in your neighborhood has a use for those old windows; maybe the local high school shop department could use that lumber.
Your trash may be valuable to someone else, but the real treasure is BRING Recycling's handful of ignored yard workers, past and present.