When our Legislature began "handling" the fate of human services and children's programs, I was first amused, then dismayed, now furious. Every faction in Salem seems to want to finger-point and place blame instead of digging in and doing the dirty work. I can't believe there isn't full and resounding support for educational programs, especially.
My children are grown and out of the school system, but I can't help but be alarmed that children attending school right now are not receiving a varied and well balanced, adequate education. After all, in a few years I will be living, as a senior, under the laws they make as adults for our welfare. I want to make sure these people have a compassionate, intelligent educational experience.
The money is there! According to AFL-CIO information, Oregon hands out in tax benefits more than it collects. A lot of these tax breaks are given for worthy and honorable reasons that benefit all of society. For instance, it makes sense to provide tax breaks to promote home ownership. But, does it make sense to extend that benefit to vacation homes and mansions? Does it make sense to allow "writing off" all of the personal vehicles and SUVs that are technically owned by corporations? Couldn't people in the corporate world use smaller cars? Upon examination, there are many such "loopholes" that could be closed — to provide money for children!
I urge each person to write his or her state legislators. Let them know that there are people in their districts interested in children's educational programs. I've heard so often that the children are our future — let's make it a bright one.
ANGRY GREEN GIANT
I think we would all agree that violence is an epidemic in our country. On June 20, a movie came out that epitomizes this sense of violence. This movie, "Hulk," depicts a man that, when provoked, turns green and violently rages against those who have done him "wrong." One of the primary audiences of this movie are young boys. This type of modeling is irresponsible and despicable. We, as parents, have a responsibility to not fund such endeavors and take a stand against this type of media. I call on all parents to realize that by supporting a hero who uses violence to solve problems, we are teaching them that volatility is the best technique when dealing with life stresses. We are training our boys to hide all their feelings with rage, learn to parent with violent discipline and possibly become future domestic abusers and rapists.
This movie is geared towards our youngest and most impressionable. Don't let them see the movie, don't buy the pajamas, don't buy the merchandise. Take time with your kids, monitor what goes into their lives. Teach them to verbalize their feelings, not use their fists. I guarantee you will be happy you did.
DICK & DONALD SHOW
Rigorously reared in the "kinder, gentler" new world order of his dad, we find Bush Jr. using our military to satisfy a family vendetta. Most of our allies recoil in shock and awe as this trigger-happy Bible-thumper tests his infernal superpowers. Vacuous but lethal, he is the perfect frontman for that malignant Dick & Donald show. Oil and arms are their meal tickets in the private sector, while in the public sector their mission is providing a war that accelerates deficit spending. Our future (virtual) tax dollars are promised to favored corporations now and our children will pay for our excesses later.
Ken Lay was probably on Cheney's secret energy committe, showing Dick how to do America, Enron style. Halliburton's no-bid contract to repair the Iraqi oil fields is just drippin' with conflicts of interest. These duplicitous poseurs were installed by a supreme clique of gavel swingers who grew impatient with our electoral procedures, and that's not democracy. This administration's collapse will be a cathartic experience for America and a relief for the rest of the world.
Chris N. Hallett
Concerning the proposed casino near Florence being promoted by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw. I think it's important that we separate the demeaning community dis-service of casino gambling from the legitimate public debate surrounding the serial injustices that have beset the native population.
When someone says (concerning the casino), "I don't want to do anything to hurt the Indians," we must remember that the entire community suffers when casino gambling comes to town. Any group that promotes casino gambling promotes by the way of effect, increased prostitution, divorce rates, alcoholism, drunk driving and bankruptcies. Whether it is the Donald Trumps of this world or the shadowy financial backers that court the various tribes to build casinos, it doesn't matter. The social services that address the needs of our community are currently burdened to capacity. The increases in caseload for services such as gambling addiction and spousal abuse is not acceptable.
When we say "no" to casino gambling we say "yes" to Florence.
SAVING THE WILLAMETTE
As home to over two-thirds of our state's populace, the Willamette River Valley could literally be seen as the heart of Oregon. Unfortunately, the waterway that serves as the lifeline to this area has been abused and neglected for far too long. The river should be a point of pride to all Oregonians; sadly, it has instead been utilized as the personal dumping grounds of private industry. With high levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury, the heart of Oregon is rapidly approaching a state of cardiac arrest.
Fortunately, we have a governor who has promised to "turn the paperwork into results" and clean up the Willamette before it's too late. The necessary framework for cleaning the river is already in place. Outdated discharge permits need to be brought up to reasonable standards. The Department of Environmental Quality needs to monitor pollution levels and fine violators, in accordance with the provisions of the Clean Water Act. By taking these relatively simple steps we can once again make the Willamette a source of recreation and relaxation for all of Oregon to enjoy. I urge the governor to follow through on his plan to free the river from the grip of industry and put it back where it belongs: in the hands of the people.
Well, we've stepped up to the plate, or stumbled over it actually, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Maybe now it's time to step up again and recognize our growing Hispanic community and honor another great American, Cesar Chavez. Beltline touches both Eugene and Springfield and I-105 cuts through both cities. Neither would adversely impact addresses and both carry more local and visitor traffic than Centennial ever does and both would have the signage on I-5 to proclaim to all passersby our decision to honor diversity.
Most important, it would afford both city councils a rare opportunity to make a joint, generous, magnanimous and hopefully unanimous decision. One of these thoroughfares could easily be named for Chavez and the other could still be named for MLK.
Also, maybe our coastal port authorities could act as incubators to help form membership clubs to support local family fishing businesses. Coastal and inland members could pay annual or monthly fees and receive fresh fish. The fishing boat operators get an economic safety net. This works quite well for some family organic farms in the Willamette Valley.
BRING IT ON
I would like to begin by thanking EW for its nice cover article on BRING Recycling (5/29). The chair with all the tools shown was one of my chairs. It was a pleasant surprise to see it in print, thanks.
As someone who volunteers, shops at and donates to BRING. I wish to say that I totally support BRING and all the wonderful things it provides for this community. I also support wholeheartedly the ideals and vision of those presently leading BRING. I greatly look forward to their future relocation in Glenwood, the plans are quite exciting and work on the first building has begun.
Charging minimal fees for your products sounds nice, until you realize even a non-profit needs funds to pay its employees and provide benefits, as well as supply educational programs. In my opinion, to undercharge for nice reused materials is to devalue it, which is exactly the wrong message to send. Deconstructing lumber entails disassembly, denailing, cleaning, sorting and stocking. All these value added costs have to be added to the retail cost to allow BRING to continue financially.
I see reuse being done on many different levels, neighbor to neighbor, dumpster-diving or non-profits such as St. Vincent dePaul, BRING and MECCA (through reused art supplies), to mention a few.
I would like to thank all those who contribute so much to make BRING what it is and to ask those who are less familiar with BRING to pick up a newsletter or talk with someone about what BRING is and what it will be in the future. I will be helping at the BRING booth at the Country Fair, stop by and visit and talk about reuse and voluntary simplicity circles with me.
Quality Northwest federal forests are being conserved through preservation, restrictive environmental regulations, sound science and evolving forest management that uses natural disturbance regimes, diverse rotations and, above all, a veneration for all forest values.
Forests are among the most renewable resources on earth. The use of wood encourages the growing of trees and that assures that forestlands will not be converted to other uses. Ninety percent of the deforestation occurring in the world is from urban and agricultural expansion.
Forests are not inert, they are born, they grow and they die. Agents of forest change include fire, insects, disease, wind and, yes, humans. If forests are not paved over or converted to farmlands, they will regerenate as they did following the last Ice Age.
Forests, depending on resource objective, may be grown on extended rotations to achieve an array of objectives. To maximize biological diversity, grow and harvest a forest — in lieu of hemp.
Large tracts of wildlands and old growth forests should be cherished as an important part of our culture. Large tracts of well managed biologically diverse forests that provide amenities and commodities should also be cherished.
Step beyond the evangelistic rhetoric by visiting the most productive resilient forests in the world to view the creative ideas that are being implemented. To strike a blow for the worlds forests, support sustainable agriculture and forestry and urban and family planning.
Bobbie Willis' article (6/12) on the establishment of a union by the staff at Mother Kali's Books was welcome, but incomplete in important ways. A fuller picture would have resulted had she not only spoken to current bookshop personnel but taken the time to interview the former staff and manager who advocated for a change throughout a long and painful struggle with a one-person board and who were eventually replaced with the current bookshop manager and staff. (One worker chose to remain outside the conflict.) While the former staff's experiences were and remain silenced, it was their as yet unreported struggle that resulted in the current staff's privilege of being heard by the community and their ability to unionize with the approval of a new board.
Willis' erroneous description of a "wildcat strike" by the former workers during the "height of the September textbook rush" distorts events that should have been researched. By simply repeating this version of the story, Willis has unwittingly but harmfully fed accusations of irresponsibility that were leveled at the time by the board and the community itself against the workers and against manager Tova Stabin, whose forced removal without grounds was only one of several major issues the staff was protesting.
Willis is correct, however, that "restitution" has not yet been made to any of the people whose positions are now held by the current staff and manager and who paid with their jobs and reputations for the changes that the store so proudly announces now.
CALL TO (LOCK) ARMS
These are days when it seems sanity has left us. Many Americans live afraid of tomorrow. Our civic neurosis is maintained by being kept living in a constant state of color-coded mental emergency. The besieged mind retreats into thinking only of base human needs: safety and security. Leaders who promise to provide and protect these needs are then revered.
However, it is during times like these that enormous change is possible. Humans are only willing to change if they are uncomfortable, and, for one reason or another, most Americans are not at all comfortable with what they see happening to their country.
We're discovering that more security does not make us more secure. We're realizing that respect garnered out of fear is not admiration. We're remembering that in all human history, war has never really brought the promised peace. And, as always, we're hoping for someone else to come along and make it all better. But there is no one else.
Our nation is at the intersection of restoration and decline. It is up to each of us to restore America to its founding ideals. It is up to all of the many divergent progressive interest groups that collectively represent the majority of Americans. It is up to all of us who have rested satisfied in being right while those in power have remained busy being in control. It is time to coalesce else we remain powerless to stop the decline. It is time for us to take back America.
Todd Huffman, MD
My body is coated with creamy extract of Big Mac; my throat is gently moistened with an infusion of chocolate shake; I exfoliate my feet with the tantalizing salt of Biggie Fries. May I supersize that shampoo for you?
These are not the foods the cosmetic industry are using to promote their products. These are the true forbidden foods, rather than the blueberries and cream, almonds and oatmeal, and bananas and tangerines noted in Debra Merskin's "Food Values" Viewpoint (6/12) in EW.
Although Merskin's point may be that consumers are falling prey to manufacturers' advertising techniques to the detriment of their own well-being, it is ridiculous to castigate healthy, natural foods and attribute them to the embiggening of America. Merskin would be wise to promote them as healthful alternatives to the beef and fried food industry that has contributed to making 60 percent of Americans overweight.
Here is a little theater game anyone can play. This July 4th, as you hear bangs and booms, imagine you are a U.S. soldier or an Iraqi citizen in Baghdad. Imagine the bangs are real gun fire and the booms are grenades or suicide bombers. Walking around at night adds to the game.
As a UO student and frequent bike commuter, I am quite concerned about upcoming industrialization of the beautiful riverfront bike paths near the UO. Conservation of the natural riverfront area is crucial in improving livability in east Eugene. Has the city considered the impact of converting a large area which functions as an alternative transportation network to a car dominated grid like the rest of town?
Increased runoff, industrial accidents, and fewer reasons for people to utilize alternative transportation will result if the area is developed. In the past, citizens of Eugene have rejected paving the area and it is time they do it again — especially since taxpayers would be footing the bill.
Instead of research and development, the university should plan to quickly address the 20 contaminated sites on the Research Park land. Since 1991 the DEQ has been monitoring these sites — it's now time to do something about them. Shame on our City Council who have voted in favor of this Riverfront Research Park urban renewal corporate giveaway and the defense-related nanotechnology complex it may impose on east Eugene. The university's east campus low-income family housing area is also scheduled to be replaced by this intense research.
Last night I attended a showing of "Regret to Inform." While at once the film took me back years to the Vietnam War and before, it riveted me to the present.
I remember being a young teen gazing with my best friend at young sailors and soldier in uniform — fellows we thought were so handsome and brave. And now, in the newspaper, I see practically children expected to perform deadly and dastardly acts as so-called adults while donning the uniform of our country. I see youth duped — forced to by circumstance, poverty, promises and propaganda to march to war.
I admire Xuan and others for their courage and candid telling of the tragedy of their lives, tragedy secondary to senseless violence and destruction and their desire to rebuild Vietnam which still suffers from "The American War." Yet, I am overcome by the hypocrisy of supporting that effort while our government wreaks devastation again, right now in the supposed aftermath of war, on yet more innocent victims, included well-intentioned troops, decorated in the shadow of red, white and blue.
And I ask, what are we women and men of the world to do?