LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Textbook costs out of control
I am very pleased to see coverage of the topic of high textbook prices (Register-Guard, Feb. 1). I - like thousands of students at the University of Oregon and like millions of students throughout the United States - am appalled by the staggering prices of textbooks. Just last quarter I paid $300 for textbooks for just three classes, and I will be able to reuse only one of the books I purchased in further classes.
I am frustrated by new editions with seemingly minute changes and by extra cassettes and CD-ROMs that skyrocket the cost but are frequently unused. Something needs to be done. This is supposed to be a public institution that anyone can attend, but how can anyone afford these outrageous costs?
Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group is working on a campaign to ease the textbook cost crisis. OSPIRG and other groups should be supported in the goal to make textbooks affordable.
Mark Herbert solves problems
Plenty of issues face Lane County, including increased demands on human service programs with far less funding, high unemployment, shrinking employment opportunities for youth, reduced budgets for schools and short staffing in public safety. We need to resolve political differences and work together.
Putting labels on candidates and oversimplifying issues are not productive or helpful. I'm supporting Mark Herbert for east Lane County commissioner because he isn't defined by labels or partisan positions. He's a strong-willed collaborator who can get things done with creative solutions.
The solutions are not going to be easy. Viable solutions will mean that we're all going to live with some measure of compromise. Those solutions need to be crafted by elected officials and community leaders willing to focus on the issues instead of personal agendas. We need elected officials who are willing to listen, create partnerships, take risks and reach out to colleagues in other jurisdictions.
Herbert has a background of problem solving, collaboration, tenacity and integrity. He's proven his ability to create teams and craft creative solutions as a business executive, a consultant and community leader.
I encourage those who live in east Lane County, District 5, to find out more before the May election. Check out www.markherbert.com and decide for yourself. Or visit with Herbert at his first town hall meeting next Wednesday evening at Coburg's municipal court building.
Bush must be held accountable
Is it me, or does the president's latest pronouncement sound a little, well, crazy?
I expect neoconservative spinsters to come out in full force after David Kay's announcement that "we were all wrong, probably" in believing that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of illicit weapons before the war. But in a speech in the Library of Congress, President Bush said that in deposing Saddam Hussein, the United States had dealt with a dictator who had "the intent and capability" to threaten his own people and the world.
For that we went to war? Are we getting into the realm of George Orwell's "1984' when we talk about launching a pre-emptive war because of imagined thoughts of our potential enemies?
Bush's second assertion, that Hussein had the "capability to threaten the world," is just plain wrong. How much of a threat could he have been to any neighbor without weapons of mass destruction?
Mainstream U.S. media are missing a key point in this hoopla about faulty U.S. intelligence. Critical information had been available to the Bush administration clearly pointing to a lack of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: U.N. weapons inspectors, who were on the ground in Iraq for years before the U.S. invasion. Bush turned a blind eye to that as well.
I see pretty clear evidence of ideology overpowering reason. That kind of thinking leads to dangerous and expensive mistakes. Bush and company must be held accountable for this disastrous misadventure. We're counting on Congress to do its duty!
Feature money on new quarter
We're getting this Oregon quarter design all wrong. The coin representing our state should depict what we honor most. That would be money itself.
Certainly we value our bucks more than salmon, Crater Lake, conifers or even our schools, justice or human services. So why don't we just admit who we are and depict stacks of currency on the front of our state's special coin? On the reverse, how about our state bird - a tight fist jutting from an ivory tower waving to the huddled and ever-increasing peasantry below?
Web sites track war statistics
Those who want to keep track of how much President Bush's war for re-election and oil is costing us in dollars can find out at www .costofwar.com.
Those who want to know what it's costing us in blood can find out at www.antiwar.com/casualties.
And those who want to know how many Iraqi civilians are being sacrificed may find out at www .iraqbodycount.net.
To keep track of Bush's lies about this war and about other issues, go to www.bushlies.com.
LCDC didn't reject LUBA
In a Jan. 31 article, The Register-Guard reported that the state Land Conservation and Development Commission had decided not to intervene in the land use litigation involving the siting of PeaceHealth's proposed new facility in Gateway. The litigation now consists of appeals of a decision by the state Land Use Board of Appeals. LUBA, among other things, interpreted the state transportation planning rule to find that the siting would violate the local transportation plan.
The article also reported that PeaceHealth's attorney stated LCDC's decision not to intervene "resoundingly rejected" LUBA's interpretation of the planning rule.
The PeaceHealth attorney's statement is wrong. I am one of four LCDC members who made the decision on this issue. LCDC did not endorse or reject LUBA's interpretation of the transportation planning rule. Our staff did not ask for an endorsement. The question was whether LCDC should intervene to help guide the court of appeals in interpreting the transportation planning rule, which LCDC previously adopted and is responsible for reviewing and revising when necessary. The question was not whether LCDC agreed with LUBA, Springfield, PeaceHealth or the opponents.
My reason for deciding not to intervene was that rulemaking would be a better process for resolving questions about the transportation planning rule than would litigation. At any rate, LCDC's decision will play no part in the court's review of LUBA's decision.
Lane County Law &
Science and theology differ
I read another letter to the editor this morning asking that we instruct our public schools to be more open-minded in teaching theories regarding the beginning of life on Earth. Why is it so difficult to understand the concept of the separation of church and state?
It is a public school we are talking about, a school that is supported by government funds. Schools have science as one of their curriculum components. They don't have theology.
Evolution is a scientific theory. Creationism is a theological theory. If you don't have the Bible, you don't have "God created the earth." So if the parents of a student attending a public school want their children to know what God said, they should send them to church, temple or mosque. Allow them to learn science in school.
Bush strategy begins to emerge
As Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry closes in on the Democratic nomination, it becomes increasingly evident how the Bush administration will fight for its life this November.
First, with money. It's a measure of how much wealth is being drained from the middle class to the super-rich that they can spend upwards of $300 million to keep their man in office.
Second, with vindictiveness. Divisive social issues will be used by Bush and his minions to drive wedges into Kerry's support. Likewise, expect to see every aspect of Kerry's life and career become the subject of sanctimonious smears.
It will be for naught. That's because a solid majority of Americans, just like Democrats in the early primary and caucus states, are in the process of deciding that the presidency of one George W. Bush has already lasted quite long enough, thank you.
Taylor is a voice of integrity
It is great news that Betty Taylor is running for another term on the Eugene City Council. By now it is hard to imagine the council without her voice of sanity, integrity, brevity and intelligence. She is beholden to no one and is steady in her advocacy for the rights of people without power and for wide participation in fashioning the future of the city we love.
Thanks, Betty - we still need you.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Article Type:||Letter to the Editor|
|Date:||Feb 19, 2004|
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