LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Prepare for a budget cut
I was disappointed that the Oct. 15 report on property tax statements gave no explanation as to why taxes are going up even when property values are declining: because we the people voted to have it that way! Measure 5 in 1990 and Measure 57, more recently, have severed market value from the computation of property taxes. The news account mentioned the state Constitution without saying that the voters, within recent memory, put that into the Constitution. It did take the always-present shot at public employees, saying that the relatively level tax income "is crucial to pay for ever-increasing employee costs, including wage hikes, medical insurance and retirement benefits."
None of this is much help to community colleges and their employees (to say nothing of the students and their families) that only receive 25 percent of our income from local property taxes (another 25 percent from tuition) and 50 percent from state general fund sources, which declined by 10 percent in the 2009 session. I understand the recently referred tax increases are polling to be defeated by a whopping margin. Why not - if we allow those tax increases to stand, they will only go to pay for "ever-increasing employee costs" and not to police, corrections, human resources, public schools and universities or parks - and kill jobs.
We at Umpqua Community College have already been advised to prepare for a budget cut following the February special session; I suspect Lane Community College President Mary Spilde has heard the same thing.
Community Relations Director
Umpqua Community College
Fight against hate crimes
The City of Eugene Human Rights Commission is deeply distressed by recent acts of violence against homeless persons in our community. The commission believes each individual has inherent worth and value. Hate, violence, harassment and bias affect all of us, and threaten community support, safety and security.
Threats to homeless persons are illegal. Hate crimes, including harassment and bias incidents, are crimes motivated by the prejudice of a perpetrator targeting a victim because of the victim's perceived association with a group. These heinous crimes are often done to induce fear and intimidation among specific targeted groups. Prosecutions of hate crimes against the homeless and other targeted groups carry extra penalties and help protect our community.
Hate activity can test our community, and we all can play a role in effective response. Our collective effort is our greatest resource, and we must respond to these heinous acts. The Human Rights Commission encourages each of us to remain aware of violent predatory acts against homeless people. The commission encourages active reporting: If you see a violent act, graffiti, flyers, or hear hate or bias speech regarding our homeless population, or any other groups, please report it immediately.
One way to document such atrocious acts, if you are a witness, is taking a photo via mobile phone or noting any information about perpetrators, hate activity, or events and sharing these as soon as possible with the Eugene Police Department or the Equity and Human Rights Center.
Human Rights Analyst
City Manager's Office
No money to open jail
Sandra Mattson is the latest misinformed letter writer (letters, Oct, 1) to blame the early release of Paul Reid Dawson, and the lawsuit by Dawson's subsequent rape victim, on the current Board of County Commissioners. How many times does it need to be said? Dawson's release came last year on the watch of Commissioners Bobby Green, Faye Stewart and Bill Dwyer. Inmates have been released early for many years, and Mattson clearly doesn't have any idea what it would take to change this unfortunate reality.
Mattson thinks the current board should just "fully open the jail and forest work camp." Does she not understand that there isn't anywhere near the money for fully opening that jail, and there hasn't been for many years? Within just a couple years, there won't be enough money to fund any jail beds, if something isn't done soon to bring in more revenue. Mattson doubtless also doesn't know that the forest work camp was closed because Congress changed the rules to prohibit use of federal timber dollars for such camps.
Commissioner Rob Handy should be commended for taking the time to be sure of the state revenue picture before making a final budget decision this spring. If Mattson were a commissioner, we'd be in a world of hurt right now after she'd "fully opened the jail and forest work camp" without a clue about how to pay for it all.
Another Ponzi scheme?
I have been taxed for years to support a Medicare system that I object to on grounds including the mismanagement of the money, the lack of constitutional authority for government to operate such a program, and the massive abuses and inefficiencies that seem to be inevitable when government assumes roles for which it was not designed. These issues made me skeptical of the promise that my involuntary "contributions" to Medicare would provide decades of care for my elders and guarantee me that same care when my time came.
The system became geometrically more costly than promised and joined Social(ized) Security among the great bankruptcy-bound Ponzi schemes of all time. Still we must pay for both, conscious that superior private options are prohibited. Now we are invited to turn our entire health care over to this same government, because it will somehow provide better than the private sector.
Now for the final irony. When objectors try to prevent this next stage of government takeover, we are lectured in Mailbag letters like Walker Ryan's, telling those who don't like "socialism" they should be "giving up their evil Medicare benefits" or "not sign[ing] up for Medicare benefits when the time comes." It's as if our only morally consistent position is to say "Oh, yes, big government, please keep taxing us for the old failing systems, give us no options, give us none of the money you promised us, and while you're at it, tax us into the next phase of this utopian vision."
Dumbing down the curricula
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (Oct. 12, "U.S. getting a failing grade on education") laments the decline of education in America. He apparently blames a reduction in funding for much of the problem. I'll suggest a far more disturbing culprit: the "dumbing down" of curricula at all levels.
I could rail about the revisionist claptrap that passes for high school "history" courses these days. But let's look at some recent course offerings by our colleges and universities. To cite a few: "Tree Climbing," "Video Game Studies," "Queer Mobility," "Movie Appreciation" and a host of other courses that include the word "studies" which are basically useless in the real world.
The best example is a course appropriately called "Stupidity" offered by a private college in California that costs nearly $40,000 per year to attend. The course description says, among other profundities, "Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity." The parents who are footing the bill apparently graduated from this institution with honors.
When a college graduate with this kind of "education" shows up at your door, pay him for the pizza and tip him a couple bucks.
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|Title Annotation:||Letters Editorial|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Oct 18, 2009|
|Previous Article:||Another cross case.|