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Byline: The Register-Guard

Leashing dogs protects birds

Matt Cooper's March 7 article on off-leash dogs in Alton Baker Park missed a golden-retriever opportunity to educate on an issue more dire than "Nike nipping": habitat destruction.

How would you feel if a tree suddenly crashed through the roof of your home, destroying nearly everything in it, and while you scrambled to rescue what you could, another falling tree devastated what was left? How would your family react if a tree limb flattened your dog's house?

One off-leash dog can crush the secluded incubators of several ground-nesting birds on a single romp into the high grass. This is the beginning of nesting season. Avian homes will soon be fully occupied with the present and next generation of birds. Frog ponds have already entered into a similar cycle.

Sunday's article was valuable in presenting a contrast between two attitudes: Someone who intentionally allows his dog to run wild in a natural area, and an owner who leashes her canine on walks because "it is a law." However, leash ordinances exist not just to protect strolling, running and cycling humans, but also for the purpose of sustaining a fragile fabric that has enabled our parkland to come alive with birdsong and frog chorus each spring.



Citizen Planning Committee

Whilamut Natural Area


Guest column misused data

The March 8 guest viewpoint regarding gay marriage by Kim Grossnicklaus offers a new low for The Register-Guard. Isn't knowledge or at least logical argumentation relevant to obtaining "guest" status?

Grossnicklaus irrationally cites a variety of studies of "fatherless families" (that is, single-parent families led by women) as evidence to support her anti-gay marriage message, as if gay-lesbian households have the same level and types of dysfunctionality. That's akin to studying fish to draw conclusions about birds.

She irrationally posits that lesbian households can't breastfeed and that parents should only be biologically linked to their children (ignoring her own family's adoption or the ability for gays and lesbians to be biological parents).

This isn't expertise or even a valid opinion; it is an ignorant (or deliberate) misrepresentation of statistics and analysis to support her thinly disguised hate speech. Her argument doesn't even make logical sense for those opposed to gay marriages. Why not use statistics that actually apply to the situation she discusses? Could it be these studies don't agree with her "viewpoint"?

I fully understand the paper's obligation to include various viewpoints, but I do expect, at minimum, rational discussion, logical application of facts and coherent arguments from our "resident experts."

Our community relies on our newspaper to broaden our perspective, to listen to viewpoints both agreeable and disagreeable. To publish what by all professional standards are gross misrepresentations and ignorant conclusions does no favor to a community grappling with complex social issues.



Bush gambled and lost in Iraq

No, Jessika Jensen (letters, March 7), as a liberal, I am not blind.

I understand that we are a nation that is supposed to be guided by law. The aim of law, among other things, is to seek fairness, e.g., an elimination of the double standard. What President Bush has done, by pre-emptively attacking Iraq, is to bring America down to the same level of hypocrisy that Japan had prior to our entry into World War II.

Can we honestly say that we are any better than they were, now? Let me quote Liang Ch'i Ch'ao from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War": `Similarly, if a small crime is considered crime, but a big crime such as attacking another country is applauded as a righteous act, can this be said to be knowing the difference between righteous and unrighteous?"

Bush chose to believe flimsy evidence. He chose to gamble, and he lost. Now, it is time for him to pay his debts and step down.

Can it be that the liberals aren't the ones who have chosen to blind themselves to reality? Could it be possible that the pride of the Bush-backers is considered more important than the wasteful loss of lives of our military personnel? They who are paying the price of an unjustified war, with their very blood?



Gay partners' joy is real

There is real joy on the faces of those couples at the courthouse, joy about commitment to each other, about making a life together, about being recognized as a couple.

Why should I not acknowledge their commitment? Am I here to make life hard for them? Is their life not hard enough that I should ask them to go through it without a companion? And why should I refrain from calling them a couple? It's the truth. It doesn't really hurt me. If I can, by recognizing them as a couple, help stabilize their relationship, is that not a good thing?

The joy on their faces is real. It's about commitment. I love that somebody in this world is trying to stay together for life for love. I hope they manage. I hope people around them take care of them. I hope they live to see themselves acknowledged as a blessing to their community.



What about Bush stock trade?

As the Martha Stewart insider trading trial ends with her conviction, let's remember President Bush's insider trading of Harken stock.

At a May 1990 meeting attended by Bush, board members discussed a stock offering they hoped would bring in enough money to keep the company solvent. Bush was named to the board's "Fairness Committee," which was to measure the effects of bankruptcy on small stockholders. By late May 1990, internal memos warned that there was no source of immediate financing, loans were slipping out of compliance, and banks were demanding guarantees of sufficient equity to cover loans.

As chairman of the audit committee actually working with the accounting consultants called in by the board, Bush knew exactly how grim their conclusions were. He was warned, along with other directors, in a May 25 memo, that it would be illegal to dump his stock.

In June, he left the small stockholders holding the bag. He dumped $848,560 of the stock without disclosing the sale to the Securities and Exchange Commission. On Aug. 22, Harken's second quarter report predicted $23 million in losses. Once the news hit the street, the stock sank immediately from $4 to $2.57. It bottomed out at 22 cents a share.

So Martha Stewart is convicted and George Bush is president.



U.S. abandons Haitian poor

Columnist Paul Greenberg does a great disservice to casual readers by distorting the facts about Haiti (Register-Guard, March 5).

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was duly and fairly elected. Greenberg confuses Aristide's legitimacy as president with a reference to a controversial legislative election. His regime's explicit espousal of the poor was never favored by American administrations.

We should be furious with our own government over the lack of accountability for the large sums of American taxpayer money spent in Haiti without addressing any remedy to the social injustices rampant there. The Haitian masses oppressed for generations by a miniscule elite are now further disadvantaged by the extraordinary removal of the one leader committed to their interests. Thousands of the poor have been demonstrating their concerns in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Greenberg should pause to wonder why those most closely attuned to the ordinary people of Haiti - such as the Congressional Black Caucus, CARICOM and the Organization of American States - are so suspicious about the circumstances of Aristide's abrupt deposition. That extraordinary caper was abysmally murky, to say the least.



Let people live in giant SUVs

Well, it looks as though gas prices are going to reach higher records than ever before. In these times of "pain at the pump," I feel a great sadness for the people who drive Explorers, Expeditions, mammoth pickups and the like.

I especially agonize over the plight of those who have taken the selfless world view with their purchase of a Hummer. I will miss seeing those gargantuan dinosaurs on the roads with their owners riding up so high, chatting away on cell phones without a care (for anyone) in the world. I will feel their owners' anguish as they sit at their windows, dazedly mulling over their fat-headed greediness, while gazing out upon the useless, hulking behemoths that inhabit their driveways. Perhaps these wasteful leviathans could be turned into rental units on which the unfortunate owners could earn some revenue.



Global free trade must be fair

I am a believer in globalization, but we need to do right. It needs to be on fair terms that protect workers and the environment. We need to get these standards mandated, which may mean some hard stands with trading partners.

This always leads to the argument of less selection in products and higher prices. I take issue with this.

First, selection. Living in Eugene and being able to enjoy the Saturday Market, the availability of artisans and craftsmen to make goods is obvious. It is doubtful we are the only community with this resource. I know at least one other community, Park City, Utah, that has a similar wellspring of talent. With the Internet, these goods could be sold nationwide.

Second, price. Right now, most artisans and craftsmen work on a small scale. But even so, their prices are very reasonable, even compared to mass-produced, lower-quality goods.

What if unused manufacturing equipment, unemployed workers and these artisans and craftspeople were joined together and supported by the Small Business Administration? Would we really have to fear loss of selection or higher prices?

Maybe we might make a dent in the job hemorrhage.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 15, 2004
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