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LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Obama looks good from Italy

I'm among the many youthful backers of President Obama, but I too harbored doubts following the recent announcement of his Nobel Peace Prize.

In this day of blooming 3-D media, can our top humanitarian awards also be based on projection? It seems so. But the hope is that Obama's administration is the chrysalis that will turn into a magnificent butterfly. This faith is no small thing in a society that expects results in 100 days.

Obama's award carries extra meaning for me because I am on a University of Oregon exchange in Italy. I interact daily with Italians and other European students, and they are acutely aware of what's going on in America.

One of the Italians' favorite questions is "Che ne pensi?" - "What do you think about it all?" - and I am proud to cite Obama as the main reason why I think it's all going pretty great.

The Italians share my enthusiasm for him, in large part because their own political sphere is wobbling farther off its axis by the day. Il Cavaliere (The Knight) Silvio Berlusconi, their leader, often appears in news media not at summits and conferences but with splendid female companions at each elbow. The Italians (and I) might envy him his romancing, but it's hard not to think his playboy ways are a detriment to the country.

We all love Hugh Hefner, but we expect him to stick to his grottoes. Better that we have someone in the Oval Office with peace on the mind.

CHRIS BRADLEY

Eugene

Manson gets better care

The Associated Press reported last week that more than 1,000 children die each year because they lack health insurance. If you are an uninsured, taxpaying citizen of this country, consider this: Charles Manson has better health care than you, and you're paying for it.

How does that make you feel?

DAVE MORGAN

Eugene

Commissioners are doing their jobs

Ruth Maura Atcherson (letters, Oct. 26) claims that Lane County Commissioners Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson, because they refused initially to fund 84 county jail beds, exhibited "complete disregard" for how federal Secure Rural Schools money was supposed to be spent. I call their deliberative attempt to determine the most cost- effective use of those dwindling, temporary funds tough-minded, fiscal integrity.

Atcherson called these commissioners "self-interested" and "small-minded" men. Fleenor has hosted more than 200 community outreach forums. He listens. He instructs. (People who have attended his forums know why the county is imperiled and why conditions will get worse.) He questions uninformed assumptions. He asks thought-provoking questions. He proposes "outside-the-box" suggestions to stimulate problem-solving public discourse. Horrors!

As for the charge of voting to "stash the (Secure Rural Schools) money and give themselves assistants": The board of commissioners oversees 14 diverse departments. Being a commissioner "is not a full-time job; it's an all-time job," Fleenor recently declared. The complexities of how the county is affected by state and federal restrictions and mandates alone should require having an administrative assistant. Critics should have to perform a commissioner's workload for a week. A single individual can do only so much. To better represent his constituents on the coast, Fleenor employs a full-time Florence assistant, paid for out of his own pocket. Atcherson's criticisms are off the mark.

HAROLD TITUS

Florence

Support the Extension Service

In response to the Oct. 28 letter from Bruce H. Anderson, please be aware that, without the training and oversight provided by Oregon State University through its faculty, the Extension Service and its volunteers could not function. That is not to diminish the importance of the Extension volunteers, only to clarify that our service to the community is grounded in the resources, research and reputation of OSU.

The volunteers depend daily on the Extension faculty, who are dedicated to our programs. I know, because I am a volunteer with the Master Food Preserver program. After recent budget cuts, we now operate with 0.6 of a faculty person, who spends the rest of her time directing a similar program in Douglas County.

We have no staff at all. With such limited resources it would be easy to give up, but the determination and perseverance of our faculty chair and that of the volunteers has kept our program alive.

I believe that the Extension Service is a valuable community asset, one that deserves public support. The volunteers give thousands of hours in community service, and the faculty that manages programs stands shoulder to shoulder with us. Help keep us working for you.

When we come to you for support, remember the value of the time and effort and learning and fun that we already have provided. Support your local Extension Service, the best in Oregon, thanks to both volunteers and faculty.

LAURA HINRICH

Walterville

What we need is single payer

There is no real reform for health care without a public option, which is already a compromise. What we really need in this country is single payer health care like other countries that are smarter than us and aren't ruled by greedy insurance corporations.

I guess now we'll see how much power we have left. I'm guessing not much.

LESLIE HUNTER

Eugene

Jefferson had it right on speech

Lawmakers seem quick to quote President Jefferson in matters relating to the interpretation of the First Amendment. Many regard Jefferson's words to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 as gospel: "A wall of separation (exists) between Church and State ..." They should be just as quick to adhere to his beliefs when it comes to matters of "hate crimes." In the same letter, Jefferson declared "the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions."

The government should not decide which opinions are acceptable and which are not. Only actions ought be in its purview. This newspaper recently noted the 10th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard. Would the crime against him have been less heinous had the murderers merely been jealous? No.

Recent decisions demonstrate this administration is attempting to take us down the path toward thought control. They ought to heed Jefferson's letter.

All of it.

MIKE JASKILKA

Eugene

Eugene should support police

The people of Eugene should be grateful to have a dedicated police officer such as Judd Warden. Officer Warden works hard and is committed to upholding the law and keeping citizens safe. Until you have been put into a situation, like law enforcement officers deal with day to day, don't be so critical of their actions.

Eugene police officers are sent into unknown situations routinely with very limited information. They constantly must be aware and ready for a life or death situation. Until they can prove otherwise, a high risk police scene is considered dangerous until secured. If suspects are not cooperating with police officers, then they face being restrained with what force is necessary until they cooperate.

I know that if I were visiting another country and police officers were speaking with authority in a language I did not understand, I would immediately lie face down on the ground with my arms and legs spread wide until directed otherwise. That usually is a universal signal of surrender or complying with law enforcement.

For that matter, if I were protesting in Kesey square in downtown Eugene and police officers were attempting to arrest me, I would assume the same position.

Don't scrutinize the Eugene police for their actions, when it's the actions of the suspects that are out of line.

It's time Eugene citizens starting showing more support for their police officers instead of being unsupportive.

MIKE MONTGOMERY

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Title Annotation:Letters Editorial
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 2, 2009
Words:1271
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