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Byline: The Register-Guard

No voice for the powerless

The tragedy of Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski's leadership is that he has apparently refused to truly listen to Oregon citizens who are the most powerless and marginalized. For decades I've been a community organizer for the human rights of people in mental health care. I've had a view from the grass-roots.

Kulongoski recently keynoted a conference of the National Association of State Budget Officers. The irony is that most states at least provide a tiny amount of funding so that mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors can have a statewide voice. Most states fund a mental health consumer affairs department, a statewide mental health client organization, or some other way to hear directly from the customers.

Unfortunately, during Kulongoski's entire tenure, funding for the statewide voice of Oregon's mental health clients was zeroed out, and - overriding his own mental health agency's repeated recommendations - he never proposed this item in his budget.

I am sure Kulongoski generally cares about everyone. However, he has not shown the self-determination and curiosity required to grapple with the slow-motion catastrophe that is our mental health system.

This is about more than money. The legacy of Gov. Kulongoski may be enormous, new, disempowering psychiatric institutions built with more than half a billion dollars of our taxpayer money. Our governor discovered hundreds of millions for bricks, but not one dime for the statewide voice of Oregon citizens who may end up dying behind those bricks.

David Oaks, Executive Director

MindFreedom International


Supply side tax cuts worked

Reading Dennis Shine's letter of July 30 was a bit frightening, considering he taught economics for 25 years. He contends that the Laffer curve was just a back bending supply curve, and that the Reagan tax cuts which were based on it were failures.

The truth is that the Laffer Curve held that high marginal tax rates discourage work effort, savings and investment, while promoting tax avoidance and evasion. A reduction in the high marginal rates would discourage tax shelters and encourage investment in new productive endeavors, promoting job and tax revenue growth. The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which was a 25 percent reduction in the tax rates of individuals, was based upon this belief. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 reduced the rate again.

The results of these "supply side" tax cuts can be seen in a couple of numbers: from 1980 until 1989 individual tax revenues rose from $244 billion to $446 billion, and the percentage of individual taxes paid by the top 1 percent of payers jumped from 17.6 percent to 27.5 percent, an increase of 10 percentage points. The tax burden on the middle class was lowered from 57.5 percent to 48.7 percent of individual tax revenue.

I would not say that those numbers add up to failure.

Jerry Kershner


Nice to read about monster salmon

After returning from a week of archaeological research on California's Channel Islands, I was delighted to read The Register-Guard's front page story on July 22 about the CT scan of our famous saber-tooth salmon (Onchrynchus rastrosus) fossil, a natural wonder cared for in the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History's Condon Fossil Collection. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by bad news, crises and calamity, I found it refreshing to read a story about a monster salmon that swam in Pacific Coast waters 5 million years ago. Kirk Toncray's well-meaning July 26 letter politicizing the high-tech scanning of this fascinating beast proves to me that, here in Oregon and around the world, there is always someone ready to suck all the joy out of life.

Studying the past - especially with new technologies - enriches the present and helps us plan more effectively for the challenges of the future. The Register-Guard, reporter Mark Baker, UO paleontologist Edward Davis, radiologist Lee Michels and the staff of the Oregon Imaging Center gave readers a great story. For those who want to see more, check out the MNCH Website featuring a 3-D scan of this important fossil. Copies of a 44 page booklet on "Smilodonichthys" published by the UO in 1972 are also available at the museum.

Jon Erlandson,

Director, UO Museum of Natural

and Cultural History


New baseball venue flunks

For years my friend and I have enjoyed watching Ems games. Typically we bought the cheapest tickets and packed a picnic lunch to keep costs down, as low-income fans must. We thought we'd give the new venue a chance. Unfortunately, we found it to be extremely user unfriendly.

Cost: the general admission seats are now isolated on one side. The sun was shining in fans' eyes for the first hour and a half or so, and the view wasn't as good as the old general admission tickets. So we paid more than $3 extra for seats.

No outside food: I like to bring unsweetened, decaffeinated iced tea. They never sell anything like that at performance arenas. I also like to bring our dinner, which I did. They made us pour out our drinks and leave our food at the gate. This made us very angry, and greatly subtracted from our enjoyment.

Scoreboard: We couldn't read the scoreboard for the first half of the game to see how many strikes, walks, outs, etc., there were. The sun was shining directly on it, the lights weren't turned on, and the letters and numbers were too small. It's simply much less functional than the former large hand-hung numbers.

Sadly, though we would like to support our home team, we won't be going back. And I suspect that for many families it's no longer affordable. Reducing prices and allowing outside food might go a long way to welcoming fans back.

Karen Irmscher


Where the iris come from

The thorough article on the seed-saving workshop at Nearby Nature, published Aug. 2, was appreciated

However, please let me correct one detail. The blooming white iris I brought to show folks at the workshop, named Immortality, was not grown from seed. Irises, like many other perennials, are grown by division. In other words, when you have a large clump you divide it into pieces, and each healthy piece becomes a new plant.

Most of my iris starts originally came from Cooleys Gardens in Silverton. Over the past 40 years iris growers have done wonderful work, breeding new colors, pastel mixtures, and fragrant irises. Irises generally bloom in the spring, but reblooming iris, such as Immortality, now offer a second period of bloom in the summer or fall. Register-Guard readers who want to see pictures could order the Cooleys catalog, or visit its website. Irises are easy to grow, and late summer-early fall is the ideal time to plant them!

Elaine Zablocki


Building will have cool innovations

The unhealthy effects of air conditioning described in The Register-Guard's July 25 Commentary section have led to some cool innovations in building practices. Case in point: the new Health and Wellness Center nearing completion at Lane Community College main campus. The center does not have traditional air conditioning. Instead, it has roof vents and a ventilation "lung" that opens at night to refresh the building's air. It has operable windows, too.

Once the interior is sufficiently cool, windows and vents close automatically. Temperature is maintained through thermal mass, a highly insulated building envelope and ceiling fans. In the event of extreme weather, radiant panels that use heated and chilled water are available to further cool the building. The public can see for themselves at a grand opening event planned by the LCC Foundation for Sept. 23, beginning at 4 p.m. Details are online at

Jennifer Hayward

Sustainability coordinator

Lane Community College

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Title Annotation:Editorials and Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 4, 2010
Previous Article:Remove Senate's shroud.
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