LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Oregon has concealment law
A news account by the Public Broadcasting System and broadcast on OPB-TV used a graphic that showed Oregon as a state without any concealed weapon laws.
That is not correct. Oregon requires a person who wants to possess a concealed weapon to:
Apply to the county sheriff for a permit.
Obtain the permit from the local sheriff.
Be a law-abiding resident in the sheriff's eyes.
I was a member of the Legislature that passed that law requiring a permit, a law updated in the year 1989 and thereafter.
Recall Lane commissioners
The actions by the Lane County commissioners are a disgrace. We suspected, and now find by legal opinion, their behavior violated the open meeting laws of our government, and in the process absolutely trampled the spirit of the laws. That is why their whining about technicalities finds no excuse in citizens' hearts, only contempt for their audacity. It casts a dim light on the county government.
We now know their sinister plan when they held an "open meeting" regarding the proposed rules for the McKenzie River watershed. Now, does anyone really think that wasn't a backroom, cooked deal? It must end now.
Adding insult to injury, they are spending almost $20,000 of our scarce funds for a public survey.
Do we really think they care about what we think? I don't believe we can wait for the next election. These folks must be removed as soon as a recall can be arranged. Disgusting behavior.
How PERS added 10 percent
Once upon a time, Oregon Public Employees Retirement System retirees were exempt from paying state income taxes on their pensions, while federal retirees were not exempt. Because federal law required that both types of pensions be treated equally, some federal retirees sued in federal court asking for equal treatment. They won.
Oregon decided to comply with the law by taxing PERS pensions and federal pensions alike, while ordering PERS to give all state retirees a 10 percent raise to compensate them for any state income tax that they might have to pay. That resulted in an inflow to state tax coffers, a drain on PERS reserves, and a windfall for those state retirees who no longer live in Oregon.
Now, inquiring minds might ask: How does PERS recover the additional 10 percent that is being paid to PERS retirees each year? After all, an additional 10 percent paid out over a couple of decades ought to add up to a considerable sum. I suspect that these moneys are recovered by PERS through increasingly higher bills to public entities such as state agencies, local school districts, and city and county governments.
Since it is unlikely that our elected representatives ever will do anything to rectify this situation, Oregonians can at least take comfort in the fact that while our public school children may suffer, our PERS retirees will remain fully insulated from the wealth-draining effects of Oregon state income taxes.
Don't kill alternative schools
Among the bright lights in the Eugene School District are our alternative schools, which provide our kids with education while immersing them into a foreign language at the same time. Features include no extra fee, openness to everyone, no requirements or conditions and access per lottery system, with no discrimination or favoring of anyone.
Alas - if you look at the schools statistically, there is inequity in the makeup of the student population: lower socioeconomic class, minority and disability students are not represented equally in the alternative schools compared to the neighborhood schools.
I would agree that this issue needs to be addressed by removing obstacles for disadvantaged students. In the end we may have to accept that, unless we adopt a totalitarian system in which all educational decisions are taken away from parents, we always will have some inequities in education: Some parents are more passionate about education than others; some may choose not to take on the extra challenges of language immersion.
Nancy Willard has been, for many years, on a destructive campaign to abolish the alternative schools. Should she succeed, it would neither ameliorate the financial problems the school district is facing nor would it improve in any way the education of disadvantaged students. All it would achieve is robbing Eugene of one of its greatest attractions to young families with children, and it would hurt many of our children who are thriving in a language immersion school, now and in the future.
A solution for UO parking
It is no secret to anyone who has any type of involvement or contact with the University of Oregon that there is a serious lack of parking. That has been re-emphasized now with the opening of the new Matthew Knight Arena.
There is a good solution available: Build a large, multi-level parking structure next to Autzen Stadium and PK Park. Next, build a light rail line, preferably a trolley or streetcar line, that would extend from Autzen south over the Willamette River, down Agate Street and east on 13th Avenue. After passing the arena, turn south on Villard Street to 15th Avenue and west to University Street; that would serve most of the dorms and Hayward Field. Next, turn north on University, then east on 13th to return north on Agate to Autzen.
The students would use the structure during the day on weekdays, and people attending various events would use it on evenings and weekends. Few facilities in the area would be used as much.
Charge a reasonable fee, and in time it will pay for itself - and then produce reasonable revenue as well as providing a much-needed service to both the students and the community.
Historically, this would cover some of the original streetcar route of 1907-1927 and have far more charm and character than a Lane Transit District bus can ever have. See http://pedshed.net/ p=61 for Route 3 of the original line.
TR knew about 'brutal natures'
On Oct. 14, 1912, John Schrank stepped out of a crowd and fired a shot at the then-campaigning Theodore Roosevelt. The shot was kept from being fatal in part by the glancing blow to the assassin's firing hand by a quick thinking person in the crowd, but also by a large folded copy of a speech Roosevelt was prepared to deliver and the spectacle case in his coat's breast pocket, which absorbed some of the bullet's impact.
Although Theodore Roosevelt had been shot, and with the assassin's bullet yet lodged in his chest, he held up his prepared speech to show the bullet hole in it, and went on to deliver another, unprepared speech - a speech now historically known as the Bull Moose Speech.
"Friends," he said in the opening moments, "I will disown and repudiate any man of my party who attacks with such slander and abuse any opponent of any other party; and now I wish to say seriously to all the daily newspapers, to the Republicans, to the Democrat, to the Socialist parties, that they can not, month in month out and year in and year out, make the kind of untruthful, bitter assault that they have made and not expect that brutal, violent natures, or brutal and violent characters, especially when the brutality is accompanied by a not-very-strong mind. They can not expect that such natures will be unaffected by it."