LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Board, governor did the right thing
Before I read The Register-Guard's Nov. 29 coverage of University of Oregon Richard Lariviere's firing, I, too, was wondering who on Earth the people who fired him thought they were. By all accounts that I'd read to that point, Lariviere had nothing at heart but the best interests of education and the UO community.
Then, after I read the Nov. 29 coverage slowly and carefully, and based on this new, more detailed context, I was persuaded that the state Board of Higher Education and Gov. John Kitzhaber had done the right thing.
Lariviere's means for reaching his goal were, in my thinking, as autocratic as I formerly believed the board's actions had been. In fact, I would change the headline of Robert Berdahl's Nov. 30 guest viewpoint column to read, "UO president's downfall was the way he pursued his pursuit of excellence." In other words, his ends did not justify his autocratic means.
Lariviere's intellect is such that his career led him to a position as president of a large university. So I think I can safely assume that the risk he took to reach his ends was calculated, that he was prepared for all possible consequences, and that he has already accepted them and moved on.
I, too, have moved on. Education is one of the public issues I am most interested in and concerned about. I will continue to follow this issue - Oregon's issue - closely.
Nancy A. Olson
Pepper spraying was not a violation
Contrary to Robert Bolman's opinion (letters, Nov. 29), the pepper spray incident at the University of California at Davis did not violate anyone's constitutional rights.
The police did not "nonchalantly" douse young people with pepper spray. Those young people were resisting arrest and threatening police officers. They were told if they refused to disperse they would be pepper-sprayed. They locked arms and sat down, making it virtually impossible for the police to arrest them. To attempt to "haul them away," as Bolman suggested, could have put the police and the young people at risk of serious injury.
Pepper spraying is not considered "cruel and unusual punishment." All police officers and all military personnel, in the course of their training, have to endure pepper spray and even more distasteful forms of chemical deterrents. Pepper spray is an accepted tool for crowd control and to momentarily incapacitate those who are resisting arrest, in order for the arrest to be effected in a safe manner.
The "concern" Bolman expresses for the unraveling of society would more fittingly be aimed at young people who seem to hold the mind-set that they can do anything they want regardless of its legality, morality or effects on others, and that they should face no consequences for their actions. That, in reality, is the true cause of the "unraveling" of our society, and the "occupiers" are just the latest symptom of the insidious disease of self-centeredness that has infected our culture.
EmX foes back sensible transit
Leslie Weinstein's Nov. 29 letter claiming that public transit benefits commerce was too subjective, and based on wishful thinking.
OurMoneyOurTransit is not a "political action committee" trying to "devise" something, nor is it against public transit. Weinstein is ill-informed about the organization, which supports sensible transit and has become the true provider of information about Lane Transit District's proposed, flawed West Eugene EmX extension.
Businesses that choose to display "No Build" signs along the proposed route have studied the plan and have determined that it will not meet the lofty goals that LTD has advertised. They and property owners along the line will bear the negative impacts of the project and they don't need EmX proponents telling them what is best for them.
The first segment of EmX, on Franklin Boulevard, was sensible considering there was room for the dedicated lanes in the median and the nearby student population provides riders. That part of EmX is fantastic and really amounts to a glorified school bus route. But Weinstein and EmX proponents must realize that is not the case in West Eugene.
LTD's contentious proposal is less about sensible transit and more about self-preservation: It needs the tens of millions of dollars in "free" federal money to keep its bloated administration employed.
LTD and EmX proponents have yet to demonstrate how commerce, businesses and the community as a whole will benefit from the West Eugene extension.