LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Banning mascots would be illogical
I was astounded by the failure of logic in the editorial "Lose the Indian mascots" (March 20). If, in fact, 90 percent of American Indians found the use of the word "redskins" acceptable, 9 percent found it offensive and 1 percent had no answer, how is it possible to come to the conclusion that it is proved offensive?
In 1992 on "Oprah" it was said the word "squaw" was a derogatory term referring to female reproductive organs. The Oregon Legislature decided to change the names of all the "squaw" landmarks in the state. In 2000 World Wide Words researched the source of the word and found the rumor was not true.
I have been told not to use the term "rule of thumb" because the phrase came from an English common law ruling that a thumb-size stick was the largest a husband could use to beat his wife. That wasn't true, either, but a story saying so was published and believed.
I have had people in Eugene tell me they find the American flag offensive because it represents the many terrible things the United States has done. I have had Mexicans tell me that people in the United States calling themselves "American" is offensive because everyone who lives in the Western Hemisphere is "American."
As for the Indian mascots, I believe it should be left to the intent for using it - if the intent is demonstrably honorable, it should be OK.
H. Eric Watkins
Check U.S. code before complaining
Before everyone loses it over the mural painted at Springfield High School, read up on the subject. Here is one of the many websites that provide information on the U.S. flag's customs and courtesies: www.usflag.org/uscode36.html.
The way I see it, is if we force the repainting or removal of the mural, there should be a whole bunch of citations issued to local businesses, government agencies, schools, homeowners, etc., who are violating the U.S. Code.
Jeffrey D. Hearn
Staff Sgt., U.S. Army, retired
LTD is mismanaging its money
As the Lane Transit District and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy continue their aggressive attempts at a federal money grab for an unneeded EmX line in west Eugene, and as the funding crisis continues in our school systems, a good, hard look needs to be taken at how LTD is mismanaging money in comparison to another local entity funded primarily by tax dollars, the Springfield School District.
Doing some easily accessible research, I came across some interesting facts. LTD has approximately 300 employees but has a human resources department with six full-time equivalent employees and a budget of nearly $1 million.
The Springfield School District, meanwhile, has nearly 1,300 employees, five full-time equivalent employees in its human resources department and a budget of just under $578,000.
That begs a couple of questions: Why is the Springfield School District eight times more efficient with its human resources budget than LTD? And what's the real reason Piercy is pushing the extension of EmX service into west Eugene to benefit an agency that is already abusing the government largesse it is receiving?
Print letters that respect readers
After reading James Bryant's March 14 letter my first thought was, "Why does The Register-Guard publish this stuff?"
I enjoy reading letters to the editor and opinion pieces - whether from the left or right of the political spectrum - that make me think and question my own assumptions about a particular issue.
But I'm tired of seeing letters that are full of the same old political name calling (e.g., "idiot," "moron," "brain-dead") that serve no purpose other than to inflame others to write more of the same.
Maybe that sells newspapers, but The Register-Guard's Opinion page proudly states that "A newspaper is a citizen of its community."
I'm not advocating censorship. People have a right to jump up and down, rant and vent their spleens if they want to. But let them do it elsewhere.
As a responsible citizen of the community and the only daily newspaper in the area, The Register-Guard has an obligation to publish a full range of opinions written in a way that treats readers with respect, is intelligent, and makes for a better-informed citizenry.
As the saying goes, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Some say war with Iran is inevitable
I appreciate the publication of Stephen Walt's thoughtful, strong column, "Media failing in Iran coverage" (March 18).
In the last two weeks, several people whose opinions I respect have said to me that a war with Iran is inevitable and the drumbeat in the mass media has been truly frightening.
Everything Walt wrote made sense to me. I know his facts about Iran were correct; for example, 16 U.S. intelligence services believe Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program.
If I were really cynical, I might think the sudden urgency to go to war with Iran has to do with lobbying by defense contractors and others who profit from unending war.
Before the war with Iraq began, I knew it was being planned at the top levels in Washington and that it would happen, even as I joined marches opposing it.
This time our president is not making irresponsible statements about inevitable war with Iran, so I have hope that this war won't happen.
But friends whose opinions I respect have given up on Washington; they are resigned to the certainty that another war is coming.
Exclusion program is working well
The downtown exclusion zone is working, and we can thank Eugene's police chief and city manager for its success.
Those opposed to exclusion claim the success is due to the increased number of police officers downtown, and there may be some truth to that. But having the exclusion zone makes each officer more effective, minimizing the number of officers required, and improves the use of the criminal justice system.
It is also said that the exclusion zone only moves lawbreakers to other areas of the city. But dispersal is an effective means of control because gangs need to exceed a certain threshold in membership to be effective.
At a recent Eugene City Council meeting, Mayor Kitty Piercy said downtown must be a "good place for everyone." Until she qualifies that remark, I will look for a different person to vote for in this year's mayoral election.
The interface between the exclusion zone and civil liberties is a subject that bothers me. It seems like a big subject, as it relates to the system of checks and balances in a democracy. But there is no doubt in my mind that a compromise between the two principles is often necessary, and desirable.
Robinson stunt is transparent
Matthew Robinson has filed as a Democrat to challenge Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio? Have I entered the "Twilight Zone"?
What is it with these people? First Art Robinson couldn't accept that he lost to DeFazio by 9 percentage points in 2010 and paid for a recount and basically accused the state of voter fraud.
Then he blamed Oregon State University and DeFazio because three of his kids got into academic jeopardy after they spent the year working on his election campaign rather than on their studies. And now the son files as a Democrat?
Do they believe the public is going to fall for this stunt? Or is it just an excuse to invite another Robinson Super PAC to spent absurd amounts of money trying to buy Art Robinson a seat in Congress? Because it doesn't pass the laugh test, I fear the latter is the case.