LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Let's correct congressional mistake
The Postal Service is the second-largest employer in the United States. It's a public service for all of us, not a business. It gets no government subsidies.
Postal workers' wages and benefits are good. People get a chance to be members of the middle class, to earn a decent living. Forty percent of USPS employees are women, 40 percent are minorities and 22 percent are veterans.
As citizens, we can be proud. Universal, affordable postal service has been provided for us since our nation was established. It's the best in the world.
In 2006 the Postal Service was making money. What happened? Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The act requires the Postal Service to pre-fund retiree health benefits for more than seven decades out, and to do so within 10 years, which means the Postal Service must set aside $5 billion annually from its income. Is there any private business that wouldn't go bankrupt with that requirement?
Cut jobs? Close post offices? Stop Saturday service? No. Correct the congressional error.
In our democracy we know that everyone, no matter how isolated, gets their mail. Our rural post offices are the center of community activity nationwide.
It's time to call Congress, as Richard Paul Glass urged (letters, Feb. 11). Together we can correct the error made "inside the Beltway" that's causing job loss and community distress. Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden need to hear from us.
Don't take frustrations out on PERS
Somebody needs to point out that many years ago some people chose to work for less pay in the security of government employment. Others chose to work in the private sector.
Granted, some folks who made high salaries when they were working took big chances with their Public Employees Retirement System contributions and put them in the stock market when it was really hot.
Those folks - maybe 2 percent - are now getting ridiculous amounts of money. Is that a reason to impoverish the 98 percent of workers who chose the conservative path and didn't play the market?
I started with the city as a laborer and ended up as a minor manager. I chose the conservative PERS path and saw the fund trashed long before 2008 by the Republican PERS boards that were installed for years. What I'm getting now is nothing like what I was promised when I signed on with the city.
What has happened to so many private sector pensions and 401(k)s is really bad, but why take that out on folks who made other choices?
Repeal the Second Amendment?
Controls, registration, background checks, pleading, more gun violence, etc., will do nothing to end America's out-of-control gun problem.
So let's go after the root of the problem, the Second Amendment, by repealing it outright. Then enact realistic gun laws that can't be misrepresented by pointing to the U.S. Constitution.
We repealed the 18th Amendment when it caused more harm than good; we can do the same with the Second Amendment. Granted, it will take years to accomplish, so let's begin now.
Money should have been redirected
Why spend $17 million for a new Eugene police station that wasn't necessary and, to put the frosting on the cake, $100,000 for an "art sculpture" out front?
The cost of that sculpture alone would cover two Lane County sheriff's deputies' salaries for a year.
It must be frustrating for police officers, city and county, to arrest lawbreakers who are a danger to the officers and citizens and see them released from jail within hours. They risk their lives to protect others and then see the suspects back on the streets before their shifts are over.
The $17 million the city spent on its new police station could have helped support the Lane County Jail and saved some law enforcement officers' jobs.
Let's say an officer's yearly salary is approximately $50,000. Twenty officers would equal $1 million so $17 million would keep 20 officers' jobs for 17 years - plus an art sculpture.
The jail has 500 beds available and only 135 are in use now (the sheriff has projected that number will shrink to 83 by July). That's 365 empty beds, with cold homeless people sleeping on our streets every night.
Getting childhood shots is crucial
I was shocked to read Susan Palmer's introduction to an article about childhood immunizations ("School shots deadline looms," Feb. 17).
Instead of encouraging parents to have their children immunized, she told them, "Think of it as one more opportunity to hear your young offspring shriek in outrage, if not actual pain."
She has done a great disservice to her readers. A few weeks ago I held an 18-month-old child on my lap while he received his MMR vaccine. It was so painless he didn't even flinch or realize he had just had an injection.
As a former pediatric nurse, I cared for children who were severely damaged, and some who died, from the sequelae of infections due to measles, mumps and rubella.
As a parent, I came close to losing an infant because of an infection of haemophilus influenzae, for which there was no immunization at the time.
I suggest Palmer take a walk through a few cemeteries and note the gravestones of infants and children who died before our current immunizations became available.
Other than dying from accidents, most of them died because of infections for which we now have immunizations.
LUBA, county no friends to Dexter
I wish to thank the Lane County Board of Commissioners and the good people of the state Land Use Board of Appeals for their support of the people of Dexter and the surrounding communities.
As a longtime resident of this area, I was concerned that spring would bring the usual sounds of song birds and Pacific tree frogs to the valley.
Much to my relief, those sounds have been replaced by those of mining machinery on Parvin Butte (I, too, love the smell of napalm in the morning).
I'd like to offer a special thanks to Commissioner Faye Stewart for his honest and caring work with the residents of our community. It certainly was politics at its finest. I only hope we can find a way to repay him in kind.
Wounded Knee site is sacred land
I was shocked to read that an important 40 acres of the Wounded Knee Historic Landmark on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is being held ransom ("Tribe seeks to buy Wounded Knee site," Feb. 14).
James Czywczynski is demanding $3.9 million for the site when it's been appraised at $7,000, making him no better than the 7th Calvary troopers who murdered 300 Oglala Sioux there in 1890.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe is one of the poorest tribes in the nation, yet within its midst is one of the most profound and sacred sites in the United States. Russell Means and other American Indian Movement members felt the cause was just in the 1970s.
Czywcnzynski has "owned" the land since 1968 and neither he nor any of his family have any blood ties to the land. I hope that 40 acres is confiscated by the National Park Service or the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, leaving him with nothing.