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Byline: The Register-Guard

Was fire an excuse to log old tree?

Regarding the May 7 article headlined "Wildfire crews brace for busy year," maybe I'm overly suspicious of fire-protection efforts in public forests but the photo of the large downed, obviously old and recently alive tree caught my attention.

Why was it felled?

I thought big old trees like that were relatively impervious to fire vs. the scrawny specimens left untouched alongside.

After the many fiasco "thinning" operations that remove valuable old trees instead of the fire-prone smaller ones, I sense a similar theft here.

Now that this beauty is down, it will need to be removed (logged) or it would become fire-prone forest floor debris, right?

Clever indeed - a small, localized fire results in the liquidation of an old tree that would not otherwise be possible. There goes another piece of our patrimony.



Deduction helps all homeowners

Much ado was made recently at the Legislature about doing away with so-called "excessive" state tax deductions as a means of raising more revenue for schools.

And who could blame them? We all benefit from good schools and other worthy public services.

But what I found troubling was that certain members of the Legislature wanted to go after the home mortgage interest deduction.

That's a critical tool that helps all Oregonians achieve home ownership - and stay in their homes. It doesn't favor one set of Oregonians over another; we all benefit from it.

So while I appreciate efforts to get more resources into our schools, I also hope the Legislature doesn't create a false positive by hurting homeowners in the process. They should keep the home mortgage interest deduction in place as they wrap up this year's session.



Donations to mission don't add up

In reading Bob Welch's May 5 column about the Eugene Mission I was left somewhat incredulous about the claimed amounts of donated food. Supposedly, Trader Joe's donates $800,000 worth of food per year and Safeway and Albertson's contribute similar amounts. If true, those three alone contribute $2.4 million per year.

It was also stated that the mission's expanding "guest load" is up to 439 people per night. Simple arithmetic says that amounts to $15 per day per person of unprepared food, not including the "thousands of pounds of food monthly" it was said Glorybee Foods donates, nor that - I assume - from other donors.

I don't know who's setting the value on the donations but the numbers smell fishy to me.



Springfield has its own jail levy

In 2004 Springfield residents approved funding for a 100-bed municipal jail.

Since then we have twice approved property tax levies to support its operation; the most recent approval came last year in the form of a levy of $1.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Now we're being asked to pay an additional 55 cents per $1,000 to support the Lane County Jail.

When the rest of the residents of Lane Country start paying another $1.28 per $1,000 levy on their property, I'll be happy to consider increasing my contribution to housing our crooks.

Until that time comes, I'll be voting "no" on Measure 20-213.



Squeeze 'slush' out of city budget

After looking at the details of the resolution for Ballot Measure 20-211, Eugene's city services fee, I decline to vote for it.

In my opinion, two of the largest line items in the breakout are slush.

The categories of "Equity, Human Rights, Neighborhoods & Sustainability" and "Human Services Commission Discretionary Funding," at $800,000 and $500,000, respectively, are too nebulously defined to persuade me to support the measure.

I would support all the other line items if they were presented as a separate package.



Let legislators vote on gun bills

The National Rifle Association issues a report card to award or punish public officials who abide by or stray from the NRA party line.

Well, I'm keeping my own report card on candidates who don't support universal background checks and other gun-control measures, such as the very modest bills awaiting action in the Oregon Senate.

Now we're told Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem, is blocking a vote on those bills. Why? To give his colleagues cover?

Oregonians deserve to know where their representatives stand on gun control issues, and that includes my senator, Lee Beyer.

Let's take a vote.



Ralston may prove suspicions right

I'm beginning to believe that all the letter writers who complain about government officials being incompetent, arrogant and out of touch may have a point.

Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston ("Report cites pot, methadone in councilor's case", May 4) is all those things.

For the record, taking methadone for fibromyalgia is like using a battleship to go fishing on Fern Ridge Lake.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 11, 2013
Previous Article:A show of strength.

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