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LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Poor diet can cause weight gain

The Nov. 30 article on cuts in the food stamp program ("More days of hunger") has engendered a perverse reaction. Some readers have focused entirely on the photograph of one overweight food stamp recipient rather than on the struggles of families facing food stamp cutbacks.

Take a moment to think: Protein is expensive, starch is cheap. Fresh fruits and vegetables are ever more costly. The cheapest beverage is soda. Anyone who lacks the means to maintain a well-balanced diet lives on pasta, potatoes and (early in the month) high-fat meats.

Starches seem satisfying but leave you feeling hungry soon after. Even the most inventive cook will have trouble bridging the gap with dry beans. Good nutrition takes cash.

Compare street scenes in news or documentary footage. In a well-off community, passers-by are likely to look slim and fit. In a poor community, you see paunches and broad bottoms. Can anyone seriously believe it's because people in poverty are eating too well?

I remember a study from the 1950s that found a link between cheap, high-carbohydrate diets in institutional settings and significant weight gain. Any surprise there? Popular knowledge seems not to have caught up with the obvious.

People who have no food at all are undernourished and cadaverous.

Those who have barely enough money for cheap food may well be undernourished and fat.

Food insecurity and weight gain aren't incompatible.

Let's stop judging people who lack the means to eat as well as we do. It isn't justified, it's just unkind.

KAREN PETERSEN

Eugene

Marijuana is a 'gateway' drug

My 26 years working for the Los Angeles Fire Department afforded me an informative education on the dangers of drugs, specifically the gateway drug - marijuana. It's not, as State Sen. Floyd Prozanski implies, a recreational drug.

When we responded to drug overdoses, specifically from cocaine and methamphetamine, time and again the victims stated their addiction started with their use of marijuana.

They probably began with alcohol. Then they enjoyed marijuana, and were persuaded to "try this (meth or coke) because it will really make you feel good and give you a high marijuana never gave you."

It's similar to getting young people to smoke marijuana to get a better high than they can get from smoking cigarettes. It's a fact - recreational cigarettes lead to marijuana and "recreational" marijuana surely leads to harder drugs.

If only Prozanski could see the drugged newborn, the neglected children, the broken families. That's the real effect of a life with drugs. Even imposing a 25 percent tax on sales isn't worth it. All it would do is encourage a rise in black-market marijuana dealings.

If we have "recreational" marijuana, then why not have a "recreational" speed limit of 100 mph? Just sell license plates for $100 each that exempt those drivers from speeding citations. But we all know that sort of "recreation" is foolish.

We can save the residents of our city, county and state by voting "no" on any measure that encourages the use of recreational marijuana.

DALE R. DICKSON

Eugene

To 'snowballers': Do the right thing

Bullies are cowards. The video footage of University of Oregon students attacking a retired professor's car with snowballs was appalling. Did they think it was all in good fun?

Cluelessness is no excuse for an assault. Throwing a bucket of snow on a 60-year-old guy as he opened the car door was particularly cruel and ugly.

Hey, snowballers - it's not too late to show a teeny bit of class.

Come forward, identify yourselves, contact the victim, ask his forgiveness, thank him for not pressing charges and see if you can make it up to him.

TOM WHEELER

Eugene

Minority rule support is hypocrisy

In celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, the absence of hypocrisy among his many attributes should be noted.

I cannot but wonder how the American media has forgotten that the U.S. government and its client states - chief among them Israel - supported and abetted the despicable minority rule in South Africa; Mandela remained on the U.S. terrorist watch list through 2008.

There are currently millions of Mandelas under occupation. The Kurds, Chinese Muslims and Palestinians are among those who continue to be oppressed yet the oppressors either enjoy the support of the United States or its silence.

Mandela would turn over in his grave in the face of such hypocrisy.

M. REZA BEHNAM

Eugene

Newspaper carriers persevere

We didn't get our mail last Friday but our carrier brings us our newspaper every morning - all year. We just wanted everyone to know how dedicated those folks are and express our appreciation.

ROY STEFFEN

PEG STEFFEN

Springfield

We shouldn't punish homelessness

In Sherri Buri McDonald's Dec. 1 article ("Revival on the ropes"), Eugene police Sgt. Larry Crompton distinguished between the "cannots" and "have-nots" - who can't work or want work but can't find it - and the "will-nots," "able-bodied people refusing to work." He claimed the latter group is responsible for most of the aggressive and criminal behavior observed on Kesey Square downtown.

Sixteenth century England had a similar homeless problem with what they termed "sturdy beggars." Authors such as Thomas Harmon and Robert Greene spun elaborate fantasies about how those 16th century "will-nots" - largely serfs displaced by new methods in farming or servants and apprentices who had escaped from abusive masters - formed complex criminal conspiracies to defraud honest citizens of their hard-earned money. No one knows if the stories were true but most people believed them at the time.

The 16th century civil authorities hounded those hapless victims from town to town. They branded them with hot irons and executed them on the gallows; I hope we can find a more compassionate and creative solution to being homeless and unemployed.

The abusive, criminal behavior Buri McDonald described isn't a fantasy. It should be treated as crime.

But the homeless problem won't be solved until everyone who needs a home has one, along with enough to eat. And the employment problem won't be solved until everyone who needs and wants a job has one.

DONALD M. BRASTER-MAKI

Eugene

Honor the promise on Civic Stadium

Civic Stadium's back in the news. The Eugene School Board plans to consider four bids on the property in February. In my opinion they only have two bids to consider: one from the city of Eugene and one from the Friends of Civic Stadium.

I still place a very high value on integrity. When the city gifted the stadium to the Eugene School District 70 or so years ago for $1, the district promised that the stadium property would always be used for recreational purposes.

The board should honor that promise, even if it doesn't put as many dollars into their coffers as they might wish - I'd even suggest that the Friends of Civic Stadium's bid of $16.56 should be the one it accepts.

As far as I'm concerned, neither the YMCA's bid and certainly not Kroger's (Fred Meyer's) fulfill that promise. Why not the Y's? Because it intends to use a large portion of the property for a housing development.

The board should do the right thing and show that integrity still exists by accepting what amounts to a combined bid from the city and the Friends of Civic Stadium.

MEL MEAD

Springfield
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Dec 10, 2013
Words:1220
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