LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Let's take the path of nonviolence
David Hazen's Sept. 13 column was right on ("Nonviolence movement evolving into a whole new phase"). The response to our proactive wars is more terror, more destruction and increased hatred. While killing and displacing millions, our wars contribute to the destruction of our precious planet. Weapons industries profit hugely, while human needs are sacrificed. Just look at our annual federal budget.
The annual International Day of Peace is Sunday. How can we celebrate peace as we enter a period of unending military mobilization?
Yet we must; we must respond. We must say "No!" to our endless wars, to the militarization of police, to our national culture of violence.
The culture of nonviolence offers an alternative path, almost the opposite of the one our society is currently on.
Gandhi's movement in India and the U.S. civil rights movement both required in-depth training that exposed masses of people to the movements' philosophical roots as well as to the skills needed to follow the nonviolent path.
The imaginative actions, the risk-taking and the sufferings of the people involved moved others' hearts and broadened support.
We've held many vigorous demonstrations for peace in the past, and I hope those will continue. But as a movement we can and must move beyond that into expressions that rise more deeply from nonviolence philosophy. I see good leadership coming out of the 350.org movement.
Let's keep going.
Petersen accountable, responsible
Andy Petersen, a rancher from Camp Creek, offers state representative District 11 voters a choice.
New to politics and yet a veteran public servant, Petersen is committed to hearing all sides of any issue - he won't be swayed by special interest groups.
He has life experience managing natural resources and knows we can find solutions to feeding our growing population, provide safe and nutritious food for our children, and bolster those among us who are food-insecure.
His opponent, a seven-term incumbent, sits in Salem while Oregon lags behind the nation in recovering from the Great Recession.
Petersen believes Oregon's leaders must do more to care for our most vulnerable citizens instead of wasting millions of dollars on stumbles such as the Columbia Crossing and Cover Oregon.
As a former finance officer in the U.S. Air Force, he is greatly concerned about accountability and balancing the budget.
We need our legislators to be socially and fiscally responsible. That's why I'm voting for Petersen.
Citizens can stop carbon pollution
A Gospel story came to mind after reading Sara Burant's Sept. 14 column asking what Jesus would have done about global warming. It's from Matthew: 21:12-13.
Jesus enters the Temple, his Father's house, to find money changers plying their trade. He drives them out for their lack of reverence. His wrath stems from his love, but I doubt his rage would have been limited to the irreverent behavior happening within the walls of the Temple.
The desecration of the Earth - of God's creation - warrants such wrath.
We've enjoyed enormous benefits from a fossil fuel-based economy. However, the evidence is now clear: Burning fossil fuels pours heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that's warming and thereby degrading our planet.
Our government subsidizes the profitable fossil fuel industry. Unintentionally, we let that happen; intentionally, we will stop it. Here are some concrete ways to channel our rage and express our love:
Sign the Oregon Climate Declaration (available on-line).
Support reforestation projects to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere.
Support divestment from fossil fuels and investment in clean energy.
Support upcoming state-based legislation to put a price on carbon.
Support the efforts of Our Children's Trust concerning atmospheric trust litigation.
Take small, doable steps to decrease personal use of fossil fuels (drive less, carpool, bike, walk, ride buses and trains, buy locally produced foods, grow a vegetable garden).
We can't stop what's already in motion, but we can change its course.
Laurie Ehlhardt Powell
Schools must be more transparent
If Eugene School District officials want voters to approve additional funding at the Nov. 4 election, they need to show more financial accountability and better transparency by the district.
Why isn't the Eugene School Board evaluating the work of Superintendent Sheldon Berman? And why has the district adopted expensive new middle and high school math curricula with no oversight from the board and only minimal review from teachers?
What does the district plan to do to address falling graduation rates? And how about our shortened school year - one of the nation's shortest - and our huge class sizes?
I'm a district parent, and I want to see well-funded classrooms. But I'm not convinced that handing more cash to the board and to Berman is going to accomplish that.
The board has time between now and the election to address those issues proactively. I hope it will do so.
Sara E. Palmer
Euphoria hired disabled workers
Bob Bury and his wife, Sue, did more than just make the best truffles ever. What many people in our community may not know is that Euphoria Chocolate Company was a great (and longtime) supporter of integrating workers with developmental disabilities into its workforce.
The Burys deserve a shout-out for setting a great example that many other local companies have also embraced.
They've earned the right to an enjoyable retirement.
Here's to the new owners, Van and Bonnie Glass - may Euphoria's legacy continue, and may its truffles remain delicious.
Kathy Snyder, President
Supported Employment Services Inc.
Where's new UO board's openness?
I haven't seen any letters or editorials about recent meetings of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees. I'm concerned about its secrecy and about the board in effect giving most of its authority to a single person.
I thought the reason for creating a local governing board was to give more control to folks who wouldn't avoid discussing the UO with the public.
John G. Cox
Local pot grows will be obnoxious
I've been following the debate regarding legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon. It seems an oxymoron that the taxes on pot would be used for schools (where its use is forbidden), for the police (who have worked relentlessly against drugs of all kinds) and for drug treatment (for using the drug that's proposed to become legal).
Ask a person who lives next to someone with a medical marijuana card - if our windows are open, it smells like we have a skunk in our house and the smell is unbearable when we're outside.
Now our neighbors are growing marijuana plants next to our fence. They've added tarps to protect their plants from the glow that comes from street lights and house lights.
Lawmakers need to talk to property owners who are enduring the horrible smell and the unsightly canopies erected to protect residential marijuana plants.