LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Money may have prompted closure
The decision on the part of the University of Oregon's art department to discontinue its Saturday morning public figure-drawing sessions is shameful.
Officials' insistence that the decision was made out of concern for the safety of the models comes across as weak, given their neglecting to acknowledge the volunteer coordinator who's always present to run the sessions, and the fact that in 20 years there has been no history of any incidents in the group.
I've heard some people speculate that the action was in response to the basket ball team's sexual assault scandal. I've modeled for the drawing group a number of times and never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. I found it to be a wonderful place for some of the artists in the community to practice their art and make connections.
Personally, I wonder if the decision was less about safety and more about not wanting to invest in something that doesn't provide a monetary return for the department - regardless of the return it provided to the community.
The sessions were free and open to all artists in the community. It was hardly as financially lucrative as one of the university's beloved basketball or football games.
Measure 91 offers many benefits
After having carefully read Measure 91, which would regulate, tax and legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, I believe it merits serious consideration.
I'm very troubled that we've cited and jailed so many people for minor marijuana infractions. People of color are particularly singled out.
According to an Aug. 14 Oregonian article by reporter Noelle Crombie, 7 percent of all arrests in Oregon are for marijuana possession.
The laws about marijuana are vague and inconsistent. Many of our young adults now have a criminal record that makes it harder for them to get jobs, housing or student loans. How does that benefit society?
Also, enforcing crimes against marijuana uses up police financial and personnel resources at a time when we have violent crimes to worry about. How does that make sense?
Measure 91 is a tight, thorough, well-crafted law with the right restrictions. One positive aspect of the measure is that a portion of the tax revenue that would be generated would go toward treatment, prevention and mental health programs, as opposed to having the money flow to gangs and drug cartels.
Voters should carefully review Measure 91 and understand what it does. It's a far better approach than what we have now. Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, at substantial cost to society. I'm voting for the new approach.
Medical billing has become a racket
If I decide tomorrow to shop for a car, a vacation plan or a house, I'm automatically given a price. It's discussed, if necessary, and I decide "yes" or "no."
If I go to an urgent care clinic and have nonemergency surgery, lab tests and outpatient processing, there's no discussion. Then I'm mailed a bill that, whether or not I have health care insurance, includes some shocking prices.
Last year I had routine surgery and 31/2 hours in recovery before being sent home. Not including the surgeon's charges, the bill was $26,000, most of which was paid by insurance.
With or without insurance, we're all paying that bill, one way or another - in taxes and higher insurance premiums.
Why aren't we given those numbers beforehand? Instead, we're asked to sign five to 10 documents, one of which states we take responsibility for the medical bills. Why is money not automatically discussed? Does that contribute to our high medical costs?
I believe it doesn't happen because many of us, after seeing the cost, would say "Forget it" and go home. Maybe we need a change.
Property owner criticism was unfair
I was much maligned by the Aug. 27 article headlined "Objections keep car submerged in river," and by its tone.
I live in Italy and I'm the owner of the property on the north side of the McKenzie River referred to in the article.
Not only have I paid taxes on the property for four decades, I've also invested in environmental protection and preservation of the river bank, on which the river itself depends for its protection.
I've worked with the state Department of Forestry and, through that department, hired Camas Creek Resources to continue the work initiated by the forestry department in coming years.
Dave Helfrich doesn't represent me in any way whatsoever, and isn't the "informal caretaker" he claimed to be in the article. Rather, he's a gratuitous and officious intermeddler. I don't want him to maintain my road nor use my beach nor step onto my property for any reason.
I've noticed that other property owners who've refused access to the towing company haven't been attacked for their ages or their gender, or, indeed, for their refusals.
Alice Righetti Taylor
Birth trauma story lacked credibility
I read with interest, and then with growing dismay, the wire service story referring to an organization calling itself Improving Birth ("Birth & stress," Sept. 22).
Let me start by saying that every pregnant woman should be treated with compassion and respect for her autonomy. However, the article was full of wild claims and unsubstantiated statements.
The author said there's no evidence to support the "risky" practices of augmenting labor or the use of fetal monitoring. Those were remarkable claims to me, someone with a 30-year history of attending births.
Thirty per cent of women are traumatized by labor? Half of those develop full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder?
Birth is arduous and often overwhelming (it certainly was for me), but post-traumatic stress disorder? I've seen exactly two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder related to delivery in my entire career, and both were caused by catastrophic complications that occurred before onset of labor.
No evidence for monitoring or using Pitocin? Only decades of scientific research demonstrating improved outcomes for mothers and infants.
I asked myself where the information was coming from, then read the article again: The information comes from doulas and "birth coaches"; there was nary a real credential anywhere to be found.
The next time The Register-Guard plans to publish a story about maternity care it should call me, one of my colleagues or anyone who knows what the heck they're talking about.
Martha Reilly, M.D.Fellow, American College ofObstetricians and Gynecologists
U.S. Middle East policy needs mercy
I sometimes find more political wisdom solving puzzles on the comics page than I do reading the editorials and columns.
The Sept. 17 Crypto-quote solution was a Persian proverb: "A closed fist is the lock of heaven and the open hand is the key of mercy."
In our continuing iron-fisted, militaristic foreign policy in the Middle East, we condemn more of their citizens to death and misery. The Persian proverb warns that by doing that we lock ourselves out of heaven.
May the gods of the Middle East - the Muslim, Christian and Jewish ones - open their hands to us. Heaven knows, we need examples of how to be merciful.
William A. McConochie
Because of an editor's error, a guest viewpoint in Wednesday's Register-Guard included a wrong date for the Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth's annual all-ages, all-abilities 5K run/walk. The event is set for Sunday.