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Byline: The Register-Guard

City's MUPTE decision was unwise

At Monday's meeting, Eugene City Council played reverse Robin Hood by taking from taxpayers and giving to developers.

The council's triple-whammy bowed to downtown development interests by adopting a tax giveaway through a new Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) program. In contrast, ordinary taxpayers would shoulder funding of library operations, as well as a new City Hall.

The MUPTE decision was particularly unwise. At their July 8 work session, a 7-1 council majority had approved a MUPTE package that, despite its deficiencies, workforce housing advocates could have supported.

Unfortunately, the city attorney used a ploy to significantly weaken the workforce housing requirement in future MUPTE expansion areas. His gambit also would let Brian Obie escape paying the 10 percent of tax exemption fee required of other projects within the downtown MUPTE area.

Councilor Mike Clark, who helped Councilor George Brown craft last week's package, voted for these changes. Clark justified his vote by pressing for a future council work session on workforce housing.

Clark must now successfully fight for a strong workforce provision being added to the MUPTE requirements, replacing the practically worthless provision slipped into the ordinance by the city attorney.

That remedy needs to happen quickly, or the new MUPTE ordinance will be hung around the library levy's neck like a dead skunk.

If council fails to undo the city attorney's mischief, a ballot initiative will also go forward to require a public vote to approve this or any other MUPTE program. Stay informed by visiting

Paul Conte


Israel didn't commit piracy

Jack Dresser (letters, July 14) kind of went off the deep end when he accused Israel of piracy in the Cynthia McKinney case.

Israel is a sovereign nation with a navy and a merchant marine. Israel is at war, and has been since the first minute of its existence in 1948. Israel's enemy is factions of the Arab-Muslim world and their supporters.

Sovereign maritime nations at war have a right to blockade ports, declare war zones in any waters, declare goods of their choice as contraband, stop and search merchant vessels transiting the war zone, and to seize property and persons at its discretion.

It doesn't matter who starts a conflict. Has Israel ever declared ownership of any part of the high seas?

At the time she was a passenger on the Greek ship Spirit of Humanity en route to Egypt, McKinney was an avowed enemy of Israel. She was detained, then released.

In World War I, Germany declared all the waters around the British Isles a war zone and said any merchant ship in it was liable to submarine attack without warning. It was into these waters that the Lusitania sailed. The ship was carrying 18 fuse cases, 125 empty shrapnel cases, 4,200 cases of safety cartridges, and 189 cases of leather infantry equipment but no explosives.

The German ambassador purchased ads in every major New York newspaper warning Americans against traveling in the war zone. The munitions were also a violation of American neutrality law.

Greg Williams


Restore oak habitats at Buford

Those questioning the restoration of oak habitats at the Howard Buford Recreation Area have it wrong.

In August of 1999, a human-caused wildfire raced up the west face of Mount Pisgah and almost reached the crowded Douglas-fir forests on the backside of the mountain. Only the quick response of firefighters contained the fire to 117 acres and kept it from becoming a devastating crown fire.

Though it was primarily a grass and shrub fire, many trees were also burned. Where Douglas firs were defoliated, they died. The larger oaks were also defoliated, but being more fire resistant, they survived. The oaks were so resilient that once the fall rains began they actually sprouted another set of leaves - something I didn't even know was possible.

It's not a question of if but when another wildfire will occur at the park. There's no carbon sequestration going on when the forest is going up in flames. It only makes sense to manage the resource with the threat of wildfires in mind.

Thinning the Douglas firs that are encroaching upon oak habitats is a proven method to reduce the chance of a devastating fire while improving the survival of the many unique species that depend on that habitat. The park shouldn't be managed for people who prefer shade. There are plenty of other places to hike if you prefer walking through stands of overgrown conifers.

I support management to preserve and enhance the oak woodlands at the HBRA.

Kevin McGraw


Pope should leave science to others

While it may be refreshing for some to learn of Pope Francis' stance on global climate change and the church's concern for possible man-made causes, one should keep in mind this same church once held Galileo in condemnation of church doctrine for his belief and writings on Copernican cosmology. The situation was serious enough for him to fear for his very life.

The pope is not infallible. Perhaps he should stick to theology and leave the science to those who practice it.

Pete Stingley

Ash Valley

Sanders' problem: The numbers

Bernie-mania is sweeping the nation, according to Bernie Sanders fans. He draws record crowds that enthusiastically cheer at the right spots in his speeches glittering with populist gems.

He is the salvation of the Democratic Party for 2016!

The morning after the party is over, after the first taste of hot, black coffee, we are condemned to live with the facts.

In 1972 I registered as a member of the Democratic Party to vote in my first presidential election. Bernie Sanders has never been a Democrat. He thinks so poorly of our party that he has been an Independent all of his political career.

Bernie's problems will come down to numbers. His campaign says he has raised $15 million, mostly from small donations. Hillary Clinton has raised $45 million so far, without making much effort.

The numbers that hurt Bernie the most are 47 and 50.

In a Gallup Poll done just this last month, only 47 percent of Americans said they would vote for a socialist. Some 58 percent said they could support an atheist, and 60 percent would vote for a Muslim.

But, 47 percent is a pretty good place to start from, right?

It would be, except for that other number - 50. You see, 50 percent of Americans would vote against Bernie because he is a socialist. That is the largest negative number in this survey.

In every election, the "undecideds" play a crucial role.

If 50 percent of the electorate has already decided to vote against you, you're gong to lose.

Lawrence C. Caird


Patch sinking health-care system

A friend from New Zealand is amazed that the United States doesn't provide universal health care for its citizens.

Almost no other developed nation lacks this moral and humane government service.

In New Zealand they argue about how to fund it, but not whether to fund it.

In our country, we argue about whether we should patch the hole in our sinking boat instead of getting on with the business of patching it.

Timothy E. Goss

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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 16, 2015
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