LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Coburg doesn't need power plant
My Coburg neighbors tried hard to conceal their anger as they spoke at the hastily called Dec. 17 meeting on the proposed power plant. The threat they thought had died with Enron was back, doubled in size, and on the fast track.
The first farmer spoke about the Coburg area's unique airshed. The air here stagnates on still days, but on those warm afternoons with a north wind, everything funnels south toward Eugene-Springfield. The Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority official admitted that he had done no background air sampling in the Coburg area.
Other neighbors pointed out that power from the plant would be sold to California and Portland, and that construction workers for the plant typically come from out of the area. Others spoke to the health dangers to children, and that the plant would be a tempting target for terrorists.
The operating plant would provide few jobs but generate huge profits. Pollution credits would be sold to coal-fired Midwest plants, allowing them to continue polluting their airsheds. It is a grave injustice that the people of any area should endure needless pollution in order to make some far-away investor even wealthier.
Hundreds of jobs would be created if the costs for this plant were invested in conservation and renewable energy. We want jobs, investment and development, but we refuse to sacrifice the health of our children and the beauty of our valley home.
It's misogyny, not feminism
When reporter Jeff Wright used the lead paragraph of a March 14 front-page opinion piece to label First Congregational Church members as "liberal and feminist," many progressive supporters of women's rights issues must have cringed at the ineptness of Wright's phraseology.
After all, nobody other than a mossback misogynist would even entertain the idea of asking local judges to offer get-out-of-jail-free cards to repentant ex-policemen who have been convicted of sexually coercing women.
Let's fix our own problems
Paul Holbo accurately chronicled the long-standing deterioration of Eugene streets, which have been the focus of extensive study by the City Council and budget committee (Commentary, March 21).
Having participated as a member of the Eugene Budget Committee and citizen subcommittee formed to address street maintenance, I agree with Holbo that we'd better get used to the potholes because they will only get worse. I believe they are but a symptom of a larger problem underlying not only our streets but all of our vital public services. That problem is the "someone else" who should pay to fix things.
In the case of street maintenance, the finger first pointed to Lane County and second to the state for gas tax revenue. During its short life, the concept of a transportation utility fee generated hot debate about who should pay. Regardless of where one stood on the issue, fingers frequently pointed at "someone else" who should pay.
As a community, we have a jail we cannot fully staff, a partially empty juvenile justice facility, discontinued community mental health and human services, as well as inadequate staffing to patrol our streets.
Holbo suggests we ask candidates what they intend to do about fixing our streets. I would suggest that the "someone else" is ultimately us. I believe we as a community have the resources, if not the will, to come up with our own solutions rather than waiting on "someone else" to do so.
W. BRUCE MULLIGAN
Governor forcing casino project
Gambling should not be viewed as purely a budgetary matter. There are costs to families, communities and, ultimately, the state when people go bankrupt playing games, commit crimes to gain money for gambling, get divorced or fail to feed their children.
There are costs when an employee does not show up for work because of an uncontrolled desire to play video poker. And there are costs to existing businesses when patrons divert their spending toward gambling activity, according to then-Oregon Attorney General Ted Kulongoski, Oct. 4, 1996.
Who could have said this more convincingly than our own governor? Why is he forcing Florence to bear this cost? I'm waiting to hear.
Sunday car races enjoyable
Racing cars intrude on peace? Let's take a moment to consider the racing at Valley River Center on March 7.
The cars were racing in a parking lot made for what? Cars. Not bicy- clists, pedestrians or picnickers, but cars. I took a folding chair, sat by the river and watched the day's racing events along with nearly 100 other people, and found it to be quite fun and entertaining.
Was there noise from the cars? Some, but to claim that there was "just no getting away from it" is more than a bit of a stretch. I think one might take greater offense to reckless leadfoots racing through neighborhoods with their stereos thumping everyone's windows from blocks away than with a club of car and racing enthusiasts spending their Sunday doing something they enjoy - racing - in a parking lot made for cars.
No need to develop riverfront
I have to write and respond to the March 17 guest viewpoint regarding riverfront development.
Eugene has a beautiful, naturally developed riverfront just the way it is. The last thing it needs is a bunch of buildings and roads to cover it up.
Take a walk along the bike path, cross the Amazon foot bridge. Play Frisbee in the field. Sit along the banks and watch the wildlife. I'm afraid our city is being run by developers who profit from construction, and they won't stop until they get their way.
We need to pass campaign finance reform so our politicians obey the will of the people, not big money who pays for their campaigns. Sign petition No. 53 to help stop legal bribery in Oregon. This is just one example of the corrupt influence of big money in politics.
Working retirees are a bargain
In his March 22 letter "Can we afford double-dippers?" Martin Kalish writes that one third of Public Employees Retirement System retirees return to fill the position they vacated, thereby receiving a paycheck and a retirement check for the same job. He feels that if these greedy people would give up some of their greed, we could afford to keep more murderers in jail without overtaxing the rest of us.
Let us look at what really happens.
A public employee retires. The person goes away, but the job slot does not. A PERS retiree can return to work for 1,039 hours in a year. When that happens, the public gets an experienced person in the job slot and, in the case of some jobs such as a schoolteacher, there is not the disruption that would take place if the teacher left during the year. The financial advantage to this is that the retiree does not receive any benefits such as health insurance, other than the benefits that person already gets as a retiree, and there is no longer any contribution to the retirement system.
So we have a job slot that is filled for a time with an experienced person who gets no benefits or retirement contribution. Gosh, that sounds like a savings. We should encourage this. We could keep more murderers in jail.
Complaining is everyone's right. Possibly it would be more effective if the facts were looked at first.
Hospital offers impressive care
My father-in-law died recently at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Many in town are disgusted by much of what the PeaceHealth machine does in our community. I like to do my own share of "Sacred Wallet" bashing.
However, in my several recent visits to hospitalized friends and loved ones at Sacred Heart, I've been privileged to witness the highest levels of competence and compassion. I don't doubt that affairs on the top floor are governed largely by politics - that is, the dictates of the drive for power.
But at Four Main and other humbler settings - where mere suffering and mercy play out - those in charge at Sacred Heart take their cues first from the example of Christ.
Put yourself in Israel's place
According to the reasoning in the March 23 Register-Guard editorial, which vehemently blasted Israel for killing the Hamas terrorist leader and mastermind, the U.S. shouldn't be hunting for Osama bin Laden. Yes, we'd arrest him if possible. But the Israelis would have done likewise if they could have been able to capture their man, as is their policy. Would the U.S. bomb bin Laden if we felt it was the only way to get him? You betcha; we've already tried.
Why the hypocritical double standard? Why are the editors so sure this will make things worse? Consider this: "After nearly two years of systematic Israeli raids against Hamas and other violent Palestinian groups, suicide bombings fell to 20 last year, down from 54 a year earlier. Over all, Israeli deaths fell by half in 2003 compared with 2002" - The New York Times, March 23.
Yes, an immediate retaliation may occur, but does anyone really think that Hamas needed further excuses to kill as many Israeli men, women and children as possible? Or are the editors really concerned about possible attacks against America? Didn't Sept. 11 and Madrid already show that we're not safe anywhere as long as terrorists like this are loose?
In any case, until Eugene is attacked by Springfield and suffers from constant suicide bombings in businesses along Willamette Street, and its families and young people are blown apart at the Fifth Street Public Market and Papa's Pizza, The Register-Guard should hold its tongue and stick to what it actually knows.
Spain becomes the new France
So now Spain is the new France.
When Spain was one of the first countries to send troops to Iraq, President Bush touted it as being one of our greatest allies. But now a new government has been voted in. And because the Spanish people's country chooses a path different from that of the United States, they are cowards.
Isn't it a little presumptuous of us to criticize another country's choice about its own government? Isn't that the reason - this week's reason, at least - why we had to invade Iraq? Wasn't our goal to free them from Saddam Hussein so they could choose their own destiny? I guess that's only if they decide to agree with us.
Letters received in past week: 144
Letters published: 60
What's on readers' minds: Spring Break cut into the letter volume significantly, but debate over gay marriage remained the most popular letters topic this past week. In second place was reader reaction to the publication of the photographs of the 570 U.S. military personnel killed in the first year of the Iraq war. Other hot topics included reaction to the Spanish election that replaced a government supportive of the United States' Iraq policy with one that has vowed to remove its troops from Iraq and the revelations of former counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Article Type:||Letter to the Editor|
|Date:||Mar 27, 2004|
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