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Byline: The Register-Guard

Gas tax hike was unnecessary

I thought that when a tax was placed on gasoline at the rate of 3 cents a gallon that this was adequate to accumulate enough money to repair the streets and highways within the city. Well, once again a process was started, and now up it goes up another 2 cents. I wonder how much it will go up the next time. They must have found more streets and highways.

I wonder how much of the money will be used for other programs within the city. Does it always take a vote of the people to stop these kind of things? Does the City Council not know that most people are fed up with higher taxes of any kind? I guess not.

The city service stations lose another customer. Thanks again, City Council. Now you know why we in the River Road area do not want to belong to the city.



Convention centers lose money

I was dismayed by a recent editorial (Register-Guard, Jan. 23) advocating for the establishment by Lane County of a government entity to move "visitor-related facilities development projects forward." In short, the editors are promoting the use of tax money for building a new convention center and hotel.

This in spite of a previous article in the newspaper detailing a study by the Brookings Institute, which found that the market is "already glutted and oversupplied" and that the likelihood of any such project succeeding is "remarkably dim."

My conclusion for the editors' recommendation is that the task force they support is made up not only of elected city and county officials, but also of local Chambers of Commerce and various trade organizations that would benefit directly from public largesse, such as the Lane County Lodging Association. How the average taxpayer has much to gain is unclear, when, as the Brookings report states, "almost every convention center in the country operates at a loss, not even counting construction costs or debt."



Support Strong Schools Plan

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has repeatedly acknowledged that his budget proposal is insufficient to avoid more cuts to K-12 education. It seems that the Bethel School District will lose its superintendent because of the "dismal outlook for school funding."

State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo (Register-Guard, Jan. 26) pointed out what most parents of elementary students know: Librarians, councilors, nurses, physical education teachers and extracurricular activities have all been eliminated. Castillo is correct - we must stop the backsliding when it comes to funding public education.

Some legislators in Salem have taken up the fight to put an end to the dismantling of public schools. They apparently agree with many of us that K-12 schools should not be sacrificed to balance the budget.

The Strong Schools Plan is a step in the right direction to stop the backsliding. The plan calls for reprioritizing existing funds, coupled with sensible efficiency and accountability measures to maintain the current levels of services.

The Strong Schools Plan is a good start to prevent further cuts. Oregon and our economy, as well as our children and communities, need strong schools.

Education supporters from around the state will rally at the Capitol at noon on Feb. 21, Presidents Day, to show support for proposals that provide reasonable class sizes and a full school year. The Legislature needs to hear from everyone in the state who knows strong schools are the best investment we can make.


Lane County chairwoman

Stand for Children


Cut opinion out of news stories

Editorial comments do not belong in a lead article on the front page of a newspaper.

Reporter Joe Harwood's comment at the end of the second paragraph in the "Hospital setback" article (Register-Guard, Jan. 26) - relating to the financial affluence of John and Robin Jaqua's attorney - has no place in factual news reporting and added absolutely nothing newsworthy to the article.



Enemy is al-Qaeda, not Iraq

Regarding "Have we forgotten Sept. 11' by Heath A. Wilkinson (letters, Jan. 26):

No, I don't think so. But I do question what he's talking about. Rambling on and on and never once getting the doer of the deed correct.

It was the al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Afghanistan terrorists who did this crime. It has been proven that Iraq had no hand in it.

I, too, question why we're losing lives in Iraq while Osama bin Laden runs free. Is this fair?



Eugene needs new hospital

Is there a city that any one knows of that has no hospital and is considered a first-rate city? One in which most of us would desire to live, knowing if we were ill we would not be cared for close to home?

I don't think so.

If we succeed in chasing Triad away, that is exactly what Eugene will be, a second-class city. Does anyone really think that another hospital would come here? Do we really want a one-hospital town, with no hospital in Eugene? If we are not happy with Sacred Heart, do we leave the area for health care?

We asked to have the Eugene Water & Electric Board site assessed by professionals. We paid them thousands of dollars and had two separate appraisals done. Were they wrong? Were we taken? I do not think so. I think the value was fair.

Where does the $38 million figure come from but a vague study done poorly several years ago? Where is the person who did the study, and where is the data?

EWEB has old buildings, poor current access and multiple other problems that will need to be corrected. Who will pay for this? If we do not fix it now, we will be paying for it later.

It is a win for Eugene and its citizens to have this site go through. If EWEB's commissioners do not have the political will to handle this task, we will pay dearly down the road in both health care access as well as from our pocket books.


Chief of staff-elect


Medical Center


Tax churches to help schools

A story in the Jan. 25 Register-Guard said, "Gov. Ted Kulongoski acknowledged Monday that his school funding proposal is insufficient to avoid cuts in teacher staffing and the school calendar."

More cuts for schools? What is going on here? The possible causes for inadequate school funding are:

1) The funds are adequate, but they are not being spent wisely.

2) Many people feel that they are already paying their fair share of taxes and they refuse to pay more.

3) Some people are not paying their fair share.

I'd like to mention one group that falls into this last category. Many religious institutions have developed into large corporations with vast areas of property, investments and influence over legislation that is favorable to their growth.

Isn't it about time for these property-owning religious organizations to give up their property tax-exempt status to help support public schools? At the very least, they should be paying for the destruction and desecration of God's ancient plants and soils with their rarely used, asphalt-paved parking lots.



Time for progressives to fight

An open letter to all liberals, progressives, radicals and positive social change activists of Eugene:

Now is the time to get active in our city government. Now is the time to make change. The fact that we have a potentially great mayor and progressive City Council is not reason to relax; it is time to fight! Fight for your vision of what Eugene could be and should be.

Here in Eugene, we no longer need to be on the defensive; we can push forward, be proactive. Let's learn one from the Republicans - when you are in power is the time to make change. It is the time to demand what we want, not ask for what we think we might be able to get.

Want an independent police review board? How about park land acquisition and some new bike lanes? New school programs or alternative education sources? Health care for the homeless and the poor? Stop sprawl by reforming the planning commission? Stop pollution? Save downtown? Hire a new city manager or police chief? Now is the time to get it all. Now is the time to fight for what we want. Get active!



Why penalize some schools?

In response to Nancy Willard's most recent diatribe (letters, Jan. 26):

First of all, I disagree that the alternative schools are receiving an unfair advantage compared to other schools. These schools have suffered many cuts, some more than other schools. Our school lost full-time teachers as well as physical education and music reductions.

Parents at our school, Fox Hollow, are from a broad spectrum of socio-economic status and are very involved. We constantly complain of the lack of involvement by parents in our schools. But instead of holding the alternative schools up as a model of things that are right with public education, Willard feels that these schools should be punished.

I am of the mindset that if you work hard and are involved in all aspects of your child's education, then they will succeed. Let us not penalize these schools that have worked hard to be examples of cooperation and effort.



Students can't afford tuition

As a student at the University of Oregon, I am concerned about the current funding situation for higher education. At Oregon universities, tuition alone has risen 44 percent in the last two years and more than 79 percent at Lane Community College. Whereas in 1999, the state funded 51 percent of a student's cost of education, that number decreased to 36 percent in 2004.

Students are continuously being priced out of an education, and the situation looks dire for this legislative session. Enrollment is already declining as students can no longer afford to attend school.

The Oregon Student Association is asking for a tuition freeze for the next two years at a cost of $32 million. While the state is facing a budget deficit, by eliminating noncritical tax breaks such as those for pleasure boats and second homes, enough revenue would be freed up to fund the tuition freeze in the coming biennium.




Letters received in past week: 179

Letters published: 57

What's on readers' minds: Concern over the impact of a possible strike at the Lane Transit District was far and away the top issue for letter writers this week. Many letters defended the union's position, but a substantial number pointed out that few workers today escape paying something for their health coverage. Letter writers also continued to express serious doubts about President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. Finally, the debate about school choice in the Eugene School District is heating up in anticipation of a district proposal on the subject.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Feb 5, 2005
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