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Byline: The Register-Guard

People ignore crossing signs

So now we're making new laws regarding crosswalks (Register-Guard, Jan. 5). What I wonder is why the city of Eugene just doesn't take down the signs indicating "Walk" and "Don't Walk." Everyone disregards them anyway, especially in the downtown area.

And the article mentioned 13th Avenue and Kincaid Street as being a trouble area; it always has been and always will be. The students totally ignore the "walk" signal. In my view, walking against the light is no different than a driver running a red light.

And when was the last time you saw a police officer ticket a pedestrian for walking against the light? About the same time you saw a person riding a bike receive a citation!



Market has failed in health care

I have to wonder where Tim Wefler (letters, Jan. 6) has been over the past 40 years that I practiced as a registered nurse. Free enterprise has made health care a puppet of the bottom line at the cost of humane, cost-effective, available and appropriate care.

My own situation illustrates the failure of the current system. Having become disabled by chronic disease, I pay more than half of my income to the insurance, medical and pharmaceutical industries in premiums and shares of cost. I have no choices without incurring further costs.

Replacement of nurses with non-professionals, minimizing time in acute care, purchasing equipment that doesn't meet expectations, minimal staffing, costs diverted to marketing and administration, exclusion based on method of payment and increased costs for the uninsured are just some ways I've seen the system degraded for its consumers. Those are in addition to a high infant mortality rate, a low measure of effectiveness vs. costs and runaway expenses that are definitives about our current system.

We must move outside the marketplace for a cost-effective, humane system for all. It is time for sound economic principles to be part of health care, as well as recognition that competition and free enterprise have been an immense failure.

A great nation would provide for the health of everyone, not just those who can afford insurance or who have no pre-existing conditions that force them toward poverty while dealing with diminished health.



Use science in timber salvage

Has anyone been to the Babyfoot Lake trail head or botanical area recently - the entrance to the world-renowned Kalmiopsis Wilderness due west of Cave Junction? Sold by the Bush administration's Forest Service to the highest bidder, these areas have been converted from treasured old growth forests into lifeless stump fields as part of the reckless Biscuit timber sale.

Although late to reverse the damage done, it was refreshing to see the study released by Oregon State University scientists (Register-Guard, Jan. 6) that refuted the gist of the massive Biscuit timber sale. The science tells us that aggressive logging and other ground-disturbing activities disrupt natural regeneration after a wildfire by literally killing the seedlings that have spouted up.

The study also contradicts the myth that logging after fires helps reduce the chance of future fires, as logging operations at Biscuit left huge piles of flammable, unmerchantable timber, while the larger, more fire-resistant trees were clear-cut.

This study is not too late to educate policy makers such as Sen. Ron Wyden and others in Congress who will soon be voting on the so-called Forests for Future Generations Act, sponsored by Oregon's other senator, Gordon Smith. Although Smith likes to cloak himself in green on occasion, this bill will mandate post-disturbance (fire, hurricanes, tornados, etc.) clear-cutting on public lands with little public oversight at the taxpayers' expense.

Senator Smith should listen to the best available science, not to his campaign contributors in the old growth logging business.


Executive director

Cascadia Wildlands Project


Urge U.S. to respond in Darfur

The security situation continues to deteriorate in the Sudan. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced in a statement on Jan. 3 that "large-scale attacks against civilians continue, women and girls are being raped by armed groups, yet more villages are being burned, and thousands more are being driven from their homes."

As this happens, our federal government has reduced our contribution to the African Union peacekeeping force by $50 million. Yet we are spending $8 million an hour to continue the occupation of Iraq.

It appears that President Bush's ideology of peace and freedom applies only in certain places.

I'm old enough to have known men who liberated the Nazi death camps. I remember the outrage and horror I felt as a child in the 1950s when I began to find out what had happened there.

But I was comforted by the thought that we would never let something of this nature happen again. Yet genocide has happened again and again - in Cambodia, Rwanda and now in the Sudan.

In the words of James Lowell: "Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide/ In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side/ Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight/ And the choice goes by forever, 'twixt that darkness and that light." If we don't act now, this choice will have gone by forever. Write your representatives expressing concern and dismay regarding this matter.



Bush forest policies failing

I'm writing in response to the Jan. 6 article "Study strikes salvage logging beliefs." I appreciate researchers Daniel Donato and Joe Fontaine of Oregon State University and others for studying the true consequences of post-fire salvage logging. This article shows that current Bush administration forest policies are misguided and da- maging in the long run. This ex post facto study highlights the failure of Bush appointee Mark Rey and the Forest Service in managing forests in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. Unfortunately for the Siskiyou forests after the Biscuit post-fire logging, and for the high Cascade forests after the B&B post-fire logging, the Forest Service didn't care that salvage logging does more harm than good. This administration is interested only in short-term profit at the expense of long-term sustainable jobs and a healthy environment.

Hopefully, this new OSU study will bring a quick halt to the absurd legislation proposed by Sen. Gordon Smith and Rep. Greg Walden that would mandate salvage logging in post-fire areas. The OSU study shows that post-fire logging can increase fire rather than decrease it. The study also shows that even those areas burned most severely regenerate as well as or better than logged and replanted units.

Let's save the taxpayers some money, avoid the salvage logging environmental disaster and instead preserve and protect the natural landscape. Rather than mandating salvage logging, we should be banning this destructive, shortsighted practice.



TV crew drowned out speech

I'm glad I went to hear Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy's State of the City speech. What a terrific event, in a great place at a perfect time - nicely arranged, great food, great music and inspiring talks by the mayor and city councilors.

Too bad I couldn't hear the first part of the mayor's speech since behind us was a TV news reporter who set up the camera and lights, and then, just as the mayor started to speak, announced loudly to the camera, "The mayor is starting her speech now, blah blah blah" and kept talking while the mayor was speaking!

I'm glad the Hult Center person cut her off quickly, but not fast enough. How silly is that?



Neocons seek to expand power

I am in general agreement with professor James McWilliams' sentiments in "Making the case for a Bush impeachment" (Register-Guard, Jan. 3), but I do differ on one count.

He says the reason for the administration's strike at Iraq was that after Sept. 11, "They were seized by the urge to strike back at Muslims in general." Alas, the real reasons have less to do with emotion and more with real- politik.

One is oil. Three major architects of the war - President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice - were hip deep in big oil.

The second reason is more sinister and frightening: The so-called neocons have been panting for decades to expand the powers of the executive. They used the method made sickeningly familiar by tyrants from ancient times to Franco, Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin: Pose a threat, external or internal, and then declare to the people, "It's dangerous out there, but I will protect you if only you surrender some of your insignificant civil liberties, such as habeas corpus and the right to privacy."

We know from the Downing Street memo, cooked intelligence and people such as Richard Clarke that Bush was determined to strike Iraq before Sept. 11. Then Sept. 11 presented a heaven-sent opportunity.

The question now becomes: Where will they stop in this drive to expand the powers of the executive? Will they stop?



Health care is a right for all

Tim Wefler (letters, Jan. 6) thinks that free enterprise will solve our growing health care crisis. If that is the case, why does the United States spend 15 percent of it gross domestic product on that health care yet leave more than 46 million people without coverage - except for visits to the emergency room, which are mostly paid for by the government?

In Canada, Japan and most of Europe there is universal health care, yet it costs less than 10 percent of their gross domestic product.

I was recently denied coverage for an annual physical exam recommended by my doctor because the insurance company considered it unnecessary. Between my employer and me, this company gets nearly $13,000 a year, more than all my other taxes combined, yet denies a $222, cost-effective procedure.

Who is practicing medicine in this country - doctors or insurance com- panies?

Heath care should not be a privilege for the rich but a right for all in a compassionate society, especially including the least among us. I hope Dr. John Kitzhaber will succeed in leading Oregon to a truly universal health care system, and that the rest of the country will follow us.




Letters received in past week: 147

Letters published: 63

What's on readers' minds: Letter volume was lower than average this week, with no single topic dominating the debate. On the national front, letter writers continued to criticize President Bush and the National Security Agency for pursuing warrantless wiretaps as a way of gathering intelligence on possible terrorist plans. Local topics receiving multiple letters included domestic violence, health care reform, moral relativism and an ongoing disagreement about whether it's accurate to call arson and acts of property destruction "ecoterrorism."
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 14, 2006
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