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Byline: The Register-Guard

Obit policy a step backwards

I have been a longtime fan of The Register-Guard for its layout, readability and structure. I also have greatly admired the policy of printing pictures with the obituaries, as this literally "put a face" on those who have recently passed from our midst.

So the decision to delete the photos and go the way of the mini-obits, while having folks pay to show their loved ones' faces, is going backwards. Maybe the newspaper saves a few inches of news space and gains a few dollars of classified ad revenue, but it also loses much community good will.

Like many readers, I often get up as early as 5 a.m. to retrieve the paper, then methodically read section by section, making my last stops the comics, the Jumble, the Cryptoquote, the sudoku, then The New York Times crossword. I realize I am a creature of habit.

I am offended by this daily ever-changing puzzle. Just where will the comics/puzzle section end up today? Assuming The Register-Guard has faithful readers and puzzlers, what does this say to them? While it is admirable that the editors want to have a separate section for Outdoors or Business - which is often two whole pages - shortchanging the regular readers is huge gaffe on the part of the newspaper's layout team.

I urge the editors to rethink this strategy and remember that they have some longtime subscribers who have praised the newspaper's format in the past to other readers, and now lament its present set-up.



Leash laws should be enforced

I appreciate all the dog owners who abide by the leash law in the local children's parks and bike paths. Responsible owners respect the fact that many people quietly fear, or are just annoyed, when an unleashed dog of unknown temperament suddenly runs toward them.

My 2-year-old daughter usually screams in terror, and the dog owners assurance of "he won't bite" or "he's just being friendly" somehow doesn't make her feel better. I've even seen these law-breaking dog owners let their animals up on the children's play equipment!

Recently, while walking the bike path along the river in Springfield, an unleashed dog jumped up on me. As I tried to push him away, he snapped at me. The owner was finally able to physically pull it off me. I wasn't harmed, except for a few muddy paw prints, but that's not the point. I've also recently had a minor bicycle wreck with an unleashed dog chasing a ball.

I'm not a dog hater, but what's happened to the common sense leash laws? There is no attempt to enforce them, as far as I can tell.

I'm sure the revenue generated by one officer spending an hour or two per week writing tickets would easily pay for his efforts. It might even go toward a fenced-in dog park. If nothing else, it might just save a kid from being mauled in a dog attack.



Shine's numbers don't add up

In an April 2 guest viewpoint on the immigration debate, G. Dennis Shine says that undocumented workers pay about $2 in taxes for every $1 of services they receive.

This seems impossible. For instance, many undocumented workers are heads of families and have children in school. Let's say, two children in school - maybe more or maybe less - but two is probably a good average. Each child in a school consumes $7,000 of education (the national per-pupil expenditure), so his family is receiving at least $14,000 of government service.

Now, according to Shine's formula, the father must be paying at least $28,000 a year in taxes. That is an economic miracle.

He can't be paying anywhere near that amount in income tax because, as Shine reminds us over and over again, all undocumented workers are employed in low-paying jobs. If low paying means minimum wage, then, with a family of four, he would pay virtually no income tax at all. And, in those states that have a sales tax, he would not have enough disposable income to make a dent in $28,000; in fact with the best minimum wage in the United States he would be grossing less than $20,000.

This is the miracle of Shine's economics - the undocumented worker is supposedly paying more in taxes than he is earning in wages.

Shine says that demagoguery is overcoming logic in the immigration debate; he has given us a first-class example.



Photos important to obituaries

Over the last many years I have noticed in going through the obituaries that I recognize a face but not a name. Many times a person is known by their middle name or nickname.

It is often the practice in obituaries to use the correct first name. If it had not been for recognizing the person's picture, very possibly I could have missed the opportunity to pay my last respects.

The Register-Guard has just given us another reason, among many, not to spend $120-plus per year for a subscription. In the April 5 edition, they omitted all pictures with the obituaries. I would suspect that I am not the only senior citizen who feels a time-honored service has been cheapened - namely, the daily obituaries published in newspapers.

Recently, on another issue, the newspaper chose to drop the "I" television network from its daily and weekly lineup, totally disregarding those folks who watch family programming on the "I" network. Coming from the business world, I realize the bottom line is important to keep the organization afloat. I do hope the newspaper will take another look at a past journalistic tradition.


Cottage Grove

County caters to developers

The Lane County Board of Commissioners has jumped on the homebuilder band wagon opposing Eugene's proposed parks recreation and open space project list. The board says the city is trying to block county property owners from fighting city park projects that are outside city limits (Register-Guard, April 6).

The city is doing no such thing. In fact, when the city was proposing a 100-acre urban growth boundary expansion for a park and subdivision, county residents organized to actively and effectively oppose the proposal. Although constituents of Commissioners Anna Morrison and Bobby Green asked repeatedly for support from their elected representatives, none was forthcoming. Even Eugene City Councilors Gary Pape and Andrea Ortiz were willing to listen to citizens with county addresses.

Lane County, and Morrison and Green, have a history of upholding homebuilder agendas, be it opposition to natural resource inventories, complaints about system development charges or identifying areas for parks and open space. This issue is less about the ability of citizens to be heard and more about a pro-development agenda. Morrison recently helped ensure that rural Lane County would be ineligible for federal funding for natural area protection projects from the Forest Legacy Program without a local opportunity for citizens to weigh in.

If the commissioners are truly concerned about injustice, they should reform themselves of their habit of deference to special interests and not-in-my-backyard proponents. Morrison could lead off by curtailing her dismissive behavior when concerns expressed by public interest groups come before the board.


1000 Friends of Oregon


Honor indigenous inhabitants

I am sorry that Teagan Carlson Kanach experienced racism here (letters, April 5). But I appreciate her for being part of the solution. By coming here to us and making the effort to tell her story, there is purpose to her living here. As we all share our experiences, these become "our story" and this goes toward building a healthy community. Kanach raises the standard.

Yes, there is racism here. I wish to challenge Kanach on one point. Did she inquire of the indigenous inhabitants of this land if she could dwell in this place? In her heart did she consider that she was moving on to another's land? Does she know upon whose land it is that she dwells?

Her own identity and the unique ethnic contribution that makes her who she is and makes up her son's heritage cannot be released until she releases the same in another. That begins, I feel, via the process of honoring the stewards, placed here by our creator - the original inhabitants of this valley.

This is a call toward positive ethnic regard, the first step in moving past racism, and starts with our response to the very first peoples.



She was a student, not stripper

I'd like to comment on The Register-Guard's publication of an Associated Press article April 6 about the Duke University lacrosse team incident where the woman accusing players of rape was referred to repeatedly and solely as "the stripper."

Since the young woman in question attends a nearby university, the designation "the female student" would have served perfectly for identification purposes. And since student is her primary occupation, that would have been the norm. Otherwise, university students here who have jobs would be referred to as waitresses or clerks in articles concerning them, which they never are.

My impression was that the writing of the article dripped with racism, sexism and the comfortable, selfish blindness of many of us toward the real-life conditions faced by those less fortunate. I would implore those affected by such moral righteousness to rent the Denzel Washington movie "Malcolm X." Then pay special attention to the part of the drama where the intelligent, beautiful and virtuous young woman is slowly ground down by the relentless, abrasive and stifling reality of her prospects.

Imagine your daughter in that position. Imagine a smug, national newspaper article labeling her forever, "the stripper."


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Apr 16, 2006
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