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Byline: The Register-Guard

Publish same-sex birth notices

After generations of discrimination, years of legislative wrangling and weeks of nail-biting over an 11th-hour legal challenge, on Feb. 4 the first 85 devoted same-sex couples registered in Lane County under a statewide domestic partnership law. A significant milepost on the road to equality, this joyous day was a long time coming.

Oregon voters in 2004 disappointingly approved a constitutional amendment barring true marriage equality. However, both sides of the campaign promoted the possibility of civil unions or domestic partnerships as a separate-and-unequal alternative. The Oregon Legislature responded by overwhelmingly passing the Oregon Family Fairness Act last year. After a final round of challenges from opponents desperate to prevent even this watered-down step toward equality, statewide domestic partnerships finally became a reality last month.

Reading The Register-Guard's front-page coverage on Feb. 5, my heart leapt for the thousands of my fellow Oregonians who, after years of waiting, finally had access to some basic family rights. But with my next breath, my thoughts turned to the long road ahead.

One easy next step toward fairness and equality should be taken by this very newspaper. It is long past time for The Register-Guard, as a citizen of its community, to lift its unreasonable and discriminatory ban on including both parents' names in birth announcements when same-sex couples have children. I hope to open my paper one morning soon and see the names of both moms or both dads of new babies printed in "For the Record."

Kerry Delf


Pedestrians pose safety problem

I want to echo the sentiments of Rob Fisher (letters, April 14) saying that pedestrians, not cars, are the issue. Every time we read about an accident involving a pedestrian, it is usually stated that he or she was in a crosswalk. But the question is: Was the pedestrian crossing legally or illegally?

For example, if you go on 13th Avenue to where it intersects Hilyard and Alder streets, you will find hundreds of people ignoring the traffic signals all day long. And even though there is a police presence at 13th and Alder, people still refuse to comply with the law because they know nothing will be done to them.

I feel that either the crosswalk signs need to come down or the police need to have several stings or else we will continue to have the pedestrian-car problem.

Claire Williams


City takes land off tax rolls

I see where the city of Eugene wants to pay over $3 million of money we don't have to buy a 40-acre parcel of scrub land. Not only that, the city also wants to buy another parcel in the same area for $4 million more.

I'm getting tired of hearing about closing schools and looking for other sources of funds for schools, while at the same time spending excess cash to remove properties from the tax rolls. All of the city properties are exempt from property taxes, which adds to the drain of school funding.

Wake up, people. At approximately $20 per $1,000, those two properties could potentially add $140,000 in tax dollars for school support. If we allowed builders to build houses, we could gain that much more.

Wanting more wilderness areas around the city of Eugene is like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and suggesting that we dig it a little deeper.

We stood still while a few activists stopped logging as a dependable source of funding for schools and families. We'll pay for that with much wilder and larger forest fires, which will in turn add to global warming fears. Let's at least control what's left for us to control and stop this rape of private lands.

Bob Simon


League Voters' Guide available

The Voters' Guide, published by the League of Women Voters of Oregon, is at libraries, public offices and in churches, and is distributed to various organizations and groups by local league members. It is also available online at the LWVOR Web site:

The Voters' Guide is an objective, nonpartisan explanation of measures on the ballots for the May 20 state primary election. Issues are researched by members of LWV, and include background information, analysis of the measure and arguments for and against. Every effort is made to present both sides of the issue accurately and fairly while also making it understandable to the average voter.

The Voters' Guide also includes responses from statewide candidates to questions posed to them by LWV. Their answers are given in the candidates' words, within a strict word limit set by the league.

Voters' Guides are available in the traditional detailed version but also in an easy-to-read condensed form for time-pressed voters, as well as a Spanish language version and a large print version. An audio edition is available on theleague's Web site.

Flo Alvergue

Voter Service Chair

League of Women Voters

of Lane County


VA needs the funds to do its job

The Department of Veterans Affairs is so underfunded and understaffed that itis unable to give veterans the help they deserve.

The good people who work for the VA share my frustrations. Many veterans return from combat with physical and mental wounds that may never heal, and were promised quality, timely health care in return for the service they gave their country.

When will the bureaucrats in Washington realize that promises alone will not heal the wounds of war? The VA needs help.

Michael Schaefers


Parenting skills must be learned

Amy Samson's April 17 letter cited research showing the achievement gap in schools is related to children's language acquisition during their first three years of life.

Much needs to be done to help children be ready for school and be successful when they begin. A child's brain grows to 85 percent of adult size in the first three years. Most of the time, parents have the most influence during these critical years. If parents nurture their children, interact, play and talk with them, this helps promote healthy brain growth and creates a foundation for the child's ability to learn, get along with others and be a contributing member of society.

No one is born knowing how to be a good parent, and parenting skills do not come naturally. Today,many parents live far from their own families or are dealing with the stresses of working or single parenting, and it can be harder than ever to begin this important work. Research shows that good parenting skills and support for parenting help prevent child abuse and many of the problems that plague our society, such as juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and criminal behavior.

Programs for young families such as Healthy Start, Birth To Three, Success By 6, Relief Nursery, Parent Resource Centers and others can help bring parents the knowledge, skills and support that make all the difference when raising a child. Learning does not begin when children enter school; it begins at birth, and the first teachers are parents.

Minalee Saks

Executive Director

Birth To Three


Commercial stations slight news

The insipid professional media performance by ABC at the recent televised Democratic presidential candidate debate confirmed why many of us simply have written off American commercial media as credible. Edward Murrow must be squirming in his grave.

Many Oregon communities now have several local groups working to establish new noncommercial radio stations. We're doing this in the Florence area as analternative to most commercial media. Frankly, National Public Radiois not materially different from commercial radio.

It all boils down to the same conclusion: Entertainment can be left to the current stations. But in these critical times ahead, news and matters of public affairs are simply too important to make that mistake - and ABC confirmed that April 16.

Rand Dawson

Siltcoos Lake

Make Eugene city center inviting

At last! The Eugene City Council has noticed that there is disorderly, intimidating and harassing behavior in the downtown area.

If they can find a way to get patrol officers visible in all areas, then introduce free parking, we might find some people coming downtown again - and enjoying themselves. It's about time we make our city center inviting to business and recreation.

Sue Peterson


Don't worry, a tree was saved

Interesting. Lane County has laid off sheriff's deputies, which has affected entire families and made Lane County less safe.But don't worry, a tree was saved.

Lane County has released 20 percent of its inmates from the county jail, but don't worry, a tree was saved.

Schools have a shortage of books and educators, but don't worry, a tree was saved.

The next time your car lands in a pothole and you need a new tire or an alignment, don't worry, a tree was saved.

While all of this goes on and the money runs out to run Lane County government, don't worry, a tree was saved.

With billions of board feet of lumber just rotting in the woods, don't worry, because Lane County is saving its trees.

Dawn Offerman

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Title Annotation:Letters Editorial
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 25, 2008
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