LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Teenagers can work in woods
Much has appeared in the news lately about the lack of summer jobs for teens and the need for kids to get off the couch and out of doors.
Your kids can meet both needs by working in the woods this summer for Northwest Youth Corps. In well-supervised five-week sessions, they will gain skills in working, teamwork and self-management - and they'll love it; some kids sign up for consecutive sessions.
This is not a remedial program for troubled youth. It's for ordinary and extraordinary boys and girls - like yours and mine. My sons worked for NYC and left with an enhanced sense of capability and a good paycheck. NYC is a nonprofit agency headquartered in Eugene and has been putting kids to work in the woods since 1984. In fact, if you enjoy hiking in the Northwest, there's a good chance you have trod a trail built by NYC crews.
Check out their Web site at www.NorthwestYouthCorps.org.
Maybe Knight could help county
As a lifelong resident of Eugene and Lane County, I have taken note of Phil Knight's generosity in the form of donations to the University of Oregon. I thought I would make him aware of the funding crisis here in Lane County and see if he could help.
The problem is that our loss of federal funding is resulting in devastating cuts to public safety. The citizens of Lane County don't seem to want to pay for these services, and our elected leaders are either unwilling or unable to put public safety at the top of the priority list.
Dangerous criminals have been and will continue to be released from jail at an alarming rate. When three county commissioners took steps to remedy this situation - in the form of a 1.1 percent tax last year - they were met with protests and asinine demands for recall. I assume that those citizens just didn't want to give up a couple of $4 lattes a week.
I didn't see any protests when 84 criminals were released early from jail last week. I'm not sure of the legalities involving private donations to county government, but I would be willing to look into it for Knight if he is interested. The imminent cuts to patrol, corrections and other vital public safety services are not in the public's best interest, whether the public is aware of it or not.
The Sorry About That City'
There has been community-wide discussion to find a city slogan for Eugene. Consider "The Just Get By City" or "The Sorry About That City," both of which we use frequently.
It appears that the elected officials, administration and public works department have developed a brilliant and creative strategy of using poorly coordinated traffic signals, "Sorry About That" traffic engineering and the "Just Get By" street maintenance pothole program to frustrate drivers and to meet our Miles Driven Reduction goals set by the state and city.
This combination strategy is working; frustration abounds. Separately, they may not be working.
The "Sorry About That" traffic engineering policy is contrary to the goals of sustainability and energy conservation.
The "Just Get By" strategy has resulted in streets that are beyond potholes. Most streets have been neglected or repaired by another process of putting an asphalt cow pie into a hole to "Just Get By." Patching rather than repairing whole sections of streets doesn't work and is uneconomical.
Our utility crews cut our streets and patch only the cut, rather than cutting and reinstalling whole sections or paying any attention to the patch location in the street or bike lane. The streets appear as a patchwork quilt with poorly located patches and poor sewing of seams.
It might be less expensive to coordinate the signals, let the streets deteriorate and return to the city's first slogan, "Eugene Skinner's Mud Hole."
Long live new City Manager John Ruiz. Fresno was easier.
Shopping carts can aid safety
While thinking about pedestrian safety recently, I was struck (or shall I say, nearly struck) by the idea that if one is wheeling a shopping cart in front of one's self while moving across vehicular traffic, the drivers are much more likely to pay immediate attention.
While part of this phenomenon is due to the increase in visibility afforded by the larger area, I feel perhaps that unconsciously the drivers are weighing the relative costs of a trip to the body shop versus a simple trip to the carwash.
Taking this a step further, having blinking lights on the cart and on you will again improve your odds of safely crossing the street. The closer you appear to being an emergency vehicle, the more likely it is that normal drivers will stop for you.
So how can we apply these principles to protecting the public in our city? Simply construct corrals at each of the four corners of every intersection in town, populated with a standby group of shopping carts in good running condition. People should be free to borrow the carts for various errands and then return them to the nearest street corner.
Cart attendants can be hired to keep carts from accumulating at popular intersections. I predict that this simple scheme will not only save lives and prevent injuries, but also provide needed jobs.
Cartoon was thought-provoking
Political cartoons should spur, but never complete, our thinking about complex issues.
An April 19 cartoon in The Register-Guard shows a field of skulls, likened to a corn field, with a corporate type at a lectern labeled "Ethanol!" predicting "Knee-high by the Fourth of July!!!"
We are increasingly aware of the so-called eco-fuels' impacts upon food stores. We know that corn-based ethanol has problems and that non-food stocks must be used.
What the cartoon obscures is that our current use of oil has already caused huge food price increases and food shortages for those without incomes to meet these prices. The actual share of ethanol in fueling American transit is minuscule; the food shortages suggested by the cartoon are more likely the result of crop failures and will become more and more the result of climate change, in which our daily use of oil plays a large part.
My family fills up our vehicles with Ethanol 10 and soon all regular gas will have that component. Knowing about competition for food and fuel, I find my rationale in thinking that ethanol is transitional to something much better, that the oil industry will not advocate change, and that I must reduce my reliance upon private internal-combustion engines to get me around town or across country.
Now, that cartoon made me think!
High def available over the air
Regarding Mark Miller's inquiry into why his service for television is lacking in high definition broadcasts (letters, April 19), I have found my friends and family seem to not understand the format, either.
Currently I receive high def broadcasts on all major networks and public broadcasting for no cost. Over-the-air broadcasting (also known as free TV), is the format that allows me to receive these signals, along with a high-definition television and a run-of-the-mill rabbit ears antenna. Although not all programs are in high def, most sporting events and prime-time shows are.That's enough for me, especially since I grew up watching grainy CBS.
For half a century, people have become accustomed to over-the-air broadcasts being inferior to cable and or satellite service. The advantage of the signal now being transmitted in a digital format is that the signal is no longer inferior to cable and satellite.
Another benefit is the number of channels being transmitted has been increased. I receive Fox, CBS, ABC, CW, NBC and several channels of PBS, all in regular, digital and high-definition broadcasts. This is more channels than I received the first time I had cable hooked up 25 years ago.
Think of a donation as justice
I am writing to share a strategy I use to donate to FOOD for Lane County that others might find effective to help ensure that even as we begin to feel the effects of the current economic situation, those of us who can afford to buy food continue to help those who can't.
My strategy is simple. Every time I buy food, I donate $1 to FOOD for Lane County for every $10 I spend on food for my family. I was inspired to set up this system for myself by the Jewish practice of tzedakah. Tzedakah is usually translated as charity but it actually means justice or righteousness. In other words, giving to FOOD for Lane County is not simply an act of kindness. It is an act of justice, an attempt to correct the injustice of there being people who cannot afford to buy food.
Rather than letting feelings of generosity determine the frequency and size of my donation, I have a system that ensures that as long as I can afford to buy food, I am helping to feed those who can't.
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|Title Annotation:||Letters Editorial|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Apr 28, 2008|
|Previous Article:||Three for EWEB.|
|Next Article:||To save the old growth trees, you need to get involved.|
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