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Byline: The Register-Guard

Fighting on won't make it right

As a mother of a soldier whose life has been forever changed by the war in Iraq, I can certainly empathize with Katie Dyer's feelings (Commentary, April 20), but I disagree that one can't support the soldiers without supporting the war.

Our military personnel are bound to serve once enlisted, and because of that, our leaders have an awesome responsibility never to ask our military to serve in a capacity that is less than honorable.This war is a grievous offense against our troops and the Iraqi people. To think that continuing it will somehow make it right is insanity. The futility of more death and destruction in no way honors those who have already sacrificed so much.

I fully understand wanting, even needing, to believe that there is some greater good which justifies our loved ones being maimed and killed, because knowing that there is not is so profoundly painful. I can't look into my son's scarred face and say aloud that what he and so many thousands of others have endured was for nothing, but my silence doesn't change the reality of what he and I both know.

Honor our troops, absolutely. Thank them immensely, and then offer your sincere apologies that our country has extorted the commitment they made to serve and protect by sending them to an unjust war to kill and be killed. War should always be a last resort, and it should never produce evils graver than the evil it is meant to eliminate.

Karen Mitchell


Crest streets will be too narrow

I was happy to see the April 20 front page story in The Register-Guard, "Money down a hole."

While I am certain that a perceived lack of funding (or misallocation of existing funds) is part of the problem, equally frustrating is the willingness of the current city leadership to be stonewalled on needed street repairs by local "citizens committees." A ballot petition in 2004 successfully prevented the city from classifying Crest Drive as a collector and prevented repaving.

The issue was turned over to the Crest Drive Community Team, which has been working on a context--sensitive solution since at least early 2006. The current plan, if ever carried out, will result in many streets that will be too narrow to accommodate larger vehicles, such as delivery trucks and motor homes, and will make the passage of emergency vehicles a slow, arduous process.

Many of us who live and drive in the Crest Drive neighborhood on a daily basis are less concerned about context sensitivity than we are about the almost impassable roads in our neighborhood.Aside from the damage it inflicts on our vehicles, the current city leaders should be embarrassed by their inability to maintain basic infrastructure.

Jonathan Miko


Look closely at Obama's funding

Several letters to the editor and articles have extolled Sen. Barack Obama as having financed his campaign primarily on donations from regular people.

As of April 1, he raised $230 million.

Obama stated that he doesn't take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists. It's true that he doesn't take money directly from oil companies; no presidential, House or Senate candidate does or can. Obama has, however, accepted contributions from individuals or their spouses who work for companies in the oil and gas industry, including ExxonMobil.

Two oil industry executives are bundling money for Obama - George Kaiser, the chairman of Oklahoma-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., 68th on Forbes' list of world billionaires, and Robert Cavnar, president and CEO of Milagro Exploration LLC, an oil exploration and production company.

It's true that Obama doesn't accept contributions from individuals who are registered to lobby the federal government. But he does take money from their spouses and from other individuals at firms where lobbyists work. And some of his bigger fund-raisers were registered lobbyists until they signed on with his campaign.

He hasn't taken money from political action committees, but contributions that come in volume from oil industry executives or are bundled by them can be every bit as influential as PAC contributions, if not more so.

Carmella Bonita


Stop Amazon Headwaters fiasco

An April 18Register-Guard article reporting on the city committee looking into the Amazon Creek headwaters land purchase stated city planners told the committee that with a small tweak of the proposed plan, the city would approve the out-of-town developer's plan.

If that is true, then we truly do not have any safeguards in place to protect what is alleged to be one of Eugene's most pristine forest lands.

How can the city approve development of a property that the mayor and a select few contend is an irreplaceable headwaters? Something isn't right. This is the agenda of the select few who just happen to live close to the properties they want the city to acquire.

We have one of the lowest police-to-population ratios in the country; our streets are dangerous to drive; and dangerous criminals are walking the streets due to no funds to operate the jails. Just how do the mayor and a few councilors justify paying millions of dollars for properties when the appraisals are so far apart?

This Green/Beverly fiasco needs to stop. It

is ridiculous. Stop the waste. Treat this property acquisition as we have treated others in the past and as we should do in the future -fairly and in the open.

These shady land deals don't improve essential services, particularly public safety and safe streets. City Hall needs to get its act together and concentrate on real priorities.

Cindy Puls Pedersen


Corporate greed can be fatal

Fifty years ago this week, I attended my first stockholders' meeting at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Two bright, young, aspiring actors wanted to attend and I told them they had to be stockholders, so they purchased one share of General Electric stock apiece.

In the large and crowded Beverly Wilshire ballroom, eager adults of all ages seemed excited, restless and expectant. After the CEO reported on his state of the corporation, which seemed excellent to us, but conservative and maybe a little plodding and unimaginative to stockholders, the CEO took questions and suggestions from the stockholders. Suddenly, stockholders, standing and shouting, sounded frustrated and frenzied.

My companions and I were astounded and appalled by their frenzied shouting of suggestions, one of which was to take over Westinghouse, another was for the CEO to quit if stock value didn't rise more rapidly. After all, net profit and share value were higher than expected. Watching the sea of hands being raised, we felt sorry for the flummoxed CEO.

Since then, CEOs have learned how to consolidate their power and position and are magnificently rewarded. CEO salaries, including stock, commonly surpass $2 million yearly, and CEOs know how to control with corporate money not only their stockholders but also our politicians, government and the American public.They don't appreciate that uncontrolled greed can be like a fatal disease for themselves and their country.

Jerry Copeland


Factor in Green's tax assessment

An out-of-town appraiser hired by the city of Eugene places the value of the Green property at $3.8 million. The Lane County assessor says its value is $650,286. Someone may be "wrong."

If the city pays $3.8 million - or for that matter, anything more than $1 million - I believe the assessor should seriously consider reassessing all of the properties in Lane County.

The current taxes on the Green property are reported to be $9,052. If the city pays $3.8 million, this is 5.8 times the current assessed value. If the discrepancy between assessed and market value is this great, it follows that revaluing all of the properties in Lane County could increase tax revenues almost six-fold.

All we need to do is hire an out-of-town appraiser to work in the assessor's office. The resulting windfall would solve local governments' revenue problems.

It is unfair and unreasonable to allow an owner to pay taxes on a property valued at $650,286 and then expect the taxpayers to pay that same owner $3.8 million out of tax revenues.Just for the record, my money is on the local assessor's office. Let's hope someone wakes up and does the right thing. It can't be both ways.

If the right thing is done, the taxpayers really can't lose and a property that should be a park will be in public ownership. It just has to be done correctly, not by emotion or faulty evaluations, but by sound, reasonable, defensible logic.

John H. Brown

Evans, Elder & Brown


Letters should elevate discourse

I've just finished reading Andrea Hartman's April 22 letter about the Katie Dyer piece "Anti-war wounds" and found it thoughtful and unbiased.I then continued reading to the next letter, also about the Dyer commentary, until I reached "liberal--leaning media," code words which sent my eyes immediately to see who the writer was. Sure enough, it was Steve Hawke, one of the conservatives who can never pander or slander enough.

I usually don't read these letters because they don't contribute to consensus building, and I wonder why The Register-Guard continues to publish these messages of a closed mind.If Hawke wants to change minds and influence our culture, he must learn how to elevate and not alienate with his discourse. He accomplishes little with his right-wing cliches.

Richard Knablin

North Bend
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Title Annotation:Letters Editorial
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 29, 2008
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