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Byline: The Register-Guard

Downtown blight can be fixed

Hyperbole is always a fun way to make a point. The problem with it is that weak-minded individuals (to borrow a phrase from Obi-Wan Kenobi) are easily taken in by hyperbole. Certain radio "entertainers" have been trading successfully in that for many years now.

To answer a recent bit of hyperbole, I spend about one-third of my working week downtown and have three thriving businesses between the street corner and my office four doors down. The rest of the block on both sides of the street, and up and down both sides of the cross street, also are occupied by successful businesses.

Here's a bit of hyperbole that would be funny if it weren't also true: There's one developer who had hoped to gain complete control of downtown by buying as many properties as possible and raising the rents to the point where the existing tenants couldn't survive. That was done to drive them out and create "urban blight" that would then give the developers justification to condemn the properties they were unable to buy in order to become the sole landowners downtown.

Thankfully, their plan was thwarted. Now, we need to wrest these few intentionally blighted properties from their greedy hands so that more honest local business people can make use of them.

Carl Best


Just say no to some lab tests

An ABN form is a form from a medical provider telling the patient that Medicare will not pay for the test that has been ordered, for various reasons. ABN means "advance beneficiary notice." Elderly people who are asked to sign this form really do not understand what they are signing.

My husband was presented with this form on a visit to his doctor in Eugene when a blood test was ordered for him that Medicare will not pay for with his diagnosis. In other words, the test is not related to his condition.

The form was given to him and he was shown where to sign, and he did. We had the very same thing happen in another state where we lived prior to moving to Oregon, which he did not remember.

In my opinion, I would tell elderly people when anyone presents you with a form that says Medicare will not pay, "Just say no," as Nancy Reagan once said. You have the option on the Medicare form to refuse the test.

If Medicare will not pay for something, there is usually a good reason and the patient should understand that. Just mark no.

Barbara Leary


City budgeting can be corrupted

Eugene's legitimate city budget is formulated by a budget committee composed of the City Council and eight appointed citizens. Seldom acknowledged is the corruption of this formal budgeting process by off-budget items - property tax exemptions enacted by a council majority of five or more city councilors, invariably when the budget committee is inactive.

The inappropriate and pre--emptive highest budget priority so accomplished excludes comparative priority assignments that are essential in appropriate and objective budgeting practice.

The consequence of this corruption is neglect of city services, repair of street potholes and public safety measures. Councilors Bonny Bettman and Betty Taylor consistently have cited these obvious indiscretions during council tax abatement discussions, but the usually silent council majority, often without disclosure of their supporting rationale, vote for tax revenue loss through exemptions that often overlook the public interest.

Corporations are very likely to immigrate without property tax exemptions because many imperative production essentials, unlikely to be provided equally by competing cities, are almost certain to be more relevant than a one-time property tax exemption. In addition, the number of "family wage" jobs is determined not by the size of the tax exemption but by general economic vigor.

Tax exemptions are said to exceed tax revenues, so the potential tax revenue reclamation amounts to millions. Re-evaluation of tax exemptions is long overdue.

Evaluation of the Planning and Development Department also is overdue because the cost of unrealized expectations and department operations over the last 30 years amounts to millions of tax dollars.

Ray Wolfe


Franchises are misunderstood

May I correct a misconception about franchises? We own the Subway in the Erb Memorial Union, and it is not funneling money into the pockets of CEOs and stockholders.

Subway is not traded on the stock market. We do pay a royalty fee to the guy who invented Subway, but the university is getting its cut, too.

Franchises are the modern hybrid that allows mom-and-pop operations to compete with global corporations by pooling their advertising money, wholesale contracts and brand recognition. It is quite possible the person making your sandwich is the owner.

Local ownership was always a university goal. My husband and I were both born at Sacred Heart Medical Center and schooled in Eugene-Springfield. As a UO student, I used to eat at the EMU cafeteria, where I am now on the other side of the counter.

The issue with keeping Holy Cow, in my opinion, is whether any other organic restaurant could do a better job. Holy Cow has a talented chef, and I doubt any other business could run a completely organic, completely vegetarian menu as vast as his.

Even the garbage smells good!

Julie Roy

Brad Roy, owners

EMU Subway

Cottage Grove

City population signs outdated

I'm curious why the city of Eugene has obsolete and inconsistent population signs posted at entry points into our city. I've seen three different figures this month, and the east-facing sign on 30th Avenue has not been changed in years. It's also damaged.

As I travel throughout Oregon I notice population figures for communities such as Bend and Florence are consistently updated. I, for one, would appreciate having accurate population information posted for our residents and visitors.

Jerry Schmidt


Elect Crane to council Ward 7

I'm not exactly sure what sustainability means in all of the different contexts I hear it used. But it sounds good, so I guess I am in favor of the idea.

I hear a lot about sustainable jobs, for example, but are jobs sustainable here in Eugene if they are heading for Springfield? I want my children and grandchildren to have reliable, family-wage jobs because if I have to support them all, I'm not sustainable.

I want our City Council to worry a little less about sustainability and a little more about keeping jobs in Eugene. Springfield is a fine city, but my grandchildren should only move there because they want to, not because that's where the jobs are.

I realize some people in Eugene are reluctant to admit they are pro--business, and that is nonsense. I believe we can be pro-business, pro-environment, pro-diversity and pro-family values all at the same time - and in fact, most of us probably are.

I know that John Crane is all of those things, and that is why I am supporting his candidacy for the Eugene City Council seat in Ward 7. He is a good person, and I encourage people to vote for him.

Gary Jastad


Time to drill for more oil in U.S.

Our country needs oil to survive. We have plenty of oil wells that were capped 20 or 30 years ago when the price of oil was $10 a barrel. Why are they still capped today when the price of oil is more than $100 a barrel?

The airlines are going to crash and burn with $100-a-barrel oil. They weren't designed to have to pay that price for fuel. Ticket prices will go way up. The number of flights will go way down. Only the rich will be able to afford to fly.

What happens to the price of food when 18-wheelers have to pay $1,000 to fill up their tanks? The politicians from all parties have to get together and vote to start drilling for oil where the left-wing liberals don't want that to happen. The liberals would rather see our country destroyed than to remain the leader of the free world.

Our leaders better come up with more oil and more refineries, or they won't have a country left to govern.

Lloyd Mutinsky

Sweet Home

Talk to teenagers about drinking

I retired from the Lane County Sheriff's Office after 19 years of service. During that time I held a number of assignments, but the one I felt was most important was as the traffic team sergeant.

I can't tell you how many crashes I responded to and how many deaths I witnessed. The ones that seem to really hang on are the ones with the kids.

I can't tell you the number of times I had to drive to a home and tell the parents that they had just lost a child to a car crash. At that time in my life I did not have any children, so I was not fully aware of the impact of those trips. I now have a son who is 3 years old. I catch myself looking at him while he sleeps and cannot imagine losing him.

Every year about this time we lose a number of our children to traffic crashes. The graduation parties start, and without a doubt this community will experience this once again.

A deputy or police officer will have to go to a home and tell those parents that their child will not be coming home ever again. All those dreams dashed in one bad decision to drive after drinking at one of these events. I can tell you firsthand that this is the worst part of being a cop.

I hope that parents will sit down with their teenage kids and discuss this issue with them.

Kevin Woodworth

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Title Annotation:Letters Editorial
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 1, 2008
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