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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Moratorium not needed

On Nov. 3, The Register-Guard published an editorial supporting the mining moratorium in the Siskiyou National Forest. The reasons given for supporting the moratorium do not reflect the facts.

When then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt put this moratorium in place, he did so without proper hearings. This was a hurry-up political job, not a reasoned review. There was no crisis before the moratorium was put in place, so returning to the original circumstances does not mean that future changes are not possible.

The land in question has been claimed for mining for more than a century. The moratorium stopped people from filing on a claim that someone else had let lapse, but there was no 700,000-acre parcel of land that had been preserved and then suddenly opened to mining. Comments about dredging degrading the streams seem out of place here, since numerous scientific studies have been done by state and federal agencies, and none showed a detrimental effect.

The editorial's statement about mining contributing little to the economy of Southern Oregon is open to question. Some of the mining is recreational, but more provides a large part of some family's yearly income.

There is no valid reason for keeping this moratorium. It is not an act of preservation but an act of greed.

LARRY M. CHASE, President

Oregon Independent Miners Springfield

Bush won election

We have an amazing capacity to hear only what pleases us. And with a dead-heat election like we had in Florida last year, Arthur Ross Cady (letters, Nov. 15) is entitled to see only what pleases him.

But just for the record, the nine-month analysis of the Florida election by eight media organizations does not show that "Al Gore won the election," as Cady said. The media recount actually determined that, by nearly every important measure, George Bush came out ahead. If the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the Florida court and allowed hand recounting to be finished, Bush would have won. If the Gore campaign's wishes had come true and only the four big Democratic counties were re-counted, Gore would have lost. If all counties had been allowed to recount according to the existing standards, Bush would have won.

The part Cady seized upon was this: Hypothetically, if counties had uniform standards for recounting, and if there had been no constitutional time limit for the recount, under some scenarios Gore might have had 100 to 200 more votes. That's what the report said.

What we really had, though, is a sort of statistical tie - one in which the margin of error was larger than the margin of victory. Those errors were largely the result of stupid voters, followed closely by a stupid balloting system that absolutely has to be changed - in Florida and in Oregon and elsewhere.

But in no way did the analysis tip the result toward Gore.


Answer the question

It's becoming apparent that PeaceHealth expects to raise a significant amount from community contributions to help pay for its $350 million expansion. I expect its solicitation will include a media blitz giving Eugene citizens a collective pat on the head, assuring us that since Sacred Heart is a regional hospital, it really won't matter that it's located in Springfield. That would be wrong, because it matters. It matters a lot.

I don't think Eugene citizens yet understand the rare opportunity we had to attract such a clean and powerful economic engine to help pull our downtown from its downward spiral. The construction project, hospital employees, patients, visitors and peripheral businesses and medical offices would have made a giant difference in our city's core.

I know that's not the responsibility of PeaceHealth, and I'm tired of hearing who fumbled what to cause us to lose the hospital to Springfield. Yet I'm terribly disappointed that the hospital never publicly answered the question, "What would it take to get you to build at the 12th Avenue and Willamette Street site?"

I can imagine PeaceHealth's answer: the city would be required to do the condemnations, clear the land, contractually commit to a fast-track approval process, trade straight across for its Gateway land and compensate the hospital for the delay. While the cost of such a deal may be large, the amount could be reasonably estimated and quickly put before a vote. If the citizens approved, we'd all win; I'm convinced the long-term return on such an investment would be huge and would continue forever. If the citizens refused, at least we would have had a chance to put up or shut up.

Perhaps it's not too late to ask our city leaders and PeaceHealth for that chance.



Letters received in past week: 142

Letters published: 60

What's on readers' minds: No single topic dominated Mailbag flow during the past week. We received 18 letters on terrorism and the U.S. war in Afghanistan, 16 on the passing of author Ken Kesey (half of them responding to a Nov. 19 letter by John English) and 11 on U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's efforts to block Oregon's landmark assisted suicide law. We also received nine letters on the West Eugene Parkway project, six of them dealing with City Councilor Betty Taylor's opposition.

- The Register-Guard


The Register-Guard welcomes letters on topics of general interest. Our length limit is 250 words; all letters are subject to condensation. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Because of the volume of mail, not all letters can be printed. Mail letters to Mailbag, P.O. Box 10188, Eugene, OR 97440-2188 Fax: 338-2828 E-mail:
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Nov 24, 2001
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