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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Invest in community

There has been a lot of discussion about tax breaks as a mechanism for attracting new business to our area. By some estimates Hynix has received more than $50 million in tax breaks. That works out to an average of $77,000 per employee when divided over the 650 Hynix employees now working at the site. In the big scheme of things the taxpayers have been subsidizing the salaries of Hynix employees, while the profits accrue to Hynix stockholders and executives. We taxpayers are "investing" in Hynix, but getting none of the profits.

Imagine, by contrast, if taxpayers had invested that same $50 million improving our schools, parks, library and other public facilities. I know this would do far more to attract new business to our communities, while also improving the quality of life for all residents. Investing in the community contributes to an improved business environment for all businesses who benefit from a well educated and stable workforce. An attractive community makes it easier to attract high-quality employees and keep them.

Selective tax breaks only encourage a race to the bottom, while investing in your community is the way to climb to the top. Where should Eugene be heading?


Speak up for Halsey

We all have had one or two incredibly special educators in our lives who truly made a difference and had a profound impact on shaping our lives and our futures. Lawrence Halsey was one of those rare individuals for both of my children - graduates of Marist High School.

Halsey has been accused of sexually abusing a student more than 30 years ago (Register-Guard, May 11). I ask that all of the thousands of students and their families who know Halsey's character, honesty and integrity to speak up and vouch for this kind and honest man who has helped to positively shape so many young lives.

We always hear the negative as well as the accusations, even those that take 30 years to finally surface. It's time for people in our community to speak up and stand up for what we know to be right and good. And Lawrence Halsey is just such a man who is right and good.


A prison gone wrong

Opinion seems to be mixed on the new federal courthouse design. I was disappointed.

The interior views look absolutely fantastic! But it just makes the horror that is the exterior of the building that much worse. It looks like a prison gone way wrong!

Architect Thom Mayne is talented, for a lame poser. Any architect hired to design a public building with the explicit intent to design a structure that people won't like is a pathetic joke, a reflection of the natural end product derived from the union between art and government institutions: vacuous nonsense.


Defend the environment

Our environment is under the worst attack in years from the Bush administration. Large corporations and oil companies are working directly with the administration to literally rewrite our environmental laws. The regulations of our Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act are being threatened, as are the 60 million acres of pristine national forests that the Clinton administration declared off limits to most road-building and logging.

Bush's appointed Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, is moving to accommodate them in this desecration of our public land, air and water. This is a critical time for complacent environmentalists to crawl out from underneath their shells and take action. Our lawmakers need to be made aware that the public does not approve of this kind of policymaking.

Now, more than ever, is a time when our environmental policies need to be strengthened rather than weakened. The ecological value of our natural heritage should not be conceded to the short-term, narrow interests of oil, timber and mining companies.




Campaign to Save the Environment Eugene

Reject courthouse design

Deja vu creates tingles in the average person, and after viewing the new $70 million federal courthouse planned for Agripac's old site (Register-Guard, May 16), I was all a-tingle - similar to when the Lane County structure and Eugene City Hall were built across from one another back in the 1960s.

The same hoopla was pranced before the public then, and opponents complained of wasted space and huge beams that served no purpose other than aesthetic ones. Our complaints were waved off as coming from bemoaners who did not appreciate contemporary art and function, and they fell upon ears that were overwhelmed by the visual snake dance the architects played on their flutes for the check-writers eager for modernization.

Otto Poticha, a fine architect who weaves form and function like the master he is, complained of Eugene's architectural incontinence just a few months ago. We range from an Archie Bunker flat to a Star Wars docking station, with no real thought to not only melding with existing structures (our gorgeous new library, for instance) but planning a theme that is consistent throughout the governmental structures and the desires of our populace. Just what does an architectural firm in Santa Monica know about where we are going?

Seventy million bucks is a lot of dough for three courtrooms, chambers for six judges and a few other peripherals for a community that has panhandlers just a block away looking for a meal and a night's lodging. Write a check to Morphosis, or whatever dumb name they use, for their time and effort and say "thanks but no thanks." Give Poticha a call. Darth Vader he isn't, and he knows who we are and what we need.


A Houston courthouse

I spent most of my life living in the southeastern United States, and I must say the future federal courthouse depicted on the front page (Register-Guard, May 16) looks like something imported from Houston, Texas, the most polluted monument to reckless urban sprawl in the country.

Let's hope the brand of justice doled out in Texas doesn't come with mimicking that state's architectural "style."

J. D. GIDDENS Eugene

Artless street project

The General Services Administration and U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan are to be applauded for not only their willingness to risk greatness with the new federal courthouse design, but also for their commitment to tripling the usual 0.5 percent for art. I look forward to the art being an integral part of the acclaim and excitement as the building opens in 2005.

Contrast this to what is not happening with the reopening of Broadway. Eugene is spending over $2.5 million in the three blocks, and not one dollar is being spent for new art. This flies in the face of claims of caring about downtown as an artful place. Eugene does have a percent for art ordinance, adopted in 1981, which has resulted in numerous new works over the years - including exciting new commissioned work for the new library. It is not too late to add new art to Broadway, further enhancing the downtown, supporting our artists, and building on earlier investments in art.

These earlier works include John Rose's glass art at the transit station, the Four Seasons columns by David Thompson and Betsy Wolfston at Broadway and Willamette Street, Pete Helzer's bronze animals, Tom Hardy's salmon and Jan Zach's sculptures in the Park Blocks, and the gorgeous Wolfston tiled columns on the Pearl Street and 10th Avenue parking garage. It is also urgent, as the city develops the former Agripac site and streets around the federal courthouse, that planning for art be an essential part of any design and construction budget. Even now, the material legacy of that site is being carted away during demolition rather than retaining some of the historical and beautiful elements for artful reuse.

Let's wake up and include art as a lasting part of all of the downtown's development.


Executive director

Lane Arts Council Eugene

Hult banners trashy

I was greatly saddened one recent Friday night by the trashy appearance of the grand lobby of the Hult Center. Plastic and vinyl banners advertising corporate sponsors of the symphony were festooned over balcony rails - giving the Hult lobby the appearance of a side street in Kowloon.

It appears that corporate gifts have less to do with altruistic support of the symphony and the arts of the community than they do with corporate advertising. Philanthropists could be discreetly honored in printed programs or pre-show announcements.

One might wish that the city sign code would extend to the inside of its own public building devoted to, of all things, aesthetics. How sad.


Others aren't guilty

Let me get this straight: A 23-year old woman with plenty of food in her home is starving herself to death, and Karen McCowan feels that "we" are responsible, that "we" have somehow failed her, and "we have an obligation" to pay for her rehabilitation (Register-Guard, May 19).

No, if people are bent on starving themselves to death, that is certainly their right and their choice - but the rest of us shouldn't be made to feel guilty for it.

The Register-Guard lately seems to be in the habit of running victim-of-the-week stories in which we, as readers, are being asked to feel sorry for the latest victim - and to feel guilty that "we" didn't do more. In fact, in the vast majority of stories run, these people are largely responsible for their own misery.

We all have problems, and we all have to cope with inner demons. Those of us who have managed to handle them shouldn't be made to feel guilt and remorse because some haven't.



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. Letters must be signed with the writer's full name. An address and daytime telephone number are needed for verification purposes; this information will not be published or released. 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:May 21, 2002
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