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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Learn from mistake

As I observe all the controversy surrounding the construction of the West Eugene Parkway, I have to wonder what its proponents are thinking.

Having recently arrived from Boston, I believe there is a lesson to be learned from that city's experience with an expressway built in the mid-1950s. This road went through many of the city's thriving neighborhoods, with disastrous results. Now, in order to reunite these separated neighborhoods, Boston is engaged in the largest road building project in history, popularly known as the "Big Dig." The old expressway is being replaced by a road that runs 120 feet underground, below the city. In addition to bringing the neighborhoods together, it will provide 27 acres of new green space, and it will reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 15 percent from their current levels while carrying 245,000 vehicles a day.

However, the lesson has been a very costly one. Thus far, the construction cost has been $14.6 billion, and the completion date is two years away. Let's look at Boston and not make the fatal mistake of building a road that will divide our city and at the same time destroy 50 acres of precious unrecoverable wetlands. Please, Eugene, don't repeat the costly error Boston made back in the '50s. Instead, let's learn from it and profit from Boston's vision.



Heed generals' advice

I take exception to the letter of Sept. 1 by John Stephens in which he states that war "will" happen and only Republicans are right-thinking, loyal Americans. Many non-Republican, antiwar folks are loyal Americans. Biased thinking like Stephens' serves only to fan the flames of emotional reactions and prevent clear thinking. It is this kind of behavior that we are witnessing in our government that frightens me.

Pundits such as William Safire and Vice President Dick Cheney are setting the stage for a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, against the advice of key military leaders and the U.S. State Department. Without strong support from our allies, and with tensions running high around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, events in the region could easily spin out of control. Why isn't President Bush listening to the people in his administration who have real military experience and depth in international affairs, such as his joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who think a war on Iraq is an all-around bad idea?

In Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance provided the nuts and bolts of the offensive, but Iraq has no equivalent indigenous force, meaning Americans would suffer much heavier casualties. President Bush should listen to his generals when deciding how to deal with Saddam Hussein.



Remember salvage rider

Back in 1995 and 1996, thousands of acres of old growth forests were clear-cut on our public lands under the guise of "forest health." In the infamous "salvage rider," Congress suspended all environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Agencies were no longer accountable to the public. With no other means to protect our forests, I was one of hundreds of people arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.

In retrospect, many decision-makers involved with putting the "salvage rider" in effect deeply regretted it. President Clinton called it the biggest mistake of his administration. The U.S. Forest Service chief at the time, Jack Ward Thomas, said "It really didn't help anything, and it made everything a whole lot tougher."

Unfortunately, some members of the U.S. Senate and the Bush administration haven't learned this lesson. They are considering plans to eliminate public oversight and environmental safeguards to cut big trees. If we were really interested in "common sense forestry," as President Bush says he is, we'd thin small trees and brush around homes and communities. We'd thin plantations. We'd protect old growth and mature forests, and forests in roadless areas. The only people who support Bush's proposal work for the logging companies that fund his campaign.



A nice park awaits

The city of Eugene's decision to spend several million dollars fixing up Alton Baker Park couldn't have come at a better time.

When my daughter graduates as an unemployable dimwit from her hopelessly under-funded high school and finally moves out of the house, she'll have a beautiful place to legally park her camper.



Seeking fresh air

Well, it's that time of the year again. The time of year when grass seed field burners get to light the match.

I guess I'll just head to the nearest Eugene-area bar or tavern so I can get a bit of fresh air.




Letters received in past week: 246

Letters published: 78

What's on readers' minds: The one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks dominated Mailbag flow during the past week. Fifty-six readers responded to our invitation to send in their thoughts and reflections on the terrorist attacks one year later. We received 27 letters on the Bush administration's planning to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, all but a small handful of which opposed a pre-emptive U.S. strike. Readers also sent 13 letters about the Oregon Legislature's ongoing efforts to balance the budget and eight on President Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative.

- The Register-Guard


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 14, 2002
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