Letters to the Editor: No calming traffic, the MAGA crowd, and Eugene 4J

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No calming of traffic in sight by Washington Park

It has been 21 years that residents and park users have been petitioning the city of Eugene for traffic calming around Washington Park.

Efforts by concerned residents have included calls and letters, of course. Moreover, in response to an official petition by residents in 2002, we were assured that "it may take up to seven years to install traffic-calming features around the park."

That period came and went without action. Not a stop sign, not a speed bump, not even a painted crosswalk, much less police enforcement of speed limits.

There was one traffic study — conducted on the Saturday following Thanksgiving! — which concluded that there was not enough volume or wayward children to merit traffic calming.

More recently, residents even volunteered to privately pay to have speed bumps installed to protect pedestrians and children.

All to no avail.

So, what should concerned residents do? For now, are we trapped awaiting the first fatality of a small child darting out of the spray park or playground, or crash caused by softballs soaring over low fences into the street? Faced with these outcomes, does it not truly seem less expensive to promptly install traffic-calming devices around this popular park?

M.B. Barlow, Eugene

Skalatos needs experience before running for national office

First, let me say that Alex Skarlatos seems like a likable young man. That does not qualify him for national office.

I spent my life — in part — serving in the U.S. Army (Vietnam in the '60s), helped raise two quite successful kids, worked in the lumber marketing business (nationally and internationally), got involved in Eugene 4J School District "issues" in the 1980s and created a very fine small business here in Eugene. That said, I never felt those things qualified me for local elected office.

Skarlatos acted honorably in the Army and acted bravely in his French rail near disaster. Those things appear to be all he's ever done of note.

Let him run for city council or some other "starting" elective office. In four to six years, let him run for national office, and I might change my mind about Skarlatos.

Ed Reiman, Cottage Grove

No, the government is not ‘weaponized’

The hysterical MAGA crowd is at it again.

The FBI conducts a search of former president Trump’s home, having been authorized by a federal judge, and the response is that the justice system has been “weaponized.”

Trump is portrayed as an innocent victim of a “deep state” plot to get him. In addition, this illogic is then extended saying that this legal action demonstrates that the “government” is coming for all Republicans next. I can see how this notion can be compelling to many who buy into conspiracy theories, but I will remind people that regarding “weaponizing” government, it was Trump, who being upset about peaceful protestors outside the White House commented to Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something.”

This, to me, is an attitude of the former president that demonstrates his notion that the law does not apply to him and that he should get away with doing whatever he wants. In distinction to that, let’s all take a breath and follow the current legal proceedings to see where they will lead.

Thomas Dodd, Eugene

Don’t stand in Hoyle’s way of representing the 4th

I disagree with Joshua Welch’s guest column, “Unions must stop preserving our corrupt political system” (Guest View, Aug. 14), where he reprises the attacks on Democratic congressional candidate Val Hoyle that Doyle Canning made in Canning’s wildly unsuccessful primary campaign. Hoyle is now running in the November general election. So, Welch’s opposition at this point only serves her Republican opponent. Does Welch prefer a Congress dominated by those who deny the validity of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory? A Congress run by those who would refer medical doctors’ care for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and many women’s most personal decisions to police departments and bounty hunters? A Congress primed to reverse the Biden administration’s recent legislation moving our energy dependencies from fossil fuels to sustainable sources? That will be the effect if his opinions discourage potential Hoyle supporters from voting for her. Like it or not, the former California house speaker had it right: “Money is the mother's milk of politics.” This is why Hoyle’s Republican opponent has raised as much out-of-state money as from Oregon. (Hoyle’s Oregon donors more than triple her out-of-state donors.) Hoyle’s views of our climate crisis clearly have evolved. I hope Welch’s views will as well. Larry Koenigsberg, Eugene

For the love of ‘joyful learning’

I enjoyed reading R-G education reporter Miranda Cyr’s August 4 article on District 4J’s summer school program. The headline said it all: “Firing synapses, sparking joy.”

As a retired middle school teacher, I’m well aware that learning requires work. I’m also well aware that when learning is joyful, everyone wins — students, teachers and families.

I am happy the summer school students experienced “fun activities,” “a lot of hands-on work,” “student engagement” and “enrichment activities.”

My fear is that, come the fall, District 4J will once again revert to its 20-year obsession with standardized testing, which has dominated teaching and learning, producing what critics call “the joyless model of education,” especially in the primary grades. The testing-sorting-tracking system has led to District 4J students having to take more than 144 standardized assessments by eighth grade. Always getting ready for the next standardized test does not lend itself to “student engagement” or “hands-on work” or “joy in learning.”

Only when parents demand that 4J move away from the failed 20-year experiment in “input-output, testing data-driven” education will all 4J students get to experience what the 1,600 summer school students got to experience on a daily basis: joyful learning.

Roscoe Caron, Eugene

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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Letters to the editor: No calming traffic, the MAGA crowd, and Eugene 4J