Letters to the Editor - Jan. 25, 2013

Stop school cat dissection

Continuing cat dissection in our public high school classrooms is not to be simply treated as a nuisance issue conveniently justified and squelched without acknowledging the many nuances associated with it.

By simply allowing this antiquated curriculum to continue, we are perpetuating a multimillion dollar specimen industry that historically is neither transparent nor accountable. It involves the acquisition and, in most other cases, purposeful breeding of countless millions of animals annually killed and packaged as specimens.

I see no reason a student might find this type of exercise beneficial. Years ago, I took part in a high school pig dissection and was surprised that such a thing was still going on in our community. There are now alternatives that many schools have incorporated.

In retrospect, it is clear that the take-away was “animals are disposable.” This attitude is not something that needs to be reinforced any further today.

The fact is that millions of unwanted pets, particularly cats, are abandoned each year, while at the same time millions more are being born because of uneducated owners. For most of these, there is little hope of a good home, and many will find themselves euthanized in barbaric methods such as the gas chamber and ultimately marketed by corporations as so-called “teaching tools.”

The chances of a student ever needing to dissect a house cat post-high school are quite low, but many will find themselves the caretaker of one. Bring the school district into the 21st century, and find another way to accomplish the mandate of educating students without reinforcing a throw-away mentality.

Teach good animal stewardship: the conditions in which these “specimens” were procured would be a start.

Brian Carlson


We need industrial jobs

I would like to thank the News-Register for reprinting the Statesman Journal editorial, “Pass effective legislation quickly” (Viewpoints, Jan. 18). It is said that recession is when you hear of someone who lost his job, but a depression is when you lose yours.

Oregon really has only two natural resources, hydroelectric and wood products. It is the wood products industry I would like to address, the paper industry in particular.

I have been doing political work for the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers since 2005. There has been a tremendous loss of jobs and plant closures due to extreme environmentalism and, worse, trade agreements established by the federal government, including the coming Trans-Pacific Pact.

We, as citizens, need to keep our industrial jobs, which mainly fall into rural Oregon. Why? If workers are not working and industrial plants are not operating, there are no payroll taxes from the workforce and no property taxes paid by the industrial plants. I hope citizens will understand that we need all of us living whole lives; marrying, raising children and educating them, and, hopefully, retiring.

When I was living in Chicago, a state tourism board jingle was “Just outside Chicago, there is a state called Illinois.” Citizens in downstate Illinois complained, and the jingle was changed to “Just outside your back door, there is a state called Illinois.” Oregon is like Illinois — one state, not two.

I hope Senate President Courtney of Salem and House Speaker Kotek of Portland pass legislation that emphasizes and pays attention to rural Oregonians’ needs. Rural Oregon is looking not for a handout but a hand up to be productive and whole. I have my fingers crossed for this legislative year. 

Mike Sullivan



Don Dix

To Mike Sullivan -- You are asking the wrong people for help. Courtney and Kotek need permission from Portland to pass any legislation that doesn't benefit Portland in some way. Sad, but very obvious!


Peter Courtney is a nearly lifelong resident of Salem. He got his political start serving on the Salem City Council and spent many years on the staff at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
He has spent much of his career fending off and counter-balancing the forces of Portland Metro. I don't see how anyone can perceive him as a tool of those forces.
Maybe one could view him as being allied with the west side of Oregon versus the east or the urban part of the state versus the rural, but most certainly not the Portland axis versus downstate interests.
I was serving on the editorial board of the Salem Statesman Journal when he made his initial city council run, so am well familiar with his career.
Steve Bagwell, managing editor

Don Dix

In my opinion, the 'Portland axis' includes the I-5 corridor (to Eugene). Mr. Sullivan was asking for a little respect for the rural residents (not Salem). The majority of Courtney's senate demos are from the Portland area, so any rural considerations must be filtered through them. And after years in 'the club', Courtney didn't become senate president by 'fending off and counter-balancing the forces of Portland Metro'. He plays the game just like everyone -- to favor his best interests.


You may see it that way, but the powers that be in Salem certainly don't, and that includes members of the local legislative delegation.
Having spent 10 years supervising state political coverage for the Statesman Journal, I can tell you unequivocally that resentment of the Portland metro bloc runs very high in Salem. Locals there do not see their interests coinciding with those of Portland at all, and they resent the power the Portland block wields, based on its population.
Besides, Courtney is as much a maverick as the Oregon Legislature has ever produced. He's his own man, through and through.
He got to be Senate president because he commands huge respect on both sides of the aisle. Take a vote of all 90 legislators on who they like and respect most in Salem and I have no doubt Peter Courtney would rank No. 1.
I think you are viewing him through much too narrow of a prism. He's about as far from being a party puppet as you can get.
Kotek, yes. Courtney, no way.

Don Dix

It only takes a look at the voting record of Courtney to see who and what he represents.

In 2009, Courtney was awarded a 100% voting record by none other than AFSCME (state, county, and municipal employees). He, along with 36 others, were given this award for voting just as the union wished them to vote -- 100% of the time. Would it be a surprise that all were demos?

Courtney has voted for income and corporate tax increases, which have fallen well short of the projections. He voted for transit and gas tax increases and for an increase in vehicle registration, as did most other demos.

So, if one considers his staunch support of public unions, his nearly predictable party-line votes, and his penchant for raising taxes and fees (as most demos), through my 'narrow prism' it appears 'party puppet' fits his description much better than any brand of 'maverick'. No?


Actually, no. He has a long record of compromise and cross-party collaboration that you completely ignore.
Virtually everyone associated with the process is well aware of that. Ask Brian Boquist what he thinks.

Don Dix

Compromise and cross-party collaboration -- and a voting record that exhibits neither.

We will just have to agree to disagree.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

troy prouty

The biggest problem Americans face is manufacturing jobs overseas and the lack of import tarrifs to bring jobs back.

The biggest factor is that Americans continue to support this transaction through purchases creating their own destiny of unemployment.

This is why I continue to preach consequence of actions.


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