June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Public comment: EWEB and MUPTE, drum circles and diesel fumes

7 min read
Joshua Korn: EWEB is requiring smart meters but refusing to take liability. And there's already local reporting that right after installation of these meters, ovens stop working, refrigerators stop working, computers fail. And yet EWEB is refusing to take liability.

The Eugene City Council hears public comment May 13 on diesel fumes and drum circles, MUPTE and surveillance capitalism, and canaries in the mine.

City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Janet Ayres.

Janet Ayres: Janet Ayres. I have two topics. I’d like to encourage the Council—because Lucy had talked with you in December about a semi-sized diesel generator being used at a well-known female drug treatment center here in Eugene—diesel without any DEF, diesel emission fluid. I think Mr. Groves knows about DEF in diesel engines. Kind of cleans it up a little. I’m still experiencing the smell and if we’re on the bandwagon to clean the air, let’s start first with diesel. Let’s start there and make sure those that do have diesel engines that at least are applying something to deter the emissions that come out of that.

[00:01:02] My second point, thank you, is the Whiteaker. I consider Washington Jefferson and the Chambers Connector kind of the unnamed gateway and entry, departure route and entryway into my neighborhood, Ward 7, Whiteaker.

[00:01:21] I’d like the city to focus and use proactive, not reactive policies in cleaning up the rail tracks. I’d like to see a handshake deal done with the rail authorities. Used to be rail yards were sovereign. You didn’t dare put a foot on a rail. There the rail police would be all over you. Where are they?

[00:01:47] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Stefan Strek.

[00:01:49] Stefan Strek: My name is Stefan Strek. I believe if the city is going to annex additional land, we should have a freeze on the tax within expanded areas. This lets the people that live there that might not be able to afford literally any extra expenses to stay in their homes. And then people who move into the area that want to buy that land, develop on it, and can afford to pay increased taxes also have that opportunity.

[00:02:14] Now, I came down here because I’m very concerned that the way Morse Free Speech Plaza has been targeted for some harassment and unnecessary nitpicking. That’s really something I’m very disappointed by.

[00:02:29] The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza is an integral part of Eugene and the Saturday Market experience, and something that’s really helped me become who I am today is seeing all those fantastic local townspeople who have their personal wares and want to get in a drum circle and pass a feather around to see who gets to have a speaking opportunity.

[00:02:49] So I really hope that whoever is inspecting this area and, you know, questioning the validity of these people, just takes a moment to appreciate that Eugene is a unique place and we all would really just—it’d be remiss to lose that individuality that makes this city truly great. People don’t move here because they want to just live in another cookie-cutter big-box city with tall skyrises that replace all the cute unique local businesses and the people who really aim to be building this city have really been taking away some of our most integral aspects. So please support the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza and you can learn more about the annexation and taxation policies that I advocate for at CelebrateEugene.com.

[00:03:38] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Charlie Rojas.

[00:03:40] Charlie Rojas: Charlie Rojas, Ward 7. Jennifer Yeh, Matt Keating, Lucy Vinis, Alan Zelenka, Emily Semple, and you, Lyndsie Leech, have been the most vocal regarding the city’s purported housing crisis. You all continue to give away 10-year property tax breaks to developers and institutional investors to incentivize construction of what you claim is badly-needed housing.

[00:03:58] The multi-unit property tax exemption (MUPTE) facilitated the creation of hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial real estate. All of you should have plenty of evidence proving your claims taxpayer subsidies lowered rents. So where is it?

[00:04:12] Well, we now have the rent schedule for the latest MUPTE tax giveaway scam—I mean, ‘scheme.’ Here it is. The one located at 1059 Willamette Street. Full disclosure: Barbie Walker researched and found the rent schedule. She did more of a public service than any of you, including you, Lyndsie, have done regarding affordable housing. Thanks, Barbie, you’ve done the job while others mentioned have failed.

[00:04:36] Focusing exclusively on studios, which range from 352 to 477 square feet, the rent is approximately $1,000 a month. The Oregon Center for Public Policy issued a report on August 7, 2020, showing that one in three single mothers in Oregon live in poverty. For Black, Latina—and pay special attention, Lucy Vinis—Native American single moms, that figure is one in two.

[00:05:02] Lyndsie, Lucy, Matt, Emily, Jennifer, Alan: Explain to those single moms, many of which are working, that a studio 352 square feet at $1,000 a month is affordable. Explain why city services which would benefit poor mothers are going to be cut because of the deficit created by MUPTE.

[00:05:21] 1059 Willamette Street is also a HUD Section 3 subsidized project, meaning the feds have to get involved in this boondoggle as well. Barbie Walker, while speaking with the Local 290, the Steamfitters and Plumbers Union, found that developers use out-of-state workers in order to not pay prevailing union wages for the same projects you rubber-stamp property tax breaks. Do none of you realize many of those union workers pay property taxes and are forced to fund the wages of out-of-state workers?

[00:05:47] You talk a lot and say nothing. Rectify that. Explain how any of your policies have done anything to lower rents or make Eugene prosperous.

[00:05:56] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Joshua Korn.

[00:05:58] Joshua Korn: I want to speak to a part of this whole push for electrification that I believe is being overlooked and it’s a major red flag in my view and that’s the smart meters. And I also want to speak to the corruption that’s going on currently right now at EWEB. And EWEB has been now threatening customers. We have no choice, we have to go with EWEB in the city of Eugene for our power. Yet they seem to have an agenda to force now these smart meters on everyone’s home.

[00:06:35] These things transmit dangerous radiation. There’s a lot of problems. They act as surveillance devices, part of the new push for surveillance capitalism in this country, and they’re also dangerous to our health and this has been well proven that the FCC guidelines on radiation are inadequate, a ruling many years ago that set aside the standards on radiation. I’m going to put this flyer in the bin so you can review it.

[00:07:08] But currently it’s been brought to my attention that the policy of EWEB is not only requiring these dangerous so-called ‘smart meters’ in order to have service with them, but also neglecting liability. They are refusing to take liability for the installation of these meters. And there’s already local reporting from Eugene residents that right after the installation of these meters, oven stops working, refrigerators stop working, computers fail. And this is happening right after the installation of these meters.

[00:07:52] And yet, EWEB is refusing to take liability and I’m telling you right now that I’m urging you to now start a process of revoking EWEB’s charter because of corruption in this particular situation. And this is serious.

[00:08:11] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Alfredo Gormezano.

[00:08:14] Alan Alfredo Gormezano: Hello! Alan Alfredo Gormezano, and I’m here to speak about EWEB also and electrification. Oh my god, we’re going to give them even more power over us?

[00:08:24] We need to break this monopoly of EWEB because they are walking all over the customers’ concerns. I know two people who already had their power shut off because of the refusal to take the smart meters. These things are not safe. In order to get the power turned back on, they had to pay $250 each—500 bucks and quick money for EWEB. Extortion is what I call it. EPUD allows their customers a choice. Why do we not have a choice in this city?

[00:08:55] There are many people who are very, very sensitive to electromagnetic fields. I call them the canaries in the mine. When I spoke at EWEB meetings last time, I said, you know, miners did not need studies or scientific proof or online research to prove that canaries would keel over and pass out before humans would. There are people in this community that are going to keel over and pass out before the rest of us maybe will do. It’s not healthy.

[00:09:25] Even with the radio frequency turned off on the smart meters, they put something through your house called dirty electricity. I highly recommend look it up online. I found all kinds of wonderful things that it does to your body. It creates spikes of electricity to go through your house. It heats up your wires with microwaves. It can destroy old wiring in houses. Also, we have this possibility of appliances getting destroyed with a surge once these smart meters are put in.

[00:09:54] EWEB needs to be reeled in. I am now referring to them as the Extortionist Water and Electroterrorist Board. We need to do something about this.

[00:10:04] And also, we need actual affordable housing in this town, not market-rate housing, which just drives the prices up. I was in Hawaii for almost seven years. I came back to a Eugene where the rents were almost as high as Hawaii. Come on, it’s easier to make a living in Hawaii than it is here. I’ve never been able to make a living here in Eugene very well.

[00:10:26] So, thank you very much. Please address this with EWEB. We need competition for them. We need an electrical company that will listen—not just listen, but act on what the customers need.

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