Letters in the Editor's Mailbag
Byline: The Register-Guard
Lariviere lost touch with reality
The University of Oregon community has heaped scorn on the Oregon University System chancellor, the state Board of Higher Education and the governor over the firing of UO President Richard Lariviere, but the firing was in the best interests of the state.
Eugeneans live in a wonderful bubble in Oregon, and the UO occupies another bubble inside Eugene. The sense of exceptionalism demonstrated by Lariviere and his followers is hard for the rest of the state to understand. For 17 community colleges and the OUS, as bad as funding for higher education is right now, Lariviere's go-it-alone approach was going to make it worse. Eight-hundred million dollars to endow the UO? How would the state borrow money for anything else? All other capital projects would be sidelined.
The charismatic Lariviere demonstrated narcissism, not leadership, when he granted UO raises. He was going rogue. That lack of accountability couldn't be tolerated by his supervisors or by the people of Oregon. Some people may love him, but Lariviere was out of touch with revenue realities in a lingering recession.
The UO wants to be a top research university, but top research universities exist in places with large industries that support research. They exist in metropolitan areas at the confluence of massive transportation, agricultural, manufacturing and medical interests. The university has lofty aspirations but it doesn't have all the necessary components in place to achieve its goals.
And Lariviere now being able to join the UO faculty as a tenured professor? A nice touch.
Associate professor of art Southwestern OregonCommunity College
Shelters a blessing for homeless
Who says those newly constructed wooden dog houses, with their two-foot front overhangs to keep the rain out, their waterproof roofing and floors raised off the cold, wet ground - complete with indoor-outdoor carpeting and a brand-new, cuddly blanket ("Canine comfort," Nov. 20) - don't make homeless pet owners exceedingly happy, or, more likely, delighted and thrilled?
A large majority of people who are homeless have pets. Sometimes their pets are the only family they have left, and they provide companionship and warmth on a cold night.
The St. Vincent dePaul Lindholm Adult Service Center on Highway 99, where the new dog houses were constructed, is a place where a homeless person can take a shower, do laundry, get a letter and eat a hot meal - all that while their precious pets safely snooze in comfort with a dish of dog food provided by the center.
Unfortunately, no one has a magic wand, so homelessness still haunts our world. But if everyone did what Judith Voss did - reach out and help wherever you can - we could all make life a little bit better.
Don't lump PERS 99% with 1%
The documents recently released by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System showing the benefits being paid to the state's top public pension beneficiaries are sure to release a flood of calls from outraged citizens demanding the overhaul or even the abolition of PERS. It should be noted, however, that the 837 pensioners receiving more than $100,000 a year make up less than 1 percent of the PERS retirees.
For example, former University of Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti's $41,000 monthly PERS benefit exceeds what the majority of other PERS pensioners receive annually. But we shouldn't begrudge Bellotti and the 1 percent their benefits, which reflect their salaries and their years of service.
Ninety-nine percent of Oregon's PERS pensioners are not in Bellotti's shoes. They are the firemen who answer our 911 calls in the middle of the night, the police officers who put their lives on the line daily, the teachers who are asked to do more with less in today's economic climate and the maintenance workers who pick up our trash and clean the bathrooms at Autzen Stadium after a football game. …