News Briefs: BRT Cheap Compared to Freeways | Smith Votes for Iraq War | Bringing it Back Home | Cop Auditor is Homeless | Indigenous Freedom | Rally for Education | 'Reptillian' Parking | Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happenin' Biz: Randi Golub, Cat Nurse on Call
BRT CHEAP COMPARED TO FREEWAYS
LTD has been getting a lot of public abuse lately for its new bus rapid transit link from Eugene to Springfield, called EmX. The critics yell: $24 million for cutting 6 minutes of transit time!
But the EmX compares favorably with road projects. The $130 million West Eugene Parkway's (WEP) purpose was to cut congestion on West 11th to reduce travel time. But the WEP's environmental impact statement projected that congestion would increase 73 percent on 11th with the freeway and that the road would spur more urban sprawl.
The Beltline-I-5 interchange project now under way will cost upwards of $100 million. The massive project promises a multi-level spaghetti intersection but no reductions in travel time.
Leading transportation researchers, such as at the Texas Transportation Institute and Surface Transportation Policy Project, have long noted that big freeway projects like the WEP and I-5 interchange actually increase travel times by inducing more highway-oriented urban sprawl. PeaceHealth moved thousands of employees from downtown Eugene to the Gateway area in anticipation of the massive interchange project.
But transportation researchers and the experience of other cities have shown that the frequent, reliable service of dedicated-route transit systems like EmX promote non-car oriented development, reduce driving and, as car congestion inevitably increases, become an even more attractive alternative. — Alan Pittman
SMITH VOTES FOR IRAQ WAR
After the Democrats took Congress in November, sweeping out a bunch of pro-war Republicans, Oregon's Republican Sen. Gordon Smith flip-flopped on his long, solid support for the Iraq War and criticized it as "criminal" and "absurd."
The anti-war statements got a lot of press here and nationally for Smith, who will have to face Oregon's angry anti-war voters in 2008. But when it came down to actually voting, Smith is still solidly behind President Bush's war.
On Nov. 5 Smith stood with a near solid wall of Republicans to block debate on a long-awaited Senate resolution opposing Bush's plan to escalate the war with an additional 21,500 U.S. soldiers.
Democratic activist Steve Novick wrote in Willamette Week Jan. 21 that Smith's "transparently political contortions" on Iraq and conservative split from Oregon on other issues have made him a "ripe target for defeat," despite his hefty campaign war chest and supportive coverage from mainstream media.
The resolution Smith voted to block would have been nonbinding. Growing numbers of anti-war activists are calling for Congress to cut funding for the war to stop Bush. Oregon's Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden voted against the war but last year refused to sign a pledge to cut funding. Wyden vowed to "never, ever vote" against funding for the Iraq War when confronted by protesters at the Eugene City Club.
Like Wyden, local Rep. Peter DeFazio also has opposed the war, but has been criticized by some anti-war activists for not working to cut funding for it.
But the political tide may be shifting for anti-war but pro-war-funding politicians. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is circulating an online petition calling for Congress to "act now to block funding of Bush's escalation of the war." — Alan Pittman
BRINGING IT BACK HOME
The Lane County contingency that flew to join anti-war protesters in Washington, D.C., in late January are planning to talk about their experiences and show slides at 7 pm Friday, Feb. 9 at the Whiteaker Community Center, at the corner of Clark and Jackson streets. The public is invited to the free event.
|Left to right: Karla Cohen, Mike Grady, Pam Garrison, Michael Carrigan, Aria Seligmann, Doe Tabor, and a piece of Rich Klopfer|
The local group joined a crowd estimated at half a million to call for peace, including a pull-out of American troops from Iraq, impeachment of Bush and a reinstatement of consitutional rights.
After the action, most of the Eugene-area contingent arrived at the Senate floor in time to hear Senator Russ Feingold say that Congress must listen to the will of the people.
"In the United States of America, the people are sovereign, not the president.," said Feingold. "It is Congress' responsibility to challenge an administration that persists in a war that is misguided and that the country opposes." Feingold said that he would introduce legislation prohibiting the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment.
Members of the group met with the staff of the Oregon delegation. "Our lobby visits in the belly of the beast were worthwhile and productive, and they'll be followed up by concerted, ongoing pressure from the grassroots and a March 17th rally and march, demanding an immediate end to the Iraq war," said Michael Carrigan of Progressive Responses and CALC.
"For years we've been hearing that Democrats can't do anything because they were in the minority, so we were told to go out and work on elections," said Aria Seligmann of WAND and Code Pink. "That's just what the grassroots did. We got back Congress and now we're being told it's not that simple and things will move slowly. It's frustrating, but we can't afford to give up. Now more than ever, we've got to push Democrats to do what's right: to end this illegal war by cutting off the funds and bring our troops home."
COP AUDITOR IS HOMELESS
What's the city's new independent police auditor up to? Well, it appears she's spent a large part of the last two months looking for office space.
Cristina Beamud wrote to the City Council that she has been searching for downtown office space since early November without success. She thought she had a good option at 834 Pearl St., but the owner fell gravely ill, and the family decided to sell the building. She looked at the former Prince Pucklers ice cream shop on Willamette Street, but it would need extensive renovation. A space on the bottom of the Overpark garage would also need a complete remodel. Several other offices offered possibilities, but they lack the public visibility and accessibility of ground floor space. Another building was promising, but the Eugene police union rents space just down the hall.
"My thoughts are that it would be better to stay where I am in City Hall and begin the process of auditing investigations and selecting and training a Civilian Review Board," Beamud wrote Jan. 17. Staying in City Hall would provide time to continue looking, she said. "I am eager to provide a space that is comfortable, accessible as well as safe and neutral for the public." — Alan Pittman
Hawaiian scholar Dr. Noenoe Silva of the University of Hawaii will be on the UO campus Monday, Feb. 12, 2007 as the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics Distinguished Speaker.
Silva, of Kanaka Maoli descent, is one of the foremost voices on indigenous Hawaii and colonialism. Her book Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism won the Baldridge prize for best book in history by a resident of Hawaii for 2004. She has also written on the role of hula, literature and representations of women in Native Hawaiian literature.
She will speak at 7 pm Monday, Feb. 12 at the Knight Law Center, room 110, 15th and Agate. Her free talk is titled, "Ho'ohemokolonaio: Why Political Decolonization Is Not Enough for Kanaka Maoli in Hawai'i."
Silva will describe the current strands in the political movement for Hawaiian sovereignty: political independence of the Hawaiian Islands and the thrust for recognition of indigenous Hawaiians analogous to federal recognition of Indian tribes on the U.S. mainland. She will argue that neither of these scenarios satisfies the needs of indigenous Hawaiians, Kanaka Maoli, for dignity, freedom and self-determination.
From noon to 1:30 pm Monday, Silva will offer a free workshop, "Moving the Center: Putting Indigenous Language at the Center of Indigenous and Cultural Studies." The workshop will be held at the Many Nations Longhouse at 16th and Columbia. Registration is required. Call 346-3700 or email Morse Center administrator Elizabeth Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org
RALLY FOR EDUCATION
School's out for Presidents Day Monday, Feb. 19 but it's not a day off for the Oregon Legislature, so hundreds of teachers, administrators, parents and students will be gathering on the steps of the state Capitol building to rally for progress on school funding.
An estimated 300 Lane County residents will be carpooling and riding buses to Salem for the noon rally. Buses leave at 10 am from South Eugene High School and Clear Lake Elementary School and will return after the rally. Morning and afternoon trainings and legislative meetings are available for people who arrange their own transportation.
The purpose of the rally is to draw attention to the need for better funding for K-12 school programs and Oregon Head Start, according to Joy Marshall of Stand for Children. Marshall sees hope in the new Democratic leadership in Salem.
"After a decade of disinvestment, this is our best chance to make progress that will improve student acheivement in every community in Oregon," she says.
Where will the money come from? Marshall says the group will be lobbying lawmakers to support legislation to increase the corporate minimum tax, keep the corporate "kicker" tax refund, reinstate cigarette taxes, overturn the double-majority rule for ballot money measures, and other reforms.
Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor and leading urban planning expert, came to Eugene Feb. 5 to lecture city officials and citizens about the evils of parking.
Shoup said less parking reduces driving, pollution, congestion, energy consumption, and greenhouse gases and frees up space and money for affordable housing.
City "zoning ignores homeless people, but it makes sure there are no homeless cars," Shoup said at the downtown library. But although the logical arguments against parking are clear, Shoup said, "when people think about parking, they use their reptilian cortex."
Shoup came to Eugene at the invitation of the city, and Eugene planning and development staff filled the audience. But it's unclear how deeply Shoup's message penetrated the minds of local planning leaders.
City efforts to revive Eugene's failed downtown have revolved around providing huge amounts of parking for decades, with little to show for it.
Since the 1970s, Eugene has spent almost all of its downtown revitalization money on parking garages, building five massive concrete structures with a total of 2,544 spaces.
Despite all the garages, Eugene's downtown has withered, losing most of its retail business, and is plagued by vacant buildings and the blank, ugly walls of dead garages. Even at peak hours, more than half the downtown parking garage spaces now sit empty.
But that hasn't stopped city officials and developers from claiming downtown needs even more garages. Last year, the city proposed building two new garages for the then-proposed Connor/Woolley/Opus and Whole Foods developments at up to $35,000 a space. — Alan Pittman
Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule
Near Jackson Marlow Road in Gillespie Corners area: Western Helicopter Services, (503) 538-9469, will aerially spray 36 acres with 2,4-D Ester, Clopyralid, Sulfometuron, Hexazinone and Glyphosate herbicides for Transition Management, Inc. (484-6706) starting Feb. 20 (#781-50146). For more information call Robert Johnson, stewardship forester, Western Lane District Office of the Oregon Department of Forestry at 935-2283.
Oregon Department of Transportation will begin placing Casoron (dichlobenil) Herbicide around landscaped areas soon. Call Dennis Joll at 686-7526.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
We learned a lot at the kick-off for the Franklin Corridor Study events last Friday and Saturday (see news briefs last week), and we encourage everyone to get up to speed on this project and make comments at www.franklincorridor.orgThis is one of those rare community initiatives that everyone — liberal, conservative, young, old, rich, poor — can get behind, and it has the added advantage of including Eugene, Glenwood, Springfield and the UO. Eric Gunderson is one of the architects providing leadership in this study, and he said last Friday at City Club that he hopes that a "more informed citizenry comes out of this and brings stronger ideas to the discussion around the issues that come up." He urged participants to "let your inner architect out" and "celebrate ourselves and our best and boldest ideas." The all-day Saturday design workshop was well attended, and participants shared ideas about public-private partnerships, open space and access along the river, transportation issues and opportunties, environmental and aesthetic concerns and how other cities have used public input to improve their riverfront development. One of the drawbacks to such studies is that they tend to end up as a three-ring binder gathering dust on a shelf. This project, thanks to an interactive website, is intended to be a "living document" that planners, developers, students and civic activists can use for decades to come.
Last week in Slant we talked about the continuing strong resistance to McKenzie-Willamette building a major medical center far north of Eugene's population center. Since then we've heard about www.permatopia.com/wetlands/hospital.htmlwhere local pundit Mark Robinowitz shows four potential hospital sites analyzed and compared in terms of flood risk, transportaion, population access, legal constraints, the need for construction subsidies, and even the likely views from hospital rooms. His favorite? "The ideal location for Eugene's new hospital is 2nd and Garfield, which is relatively central for Eugene's population," he writes. The site's worth a gander.
School board races are coming up May 15, and a bunch of positions will be on the ballot. Some folks are already starting their campaigns, and the filing period began this week. Rob Spooner of Florence, a critic of the LCC administration, looks like he's jockying again for the LCC Board after losing to Paul Holman in May 2005. Holman's not up for reelection for two more years, so Spooner's only shot would be for one of the at-large positions currently held by Roger Hall (on the board since 1991), and Michael Rose (on board since 1999). Both Hall and Rose have terms that expire in June, and both would be tough to unseat if they decide to run again. Looks like Jay Bozievich will be stepping down in June after four years. He's moved out of the northern district Zone 2 to Elmira (Holman's zone), so he can't run for reelection unless it's for an at-large position. Will he run for the Legislature in 2008 instead? Bozievich tells us he's taking a break from the "public limelight" for a while and has no ambitions for the future other than working on transportation issues in the count..
Bush's skill in budgeting mirrors his skill in foreign affairs, and it's up to Congress to reign him in. He has this idiotic idea that he can balance the budget and cut taxes. What would a typical Lane County household look like under Bush's budgeting mindset? Well, credit card bills would exceed disposable income, so everything would be mortgaged to the max. The kids' college fund would be raided to pay for the new Hummer in the driveway. Childcare and preschool tuition would be skipped in order to buy a closet full of guns and bullets. Medical care? No money for that; it all goes into the electrified chainlink fence and meat for the pit bulls. Gotta keep the neighbors out, unless they are willing to do yard work for $3 an hour. In the end, this household can forget about retirement in dignity. It's work until you die.
Speaking of Bush and the budget, Oregonians in Congress are fighting to restore funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, the old O&C county payments program that Lane and other counties with large tracts of federal lands depend on for basic services. Bush would like to cut the funding in half and sell off some federal lands to pay for it. This attitude is nothing new. Conservative county commissioners in our part of the state have been eyeing the O&C checkerboard for years and would love to sell federal lands so they can be accessed with roads, then clearcut and sprayed with herbicides. These are valuable resource lands that need to remain under public ownership to protect watersheds and habitat.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, email@example.com
RANDI GOLUB, CAT NURSE ON CALL
After high school, Philadelphia native Randi Golub spent four years in Europe and the Middle East and returned to study veterinary tech at Bryn Mawr. "I had a hard time settling down," says Golub, who traveled around the U.S. and had a cooking career at a restaurant in Malvern, Pa., before she got serious about working with animals. "I worked for different vets, and spent five years at the zoo in Philadelphia," she says. Since moving to Eugene in 2001, Golub has worked at the Emergency Vet Hospital and as animal care coordinator at Greenhill. "I enjoyed it, but it got me away from what I really love: caring for ill, injured, and elderly cats," she says. So last year Golub started her own business, Cat Nurse on Call. "I get referrals from veterinarians," she says. "I often work with middle-aged to older diabetic cats. It's helpful to have blood-sugar measurements taken in the home." Behind Golub and her cat Chuck in the photo is the CatNurse Cottage, a rest and rehab facility offering daycare and overnignt boarding. Call the Cat Nurse at 514-1472.