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Eugene Weekly : News : 5.1.08





News Briefs: Bill Clinton Does J-City | City Budget May Scrap LRAPA | Arsonist Sentencing; Mink Released | Hope on the Brain | Beyond Patriarchy Conference | Veterans Tell of War Crimes | Eugene Hikers Hope to Help the PCT | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Are Herbicide Spray Schedule |

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes

News:

Green's Expense Account


Handy campaign critical of Green's use of public money

Happening People: Serena Becker and Jeramy Vallianos


BILL CLINTON DOES J-CITY

The first person who greets us outside Junction City High School at Bill Clinton's appearance April 26 is a ponytailed, clipboard-wielding volunteer with a Hillary sticker affixed to his shirt. I'm an Obama backer myself, and as we start to complete the forms he hands us, my wife asks whether I'll be allowed to enter if I don't sign the paperwork's pledge to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming Democratic primary.

"Oh, I'm an Obama supporter," the volunteer offers. He's just here stumping for Clinton, he explains, because his wife asked him to. Preach on, brother.

It's standing room only by the time we file into the gym. I don't mind, since we're closer to the stage.

"I feel like we're seeing the heartland," my wife observes. "There's a lot of flannel in here." Classic rock and feel-good country blares from the gym sound system to get us in the mood for a politician who once used Fleetwood Mac as his campaign house band.

A wholesome-looking young woman with very white teeth takes the podium, and, identifying herself only as "Katie," proceeds to pump up the crowd and toss out a few Hillary T-shirts.

The president was set to start at 8:45 am, and he finally ascends to the podium at around 9:20. He flashes that mischievous schoolboy grin at us, the one that manages to be both shy and sly, and all is forgiven.

The president's talk itself touches on numerous Northwest-based issues, and he rattles off Oregon-related statistics. "There's a very high literacy level on environmental issues in Oregon," Bill Clinton says, and outlines a plan for his wife's administration to create five million new jobs retrofitting existing buildings to bring them in line with eco-friendly standards, as well as a call for federal and local authorities to work together to stamp out the Northwest meth resurgence.

He speaks a great deal about bridging the "rural/urban divide," about education's "achievement gap," about the "income divide." But he is tactfully positive in skirting the issues separating Barack Obama's platform from that of Hillary Clinton's.

He does say a couple things that presumably everyone in the gym can agree on. "We have a government that's left too many people behind," he says. Later he earns a rousing response as he decries the neocons' "abject selfishness masquerading as an economic policy."

As we start to file out of the gym, directly behind Mayor Kitty Piercy, the sound system kicks back to life to serenade our departure. I exit to the strains of John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town." — Aaron Ragan-Fore

 

CITY BUDGET MAY SCRAP LRAPA

Outgoing acting City Manager Angel Jones has proposed a city of Eugene budget that would eliminate the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority (LRAPA) and spend $4.5 million in money saved for a new City Hall on potholes.

The Jones proposal would also cut library and park funding while adding a 911 manager and a tree cutter. It would increase spending on artificial turf and move two traffic cops to patrol.

Jones would eliminate the city's share ($146,000) of annual LRAPA funding in the next year, forcing the agency to close. Jones said the city will then ask state regulators to take over LRAPA's air quality function as the state does for the rest of Oregon.

The $4.5 million from the city's $29 million facility reserve will be spent over the next three years on street maintenance. Lowering the reserve could result in taxpayers eventually making up the loss in a larger bond measure for a new City Hall.

Jones said she hopes to make up a $100,000 cut to the city's popular library with donations. The budget also eliminates an annual $100,000 payment to the River Road Parks District.

The proposed budget moves two traffic cops to patrol to address staffing needs and adds a 911 call center manager. Jones also would add a tree crew position and add $165,000 a year for maintenance and operations of 4J artificial turf fields.

The Eugene Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the proposal May 19. The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on the budget and possible vote June 9. — Alan Pittman

 

ARSONIST SENTENCING; MINK RELEASED

Eco-activism continues to plague the feds in Oregon. Though the Oregon and Washington eco-arson cases are drawing to a close, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) continues on with eco-tage activities, according a recent communiqué.

According to the statement which is attributed to "ALF- Cascadia," 40 mink were released on the night of April 21 by "masked avengers" who also destroyed breeding records maintained by the farm in Jefferson, Ore. "Tear down this death camp and let the mink live free," says the communiqué which also calls for a vegan lifestyle.

The activists are undeterred by last year's sentencings in the Operation Backfire cases, according to the communiqué, which says, they will not be intimidated by the "witch hunt against the earth and animal liberation movements."

The 40 mink that were released have been caught, and the FBI is investigating the incident. Oregon's last mink release was in 1997 and also attributed to ALF.

"Draconian prison sentences and repressive legislation will not deter us from our goal of total earth, animal, and human liberation," reads the communiqué.

The sentencing for one of those involved in what the FBI called "Operation Backfire," Jacob Ferguson, has been rescheduled yet again, this time to 1:30 pm Wednesday, May 14.

Ferguson's information and covert recordings were key to the FBI's "Operation Backfire" case, leading to the prosecution of almost 20 participants in ecologically motivated arsons across the Northwest.

He pled guilty to one count of attempted arson and one count of arson in October 2007 and was originally scheduled to be sentenced in January. The sentencing date has been moved several times and could be moved again.

Ferguson participated in about 13 arsons and the toppling of a BPA transmission tower but is expected to be sentenced only to probation as a result of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. All of the eco-saboteurs who have appeared in court have taken pleas, except for Briana Waters, whose March 2007 trial resulted in a guilty verdict on two out of five counts. Waters' sentencing is scheduled for May 30 in Washington.

Ferguson's plea deal will likely allow him to be released on probation and pay no restitution, unlike others in the case who are serving from three to 13 years in federal prisons and paying sometimes millions of dollars in restitution.

Check EW's blogs at blogs.eugeneweekly.com for updates on the sentencing. Camilla Mortensen

 

 

HOPE ON THE BRAIN

Emotions will be an important factor in deciding the 2008 Democratic primary election between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — and that's just how the human brain works, UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff said in an April 25 public lecture at the UO.

Lakoff recounted a conversation he'd had with Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan's chief strategist. Wirthlin told Lakoff he'd been taught in school that people voted based on issues, but he quickly learned in practice that people care more about whether they perceive a candidate as authentic and trustworthy, even if they don't agree with the candidate's specific positions. Based on that, Wirthlin helped Reagan get elected president twice.

How do today's candidates compare? "Hillary is running on lists of issues, Barack is running on trust," Lakoff observed.

The view of the human mind at the time the U.S. was formed was that reason is conscious, dispassionate, abstract and based on self-interest — in other words, well suited to an issue-based campaign. But modern brain science has since discovered that reason cannot exist independent of emotion, that humans are hardwired for empathy and that most human thought processes are unconscious, Lakoff said.

One of these unconscious thought processes is the formation of metaphors. For instance, the use of the word "warm" to metaphorically mean "affectionate" comes from people's experiences of being held as babies, of experiencing the affectionate intent in one area of their brains and the physical warmth in another area of their brains. The metaphor comes from the connection formed between the two areas of the brain, Lakoff said.

Lakoff sees two family metaphors dominating American political discourse because the first form of government most people experience is in their families. The Strict Father metaphor, identified with conservative politics, holds that people are born bad and must be disciplined in order to reach self-reliance. The Nurturing Parent metaphor, identified with progressive politics — Lakoff is careful to say "progressive" rather than "liberal," which has negative associations for some — holds that people need to be nurtured in order to reach their full potential.

Everyone uses both metaphors to some degree — even the most nurtured child can understand an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Lakoff said. But mutual inhibitory circuitry, the same brain mechanism that only lets people see one view of an optical illusion at a time, prevents people from using the two metaphors simultaneously. Therefore, rather than being on a continuum between conservative and progressive views, people hold different combinations of conservative and progressive views.

Given that, Lakoff said Obama's approach to bipartisanism, finding the progressive positions conservatives hold, is sounder than that of Clinton, who he said acts as though there truly is a center position and moves her positions rightward in order to compromise. Lakoff also criticized Clinton's strategy of dividing the electorate into special interest groups, adding that these groups do not add up to a coherent progressive vision.

"Obama connects to what is real," Lakoff said, adding that the candidate's Reagan-esque appeal to people's emotions is not necessarily illegitimate or irrelevant. "The issues change over four years, but values and trust are constant." — Eva Sylwester

 

BEYOND PATRIARCHY CONFERENCE

This year's Beyond Patriarchy conference will be held at the UO on May 9 and 10. The previous incarnation of the conference, which focuses on empowering women and was called Against Patriarchy, has often drawn a crowd — including the ears and eyes of the FBI and the Eugene police hoping to find leads on Eugene "radicals."

Isabel Charlé and Ben Cooper of the Beyond Patriarchy collective

Beyond Patriarchy will cover a range of issues from male domination, privilege and sexism to white supremacy and colonialism. "Against Patriarchy was really successful last year," says Isobel Charlé, who is part of the collective organizing Beyond Patriarchy. "I wanted the same this year."

Various workshops will cover a range of issues from women's herbal health to male feminism. Performances will include a pocket porn reading of feminist erotic literature. Music, food and 'zine trading will be included over the weekend. Space will be provided for open mic time and impromptu workshops.

"We are trying to keep the conference broad and organic," says Charlé. "We want to give people the chance to make whatever they want out of the experience."

The conference is free and open to the public. Beyond Patriarchy is still seeking speakers and performers.

A benefit for Beyond Patriarchy will be held at the Campbell Club at 1670 Alder St. on Saturday night. Musicians will include Brenna Sahatjian and Felina.

Beyond Patriarchy will take place from 3 to 9 pm Friday, May 9, and from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, May 10, in the EMU Century and River Rooms. Email beyondpatriarchy@riseup.org for more details. — Cali Bagby

 

VETERANS TELL OF WAR CRIMES

Lane County members of Veterans for Peace traveled to Maryland in March to join war veterans from around the country in a series of testimonials called "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan." The event was a sequel to the Winter Soldier Investigation reported by John Kerry to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.

The local veterans will present a public report on their trip at 7 pm Monday, May 5, at PLC 180 on the UO campus. The presentation will include video footage and a discussion with the local Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) testifier. The public is invited.

In Maryland, 13 panels of young veterans and expert witnesses reported war crimes routinely committed which violated the "rules of engagement" to protect non-combatants, use of prohibited weapons such as depleted uranium, wanton and needless property destruction, racist dehumanization of Arabs, systematic desensitization of troops to the horror of killing, flagrant waste and war profiteering, sexual assault and harassment within the military, impacts upon the victim societies, costs to our society, inadequate veterans benefits and growing war resistance within the active duty military, according to Jack Dresser of Veterans for Peace.

EUGENE HIKERS HOPE TO HELP THE PCT

Last Friday, April 25, Jeramy Vallianos and Serena Becker left Eugene with 15 pounds of gear in their backpacks and boarded a plane to Los Angeles. The pair hopes to hit the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) trailhead, on the border of California and Mexico, early this week.

They plan to hike 15 to 25 miles a day along the Cascade Mountains, covering 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, arriving in late September. Vallianos and Becker hope to raise $10,000 for The Pacific Forest Trust, The Pacific Crest Association and Cascadia Ecosystem Advocates.

"Our main goal is to raise money to protect threatened landscapes" by buying land, says Vallianos. "It's important to be aware of how we impact wild ecosystems and how dependent we are on them." Vallianos and Becker want to spread the news by talking to people about the experience of walking the trail, writing and posting pictures on the Internet throughout the trip.

Becker and Vallianos have both worked in wilderness therapy and know how wilderness can affect people's lives. "I hope to inspire people to get out and experience nature and make positive changes in their lives," says Vallianos.

They have spent the last two months preparing for the trip, and now they are ready to hike.

"I think it's important for folks to get involved to maintain and expand wild spaces and natural communities," says Vallianos. "We love being outside, traveling, backpacking and try to find a way to do the thing we love and have an impact on something bigger."

You can follow their hike (and donate to the cause) by going to their website www.walkforwild.orgCali Bagby

See photo and more information in Happening People this week.

ACTIVIST ALERT

Poet and activist John Trudell

• Two Oregon WAND members are organizing a house party for Rob Handy from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, May 1, at his campaign headquarters at 6th and Lawrence. RSVP to 484-9595.

Activist John Trudell will be doing a spoken word performance at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 3, at LCC's Forum Building. The event is a benefit to fund gynecologic cancer education and outreach programs. Trudell is touring as part of the Give Love, Give Life concert tours that feature men taking a stand for women. "The women in our lives — grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts, nieces and cousins — are what make us whole as human beings," he says. "It's time to do something good for the women."

• A public debate between the two state AG candidates on the May ballot, John Kroger and Greg Macpherson, both Democrats, is planned for 5 to 6 pm Tuesday, May 6, at the UO School of Law, room 175. The debate is cosponsored by the Law Offices of Lauren Regan and the Democratic Party of Lane County.

 

 

WAR DEAD

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week's numbers in parentheses):

• 4,056 U.S. troops killed* (4,039)

• 29,320 U.S. troops injured* (29,320)

• 145 U.S. military suicides* (145)

• 309 coalition troops killed** (309)

• 1,123 contractors killed (accurate updates NA)

• 90,782 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (90,521)

• $515.1 billion cost of war ($513.1 billion)

• $146.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($145.9 million)

* through April 28, 2008; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly

** estimate; source: icasualties.org

*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 to one million.

 

Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule

• ODOT: The approximate schedule of nighttime spraying is: April 21-24 for Cloverdale, Hwy. 99 South, 126 West to Austa, and Territorial Highway; April 28-May 1 for Hwy. 126 West (Austa to Florence), Hwy. 36, and Hwy. 101, all within Lane County . Call (888) 996-8080 or Dennis Joll, IVM coordinator at 686-7526.

• 2007 herbicide spray acreage: totals for Oregon Department of Forestry notifications in Lane County: 80,162; Weyerhaeuser: 38,939. 2008 spray acreage: January and February totals: 28,647.

Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org

 

 

 

 

SLANT

Look for our election endorsements and more election stories next week as ballots arrive in the mail. And as usual, we'll repeat our endorsements in our May 15 issue for those who like to wait until the last minute to mail in or drop off their ballots. The deadline has come and gone to register for the May 20 election or change party affiliation, but even nonvoters can help by volunteering for campaigns.

We've already given our nod to Kitty Piercy for mayor and had the pleasure of seeing a huge turnout for her last Friday night at Tsunami Books. The high-energy party raised more than $4,000 for Piercy's campaign. A lot of Kitty Piercy's supporters have been holding back, figuring she would be a shoo-in for reelection, but the slick TV ad campaign by the well-funded Torrey campaign has been a wake-up call.

What won't be on the ballot anytime soon will be EWEB bonding. Activists this week reported they were unable to get the necessary 4,200 valid signatures to qualify their initiative to put EWEB's $85.5 million in construction bonds on the September ballot. They did get more than 2,000 signatures and say they learned a few things along the way. Josh Schlossberg of the petition group tells us about 75 percent of the people approached were positive about the initiative, but the campaign needed more time and more volunteers. He says 95 percent of the people he approached were unaware of the issue when the signature drive began, but in the final days of the campaign, about half of the people knew something about the issue. That's accomplishing something.

Dave Frohnmayer announced this week he will be retiring at the end of the next school year. Here's a modest proposal for filling the vacancy: How about offering the job to Nike CEO Phil Knight? No expensive search process, and probably no salary following the Kilkenny model when the big donor took the athletic director job for free. Knight's likely not interested in filling Dave's big sneakers, but then it might be fun for him to really run the place. Like Frohnmayer, he clearly loves the UO.

Big changes are coming for the WOW Hall, aka The Community Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA). The WOW Hall is one of our favorite local institutions, providing an all-ages music venue at low cost for many years, and now the nonprofit venue is about to embark on a new era, due in part to the construction of the big 101-unit urban housing complex next door. WestTown on 8th will be opening some units in late May, with more to follow as construction continues through the summer.

The project next door means major work on the historic WOW Hall as well, with soundproofing, structural work, new heating and air conditioning and exterior work. Longtime WOW Hall supporter Jon Pincus tells us some grant monies are available, but the organization also needs to crank up its fundraising and development work. There are lots of challenges, he says, and a "need for fresh leadership."

The WOW Hall is planning its annual membership meeting at 4 pm Sunday, May 4, at the hall, and on the agenda are elections for seven out of nine board positions. CCPA Treasurer David Helton will be chairing the meeting, and his work number is 726-2545.

Love the WOW Hall and its great music events? This is a good time to get involved, or at least sit in on what promises to be a lively and informative meeting Sunday afternoon.

Kudos to the crew of volunteers who on Earth Day descended into the pit known as Aster's hole next to the Centre Court building downtown to clean up trash and weeds. High school students, city staff, Mayor Kitty Piercy and community folks joined in the effort and even scattered hardy wildflower seeds. We hear the idea for the clean-up came from Drix, who showed up wearing his dad's 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps boots. Hopefully the old pit will become underground parking for a Beam Development project. See photos of the clean-up on our website this week.

Citizens for Public Accountability held its final forum on downtown revitalization this week, and we are looking forward to seeing what recommendations the group will be presenting to the City Council. The CPA report in itself will have no official status, but it should stand on its own merits. Good ideas and insights into how to implement them should always be welcome, whether they are coming from city staff, elected officials or the people who pay their salaries. The process may also prove useful as a catalyst for innovation and investment independent of city involvement.

More kudos to Laughing Planet Café, which announced this week that it was withdrawing its bid for a restaurant space in the UO's EMU. The public outcry was very strong in support of keeping Holy Cow on campus. The EMU was unable or unwilling to accommodate both of these fine eateries, so Laughing Planet took the high road and resolved the issue, sacrificing for now what would likely have been a profitable expansion onto campus. We hope to see Laughing Planet on or near campus soon, and the EMU could do some damage control by helping them find and negotiate a location.

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, editor@eugeneweekly.com

 

 

SERENA BECKER AND JERAMY VALLIANOS

By the time you read this, Serena Becker and Jeramy Vallianos will be in the Sonoran Desert, beginning a six-month hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. "We spent two days putting food in boxes for friends to mail," says Vallianos. "Every week or so we'll go into a town to pick up a package." While in town, they will locate an Internet cafe to update the blog on their website, walkforwild.org "It's our first try at blogging," says Becker. "We want to raise awareness of PCT areas that need protection." A South Eugene grad, Becker got involved in human rights activism as a student at Evergreen State College. "I traveled to Rafah, in Gaza, with the Olympia-Rafah sister-city program," she notes. "Rachel Corrie, from Olympia, was killed in Rafah in 2003." In Olympia, she also met Vallianos, her boyfriend of five years, who had hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2001. The pair hopes to attract donations for the purchase of private land along the PCT. "Our goal is to raise $10,000," says Becker. "The money we raise will go to the Pacific Forest Trust to protect land in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument."