News Briefs: R-G Loses Labor Case | New Latino Publication Takes Shape | Being Black in Eugene | New Poll Says Oregonians Back Measures | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | War Dead | Corrections/Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
R-G LOSES LABOR CASES
Two labor fights involving The Register-Guard and the Eugene Newspaper Guild dating back to 2000 were resolved in a July 7 appeal ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. The Guild prevailed in the cases, according to a story by Andy Zipser, editor of the national Guild Reporter. See his full story at http://newsguild.org
|Suzi Prozanski at the R-G offices on Chad Drive|
Zipser wrote that the ruling upholds the appeal of the Eugene Guild “which had concluded that two emails sent by then Guild president Suzi Prozanski violated The Register-Guard’s email policy. At the same time, the appeals court rejected a company petition that objected to two related NLRB opinions, both decided 5-0, that the company had committed unfair labor practices by disciplining Prozanski for a third email, and by barring Ronald Kangail, a circulation department district manager, from wearing a union armband.”
Famed union-busting Tennessee lawyer L. Michael Zinser spearheaded the unsuccessful appeal on both counts.
Prozanski, no longer employed by the paper, said this week that R-G management “chose to pursue this case all the way to federal Appeals Court, seeking wins on all counts. Instead, they lost on all counts. But here's the kicker: As long as the company was appealing the case, the R-G did not have to change its policy against union email. Management also was able to keep intact the ‘unwritten policy’ that prohibits wearing union insignia on the job, a right that has been protected in U.S. workplaces for decades. So for the last nine years, the R-G successfully prohibited workers from exercising their legal rights to express pro-union views. The irony of a newspaper muzzling free speech still boggles my mind.”
Prozanski says the newspaper also “paid big money to L. Michael Zinser (he doesn't come cheap) to pursue the case when the newspaper industry is facing extraordinarily difficult financial times. Could some R-G workers' furloughs have been avoided if the R-G had that money in hand instead of forking it over to Zinser?”
R-G Editor and Publisher Tony Baker did not return a message by press time asking for comments on the rulings. — Ted Taylor
NEW LATINO PUBLICATION TAKES SHAPE
Three successful first-generation immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador are starting up a new bilingual monthly newspaper in the southern Willamette Valley called Adelante Latino.
|From left: Nelson Rosales, Carlos Sepulveda, Lorenzo Herrera|
The three founders are Nelson Rosales, president of the Latino Business Network of the Eugene Chamber; Lorenzo Herrera, vice president of the Latino Business Network; and Carlos Sepulveda of Mid-Earth Design. Rosales is also owner of the Rodeo Steak House in Junction City; Herrera and Sepulveda also work for SELCO Credit Union.
The first issue will be in September and the publication plans to print and distribute 10,000 copies, mostly in the Eugene-Springfield area, but also around Linn and Benton counties.
“Our intention is to help the minorities succeed within the community,” says Sepulveda. “Our articles talk about success stories from people within the community. We have a sports column, financing tips, free classified ads, directory information and events information.”
The publication comes out of the Latino Business Network, which is part of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We found out that there were not a lot of media channels that really target the Spanish-speaking population,” says Sepulveda. “The Spanish-speaking population in this area is underserved in many different services like financing, housing, education, legal aid and counseling.”
Demographics and other information about the publication are available from Adelante’s account executive Jo Schechter, email@example.com and Sepulveda can be reached at 788-3186. — Ted Taylor
BEING BLACK IN EUGENE
In a response to last week’s New Briefs item, “Gates Case Compared to Gainer,” former UO professor Ajuan Mance said, “the Skip Gates case immediately brought back memories of John Gainer's experiences with the Eugene Police Department.” Gainer, founder of the UO’s gospel choir, moved to San Francisco in 2000, due in part to multiple confrontations with Eugene police.
EW asked Mance, one of UO’s few black scholars, why she left Eugene after only a short time. “Strictly speaking, I did not leave Eugene because of racial issues. Race was a part of my decision, but so too was the draw of a larger metropolitan area. The UO was kind to me, and I had wonderful colleagues in the English department.
“I must say, though, that I found the absence of African-American community rather daunting and, in the end, I was compelled to leave because of the dearth of black people both on the UO campus and in the larger Eugene community.”
Mance said the campus was “a relatively welcoming atmosphere,” but “the city of Eugene was sometimes a challenging place. I never experienced any harassment by police, but I did find myself turning heads when I entered certain stores and restaurants, and I did experience a couple of instances of overt hostility.”
Mance moved to the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago. She teaches at Mills College and edits the Black on Campus blog. “I look back on my experiences in Eugene with an appreciation for many of the wonderful qualities of that city,” she said. “It can, however, be a lonely and difficult place for someone whose ethnicity marks them as a perpetual oddity and, occasionally, as a threat.” — Ted Taylor
NEW POLL SAYS OREGONIANS BACK MEASURES
Oregonians by a 2-1 margin approve of the Legislature’s recently enacted tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, according to a new poll released last week by the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP).
Opponents of the tax measures have begun collecting signatures to repeal them at the ballot box. The poll by Grove Insight showed that if the election were held today, 62 percent of likely voters would vote “yes” to uphold the tax hikes, 26 percent would vote "no" and 11 percent are undecided.
“Oregonians clearly favor protecting funding for education, health and public safety,” said OCPP policy analyst Joy Margheim. “On the whole, they appear to believe that the Legislature came up with a balanced and fair solution to the state's fiscal crisis brought on by the recession.”
Grove Insight conducted the poll between July 29 and Aug. 2, interviewing 500 Oregon registered voters likely to participate in next January's election, should it take place. The poll carries a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Lawmakers voted to balance the budget in part by raising $733 million dollars in new revenue. That move avoided even deeper cuts to public services than those already set to take effect. More than 90 percent of Oregon's budget funds education, health and human services and public safety.
One measure raises the state's corporate minimum tax from $10 to a sliding scale that ranges from $150 for small businesses to $100,000 for corporations with annual sales in Oregon above $100 million. It also temporarily raises the top tax rate from 6.6 percent to 7.9 percent for corporations with taxable income over $250,000 in 2009 and 2010, decreasing to 7.6 percent in 2011 and 2012.
The top corporate tax rate increase expires in 2013, returning the rate to its pre-recession level for all except the largest corporations, those with over $10 million in Oregon taxable income.
The other measure temporarily changes the personal income tax rate from 9 to 10.8 percent on couples making more than $250,000 a year and to 11 percent on couples making more than $500,000 a year. The top rates decline in 2012, to settle permanently at 9.9 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers, couples earning over $250,000 a year.
• Written public comments are due at 5 pm Friday, Aug. 14, regarding LRAPA's consideration of an air pollution permit for Seneca’s biomass-burning generator in north Eugene. Send testimony by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or deliver to LRAPA Permit Coordinator, 1010 N. Main, Springfield 97477.
• Congressman Peter DeFazio's Oregon town halls in District 4 began in Cottage Grove this week and will continue with three gatherings Tuesday, Aug. 18. They are at 9 am at Junction City’s council chambers, at 5:15 pm at Eugene Hilton and at 7 pm at Springfield City Hall. DeFazio plans to discuss recent congressional efforts to address the current economic crisis, transportation legislation and health care reform, among other issues of interest. Health Care for All-Oregon is urging supporters of single payer health care to show up a half hour early for rallies before each meeting. Call Ruth at 484-6145 for more information.
• The Pitchfork Rebellion is planning a free concert and mock trials at 2 pm Saturday, Aug. 29, outside the old Federal Building at 211 E. 7th Ave. in Eugene. On “trial” will be the “forest-raping, climate changing, corporate eco-terrorists and the government agencies that are under their thumbs,” including Monsanto, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Pesticide Division of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Speaker Day Owen will speak on, “Who are the Real Eco-Terrorists?”
• A Willamette River open space survey is now available for public input through the Lane Council of Governments website at www.lcog.org LCOG is “coordinating an effort to create an inspiring open space vision for the Willamette River corridor,” according to the agency. “This vision will help lead the way for coordinated efforts to further improve this outstanding open space resource in the coming years and decades.” The short survey asks people how they currently use the parks and open space along the river in the Eugene-Springfield area, and asks for ideas.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• Next to Triangle Lake School: Weyerhaeuser Company (744-4684) will ground spray 600 acres near Low Pass, Horton, Blachly, Triangle Lake School, and Greenleaf near Long Tom, Michaels, Hayes, Fish, Congdon, Swartz, and Lake creeks with Garlon 4, Arsenal, and Chopper herbicides plus Moract adjuvant starting Aug. 15 (#50456).
• Western Helicopter Services (503-538-9469) will aerially spray 166 acres for Giustina Land & Timber Company (345-2310) with Garlon 4, Oust, Arsenal, Escort, Chopper, Razor and Foresters herbicides near Gillespie Corners near Doak, Coyote, Broad Tree, and Fox Hollow creeks starting Aug. 20 (#50459)
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,330 U.S. troops killed* (4,328)
• 31,460 U.S. troops injured* (31,454)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (185)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 101,129 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (101,006)
• $672.5 billion cost of war ($670.4 billion)
• $191.2 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($190.7 million)
• 773 U.S. troops killed* (767)
• 3,238 U.S. troops injured* (3,100)
• $224.0 billion cost of war ($223.5 million)
• $63.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($63.6 million)
* through August 10, 2009; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million
(Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
• In our news story “City Club Shocker” last week (8/6), the reference to Citizens Review Board should have been Civilian Review Board.
• The Police Auditor Ordinance Review Committee recommendations passed the council this week with shrugs all around and weary councilors saying, “Let’s see how it works out,” and “We can always come back and do it again.” So far so bad.
After five long months of meetings and a public hearing, and endless hours of expensive staff and city attorney time, the council has actually diminished the power of the auditor and passed an ordinance that violates the charter. Our city attorney doesn’t seem to mind the inconsistencies.
The charter language approved overwhelmingly twice by the voters requires the auditor to have unfettered access to all complaints against police. But the new ordinance builds in all kinds of restrictions. Police officers who receive complaints directly can now decide whether they should be forwarded to the auditor (remember the cops ignoring years of complaints against officers Magaña and Lara?). A municipal judge will now resolve disagreements between the auditor and police chief concerning concurrent investigations and other issues (so much for the auditor’s authority). The police chief is no longer considered a “police employee” when it comes to complaints and answers only to the city manager. The auditor is now restricted to access to Internal Affairs “during office hours” instead of 24/7. The auditor’s office must be located near the police department (soon to move across the river). And whatever happened to the important subpoena power proposed for the auditor?
This process, from the very beginning, was hijacked by people in and out of city government who are either hostile to police accountability, not paying attention or both. The council vote Monday night should have been a unanimous “no.”
• Former police auditor Dawn Reynolds says she has “no plans of resigning” her position as assistant auditor. Her brief message, by email, came after our Slant blurb last week reporting on rumors that she was leaving Eugene. Reynolds is currently on medical leave. “I really didn't think it appropriate to comment one way or the other,” she said. We’re pleased to hear she’s staying, but we’re also hearing rumors that some members of the Civilian Review Board are thinking of resigning, frustrated by Byzantine city politics.
• Town hall meetings are traditionally a way for members of Congress on break to reconnect with their constituents, hear their concerns and talk about pending or upcoming legislation. Conservative “Tea-Baggers” are organizing to disrupt these town hall meetings in an effort to gain media attention and exaggerate their opposition to health insurance reform. The antidote to this tactic is for supporters of reform to show up in large numbers. Rather than getting into shouting matches, respectfully ask for a show of hands of those who support progress on reform. See our Activist Alert this week for dates of times of Peter DeFazio’s town halls.
• Don’t sign the petition that’s now on the streets of Eugene, Springfield and Corvallis. The Legislature’s tax hikes on wealthy Oregonians and profitable businesses could go to voters next January, but the initiative drive needs 55,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. These petitions are being circulated by paid signature gatherers who are clueless about what they are promoting. Anti-government groups are using the campaign not only to gather signatures but also to distribute false and misleading information about the impact of the Legislature’s action. One unsubstantiated statement being touted is that the new taxes “will cost 79,000 Oregonians their jobs.”
Who’s going to help pull the state out of its financial crisis if not the people and businesses who can afford to pay more taxes? The money has to come from somewhere. This is just one piece of the puzzle. Another piece would be retaining the tax kicker for a rainy day fund. Such a fund could help even out the ups and downs of income tax revenue.
If anyone is unclear about what the Legislature passed, read our News Briefs item this week, “New Poll Says Oregonians Back Measures.”
• Who will replace Chris Edwards as he leaves the House to take Vicki Walker’s seat in the Senate? Democrats are rumored to be pondering a couple of names: Val Hoyle and Carol Horne Dennis. Any other good people out there?
• EWEB’s Community Advisory Team (CAT) is working to conjure up a vision for developing EWEB’s riverfront property and wants input from enviros, but we hear too-few people showed up at a recent meeting to talk about green considerations. Got some ideas about parks, open space, solar access, pedestrian-friendly design, protecting riparian habitat, green construction standards, bike access to downtown? The CAT contact person is Mark Oberle, 341-1851, or email Mark.OBERLE@eweb.org