News Briefs: Endorsements At a Glance | Couger Kills for Naught | Wolf Numbers Down to 20 | Conference Focuses on Being Green | Free Money Planning | Activist Alert | Corrections / Clarifiations | War Dead |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Conserving the river and an organic conversion
Buying the Race
Shadowy campaign finances and shady science
ENDORSEMENTS AT A GLANCE
Deadline for dropping ballots in one of the white boxes around town is 8 pm Tuesday, Nov. 2. Postmarks don’t count, so it’s best to mail ballots in by Thursday, Oct. 28. Below are our selected endorsements at a glance. See our full endorsements last week, and for races and issues not listed, please refer to your Voters’ Pamphlet. Most candidates have easily found websites.
Ron Wyden (D)
U.S. House, District 4.
Peter DeFazio (D)
U.S. House, District 5.
Kurt Schrader (D)
John Kitzhaber (D)
Ted Wheeler (D)
Senate District 4.
Floyd Prozanski (D)
Senate District 6.
Lee Beyer (D)
Senate District 7.
Chris Edwards (D)
House District 7.
Sara Byers (D)
House District 8.
Paul Holvey (D)
House District 10.
Jean Cowan (D)
House District 11.
Phil Barnhart (D)
House District 12.
Terry Beyer (D)
House District 13.
Nancy Nathanson (D)
House District 14.
Val Hoyle (D)
Veterans’ loans. Yes
Annual Legislature meetings. Yes
Lower interest loans. Yes
School money for prisons. No
Marijuana dispensaries. Yes
Corporate casino. No
Park funding. Yes
COUNTY CANDIDATES & ISSUES
West Lane Commissioner.
Springfield Measure 20-173.
Lane County Measure 20-174.
Lane County Measure 20-175.
Lane County Measure 20-176.
COUGAR KILLS FOR NAUGHT?
The ODFW’s cougar plan faces some steep criticism in a review of its first three years.
The state plan set up areas for the targeted killing of cougars in order to study the results on human safety and predation. No human death has been recorded as a result of a cougar attack in Oregon. Dr. Robert Weilgus of Washington State University wrote in his review that no evidence was used to support statements claiming that the Oregon kills reduced depredation.
“When the plan came into being, in 2005, the purported purpose of the plan was to increase public safety, in order to achieve that the plan is designed to do one thing only and that is increase cougar mortality,” says Sally Mackler of Predator Defense.
Contrary to the design of the study, research suggests that too many cougar kills increase the proportion of juvenile cougars, which are usually killed by rival adult males in the wild. Juvenile cougars are more likely to resort to using livestock as food, and may even attack humans. “By pursing this kill-only strategy, we’re in conflict with the purpose of the plan,” Mackler says.
Activists in the big cat arena believe that future plans should rely on different methods of cougar management for financial reasons, as well. “The information that we have from the review shows that it costs about $3,000 per cougar killed. About 100 were killed in first three years of the plan, and it cost $310,500 to accomplish that,” Mackler says. “That money could have been spent better to improve public safety and improve protections for livestock through the use of guard dogs and other nonlethal protections.”
Three years of the cougar plan were compiled in an ODFW manuscript and sent on to 13 employees of agencies similar to the ODFW and one academic for peer review. Six responded, and the results were presented to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee in September. These responses will be factors in the decision on renewal of the cougar plan in the spring. — Shannon Finnell
WOLF NUMBERS DOWN TO 20
The future of Oregon’s gray wolf is on the line. Again.
With the state wolf population decreased to 20, after a recent illegal shooting of a male member of the Wenaha pack, coinciding with the introduction of an updated five-year wolf management plan, stakeholders of all viewpoints are concerned.
“Wolves are not like any other animals, as they have such an important pack dynamic,” Rob Klavins, roadless wildlands advocate for Oregon Wild, said. “Upsetting this structure could create much more problems than those avoided by killing a wolf.”
On Sept. 30, a federal official discovered the body of the 3-year-old radio-collared wolf in the Umatilla National Forest. Although not the alpha male, this wolf was one of four adults in the Wenaha pack. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife determined that the wolf was killed by gunshot and announced a $2,500 reward to information leading to the arrest of those involved.
Oregon Wild, along with other state wildlife conservation groups and concerned northeast Oregon residents, added another $7,500 to the reward after hearing of the incident.
“Oregon’s budding wolf population can’t sustain this,” Josh Laughlin, campaign manager for reward contributor Cascadia Wildlands, said. “As a conservation organization, we want to see wolves on the landscape where they once were and are meant to be.”
This is the third incident of wolf poaching since the species returned to northeast Oregon 10 years ago, after the government eradicated the entire state population in the 1930s.
While wildlife conservationists encourage any increase in the small population, many ranchers feel threatened by the wolves’ presence near their cattle ranches. The Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan update on Oct. 1 upset ranchers as it tightened restrictions on the right to lethally stop a wolf from harming livestock.
However, most ranchers hope to find a balance between sustaining the wolf and livestock populations. Bill Hoyt, president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said the OCA denounces the most recent poaching incident.
“The thing most people don’t realize is that we use the data from the radio collared wolves to track their influence on our livestock,” OCA President Bill Hoyt said. “We’re trying to coexist with these animals.”
Laughlin echoed Hoyt’s hope for a cooperative future.
“We need to create an atmosphere of acceptance and an open dialogue with all involved,” Laughlin said. “It’s both an exciting and challenging time.” — Alex Zielinski
CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON BEING GREEN
Planning is well under way for an all-day community conference on making Eugene more ecologically sustainable. The event will be from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 30, at the First Methodist Church, 1375 Olive St. in Eugene.
The event is called “Eugene — Local and Green — Getting Started, Moving Forward, Working Together,” and is sponsored by Eugene’s Neighborhood Leaders Council Committee on Sustainability, in collaboration with numerous community groups and organizations. Cost is sliding scale, $5 to $20, and light refreshments and finger food will be provided.
Jan Spencer, one of the organizers and presenters, says the conference will focus on “practical actions people can take for living more local and more green.” He says presenters and panels will “touch on food, reinventing the urban landscape, community collaborations and success stories, neighborhood mapping, challenges and exciting strategies and possibilities for the coming years.”
Speakers and panelists so far include Hanna Scholtz, Denise Christine, Sue Jakabosky, Laura Hinrichs, Randy Prince, Carlos Barrera, Matt McRae, Mark Robinowitz, Kelly Bell, Lorraine Kerwood, Robin Scott, Matt Sprecher, Steve Newcomb, Lisa Arkin, Terry McDonald, Morris Ostrofsky, Teresa Damron, Pat Patterson, Brett Jacobs, Anne Donahue, Jen Atonia and Amy McCann.
See a compete schedule at http://wkly.ws/v4
FREE MONEY PLANNING
It’s not free money, but rather free money planning. If your personal finances are less than ideal and you can’t afford the expertise of a private financial consultant, the city of Eugene and local certified financial planners are here to help.
A free “Financial Planning Day” is from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, Oct. 23, at Sheldon Community Center, 2445 Willakenzie Road in Eugene. Register at www.financialplanningdays.org/Eugene
Workshops throughout the day will be held on credit ratings, budgeting, managing money in hard times, surviving job loss, retirement planning, investments and “forging your financial future.”
Financial planners will not be soliciting business nor collecting names and contact information from those attending.
• West Lane County Commission candidates Jerry Rust and Jay Bozievich will debate at 11:50 am Friday, Oct. 22, at City Club of Eugene. This week’s City Club forum will be back at the Hilton Ballroom on the 12th floor.
• Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) will be hosting its 25th annual Cornucopia Multicultural Celebration from 3 to 6 pm Sunday, Oct. 24, at the Hilton downtown. The event will feature Latin singers Duo Piel Canela, spoken word/hip hop artist Siche Green-Mitchell, and music by the Whiskey Chasers. MC will be Elliot Martinez, editor of Boozeweek. The event will also feature a silent auction and community tables. Admission is $5-$100 sliding scale. Proceeds will benefit CALC’s work to educate and mobilize for peace, human dignity, and racial, social and economic justice.
• The McKenzie River Trust will give a free talk on conservation and restoration projects at Green Island and other areas in the region from 7 to 9 pm Monday, Oct. 25, at the Garden Club, 1645 High St. in Eugene.
• Proposed changes to the county’s floodplain regulations are being considered by the Lane County Planning Commission and the Lane County Board of Commissioners. The board will also consider whether or not to adopt a new set of zoning regulations intended to protect sources of public drinking water. An open house was held Oct. 20 and a public hearing will be at 6:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 26, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave., in Eugene. More information at http://wkly.ws/v1
• The next community workshop on Envision Eugene is set for 4 to 7 pm Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Eugene Public Library downtown. Envision Eugene is a public process to deal with projected growth in Eugene’s population. One key issue is expansion of the city’s Urban Growth Boundary.
Our Sept. 30 issue incorrectly reported the timing of an incident in which police used tear gas against partying students. The incident occurred late Friday night, Sept. 24, and early Saturday morning, not Saturday night.
• 1,333 U.S. troops killed* (1,312)
• 8,706 U.S. troops injured** (8,530)
• 594 U.S. contractors killed** (594)
• $356.3 billion cost of war ($354.0 billion)
• $101.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($100.7million)
• 4,421 U.S. troops killed* (4,421)
• 31,935 U.S. troops injured** (31,934)
• 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
• 1,507 U.S. contractors killed** (1,507)
• 107,235 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (107,153)
• $750.0 billion cost of war ($750.0 billion)
• $213.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($213.3 million)
* through Oct. 18, 2010; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defense.gov, U.S. Dept. of Labor
*** 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)
•• Is there really a progressive majority or “Gang of Three” on the Board of Lane County Commissioners? This myth originated in R-G news coverage and editorials and is perpetuated in every often stereographic R-G story that talks about the “progressive majority.” It turns out the five commissioners reach consensus on just about every decision. They debate and negotiate extensively before anything goes to a vote. In 2009 there were 159 issues that went to a vote, and only two votes were split decisions. So far in 2010, the pattern continues as commissioners have voted in agreement on every issue but one. However, the voting record does show a difference in attendance at board meetings. Commissioners Faye Stewart and Bill Dwyer missed a lot of board meetings in 2009 and 2010.
• Everybody knows that football ratings are meaningless. Even Chip Kelly says, maybe honestly, that he doesn’t pay any attention to Oregon’s. After all, we’re only halfway through the season. And look at some of the teams that have gone into that six-game winning streak. Portland State? Gimme a break. Nevertheless, isn’t it fun to be Number One? All across the country people are saying, “Oregon?” So enjoy it while it lasts. Some tough teams are coming up.
• Are you thinking of voting for Art Robinson for Congress? You might want to reconsider. There are distinct advantages for Oregon’s economy in having an effective advocate for Oregon in Washington, D.C. We’ve all heard stories about Oregon doctors not accepting new Medicare patients because the federal payments were too small. Last year DeFazio insisted on more equitable Medicare reimbursements for Oregon doctors. He even defied Obama and threatened to hold up his vote on health care reform. As Obama promised, the increased reimbursements came through last week, improving access to health care for 137,000 seniors in our region. What would Art Robinson do if elected? Work to kill Medicare. Do you really want Grandma to have to buy health insurance on the open market today?
DeFazio also wrangled $13.5 million in federal funds to finish rebuilding a vital 133-mile rail link between Coquille and Eugene. What would Robinson do if elected? Keep such project funding in private hands, essentially delaying repairs for decades, if not forever. DeFazio understands how government-funded infrastructure bolsters private enterprise.
• Remember all the hoopla last year about Measures 66 and 67 making Oregon a bad place to do business? We see those same arguments today as conservatives complain that our taxes and regulations are killing our state economy. But a new study by Forbes magazine shows Oregon rising to sixth-best state in the country for business and careers. Last year Oregon was ranked 10th. The Forbes study looks at business costs, labor pool, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. We’re ranked high (fourth) on our labor supply. But what about our high unemployment and poverty rates? Oregon is a highly desirable place to live, so jobless folks are hanging around rather than migrating to North Dakota, where there is abundant work. Companies looking to relocate or expand appreciate not only our quality of life but also our educated and trained workforce. The Forbes study indicates we are positioned better than most other states for eventual economic recovery.
• City Manager Jon Ruiz is pushing Envision Eugene in the R-G and elsewhere as a sensible alternative to years of expensive and time-consuming lawsuits over Urban Growth Boundary expansion decisions. This form of mediation with broad community input is a noble process, but the outcome is predictable: some kind of compromise involving UGB expansion and infill. We generally favor conciliation and compromise, but our environment and quality of life are already compromised by sprawl and destruction of productive farmland. Look at our low density. We really have no shortage of buildable residential, commercial and industrial land. State law requires that we identify an adequate land supply for future growth, but we can do that through proactive planning for infill, reclaiming brownfield sites such as old railyards, and growing up, instead of out. There’s no true leadership in doing the same old sprawl planning, year after year, driven in large part by the greed of land speculators.
• Some welcomed grants have come to local environmental nonprofits lately. Congrats to the Oregon Toxics Alliance for a $63,350 “capacity building” grant over the next two years from the Meyer Memorial Trust. And Nearby Nature, an education nonprofit “dedicated to fostering appreciation of the outdoor world and providing tools for ecological living,” landed a $10,000 grant from Staples Foundation for environmental education programs. Eugene is home to hundreds of nonprofits doing exceptional work, usually on shoestring budgets. It’s good to see some love flowing their way, whether it’s from volunteers or foundations.
• Just a reminder : Friends and coworkers of the late EW art director Kevin Dougherty are gathering at EW between 4 and 6 pm Thursday, Oct. 21, for a casual get-together on the anniversary of his passing.
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 at eugeneweekly dot com