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Eugene Weekly : News : 10.28.10

Bozievich v. Rust

Developer, gravel and timber barons back right-winger

By Alan Pittman

Last year Jay Bozievich dressed up in a wig and colonial soldier outfit for an anti-government Tea Party rally, but this year the right-wing libertarian turned Republican candidate for county commissioner has raised a seriously huge war chest from those who could cash in on gutting environmental, logging, gravel mining and anti-sprawl laws.

Development, timber and gravel pit barons have contributed $199,750 to Bozievich’s campaign against Jerry Rust for the West Lane County Commissioner seat.

The Giustina family of land and timber speculators have given Bozievich $15,000. The Seneca Jones timber and land company has given $13,180 to Bozievich, the Murphy lumber mill $12,500, the McFarland Cascade mill $7,500, and Roseburg Forest Products $5,500. 

Developer Steve Lee, who has advocated for expanding local urban growth boundaries, gave Bozievich $9,400. Hamilton Construction, which builds freeway bridges, gave $8,500, and the Oregon Realtors PAC, a leading lobby group for sprawl, gave $7,888. Neurelius LLC, a business name linked to a huge Truck n’ Travel truck stop in Coburg that could cash in on sprawl from a new I-5 interchange, gave $5,000.

The gravel mining, land speculation and construction companies also gave big to Bozievich. The Babb family’s Delta company gave $9,500, the Wildish family gave $7,000, and the Egge company gave $4,500.

If elected, Bozievich could funnel millions of dollars in profits to these companies. Commissioners influence federal logging policy and vote directly on approving new gravel pits and land use changes that can multiply the value of a speculator’s land tenfold if urban sprawl is allowed.

Rust, a former tree planter who served as a moderate commissioner from 1977 to 1997, trails Bozievich with $125,658 in contributions. Rust has raised most of his money from smaller contributions, with only four donors over $4,500. Tom Bowerman, the son of legendary UO track coach Bill Bowerman, gave $8,000, contractor Carlos Barrera $6,000, the Lane County public works union $6,000 and the county AFSCME union $4,500. 

Rust called attention to Bozievich’s radical, anti-government positions in a Eugene City Club debate last week. He quoted from Bozievich’s writings calling taxes “theft” and calling for the elimination of government services for the elderly, kids and the homeless. 

Rust asked Bozievich if he really believed such government social services could be replaced by charity. “Yes,” Bozievich answered, elaborating that he did not believe people had a right to health care. 

Bozievich denied he had ever opposed Medicare, a popular program with many retirees in the district. But Rust quoted from the written positions of a local libertarian group Bozievich was the spokesman for. “The federal entitlement to Medicare should be abolished,” Rust read.

Bozievich noted he was backed by the timber industry and attacked Rust for what he called “anti-business” positions supporting environmental protection. “We need to get our logging levels up,” he said.

Bozievich said he was a fan of Anna Morrison, the timber industry backed west county commissioner who lost re-election by 23 percentage points in 2006. “She worked hard for her constituents,” Bozievich said. 

On the land use issue, Bozievich was critical of zoning regulations and opposed proposed rules to protect drinking water from contamination because it “violates private property rights.” 

Bozievich argued for allowing more urban sprawl. “We are short land right now.”

Rust said he opposed expanding the urban growth boundary to allow development on Santa Clara farmlands. “There is no scenario that would get me to approve UGB expansion on to these farmlands,” he said. 

Rust said development should happen in “old industrial areas instead of going into virgin areas.” He said he did support allowing wineries to add restaurants and inns. “I’m into tweaking the land use system, not gutting it.”

Bozievich argued for increased funding for jail beds but hasn’t said what he’d cut or what taxes he would increase to fund it. Rust said he originally helped create the jail’s forest work camp when previously serving as a commissioner but “reluctantly” couldn’t see a way to fund it with the deep deficits the county is facing. 

“We can balance our budget with no new taxes,” Rust said. “We’re spending quite a ways beyond our means.”