News Briefs: Pat Kilkenny Invested in Courtside? | City Tax Options to Save Schools | Eugeneans Concerned for Bah‡'’s in Iran | Herbicide Spray at School | New Group Looks at Transition | Activist Alert |War Dead | Lighten Up |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
It's Phil Knight vs. Bobby Lowder for championship
Happening People: Kathy Norris
PAT KILKENNY INVESTED IN COURTSIDE?
Will Pat Kilkenny profit from developments next to the Matthew Knight Arena he pushed through when he was UO athletic director? Mega-donor Phil Knight has lauded Kilkenny for making the arena possible, and we heard from multiple reliable sources that Kilkenny is one of the unnamed partners in the costly Courtside apartments next door. Portland attorney Russell Kilkenny, agent for 1410 Orchard Street LLC, which bought the Courtside property in February 2010, confirmed via email, "Pat Kilkenny has an ownership interest related to 1410 Orchard Street, LLC."
A search of registered corporations in Oregon shows 1410 Orchard Street, LLC is managed by developer Thomas Cody, and the agent is Russell Kilkenny; the other partners in the project are not named on the business registry document (available at uomatters.blogspot.com). Russell is also the agent for Pat Kilkenny's PJK Oregon, LLC and several other of Pat's nonactive LLCs.
Courtside is an "affiliate of the University of Oregon" and "the new center of campus," or so says the website (www.livecourtside.com) which looks very similar to the Matt Court website. Courtside is being built in what the developers are calling the soon-to-be upscale "Arena District." According the R-G, Cody is joined by Steve Romania and four other partners in this project.
A three-bedroom apartment at Courtside rents for almost $2,000. That's more than $600 per student per month, but it includes wireless internet and access to an onsite hybrid "WeCar" carshare program. Cody and partners are also involved with the even bigger and spendier Center Court Apartments, next door to the arena and to Courtside, on the site of the former Villard Street Pub.
California Bank and Trust of San Diego financed the $12 million Courtside project, and CB&T has apparently shown interest in financing Center Court as well. Why would a San Diego bank fund Eugene projects? There's a football connection: Tory Nixon, the senior vice president of CB&T, is a former pro football player who was born in Eugene. And there's another connection: Nixon serves with Pat Kilkenny on the board of trustees for the San Diego Sports Commission. CB&T is also a supporter of Kilkenny's Lucky Duck Foundation, which raises money for effective treatments and a cure for Fanconi anemia, the disease that has taken the lives of two of former UO President Dave Frohnmayer's children.
According to the UO website, Pat Kilkenny is still a part of the university as the "Special Assistant to the Athletic Director," and, according to the UO unclassified personnel list of March 1 to May 31 2010, his 12-month appointment is a 50 percent full-time equivalent (FTE), enough to be eligible for the state benefits package. His salary is $25,883.
As an employee of the UO, which is a public body, Kilkenny can be considered a public official. According to Oregon state law, "A public official may not attempt to further or further the personal gain of the public official through the use of confidential information gained in the course of or by reason of holding position as a public official."
The Courtside project is ecofriendly, seeking LEED gold certification with native plants, and water and energy efficient fixtures, and it would allow students to shop locally and walk and bike to school.
One question still unresolved is why Pat Kilkenny chose to not publicly disclose his financial interest in this housing project from the beginning. "Camilla Mortensen
CITY TAX OPTIONS TO SAVE SCHOOLS
The Eugene City Council has voted 7-0 to consider a variety of city tax options to help local schools facing severe budget cuts.
The council asked city staff for information on several tax options including a graduated income tax, a flat income tax and a restaurant tax. The council will schedule a meeting this month to discuss the options.
A progressive, graduated city income tax with rates set at 0.5 percent for income (AGI) $50,000 to $99,999, 1 percent for $100,000 to $249,999, and 1.5 percent for incomes more than $249,999 would generate roughly $40 million per year. That's based on an EW analysis of state tax data that assumes Eugene has a similar income distribution to Lane County and generates about 63 percent of the Adjusted Gross Income in the county.
A flat 1 percent income tax would generate roughly $44 million a year for local schools, according to the EW analysis.
A 5 percent Eugene restaurant tax would generate about $4 million a year, based on adjusting a previous city staff estimate of restaurant tax revenue to account for growth. The 4J School District may cut scores of teachers and effectively limit school to four days a week to close a $22 million budget deficit. Bethel also faces millions of dollars in cuts.
Based on local voting experience, a graduated, progressive income tax could be the easiest to pass.
Last year a state income tax increase on income exceeding $250,000 passed 3-1 in Eugene.
The proposed graduated tax on incomes above $50,000 in Eugene would impact roughly a third of local taxpayers, according to EW's analysis. The proposed 1 percent flat tax on all incomes would affect all voters, but would generate only 10 percent more revenue than the graduated tax on incomes above $50,000.
If the graduated tax were limited to incomes above $70,000, the tax would impact roughly 20 percent of taxpayers and generate roughly $22 million a year. A graduated tax above $100,000 would affect roughly 10 percent and generate roughly $19 million a year.
A proposed flat county income tax to fund the jail failed 2-1 in Eugene in 1999 amid criticism that it was unfair to the poor and emphasized prisons over crime prevention and treatment.
A proposed 5 percent Eugene tax on restaurants in 1993 to help with a city budget deficit failed by a 20 percent margin. Restaurants organized to oppose the tax, which they argued, could send business outside city limits, and citizens expressed concern the tax could unfairly impact the poor, who spend about a third of their limited income on fast food.
To refer a city tax measure to save local schools to the May ballot, the Eugene City Council will have to vote for the referral by the middle of next month. " Alan Pittman
EUGENEANS CONCERNED FOR BAHç'S IN IRAN
The Bah‡'’s of Eugene will hold a day of prayer Sunday in response to Iran's continued persecution of members of the Bah‡'’ faith.
The religion holds that Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad are all messengers of God and their religions represent a stage in the spiritual development of humanity.
Bah‡'’s believe that the Bah‡'u'll‡h is the latest of these messengers and that his message is one of unity.
The Bah‡'’ community of Iran, numbering about 300,000 people, is the largest non-Muslim religious minority in that country. Bah‡'’ youth are denied entry to Iran's colleges and universities while Bah‡'’ adults are denied jobs and business licenses. Since August 2004, 335 Bah‡'’s have been arrested in Iran, according to Marcia Veach, public information officer for the Eugene-Springfield Bah‡'’ communities.
As the situation for the Bah‡'’s in Iran has worsened, the Bah‡'’ International Community has reached out in an open letter to Iran's judiciary, requesting that the Bah‡'’s be granted their full rights of citizenship, she said.
In December, the U.N. General Assembly supported a resolution that expressed "deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations." In more than two decades of such resolutions about Iran, the vote passed with one of the highest percentages ever.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has been in the forefront of a Senate resolution (SR 694) condemning the treatment of the Bah‡'’s and other religious minorities in Iran. Resolutions, unlike laws, are nonbinding.
"It's clear that just continuing to shine a light on these injustices does make a difference," said Veach.
A day of prayer will be held beginning at 10 am Sunday, Jan. 9, at the Eugene Bah‡'’ Center, 1458 Alder St. The Bah‡'’s will be joined by special guest Dr. Feridoon Rahimi, who, along with his family, suffered persecution in Iran because of his faith.
For more information: 541-344-3173 www.EugeneBahai.com " Heather Cyrus
HERBICIDE SPRAY AT SCHOOL
Rural Triangle Lake Charter School in Blachly is surrounded by a clearcut. On Dec. 31,three acres of that former forest " right behind the school where students resumed classes three days later " were "chopped and squirted" with an herbicide called Arsenal.
In the fall of 2008 Weyerhaeuser clearcut 50 acres of its land around the school and offered to cut five acres of the school's trees as well because the school board was told at the time that the school's trees would blow down with the surrounding forest gone, possibly damaging the school buildings.
Jan Wroncy of Forestland Dwellers, who supplies EW with our weekly pesticide spray schedule, says the commercial Weyerhaeuser timberland has to be cleared of weeds and made "free to grow" under Oregon Department of Forestry rules. But Wroncy says when it comes to school lands, it should be "letting the kids be free to grow," not exposing them to toxics.
She says Arsenal's ingredient imazapyr breaks down into quinolinic acid, which is a neurotoxin, causes headaches and depression and is "not something you want near young kids." The buffer between the pesticide application and the school is 100 feet.
Wroncy and Lisa Arkin of Oregon Toxics Alliance tried to have the herbicide treatment reconsidered and discussed, but a waiver on the 15-day waiting period was granted in December, and the spray was conducted on the Friday of a holiday weekend, when most government employees were unavailable to be contacted.
In an August letter to the Blachly School Board, ODF forester Paul Clements outlined several options the school could take, including having students cut back the weeds, having contract labor cut back the weeds or have contract labor "hack and squirt."
Wroncy says much of what is being called "weeds" is actually native Oregon bigleaf maple.
Arkin suggested the school contact Walama Restoration to train parents to clear the unwanted vegetation. She was told the school didn't have the funds. Now she questions what funds were used to hire a contractor to use pesticides.
Arkin wrote in an email to member of the Triangle Lake school board that "a spray of forestry pesticides on school grounds is out of compliance with the Oregon School IPM law. As Jan Wroncy points out, this spray may also be out of compliance with Lane County Code."
IPM or integrated pesticide management generally means that pesticides, including herbicides, are used as a last resort and the risk of human exposure is minimized while pests are controlled. Under a new state law, Oregon schools must have IPM plans by July 2012. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of pesticides.
Under the Lane County Code, Triangle Lake Charter School's lands are zoned Rural Public Facility. Such zoning is "to provide land for public and semipublic uses and development that serve rural residents and people traveling through the area and that are by nature intensive or unusual uses not normally associated with other zones," according to the code.
Wroncy asks, "What's a not-for-profit school on rural public lands doing involving themselves in timber production for profit?" She adds, "It's in conflict with the goal of educating children." " Camilla Mortensen
NEW GROUP LOOKS AT TRANSITION
A new Eugene discussion group met Jan. 2, inspired by The Transition Handbook. The group plans to meet at 11 am the first and third Sundays of the month at the meeting space behind Theo's Coffee Bar at Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. 8th Ave. The next meeting will be Jan. 16. See www.TransitionTownEugene.org
"Our conversation seemed to cluster around three areas: permaculture, transportation and preparedness," says Fergus Mclean, a member of the group. He says the group talked about helping sponsor this spring's Northwest Permaculture Convergence, and issues concerning natural burial, "converting the places we're buried from formaldehyde- and herbicide-drenched mausoleums to healthy ecosystems."
In the area of transportation, the group is "seeing a great opportunity to bring together the review of TransPlan with land-use plans of Envision Eugene, perhaps in town hall meetings and workshops in outlying neighborhoods." They are also looking at the possibility of rail transportation to the Country Fair, preserving existing unused rail lines and using them for bicycle-powered transport, creating the north-south safe bicycle thoroughfare called for in Kitty Piercy's September 2008 town hall meeting, and updating the city's 40-year old bicycle master plan.
The group also discussed finding ways to support police and fire department emergency preparedness planning and organization, and examining "the adequacy of police and fire fuel supplies in the event of a disruption in fuel deliveries."
* A five-member committee tasked with advising the Oregon Department of Forestry on the state's Smoke Management Plan will meet from 9 am to 2:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 6, at ODF headquarters Building D, 2600 State St. in Salem. Public comments will be received at 2:15 pm. On the agenda will be prescribed burning, burn strategies, alternatives to burning, biomass, technology, the Regional Haze Plan, etc.
* The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission's first meeting of the new year will begin at 8 am Friday, Jan. 7, at ODFW Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave N.E., Salem. Peregrine falcons, mule deer, and wildlife area parking permits are on the agenda. Public testimony follows the expenditure report. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda should call the ODFW director's office, at least 24 hours in advance, at (800) 720-6339 or (503) 947-6044.
* Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy is hosting three community outreach gatherings on Saturday, Jan. 8. The first is from 9 to 10:30 am at Todd's Place, 355 E. Broadway. Next is from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Sweet Life Patisserie, 755 Monroe. Third is from 2 to 3:30 pm at Sushi Seoul, 2532 Willakenzie. Handy can be contacted at 682-4203 or Rob.Handy@co.lane.or.us
* An all-day celebration of year-round bicycle commuting will run from 10:30 am to 5 pm Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the EMU on the UO campus. "Ride in the Rain, A Celebration of Wet Weather Bike Transportation," will feature free bike repair, music with bike-powered amplification, a rain gear fashion show, a "track-stand" competition, a community ride, and a keynote address by Cycle Oregon's Jerry Norquist. Fourteen new cargo bikes donated by Globe will also mark the launch of short-term bicycle loans through the UO Bike Program. For more information, please contact Ted Sweeney, email@example.com or call (503) 737-4419.
* The next Whiteaker Community Council general membership meeting will host LTD giving a presentation on the West Eugene EmX Extension at 7 pm Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the Whiteaker Community Center, corner of Clark and North Jackson. Snacks provided; potluck encouraged.
* Palestine Action Week organized by the UO Survival Center begins with a Palestine resistance film Bil'in Habibti at 6 pm Tuesday, Jan. 11, at McKenzie Hall 128 on campus. Next is a presentation titled "Eyewitness in Palestine" at 7 pm Wednesday, Jan. 12, at Straub Hall 142. Next is "Anarchists Against the Wall" at 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 13, in the Ben Linder Room in the EMU. The last in the series is a presentation by Portland's Boycott Israeli Apartheid project at 7 pm at Straub 146.
* Eugene School District 4J will meet at 7 pm Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 200 N. Monroe St. to discuss the superintendent's final recommendations for achieving a sustainable budget. A board work session was held Jan. 5 and the final public hearing was delayed until 6 pm Wednesday, Jan. 19, at a location to be announced.
* Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg's 2011 State of the City Address will be at 11 am Thursday, Jan. 13, at the Wildish Theater, 630 Main St. This is Lundberg's inaugural address after being appointed mayor. The former council member will be serving out Mayor Sid Leiken's term following Leiken's election to the County Commission.
* Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon is launching the Lane LAT (Legislative Action Team) at 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 13, with a general meeting.Interested community leaders will meet once a month to plan political strategies and organize local events. For location and other information, contact Nichi Masters, field organizer, at 510-2025 firstname.lastname@example.org register.
* 1,437 U.S. troops killed* (1,427)
* 9,885 U.S. troops wounded in action (9,828)
* 709 U.S. contractors killed (594)
* $381.5 billion cost of war ($379.2 billion)
* $108.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($107.8 million)
* 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
* 31,935 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,935)
* 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
* 1,521 U.S. contractors killed (1,507)
* 108,439 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (108,377)
* $749.1 billion cost of war ($748.2 billion)
* $213.0 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($212.8 million)
Through Jan. 3, 2011; sources: icasualties.org; defense.gov, U.S. Dept. of Labor
* highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate Iraqi civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
After watching its star graduate, President Obama, negotiate the tax-cut deal with the Republicans, Harvard Law School is adding a course on the basics of poker.
" Rafael Aldave, Eugene
•* Alan Pittman outlines various options for local taxes to support schools in News Briefs this week, and the City Council is looking at the possibility of referring some kind of tax to the voters in the May elections. But we hear there's a possible complication. Both School District 4J and Bethel School District have been planning general obligation bond measures for the same May ballot. Both districts have bonds that are being paid off, so the new bonds would not raise taxes. Both districts have pressing needs to replace roofs, floors, and aging equipment and facilities. But having multiple school measures on the May ballot could be confusing to voters. Bethel is planning to delay its bond measure if the city goes for a new tax for schools. District 4J will decide on or before its Feb. 2 board meeting. All this should be incentive for the City Council to take action soon.
* Don't get sucked into the insidious spin about government spending in Oregon, warns Charles Sheketoff, director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy and one of the sanest public policy voices in this state. Robert Reich hits the same theme, nationally,in The Huffington Post this week (see http://wkly.ws/zr). Oregon is in financial trouble because of the Great Recession, not because of profligate spending. Sheketoff says that relative to the income earned by Oregonians, the public sector is no more expensive today than it was three decades ago.In the current budget cycle, cuts, not increased spending, have dominated the budget picture.But some Republicans and their spinmeisters clearly seethis depressed period as an opportunity to shrink the government social services they detest.
* Remember the insane Oct. 26 public hearing on Lane County's proposed drinking water protections? The meeting was taken over by an angry mob and with no progress possible, county commissioners canceled the hearing and shelved the overdue proposals. Looking back, what stirred the zealous property rights and Tea Party contingencies to show up frothing at the mouth? We ran across an incendiary email that went out a few days before the meeting from Dave Hunnicutt of Oregonians In Action. He wrote that the proposed protections will "devastate the rights of property owners," it will "destroy the value their property," and "this ordinance is a disaster." Hunnicutt was the sponsor of Measure 37 and has a long history of fighting land use planning with fear-mongering. It's a pity anybody buys into Hunnicutt's exaggerations. And it's a pity the property owners who came because they love the river, not because of Hunnicutt's hyperbole, weren't able to learn more about the drinking water plan.
* President Obama figures we'll have an active military presence in Afghanistan for at least four more years. Meanwhile, 10 more U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan over the holidays and 57 more were wounded. No one is bothering to count Afghan casualties, military or civilian. Last week our presence in Afghanistan cost U.S. taxpayers $2.3 billion and Eugene taxpayers $700,000. What do we gain for our investment in destruction and bloodshed? The region is no closer to stability, peace and justice than it was 10 years ago. Only war profiteers are the ones seeing any benefit from this prolonged idiocy.
Meanwhile, American taxpayers are supporting some 700 military bases in 130 countries around the world. Bloated military budgets have brought financial collapse to many nations throughout history, including the Soviet Union. Will that be our story as well?
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
"When I was 4 years old, I'd find little kittens, tame them and bring them to the house," says Kathy Norris, recently named president of the Stray Cat Alliance, a local nonprofit that helps low-income cat caregivers with spay/neuter costs, medical care and cat food. "We'd have to find someone to adopt them." Norris lives on the same property, west of Fern Ridge Reservoir, where she grew up. She and her partner of 30 years, Les Davis, operate the Christmas tree farm started by her father. They spend one month each year, Thanksgiving until Christmas, selling trees from a lot in the San Francisco Bay Area, then 11 months replanting, fertilizing and pruning trees on the farm. "Les and I do it all," says Norris. "I go up and down the ladder all summer long." A life-long rescuer of uncared-for animals, Norris currently has 11 house cats, including Tillie, who appears in the photo, three dogs and two 20-plus-year-old horses. She also feeds many feral cats. "The SCA does not operate a shelter," she says. "We focus on spay and neuter. The big thing now is TNR: trap, neuter, and release. We work with people who try to manage colonies." Phone SCA at 607-4219 or send donations to SCA, PO Box 26043, Eugene 97402.