News Briefs: Make Panties for Your Partner | EmX Gets Strong Support | Gerrymander Could Redraw Eugene Power | Islamic Storm in a Teacup | Possible Harm Axes Clearcuts | Food Talks in Town | Bill Seeks to Dismantle Agencies | Activist Alert | Corrections / Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Megan Kemple
MAKE PANTIES FOR YOUR PARTNER
Tired of purchasing the traditional flowers and candies for your partner on Valentines Day? What says love more than making a pair of underwear for your lover out of his or her favorite old T-shirt! Redoux Parlour, a retail shop specializing in local designers, consignment and resale, is hosting an undies-making workshop 11 am to 2 pm Saturday, Feb. 5, at its 780 Blair Blvd. location.
"Most people dont realize how easy it is to make your own underwear,” says Laura Lee Laroux, owner of Redoux Parlour. Laroux offers sewing classes for the community, but has never done a one-day workshop before. "I figured it would be fun to provide a different kind of Valentines activity for the community; plus its a great way to teach people how to reuse an article of clothing that they might otherwise throw out,” says Laroux.
For $35, the workshop includes materials for three pairs of undies, including lace, elastic, Lycra scraps and other recycled materials, a custom underwear pattern (yoga short, boy short, bikini, low-rider hipster, thong or brief) and of course, the sewing machine and thread to create your magic.
Laroux encourages individuals to bring in an old favorite article of clothing you can transform to make a more personalized gift for yourself or a loved one.
For more information and to sign up for the workshop call 342-1942. ã Heather Cyrus
EMX GETS STRONG SUPPORT
While media attention has focused on a few car-oriented businesses opposed to the proposed West 11th EmX bus rapid transit route, support for the project from a group representing more than 23,000 local citizens has gone relatively unnoticed.
The ASUO, the elected UO student government representing 23,389 UO students, unanimously passed a resolution Nov. 17 strongly supporting LTDs proposed public transportation improvement.
The resolution notes that the ASUO provides almost 3 percent of LTDs operating budget, far more than the payroll taxes of any of the business opponents. The UO and its students are by far the largest employer and largest economic driver in Eugene.
Both students and businesses would benefit from the West 11th street rapid transit, according to the ASUO resolution. "The West Eugene EmX Extension is a vital transportation solution in the Eugene-Springfield area,” the resolution representing 23,000 local citizens states. "West Eugene has been focused on the automobile for too long. Automobile congestion decreases the opportunities for Eugene residents to choose alternate modes of transportation along this important corridor while continuing to emit pollutants that harm our environment. We believe that this project will bring much needed connections to the residences and businesses in West Eugene and will go a long way in completing the progressive bus rapid transit network we would like to see in our community.”
The huge show of support was sent to the Eugene City Council Jan. 22 by ASUO Senate President Zachary Stark-MacMillan. "I think it shows the strength of the student support for this valuable service,” Stark-MacMillan told the council.
LTD has tried to appease a vocal minority of "No Build” opponents by scaling the EmX project back at the expense of riders, but the "No Build” group still fiercely opposes the public transit project.
The City Council, which has appeared closely divided on the issue, plans to vote on West Eugene EmX on March 9 after a Feb. 8 public hearing (see Activist Alert). ã Alan Pittman
GERRYMANDER COULD REDRAW EUGENE POWER
The Eugene City Council plans to begin meeting this month to redraw councilor ward boundaries ã and perhaps the citys power structure ã in response to the 2010 Census.
The council plans to meet Feb. 14 to discuss ward redistricting.
Ten years ago the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce successfully pushed adoption of its carefully drawn map of wards that eliminated a progressive south Eugene councilor seat. To accomplish that, the Chamber map severed students living near Autzen Stadium from a university area ward and created an elongated, noncontiguous north Eugene ward that stretches north from the Ferry Street Bridge, jumps the river and another ward, and reaches up to the far end of River Road, a seven-mile drive away.
"Its a blatant power grab,” progressive activist Greg McLauchlan complained in a 2001 Eugene Weekly opinion column. McLauchlan wrote that the chamber map sought to segregate progressive voters into three concentrated wards to reduce the chance of progressives winning in mixed, swing districts.
Former councilor Bonny Bettman (McCornack) complained 10 years ago that redistricting moved the City Council to the right in support of urban sprawl and corporate and developer subsidies. "We ended up with the Republican scenario.”
The Chamber of Commerce had threatened the city that if it didnt get the gerrymander it wanted, the conservative business group would sue the city and/or pass a charter amendment to eliminate all wards and elect councilors citywide.
Citywide elections would favor more conservative candidates with deeper pockets for mass advertising, a City Club committee noted.
Eugene City Councilor Andrea Ortiz, in elongated Ward 7, emailed councilors last month that she plans to attend a training this week in Washington, D.C., on redistricting.
Mayor Kitty Piercy emailed back, "I think we need a redistricting briefing and some information about how this will roll out.” ã Alan Pittman
ISLAMIC STORM IN A TEACUP
Undeterred by LCCs cancellation of his "What Is Islam” classes and the modest firestorm that ensued from that, Barry Sommerbegan a series of four weekly lectures from 6 to 8 pm on the same subjectin Harris Hall on Jan. 24. Working independently of any sponsorship, Sommer devoted the first third of the evening to an account of the life of Mohammed, followed by a history of how the Quran evolved from oral revelation to written document.
Two weeks earlier in the same location, Sommer had given a 45-minute preview of his free month-long Monday night series at a gathering of the Lane County 9.12 Project, a local Tea Party group that meetsat 6:15 pm on the second Tuesday of every month at Harris Hall downtown.
Sommer had been criticized previously for lacking any formal academic credentials, and for presenting a biased view of Islam on his CTV program, writings and blog. However, LCC does not require academic credentials for noncredit "personal enrichment” courses, and Sommer claims that every word he presents can be verified as factual, often in the Quran itself. He denies "cherry picking” only the worst aspects of Islam, and has issued an open challenge to debate anyone who claims he "manufactures fictitious or biased data.”
His message found a receptive audience among the nearly 50 of the 9.12 Project attendees and at each of his presentations since.
Representatives of Eugenes Anti-Hate Task Force handed out fliers before each event decrying Sommers "prejudice and discrimination” for encouraging a community atmosphere that replaces "friendship, unity and common purpose” with "division, mistrust and ignorance.” However, after theJan.11meeting, several 9.12ers expressed the opinion that they didnt find anything "hateful” about Sommers presentation, and similaraudience reactionshave followed each event.
The Lane 9.12 Project is an offshoot of the national organization founded by Fox News TV and radio personality Glenn Beck.Its approximately 200-plus local members are a like-minded group of individuals with common conservative values "frustrated with wild government spending and high taxes to finance it,” according to their current chair, Glenn Stutzman.
"We have grown toexpect the government to take the place of the educator, family, landlord, doctor, and general care taker,” says Stutzman. Put right, he feels, "The interest alone on our local and national debts could pay for a golden infrastructure of public safety, energy, defenseandtransportation.”
As for political strategies, Stutzman adds, "We are nonpartisan, do not espouse a particular religion,and do notwant representation that onlyhopes to maintain a careerin government by buying favors with tax dollars.”
Stutzman pointed out the groups name came from "the cohesivenature ofthe day after 9/11, wheregender, race,avocation or party did not matter; we were allAmericans.”
Past Chair Randy Barklow of Elmira, a 45-year-old bodybuilder and maintenance technician, says thatanyone is welcome to attend the monthly meetings, though they recently started collecting annual duesamong those sharing their long term interests.
Monty Luke, their PR person, suggests those interests include "wanting to see our leaders in Washington start acting like adults, rather than splurging trillions of dollars borrowed from our children and grandchildren.” ã Joseph Lieberman
POSSIBLE HARM AXES CLEARCUTS
When it comes to stopping a U.S. Forest Service clearcut or massive federal pipeline project the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the possibility of "irreparable harm” isnt enough. There has to be a likelihood of harm.
"If you look those two words up in the dictionary,” says attorney Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center, "they mean the exact same thing.”
Brown says a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals clarifies the Supreme Courts ruling in NRDC v. Winter and defines at what point groups can temporarily stop federal projects while the case is being heard.
Groups will often seek a preliminary injunction to stop something like a clearcut, because if the action isnt stopped while the case is dragging on, the trees might already all be cut down by the time the court issues a ruling.
Brown says the issue stems from the Supreme Courts ruling in a case where environmental groups sued to stop the Navy from testing mid-frequency active sonar because of possible damage to whales and other sea mammals. The supremes ruled that it was improper to issue an injunction stopping the tests because there was only the possibility of harm, not that it was likely. Experts said at the time that the case would make it harder for environmental groups to get preliminary injunctions in the future.
A recent case Brown argued over a massive federal salvage-logging project in Montanas Big Hole Valley has clarified the ruling. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy had ruled against an injunction to stop the timber sale because he said based on the Supreme Court ruling the conservationists didnt prove that "irreparable injury is likely.”
In addition to its regular criteria, the 9th Circuit has what is known as a "sliding scale” test that is used to determine whether a preliminary injunction is justified. That test, Brown says, was not addressed in the Supreme Courts ruling, which dealt with the other set of criteria for deciding on a preliminary injunction, and so wasnt affected by it. The 9th Circuit overturned Molloys decision in September and the Department of Justice sought a rehearing. The 9th Circuit denied the governments request on Jan. 25.
The government could still petition the Supreme Court to rule on the Montana case, Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell.
Brown says the case has implications not just for environmentalists but also for any group trying to stop a potentially harmful federal project. ã Camilla Mortensen
FOOD TALKS IN TOWN
Be a part of the food conversation with conference and lectures from LCC to OSU. "Foods Footprint: Agriculture and Climate Change” will be the topic for Jennifer Burney, researcher in the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, at an upcoming OSU Food for Thought Lecture at 7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis.
Burney will discuss how two of the greatest problems facing society today, hunger and climate change, are intertwined and that this relation not only affects smaller communities, but the world.
According to OSUs events website, these food lectures give the public a chance to get in on the conversations that the scientific community is having about environmental and biotechnical issues regarding the food that most of us eat.
Expect to gain "a better understanding of the tradeoffs inherent in choices of agricultural production systems, and to help [the public] make choices about the food they eat and the kinds of agriculture they support,” says Steve Strauss, a coordinator for the lecture series. He adds, "It appears that contrary to popular belief low-intensity systems such as organic agriculture may, in general, produce more greenhouse gases per unit of land and people fed than intensified, •green revolution type systems.” Burney will "explore those complex tradeoffs and their meaning for a crowded, growing world,” Strauss says.
The last lecture in the series will be held on Thursday, March 10, with speaker Stewart Brand, "one of the leading environmental leaders of this century,” says Strauss. Brand, the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, will be talking about rethinking the green movement and asking people to accept technological advances in agriculture as environmental stewardship opportunities.
In Eugene, the Local Food Connection Conference takes place from 8:30 am to 3 pm Monday, Feb. 7, at LCC, and Vandana Shiva will be one of the featured speakers at the Food Justice conference Feb. 19-21, put on by the Wayne Morse Center for Politics & Law at the UO. Go to www.localfoodconnection.org and http://wkly.ws/10z or see CHOW! (1-27) for more information.
All the events are free and open to the public. For more on the OSU lecture visit http://agsci.oregonstate.edu/orb/events ã Chelsea Fryhoff
BILL SEEKS TO DISMANTLE AGENCIES
The Oregon Legislature is back in session this week and one bill thats getting attention, but seems unlikely to pass, would dismantle many state agencies and merge them into an umbrella organization called the Oregon Department of Natural Resources.
Senate Bill 521 was introduced by Sen. Bruce Starr Jan. 10 and referred to committees for study Jan. 14. No further meetings have been scheduled. Starr is a Republican from Hillsboro.
Starrs 1,100-page bill would abolish the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Fish and Wildlife Commission, State Parks and Recreation, Department of State Lands, Department of Land Conservation and Development, State Board of Forestry, Land Use Board of Appeals, Water Resources Department, and numerous other boards and commissions.
« Kenneth Doxsee, Ph.D. is the speaker at City Club of Eugene at 11:45 am Friday, Feb. 4, at the Hilton. His topic is "Better Living Through Chemistry (and This Time Mean It).” Doxsee is an expert on green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, involving the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.
« Shirley Sherrod, civil rights figure and former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will speak at a Black History Month Celebration dinner Friday, Feb. 4, at the Eugene Hilton Ballroom. Social time begins at 5:30 pm and dinner is at 7. Her topic is "Remembering Black History, Not a Day Off, But a Day On.” Tickets are $75; call the local chapter of Blacks In Government at 852-5020. Sherrod is also expected to be at the Communities of Color First Friday Social at 5:30 pm Friday, Feb. 4, at the UO Many Nations Longhouse (Behind the Law School).
« Prevention of domestic violence is the focus of a gathering of community leaders in Eugene and Springfield at a free public event from 11 am to 2 pm Saturday, Feb. 5, at the HEDCO building, 1655 Alder St. on the UO campus. The event is titled, "Partnership for Nonviolence: Health, Nonviolence, and Trauma Healing.” Panelists include Bobby Green, Colt Gill, Carmen Urbina, Elaine Walters and others.
« LTD is planning joint open house events and a joint public hearing to provide the public an opportunity to learn about the EmX bus rapid transit project and to provide input. These events are a joint effort of the three decision-making organizations: the LTD Board of Directors, the Eugene City Council and the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC). The next open house is at 3:30 pm Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Eugene Hilton, followed by a 5:30 pm public hearing, also at the Hilton. In March, each of the three decision-making organizations will select a locally preferred alternative. The City Council is scheduled to make their selection March 9, the MPC on March 10, and the LTD Board on March 16.
« Regarding our review of Rock N Roll Jan. 27, we heard from UO theater student Charles Van Duyn that Sophie Eleanor Kruip played Eleanor/Esme in the first and second acts, respectively. EWs review gives credit to Emilie Martz.
« Our Jan. 27 cover story "Bills, Bills, Bills,” mistakenly identified the sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 17 as Rep. Phil Barnhart. Sen. Floyd Prozanski introduced the bill to propose a tax on motor vehicles and fuel to benefit public transportation.
« Find a good essay on Egypt in The Nation this week by Jonathan Schell, who writes, "If the world has a heart, it beats now for Egypt. Not of course, the Egypt of President Hosni Mubarak ã of the rigged elections, the censored press, the axed internet, the black-clad security police and the tanks and the torture chambers, but the Egypt of the intrepid ordinary citizens who, almost entirely unarmed, with little more than their physical presence in the streets and their prayers, are defying this whole apparatus of intimidation and violence in the name of justice and freedom.”
Schell writes about how the "rules” of revolution are changing, and "Courage becomes as contagious as the fear once was.” Its a hopeful essay, but he cautions that the power vacuum is also dangerously unpredictable.
« Who do you call when you want someone with experience to weigh in on whether big sports donors control universities? We werent surprised to see that The New York Times called on the UO for its Jan. 29 article on the UConn donor who pulled $3 million from the Huskies when they hired a new football coach without "sufficiently consulting” him. The UO would never be THAT owned by a donor Ä but the NYT reminded readers of back in 2000 when Phil Knight pulled a $30 million donation from the UO because it joined the Worker Rights Consortium, which criticized Nikes sweatshop practices. Then-president Dave Frohnmayer canceled UOs membership in the WRC and Knight repledged the money.UO literature professor Jim Earl spoke for all underpaid profs and grad students teaching in classrooms badly in need of renovation when he told the NYT:"Universities are starving. They are in terrible condition, while athletics departments are booming with millionaires giving millions of dollars.” See the whole story at http://wkly.ws/10w
« Lane County is still abuzz over Judge Michael Gillespies recent opinion against Lane County Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson on Oregons Open Meetings Law, and most of the talk is about how this ruling runs counter to the realities of government decision-making, from little city committees to the halls of Congress. Gillespie has in effect ruled that two officials cant talk to each other or carry on "serial” email conversations about issues yet to be decided.
So what about a citizen talking privately to a councilor about an issue coming up for vote? And what if that citizen talks to other councilors about what the first councilor said? Is that a "serial” conversation? It can certainly affect a final vote and its all done in private meetings, phone calls, emails or by carrier pigeon.
Whats ironic here is that Lane County government has become much more transparent in recent years than it was in the past. Many more public meetings are being held and the commissioners are much more accessible to their constituents. County government used to be more secretive, and weve heard tales (unconfirmed) of one commissioner in the 1990s standing in the hallway outside commissioner offices and carrying on conversations with two other commissioners through open doors. The three commissioners were technically not in the same room at the same time. No quorum violation?
Conversations between two officials on a five-member board should not be constricted by our Open Meetings Law. Elected and unelected officials at all levels of government constantly share information and ideas with each other ã information that often leads to better decisions when issues come up for public discussion and voting. Gillespies absurd ruling needs to be overturned.
« "A big frickin announcement” this week from the Oregon Bus Project. Founder Jefferson Smith has stepped down as executive director after nine years of guiding one of Oregons great political projects into national notoriety. New director is Caitlin Baggott. Jefferson calls her "one of the very smartest, toughest and most caring people I know.” We wonder what Jefferson will do next. Hes a state senator, one of the youngsters in Gov. Kitzhabers inner circle, clearly creative and deeply committed to better government in Oregon. Bring on the next amazingbus project!
« Federal Judge Roger Vinsons opinion declaring Obamacare unconstitutional could help open the door to single-payer, says Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat who has a considerable following in Eugene and Oregon.If the U.S. Supreme Court agrees that its unconstitutional to require Americans to buy health insurance, and all bets point in that direction from this court, the new health care law is in trouble.Then lets move on to some version of single-payer, the Canadian system, which is better anyway, and far cheaper.How to get from here to there through this more conservative Congress? You tell us ã and Kucinich and Obama. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter DeFazio is offering "opt-out” legislation. Dont want mandatory insurance? Just agree to waive any future taxpayer-subsidized health care. The problem is that hospitals cant (and shouldnt) deny care to anyone in need.
« What do you do on a Thursday night in Eugene if you're under 21, still wired from trouncing the Oregon womens basketball team, stuckat the Hilton, and love to dance? Easy. You straighten up your crimson sweats and talk your way into joining 700 mostly shorter South Eugene High students gyrating to a DJs music on the Hilton dance floor. Lucky for the Stanford women and the South kids, the dance was Thursday night because Friday was a no-school day.
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
Though her parents grew up in Oregon and met at the UO, Megan Kemple was raised in Wisconsin and California until age 5, when they moved to Portland. "We did lots of camping in central Oregon,” says Kemple, who developed a passion for the outdoors, majored in environmental studies at Macalaster College in Saint Paul and taught at seasonal outdoor schools in California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. She moved to Eugene in 1996, worked four years as middle-school program coordinator for Sexual Assault Support Services, then seven years as education coordinator for the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. "And I was volunteering my life away,” says Kemple, a co-founder of the School Garden Project, who also donated her time to the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Cascadia Wildlands and Growers Market. "In 2007, I quit volunteering.” She was hired by the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition to coordinate its new Farm to School Program, offering educational field trips to farms and harvest meals in schools. In addition, Farm to School acts as a "benevolent broker,” arranging transactions between school districts and local farmers at no cost. Learn more at www.lanefood.org and see Activist Alert this week for details about a Feb. 10 community forum and garden tour.