News Briefs: Photog Killed in Libya | Chomsky: Collapse is Coming | New Electric Car Unveiled | Undoing Niceness | House Targets Predators | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | War Dead | Lighten Up | Corrections / Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
School Funding Facts
Checking claims about the income tax for schools
Happening People: Rabbi Maurice Harris
PHOTOG KILLED IN LIBYA
|Photos by Armando Senra|
Award-winning conflict photographer Chris Hondros was killed, along with documentarian Tim Hetherington, in Misrata April 20 while covering the conflict in Libya.
Hondros, who was shooting for Getty Images, realized his dream of photographing wars and conflicts all over the world. Dan Morrison, a UO photojournalism instructor who also works in war zones, describes Hondros as among the worlds elite conflict photographers, a job description that understates the risks these people take to bring us the news.
"They do it,” Morrison says, "because they believe in democracy. And a democracy without an informed citizenry is not a democracy at all.” But to imagine the dangers, consider one basic difference between journalism and photojournalism: "A print reporter can describe a battle without ever actually seeing it,” Morrison says. "But a photojournalist must be in the killing zone.”
"I strongly believe,” Hondros wrote in an alumni-directed publication at North Carolina State, "that we re-fight the same wars over and over again Ä Ive seen reoccurring themes and grievances in all the conflicts Ive covered, even those seemingly dissimilar, like say the Serbs in Kosovo and the rebels in Liberia. Even right now, in Iraq for Americans Ä its all more alike than we often realize.”
Hondros leaves behind a fiancée and family who have requested that anyone wishing to show support donate to the Chris Hondros Fund, which will provide scholarships for aspiring photojournalists and raise awareness of issues concerning conflict photography:
The Chris Hondros Fund, c/o Christina Piaia, 50 Bridge Street, No. 414, Brooklyn, NY 11201. More of Hondros work can be seen at chrishondros.com
ã Ulrick Casimir
CHOMSKY: COLLAPSE IS COMING
|Photo by Sarah Decker|
"The first thing we should do is recognize reality,” Noam Chomsky told the packed house during his April 20 appearance at UOs Columbia Hall. "We do not live under capitalism. We do not have free markets.” His messaged echoed outside as well, as a crowd huddled in the cold evening air listening to Chomskys proclamations simulcast through a giant speaker.
At 82, Chomsky, a linguist by training, has become the patron saint of American political discontent, and his resume is daunting: Professor emeritus at MIT, he changed the landscape of linguistics with his theory of generative grammar, and since the Vietnam War he has been an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. The man has more than 150 books to his name, and hes even had a study primate, Nim Chimpsky, named in his honor.
Though he carries the confident, patient attitude of an elder statesman, Chomskys engaged political action ã judging from his UO appearance ã shows no signs of letting up. The scope of his political interests are as broad as his knowledge is deep, and he covered a series of current topics without missing a beat, touching on such things the responsibility of journalism, recent developments in the Middle East and past and future financial crises.
Chomsky compared the recent civic protests in Egypt to the labor union crisis in Wisconsin, setting both situations in historical and social context. He pointed out that, compared to Egypt with its "major popular struggle going on to gain rights,” the Wisconsin workers were fighting to retains rights and watching them be taken away. Chomsky called this "a microcosm of whats happened since the 18th century,” adding that it is only when nations such as the U.S. gain independence that they are "able to totally disregard laws of economics.”
Chomsky argued that of course there is going to be another financial crisis in the U.S., but added that "its just pointless to sit around and speculate when the next collapse is going to be.” He said the important thing is to prevent a crisis through action. "Carry out activities from civil disobedience to electoral politics,” Chomsky told the crowd. "There arent any magic keys. Its a matter of getting down to work and doing it. Its just hard work.” ã Rick Levin
NEW ELECTRIC CAR UNVEILED
Easter weekend marked the return of Zombie Jesus for some Eugeneans. It also marked the rising of hope for new small businesses in the area. While Fashion Week (see photos page 32) dominated stages at Agate Hall and Opus VII promoting local fashion designers, Arcimotos newest electric car prototype hit the Whiteaker, along with stars of TVs Castle Nathan Fillion and Jon Huertas, promoting local alternative vehicle production.
Arcimoto founder Mark Frohnmayer unveiled the "Red 5” or SRK (aka the Shark) to a crowd of over 100 from members of the Whiteaker Bike Brigade to supporters of the Bus Project, who came to town from Portland for the unveiling following a discussion of the role of public policy in stimulating economic innovation as part of the Bus Projects "Le Tour dInnovation.”
Eugene Reps. Nancy Nathanson and Val Hoyle led the Bus Projects discussion at Sam Bonds before the Arcimoto event, moderated by political thinker Dan Carol of The New Policy Institute. About 25 young business entrepreneurs, congressional staffers and community organizers attended, though the attendance by the under-30 crowd was heavily weighted toward the Portland contingent.
The discussion ranged from health care plans for emerging microbusinesses to the effects of tax credits. Nathanson said "A yacht credit, do we really need that?” But pointed out that giving tax credits to a business is wise if Oregon puts "sunset dates” on them when they no longer function as a business incentive.
Incentives of another sort were of concern to Hoyle who discussed Lane Countys upcoming participation as a part of a pilot program for Oregons potential health care exchange marketplace and the need to give incentives for people to be healthy. The Oregon Senate passed SB 99 on April 25 that would create the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange. "Oregon is a perfect incubator for companies to be big fish in a small pond,” Hoyle said. The program, she said, would allow small businesses to buy into affordable health plans.
After the discussion, the Bus Project joined the celebration at a warehouse on 1st Avenue for Arcimoto and its zero-emission SRK that Fillion (known to many fans at "Captain Tightpants”) said he will use to commute to his set for the TV show Castle. The car, according to Frohnmayer, is made for the 90 percent of drivers who drive alone and commute within a 40-mile range. Frohnmayer said in his speech at the unveiling that Arcimoto was inspired by a car he saw in a Eugene Celebration parade ãthe three wheeled BugE. He pointed out, dryly, that a vehicle for one to two people going a short distance and carrying minimal stuff had already been invented ãthe bicycle ãbut that isnt what people are using, since given the bike option, they continue to drive.
The Oregon Legislature is currently looking at a per-mile tax for electric and plug-in vehicles to balance the funding lost through the cars not paying for roadway wear and tear through gas taxes. ã Camilla Mortensen
The Oregon chapter of The National Association for Multicultural Education is holding its Undoing "Niceness” Conference at the UO School of Law on Saturday, April 30.
"As Oregon becomes more diverse and less white, we have to be more aware of our racisms,” says conference planning committee member Sonja Ljungdahl.
Subjects focused on throughout the conference will include the impacts of "niceness” on people of color, moving past politeness to break down barriers, community activism and issues of local equity. Keynote speaker Gary R. Howard, author of We Cant Teach What We Dont Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools and founder of the REACH Center for Multicultural Education, will be speaking on the topic of "Growing Good White Folks,” an idea based upon the critical assessment of white privilege in our culture. Mark Harris, a Eugene-based maroon griot, will also be speaking, addressing the history of multicultural activism.
Chinese American filmmaker, author, and executive director of diversity training company Stirfry Seminars & Consulting, Lee Mun Wah, will be the conference closing session speaker; his lecture is entitled "Getting Real About Racism.”ã Dante Zu¿iga-West
HOUSE TARGETS PREDATORS
A bill that would allow hunters to trophy hunt cougars passed in the Oregon House with a 45-14 vote on April 20. House Bill 2337 would allow counties to decide which ways cougars could be hunted.
Sally Mackler of Predator Defense says county officials are often not well-versed in the issues related to cougars. She says that if this bill passes it would go against the will of Oregon voters who have twice voted down efforts to reinstate sport hound hunting of cougars, a practice which was banned by voters in 1994.
The Oregon House currently is divided evenly, 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans. Of the Eugene area Democrats, Nancy Nathanson, Phil Barnhart and Paul Holvey voted against the bill and Val Hoyle voted for the cougar bill, as did Terry Beyer of Springfield.
Mackler points out that hound hunting of cougars is already allowed to address livestock and property damage, as well as public safety concerns. Its important, she says, that people recognize the difference between sport hounding of animals for a trophy versus using hounds to track and remove a specific cougar that has caused problems. "Sport trophy hounding is a whole different animal,” she says.
Most trophy hunting occurs in areas where there is little to no cougar-human conflict, Mackler says, and the bill wont save Oregonians any money. And she adds that studies out of Washington state have shown that "in areas that have been heavily hunted, conflicts increase,” due to "a disruption on the social system of these animals.” Hunters go for the trophy animals and kill the dominant cougars, leaving juvenile cougars to move in.
She says "Ninety percent of the complaints when checked out turned out not be cougars at all.” The eyewitness reports usually turn out to be sightings of coyotes, foxes and orange tabby cats.
The bill moves next to the Senate. The Oregon House also passed a HB 3562, which would allow endangered wolves threatening the life of a human to be shot and killed. Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands says that was already allowed under the Oregon Wolf Management Plan. He calls the bill, which was introduced at the request of the Oregon Cattlemens Association, an effort to vilify the predators.
Mackler says when it comes to cougar issues, "There is some responsibility that should be put on farmers and ranchers to protect their livestock.” ã Camilla Mortensen
« The local Sierra Club will give a free screening of the film Gasland at 7 pm Thursday, April 28, at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St. The controversial film looks at hydraulic fracturing methods developed by Halliburton. Screenings in other states have been monitored by Homeland Security agents.
« Author and cancer activist Sandra Steingraber will speak at 7 pm Thursday, April 28, at the UOs Robinson Theatre. $11, $9 students. See story last week.
« The Oregon Board of Forestry will address state forest issues and landowner charges for wildfire protection when it meets from 8 am to 2 pm on April 29 at ODF headquarters, Building C, 2600 State St., in Salem. The afternoon has been set aside for the second phase of a workshop on board policies governing the use of pesticides in forest management. Representatives of the Pitchfork Rebellion and Oregon Toxics Alliance will speak before the board. Also on the agenda is the new draft Elliott State Forest Management Plan. More information at http://wkly.ws/120
« Canvassing in north Eugene in support of the temporary income tax on the May ballot will begin with a gathering at 10 am Saturday, April 30, at Cascade Middle School, 1525 Echo Hollow Road. To phone, write a letter, endorse, or donate, visit www.StrongSchoolsEugene.org
« An Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration and tree planting will be from 10 am to 2:30 pm Saturday, April 30, at 2nd and Broadway in downtown Veneta, sponsored by the Veneta Parks Board. Lots of family activities planned, along with the dedication of downtown improvement projects.
« Local sustainability activist Jan Spencer is on a speaking tour, titled "Creating A Safer, More Secure and Healthier Neighborhood” this month through early June. His next free talk will be at 7 pm Wednesday, May 4, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 255 Maxwell. A half-day seminar will be from 1 to 5 pm Saturday, May 7, at the Unitarian Church, 477 E. 40th Ave. Next will be at 7 pm Tuesday, May 10 at the United Lutheran Church, 2230 Washington St. Next will be at 7 pm Wednesday, May 18 at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave. Call Spencer at 686-6761 or see the full schedule is at www.suburbanpermaculture.org
« The Al-Nakba Awareness Project will show historic footage of the original Nakba (dispossession to create Israel in 1948), along with Reel Bad Arabs, a documentary on the role of Hollywood in dehumanizing Arabs and Muslims, at 7 pm Wednesday, May 4, at Harris Hall, 8th & Oak, Eugene.See www.al-nakba-history.com
« Colin Goddard, survivor of the VA Tech massacre, is on a national tour and will speak and show a video Living for 32 at 7 pm Thursday, May 5, at PLC 180 on the UO campus. Sponsored by the Survival Center.
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
« ODOT: highway spraying in District 5 (Lane County) was delayed, now to begin May 2, depending on weather (see "update” in Notices/ODOT/2011). Call District 5 at 744-8080 or (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. ODOT spraying may have already started in other parts of Oregon.
« Eastern Lane County: Seneca Jones (461-6245, 607-7299) will ground spray roadsides with Milestone VM, Forestry Garlon XRT, and LV6 2,4-D herbicides starting May 15 (#771-00297); and Strata Forestry (726-0845) will ground spray for Giustina Resources (485-1500) with Westar and Oust herbicides near Noisy Creek and Dexter Reservoir starting immediately (#771-00309).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
« 1,525 U.S. troops killed* (1,539)
« 11,032 U.S. troops wounded in action (10,944)
« 763 U.S. contractors killed (763)
« $398.5 billion cost of war ($396.4 billion)
« $113.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($112.7 million)
« 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
« 31,931 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,931)
« 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
« 1,537 U.S. contractors killed (1,537)
« 109,794 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (109,739)
« $786.7 billion cost of war $785.5 billion)
« $223.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($223.3 million)
Through April 25, 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)
The Register-Guard should give the editorials attacking county commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson a rest. If I want to know more about how public officials threaten our way of life by meeting in private, Ill tune into the Glenn Beck show. ã Rafael Aldave, Eugene
An April 14 news brief incorrectly reported a bill number regarding creating a UO police force. The correct bill number was SB 116, which the city of Eugene opposed. The city supported SB 405.
« Look for our endorsements next week on candidates and issues on the May 17 Special Election ballot. Ballots should arriving in mailboxes early next week. Which way will the election go for the temporary income tax? We havent see any scientific polling data. We predict a very close election and that means victory will go to whichever camp gets more people to actually vote.
Whats disturbing in this election is that the opposition to the tax is organized and funded by out-of-state, anti-government interests and a lot of distortions and outright lies are being foisted on the public. See Alan Pittmans news story this week checking the facts of the tax measure campaign rhetoric.
« A police memorial service with full honors for EPD officer Chris Kilcullen will be held at 2 pm Friday, April 29, in the Matthew Knight Arena. This is a time for our community to come together and remember an exceptional police officer. We hear from many directions that Kilcullen was a thoughtful and compassionate public servant with a high level of personal integrity. His death is a great tragedy, and once again we are reminded that theres no effective gun control in Oregon to prevent the mentally ill with tendencies toward violence from wielding deadly weapons. The police could provide a strong voice for gun control in the name of officer and public safety. The best memorial for Kilcullen would be preventing this tragedy from happening again. The 12th annual Million Mom March to Prevent Gun Violence will begin at 2 pm Sunday, May 8, Mother's Day, at the EWEB Plaza fountain.
« Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston is at it again, making more ignorant, bigoted statements about Latinos and this time focusing on funding for Centro LatinoAmericano. His views might be his own, but as an elected official he represents the entire city. Why hasnt the Springfield mayor and council removed him from his committee assignments? By allowing him to continue as a city councilor, Springfield residents are prolonging what we thought was the citys fading reputation as "Springtucky.” Big Springfield employers like RiverBend, Symantec and Royal Caribbean need to speak out that they value diversity to distance themselves from the racism. Find a link to KVALs bizarre interview with Ralston at blogs.eugeneweekly.com/camilla
« It turns out burning logging slash and other wood fiber in a furnace to generate electrical power is a dirty business no matter how "advanced” the pollution controls might be. The smokestack might look clean but its the stuff you cant see that kills you. And despite our already polluted air, the advice of local medical experts and serious environmental problems with other biomass plants around the country, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency in 2009 violated its primary reason for being and granted a permit for Seneca Sustainable Energy to build a huge biomass burner in west Eugene. The R-G editorial board endorsed this asthma-exacerbating atrocity that will pump up to 17 tons of toxins into our air each year; but progressive county commissioners fought it, adding fuel to the timber industrys campaign to discredit the commissioners.
Now the plant off Highway 99 is fired up and running and we hear that Seneca will be celebrating with a so-far unpublicized grand opening and ribbon cutting at 10 am Thursday, May 5. Will LRAPA Director Merlyn Hough and other local officials be there to make laudatory speeches and smile for the cameras? Or will we see gas masks and protest signs along Highway 99?
« Remember when you read Greg Mortensons Three Cups of Tea and then joined the mob at Mac Court in May 2009 to hear him speak? Now hes the subject of investigations and detailed stories about his alleged mishandling of facts and funds for his school building projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We heard him speak early in his adventure when he was pleading with Congress to fund teachers in those schools for $10 a month. Its hard to tell if the current allegations are true, and if they are we dont excuse him, but this guy has been building remote schools under daunting circumstances. Compare him to the hedge fund bandits, still mostly faceless, who brought down our economy. Compare him to the military-industrial complex flying deadly drones into those tribal societies.Bring me my third cup of tea, please.
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
RABBI MAURICE HARRIS
"My mom was one of 12 siblings,” says Maurice Harris, who grew up in St. Louis but spent summers in Israel visiting family. "I spent lots of time on the beach and playing with kids.” Harris was active in peace and reconciliation work at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He worked half a year on a kibbutz, then moved to San Francisco, where he eventually directed the shoestring-budget Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project. "I did the videography for 40 or 50 interviews,” he says. "It was eye-opening.” After five years at the progressive Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and ordination in 2003, he found work as associate rabbi and head of the religious school at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene. "I support Israel-Palestine reconciliation as a member of the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet,” says Harris, whose work for GLBT equality with the Religious Response Network earned him the Heneini ("I am here” in Hebrew) Award from TBIs Queer Chavurot. "Gay equality is not a secular versus religious issue,” he says. Though he is stepping down as rabbi at the end of July, Harris will stay on in Eugene. "I hope to make a living teaching and writing,” he says, "and doing political work.”