Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Broadway Place Struggles
Project offers lessons for similar development downtown
Charging the Future
Local solutions to energy and climate challenges
Happenin’ Biz: Green Eye Auto Sales
R-G FINGER AD GETS A ‘DART’
The Register-Guard has won one of the highest dishonors in journalism.
The R-G won a “Dart” for “thumbing its nose at the news” from the Columbia Journalism Review. The magazine, published by the journalism school that administers the Pulitzer Prize, criticized a finger-shaped ad from Sacred Heart hospital that jutted through the text of a news story which wrapped around the finger.
CJR wrote in its “Darts and Laurels” column that the ads that ran in October were “knocking down still further the ad-edit wall.” CJR continued, “Thus forced to read around that grossly gratuitous graphic, some readers suspected the paper of giving them the finger.”
EW reported on the ad Oct. 28, noting that it appeared to conflict with professional journalism ethics codes calling for newspapers to clearly separate advertising from news. Earlier R-G stories on Sacred Heart gamma knife machine being advertised read like the ad, the article noted.
UO Journalism Prof. Jim Upshaw wrote an op-ed in the R-G in November, which also criticized the “invasive” finger ad. The viewpoint column was headlined, “Advertiser has newspaper wrapped around its finger.”
The R-G has also received letters to the editor critical of the ad. Richard Reed wrote Jan. 16 that the paper has “given the finger” to citizens and eroded the wall “between the purity of the journalistic ethic and the cesspool of marketing mendacity!”
The finger ad has drawn criticism from across the nation on journalism web blogs. Upshaw’s column was posted on the widely read Romenesko web site of the Poynter Institute for journalism education.
On visualeditors.com the ad drew a long list of comments. Seattle news designer Paul Morgan called the ad a “sad state of affairs for my former paper in Eugene.” The ad blurs the line between advertising and news, he wrote. “Would the paper run a story critical of that company on the same page as that ad?”
One comment found the ad tolerable, saying it was no worse than an internet pop-up ad. But other comments were that the ad layout was visually ugly and said it appeared that the story around the finger was part of the ad. A comment questioned whether Sacred Heart also paid for the space that the story ran in around the finger.
Other comments questioned whether the story wrapped around the ad was picked to not conflict with the ad. One blogger joked that he would have run a story like the alleged finger in the Wendy’s chili around the ad as a protest and been fired. — Alan Pittman
COACH’S PAY TRUMPS PROFS
UO football coach Mike Bellotti finished a disappointing season this year, and UO faculty are up in arms over lavish athletic spending, but the UO still pays Bellotti about $1.3 million per year.
USA Today added up Bellotti’s compensation as $1.1 million in salary, plus $155,000 in “other income” and $368,000 in maximum bonuses in a November article on million dollar coaches. Bellotti’s salary figure apparently includes a percentage cut of ticket revenue, which brought in $631,000 last season, the paper reported.
The paper published coaches’ contracts from other universities, but the UO was one of five such public institutions in the nation which refused to supply the document, in apparent violation of the Oregon Public Records Law.
Bellotti’s big paycheck ranks him 26th in the nation and fourth in the Pac-10, according to USA Today. Bellotti’s salary is 10 times what Gov. Ted Kulongoski earns, making him the highest paid public employee in Oregon. The football coach’s salary is about 20 to 30 times what many UO faculty earn after years of study and experience and a Ph.D.
Bellotti is not the only UO sports figure making the big bucks. UO Athletic Director Bill Moos just got pushed out with a $2 million golden parachute.
In a Jan. 14 op-ed in The Register-Guard, 92 senior UO faculty signed on to a statement calling the “lavish” athletic spending a “deeply troubling” indication that university officials were putting athletics over financially struggling academics. They pointed to $140,000 spent in one weekend on recruiting a few football players and a $4 million learning center solely for athletes, “many of whom do not meet admission requirements.”
The faculty called on the UO Athletic Department to direct donors to academics first and to share some of its huge budget with the academic mission of the university, like at other institutions. But the administration refused. The professors asked, “What’s more important at the university, better education or better games?” — Alan Pittman
Ski resorts look greener these days — and not just because the snow’s melting. Global warming’s threat has prompted many resorts to adopt sustainable practices such as extensive recycling programs and wind-powered ski lifts.
In 2000, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) adopted its industry’s environmental charter, “Sustainable Slopes,” which emphasized green building, water quality and clean energy. Today, 75 percent of U.S. ski resorts, including Willamette Pass, have endorsed the charter, according to NSAA’s 2006 Annual Report.
But back in 2000, conservation group Colorado Wild felt the charter failed to address wildlife and land preservation issues. In response, they created the Ski Area Citizens Coalition (SACC) and developed an annual environmental scorecard, which ranks the green practices of Western U.S. resorts.
SACC’s research director, Ben Doon, says the scorecard’s criteria focus on resource preservation and mitigation, like using renewable energy. Resorts get points based on the rigor of their eco-policies. But Doon adds the scorecard’s purpose is “not just to hammer the bad players, but also highlight the good players.”
In Oregon, Mount Bachelor scored an A for its wind-powered lifts, second-growth tree thinning on existing runs and biodiesel-fueled Super Shuttle.
Mt. Hood Meadows, another industry eco-leader, wind-powers two ski lifts, recycles oil, has an acclaimed wildflower revegetation program and encourages visitors to buy mini green tags with lift tickets to offset travel, says Meadow’s Marketing and Sales Director Dave Tragethon.
But even with these eco-practices, Meadows received a C. The resort lost points for an expansion plan covering 95 additional skiable acres, which would affect 50 to 70 acres of old growth forest, steelhead trout and a pair of Northern spotted owls. Doon points out, “Ninety percent of ski areas are on public lands.”
Tragethon questions SACC’s grading methodology, saying many resorts with rigorous environmental standards are docked for expansion plans while resorts that lack green policies but don’t expand score higher.
Doon says one reason SACC penalizes for expansion is to address what he calls the “ski area expansion arms race”: a trend of over-development to out-compete other resorts vying for more visitors. Numbers of visitors have remained flat for two decades.
Doon acknowledges that there is a concerted industry effort toward sustainability. For example, this is the first year that 16 resorts are run 100 percent by windpower.
Tragethon believes that on the whole, the ski industry comprises people who care about environmental protection. “There is not one thing that is going to change [global warming],” Tragethon says, “but a series of small things.” — Nicole Fancher
CLEAN AIR FOR ALL
State Rep. Paul Holvey is planning to introduce legislation in Salem this session that would ban field burning in the Willamette Valley in favor of other methods of grass seed farming or alternative crops. Holvey is working directly with Oregon Toxics Alliance (OTA) and getting support from Eugene’s Citizens for Public Accountability (CPA) which met this week to work on strategies and lobbying efforts. CPA has identified a field burning ban as a priority project for 2007.
The Oregon Seed Council has already hired extra lobbyists to fight Holvey’s anticipated bill. “High-powered and well-moneyed lobbyists for the grass seed industry have launched an assault on local grassroots efforts to achieve clean air in the Willamette Valley,” says Lisa Arkin of OTA.
“We are the catalyst behind this campaign,” says Arkin, who announced this week the launching of the Clean Air for All campaign to deal with field burning and reducing Oregon’s high benzene levels.
A gathering for campaign planning is set for 7 to 9 pm Saturday, Jan. 27 at Territorial Vineyards Tasting Room, 907 West 3rd St., Eugene. the event is also a fundraiser for OTA, tickets at the door will be $15 and include wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres.
For more information or to RSVP, contact OTA at 465-8860 or email email@example.com
CHALLENGES TO HEALTH OF WOMEN
Susan F. Wood, considered one of the nation’s leading voices for women’s medical rights, will speak in Eugene this weekend as part of the 34th anniversary observation of Roe v. Wade. Wood resigned in protest from a top position in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005. She was assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the FDA Office of Women’s Health. She will speak at 3 pm Sunday, Jan. 21 in 100 Willamette at the UO, and will be introduced by Mayor Kitty Piercy.
“I speak as part of the fight to restore the importance of science-based decision-making for the health of women and their families,” she said in a prepared statement. “That is needed because the FDA suffers from a lack of independent leadership, clear legal authority, and adequate resources.”
Her talk, “Challenges to Women’s Health,” will focus on her resignation from the FDA on matters of principle, spurred by what she describes as the FDA’s “continued, short-sighted delay for approval of emergency contraception methods provided over-the-counter.”
Wood has been a research professor at George Washington University School of Public Health and has taught women’s health policy at the Women and Politics Institute of American University.
The free program is sponsored by the UO Cultural Forum in cooperation with WAND, Students for Choice, Women’s Law Forum, Women’s Center and Law Students for Choice and will be followed by a public reception.
Lane County Herbicide Spray Schedule
Lane County Roadside Vegetation Management: Renewals of no spray area Permits are due on Jan. 31. For more information or to request a no spray area permit, call Caroline at Public Works, 682-6911.
For more information on roadside vegetation management and the Last Resort Herbicide Use Policy see www.co.lane.or.us/RoadMaint/default.htmor call Orin Schumacher at 682-6908.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
The “3,000 Dead” cover of our Jan. 4 issue has generated mostly positive calls and letters, none yet for publication. Several people have asked where they can find extra copies to pass around or send to friends and family. We will have a free stack at our front desk for the next couple of weeks. Some noticed that no credit was given for the cover image; that was at the request of the East Coast artist who gave us permission to use it. He tells us he created the “War President” photo-mosaic in 2004 and has grown weary of the negative feedback.
The Bush and Cheney decision to escalate the Iraq War, defying Congress, the American people, his generals and the Iraq Study Group, has left many of us scratching our heads. But then we’ve been scratching ourselves bald in recent years. Here’s one perspective that hasn’t gotten much press. On http://electronicIraq.netthis week, Mideast analyst Trita Parsi says regarding Bush’s address on Iraq: “There was little new about the U.S.’s strategy in Iraq, but on Iran, the president spelled out a plan that appears to be aimed at goading Iran into war with the U.S.” She goes on to say that “Rather than talking to Iran and Syria, Bush virtually declared war on these states.” If this perception is true, or even half true, the escalation finally makes sense.
Worth noting who was sitting next to the governor last week at the Lane County inaugural luncheon at King Estates Winery: Ben Westlund, now a Democratic senator from Bend, and for a short time an independent, and before that a Republican. Nominated for the state Senate by both R’s and D’s in Deschutes County, Westlund ran a quick race for governor against Ted, but money and signatures stopped it, along with polling that we suspect showed him pulling more votes from Kulongoski than from Saxton. Now that he’s followed the Wayne Morse trail through Oregon politics, maybe he should take on Gordon Smith in 2008.
Makes us proud that Oregon’s Secretary of State Bill Bradbury has gone several times to Tennessee to work with nearly 600 advocates spreading Al Gore’s powerful message against global climate change. Makes us wonder if this could be Gore’s field organization for “Re-elect Gore in November 2008.” After his recent rip to Tennessee, Bradbury speculates that Gore won’t choose to run, but he could be drafted.
Now that’s more like it: After beating two top ten teams — Arizona and UCLA — in eight days, the Oregon men’s basketball team finds themselves vaulting from 15th to ninth in the latest AP poll. It’s too early to count chickens — or NCAA tournament berths — just yet, but it’s got to feel good for this once über-hyped junior class (with stellar senior Aaron Brooks) to finally come together as a team the way they have this year (and don’t count out inconsistent but talented freshman Tajuan Porter). Doesn’t feel half-bad to be a Duck fan, either.
Army Spec. Suzanne Swift’s court martial is over, and the Iraq veteran was sentenced to 30 days in detention and lost all the rank she had earned. Swift, who went AWOL rather than return to Iraq where she was sexually abused, will be reassigned to a new job in clerical shipping and ordering. We hear she will be transferred March 30 to Ft. Irwin, Calif., 917 miles from her hometown of Eugene. Her mother, Sarah Rich, said last week that Swift is not doing well following her court martial, even though she avoided a long prison sentence and a dishonorable discharge. “For the record this ‘deal’ was anything but ‘phenomenal.’ It was more ‘abominable.’ Soldiers who’ve been in combat in Iraq who have PTSD from sexual abuse don’t deserve to be stripped of their rank and sent to prison. Be mindful who you trust to take care of your children.” Updates are available at http://suzanneswift.org
Fun to see a reference to Eugene’s political consultant Dan Carol and his “Kumbaya Dammit” column in the Washington Post Jan. 11. Carol’s column on progressive politics has appeared many times in EW and elsewhere in national magazines and caught the attention of Post writers Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts regarding Tony Snow. The White House press secretary has tossed around the word “kumbaya” four times recently. The writers say the “Kumbaya” song “began as a spiritual, turned into a folk anthem, and has evolved into political shorthand for idealistic, fuzzy-wuzzy moments.” Only Carol, however, appears to be adding “dammit” to the word, injecting a bit of his signature irony and feisty attitude.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARK TIPPEN AND JACOB FRANKFORT
OF GREEN EYE AUTO SALES
“I don’t care if people buy our cars or not,” says Clark Tippen of Green Eye Auto Sales. “I want them to burn a biofuel. We offer cars that are compatible.” An Elmira High School grad, Tippen got into buying and selling cars when he was a “soul-searching surfer” in Hawaii. “I bought my first Mercedes diesel in ’96,” he recalls. Returning to Oregon in 2000, Tippen met finish carpenter and fellow parent Jacob Frankfort at the Eugene Waldorf School. They became friends and went into business together, as carpenters and also selling cars, mostly Mercedes diesels. “The carpentry side got smaller as this side got bigger,” says Frankfort, and last year the pair opened the Green Eye Auto Sales lot at 295 River Road. “We did our last cabinet job a year ago,” he says. In addition to cars, Green Eye offers diesel conversion kits, the Brazilian-made Full Flex computer that allows gas engines to burn E85 (85 percent ethanol) fuel, and workshops on home-brewed biodiesel. Learn more about Green Eye at the Good Earth Show Jan. 26-28 at the Lane County Fairgrounds or online at greeneyeautos.com — Paul Neevel