News Briefs: Body Count Expanding | Will State Probe EPD for Magaña Scandal? | Field Burning Town Hall | Park Politics in Spotlight | Holocaust Denial Discussion | Solomon Back In Town | More Time on the WOPR | McKinney in Oregon | Muslim, Jewish Peacemakers | War Dead |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Urban Renewal Defeated
Local vote upsets scheme to divert taxes to developer subsidies
Happening People: Sue and Jyoti Barnhart
BODY COUNT EXPANDING
The traveling Iraq Body Count Exhibit has returned to the UO campus and will be up through Nov. 18. About 200 volunteers spent last weekend installing one white flag for every six Iraqis killed since the U.S. invasion and one red flag for every U.S. soldier killed.
|Thousands of flags represent the Americans and Iraqis who have died since the U.S. invasion PHOTO: KURT JENSEN|
Numbers are based on the 2006 Lancet report, which estimated 655,000 Iraqi dead. New estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths range as high as 1 million though only about 83,000 have been reported in the media. “Since we installed this exhibit at the UO earlier this year, we have had to purchase another box of 1,000 red flags to represent the nearly 1,000 U. S. troops who have died since January,” reads a statement from the organizers.
Donations are being accepted to buy thousands of more flags so that the installation planned for Washington, D.C., next spring can include one flag for every person who has died.
The exhibit was first created at the University of Colorado in October 2006 and came to the UO in February of this year; it then traveled to other schools and events in Oregon and California.
The exhibit of about 3,800 flags covers a large area of grass south of 13th Avenue from the Knight Library to University Street.
Volunteers will also be needed to take down the exhibit, starting at 10 am Sunday, Nov. 18. For more information on the project, visit iraqbodycountexhibit.org
The exhibit is part of National Veterans Awareness Week / Week of Remembrance. “The intention is to make the death count numbers visually real, to bring veteran and peace communities together as we remember the human cost of war on both sides,” say organizers. “IBCE is not meant as a political event or statement, only a show of the numbers, as each person experiences the exhibit in their own way.”
Local people involved in organizing the exhibit include Carol Melia of the Justice Not War Coalition, Zach Basaraba of the Survival Center and Oscar Guerra of MECCA.
WILL STATE PROBE EPD FOR MAGAÑA SCANDAL?
If the state is investigating the Multnomah County Sheriff for allegedly failing to report crimes and lying in the Neil Goldschmidt sex scandal, will it also investigate Eugene police officers for allegedly failing to stop Roger Magaña’s sex crimes?
Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto is in the hot seat. He allegedly lied about not knowing former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt was molesting a 14-year-old girl and lied about having sex with Goldschmidt’s wife. At the time — three decades ago — Giusto was Goldschmidt’s State Police driver.
It turns out lying and not reporting crimes can get your law enforcement license yanked in Oregon, effectively ending or suspending a police career. A little known state agency, the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), has the statutory authority to revoke law enforcement licenses in Oregon for such moral offenses. DPSST recently issued a 318-page investigatory report questioning Giusto’s integrity and recommending a February hearing on whether “Bernard Giusto has fallen below the established standards for Oregon public safety officers,” Willamette Week reported.
So what about Magaña? He was sentenced to 94 years in prison in 2004 for using his police power to rape, sexually abuse, assault and harass a dozen women over six years as a Eugene police officer. In March 2005, federal Judge Thomas Coffin ruled against the EPD, allowing six lawsuits against the city to go forward. He noted evidence that EPD officers failed to rein in Magaña despite strong evidence of misconduct. The judge listed 13 separate incidents where 12 women and one man allegedly had reported Magaña’s sex abuse, ranging from harassment to rape. The reports went to at least 14 different police officers without the city’s stopping Magaña’s abuse. Rather than go to trial, the city then settled the lawsuits for millions of dollars.
To declare an officer unfit for a police badge in Oregon, DPSST need not demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer lied or failed to report crimes but only that the officer could “cause a reasonable person to have doubts about his honesty, fairness, respect for the rights of others, and for the laws of this state.”
A few of the officers Coffin and/or abuse victims’ attorneys cited have since retired. But many continue to carry guns and badges for the EPD. The city has refused to investigate or discipline the officers who failed to report Magaña’s crimes.
But what about DPSST? The state police accrediting agency didn’t jump to investigate Giusto when widespread press accounts of his role in the Goldschmidt scandal emerged three years ago. The agency only acted after a Tigard businessman filed an official complaint with DPSST in April. — Alan Pittman
FIELD BURNING TOWN HALL
Field burning season may have come to an end for this year, but the smoky problem lingers. Oregon Toxics Alliance (OTA) is hosting a town hall meeting on field burning health concerns on Nov. 14.
The event will feature health professionals, elected officials and Eugene residents who have been harmed by the smoke from burning grass seed fields and will have a question and answer session.
The debate on field burning centers on fine particles from the smoke. These particles, called PM 2.5, can penetrate deep into the lungs, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, PM 2.5 is linked to “numerous health problems,” from asthma to premature death.
PM 2.5 is also produced by sources such as gasoline and diesel vehicles, industrial processes and wood burning. Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) issued a temporary ban on backyard burning, which also generates PM 2.5, on Oct. 30, due to poor air quality. However, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) regulates field burning, not LRAPA.
In one field burning incident last July, smoke from a field burn south of Harrisburg blew into Eugene on a day when temperatures were soaring up to 100 degrees. ODA and LRAPA received hundreds of complaints.
The town hall will take place from 7 to 8:30 pm Wednesday, Nov. 14 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Parish Hall, 1150 Maxwell Road, in north Eugene. For more information, contact OTA at www.oregontoxics.orgor 465-8860. — Camilla Mortensen
PARK POLITICS IN SPOTLIGHT
Interest in urban parks is growing in Eugene, with many citizens calling for new parks across from the downtown library, connecting downtown to the riverfront and on the former EWEB industrial land.
The growing grassroots interest in parks was demonstrated Monday, Nov. 5 when about 150 people filled the conference room at the UO’s Baker Center downtown to hear an academic talk by Galen Cranz, one of the nation’s leading urban park experts.
Cranz, an architecture professor at U.C. Berkley for 33 years and the author of The Politics of Park Design, lectured on how U.S. parks have evolved from naturalistic to social to utilitarian to open space and now to sustainable, ecological designs.
In Eugene, urban parks have become a political issue with the environmental community pushing for more green open space while the business community and city staff generally oppose urban parks, arguing public parks will attract the wrong element and the land would be better paved over and developed.
Cranz noted a similar debate took place with the creation of the nation’s first urban park, Central Park in New York City, in the 19th century. The original park was supposed to be near housing on the waterfront in lower Manhattan, Cranz said. But commercial interests wanted the land for development and pushed the park out to the then hinterlands in the center of the island.
But after real estate prices boomed around the Central Park, “business interest very quickly caught on to the advantages of parks,” Cranz said.
After looking at hundreds of parks and park plans, Cranz said she’s learned a few important lessons. One is that ambitious goals and ideas for parks make them better. “Make no little plans,” she said.
Another lesson is that parks play an important role in allowing the denser cities that are key to sustainability. “The higher level of density we live in, the greater the need of amenity we have,” she said. To bring people into a dense city to live, “it has to be gorgeous.” — Alan Pittman
HOLOCAUST DENIAL DISCUSSION
In response to last Saturday’s talk at UO by revisionist historian Mark Weber, the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies and the UO Honors College have organized a symposium on “the phenomenon of Holocaust denial,” on Thursday, Nov. 8.
The symposium will take place on the evening before the anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as “the Night of the Broken Glass” in reference to all the shop and home windows broken during the 1938 pogrom. Thousands of Jewish businesses were destroyed, more than 1,000 synagogues were burned and almost 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps that night, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Speakers at the symposium will include professors Shaul Cohen, David Frank and David Luebke and Rabbi Jonathan Seidel.
The symposium will take place from 7 to 8 pm Thursday in 207 Chapman Hall at the UO with coffee to follow in the Clark Honors College Library.
The following day, another symposium related to human rights will be held by the city of Eugene’s Human Rights Commission from 9 am to noon Friday, Nov. 9, at the Knight Law Center on the UO campus. The title is “Bringing Human Rights Home: Implementing International Human Rights in the United States.” For more information, visit humanrightscity.com
SOLOMON BACK IN TOWN
Media critic and activist Norman Solomon comes to Eugene to talk about his new book Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State at two events on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Solomon is a nationally syndicated journalist writing on media and politics in his column “Media Beat.” He is also the author of 12 books, including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, which is the basis for the 2007 documentary film of the same title, narrated by Sean Penn.
Made Love, Got War combines autobiographical narrative from the perspective of the baby boom generation with historical analysis to create a critique of American politics and warfare, a critique Solomon says the mainstream media lacks. Solomon’s essential question in the book becomes: “To what ends should America use its awesome political, economic, media and scientific power?”
The film version of War Made Easy, also a critique of war and media, will be previewed at 7 pm at the UO’s Knight Law School, room 175. Solomon will give a talk in person following the film, addressing the film as well as his recent book. Admission is on a sliding scale from $5 to $25. Doors open at 6:30 pm, and seats are limited.
The film makes parallels between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq and features footage of Oregon’s own Wayne Morse, who lost his Senate seat after opposing funding the war in Vietnam.
Earlier on Thursday, at 1 pm, Solomon will give a free talk on Made Love, Got War in room 308 of the Forum Building on the LCC campus.
For those who can’t make either event, KOPT 1600 AM will broadcast Thursday night’s talk live. — Camilla Mortensen
MORE TIME ON THE WOPR
The BLM is planning to allow logging of some really big trees, but Oregonians just got a little more time to tell the government what they think of this plan.
The comment period on the BLM’s Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) has been extended yet again, this time to Jan. 11, 2008. The BLM originally allowed 90 days for the public to read and comment on the 1,650-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Resource Management Plan, but with this latest extension, the comment period will last 155 days.
The WOPR covers more than two million acres of land and calls for the clearcutting of old-growth forests and could triple timber harvests on public lands. The plan offers several alternative options, with Alternative 2 as the “preferred alternative.”
Alternative 2 calls for “no green tree retention,” meaning that when a forest is clearcut, the loggers don’t leave any trees behind.
Environmentalists say the WOPR leaves struggling endangered species (such as the northern spotted owl) who depend on old-growth forests for survival with even fewer protections than the original Northwest Forest Plan.
Go to http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/wopr/ to read the plan and comment on the BLM’s proposed logging. — Camilla Mortensen
McKINNEY IN OREGON
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, will be in Oregon next week testing the waters for a presidential run on the Green Party ticket.
While in Congress as a Democrat, McKinney sponsored legislation to protect old-growth forests and challenged the presidential results in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004. One of her last acts in office was introducing articles of impeachment naming George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice.
McKinney’s visit to Oregon is in support of the Pacific Green Party’s 2008 Peace Campaign. The Greens plan to run candidates in each of Oregon’s five Congressional districts on a platform calling for an immediate end to funding for the war in Iraq.
McKinney will be in Corvallis speaking at 9 am Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Westminster House at 23rd and Monroe. Before her talk will be a pancake breakfast starting at 8 am. She will speak in Eugene at a potluck reception at noon Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Lamb Cottage in Skinner’s Butte Park. The venue is subject to change. Contact Pat Driscoll at 688-1442 for information.
MUSLIM, JEWISH PEACEMAKERS
“Sparks of Peace,” an event featuring a Muslim and a Jewish peacemaker from Jerusalem speaking on peace in Israel and Palestine, will be held at 7 pm Tuesday, Nov. 13, At First Christian Church, 1166 Oak St., in Eugene.
The speakers are Eliyahu McLean and Ghassan Manasra. McLean is the director of Jerusalem Peacemakers, as well as a Rodef Shalom (Pursuer of Peace). “His diverse background and travels have instilled in him a deep commitment to peaceful discourse between Israelis and Palestinians,” says Michael Carrigan of CALC.
Ghassan Manasra is an ordained sheik, and the director of Anwar Il Salam, a Muslim peace center in Nazareth promoting tolerance and interfaith dialogue. Manasra works with Jewish, Muslim and Christian teachers on peace principles and tools for teaching tolerance.
Each man will share the story of his journey, discuss the work he does and their shared hopes for peace in the Holy Land and in the world.
For more information call CALC at 485-1755 or visit www.jerusalempeacemakers.org
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 3,849 U.S. troops killed* (3,839)
• 28,171 U.S. troops injured* (28,171)
• 128 U.S. military suicides* (128)
• 304 coalition troops killed** (303
• 933 contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 83,029 Iraqi civilians killed*** (82,776)
• $466.1 billion cost of war ($464.1 billion)
• $132.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($131.9 million)
* through Nov. 5, 2007; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** estimate; source: icasualties.org
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 to one million
• Now what? It’s going to take time for the dust to settle following the defeat this week of Eugene Ballot Measure 20-134. What will help carry us forward in building a more vital downtown? Let’s start with a better understanding of why the measure failed. Voters had dozens of reasons to support or oppose 20-134, but probably the deciding factor was lack of trust in our city government. For better or worse, a lot of Eugeneans were uncomfortable writing a $40 million check and not knowing how it was going to be spent. We’ve seen the bad decisions city government has made over the decades: Earlier urban renewal fiascos, allowing Valley River Center to drain downtown, backroom deals to put the polluting Hynix/Hyundai plant on wetlands, unwarranted tax breaks, weak land-use codes, the ignoring of railyard pollution, outrageous police behavior going on for years, etc. Our city government is improving, just not quickly enough to turn around all those years of secrecy and mismanagement.
There are specific things we can do as a city to restore trust in our city government. An independent performance auditor is a logical first step to bringing accountability and transparency to each city department, from police to public works. Hiring a new city manager who welcomes oversight would be another good step.
We’ve discovered in this election that lack of trust is neither a conservative nor progressive issue; it’s a Eugene issue. With that in mind, let’s get over our grumpy disagreements and work together to create more, smaller downtown successes that we can build upon.
• The Register-Guard is diligent at self-censorship when it comes to the dreaded f-word, but every once in a while it slips into print in photography, most likely by “accident.” A couple of years ago a crowd shot at an antiwar rally in Eugene showed a small, but very clear “Fuck War” sign among the protesters. Now, in the R-G‘s “Oregon Football” section Sunday, Nov. 5, the huge photo above the fold shows wide receiver Jaison Williams trying to catch a pass. Hand-written on his glove, just above the Nike Swoosh, are the words “Fuck It.” In the R-G sports pages Tuesday was a blather of silly apologies and excuses, and we expect Phil Knight got a call since his beloved Swoosh was defiled. No such embarrassment and fawning over the “Fuck War” sign. Is that because UO sports has become sacred, even a religion?
Williams claims “Fuck It” it was just a self-admonishment to not take his occasional fumbles too seriously. Or is this really the new secret battle cry for the UO football team? Hey, it seems to be working. Rhyming opportunities abound, so will the UO Cheerleaders work the new slogan into their repertory? Any suggestions from our readers on words for such a cheer?
• This week we begin a new column, ¡Ask a Mexican! by Gustavo Arellano of Orange County’s OC Weekly. Arellano answers readers’ questions about all sorts of topics from culture to immigration, but mostly dealing with stereotypes. “What part of illegal don’t Mexicans understand?” “Why do Mexicans call white people gringos?” “What’s La Bamba all about?” “Why are Mexican girls so beautiful when they are teenagers, then over the years, they become fat, old bags?” Arellano tackles all the stereotypes and abandons politically correct language in this sometimes outrageous column. “There is a lot of racism out there and stereotyping continues,” Arellano said in a 2006 interview on alibi.com. “As a child of Mexican immigrants, I’m not going to stand idly by and let people perpetuate those stereotypes. I’m going to go after them with everything I have.” The column, with its purposefully stereotyped caricature, runs in dozens of alternative newspapers nationwide, but has also been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Reuters news service.
• What have you been missing on EW! A blog? Oh, just murder, incest, the sweep of the heroic narrative, etc., etc., etc. Our intrepid (and lucky) performing and visual arts editor, Suzi Steffen, had an inspiring time during her fellowship at the 11-day Columbia University/National Endowment for the Arts Institute in Classical Music and Opera. And she’s been blogging about it off and on since she returned. If you’re a taxpayer, you supported this endeavor; read Steffen’s reports out at blogs.eugeneweekly.com (where you’ll also find Molly Templeton’s takes on Heroes, Alan Pittman on bike use in Eugene, Ted Taylor’s random rants and Chuck Adams on darn near everything on the calendar).
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
SUE AND JYOTI BARNHART
“My parents expected to adopt, but then they had four kids,” says Sue Barnhart, who helped raise her three younger brothers. With degrees in education and counseling, Barnhart taught in a high school program for pregnant teens and young mothers in Connecticut and then followed one of her brothers to Eugene in 1985 and began a career in social work. This month she marks 19 years with Lane County Developmental Disabilities Services. “In my 30s, I wanted kids but didn’t have a partner,” she says. “In my 40s, I decided adoption was the way to go.” In the year it took for paperwork, she found a partner in Michael Carrigan, who traveled with her to pick up 1-year-old Jyoti from an orphanage in India. Once active on social justice issues, Barnhart now devotes her spare time to volunteering at the Family School, where Jyoti is in fourth grade, and as secretary of Adoption Connections of Oregon. This Saturday, Nov. 10, ACO will hold its sixth annual Adoption Conference, free and open to the public, at Holt International Children’s Services. For details, call ACO president Elise Crum at 345-4209.