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Slant 7-31-2014

• A majority of five of the Eugene City Council, backed by strong support from Mayor Kitty Piercy, showed that rare quality of leadership this week in passing both the sick leave law and a tighter climate recovery ordinance. Six councilors favored climate action. The Register-Guard, conservative councilors, the idiotic and out-of-touch Lane County Commission and, of course, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce all asked for either delays or no such action as sick leave for workers in this city. Laurie Trieger, who passionately led the sick leave campaign, will need to carry on with all her troops to counter the attacks sure to come.

• Economic vitality, unchecked gentrification and drunken shenanigans in the Whiteaker district were just a few of the issues tackled during the July 25 City Club of Eugene forum. Blairally co-owner and Whiteaker Community Council President Sam Hahn, Ninkasi CEO Nikos Ridge and neighborhood muralist Kari Johnson addressed the question “What’s Up With The Whit?” Hats off to City Club for fostering a rich, diverse dialogue about Eugene’s hippest and most embattled neighborhood, and giving air to residents’ concerns that this artsy, blue-collar and piratical part of town is now, thanks in large part to the rise of Ninkasi and other breweries, becoming the destination spot for well-to-do yahoos seeking fun and stomping on the indigenous culture. Hahn, who stole the show, believes a balance can be achieved between commercial growth and maintaining the funky cool that defines the Whit. “What I think is special about it is art,” he said. “And the art speaks to a lot of different aspects of what the Whiteaker has been, what it is now and, hopefully, what it can continue to be.” Stream the whole conversation at klcc.org/post/whats-whit.

• Our “Stirring the Pot” panel discussion on legalizing marijuana at Cozmic July 22 drew a crowd of about 100 people and was information-dense (see our story this week). The measure that will be on the November ballot appears to avoid many of the problems associated with previous pot initiatives and measures, and takes some valuable lessons from mistakes in Washington and Colorado. The measure is carefully designed to reduce the black market for pot and the criminal culture that surrounds it, and it protects the existing Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. The proposed regulations prohibit pot smoking in public view, which makes sense, but that creates another opportunity for cops to harass and fine homeless folks, as has happened in Washington state. Can we avoid that in Eugene?