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Slant 10-29-2015

• The Eugene Public Library levy on the Nov. 3 ballot is getting a surprising amount of attention on both sides. What’s not to love about libraries? Well, a lot of folks who are grumpy about Eugene city government are thinking a “no” vote will send a message to city officials that reforms are necessary. Maybe so, and we talked about this last week, but we think we can have it both ways by supporting the library and demanding changes in city policies and practices. How do we support the library and other essential services in the General Fund? How do we manage appropriate development and also meet our growing need for affordable housing? These are valid questions to ask anyone running for local public office. And hey, those council and mayoral elections are coming up in the May primary. Get involved, pay attention, hold the candidates’ tender toes to the toaster. Meanwhile, get those ballots marked and delivered before 8 pm Tuesday.

• If conservative City Councilor Mike Clark is planning on running for mayor of Eugene, as many think he is, he probably picked up a bundle of south Eugene votes with his efforts to delay the re-zoning of the South Willamette area, plus most other parts of Eugene. Those are not votes Clark would normally collect.

Judge Edward Leavy started his legal career in Eugene, serving as district and circuit court judge in Lane County from 1957 to 1976. He quickly moved up from here, appointed by President Reagan to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1987, and now picked for the “Nobel Prize for the Judiciary,” the prestigious Devitt Award, by a committee headed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Leavy will formally accept the award Nov. 13 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.  It’s definitely not listed as one of his big cases, but in Eugene he heard the charges against Annette Buchanan, reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald (it was daily then), and found her guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reveal her sources for a story on UO students using marijuana. That case helped to bring about a shield law for reporters, and Leavy still talks about it when he comes to Eugene from his hop farm up the valley.

• Still warm off the presses is a new Eugene Weekly 2016 Calendar featuring a dozen of our Art Department’s recent EW covers reprinted high quality and glossy. You know you want one! We have these colorful calendars at our front desk for only $10. Our graphic artist Sarah Decker, who also designed our popular series of T-shirts, created these calendars, and we expect they will sell out as quickly as the shirts.

• Over the summer it was announced that one of Congressman Peter DeFazio’s top advisors, Travis Joseph, is moving from the congressman’s office to the American Forest Resource Council, a timber trade association, where he will be president. Joseph worked on DeFazio’s controversial O&C “timber trust” plan. Oregon Wild, which butted heads with DeFazio on the O&C and other forest plans, has said of the move that it points to how close the congressman and the “clearcutting timber industry have become.” Joseph said in a AFRC press release that he will try to “make a difference in an industry that cares about our communities and what makes home so special.” Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken applauded the move, and Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics speculated in a blog post at forestpolicypub.com that the AFRC might be shifting its focus from the courts to Congress.

• Here are some shocking numbers passed on to us by the local nonprofit Nearby Nature: Kids today spend about 50 hours per week engaging a device and only four to seven minutes per day playing outdoors. Fastest growing market for anti-depressants are preschool children — and childhood obesity is at an all-time high at 18 percent. Ninety percent of our kids’ time is spent indoors. Those numbers encourage us to volunteer for Nearby Nature, based in Alton Baker Park.