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Slant 11-12-2015

Robin Jaqua died Nov. 8 at age 94, and women and children in this area and beyond lost a fierce and effective advocate. She was well known for her generosity to the Relief Nursery and many other great programs in the arts, athletics and more, but she was best known to a significant segment of Eugene and Springfield as the leader of Jungian analysts. After 25 years of raising her family of four, she earned her Ph.D. from the UO and then went on to Switzerland to the C.G. Jung Institute. She brought some of the best Jungian thinkers to Eugene to speak, maintained a public library for Jungian studies (now in the UO College of Education) and inspired countless fine analysts in this community. As one of her many younger friends said, Robin was a “kickass woman” who wanted to make the world better in fundamental ways.

• Can you imagine filling in an open public space in a center city plaza popular with transients, travelers, homeless folks and kids? Some city officials suggest that the troublemakers should move to the Park Blocks or the future City Hall plaza. And what will we build there to move them along? Ask a developer or an architect seeing dollar signs. European and Latin American cities treasure their central plazas, transients and all.

• Good news about our growing local food economy was delivered by Lynn Fessenden and Jack Gray at City Club of Eugene Nov. 6. Willamette Farm and Food Coalition has been tracking key indicators of local food production and consumption, and all are showing healthy gains. Community supported agriculture (CSA) is growing, local grain production and sales are up, schools are serving more local food, produce market stands around the valley are expanding. What can take us to the next level? An indoor (or at least covered) year-round Farmers Market downtown. Rather than drag this issue out for even more decades, it’s time for city and county officials to collaborate and make it an economic development priority. Take a Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce survey that asks questions about an indoor market, Kesey Square and more at surveymonkey.com/r/9PXN7F9.

County politics watchers will remember that back in 2011 a judge in a Seneca-sawmill backed lawsuit found, in a weird and convoluted way, that Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson violated public meetings laws by discussing votes in advance via email. If you read the suit closely you’ll notice that the judge actually found all the commissioners, including current Commissioner Faye Stewart, engaged in these serial meetings, but Stewart was not named in the suit and thus not found in violation. Later, Handy’s ethics were questioned in asking for funds to help pay off that ruling, which the conservative majority on the Board of Commissioners had voted not to appeal. The ethics questions caused Handy to lose the next election, but an investigation later found no ethical violations. 

Handy then sued, alleging that commissioners Jay Bozievich, Sid Leiken and Stewart had conducted serial meetings themselves before deciding to release the letter accusing Handy of the violations right before the election. Coos County Judge Richard Barron threw out the lawsuit, but last week the Oregon Court of Appeals found that Handy’s allegations may not be “devoid of merit” and his case can go forward. Sound confusing? It is. The good news is that Handy, who was a progressive commissioner, is finally getting his day in court; the bad news is the whole serial meetings ruling is unresolved, unworkable and largely ignored around the state.

• Science-schmience. Did the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission vote Nov. 9 to delist Oregon’s 80 or so wolves from the state Endangered Species List because the science said it was the right thing to do, or because they are still buying into the ages-old tale of the Big Bad Wolf? Conservation groups are furious, and Congressman Peter DeFazio weighed in on the recommendation to delist last week, saying it was “premature and not supported by the best available science and I urge you to reject it.” 

• Speaking of DeFazio, we hear the congressman had to fly home suddenly to Oregon for eye surgery to relieve pressure potentially damaging his optic nerve. DaFaz is not one to enjoy missing votes in Washington, so are glad to hear he’s expected to return to D.C. after Thanksgiving.

• Was it the financial power of football that got the powers-that-be at Mizzou to sit up and take note of the racist incidents on that campus and led to resignation of the school president and chancellor? It shouldn’t take a student’s hunger strike and the threat of a boycott by the football team to get an administration to deal with huge and painful campus issues. Missouri gives us something to think about from appropriate responses to incidents of racism to how the power of athletes can best be used.  

David Linde, who describes himself as a “kid from Oregon,” was the subject of a column Nov. 8 in The New York Times. After growing up in Eugene, Linde went on to become “a longtime film producer and executive formerly with Universal Studios.” The Times says he was recently named chief executive of Participant Media, a film and television production company that mines current events and social issues for subject matter.