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Slant 7-28-2016

• We’re proud to be a part of the political revolution led by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and millions of other Americans, many of them young and new to political action. And, as they passionately advise, this November we should do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and to elect Hillary Clinton. Clinton should handily win blue Oregon, but what can we do to help her outside our state? And what can we do to elect Democrats in the Senate? We especially feel the urgency when it comes to Supreme Court appointments.

 

•The plot thickens: In a recent Slant we expounded on an omnipresent spray-painted symbol that seems to be spreading and sticking on Eugene’s city sidewalks, electrical boxes and neglected buildings like some nasty poison oak rash. A reliable source recently told EW that a gray-haired woman, appearing to be in her 60s or 70s, was seen pulling over a maroon minivan and spray-painting the symbol in green outside of Membrillo Latin Kitchen at 1530 Willamette Street. Could a crew of retirees looking for mischief be roaming the city like that gang of old ladies à la Monty Python? Is it a copy cat? Either way, people seem to be growing tired of the slapdash markings e.g. see photo. Have more leads? Email alex@eugeneweekly.com.

• What’s the world coming to when even the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a target of racism? Following on the heels of the news the Festival of Eugene has been canceled over allegations of racism (see story this issue) comes a letter from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival detailing a racist verbal assault directed at an OSF actor and “a death threat leveled at another female company member of color only days later.” And the group says these are not isolated incidents: “They are happening to our box office employees, who bear the brunt of racially charged and homophobic complaints about our approach to casting and season selection. They are happening to our education staff, who sometimes must weigh their own sense of safety and ability to do their job against their instinct to turn an ignorant comment into a teaching moment.” OSF points to its mission statement, which says, “Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.” We applaud OSF in its efforts towards “goals of equity, diversity, inclusion and justice” in its artistic endeavors.

• You don’t have to be a crooked state senator to give tax breaks to super-rich multinational corporations. By 5-3 vote, with councilors George Brown, Claire Syrett and Betty Taylor voting against it, the Eugene City Council granted an added two-year tax break to Singapore-based tech giant Broadcom Limited (which combined with Avago Technologies). Avago applied to the city and Lane County for a West Eugene Enterprise Zone (WEEZ) property tax exemption last year after buying the old Hynix chip manufacturing plant. And Eugene’s extra $3 million gift to Avago is only the icing on the cake, considering the company already has a three-year property tax exemption for a total of $21 million in tax breaks.

As a condition of the added tax exemption deal, Avago must offer compensation for new jobs at 150 percent of the average Lane County wage. But the city already admitted it doesn’t do due diligence where these deals are concerned. At a recent work session, city enterprise zone manager Denny Braud said the city doesn’t typically investigate whether companies who benefit from WEEZ tax breaks are keeping up their ends of the bargain.

Brown says that $3 million means a “heck of a lot” more to the people of Eugene than it does the executives who run Avago, who dropped $37 billion earlier this year to acquire Broadcom — $17 billion of it in cash. Looks like we didn’t learn anything from Hynix when it left town after getting millions in tax breaks.