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Slant - 2017-05-18

Please don’t fire Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump. If he fades into (among?) the bushes, Melissa McCarthy and Saturday Night Live can’t make us laugh with her wonderful impersonations, even rolling down 58th street in NYC on her Spicey podium. We deserve that every Saturday night.

 

• Tax-cutting zealots around the country who think the public doesn’t want to pay anything for services should visit Lane County, where on Tuesday the vote was 72.9 percent — almost three quarters of the ballots cast — in favor of the law enforcement levy that pays for jail beds. Could it be the pendulum is swinging back toward responsible government and paying for things that could prevent jail in the first place, such as better education? Ever since Measure 5 and its evil legislative spawn we’ve seen what slashing taxes indiscriminately does to the quality of life. Maybe Tuesday’s vote shows hope for a recovery. 

Other election results as we go to press leave us gratified to see that the Fern Ridge library levy passed 62 to 38 percent — not as high as the county jail levy but encouraging! For the 4J school board, Anne Marie Levis kept her seat, and she will be joined by Judy Newman after some hard-fought races with excellent candidates. It’s exciting to see so many people running for school boards across the county, and we hope that bodes well for our future as we watch the Trump presidency continue to defy logic and sanity.

 

• One problem that stood out for us during the May 12 City Club of Eugene program on driverless cars was that professional driving is the single largest employment area in the U.S. So where do all those jobs go when cars don’t need drivers? Nigel Jaquiss and Corey Pein write in Willamette Week on April 26 that driverless cars are coming to Portland, like it or not. They say that Mayor Ted Wheeler expects the first applications by late June and “the first remotely controlled truck has already debuted here.” We wonder when they will be coming to Eugene?

 

• KLCC’s longtime Music Director Michael Canning, who retired after 30 years at the public radio station, died on May 14 of pneumonia, KLCC reports. Eugene and its arts and music community has lost a strong advocate. When Canning retired, KLCC staff gave him a standing ovation and the community does so again in losing him. As of press time, a memorial had not yet been planned.

 

• A posthumous piece by Alex Tizon, the late University of Oregon journalism professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was published as the cover story of The Atlantic this week. “My Family’s Slave” is the story of a woman, Eudocia Tomas Pulido, and of Tizon’s recognition that his family kept her in slavery throughout most of his life and hers. Tizon was eloquent in publicly coming out with this difficult tale, and it’s unfortunate that he is not here to be part of the necessary discussion that the story and the reprehensible institution of slavery evokes. There have been both praise for his writing and calls for reparations to be made to Pulido’s descendants. We will follow the debate over this story closely in the coming days.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING: Gordon Lafer’s The One Percent Solution. How Corporations are Remaking America One State at a Time just out from the Cornell University Press. An associate professor in the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, Lafer recently spoke and signed books at Tsunami Books.