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Slant 1-12-2012

• We’re still puzzling over why the city overreacted to unsubstantiated rumors of disruptions and even violence planned for Mayor Kitty Piercy’s State of the City Address Jan. 5. Occupy Eugene’s General Assembly wasn’t planning anything, nor were any individuals on the fringes of the group. We don’t know who originated a warning to city officials, but we’ve never seen any violence, or threat of violence directed at the city from anyone at Occupy Eugene. Despite this week’s public criticism of Councilor George Poling at Monday’s council meeting, the most strident anti-council rhetoric we’ve heard has come from people opposed to Occupy Eugene. Poling is certainly responsible for some of the paranoia, calling peaceful Occupiers on his front lawn “terrorists.” Now that’s a personal attack. Poling could have taken the high road in dealing with the protesters on his front lawn at Christmas, maybe offering them hot chocolate and figgy pudding and listening to their concerns as a responsive elected official.


• Remember all those moderate Republican leaders we used to have in this state? Maybe a recent endorsement signals a return of some. Former UO president David Frohnmayer, with his long history of Republican politics, hosted a fundraiser at his house and endorsed Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat, for the seat lost by David Wu in the First Congressional District. She’s a strong favorite to win the special election Jan. 31 against Republican Rob Cornilles. Ballots go out next week for this first 2012 congressional election in the country.


• What are the gayest cities in the U.S.? Well, according to the third annual tally by The Advocate magazine Jan. 9, Eugene ranks 22nd in the nation, right behind those gay Badgers in Madison, Wisc. Portland comes in 12th and Seattle fifth. Defying stereotypes, Salt Lake City is ranked first and San Francisco is 18th. Corvallis is probably too small to make the survey. Rankings are based on openly gay elected officials, LGBT bookstores, transgender protections by city government, availability of nude yoga, gigs by gay bands, gay softball teams and a few other rather subjective criteria. Find the list and read the comments at http://wkly.ws/15o 

Nude yoga is an eyebrow raiser in the comments. We are certain it happens in Eugene (not at the Y, last time we checked), but is it a gay-friendly, organized activity here or just something to do at a nudist gathering? Flexible minds want to know.


• Good news that Bill Moyers will be back on public TV starting at 5 pm Sunday, Jan. 15, with his wisdom so rare out there. We like it that his first segments will be based on “Winner-Take-All Politics” and a four-hour chat on the subject that Moyers had with authors Paul Pierson and Jacob Hacker, both political scientists who grew up in Eugene and went to South Eugene High School. Moyers calls their book “the most important book I’ve read” since ending the old show. Pierson and Hacker will be speaking in Eugene in March through the Morse Center for Law and Politics in the UO. Good timing, Moyers and Morse, for all of us deeply concerned about profound inequality in the U.S. today.


• “Taking Mom Home” was the powerful, award-winning cover story we ran Aug. 5, 2010 about Death with Dignity in Oregon. Ben Fogelson wrote about his difficult role in the death of his mother, Susanne Schumann, a well-known local psychologist. The story has been picked up by Utne Reader and ran Jan. 4. Find it online at utne.com under the headline “When the Last Guest Leaves.”


• We heard a sad story over the holidays from a local woman on Social Security disability for multiple sclerosis and registered as an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patient. It seems her grower had all of his equipment stolen and is no longer able to supply her needs. She filed paperwork with the state to switch growers and got a bill for $100, saying new rules implemented in 2011 require a fee for changes. She barely gets by and doesn’t have the money. The folks administering OMMP are sympathetic and working with her, but these are the kinds of issues that plague the lives of many people who are already suffering from misfortune. Legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it. If enough states either legalize pot, ease restrictions or just stop enforcing outdated prohibition, the federal government will be forced to go along.

SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, editor at eugeneweekly dot com