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Slant 4-5-2012

Strong turnout for the rally downtown Monday calling for justice in the Trayvon Martin shooting case in Florida. The message was clear that racial profiling persists in our culture, and even wearing a hooded sweatshirt can make you a target. Local activists used the rally and march to point out that Eugene’s black population was segregated, not so long ago, in a ghetto along the river. On a side note, we’ve heard complaints about an EPD crime prevention public service ad on local TV recently that had an actor in a hoodie portraying a criminal. Ouch! The PSA had been produced long before the Florida case put hoodies in the national limelight. We heard from EPD spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin that although hoodies are a “common and popular item of clothing, due to the circumstances, we immediately asked all the stations to not use it and pulled it from any places we had them posted.”

• The deadline for comments on the Waldo Lake gas motor ban is coming up April 10, the day the Oregon State Marine Board meets in Springfield to hear testimony. It is quite possible the ban will be overturned on technical and legal grounds, but the power of public opinion cannot be dismissed. See Activist Alert this week on the meeting details and how to submit testimony to both the OSMB and the Aviation Board.

So what are some good talking points for testimony? Passionate, heart-felt comments about the wilderness experience at Waldo are great, and it’s also good to mention specifics. Oil and gas sheens are common around motorboat docks and boat launches and degrade the wilderness experience. Waldo is so pure and unique that we should not take risks with gas motors even if that risk is small. Newer four-cycle motors are not the answer since they are noisy and can also leak oil and gas. Clean, quiet electric motors are allowed and can be quite powerful. Overturning the ban will encourage access to all the dispersed sites around the lake and in the past these sites have been trashed. Float planes are very noisy and their landing and taking off will diminish the quiet wilderness setting at Waldo. There are many other lakes, including several nearby, where gas motors and float planes are allowed and even encouraged. Check our cover story last week for more talking points.

We might have been premature in our announcement in Slant March 22 that Eugene police officers are now handing out flyers showing defendants how to request information, aka discovery, regarding pending cases against them. Information about discovery is available at City Prosecutor Dan Barkovic’s office, according to a city official. However, the flyer is no longer at Municipal Court, as it has been in the past. Where did it go? Local activist Carol Berg-Caldwell is working on making discovery information more readily available to those who are charged with minor offenses in Eugene, a project of her Independent Court Observers Network. ICON is affiliated with A Community Together — Lane County (ACT), the low-profile nonprofit which Berg-Caldwell and Majeska Seese-Green co-founded in 2009. Email majeska@efn.org for more information. 

• Your mother always told you that people will judge you by your friends, so you may want to judge candidates by who they hang out with and who gives them money. Andy Stahl, who’s challenging Pete Sorenson for the South Eugene Lane County commissioners seat, proudly announced at City Club on March 23 that Randal O’Toole has not only donated to his campaign but was the best man at his wedding. O’Toole is a senior fellow with conservative think tank the Cato Institute. Cato was cofounded by none other Charles Koch, and the Koch brothers are currently trying to take it over. O’Toole is perhaps best known for his attacks on mass transit, planning and government in general. The Cato Institute has also come out disputing the science on climate change.

• We hear that KRVM disk jockey Rome Hamel, host of the “Rock N Rome” show Sunday nights from 5 to 8 pm for more than 20 years, suffered a heart attack March 4, followed by weeks of complications and being in a coma on life support. “Thankfully for all of us who know and love Rome, he came through, woke up, and wants nothing more than to be home, in the studio, and in support of the Eugene music community,” says his friend Kristina “Katananda” Hall, who can be reached at ospreydance@q.com for updates. Cards and letters can be sent to Hamel at KRVM Radio, 1574 Coburg Road #237, Eugene 97401.

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@eugeneweekly.com