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Slant 8-2-2012

Who will replace Andrea Ortiz on the ballot for the Eugene City Council in November? She announced this week that she will not seek re-election, citing a timing conflict with her new evening job. Ward 7 includes the Whiteaker neighborhood, northern downtown and a patchwork of city land north out River Road. The ward is nearly 12 percent Latino, about the same as Chris Pryor’s Ward 8 to the west. It’s important to have someone who understands the critical environmental, land use and social issues of the ward. Michael Carrigan’s name has been mentioned. Candidates have until Aug. 20 to file for the November ballot.

• If there was ever a lesson in “get it in writing,” this Capstone housing project tax exemption is the CliffsNotes. From lot ownership issues to appeals about questionable paperwork to the company’s refusal to release its environmental assessment to the public, problems could have been prevented by requiring best practices in writing. On July 25, the Downtown Neighborhood Association “overwhelmingly approved” motions supporting Olive Plaza residents and Commmunity Advisory Team’s four demands (see eugenecat.org). Now we hear that Capstone’s talk about using local contractors will be null and void after demolition, and that Nashville-based Construction Enterprises, Inc., will be the project’s general contractor. 

• In the best tradition of the rivalry, President Ed Ray of OSU put in a few gentle jabs at the UO when he spoke to the City Club of Eugene July 27. He said OSU is building an academic learning center for all students, not just athletes. He added that he thinks athletes should be more, rather than less, integrated into the student body. That reminds us, of course, of the UO glass “jock-box,” surrounded by a moat and almost entirely limited to tutoring for athletes. Ray, chairman of the NCAA executive committee that hammered Penn State recently, was quoted by USA Today, “Do we have the balance right? Is the athletics culture too big relative to the rest of our institution’s culture and values goal?” Good question for City Club and for new UO President Michael Gottfredson.

• With both pride and sadness we note that Svitlana Kravchenko will be posthumously honored this month by the American Bar Association with the 2012 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy. A professor in the UO School of Law, she and her husband, John Bonine, also a UO law school professor, worked fiercely for human rights through international environmental law. She died suddenly last spring in Eugene. 

 • When the economy crashes, among the first groups to suffer are the animals. The same thing happens, apparently, when politics go awry — and in Lane County, we’ve got both. We hear county departments and the airport have engaged the controversial federal agency Wildlife Services to trap and kill wild animals that could otherwise be hazed away. Pets aren’t faring any better. The county and city budget cuts to animal services are leaving people confused, and animal rescues are reporting increased numbers of dumped animals because people don’t know who to call, and if they do call Greenhill or the 1st Avenue Shelter, we hear, there are not enough employees and volunteers to take care of the animals they already have. Care about animals, the homeless and others affected by all this? Get involved in politics — there’s an election coming up — and volunteer. Whether you like the Greenhill transition or not, the beasties need love and care. 

• Looks like U.S. Women’s Soccer goalkeeper (and Seattle Sounders player) Hope Solo agrees with us that NBC’s coverage of soccer at the Olympic games amounts to little more than a pizzling pile of ethnocentrism. Following the U.S. team’s 3-0 win over Colombia — in which lead scorer Abby Wambach was sucker punched, receiving a rather photogenic black eye — Solo made headlines with tweets criticizing former U.S. player Brandi Chastain’s commentating abilities. Despite a barrage of media coverage, much of which has been negative, Solo has stuck behind her words against the ex-player-turned-commentator in a display of true badassery. She’ll stand strong, as will the U.S. team, as they head to the quarterfinal. For further biased coverage of the games, or if you simply feel like forgetting that other countries birth successful athletes, tune your TV set to NBC daily.

• Our annual Next Big Thing local music single contest is wrapping up and online voting will end Thursday, Aug. 2. The contest has grown from last year with 39 artists participating with 71 original songs in numerous genres. Check out the local talent and vote at http://nextbigthingeugene.com 

• EW film critic Molly Templeton is getting some love on Jezebel for her response to the New York Times Book Review’s How-To Issue, where the only stories from women were about cooking and raising kids. See more at http://wkly.ws/1c2