• Another great Eugene Celebration is behind us and the band Volifonix was judged the winner of our Next Big Thing music contest on the KRVM/Eugene Weekly Stage Saturday afternoon. Members of Volifonix are Tomo “The Samurai” Tsurumi, Blake Forbess, Joe McClain, Trevor Forbess and Elijah Median. Judges also liked finalist Paul Quillen, and we’re talking about having a singer-songwriter category next year. It’s hard to compare a singer with a guitar to a full-blown band. Volifonix and some other finalists will perform at our Best of Eugene Awards Show Oct. 26 at the McDonald Theatre.
• Our award-losing EW Sports Department tells us the Ducks are trying a new approach this year after opening last season with a tough loss on the road to top-ranked LSU. They are 36-point favorites to beat visiting Arkansas State in Autzen Stadium for this Saturday night‘s opening home game. Hard to get excited about a mismatch like this, so Oregon’s streak of 82 straight sellouts in Autzen Stadium might be in jeopardy. But, do not take these Red Wolves too lightly — they have a good senior quarterback and they won 10 games last season. They are used to winning, and beating Oregon in Eugene would electrify their new season.
• The race for House District 12 is heating up as we predicted in this column Aug. 9. Democrat John Lively is up against Republican Joe Pishioneri in what could be a squeaker pitting two well-known Springfield candidates with very different political leanings. Rep. Terry Beyer, a Democrat, is not running for re-election and Republicans are targeting this Springfield-area position to help break the leadership split in the Legislature. We expect out-of-state money to boost Pishioneri’s campaign and we’ve already seen deceptive push-polling, now followed by deceptive anti-Lively ads on the local Fox affiliate.
Pishioneri’s first TV attack ad is a head-scratcher, saying Lively “supported recent job-killing tax measures (66 & 67),” but is that a wise message? Springfield and Lane County voters overwhelmingly supported those measures, which actually saved jobs for teachers. Pishioneri is also blasting Lively for having “opposed the community toxic [sic] right to know proposal,” which is a Eugene, not Springfield, issue. This appears to be guilt by association since Lively once worked in public relations for Hyundai/Hynix, which, as an industry, opposed Eugene’s Toxics Right-to-Know Law. Lively has never said that he himself opposed the law. It’s an odd issue for Pishioneri to bring up since Lively has been endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.
• Will Oregon devolve from blue state to red state at some point? Multiple political blogs and websites are all a-twitter this week about comments neo-con kingmaker Karl Rove made about Oregon’s vulnerability to a right-wing shift. Rove cites the 30-30 split in the Oregon Legislature and the fact that Republican Chris Dudley lost to Gov. Kitzhaber by a narrow margin. Everything Rove does or says is strategic. In this case it’s likely Rove is just trying to energize Oregon Republicans and get the Democrats to spend more money defending blue Oregon from the perceived red-state threat. Nevertheless, we are a “mysterious” state with abundant contradictions.
• We picked up these surprising numbers at the Aug. 22 Peter DeFazio fundraising party in the Ninkasi plaza: Roughly 28,000 registered Republicans inhabit Douglas County, 20,000 Democrats and 12,000 non-affiliateds. Sara Byers, a Dem leader who ran for the Legislature in 2010, said the D’s tend to keep their heads down because of the long domination by the conservative timber industry. Coos County Democrats, also in the minority, are fighting back with their own newspaper, the Advocate, see http://wkly.ws/f. Maybe it’s time for an uprising by all the non-Republicans south of us.
• How’s this for a rousing cheer in a soccer stadium: “We have health care! We have health care!” Some Eugene fans who regularly drive to Portland for the Timbers games sat near fans from Vancouver, B.C., Saturday night, Aug. 25, when the Canadian team lost but their supporters won the shouting match. Some day we’ll shout back.
• The Republicans are getting their umbrellas and schedules turned inside out in Florida. Meanwhile, the three young people from Eugene we wrote about last week (“Young Dems Off to Rescue Patriotism”) are enjoying sunny weather as they head overland in their red, white and blue beater car for the Democratic National Convention. Check out their blog and video interviews along the way at keepingamerica.org
• Our annual Best of Eugene Ballot is running in print again this week and we have a purple unicorn box in our front office for those of you who drop it off in person, though most of our readers seem to prefer the sparkly interactive experience of filling it out online at bestofeugene.com
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, email@example.com