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Slant

• A campaign already is coming together to take on County Commissioner Faye Stewart in the May 2018 election. James Barber, who lives in Walterville, handed out cards at the Feb. 17 City Club of Eugene meeting that say he’s a candidate for the East Lane county commission position with the slogan “Voice for the People.” Lots of energy there. Stewart is long entrenched in the conservative-leaning Lane County Commission, so this should be interesting.

• Did you miss 350 Eugene’s Feb. 3, non-violent direct action training? No problem, EW will keep you informed about opportunities to get involved as Lane County responds to the Trump presidency. Eugene/Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN) will host a series of four free workshops on non-violent direct action on Saturdays in February and March. The lectures focus on how to plan and implement non-violent direct actions to make change with causes you care about.

Downtown Eugene is a point of contention again, with some groups advocating for cleaning up the streets of “travelers” and transients through smoking and dog bans. Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark has even called for an additional small jail right near our planned new City Hall. More jails won’t solve the problem and bans just push people out to become someone else’s problem. We need more shelters. We need a day shelter. If you can’t tell someone to go home, at least give people somewhere to go. 


EW attended the Sunday, Jan. 29, rally at the federal courthouse downtown, a response to President Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee program for those seeking asylum from a list of seven Muslim nations. (Apparently Muslim is no longer a religious designation but a political one, which begs the question about the so-call Christians now in the White House.) Such a protest, which saw estimated crowds of 1,000 or more, is a right and proper democratic response to such xenophobic, unconstitutional nonsense, and it feels good to gather and vent.

• We note with sadness the death on Jan. 20 of Edwin Coleman, jazz musician, professor of English and outspoken civil rights advocate in Eugene. He died at age 84 from complications of flu. As a jazz guitarist, Coleman backed up such musicians as Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi and Peter, Paul and Mary. As a civil rights advocate he met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. As a professor at the University of Oregon, he stood for equality and tolerance, bringing his love of African-American literature, folklore and drama to generations of Oregon students.

• Let the games begin! Pete Sorenson’s announcement that this is his last four-year term as Lane County commissioner opens the floodgates for candidates to step up in his progressive South Eugene district. Not an easy job for a progressive, it does now pay $84,457 annually, making it the best political pay prospect in the county. We wonder if Andy Stahl will run again or if a smart, strong woman will try to join the current men’s club? Kudos to Pete for making this announcement four years out.

Monday, Jan. 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” or his “I Have a Dream” speech and remind yourself of how far we have come and how very far we still have to go when it comes to race and racism in this country. The Eugene-Springfield NAACP says that the 2017 MLK Jr. March shaping up to be biggest to date, and as well it should. Black Lives Matter.

• Eugene got a windfall of sorts with a nearly $19 million Comcast payment from a fee for broadband services. Take $8.7 million of that payment and put it towards a new City Hall and suddenly the Eugene City Council has $27.45 million to play around with. Woohoo! Or wait, not so fast. The citizens of Eugene have a long history of not wanting to spend a bunch of cash on City Hall, and the city has a long history of making rash decisions about City Hall. More urgently than a fancy city hall, what this area needs is a good homeless shelter.

• Resolution for 2017: Slant will not be “fair and balanced,” whatever Fox News means by that.   

• “Community” and “neighborhood” have been the key words through the ice storm still bedeviling some of us. We were impressed by the Holiday Inn Express at Gateway in Springfield that allows pets to sign in with their owners. Twenty-three dogs, three cats and one rabbit settled into warm rooms rented at an emergency rate to their owners for the first night. Huge thanks, too, for the hard-working EWEB crews who have continued to be courteous and considerate to cranky climate refugees.

• Listening to Mayor Kitty Piercy give her farewell to the City Club of Eugene on Dec. 9 made us grateful that we live in this blue bubble in the wake of the recent presidential election. In recapping her 12 years as mayor, she laid out a progressive value system exactly the opposite of Donald Trump’s. She said it was her policy “to never take public potshots at anyone,” a policy designed to bring factions together to inch forward in a caring sustainable society.

• It’s time to celebrate the victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after the Department of the Army announced Dec. 4 that it will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Congratulations to Native Americans, allies, veterans (particularly Native veterans), who impressively gathered to stand up to the pipelines. As they, and we, celebrate this win in the fight for clean water and indigenous rights, celebrants are rightfully also cautious.

• Question of the day: Donald Trump or Mike Pence as the next president of the U.S.? If Trump is either impeached or resigns within the next two years, as some writers predict, would Pence be an improvement? Probably. After serving in Congress and as governor of Indiana, he understands our system of government and, presumably, respects it. His political positions are the opposite of ours, but we can vote him out.

• It was good to see Nike in the list of American companies urging Donald Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal, “saying a failure by the United States to build a clean economy endangers American  prosperity,” as The New York Times wrote it. And now we have U. S. military leaders putting out their concerns about climate change. We wonder if President-elect Trump has the capacity to understand that climate change is not a “hoax,” as he called it in the campaign?

• Spreading a little sunshine for the Earth post presidential election, we were delighted to see U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken decide in favor of 21 youth plaintiffs in their constitutional climate lawsuit against the president, federal agencies and the fossil fuel industry. The suit can now move forward in the courts.

We are in shock at the dawning of a Trump presidency and all that we stand to lose: Roe v. Wade, civil rights, immigration reform, media freedom, minority representation, climate change, the list goes on. The path to resistance becomes clear.

• What happened in the Portland courtroom that caused the jury to acquit Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their accomplices in the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon? One theory is that the prosecution aimed too high with the charges. Another is that Judge Anna Brown should have removed two jurors instead of one when she received a complaint of bias, although that may not have affected the outcome.

• In case you have been misled by mainstream media or TV ads to think Dennis Richardson is a reasonable candidate to be Oregon’s secretary of state, heed this message from Rep. Phil Barnhart: “I have known both major party candidates for many years.

• A curious line of reasoning is leading some Oregon editorial writers to say we need to elect some Oregon Republicans on Nov. 8 to check and balance one-party rule. The Oregon Republican Party no longer reflects Oregon values like Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield did. Art Robinson, recent chair of the Oregon GOP running for the fourth time against Peter DeFazio, does not reflect Oregon values. If you listened to the City Club of Eugene forum Oct. 14 between Republican Kathy Lamberg and Democrat Julie Fahey, you must have been shocked, as we were, at the gap between the two women.

• We left the 4th district candidate forum sponsored by the City Club of Eugene Oct. 7 hoping that Congressman Peter DeFazio lives a very long time with the “energy and determination for the job” he says he still has. Republican Art Robinson, positively Trumpian in his attack, is running against Pete for the fourth time and promises to continue, lest any moderate R would like to run.

Great egrets with their all-white plumage are drifting back into the Willamette Valley for the winter. We see them around Fern Ridge, in oaks and wetlands along the Long Tom River, about the same size as the great blue heron. Wildlife biologists tell us more have been coming here, but they don’t know why. Plume hunting for women’s hats nearly wiped out this beautiful bird, but the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1913 saved them.

•  Donald Trump’s run for the presidency happened largely because the Republican Party strategically sold the American people on distrust and hatred for their government and attempted to destroy public education. Trump demonstrated all those values and worse in the Sept. 26 debate against Hillary Clinton. The media has enabled Trump through false equivalencies, such as trying to portray Clinton as just as prone to being untruthful as the Donald.

• If you are desperate to do something, anything, to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton, here’s an avenue: Start phone-banking for Hillary, especially to critical swing states Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Nevada. Plug in by stopping at the coordinated campaign office, 131 E. 11th Avenue, or phoning 541-623-0330, or emailing Chris@forwardoregon.org. We’re lucky to live in Oregon, which will not be a Trump state, but the tech allows us to work across state lines. All signs point to a perilously close race. Every phone call will help.

• Two solid sources give us a sweet scenario floating around out there in political circles. If Brad Avakian, current Oregon labor commissioner, wins the secretary of state contest in November, who will complete his term? Lane County’s own Val Hoyle, of course. She left her seat in the Legislature to run against Avakian for secretary of state, lost, and is looking for a new job. Hoyle, who comes from a New England Democratic labor background, would be an excellent labor commissioner. But first Avakian has to win the secretary of state race. We’re voting for him.