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• The recent independent survey on West Eugene EmX shows residents are split in their overall opinion of the extension. No surprise there. But if you break down the questionnaire, you see some basic values showing up that LTD should find encouraging, and those values should get the attention of city councilors who are still on the fence about extending EmX.

We have ranted for years about better connecting the UO and downtown, about encouraging infill rather than pushing out the urban growth boundary (UGB), about education being Eugene and Springfield’s premier industry. So, moment of truth: In spite of objections, mostly from the left, we still support the Capstone project, high-end housing for as many as 1,200 students on the old Eugene Hospital and Clinic site on Willamette Street. Lots of valid issues are bubbling up. Too big? Bad design? Too much parking? Too far from campus? Adequate staffing to oversee student behavior?

• Big question marks and plenty of politics are ahead for the judiciary in Eugene. Presiding Judge Mary Ann Bearden announced March 6 that she’s resigning effective April 1 after 14 years in the Lane County Circuit Court. That means Gov. Kitzhaber will pick a new circuit judge right away and the powerful presiding position will change this spring. Over at the U.S. Courthouse, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan is going on senior status, to be succeeded by one of five nominees from Sens. Wyden and Merkley.

• It’s time to stop this odd connection between the exclusion zone and the shortage of jail beds. Deciding between safety and the Fourth Amendment is a false choice. The council vote this week to extend the Downtown Public Safety Zone (aka exclusion zone) until November isn’t as bad as it could have been, but seven more months of an unconstitutional lack of due process is four years too long. Kudos to Councilors Betty Taylor and Mike Clark for their no votes. 

• What’s up with the R-G’s beef with Commissioner Pete Sorenson? The daily is filling its pages with unrelenting spin trying to sway the public into thinking Lane County’s green and liberal commissioner is somehow both a political mastermind and utterly incompetent. To read the Feb. 18 R-G article about the Democratic Party of Lane County (DPLC) endorsements, you would think Sorenson engineered the whole event just to get a nod from the Dems. And you’d think the reporter who wrote it actually showed up to the event he was writing about. Apparently not. 

• We’re sad to hear of the passing of Svitlana Kravchenko, the much-lauded director of the UO’s masters program in environmental and natural resources law. She died Feb. 10 in Eugene at the too-young age of 62. She was known worldwide for her strong advocacy for reforming public policy on environmental matters. She traveled and lectured in dozens of countries and authored 12 books and hundreds of academic articles.

Great to watch the Ducks do their thing at the Rose Bowl game that left a lot of us without fingernails. One of the most entertaining moments was the fourth-quarter fumble recovery by Duck Michael Clay right in front of Chip Kelly on the sidelines. The excited coach was bouncing up and down like a Jack Russell terrier. The guy’s got legs. Congrats to the whole team for a memorable season.