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DEAR READERS: This is the final week of my summer vacation—but you’ve been getting a new column every week I’ve been gone, all of them written by Dan Savage, none of them written by me.

I’m not a fan of HRC. 

But I’m no Bernie-for-the-revolution person either. 

No election will bring us the revolution we need. Even electing Jill Stein or Sanders would do the same as electing the “Hope” and “Change” of Obama. 

There is the letter of the law, then there’s the spirit. Rep. Lew Frederick, the Oregon House’s only African American legislator, was the guiding force behind two new Oregon laws: HB 2655 (the testing opt-out bill of rights) and HB 2713 (the testing cost audit bill). 

The spirit behind the two new laws is clear: To honestly examine the costs, both financial and otherwise, of the standardized testing that dominates Oregon education and to allow parents and students to make their own informed decisions about what kind of education is best for them. 

DEAR READERS: I’m on vacation for three weeks—but you won’t be reading old columns in my absence, and you won’t be reading columns by anyone who isn’t Dan Savage. You’ll be reading new columns, all of them written by Dan Savage, none of them written by me.

The mosquito fern that covered the eastside Delta Ponds’ surfaces with dramatic purple the past two winters had nearly disappeared by late spring of this year. The duckweed family overtook the mosquito fern and turned the ponds green, much to the gustatory delight of the waterfowl. Suddenly, in July, the mosquito fern has made a resurgence and may regain dominance; observations to come. Even the green is different. Instead of common duckweed, the green is dominated by the tiny water meal (Wolffia) of the flowering duckweed family.

Your Queen and Mine of the Society for the Legitimization of Ubiquitous Gastropods, Markalo Parkalo, wishes to convey warmest wishes, solstice celebration and official offerings herewith:

First, thank you for your support of my favorite nonprofit: LILA (Lane Independent Living Alliance).

Because of Orlando.

Because just yesterday I reverted and referred to my wife as “my partner.” 

Because my gay friend’s 70-year-old lesbian sister has yet to come out of the closet.

DEAR READERS: I’m on vacation for the next three weeks—but you won’t be reading old columns while I’m away. You’ll be getting a new column every week, all of them written by Dan Savage, none of them written by me.

On Aug. 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb rendered Hiroshima a scorched plain and burned tens of thousands in its flames. By year’s end, 140,000 irreplaceable lives had been taken. Those who managed to survive, their lives grotesquely distorted, were left to suffer serious physical and emotional aftereffects compounded by discrimination and prejudice. Nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and the ultimate inhumanity. 

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) can most accurately be summed up as a conglomerate of protests. This wasn’t simply a coming-together of Democratic delegates casting their pledged vote. This was a rallying point for many groups to come together and express their displeasure, and often rage, at a system they have grown frustrated with. 

The Lane County Board of Commissioners, at the behest of Dennis Morgan, a local businessman and conservative political activist, is considering a proposal to grant themselves authority to review Lane County citizen initiatives, which have met all legal standards for placement on the ballot. The proposal would allow the board to declare that an initiative does not meet the board standard for “county concern” and, thereby, to bar it from the ballot. 

I’m 28 years old and live in the Midwest. I’m intersex, but I identify as female. I am not out about being born intersex. Due to surgeries and hormones, I look like a fairly attractive female. I have been hanging out with a chill hetero guy, and things are getting very flirty. Is it unethical of me to not disclose my intersex-ness to him?

In New Terrific Erotic Romance

The Lane County Commission is considering a proposed ordinance that would give five elected officials a stranglehold over the people’s local initiative power.

Let’s be clear: The initiative and referendum power belongs to the people free from government interference, as recognized by the Oregon Constitution. The people’s right to circulate petitions is core political speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

When I was in the Oregon Legislature 20 years ago, I wrote an “insider baseball” perspective for EW on how ideas become bills, and how bills become laws. Out of office now for 12 years and retired for a year, some bills still piss me off.

Gov. Kate Brown has a credibility problem now that she can’t seem to shake. It’s like a zombie wolf. It was supposed to be a dead issue. House Bill 4040 passed during the 2016 legislative session and was signed into law by Brown over the objection of a majority of Oregon House and Senate Democrats, one principled Democratic congressman and most Oregon animal rights advocates and conservation groups. 

I’m sorry if my English is wrong. I’m writing from Germany, where I am being heartbroken and not knowing how to go on. I’ve been seeing a guy for a couple of months and slowly falling in love with him. “Peter” has always been very open to me about himself, his failed relationships, and his commitment issues. He talks frequently about his ex-boyfriend from five years ago and how being left created a deep fear of being left once again. He also had a relationship that ended a year ago.

With the British electorate’s dramatic and unexpected decision to pull out of the European Union, The New York Times reports that “the same yawning gap between the elite and mass opinion is fueling a populist backlash” all across Europe and the United States. 

I’m in my mid-40s, straight, never married. Ten months ago, my girlfriend of three years dumped me. She got bored with the relationship and is generally not the marrying type. The breakup was amicable. I still love her and miss her. Last week, I wrote her a letter saying that I still love her and want us to get back together. She wrote me a nice letter back saying she doesn’t feel passion for me and we’re never getting back together. Over the past few months, I’ve started dating another girl. She’s pretty, smart, sexy, and kind.

By July, gardens are burgeoning with flowers and vegetables. They will thrive through the summer only if we pay diligent attention to adequate watering. Digital hose timers are great for extended trips out of town. We also have to deal with combatting weeds and pests. I wrestle with use of poisons. Slug bait offends my organic sensibilities but it seems the only effective way to keep snails away from our hostas and lilies.

Here we go again — up to 30 more years of urban renewal, because “the city concludes that the entire urban renewal area is blighted.” After 48 years and approximately $130 million (surely over a quarter of a billion dollars adjusted for inflation), the total taxable valuation of all of the property in the district is not even equal to the inflation-adjusted tax money we have poured into it. 

In a recent review article about forest thinning and its effectiveness to reduce wildfire severity and spread in Forest Ecology and Management, the researchers came to a conclusion with regards to reducing fire risk and effects that “thinning alone had either less of an effect or none at all, compared to untreated sites.”

I want my country back. I want the country where “All My Relations” meant an expanded humanity that lives in kinship with other life forms as relatives, not resources. That recognizes that humans in particular are relatives to be nurtured and cared for, not resources to be enslaved or exploited. When enslavement, exploitation or terror happens, that the solution to oppression is to become more humane than your oppressors. 

My wife and I have been married for 14 years and in a committed (I assumed) relationship for 17 years. Sex between us (often kinky) has always been great. We have a wonderful life together and two perfect children. I thought we were good; turns out things were too good to be true. I learned recently that my wife has been unfaithful to me throughout our marriage. She began an affair with an older man soon before we were married, and they were physically intimate for five years, including bondage and a Master/sub relationship.

Summer is here, with heat that is ripening berries and tomatoes. For we locavores, lovers and eaters of local food, paradise is at hand. However, local farm fresh foods are still far from the default choice for most, and for many households, fresh produce is unaffordable. 

To help get more locally grown fruits and vegetables into the hands of those struggling to put food on the table, Willamette Farm and Food Coalition is partnering with the Lane County Farmers Market to bring Double Up Food Bucks to Lane County.