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• 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.

• We’ll bend a knee with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback stirring up the conservative sports world with his visual statement against racism in America. He’s kneeling, not standing for the “Star Spangled Banner” and taking frightening flak for it. Bravo to his coach Chip Kelly, well known to Eugeneans, who affirmed free speech in America, as did President Obama and some other sports stars like Megan Rapinoe, the great soccer player. Makes no sense, but we were pleased to see the 49ers win last Thursday.

• It’s the season for senior photos. South Eugene High School senior Jillian Henry headed over to Mount Pisgah for some shots of her in the wild. She got more than she bargained for when a naked man and his dog photobombed her shots. She posted them on Twitter with the comment “Love my senior pics.” The images have been retweeted more then 25,000 times and gotten more than 70,000 likes, and the story has been picked up at Jezebel, Buzzfeed, The Oregonian and in the UK. Way to start your senior year with a bang! 

• Thumbs up for President Obama’s Justice Department’s decision to end the management of federal prisons by private groups. How did we ever start that in the first place? The drive for profit was certain to fuel the drive for more prisoners serving more time. We understand that Oregon has no privately run prisons. Thumbs up for that, too.

• While we welcome the recent re-embracing of long-form journalism, we weren’t impressed by The Oregonian’s recent and massive “Firestorm” piece. Fire is a huge concern in Oregon, but The O put thousands of words into laying blame on how the Malheur National Forest attacked last year’s Canyon Complex fires on Oregon’s east side, accusing firefighters of being timid, rather than examining how climate change and a lack of fire let those fires get so big in the first place.

• It’s Oregon summer. That means juicy blackberries, SLUG queen coronations and outdoor parties. The Eugene Celebration and its hokey but awesome parade have disappeared, the Festival of Eugene lasted only two years before falling apart in a storm of racism allegations, but the Whiteaker Block Party thrives. Can Eugene bring its downtown festival back? Last weekend marked the 10-year success of the Whit Block Party with its free entry, and that might have some lessons for party planners. Come party with the SLUG queens 6 pm, Friday, Aug.

• Two prominent political scientists who grew up in Eugene published an op-ed piece in the Sunday, July 31, edition of The New York Times arguing that states dominated by Democrats, blue states, are “generally better for your well-being.” Paul Pierson, political science professor at Berkeley, and Jacob Hacker, of Yale, use a powerful graph to illustrate their point.

• We’re proud to be a part of the political revolution led by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and millions of other Americans, many of them young and new to political action. And, as they passionately advise, this November we should do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and to elect Hillary Clinton. Clinton should handily win blue Oregon, but what can we do to help her outside our state? And what can we do to elect Democrats in the Senate? We especially feel the urgency when it comes to Supreme Court appointments.

 

The Republican National Convention is underway and we are already speechless. Let’s just start with asking how in the world an orange charlatan like Donald Trump has gotten within inches of one of the most powerful positions in the world? Plagiarized speeches, men walking around open carrying rifles. Watching coverage of the RNC, it’s hard to differentiate between the comedians and the journalists because the comedy writes itself. Trouble is, it’s not funny if anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, pro-hate Trump takes office.

• The Portland daily newspaper is not known for its affection for the University of Oregon, but President Michael Schill clearly won over reporter Andrew Theen for his page one story in the July 1 Oregonian. It’s a good read, portraying the new pres as a smart, very hardworking, skilled fundraiser who truly intends to lift the academic side of the university. The closing sentence quotes a former colleague who says, “I think Oregon got really lucky.”

• The Lane County Board of Commissioners’ June 28 discussion of giving themselves the authority to block some local ballot measures has us floored. Did it get forgotten by four of the five commissioners that Oregon citizens have a right to the initiative process that is protected in the state Constitution? Read more here.

 

• Eugene Weekly headed to Seattle June 18 for the annual Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism awards, which are, according to SPJ, the “the largest of its kind in the nation, with 2,300 entrants and 150 categories.” In the category of Health Reporting, EW staff writer Rick Levin took home a second place award for “The Art of Recovery: Turning Addiction into Art with Transformational Personal Theater,” a feature from January 2015 about a local theater group who uses art therapy for people in recovery.

• Guns and hate. We are so tired of being speechless about mass murders. The June 12 attack on the gay and Latinx (aka Latino/a) community at a gay Orlando nightclub by an American man of Afghan heritage has been called a case of “homegrown terrorism.” Look at Orlando (current toll 49 dead, more than 50 wounded), look at San Bernardino, (14 dead, 20 wounded), Colorado (12 dead, 58 wounded), Newtown (28 dead, 2 wounded). All massacres with assault-style rifles. This was an act of hate at a place the queer community should have felt safe.

• Calls to EW’s front desk can be crazy and fun. The latest comes from a reader (maybe) wondering what
kind of paper and ink goes into our finished product. He has been using EW to start his barbecue, and the food is tasting bad. Oops! We recommend trying The Register-Guard or The Oregonian.

 

Established power and corporate Oregon are mobilizing strategically to defeat IP 28, the value-added tax almost sure to be on the ballot in November. The Oregonian in Portland has been editorializing and writing against it for months. The strategy is to convince voters that this is really only a sales tax, not exactly a favorite in this state.

• If EW or a member of the public files a public records request about City Hall, could we trust the findings provided by the city? Could we afford to file the request if the city deemed it not in the “public interest?” And what about Kesey Square (aka Broadway Plaza)? Is it safe from becoming an apartment building? How do we have confidence in our government if decisions that affect our community seem to be made in secret?

• Bernie fans whooped it up when Sanders won the primary in Oregon May 17. Also whooping it up, albeit more quietly, was Eugene mayoral candidate Lucy Vinis, who unofficially as of press time scored 52.82 percent of the vote, beating candidate Mike Clark and holding more than the 50-plus-one-percent of the vote needed to not face a challenger in the fall. 

 • The primary election is Tuesday, May 17, if you haven’t handed in your ballot yet, do it now! Vote! Don’t feel you know the candidates? Take a minute to glance at your Voters Pamphlet and EW’s endorsements and coverage. In our local primary election just one vote really can make the difference between who gets elected mayor, put on the City Council or is the next president. The Democratic Party of Lane County will be holding an official election night watch party at the Wild Duck Cafe starting at 7:30 pm with many candidates attending.

As we go to press, rumors are becoming more concrete that short-fingered vulgarian and presidential hopeful Donald Trump will make an appearance in Eugene the evening of Friday, May 6. A nonviolent counter-protest is in the works with more than 300 people signed on. Search “Drumpf in Eugene” on Facebook to find the event. 


Thumbs up for the civil political discourse in our community, compared to much of the country these days.

• April marks the passing of two longtime Lane County residents who made the world a better place. Jan Wroncy of Forestland Dwellers fought chemical sprays for years in the courts and through her research and advocacy. Wroncy and her partner Gary Hale, through their group Forestland Dwellers, have compiled and provided EW with a schedule of planned pesticide sprays for more than 10 years. Hale tells us Wroncy passed away Saturday afternoon, April 16, “after a long struggle to recover from multiple strokes.

• We are cheering the youth of Our Children’s Trust for their victory against the fossil fuel industry and a government that is dragging its feet on climate change! On April 8, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon, decided in favor of 21 young people and scientist James Hansen and on behalf of future generations.