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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. 

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

Bright young talents conquer Broadway with hip new streetwise music: Seven decades before Hamilton, 25-year-old composer Leonard Bernstein and his upstart young (average age 27) drinking buddies — singer-songwriter-comedians Betty Comden and Adolph Green and choreographer Jerome Robbins — blitzed wartime Broadway with On the Town.

A fun game: Listen to "Weird Al" Yankovic and take him deadly serious. Forget that he’s built a career lifting popular tunes from artists like Michael Jackson or Pharrell Williams. In 1988, Weird Al lampooned Jackson’s “Bad” with “Fat,” and on Yankovic’s 2014 release Mandatory Fun, he borrowed Pharrell’s “Happy” and made it “Tacky.” 

If you’re sailing down the Willamette River through Corvallis, don’t be surprised when you hear distant piano music. No, it’s not some river ghost — it’s probably the Barker Gypsies. 

If you’ve spent time in a city, even little Eugene, you know the main characters on the sidewalk: the kid looking to bum a cigarette; the person staked out on a corner trying to convince you that the world is doomed; and the folks just angling to get you to buy their stuff. 

ALL BLACK LIVES

I read with great interest the recent cover story [“Black Lives Matter,” 7/14], particularly the article by Camilla Mortensen in which she described an unspoken but implied fourth word: “Black lives matter, too.” That is certainly the way I have always heard the slogan.

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

Star Trek Beyond soared into theaters last weekend under the weight of 50 years of expectations. Some were notably lower after the mess that was 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness. Some can never be met; those belong to the old guard who would rather the movies be more like (one of) the series. When Justin Lin was announced as Beyond’s director, there was a certain amount of groaning online: “It’s just going to be Fast and Furious in space!” 

Sniffng out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

The only thing certain about Eugene City Hall right now is that the city doesn’t have one. What the city does have are some ideas about how a new City Hall can be integrated into planning the land swap with Lane County.

The old City Hall building was torn down last year, and the price for building a new one is mounting. After the latest bid came in from McKenzie Commercial Contractors for $18.2 million, about $3 million more than anticipated — bringing the total cost up to around $28 million factoring in design and demolition — the Eugene City Council voted 7-1 to reject the bid at a July 18 meeting.

Toxins are everywhere. In Portland, the discovery and subsequent cover-up of high levels of lead in the drinking water of public schools led to Portland Superintendent Carole Smith’s resignation July 18.

Here in Lane County, school districts are in the midst of testing drinking fountains and faucets for elevated levels of lead.

In 2014, Crystal Webb left Alabama, landed in Eugene and moved in with a friend to kick her opiate and crystal meth addiction. 

Making the decision to get distance from an environment in which she found herself intertwined with drugs and dealers was a significant step if she wanted to get clean. Webb says she locked herself away for a month and slept. 

“It was painful, but so was using, so I guess maybe I might have been a little conditioned,” she says. “When using, every come-down was painful, so I knew what to expect, just not how long it would take.” 

A month after the oil train fire in Mosier along the Columbia River, activist groups such as 350 Eugene are upset with the government’s lack of progress and accountability for oil train accidents. 

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which called for stricter railroad safety regulations to be implemented by the end of 2015. The new regulations have not been met and the deadline has been extended to 2018. 

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call 503-986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 36, 99, 105 and 126 were recently sprayed.

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.

• There will be a peaceful “Rally for Black Lives” 5 pm Thursday, July 21, in front of Lane County Correctional Facilities at 101 W. 5th Avenue in Eugene, Community Alliance of Lane County tells EW. The rally is followed by a march to Kesey Square.

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 Lauren Moore was 6 years old, her mother, Anne Marie, suggested that she try a class at the U.S. TaeKwonDo College. “I liked it,” Lauren reports. “We were totally sedentary,” says her father, Michael Moore, who spends his working days on a computer. He decided to enroll as well and also recruited his mother Bonnie Moore, a Eugene native and a pharmacist. She calls it “a great family activity.” 

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. 

When folks who were born into the post-Woodstock era need a pop song that says “chill out, relax, you’ve got this,” chances are they sing the theme from TV show Greatest American Hero. Devon Geyer’s dad wrote that iconic TV tune. Geyer is the main man behind L.A. pop project Decorations, whose full-length debut, Have Fun, is out now on Frenchkiss Records.

Many have claimed that Bollywood — India’s film industry — is bigger than Hollywood, yet Bollywood rarely enters our orbit here in the states. It’s too bad; Bollywood has cultivated a fabulous, colorful and often over-the-top silly world of music, dance and community.

In 2010, an earthquake ripped through Haiti and caused widespread devastation. Most of us saw the news reports, but what the headlines missed was the creative Haitian culture that Mother Nature could not shut down. 

BUTT SEX

Lon, [Letters 6/30] when I was reading your response to the editor in the Weekly I opened up the Bible and opened it to Ezekiel Chapter 16. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”