The West Wing fans rejoice (and Obama haters, go ahead, crack a smile this is fun): With a hat tip to both President Andrew Jackson's 1837 1,400 pound block of cheese and to The West Wing episode in which interest groups who didn't normally get White House access got heard, on Jan. 29, "White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answer questions from everyday Americans."
According to the White House Blog, "dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter,Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and via Google+ Hangout."
The White House announced this plan with a video starring Bradley Whiford (Josh Lyman) and Joshua Malina (Will Bailey). I was always a Sam Seaborn fan, but Josh had his boyish charm, back then.
The Eugene Human Rights Commission has weighed in on the city's plan to shut down and fence off the Whoville homeless camp, according to an email circulating on Facebook pages that call for aiding the unhoused of Eugene.
January 22, 2014
Dear Mayor, CIty Councilors, and City Manager,
The Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) is very concerned with the health and safety of the 40 to 50 residents of Whoville at Broadway and Hilyard. We understand at EPD plans to close the protest camp down and disperse its residents. Among Whoville's residents are people who are disabled, some in wheel chairs, as well as people who suffer from severe mental health issues and substance abuse problems. Such people are often not readily accommodated by shelter services even when beds are available. It is not clear where the residents will go if the camp is shut down.
The HRC unanimously recommends that the following immediate action be taken: Rescind current plans to close Whoville and allow those who presently reside there to remain. This could be done in a number of ways, including a mayoral declaration of a housing emergency that would allow people to stay at Whoville legally. We believe the Whoville residents should be permitted to remain until adequate and accessible alternatives are available.
We also recommend that the City expand the number of operating Rest Stops to at least four. On sis already open. However, specific reasons cited at our HRC meeting by the unhoused and their advocates regarding the City-approved Northwest Expressway site make it unviable as a second site. We believe three additional Rest Stop sites should be established including the site at 8th and Mill favored by advocates for the homeless before closure of the Whoville location is considered. Inclusion of such advocates in the selection of additional sites may expedite the selection process.
From a human rights perspective, a perspective mandated by Eugene's revised Human Rights Ordinance and to which the HRC is highly committed, the recommended actions fall short of fulfilling the human right to housing. However these actions are important steps toward recognizing the basic human right of every person to life, health, and personal security.
Andrew Thomson, Chair
Chris Nunes, Vice Chair
Eugene Human Rights Commission
The HRC is recuiting for four new members to serve on the commission, the application period ends March 28.
A little musical primer on coal trains in the Pacific Northwest and grassroots effort to stop them performed by Counterfeit Cash.
Celebrations of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in Springfield and Eugene had big turnouts today, but it looks like you can't celebrate MLK without a racist-type or two showing up. A bagpipe-playing kilt-wearing couple serenaded Springfield while wielding a sign saying "'Diversity' is a code word for white genocide."
EW has heard allegations that this is the same man who hung the banner over I-5 in Springfield in September 2013 that read "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white" and that the man in question intends to run for mayor. Anyone know if those allegations are true?
Photo credit: Dana Jo Cook
And you thought "Double D Blond" was eyeroll-worthy. Hop Valley got some bad press when Rebecca Rose of Jezebel wrote about a post from Beervana's Jeff Alworth that claimed the real name of Hop Valley's "Mr. IPA" is "Mouth Raper." Alworth cited an alias page from ratebeer.com as proof, and a commenter added that she'd looked up the brew on Untapped after seeing it on Twitter as "Mouth Raper," and all the reviews there listed that as its name.
Hop Valley says it's just "Mr. IPA." The brewery posted a response on Facebook:
We have a series of draft beers named Mr. Orange, Mr. Black and Mr. IPA. It has come to our attention that an urban myth and street name has emerged surrounding Mr. IPA. We take this very seriously and are sensitive to these issues. Accordingly, we have pulled the product and are instructing our distributors to replace any remaining kegs with other offerings. We apologize for any harm or misunderstandings this has created.
Commenter Dana Garves replied to Hop Valley's post, accusing the brewery of lying rather than admitting its mistake. The comments were later taken down, and Garves says she did not delete them herself. A couple of other comments skeptical of the apology are still up as of 1:30 pm Friday, Jan. 17. Here's what Garves originally posted:
Maybe Hop Valley can brew some special batches named for feminist superheroes or something? I'd buy that, even if it was an IPA.
If you're curious about "School Days," the Linda Cunningham artwork that was banned from an Emerald Art Center show for its commentary on gun violence, head to New Zone Gallery, where's its now on display. Our Slant column from the 1-9 issue made an open plea calling for another gallery to display the work. Kudos to New Zone Gallery, home of the Salon de Refusés, for embracing thought-provoking art.
The local case of censorship is also getting national attention.
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) — "an alliance of over 50 national non-profit organizations united in defense of free expression" — blogged about the censorship incident here. Today, Jan. 16, the NCAC Arts Advocacy Project sent a letter to the Emerald Art Center board. The NCAC writes:
"We urge you to revise your exhibition policies toassure that the Emerald Art Center does not become a repressive censor, trampling the artistic freedom of its own members. Such a revision would assure the continuing viability and prosperity of the EAC as a place of artistic excellence thatwould attract new members, rather than lose current ones.
'School Days' brings awareness to the continuing threat of gun violence in schools, a message that the Center’s coordinator agreed was 'important' and that most people considered 'powerful.' According to press reports, however, the Board found the piece 'too controversial' and 'inappropriate' for the members’ show.
Art that engages in issues that we all care about inevitably elicits emotional response: sometimes it elates, at other times it disturbs, but it always provokes though: this is what art is supposed to do. By labeling such art as inappropriate andcensoring it, the Emerald Art Center is doing a disservice to all Association members and is also jeopardizing its position as a relevant cultural institution."
The letter was signed by over 10 local artists including Rogene Manas and Jud Turner, who cancled an upcoming show at the EAC because of the censorship.
You can read the entire NCAC letter here.
"New Jersey … only the strong survive." I read that on a T-shirt once. (I think it was the same batch of state shirts that also included "Idaho? No, You da ho.") Bruce Springsteen and the Sopranos have made Jersey famous. Bridge-blocking Gov. Chris Christie makes it infamous.
This in from Rep. Peter DeFazio's office today:
DeFazio Encourages President Obama to Adopt GMO Labeling Standards
Washington, DC – Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) joined members of Congress and more than 200 businesses and organizations today to support a letter sent to President Obama. The letter encourages the President to fulfill his 2007 pledge to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopt a national mandatory GMO labeling system.
Signatories of the letter include Oregon Tilth, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown, Inc., Applegate, Stonyfield Farm, Nature’s Path Foods, the Center for Food Safety, Just Label It, and Environmental Working Group.
Rep. DeFazio has long supported a standard that would empower consumers to know what’s in the food they eat. In April 2013, he and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, legislation that would require the FDA to clearly label genetically engineered (GE) foods. Rep. DeFazio’s House bill has 50 co-sponsors.
While the FDA requires the labeling of more than 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes, the agency has resisted labels for genetically modified food.
“It’s time the FDA’s policies reflect 21st century food technologies. After all, twenty years ago they didn’t have corn that could produce its own insecticide,” DeFazio said. “Plain and simple, this is about consumer rights. People should have the ability to make an informed choice about what they feed their family and we know it’s not an impossible request of food manufacturers, because they already label GMOs in more than sixty countries. Food manufacturers can and should offer that same standard right here in the U.S.”
You can find a link to the letter to President Obama here.
Eugene camps are examined in this new documentary.
This is an update email sent to supporters of a popular Douglas County park that is facing a proposed 20-acre logging operation:
The 1,100-acre Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park near Oakland had strong public support at the Jan. 8 Douglas County commissioners meeting. Almost a hundred people squeezed into the meeting room, with dozens of people providing comments that Mildred’s park should not be clearcut. Facing those masses, the county commissioners decided to postpone their decision to clearcut or not, for one week.
As planned, the County Parks Advisory Committee submitted their recommendation to the commissioners to clearcut 20-acres of a native 100- to 150-year-old conifer forest in the park. Originally, the parks director had asked for a one-time logging operation, just once, so the profits could be used to build a campground, and the campground would finance park management into the future. But the recommendation presented on Wednesday was changed to allow continued logging in the park, eliminating the one-time-only constraint.
While much of Kanipe Park is an oak savannah/woodland forest, there are 221 acres of native conifer forests identified as merchantable in a 2008 timber inventory taken by the Douglas County Parks director.
The Commissioners still need to hear from you that clearcutting in the Mildred Kanipe Park is inappropriate. Come to the commissioner's meeting, 9 am Wednesday, Jan. 15, Room 216, Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 SE Douglas, Roseburg, and/or e-mail the commissioners with your thoughts (email addresses at end). The commissioners need to be reminded that a majority of the public is opposed to clearcutting any part of Kanipe Park!
The park is a famous equestrian park throughout the state, with horse lovers often visiting from Eugene and Portland. It is also a draw for hikers, bicyclists, students and nature lovers.
There have been previous proposals to log Kanipe, but they were stopped by public opinion and by the terms of the Trust Mildred Kanipe. Her will stipulated: “No timber shall be cut or harvested except as may be necessary.” In a book interview Mildred said, about cutting the conifer forests, “I wasn’t going to cut those trees, those fir trees. I was always crazy about trees.”
But in August 2012 the Trust was dissolved. The county is no longer bound by her will and is free to convert all the native conifer forests into plantations. The County says this clearcut is needed to finance a new campground, which will help sustain Kanipe Park financially.
However, a clearcut is not necessary to do this. Concerned citizens have come up with another plan. It involves public contributions, in-kind donations, and grants. Since October 2013, more than $27,000 in pledges and cash has been donated from people throughout the state, with additional in-kind donations.
The vommissioners listened to this information at the meeting, but they asked no questions. On the other hand, they were very interested in the Parks Director (a professional timber manager used to clearcutting forests) talk about an itty-bitty clearcut that wouldn’t hurt anything.
The commissioners need to hear from us that there are doable solutions to keeping Mildred Kanipe Park funded with a campground built from public donations, not with a clearcut. Please come back to the next Commissioners meeting on Jan. 15, or email them your thoughts.
Some issues you could include:
• The county doesn’t need to log the Park. People are fundraising to pay for the campground. This is a remarkable public effort that the commissioners should welcome. Once the money is raised for the campground, the commissioners should not clearcut, especially without a long-term management plan for the Park.
• Mildred Kanipe Park is the only county park required to be self-supporting. The parks director believes timber money should support the park, so he has chosen not to use other revenue opportunities, like donation boxes, parking fees, the Opportunity Grant, General Fund money, or options to move Kanipe Park into the Oregon State Parks system. The county should not be so quick to clearcut without pursuing all reasonable alternatives.
• The proposal includes building an expensive new logging road, mapped to go through the heart of the park, winding through oak woodlands and over parts of Fern Woods Trail. Many large oaks would need to be cut down. It would be unsightly and lead park visitors right into the clearcut.
• The new road will travel over a stream that feeds Bachelor Creek, a salmon-bearing tributary of the Umpqua. Crossing the stream requires building on steep, erodible hillsides, with a new culvert, needing a lifetime of road maintenance. Once the trees are cut, how will the county fund the logging road maintenance?
• The county plans to ground spray herbicides on the new clearcut for several years. How will this herbicide impact people using the park, especially people drawn into the clearcut area, via the new road, after it is sprayed?
What you can do:
Please come and support speakers, or speak, at the Jan. 15 commissioners meeting. Public comments start at 9:00 a.m.
Email the county commissioners: Susan Morgan, Joe Laurance and Doug Robertson:
Write a letter to The News Review: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information see: http://www.mildredkanipepark.org.
To pledge a donation, send an email to: email@example.com.
To see pictures of the proposed new road and unit to be clearcut, see:
This day in history.