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May 2, 2017 10:57 AM

 

About 50 people gathered in downtown Eugene today for a May Day rally in support of workers and immigrants.

 

Phil Carrasco, a local Latino community and labor organizer, says the rally “was to celebrate our workers.”

 

“We want to make sure that we are talking about the least fortunate among us,” Carrasco says. “The one’s that get the types of jobs that everyone says — American’s don’t want to do those jobs.”

 

The rally featured speakers from the Latino community, who highlighted the problems faced by immigrant workers.

 

“This is not so much a time to focus on Donald Trump,” Johanis Tadeo says. “This is the stuff that we have been facing before Donald Trump, this is a time to focus on ourselves and grow within ourselves as a community.”

 

Tadeo is the organizer of Springfield/Eugene’s City Wide MEChA and a community organizer at Community Alliance of Lane County.

 

Ali Doerr says that it is important for her to support this cause and the activists fighting for immigrant and labor rights. She attended the demonstration to show her support for the immigrant community. Doerr says, “because I have white privilege I feel like I need to stand up and show my support.” Doerr is a senior studying Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon.

 

While the rally did garner some friendly honks and thumbs-ups, there was one man in a gray SUV who heckled the demonstrators yelling “build the wall” as he drove by. No one responded to the taunt.

 

Unlike May Day rallies in Portland, Paris and around the world, Eugene's rally stayed peaceful.

 

Alex Aguilar, a Springfield high school student and youth coordinator for City Wide MECha, emphasized the importance of raising a voice for those who cannot. “We’ve been sleeping too much,” Aguilar says. “We need to speak for people who can’t because they might be scared to speak up.”

 

Carrasco says he was happy with the turnout and is looking forward to seeing the May Day event grow in the future.

 

“It would have been nice to have 7,000 people, that would have been awesome,” Carrasco says. “But as long as we are getting the message out to people that is what’s important.”

 

May 1, 2017 04:22 PM

The Lane County Board majority plans to vote on Tuesday, May 2,  to "join a group of development industries, from gravel mining onward, in suing FEMA to stop hard-won environmental gains in floodplain habitat protections," according to an email from Kevin Matthews, a former and, he says, future for the East Lane County commissioner seat.

The email, and call to action, that Matthews sent it below.

In their Tuesday morning meeting, the Lane County Board majority plans to vote to join a group of development industries, from gravel mining onward, in suing FEMA to stop hard-won environmental gains in floodplain habitat protections.

Please come if you can to Harris Hall at 9am on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 to tell the county commissioners:

   "PLEASE STOP WASTING COUNTY STAFF TIME AND DOLLARS TO HURT
    WILD SALMON.  LET THE HOMEBUILDERS AND GRAVEL MINERS PAY
    FOR THEIR OWN ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUIT."

That's the bottom line.

The details get complicated ― not by accident ― so here's a bit of summary.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by FEMA, subsidizes risky and damaging floodplain development by providing public insurance for development in flood-prone areas.

You mean, regular folks can't get government insurance against cancer, even at cost, but developers can get subsidized public insurance for building where it's too dangerous otherwise?

Yup. But I digress .. .sort of.

Anyway, "in 2010 FEMA entered into a settlement agreement with Audubon Society of Portland, North West Environmental Defense Center, the National Wildlife Federation, and Association of Northwest Steelheaders. FEMA accepted the concerns raised by the environmental groups and agreed to initiate consultation with the NMFS" on floodplain development changes to protect fish and orcas.

Finally, "in April of 2016, NMFS released a final Biological Opinion regarding FEMA’s implementation of the NFIP in Oregon (the Oregon BiOp). ...NOAA Fisheries outlined a 6 separate Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs) to ensure FEMA’s implementation of the NFIP avoids further harm to listed species."

In response to FEMA moving forward toward implementing the "Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives," a group of industry associations is now planning to sue FEMA.  Their grounds for suing appear to mostly be the standard laundry list of process complaints that get used over and over to delay environmental protections.

If Lane County signs on to hurt salmon, their local government participation will give the industry groups political cover and improved standing for their delay tactics.

Come and speak up on Tuesday morning, if you can, and let the commissioners know you're watching!

Let them know you agree with Portland Audubon that we care about our salmon, plus, "this issue is not just about salmon habitat. It's also about getting people out of harm's way, reducing taxpayer expenses due to flood  damage, and preparing for increased stormwater due to climate change.”

One of the most dangerous things about the Trump agenda is that it's really just the standard GOP big shots agenda, with a flashy presentation.  Resistance starts at home.

Speak up for Lane County!

May 1, 2017 10:02 PM

Amid charges from Native Americans of cultural appropriation, the Oregon Country Fair board of directors changed course and voted Monday night to cancel the planned raising of a “story pole” done in Native style on the fair’s property in Veneta.

The unanimous vote from the 12-member board followed a tense and sometimes contentious hour-long hearing at which Natives from a variety of Northwest tribes denounced the planned pole – an 8,000-pound, 36-foot cedar pole that was to be topped by a carved flamingo and would feature LED lights – as “cultural genocide.”

“Custer died for your sins!” shouted one Native woman from the back of the room, which was filled to bursting with about 80 people.

The Fair board approved the project in 2016 but had apparently not consulted local tribes about the story pole. It was to have been erected at Ritz Sauna and Showers, a popular station at the Fair for four decades that has been run by a group calling itself the Flamingo Clan.

The pole, which was shipped here from British Columbia, is being carved by Brad Bolton, who has used the widely popular iconography of Northwest tribes for more than two decades in his work. “A lot of people have come by and said they enjoyed it, Natives and Anglos alike,” he told the hearing. “We’re not claiming that we’re Natives. We’re not saying this is a Native pole.”

Instead, speakers explained, the contemporary pole adapts the Native story-pole medium to tell the story of Ritz Sauna and to memorialize four Fair members – two from Ritz Sauna – who were killed in an airplane crash in 2012.

An Indiegogo fundraising page says the project has raised more than $20,000 towards a goal of $46,000.

Native speakers at the hearing were not persuaded that the pole's mission outweighed its cultural appropriation.

“I would not go to my sister’s tribe and make whatever I wanted of theirs,” said Rowena Jackson, who identified herself as affiliated with the Klamath, Modoc and Paiute tribes. “That is the last thing I could ever do to my sister.”

Jackson addressed Bolton sympathetically. “I’m really glad to meet you,” she said. “I’m sure you’re one of the most artistic people in this community.”

Shaken and looking chastised, Bolton said after the board’s vote he had no idea what was going to happen now with the story pole.

EW will follow this post with a more in-depth story in our print edition. Read an earlier story in Willamette Week here.

April 25, 2017 10:36 AM

First up, on  Saturday, April 29, it’s the Lane County Master Gardener Association Plant Sale from 9 am to 3 pm, next to the ice rink at the Lane County Fairgrounds. This is typically a huge sale offering all kinds trees, shrubs, flowers and veggie starts.

Then 9 am to 1 pm, Saturday, May 6, it’s Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah Native Plant Sale at the Buford Park Nursery (the printed version of my recent column about this nursery gave the wrong date). This sale offers natives only, lovingly grown at the nursery from seed gathered in the greater Mount Pisgah area: some shrubs, lots of forbs, grasses.

The two sales on Saturday, May 13, are timed so you can visit both. The Hardy Plant Sale, sponsored by the Willamette Valley Hardy Plant Group, is 9 am to 2 pm at the Lane County Fairgrounds. More than 20 vendors, a mix of nonprofits and commercial nurseries from all over Oregon, offer a rich selection of ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials, some natives and a smattering of annuals and veggie starts.

And the same day, 10 am to 5 pm, Food for Lane County’s Summer Plant Sale is  at the Urban Youth Farm, 705 Flamingo Avenue, Springfield. Veggie, flower and herb starts in small sizes include 65 varieties of tomato, 25 sunflowers, 35 peppers, etc. And music!

Tree peony

April 20, 2017 04:44 PM

A pair of self-proclaimed white nationalist Springfield men caused a brief uproar on University of Oregon campus the morning of Thursday, April 20, as they celebrated what they called the “birthday party for Adolf Hitler.” Today is the Nazi leader’s birthday. The duo spread white supremacy ideologies in front of students.

 

Jimmy Marr, a well-known racist and anti-Semite who goes by @GenocideJimmy on Twitter, was accompanied by a man identified as “Chad.” The demonstration, which happened in front of the Erb Memorial Union, quickly attracted around 60 to 80 students, according to UO police estimates.  

 

Marr drives a swastika-emblazoned truck with controversial messages on its tailgate. His truck has been spotted various places in Oregon with sayings such as “Jews Lies Matter” and “Trump: Do The White Thing.”

 

This time, his tailgate reads: “No more terror. No more war. America, stop being Israel’s whore.”

 

While Marr playing the bagpipes in the back of his truck, Chad interacted with students, spreading anti-Semitic messages that were met with much opposition from students.

 

UO student and president of The Young Democratic Socialists group on campus, Xander Berenstein, says he felt strongly against the demonstration as a Jewish person.

 

“From a cultural and political standpoint, direct opposition is an understatement,” Berenstein says.

 

As a Eugene native, Berenstein has seen Marr around and thinks that Marr’s action today is a tactic to create chaos.

 

“It is their day job — they go from campus to campus to provoke people to cross the line and use violence, so that they could paint the picture that they are being attacked.”

 

In the midst of argument between Marr and Chad and students, Rabbi Jack Melul, who runs the Jewish educational and social group Akiva on campus, started to sing “The Jewish people are still alive” in Hebrew. Several students joined Melul.

 

UO police responded immediately to the scene to prevent any possible escalation, Sgt. Scott Geeting says, but they took no action against Marr and Chad. The pair left voluntarily after about 45 minutes on campus.

 

“They know exactly what they were doing, because they had run into law enforcement before,” Geeting says referring to Marr’s arrest last September for blasting offensive speech with an amplifier on the roof of his house in Springfield during a Stop Hate! Rally.

 

Marr also used to be a guest speaker of Pacifica Forum at UO, a group that was removed from campus after it became a hate group.  

 

Geeting says the UO Police Department is always on the lookout for hate crime, but he hasn’t noticed any unusual uptick within the campus area. — Tran Nguyen

 

Screenshot of Marr on campus from his Twitter feed

April 14, 2017 04:26 PM

Sometimes a bad crowd can ruin a live performance. Luckily, Whitney is too talented of a band to let that happen.

The Chicago-based indie-rock group played an April 13 show at WOW Hall and, unfortunately, the crowd was pretty damn bad. From constant loud talking during the quiet opening set to shouting drunken obscenities at the main act throughout the entirety of their performance, it seemed as though we were transported out of the dark corridor of WOW Hall to a rowdy, crowded campus bar.

It was clear most of the audience, at least those people near the front of the stage, had never been in a concert setting like this before — or, if they had, at least had never practiced basic, respectful concert etiquette.

Both acts held their on-stage composure though. New York-based singer and guitarist Julie Byrne played a serene opening set, acoustic and solo for the first part of it, and eventually joined by accompanying band members on violin and synth. Although beautiful, Byrne’s full and warm vocals were continuously crowded out by audience conversations, with some people even turning their backs to the stage in order to better address their groups of friends.

Luckily, the audience was much more engaged for Whitney, although not much quieter.

Though at times irritating, the crowd response was not surprising. Whitney produces the type of music that is inevitably likeable — by all types of people. No matter the content, from heart-wrenching love songs to nostalgic ballads about loneliness, the band’s material is always accompanied by an underlying sense of hopefulness and light, floating upon upbeat trumpet, keys and lead singer-drummer Julien Ehrlich’s flowery vocals. The first comparable instance of a live show experience that came to mind — sharply, in the moment when I saw a yelling drunk guy perched upon his friend’s shoulders — was Mac DeMarco’s show at Cozmic Pizza two years ago. Although the crowd was nowhere as bad as DeMarco’s sold-out show, which included people carelessly dropping pint glasses on the ground and drunken patrons yelling at the band to come to their frat parties, the experiences were definitely parallel.

DeMarco’s music is equally well-liked by both indie music-aficionados, who probably own all of his releases on first-press vinyl, and frat bros, who like to blast his tunes whilst playing beer pong on a sunny day — which can be said for Whitney as well. But this is in no way a bad thing.

Maybe I’m just cynical and jaded for disliking parts of the crowd on Thursday night, but, although disrespectful, it was clear those audience members were having a ton of fun. Whitney, inarguably, makes the type of music that brings people together. From college-aged ladies dancing to “No Woman” like they were on a table outside of Taylor’s in the summertime, to dudes bumping into their buddies and yelling the “na-na-na” part of “Golden Days” at their top of their lungs, Whitney is the type of band whose live performance has the power to make you forget about all your worries, at least until the night’s over. All photos by Todd Cooper

April 11, 2017 05:27 PM

On April 11, Rep. Peter DeFazion, ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Elaine Chao, requesting any findings from DOT’s review of the April 9 incident that occurred on United Airlines Flight 3411. A copy of the letter was sent to United CEO Oscar Munoz.

 

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Secretary Chao:

We write to express our serious concerns regarding an April 9, 2017, incident aboard United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago, Illinois, to Louisville, Kentucky. Countless news reports depict a passenger being forcibly removed from the United Airlines aircraft before departure allegedly due to the airline’s overbooking of the flight and need to accommodate its own airline staff. If news reports are accurate, the treatment of this passenger by United Airlines is not only outrageous, but is unacceptable.

Overbooking is too common of a practice among many commercial airlines like United Airlines. While overbooking is not illegal, we are deeply disturbed by the actions taken aboard Flight 3411 to deal with the situation. As you know, Federal regulations require airlines to take certain steps if they bump passengers involuntarily. Beyond these baseline requirements, however, we believe United Airlines had a number of options to rectify its own scheduling error, while treating its customers with the respect they deserve. For example, United Airlines could have offered increased monetary incentives to encourage other passengers to give up their seats voluntarily or even chartered a plane for United Airlines staff if it was that critical for them to reach Louisville.

We understand the Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking into the incident, and would like to know what DOT finds, including whether Federal law or regulations were violated during the April 9 incident aboard Flight 3411, as well as whether United Airlines’ contract of carriage or overbooking policy meets all applicable Federal standards.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

  Sincerely,

PETER DeFAZIO                                                                  RICK LARSEN

Ranking Member                                                                    Ranking Member

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure                   Subcommittee on Aviation

 

 

 

 

April 10, 2017 12:51 PM

Portland, OR — Ronald K. Brown/Evidence presented a breathtaking evening of contemporary dance April 6-8 at Portland’s Newmark Theater. Sponsored by White Bird Dance, the performance was the crown jewel in a week of community events that included a public conversation with Brown and dance legend Judith Jamison (of Alvin Ailey Dance Company fame) as well as a host of community master classes.

In a moment of societal and artistic insecurity, when the arts and arts education are under fire, White Bird continues to beat the drum for more dance, more knowledge, more … humanity.

And Brown’s work is delightfully humane. Approachable, stylistically accessible, his movement signature invites an emotional response, a sense of ideation, as if audience members are somehow so intertwined with the dance that they themselves are up onstage.

2014’s Why You Follow/Por Que Sigues, with its glowing jewel-toned costumes by Keiko Voltaire, has an effervescent quality — a kind of invitation into a language so universally manifested that it’s like a roadmap back to spirit and home.

Set to music by Zap Mama, Gordheaven and Juliano, the Allenko Brotherhood and the Heavy Quartez, the piece explores themes of diaspora through a lens of the now, weaving and bobbing through history and the present, sliding and lifting through intricate patterning and shape. The results are technically virtuosic but appear effortless.

Brown’s company is a joy.

Arcell Cabuag anchors the men with a vivacious, irrepressible earthiness. Clarice Young embodies stalwart dedication and stewardship to technique, with long, exquisite lines and perfect placement. Annique Roberts, with her enthusiastic lightness and complete mastery over every step, finds freedom in each moment.

Demetrius Burns, Kevyn Ryan Butler, Janeill Cooper, Courtney Ross and Keon Thoulouis each contribute glorious strengths to the effort, powering through and pulling back, exploding and receding, defining and exploring. Their work in this piece is like an incantation, a prayer.

In 1995’s Lessons: March (Excerpt), Annique Roberts and Clarice Young dance to and with and through the indelible words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Interesting to note: On alternate performances, two men — Demetrius Burns and Kevyn Butler — dance the roles.)

The piece sets up a syllogism, asking, as King asked: “What’s the value of man?”

Here, Brown discovers emotional nuance in King’s speech, already packed with meaning, but through the dance, the words are lifted up, placed in relief against a clear blue sky. It’s as if, through this dynamic duet, Brown can harness the forces of nature — the wind, rain and sun — and pour it all into dance that feels like verse.

An evergreen, Lessons: March, should be required viewing for every American.

The evening ended with 2011’s On Earth Together, a masterful journey through life that is set to the music of Stevie Wonder, with otherworldly lighting design by Tsubasa Kamei.

In this piece, Brown’s style is never ham-fisted, never overt. He holds back from the maudlin, the sentimental. Instead, his work focuses on the universal connections that foster compassion and knowing. His dancers find each other onstage; they take tiny moments, making eye contact, clearly enjoying the connection and creation they’re engaged in.

It’s a subtle act of defiance, a tangible drift from dance that once focused solely on form, for its own sake.

When Brown came out to dance, the crowd erupted in wild applause. In fact, throughout this evening’s concert, the crowd was responsive, cheering, whooping. The dance invites an atmosphere of connection.

In his own unique way, Brown charges the performing arts in this century with a new mandate: Make the world a more loving and compassionate place.  — Rachael Carnes

April 7, 2017 11:35 AM

House Bill 2577, which would make it mandatory for lobbyists to disclose their influence and involvement on state legislation, passed 52 to three in the Oregon House on April 6 and is scheduled for a first reading in the Senate on April 10.

If passed, the bill will require lobbyist to disclose any bills “they are lobbying and whether they are working in favor, in opposition or have requested amendments” and any “legislative topic” lobbied for that is not a bill, according to an Oregon House majority press release.

In an effort to make lobbying influences more transparent, the bill will also make a public database available containing lobbyists’ positions on legislation and their activities.

Currently the Oregon Office of Ethics commission releases a quarterly registry containing lobbyists’ contact information and their clients, but the list does not track legislation they are attempting to influence, and there is no way for the public to know what lobbyists are working on.

Rep. Dan Rayfield, a Democrat from Corvallis said in a statement, “We have transparency in campaign finance, but once you get to the Capitol, there’s too little information about who’s attempting to influence the public.”

Lobbying information would be available on the Oregon Government Ethics Commission’s website, and the new rules would begin on April 1, 2018. 

April 6, 2017 02:47 PM

Nothing says "public lands" like coal, right?

The Bureau of Land Management featured a lovely photo of hikers from sometime in November through at least April 2, according to a seach on the Wayback Machine. 

But nothing says American values the outdoors and public lands like a shot of a coal seam at the Peabody North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Wyoming. With the photo itself supplied by Peabody. The mine is the "world's largest coal mine in the world by reserve," according to MiningTechnology.com

Is the BLM under Ryan Zinke celebrating Peabody Energy emerging from bankruptcy?  Or did the public lands agency suddenly get super-down with the "joys of climate change? See more over at the Huffington Post

For some reason this gives me flashbacks to the "Clean Coal Carolers" campaign.

 

March 24, 2017 03:56 PM

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and University of Oregon journalism professor Alex Tizon was found dead on Thursday, March 23, at the age of 57, the University of Oregon said.

An email sent to his students on Friday says that Tizon had “passed away in his sleep at his Eugene house.”

According to Eugene Police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin, his death was reported at 7:45 p.m.

Tizon, a first-generation immigrant from Manila, Philippines, started teaching journalism at the UO in 2011. In 1997, Tizon, along with two other Seattle Times reporters, won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their five-part series debunking Federal Indian Housing Program’s corruption and mismanagement.

His book, Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, tells Tizon’s story as a first-generation immigrant and his experience growing up in the United States as an Asian man. The book won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize Work-In-Progress Award in 2011.

Tizon was a frequent contributor to the The Atlantic – his latest work, “In the land of missing persons: 2 families, 2 bodies and a vast Alaska wilderness,” was published in December 2016. 

— Tran Nguyen

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Tizon's age as 58.

March 21, 2017 09:55 AM

Longtime County Commissioner Faye Stewart announced he is stepping down from the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He will be taking a position in the Cottage Grove, according to a press release sent out March 21.

The release says:

Commissioner Faye Stewart announced today that he is stepping down from his elected office in order to take a position with the City of Cottage Grove as the director of Public Works and Development.

“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Stewart. “Cottage Grove has been home to my family for generations and the success of its community is incredibly important to me. I am grateful to be able to continue serving this community in a new role.”

Stewart  has been a conservative vote on the conservative learning board since 2004. He will leave in April and the release says that Stewart’s current term ends in 2019. The Board of Commissioners will discuss the application process and timeline for appointing someone to complete Stewart’s term during the April 4 meeting.

Stewart's challenger in the last election, Kevin Matthews, had already announced plans to run for Stewart's seat in the 2019 election.

Matthews tells EW via email:

I wish Faye well in his new position. Given the nine-votes-out-of-15,000 ballots scare we gave them the last time around, I imagine the old-school majority of the Lane County Board will be looking to appoint someone they think will run well against me in the upcoming May, 2018 election.

Whoever they choose to stand for the Republican side, I'll keep fighting with the people for our local communities, including jobs and education, to restore integrity to Lane County government, including transparency, accountability, and public safety, and to build real prosperity from the ground upward, including protection of our clean water & old growth forest.

 
March 17, 2017 05:32 PM

Oregon State Sen. Jeff Kruse talked to Eugene Weekly about his thoughts on the press, Islamic terrorism and the Trump administration. Sen. Kruse is a Republican from Roseburg. A copy of his newsletter that prompted our interview can be found here.

 

Eugene Weekly: What are your thoughts on the mainstream media?

Jeff Kruse: There is no such thing as unbiased because everybody’s got a built in bias. If you don’t have a bias, you aren’t thinking. I do think, for example, I think if you switch back and forth between Fox and CNN, you’re wondering if they’re both at the same place talking about the same thing. I do think that a lot of the mainstream media do tend to lean relatively far to the left on a lot of issues. I see that even here. Here’s a perfect example of something that just happened. There was an article in Forbes Magazine last week talking about all of the money that our governor and our attorney general received in campaign donations from people who have contracts with state government. And contracts in total somewhere worth several hundred million dollars, so we read about that in Forbes Magazine you would think that would be something that we would have read about in the Oregonian. It’s that sort of thing, there are some stories that seem to get covered and some that don’t, and quite honestly there is kind of a spin on it. Often times what I see on TV and read in newspapers about what goes on in this building, and I’m wondering how they could get the interpretations they do about what is being talked about here in the building. I do think that there is a bias.

 

EW: What do you think a solution to that would be?

JK: I don’t know. I really don’t. There are first amendment rights so you’re entitled, you know anybody to say anything they want. I think from my perspective a lot of the stuff I see on TV and I read in papers anymore I basically take with a grain of salt, and I’m assuming it’s not hard news. Like on radio the networks usually have at the top of the hour a five or seven-minute thing before it gets to the regular programing, and they put all these human-interest things out there. And I also think that part of it is the news cycle has become twenty-four seven, and so it gives them lots of opportunity to go anywhere they want. Now when I was a kid, which was a long time ago, on television network news was 15 minutes. The entire news hour was a half hour, and what I got in Roseburg at that point in time was the “Huntley-Brinkley Report” and basically all they did was focus on the hard news what was going on in Washington DC. They didn’t go into all these human-interest things. And I know there’s probably a reason for it. We hear a story about some kid in little rock Arkansas, ok what does that have to do with national news? It doesn’t. It kind of gins up emotional reactions and news reporting isn’t what it used to be when, in my opinion, when we were getting our news from people like Walter Cronkite.

 

EW: I’d like to ask you more about the media and how they report on things. You said in your newsletter, that special interest groups and many politicians are perfect example of misinformation and lies being waged against this administration. And then you talk a little bit about travel ban, or restriction, as you call it. Can you tell me a little bit more about how you saw that order carried out?

JK: Basically, what it was was a temporary ban from people coming from seven specific countries from coming in to the United States until we had a better vetting process and that was all it was, it wasn’t an attack on Muslims. Muslims weren’t even addressed in the executive order, it was just specific to people from specific countries. And countries that quite honestly have historic ties to terrorism. And so what we heard about in the media was it was an attack on Muslims. Quite honestly I would suggest that the majority of the terrorists are Muslim. But that’s not what it was. What was really interesting is because Obama did something similar to folks from Iraq for a period of time, and Jimmy Carter did something similar to citizens from Iran for a period of time. In neither one of those cases did the media have a cow over it, but because Trump did it, and they don’t seem to like Trump, it became a news item. Whereas when Obama did it nobody said a word about it.

 

EW: And you said you would feel safe saying that the majority of terrorist attacks have been committed by Muslims?

JK: Obviously there are some incidents of right wing folks and different things like that, but we know for example and there’s evidence to show, there are terrorist training camps within the United States, they have attacked the United States, you know it’s not like it’s an everyday thing. Somebody said that radical Islam only make up 1 percent of the population. Well if you look at the number of people who are Islamic in the world that would be about 1.5 million people. Obviously that’s something we need to be concerned about. Just having a vetting process, which we should do with all people coming into this country. They should have appropriate papers, and we should know what it is they are doing here and how long they want to stay. I think that’s reasonable. The way we allow people in this country is a lot loser than a lot of countries do. I don’t think the threat of Islamic terrorism is over and to take a step back to make sure that we have an appropriate vetting process I don’t think is that unreasonable of an approach.

 

EW: You think that we have lose regulations for getting in even though it takes 18-24 months prior to this order if you’re from Syria to get in? I hear that a lot from people saying we’re just trying to make sure there’s a better vetting process in place and to me 18 to 24 months seems like a pretty long time.

JK: That's the wait period, but I would suggest that under the Obama administration, the wait time was shortened significantly.

 

EW: It was shortened to the 18 months?

Kruse: No I think it was shorter than that. But just because you've had to wait, x amount of time before you're allowed to come in that doesn't necessarily mean that our officials are doing their due diligence to make sure that only the appropriate people are coming in, Is this the biggest item on the agenda? Probably not. I do believe that the president is relooking at the policy as we speak. And I don't think..I just think that this is not a safe world and we need to be careful who we are allowing into our country.

 

EW: When you said, and this is in the same letter, “What I absolutely shameful in this fact, we have a lot of politicians in this state to be encouraging this lawless behavior.” Were you talking about the women’s march?

JK: No, I'm talking about the protests they had at the Portland airport on the immigration order and we had elected officials in the state of Oregon who went there and encouraged people to continue protesting and basically to ignore the law. The women's march is what it was and I understand that but by the same token you can protest but when the protest is impeding other people from going about their business you're stepping over the line. And at the Portland airport, they were stepping over the line because they were impeding people. Your rights end where my rights begin. I've got a plane to catch and you're protest makes me miss my plane you're violating my rights because I have a right to be on that plane.

 

EW: Is there anything else you’d like to add about freedom of the press or anything like that?

JK: At this point it is appeared to me that the main stream media has been very anti-Trump and its going to be interesting to see how that relationship develops over the next period of time. Maybe they develop a relationship, I don't know. I’m hoping to see what I think is more fairness in the way a lot of the things are covered. You know Trump hasn't been president that long — he doesn't even have all of his cabinet in place. How you can be attacking him for things that he hasn't done yet or just because of what you think he's going to do I think is somewhat inappropriate, but we'll see what will happens in the next six months.

 

EW: Did you see the press conference that was held last week that was about 70 minutes or so? [The press conference held on Feb. 16].

JK: No, I didn't. My son saw it — I was busy here — and he said that he thought it was pretty good, he answered all the questions and pretty much was direct in response to everybody, so I'll take his word on that.

 

 

March 17, 2017 05:35 PM

Eugene Weekly interviewed Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman about House Bill 2921 and immigration in Oregon. He sent EW a copy of the study he quoted multiple times in his interview. The study was conducted by Federation for American Immigration Reform, which is a documented hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Below is the full interview.

 

Eugene Weekly: I just wanted to start out by asking you why you decided to sponsor House Bill 2921?

Mike Nearman: As you know Oregon is a sanctuary state. We have a sanctuary policy that has been enacted into law here. This would repeal that. So I think it makes sense on a lot of different levels. First of all, its just kind of a rule of law thing for us to make a law that law enforcement is not supposed to comply with the law. That kind of is a little bit of a legally haywire. And so I don’t like that. I think that we just need to be able to enforce the laws just for their own sake just because we don’t need illegal people running around our country.

 

EW: About Oregon’s sanctuary status, just to compare to compare this to something else I was thinking about.  Oregon voters approved recreational marijuana, but it’s still illegal federally. So what sorts of things, and this may be going out on a branch a little bit, but what sorts of things or laws or decisions should be left up to states versus what the federal government does.

MN: I get your point. So I think that just in a general way at the 30,000-foot level I think that we should have the states be responsible for everything they can possibly be responsible for. I think that’s the way the framers of the constitution envisioned it too. They envisioned a federal government that had just a small and limited powers and everything else was left to the states and the people. And that’s the spirit of the 10th amendment even though I think that we don’t see that done in actual policy anymore but that’s what we need to do. Now there are some things for instance like the state of Alabama and the state of Oregon probably should not have our own national defenses and we may not agree about how much national defense that we want but when we do that we need to do that as a country just because we’re not going to be very effective having 50 states trying to defend ourselves against whatever. So there are certain thing that it does, our coining money, I’m glad that when I go to the state of Washington that I don’t have to cash in a bunch of Oregon money, get Washington money at the exchange rate or something like that. I can just go up there and spend American money. So things like that that are interstate commerce or national defense and the other one would be the borders as another example where it’s not really appropriate to have states, even states that are not border states like Oregon come up with their own immigration policy. That doesn’t really work.

 

EW: There shouldn’t be a bunch of illegal people running around, do you think that immigration has been a problem in Oregon? Or if it has caused any problems in the state?

MN: So now you just asked me if immigration was a problem. No, immigration is not a problem. Legal immigration isn’t. We have the need for guest workers and I’m a software engineer by trade so my last job we had people who were in some status of legal-ness working but they weren’t citizens or anything like that and that’s fine. We do that as we have needs and as we can vet people.

 

But I think the question that you really meant to ask was do we have a problem with illegal immigration in Oregon. And yeah we do. I think by some estimates it costs the state of Oregon 1.2 billion dollars a year for illegal aliens. I’m on the budget committee for my school district and we spend a lot of money to teach students that don’t speak English. And those kinds of things, it gets very expensive to deal with illegal immigrants.

 

EW: And the example of spending state money to teach English. What about people who maybe come over El Salvador or Syria places that have people seeking asylum basically where they are in a war-torn country. What do you think about that? Sometimes it could be a matter or life or death for some people to come here?

MN: So most of the time when people come to this country they come here as legal immigrants and part of the conditions of them coming here is that they have to learn English at least some amount of English. And other people are born here and they probably just kind of speak English. Now you do get a situation where you have people who are speaking asylum or whatever and they don’t speak English and that’s fine, and there’s not that many of them. Even though right now we have a huge glut of Syrian immigrants but even that we’re talking about 60,000 people or something like that. So we’re not talking about huge numbers there and even those I would wonder if that’s so wise to let that many people—to give that many people asylum. I don’t know why we don’t do kind of a refugee situation that’s closer to their countries there. I’ve heard one estimate that says that we could be on a factor or 12 to 1 more effective with our dollars if we did somewhere in the middle east rather than by bringing them all to this country here.

 

EW: So this law would completely overturn the sanctuary law?

MN: Yes. It would do that and additionally it would say that local jurisdictions it would preempt local jurisdictions from establishing their own sanctuary policies.

 

EW: Are there any other legislators who have expressed interest in backing this bill?

MN: Rep. Esquivel and I are the only ones who have signed onto it. Honestly, I don’t expect that it will even get a hearing so it’s not something that I’m not working to bill that hard because I don’t expect it to get a hearing.

 

EW: I noticed that its status its been referred to the judiciary committee. And do you expect it will come out of that committee for a second reading?

MN: No, I don’t expect it will.

 

EW: What money would be used to enforce immigration? The state may use agencies moneys, but I’m curious about that because of the big budget gap the state is working with right now. So how would that work?

MN: The operative word there is may. State and municipalities have discretion; they don’t have to do that. If I’m driving 66 miles an hour on I-5 the state doesn’t have an obligation to have to arrest me or have to ticket me. So it says they may use it and it would just be part of the normal law enforcement budget. So right now, if I’m a police officer and I’m walking down the street, and I see you walking down the street and I know for a fact that I deported you two years ago and you’re the same guy, right now under Oregon law, I can’t do anything. So we’re keeping police officers from doing their jobs. We’re talking about turning over people who’ve been arrested for other crimes to ICE and these kinds of things. These aren’t costly law enforcement efforts these are just part of the background hum of law enforcement that would be funding this so it’s not a lot of extra money.

 

EW: Is there anything else you’d like to add about sponsoring this bill?

MN: If you want to talk about money, this bill will — I think — more than pay for itself. Like I said by some estimates, we pay 1.2 billion dollars a year in what the costs are for illegal immigration in Oregon. What we pay out of the welfare system, what we pay in the education system, what we pay in the healthcare system and then the criminal justice system. So if we could just get that down a little bit that would save the state a bunch of money. That would almost solve most of our budget shortfall that we have right now.

 

EW: And do you have those numbers listed anywhere about how much money it would save? Is that in a budget somewhere?

MN: I’m quoting Oregonians for immigration Reform, and I don’t know. It’s just a number that we get tossed around. I’m sure it’s well researched.

 

EW: Could you send me a copy of the report or budget?

MN: You mean a copy of where I’m getting the numbers from that 1.2 billion dollars?

EW: Yes.

MN: Yeah, I can do that.