News Briefs: Clark’s Job Conflicts with Councilor | Obama Leads in Eugene Donors | Barsamian Tours State | Torrey’s Parks Bait & Switch | Slicing the Budget Pie | Activist Alert | EW Election Endorsements At-A-Glance | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Corrections/Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Un-Damming Elk Creek
Controversial Rogue River dam to make way for salmon
Handy vs. Green
Challenger may bring big change to county
What Was Good
Mourning the imminent loss of a storied wrestling program
Happening Person: Thea Albright
CLARK’S JOB CONFLICTS WITH COUNCILOR
Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark has been paid as a political operative for a council candidate who could benefit by him raising controversial votes on the eve of an election.
“It’s a clear violation of the law and the public trust,” alleged Michael Carrigan, a volunteer campaign manager for the Andrea Ortiz campaign. “He needs to be held accountable for it.”
John Crane, who is backed by development interests, is running against Ortiz for the Ward 7 council seat. Crane’s campaign reported paying Marketing Consultants, Inc. a total of $7,500, according to state reports for “consulting” and other work. On his official city webpage, Clark said he is president of “Marketing Consultants Inc.” Clark, a Republican political campaign consultant, won his north Eugene council seat in 2006 after running unopposed.
On May 12, Clark made a controversial motion at a City Council meeting for the council to support locating McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center anywhere in Eugene, including north of the river. The council voted to table the motion in a 5-4 vote with Ortiz voting with other south Eugene councilors and the mayor.
State law requires elected officials to declare conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from voting when their business or personal interests are involved. Clark did not declare a conflict of interest and criticized councilors for delaying the controversial vote until after the election.
At the same meeting, Clark also voted on another controversial measure opposing acquisition of parkland in south Eugene. The measure to refer the purchase of a rare and endangered natural area in the Amazon headwaters to a vote failed 5-3 with Ortiz voting no.
“They were both politically motivated,” said Councilor Alan Zelenka of the controversial votes staged just before the election to generate negative press. “That’s what it looked like to me.”
“Everything is political right now,” said Councilor Betty Taylor, noting that Mayor Kitty Piercy is also in a tough re-election fight with pro-development interests backing Jim Torrey. “It’s probably directed by Jim Torrey from the background.”
Clark has said in the past that his marketing and PR work doesn’t involve conflicts of interest with his council work. He said he knows he has to declare the conflicts if they do. He did not return a call asking for comment by press time.
Crane has reported raising $17,650, mostly from development, land speculation and sand, gravel and construction interests. The Delta and Wildish sand and gravel companies each gave $5,000. Developer Stingray Holdings gave $1,500. The PACs for the state homebuilders association, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and Kay Toolson, Monaco CEO and a leading local contributor to President George Bush, each gave Crane $1,000 contributions. In addition to Clark, the campaign has also paid Roxie Cuellar, the local lobbyist for the homebuilders association, as a consultant.
“Development is the biggest issue. Look at where the money is coming from,” Carrigan said. “It’s the people who are supporting unbridled development and sprawl.”
Ortiz has reported $8,729 in donations, mostly in small contributions from environmental, livability, human rights and police accountability supporters. Ortiz is endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, The Register-Guard, Eugene Weekly, local firefighters union and many local elected Democrats. — Alan Pittman
OBAMA LEADS IN EUGENE DONORS
Eugene is Obama country, judging by federal campaign contribution data.
Barack Obama has raised about four times more money from Eugene, and from about four times more contributions, than Hillary Clinton. Through the end of March, Obama reported raising $114,622 from 955 donations from Eugene. Clinton raised $29,111 in donations from 224 contributions from Eugene.
Obama’s contributions averaged $120. Clinton’s averaged $224.
Nearly a third of Clinton’s contributions from here came from donors identifying themselves as retired. Obama reported that 17 percent of his donors were retired.
Some retirees may list themselves as not employed. About a quarter of Obama’s Eugene contributors listed themselves as retired or not employed, while half of Clinton’s contributors listed themselves as retired or not employed.
Only 2 percent of Clinton’s donors identified their employer as the UO. About 11 percent of Obama’s money came from professors and other UO employees.
About 5 percent of Clinton’s Eugene donations listed employment as mom or homemaker. Only one Obama donor listed herself that way.
On May 9 Obama spoke to a crowd of more than 5,000 gathered in front of the UO Knight Library.
The candidate repeated anti-war and pro-education themes from his standard stump speeches to wild cheering from dedicated supporters who had waited hours to get positions up front. In back, the less decided crowd was more subdued, clapping politely. Obama stumbled only once, quickly correcting himself after describing “Al Qaeda in Iraq” instead of “Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.” He blamed jet lag in the long campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. —Alan Pittman
BARSAMIAN TOURS STATE
Author and public radio icon David Barsamian is touring Oregon and has planned appearances in Florence, Corvallis and Eugene.
Barsamian is the award-winning founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent weekly series based in Boulder, Colo., and his interviews and articles appear regularly in The Progressive and Z Magazine. He lectures on U.S. foreign policy, corporate power, the media and propaganda all over the world.
His latest book is Targeting Iran, and he recently returned from an extensive tour of India and Pakistan.
In Florence at 3 pm Saturday, May 17, Barsamian will speak on “New Perspectives on U.S. Foreign Policy: From Iran and Iraq to India and Pakistan.” The event will be in the Siuslaw Public Library Bromley Room and includes Q&A followed by a book signing.
In Corvallis, he will speak at 3 pm Sunday, May 18, on “Stopping War in Iran and Iraq.” The event will be at the Oddfellows Hall, 223 SW 2nd St. A $5 donation is requested, but not required.
In Eugene, he will speak at 2 pm Monday, May 19, in Forum 309 at LCC. His topic will be “The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting: What Can Be Done About It.” At 7 pm Monday at the UO Living Learning Center, 1575 E. 15th, he will speak on “New Perspectives on U.S. Foreign Policy: From Iran and Iraq to India and Pakistan.” At noon Tuesday, May 20, he will be one of the featured speakers at a free outdoor event held in conjunction with the Eyes Wide Open exhibit at the UO’s EMU Amphitheater. Other speakers at the event include Eli Painted Crow, Johnny Lake, Bob Watada, Zach Basaraba and Jeff Hunter. Perform-ers include Animal Farm and Janet Bates.
For more information on the tour, call 484-9167.
TORREY’S PARKS BAIT & SWITCH
Mayoral candidate Jim Torrey and other conservatives have been bashing Mayor Kitty Piercy and south Eugene councilors for supporting purchasing parkland in the Amazon headwaters for a park.
They argue that the land wasn’t named as part of a successful 2006 bond measure for park acquisition.
The measure does state that part of the funds will go for “purchasing land for the preservation of natural open spaces near the Ridgeline Trail,” a description that appears to match the Amazon properties.
Ironically, while Torrey was mayor, he was accused of pushing to spend money from a previous park bond measure on a controversial pet project that wasn’t named in the measure.
In 1998 voters passed a $25 million bond measure for parks. The bond measure made no mention of spending money on new high school football stadiums, a controversial issue in some neighborhoods due to their high cost and feared traffic, light and noise impacts.
But after the parks measure passed, Mayor Torrey pushed for a council vote to spend $1.7 million from the bond measure on the stadiums without even holding a public hearing. The city money for artificial turf freed up money for the football stadium supporters to spend on scoreboards, grandstands, lighting arrays and fences. Torrey was a former coach for Kidsports, a leading beneficiary of the stadium plan.
“I think the voters who voted for this issue will feel deceived and betrayed,” Councilor Betty Taylor said after the 1999 vote.
Taylor says Torrey’s stand now contradicts his earlier position on park bond measure spending. “This is just transparently manipulative.” —Alan Pittman
SLICING THE BUDGET PIE
|Bobbie Wrenn Banks|
Oregon WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions) is asking some pointed questions about U.S. federal budget priorities this election year and inviting the public to join in the discussion. WAND Education Director Bobbie Wrenn Banks of Atlanta, Ga., will be in Eugene May 15-17 for a series of free meetings.
At 6:30 pm Thursday, May 15, at First Christian Church, 11th and Oak in Eugene, there will be a reception with Banks and Kitty Piercy, followed by a 7 pm program, “Building a Nuclear Free World.”
At 9:30 am Friday, May 16, will be a “Faith Community Workshop,” with continental breakfast provided. The workshop curriculum addresses federal budget priorities: cost of war, nuclear weapons, women and war, terrorism and working for peace.
WAND is focusing on war spending and the military industrial complex “whose weapons are chronically billions over budget while millions of Americans lack health insurance, bridges are collapsing, education in America is in crisis, and our national debt exceeds $9 trillion.”
According to the National Priorities Project, taxpayers in Eugene have paid $147.6 million toward Iraq War spending approved to date. That money could have provided a year of health care for 42,203 children or 25,617 scholarships for university students or 926 affordable housing units or salaries for 2,552 elementary school teachers.
• The Bus Project is having a final “Get Out the Vote Ballot Block Party” starting at 10 am Saturday, May 17, for Kitty Piercy and Andrea Ortiz. The event begins with a gathering at Monroe Park, 10th and Adams in Eugene, followed by canvassing the Westside and Whiteaker neighborhoods. A block party celebration with food, two bands and a capoeira demonstration back at the park wraps up the day’s events. RSVP to the Bus Project, 344-9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Eugene’s mayoral candidates get one more debate recorded this week for broadcast at 6 pm Saturday, May 17, on FOX TV and at 7 pm Saturday on KEVU-TV. Panelists are from Eugene Weekly, The Register-Guard, KLCC and FOX TV. Candidates participating are Kitty Piercy, Jim Torrey, Jim Ray and Nick Urhausen. For more information, visit MyFoxEugene.com
• Eat Here Now, a local foods community potluck, will be from 6 to 9 pm Saturday, May 17, at the First United Community Church, 13th and Olive. Suggested donation is $5-$10. A program on urban food production begins at 7:30 pm.
• Tsunami Books is hosting an election eve fundraiser for Rob Handy‘s county commissioner race at 6 pm Monday, May 19, at the store at 2585 Willamette in Eugene. For more information, visit robhandy.com or call 484-9595.
|Lee Mun Wah|
• The second annual Ride of Silence in Eugene is planned following a gathering at 6:45 pm May 21 at the UO’s EMU Amphitheater. The ride will begin at 7 and is described as “a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways.” The ride is held nationwide during Bike Safety month and “aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.” Contact numbers are 344-2371 or 484-4313.
• Noted author and consultant Lee Mun Wah will be facilitating a workshop on “Cultural Competency for Leaders” from 9 am to 4 pm Wednesday, May 21 at LCC’s Center for Meeting and Learning. “This workshop familiarizes professionals with strategies that can turn the potential inherent in a diverse workforce into a valued organizational asset,” say organizers. Cost is $150 and registration is at lanecc.edu/cml/upcoming.htm For more information email email@example.com.
EW Election Endorsements At-A-Glance
Here are our selected recommended picks for the May 20 primary, not including uncontested races. See last week’s issue for more information.
• U.S. President Barack Obama (D)
• U.S. Senator Steve Novick (D)
• Oregon Attorney General John Kroger (D)
• Oregon Secretary of State Vicki Walker (D)
• Lane County Sheriff Russ Burger
• North Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy
• Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy
• Eugene City Council, Ward 7 Andrea Ortiz
• EWEB Commission, Wards 1&8 Joann Ernst
• EWEB Commission, Wards 2&3 Bob Cassidy
• EWEB Commission, Wards 6&7 Rich Cunningham
• State Measures 51 & 52, Crime Victim’s Rights — NO
• State Measure 53, Seizing Property — NO
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began onMarch 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,071 U.S. troops killed*(4,071)
• 29,395 U.S. troops injured* (29,320)
• 145 U.S. militarysuicides*(145)
• 312 coalition troops killed** (312)
• 1,123 contractors killed(accurate updates NA)
• 91,094 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (90,897)
• $518.9 billion cost of war ($517.1 billion)
• $147.6 million cost toEugene taxpayers($147.0 million)
* through May 12, 2008; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** estimate; source: icasualties.org
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 to one million.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• ODOT Pilot (No-Spray) Program: Comments to the Oregon Transportation Commission regarding the proposed expansion of the Program to include Lane County can be submitted to the OTC before the June 19 meeting. See News at forestlanddwellers.org.
ODOT: Call 1-888-996-8080 or Dennis Joll, IVM Coordinator at 686-7526 for exact spray schedules. May 12-15: Hwys. 126 W., 36, and 101.
• Coast Coho salmon listed: salmon streams have to be buffered from applications of certain pesticides. See Salmon at our website.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
Last week Eugene Weekly incorrectly reported campaign contributions to the Rob Handy campaign from Deborah Noble. Noble contributed a $5,000 loan and $1,243 in cash, according to the Handy campaign.
• It’s time to get those ballots in the mail or drop them off by 8 pm Tuesday, May 20, at one of the drop boxes around town or on campus. Planning to mail your ballot? Do it this week. Postage rates went up May 12, but the old 41-cent stamps still work for ballots. And don’t forget how important the primary is to nonpartisan local races: Candidates who get more than 50 percent of the vote go on the ballot unchallenged in November. This is our last issue before the election, so check our blog for late-breaking election news right up through May 20.
• Uncertain about the candidates and issues? Last week we outlined our rationale for our endorsements; look for our Endorsements at a Glance in this issue. That other newspaper you might have seen around town also did endorsements. We were pleased to see the R-G supporting Democrats Obama for president, Walker for secretary of state, and nonpartisan Piercy for mayor and Ortiz for council. But we differ in that we favor Kroger for AG and Novick for Senate on the D ticket, and nonpartisan Handy for County Commission. We also disagree with the R-G on all three EWEB commissioners, thinking it’s time to inject some fresh thinking and new attitudes into a board that could stand more public accountability. Our choices for EWEB are Ernst, Cassidy and Cunningham.
Our sources tell us the R-G‘s editorial board actually favored a more progressive list of candidates, but didn’t want the paper to appear “too liberal” in the eyes of its conservative readers. But does it really serve the public interest to endorse second-rate candidates just to appear balanced?
• Greg Macphersons’s TV ads implying that John Kroger is inexperienced and “not ready” to be Oregon’s attorney general are outrageously misleading. Kroger’s credentials are actually superior to Macpherson’s. These kinds of attack ads might be effective in swaying voters who are not paying attention, but the rest of us are left holding serious doubts about Macpherson’s ethics and credibility.
• On the local election scene, Jim Torrey’s latest slick mailer arrived in mailboxes this week outlining his “Policy Paper: Potholes and Roads.” He’s calling for $3.5 million a year in general fund money to go toward road repair but still doesn’t say where the money will come from. He also makes factually inaccurate statements, such as that Eugene has been “spending virtually nothing on roads” for the past three years (which might come as a surprise to Public Works, which spends about $5.2 million a year on street repair and rebuilding); “The mayor seems opposed to roadway improvements in any form” (ignoring the work of the West Eugene Collaborative and transportation planning); and “we have alienated some key government partners” (ODOT officials have discounted rumors of any animosity toward Eugene regarding the WEP).
Meanwhile, John Crane is parroting Torrey’s talking points in his race to unseat Andrea Ortiz in Ward 7. His new flyer talks about potholes, cops and jobs and quotes the R-G‘s endorsement of his opponent, saying “Ortiz wants Eugene to improve race relations, end homelessness and protect the environment.” Apparently those issues are not on Crane’s list of priorities.
• Is there a connection between higher fuel prices and sagging real estate prices around the country? Both are causing worries about the economy, and they are related, according to a new study by Portland economist Joe Cortright. In his research, Cortright found that distant suburbs requiring long commutes have suffered the largest declines in housing prices “while values in close-in neighborhoods have held up better, and in some cases continued to increase.” Cortright says Oregon has weathered the housing price slump better than other states due to our relatively stringent land-use laws. And here in Eugene we have so far managed to resist the constant drumbeat for unbridled growth.
Inflated fuel prices are economically damaging, but they do encourage us to buy smaller cars, ride bicycles or take public transportation and live closer to where we work, shop and go to school. That makes sense environmentally regardless of gas prices.
• John McCain jumped on the climate change bandwagon this week, but his notes sound off-key. A number of Eugene academic folks are more in tune with this issue. Eugene ecologist and resident brain-stretcher Alder Fuller goes beyond conventional thinking in just about every topic he addresses at the Euglena Academy, and he will be addressing climate change at a free lecture at 6:30 pm Friday, May 16, at his unique academy-in-a-warehouse. The expert on complexity theory will be talking about Earth’s climate being “probably beyond a tipping point for large-scale change.” Check out euglena-academy.net for details and directions.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing up in small-town northern California, Thea Albright was exposed to various religions. “My parents took me to catechism and dropped me off with Buddhist monks,” she says. “My mother’s belief system was Native American. We went to pow-wows.” Albright’s youthful passion for theater led to conservatory studies and burnout as a starving artist in Chicago. She moved to Eugene in 1999, worked in trade show sales then took two years to complete a UO degree in sociology. “I wrote an honors thesis exploring what people do in faith to overcome fear,” she says. For a year, Albright attended every service and organizational meeting of the Interfaith Prayer Service, a monthly 11th-day-of-the-month event at the First Christian Church since October of 2001. “I became the group’s historian,” she says. When the IPS became a non-profit in ’04, Albright was elected president, a post she held until last month. “I also met my husband, Nalen Hall, a Native American,” she says. “He was singing at a service. We were married in a traditional ceremony last July. Lots of people from other faiths were there.”