• Eugene Weekly does not condone or encourage acts of violence or destruction in the name of any cause. We were dismayed to find out that someone threw a large rock through the glass door of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce building in the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 13. The perpetrator also placed several copies of the Feb. 11 edition of EW — open to an article about the Chambers’ endorsement of the 2E Broadway proposal to privatize Kesey Square — with a misspelled scrawl stating “Greedy Capitlist” and “the Colinishen of Public Spase.” Chamber President Dave Hauser tells EW via email that they “found a bag of rocks nearby” and the Chamber has filed a police report. “The good news is that aside from the broken glass and damage to the door, nothing else was damaged and nothing was taken from the building,” Hauser writes.
Meanwhile social media is buzzing: Many proponents of Kesey Square have wondered if the vandalism was contrived by someone who wants to see the square developed. “I really think it is someone who has a grudge against the movement to save the square,” says Gwendolyn Iris, a Save Kesey Square activist. “Based on the words and spelling, it just reads like mockery.”
We are disappointed to see such uncivil discourse here in Eugene. Writing your elected representatives, attending City Council meetings, as Kesey advocates have done, or volunteering to make your city better are far more effective, and more humane, forms of activism. Or do what reggae legend Norma Fraser and blues legend Tommy Castro did Tuesday night at Kesey Square — sing about it. See video of this magical moment on our blog.
• If we can pay an offensive coordinator $600,000 a year for a college football team in this state, we should be able to pay workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour, about $31,000 a year. “Apples and oranges” is sure to be the response to that comparison. Not true. If working people earn a decent wage, they might be able to go to the UO football games or even buy burgers and beer while watching in a sports bar. In some ways, $15 an hour is a conservative position. It will generate more buying power and reduce the need for government assistance. Isn’t that what conservatives want? In this election year, Gov. Kate Brown is asking for less, but Democratic legislators should go for a phased in $15 an hour while they hold the majority.
• The drawn-out standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has crept to an end with no additional loss of life. Now we are left dealing with possible desecration of Native American artifacts, delays in restoration projects such as ridding the refuge’s waterways of invasive carp and other damages. The Malheur Field Station tells EW that “loss of income, cancellations, damage from break-ins and theft from two buildings, and redirected staff time have cost MFS about $30,000 in the past six weeks.” And about $5,000 in donations in the wake of the occupation has come in. The occupiers themselves are trying to raise money. A FundedJustice site raising money for Ammon Bundy (whose lawyer is Eugene attorney Mike Arnold) has raised a little over $55,000 in pledges from 849 people. Meanwhile, the anti-occupier sentiment is running high. As of Feb. 16, GoHomeMalheur, created by Eugene natives Jake and Zach Klonoski, has drummed up more than $135,000 in pledges from 1,643 people.
• Springfield’s proposed ordinance to discourage roadside panhandling by fining drivers appears to be just another in a long string of discriminatory attempts to quash the symptoms of income disparity and homelessness, rather than dealing with their causes. Springfield and other cities already have traffic laws on the books about impeding traffic and causing unsafe driving conditions. Enforce the laws if there’s a problem.
• Sen. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) submitted SB 1573 to Oregons’s 2016 legislative short session that “Requires city to annex territory without vote upon receipt of petition for annexation submitted by all owners of land in territory provided territory is included within urban growth boundary of city or Metro and is, or will be, subject to acknowledged comprehensive plan of city.” In other words, urban sprawl on a fast-track without a public vote. We asked Beyer why he submitted this bill, which appears to be written by the Oregon Homebuilder Associations and Oregonians in Action, and he hasn’t responded. Fortunately, this exceptionally flawed bill has no co-sponsors and appears to be stuck in the Senate Committee on Rules.
• Republicans are vowing to block any nominee for Supreme Court that Obama puts forward. The fear-based Grand Obstruction Party is being consistent. But if Antonin Scalia had died when George W. Bush still had 11-plus months in office, would the GOP have demanded Bush not fill the position? The timing of Scalia’s death makes his replacement an election issue, and that’s a good thing. Voters do not always appreciate the significance of Supreme Court appointments. A change.org petition asking Obama to nominate Anita Hill had almost 9,000 signatures by Feb. 16, only days after Scalia’s death. Hill is a well-respected jurist who more than 20 years ago testified during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings that he had sexually harassed her. Nominate Anita Hill? As the petition says, “Now that’s justice!” The petition is at chn.ge/1PVKAYt.