• Mike McGinn just announced that he is running again to be mayor of Seattle. A former staffer for Congressman Jim Weaver of Eugene, McGinn came out of the environmental movement to be elected mayor for one term, only to lose when he ran for a second. His first priority: “We must house the homeless.”
• The April 20 benefit performance of Eleanor Roosevelt: A Barrier of Fear at the Wildish Theater is sold out. Sponsored by Eugene Weekly, the one-woman show features former Eugene actor Jane VanBoskirk as Eleanor Roosevelt, the first lady who went on after her husband’s death to become an international advocate for peace and civil rights. All proceeds go to Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, which we believe is a cause Eleanor would have eagerly supported.
This is EW’s first effort at producing theater. We’re so thrilled to have been able to raise money for a good cause that you can bet we’ll be producing more such events in the future. Stay tuned!
• Oregon: Stop slashing education! The competitive local K-12 school board races are reminding us of how tenuous education funding is here in Lane County. And it’s not just K-12 that’s getting hurt by underfunded education. The University of Oregon announced earlier this year that it’s planning a tuition hike. Then in March, the United Academics faculty union said that the UO was planning to cut 75 faculty jobs from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the College of Education and other university units. On April 21, CAS said it plans to cut 21 non-tenure-track faculty and 10 staff workers. CAS offers the core liberal arts and sciences curriculum that serves the entire UO undergraduate population, and cuts there hurt, as do tuition hikes. Meanwhile over at Lane Community College, a statement on the 2018 budget from the LCC Faculty Council points out that “Students are the big losers. Cuts to instruction, counseling and support while posting new management positions sends a clear message to students: We’re not here for you.” According to the Lane Community College Education Association, proposed cuts include “early childhood education, GIS (geographic information systems), respiratory therapy, religion and philosophy, watershed science, and the reduction of two faculty counselor positions, which, if approved, would eliminate 10 contracted faculty positions, impacting part-time faculty in each program as well.” For more on the budget and to see comments from faculty and administration go to blogs.lanecc.edu/budget.
• It’s prom time in Eugene public schools. That often means special dresses, hairstyles, dinner, even limos and drivers. It’s also a time when 21,340 homeless kids are enrolled in K-12 Oregon schools, 3.7 percent of our public school population. We wonder how many of the homeless high school kids will be going to the proms or, more important, even doing their homework and attending their classes. This is what we call the rich-poor gap in America, an inequality that hurts the most when it hits our children.