• Mayor Lucy Vinis convened her first Auditor Study Committee meeting Aug. 2 at the Eugene Public Library. Norma Greer and Marty Wilde were elected co-chairs, and the group will look at various cities that have independent city auditors to see what might work best for Eugene and wrap up its research with a report in two months or so. The problem is that an initiative petition to create an independent elected performance auditor is already in circulation with a measure expected to go on the ballot next spring.
One person in the audience spoke up to complain that the panel is just a “shell game” on behalf of city administration and is an “insult” to initiative petitioners who have already worked more than a year on similar research and in consultation with experts. After the meeting we asked the mayor if indeed she was under the influence of City Manager Jon Ruiz, who is on the record opposing independent auditing. She tells us she and the city manager have avoided talking about this issue.
“I do this work independently, without staff input or support,” she says, “because I want to assure the public that the study group is impartial. I am supportive of instituting a performance auditor in the city and recognize that there is more than one way to do that. Understanding our options is key to crafting responsible public policy.”
• The mayor of Salt Lake City, we read, spent three days and two nights in April living as a homeless person in a rough part of that town. Mayor Ben McAdams did it right, by all accounts. There was no publicity, no cameras. Carrying nothing but a bag with his clothes, his phone and a 5-by-8 blue tarp, McAdams spent one 40-degree night shivering on the street under the tarp and another in a homeless shelter where he was warned, “Don’t take off your shoes” and “Don’t go to the bathroom after dark.” Are any of Eugene’s civic leaders this gutsy? Or this interested in learning about the problems of the unhoused? Back in 1997 then city councilor Bobby Lee took his camping gear and hit the streets, which led to Eugene’s car camping ordinance. We need another leap forward.
• His super staff was one of Jim Weaver’s greatest strengths when he was the U.S. congressman from Oregon’s fourth district from l975 to 1987. To mention a few — Peter DeFazio (who now holds Weaver’s former seat), Pete Sorenson, Cynthia Wooten, Ron Eachus, Gail Shibley, Dave Fidanque, Mardel Chinburg, Mike McGinn, Nancy Webber, Nancy Pierce, Monique and Joe Rutledge, and Jim Middaugh. Many of those staffers plus family and friends sang “Happy 90th Birthday” to Jim and spoke of their exciting years with him on Aug. 8 at a party in his beloved Mt.Pisgah park. One former staff member speculated that Jim Weaver attracted good people because they wanted to work for a politician who really believed in something and was willing to fight for it. A surprising number followed Weaver’s example and went into politics or public service. His 90th birthday celebration showed that it takes a bold and confident leader to assemble such a crowd around him.
• What I did on My Summer Vacation, by Donald Trump
“I pissed off North Korea and tried to start a nuclear war.”
(If you are reading this, then Trump hasn’t succeeded.)