News Briefs: Who Controls Waldo Lake | Deadline for Health Plan | Morton Pays Fine | Dancer’s Bid Stirs the Blogs | Winter Soldier II | Food, Drink and Science | Activist Alerts | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Diffusing the Choice Bomb
Could a Harris-Eastside merger help 4J?
Living at Zero
Eugene’s pioneering zero-energy home and family
Our Evolving Bodies
White House gives UO scientist top award for research disputing inteligent design
Happening Person: Carolyn Mead
WHO CONTROLS WALDO LAKE?
Waldo Lake advocates gathered at the Wayne Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene Monday to voice support for a ban on gas-powered engines in the lake’s pristine waters.
|Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild speaks in favor of the ban. Photo: Chandra Legue|
Steve Stewart is suing the Forest Service and demanding the ban be lifted. Stewart claims the Forest Service can’t ban motorized recreation activities from the lake and its shorelines because the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction over the lake; he says the state of Oregon does. The lake is within the boundaries of the Willamette National Forest, but the lawsuit says that because the lake was “navigable” at the time of statehood, under federal law, it should be under the authority of the state of Oregon.
Stewart’s lawsuit also argues that the gas-engine ban violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it prevents users who cannot row or paddle. The ban does, however, allow for electric motors on the lake.
The hearing was held before Judge Thomas Coffin, who gave the Forest Service two weeks to claim the lake or to say some other entity “owns” it.
Waldo Lake in the Cascades is the second deepest lake in Oregon, second only to Crater Lake. The lake is halfway between Eugene and Bend and surrounded by 39,000 acres of federally designated wilderness areas on three sides. “Waldo Lake has been found to be one of the purest lakes in Oregon and in the world,” said Sean Stephens of Oregon Wild. Public comments from lake visitors have emphasized “how much Waldo Lake visitors appreciate its peacefulness and remoteness,” according to USFS documents.
It is this purity and peace that lake advocates and the USFS are trying to protect from gas-powered engines, including float planes. A ban in 2000 was implemented to prevent the use of motorized water vehicles in the lake. It was lifted shortly thereafter under pressure from the late L.L. “Stub” Stewart, who led Cottage Grove’s Bohemia Lumber before its acquisition by Willamette Industries.
The ban was imposed a second time in 2004 under the administration of a new environmental assessment process. This was appealed by Stub Stewart’s son Steve. “Two to 5 percent of people at Waldo Lake use gas motors,” Stephens said.
A transition period to a ban to take full effect in 2009 began in April 2007. The ban is getting full support from organizations such as McKenzie Flyfishers, the Western Environmental Law Center and local lake, kayak and canoe enthusiasts. “The vast majority of supporters are non-gas users,” Stephens said.
For many lake advocates, the use of gas-powered water vehicles is tantamount to the destruction of a lake known for its solitude and natural beauty. “It’s like riding a motorcycle down the steps of the Sistine Chapel,” said lake advocate Anne Forrestel. — Mark Arellano
DEADLINE FOR HEALTH PLAN
Low income? No health insurance? The deadline is the end of the month for Oregonians to apply for the Oregon Health Plan Standard reservation list. As of Feb. 22, nearly 74,000 Oregonians without health insurance had applied for OHP benefits.
Oregonians have until 5 pm Friday, Feb. 29 to get on the application list. Postmarks don’t count, so applicants need to fax forms to the Department of Human Services, fill out forms online or visit a DHS branch office. For information, visit www.oregon.gov/DHS/openor call (503) 945-5772.
MORTON PAYS HER FINE
Eugene Quaker and longtime peace activist Peg Morton was fined $100 following her arrest as part of a small group occupying Sen. Gordon Smith’s Eugene office Oct. 12, 2007, and refusing to leave at closing time. The action was in protest of Smith’s continuing support of funding for the Iraq occupation.
In a letter to the court Feb. 14, along with her check, she wrote: “Although I am told that this fine will go into a fund for victims, it is troubling to me to pay it. I created no victims. Meanwhile, my government has created millions of victims — two million refugees, two million displaced, victims of torture, starvation, violence and the destruction of civilian infrastructures necessary for a healthy society. No one is requiring my government to pay the consequences of their actions, to pay retribution to end the war, to repent. I am paying my fine under duress.”
DANCER’S BID STIRS THE BLOGS
Republican KEZI-TV news anchor Rick Dancer’s announcement that he is running for Oregon secretary of state has stirred charges in the blogosphere that he’s trying to hide his Republican affiliation, that KEZI improperly promoted his campaign, that he lacks experience and that he has no chance of winning.
The largely anonymous blog comments, most of which are positive, come from Oregon Media Insider (OMI), comments on Dancer’s own www.rickdancer.com website, the Democratic www.blueoregon.com blog and the blog of Oregonian political reporter and blogger Jeff Mapes. Here’s a run down:
One comment notes that the KEZI report where Dancer launched his campaign “NEVER once mentioned” the fact that he’s running as a Republican.
The next day’s front page story in The Register-Guard left out the word “Republican” until after the page jump.
The Oregonian‘s Mapes notes that in his Portland press conference, Dancer “played down his ties to the GOP and instead said he wanted to make the office non partisan.”
Other comments state that Republican Sen. Gordon Smith buries his party affiliation on his website and note that former Republican Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey announced his switch to “independent” status. “Republicans everywhere are embarrassed to admit their party affiliation.”
With the unpopularity of the Iraq War and George Bush, “an unknown Republican running in a very Blue year has absolutely zero chance” said one comment.
Another commenter states, “This, of course, highlights what Dancer and the GOP fear most — having to run under the banner of Republicanism — which is exactly what will be their downfall.”
The KEZI announcement led the station’s 11 pm newscast and, along with a retrospective on Dancer’s work, took about a third of the entire broadcast’s time.
“KEZI operated as the candidate’s political vehicle by agreeing to withhold the candidate’s party affiliation,” said a comment about the KEZI announcement.
“This seems like a campaign contribution to me. What’s the value of all this TV to an announced candidate; pretty big number I’d guess. Does KEZI hold a license from the FCC?”
In retiring, “He was due a big on air tribute … but he was campaigning BIG TIME! He basically laid out his platform, and gave bullet points,” said one comment. “The R-G article also reads like a publicist’s press release.”
On the KEZI broadcast, Dancer compared himself to Tom McCall, the legendary TV newsman who went on to serve as governor. But comments noted McCall “was a political wonk” before he ran with years of experience covering government.
Dancer’s broadcast touted his experience in holding government accountable as a TV journalist. But his retrospective of his top stories focused on crime and human interest pieces, not government accountability.
One comment referred to Dancer’s work as “merely entertainment” and another called it “a little sappy.” Noting the lack of experience, one said, “I knew the Republicans were desperate, but sheesh!”
Comments questioned whether an unknown Republican with no experience could win in a Democratic year.
“It’s sad to me that Oregon’s Republican Party was so desperate for candidates that they played on a decent man’s ego and convinced Rick to enter this race.”
Another comment recalled another Republican KEZI anchor who ran for secretary of state two decades ago but failed miserably and was left broke.
Dancer ends his KEZI broadcast on himself with, “Huh, so this is what it feels like to end a career.” — Alan Pittman
WINTER SOLDIER II
Eugene’s blue-and-white Veterans for Peace bus, named “Squadron13 Deployed,” will be heading to Washington, D.C., next month to join in the “Winter Soldier II Investigation” scheduled for March 13-16.
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War plan to replicate the model of their Vietnam predecessors. “We find ourselves faced with a new war, but the lies are the same. Once again, troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes … have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming ‘a few bad apples’ instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan,” according to a statement from the group.
The Winter Soldier Investigation of 1971 was a gathering of decorated Vietnam veterans in Detroit to share their experiences of the war. The veterans, including John Kerry, went on to speak before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, providing testimony that helped end the Vietnam War.
The name “Winter Soldier” is a reference to Thomas Paine’s words describing George Washington’s troops who endured a terrible winter at Valley Forge.
Contributions to the local vets’ 7,200 mile round trip are tax-deductible. Anyone interested in helping may contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOD, DRINK AND SCIENCE
The downtown Eugene nightclub Luna is closing and being converted to a Moroccan restaurant, and one consequence of the change is Science Pub needing a new venue.
Science Pub is a lecture series sponsored by OMSI, UO and the Science Factory. The lectures have drawn an average of 100 people to Luna every second Thursday of the month since June 2007.
“The Science Pub is a terrific resource for Eugene and should continue,” says Robert Kelsey, former booker at Luna who brought Science Pub to Eugene. Similar programs have proven popular in other cities.
Past free lectures at Luna have run the gamut from nanotechnology to iPod hearing loss to vulcanology.
“Good food, good drink and enough space are definitely on the requirement list, and I’m sure there are any number of places in Eugene that would fit the bill,” says Amanda Thomas, coordinator of adult programs at OMSI in Portland. She can be reached at email@example.com
• Lane Peace Center is sponsoring its first regional Peace & Democracy Conference Feb. 29 and March 1 at LCC. Speakers include Medea Benjamin, Bob Wing, Agnes Baker Pilgrim and many others. See news story in last week’s EW (online at www.eugeneweekly.com/2008/02/21/news2.html) and get registration info online (www.lanecc.edu/peacecenter).
• Mark Umbreit, founding director of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, will give a presentation called “The Paradox of Forgiveness: What Family Survivors of Homicide Have Taught Us” at 7:30 pm Saturday, March 1, at the Shedd. The talk is part of the UO “Realms of Forgiveness” series on interfaith reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. See the entire schedule online (conflict.uoregon.edu/forgivenessevents.html)
• The land use appeal hearing for Dharmalaya Center is 2:30 pm Monday, March 3, in the Sloat Room of the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th. The appeal “calls into question fairness by city staff and the application of restrictive standards” and “makes clear the city’s disregard for the positive contributions to community life that have occurred at Dharmalaya.”
• CISCAP is now LASC. Members voted this week to change the name of the Committee in Solidarity with the Central American People to the Latin America Solidarity Committee. The name change reflects the expanding scope of the organization over the years. For more information, visit www.efn.org/~ciscapor contact LASC at its same phone number (485-8633) and email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
• The Eugene City Hall Master Plan project is hosting a final community forum 6 pm to 8:30 pm Thursday, March 13, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive. Visit www.eugenecityhall.comor call 682-5222 for more info.
• Four UO student groups are planning an urban park design workshop from 1 pm to 6 pm Saturday, March 15, in the Atrium Building at 10th and Olive. The workshop will focus on generating ideas for the area around Eugene’s downtown library and will include opportunities to develop concepts for a new park and adjacent redevelopment. This event is a lead-up to the April 17-20 HOPES Conference at the UO.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began onMarch 20, 2003(last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 3,968 U.S. troops killed*(3,963)
• 28,870 U.S. troops injured* (28,870)
• 135 U.S. military suicides*(135)
• 307 coalition troops killed** (307)
• 933 contractors killed(accurate updates NA)
• 88,991 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (88,784)
• $497.4 billion cost of war ($495.5 billion)
• $141.5 million cost toEugene taxpayers($139.9 million)
* through Feb. 25, 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
• Deadline is March 3 for comments to Lane County regarding proposed renewal of herbicide applications to Lane County public rights-of-way. If you oppose renewed use of chemical herbicides, please state that in a letter, postcard or petition, or by email to the Lane County Board of Health/Lane County Commissioners, and to the Public Works Department. Lane County commissioners at 682-4203. Orin Schumacher, IVM Coordinator at 682-6908. See details at: forestlanddwellers.org/News/LaneCounty/2008-RoadsideSpraying/
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
If you happen into a Fairmount Neighborhood meeting, you’ll learn that the new basketball arena is not a NIMBY issue. Most of the residents there favor a new arena even in the old Williams Bakery site, but their concern is the scale of the project, the traffic, noise, litter, and parking.
No parallel here to the Mac Court neighborhood. Unlike Mac Court, this arena will require dozens of additional nonathletic events to help pay for it. The number of necessary revenue producing events is a slippery number. One faculty member at the last neighborhood meeting reported that he heard an estimate of l00 annual events in the new arena, maybe more if more revenue is needed. Partly in response to that number, Greg Rikhoff, UO director of community relations, provided the neighborhood email list with the university’s official estimate as of Feb. 21: 18 men’s basketball games, 12,500 fans; 14 women’s basketball games, max likely to be 5,000 to 6,000; 12 volleyball games, max likely to be 3,000; eight concerts budgeted for about 8,000; 13 smaller events, family shows and other sporting events (Globetrotters, high school tournaments, etc.). UO expects attendance to be around 3,500 to 5,500 for these events. Using the UO’s own conservative numbers, that’s 65 events. You add up the bodies and cars. Fairmount neighbors are waiting to hear how their jock next door plans to handle this incredibly expensive mess.
It’s that time of year when enviros from all over country descend on Eugene for four days of the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. Put on by UO law students, the conference has figured heavily in the courts recently. It was mentioned as a gathering place for members of the Earth Liberation Front during last year’s eco-sabotage sentencings in Eugene and during the current arson trial in Washington state. PIELC is still referred to as “E-law” by attendees, but shouldn’t be confused with the actual ELAW (Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide). The conference, which is open to the public, takes place March 6-9 and addresses everything from climate change to exotic animals. Keynote speakers include Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, Western Shoshone activist Carrie Dan and Earth First! co-founder Dave Foreman. Panelists will include Lane County’s Pete Sorenson, Oregon Sen. Brad Avakian and activists and attorneys from Eugene and everywhere else.
Rick Dancer running for secretary of state? We knew the affable local TV anchor had political ambitions and conservative leanings, but we figured he’d want to get his political feet wet in some office where he could really learn how government works — maybe a few years on the city Budget Committee, then some years on the City Council, EWEB Board or County Commission. Then, if he were to run for state office, voters would have a track record to examine. And more importantly, he might be actually build some qualifications beyond writing and talking about the news.
Our secretary of state oversees technical, high-level functions of state government: auditor of public accounts, chief elections officer, public records administrator and registrar of corporations. He or she also serves on the State Land Board and chairs the Oregon Cultural Trust Board.
So far, five Democrats have filed for the May primary, including Vicki Walker, Brad Avakian, Kate Brown, Rick Metsger and Paul Damien Wells. With the exception of Wells, these candidates have years of public service in the Legislature. The race usually attracts some well-funded Republican candidates who would rather be governor, but so far Dancer is the only R who has announced his intentions. If he goes unchallenged in the primary, Dancer’s assured to be on the November ballot, and maybe that’s what it’s all about — building name recognition statewide.
KOPT is dead. Long live KOPB. This past week saw the demise of KOPT-AM 1600 radio with its mix of commercial leftwing talk from Air America and Jones Radio Network. Oregon Public Broadcasting has taken over the station, and so far the content sounds a whole lot like KLCC — intelligent, insightful, tasteful, polite, and well, a bit dull compared to the sometimes raucous ragings of Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes. Air America fans can still find the fun leftie talk shows at KPOJ 620-AM out of Portland, but it’s a weak signal in Lane County. Listening online is better but inconvenient. Anybody want to buy KOPT and its commercial package? It’s still for sale by Churchill Media.
Meanwhile, will KOPB-Eugene develop local programming of interest? Lynne Clendenin, OPB’s VP of radio programming, is noncommittal, saying “local elements of programming are not completely formed.” She tells us OPB and KLCC will be collaborating on programming that “serves the community in a variety of ways.” We don’t need more jazz. We need a local daily public affairs talk show. Eugene is one of the intellectual centers of the West Coast, and it’s absurd that all that brainpower is provided only a minimal forum on local airwaves.
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, email@example.com
“I tell everybody, ‘I own the Y,'” says Carolyn Mead, who has managed the front desk at the Eugene Family YMCA for 30 years. “I’m the director of membership. I claim I’m the C in YMCA.” On Thursday, Feb. 28, Mead works her last regular shift before retirement, and the Y winds down its “Carolyn Week” activities with a “Final Fling” at River Ranch. “You see that kid working up front?” she asks. “I took his mom a casserole the day he was born. Now he’s ready to graduate from the UO.” Mead grew up in Pompano, Fla., and worked as a cashier in a grocery store before she got married, had two kids, and moved cross-country to Creswell in 1974. “My husband had been to Oregon in the service,” she says. “We sold our house and came out here.” Four years later, she took a job at the Y. “I thought I would work temporarily,” she says. “But the Y grabbed ahold of me and wouldn’t let go.” With leisure time in prospect, Mead plans to return for classes. “I’m not a swimmer, but I’m going to try water aerobics,” she says. “I’ll do gentle yoga and strength and stretch for seniors.”