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Slant: From downtown Eugene to Donald Trump

Downtown Eugene is a point of contention again, with some groups advocating for cleaning up the streets of “travelers” and transients through smoking and dog bans. Eugene City Councilor Mike Clark has even called for an additional small jail right near our planned new City Hall. More jails won’t solve the problem and bans just push people out to become someone else’s problem. We need more shelters. We need a day shelter. If you can’t tell someone to go home, at least give people somewhere to go. 


It’s good that President Donald Trump cannot ban Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live. Clearly, Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy’s take on Sean Spicer are bugging the new administration at least as much as the “so-called” judges who are blocking Trump’s Muslim ban. If you need more comic relief, find Being There, a 1979 American comedy-drama, based on Jerzy Kosi´nski’s 1970 novel, starring Peter Sellers as Chance, the gardener, or Chauncey Gardiner, an accidental politician whose simple statements are mistaken for profundity. Some say Trump is Chauncey Gardiner’s dark side, the opposite of the gardener’s sweetness, but there’s a jarring similarity when Chauncey says, “I don’t read … I don’t write … I like to watch television.”


• “Make America Green Again” is the new bumper sticker from the Sierra Club. It comes with a briefing paper describing “the four henchmen of the environmental apocalypse”: Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, EPA Director Scott Pruitt and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke. These are the men we’ll be battling for the next four years if we care about our country and the planet.


• We came away with more questions than answers after the Feb. 3 City Club of Eugene discussion of “Eugene Parks and Recreation: the present and future of our greatest natural asset.” Why aren’t the parks and open space division and recreation services one department? Why are our parks under public works? That’s not where the department was in the ’60s when most of Eugene’s parks were built. Why aren’t downtown parks included in the current study?This sounds boringly bureaucratic, but Eugene voters have a history of supporting the parks and open space division and recreation services and our talented young staff members deserve a greater chance to lead.


Politics playing out on Twitter: After senior Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway was ridiculed for justifying the Muslim ban by citing the Iraqis she claimed masterminded the “Bowling Green massacre” (there was no massacre) she argued that she misspoke — except she cited the same “alternative fact” to Cosmopolitan and TMZ. CNN then declined to have her appear on a Sunday talk show, citing “serious questions about her credibility.” Conway responded on Twitter saying family obligations prevented her appearance. CNN Communications fired back on Twitter saying the White House offered Conway to CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday and, “We passed. Those are the facts.”