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Slant - 2017-07-27

• Sen. John McCain voted in favor of beginning the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act. McCain returned to the Senate floor with stitches above his eye and visible bruising to his face after undergoing a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor last week. Would his constituents in Arizona who are uninsured be able to afford the same surgery? If the ACA is repealed without a plan to replace it, will cancer go back to being a pre-existing condition? How can leaders elected by the people continue to ignore the majority — especially now that 55 percent of Americans support the ACA, according to a recent Gallup poll, while only 13 percent support the GOP health care bills — when it’s a matter of life and death? Health care is a human right. Elected officials should always do what’s in the best interest of the people. If they can’t, then they should be willing to share their congressional health care benefits with the people.

• We’re downright thrilled at the news that the University of Oregon’s newly renamed College of Design is buying the former Willamette Stationers building at Fifth Avenue and Oak Street downtown to put in art studios and a gallery. That will help forge much-needed links between the UO’s strong art department and artists in the community — and will up the presence of visual arts in downtown Eugene. 

• Would the old Lane Community College building in downtown Eugene make a good homeless shelter?  That’s the question City Counselor Betty Taylor posed at the July 21 City Club of Eugene meeting. Ben Brubaker, one of the speakers and a crisis worker at White Bird for more than ten years, said he would love it.  Management costs always come up as an obstacle for a major shelter, but what about a public-private partnership or some other creative answer? Brubaker and David Gerber, director of the Homeless Outreach Team, a nonprofit based in Eugene since 2012, both talked about the increasing numbers of homeless in Eugene and the challenging search for solutions.

• Thumbs up to the city of Eugene staffers putting on Eugfun (eugfun.org). Young and old filled Washburne Park for an early evening hour Sunday, July 23, to hear the Oregon Tuba Ensemble. Great fun for kids to eat a picnic dinner from a basket on the grass and then dance around the edges and roll on the lawn in rhythm to the music. Their appreciative parents, grandparents and many more applauded loudly for every number the ensemble offered. And it was all free.

• A poll on an independent performance auditor initiative intended for the May 2018 ballot shows 69 percent in favor of the measure, 27 percent opposed and only 4 percent undecided. “Adding an elected independent auditor in Eugene is supported by a wide margin,” says the Lindholm Research blog, which conducted the survey. “However, it does not hit the crucial 70 percent level. Ideas that sound good tend to get a large amount of initial support. Campaigns tend to reduce that support.” The poll, conducted in April, was based on the city attorney’s original ballot title, which was altered by a Circuit Court judge to be more inclusive and less biased. Meanwhile, we hear the signature gathering is going well, but more help is needed. Visit cityaccountability.org or call 541-520-9572.

• The most grateful applause Friday night at The Shedd’s opening of Good News! came during intermission, when female playgoers discovered the brand-new nine-stall men’s and women’s restrooms that also opened that evening. They replace tiny facilities that had been referred to, with tongue in cheek, as “historic” toilets. The first women to use the new restrooms, or so we’re told, broke into spontaneous applause from behind stall doors. “A sitting ovation,” one said.