• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

"Guest Viewpoint"

I know firsthand that running for political office costs money. As a candidate for House District 14 in West Eugene and Junction City, I made a lot of fundraising calls. I didn’t (and still don’t) mind raising money and I think I’m not too bad at it. Every candidate needs resources to explain to voters about why they’re running to serve and what ideas they have for fixing the biggest problems facing your community. 

Readers of Lucy Vinis’s June 22 viewpoint may have thought the mayor was voicing support for the citizens’ initiative petition, filed in May, that would amend the Eugene City Charter to establish an Office of an Independent elected city auditor. But the mayor’s intent, in sync with city officials, is to undermine the citizens’ effort with their own self-serving version of an audit function.

Accountability and transparency are essential to democracy. As Eugene’s mayor, I invite you to explore with me the potential benefits of a performance auditor to improve the effectiveness of city government and build the community’s trust in our public process.

Here’s the deal: If you care about your community, you cannot afford to ignore economic development. 

Economic development is not a benign program implemented by well meaning people to create jobs. It is one of the prime game changers that determine the future of a community. We ignore it at our peril.  

Testing season is upon us — again. During April, May and June, students take weeks of Smarter Balanced Math and Language Arts tests. This is in addition to a year’s worth of other tests such as OAKS Science, EasyCBM, DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency), EDL2 (Evaluación del desarrollo de la lectura), etc.

Many of us recognize the value of bicycling. It’s fun (especially under the sun), it’s good for the health of the cyclist and it’s good for the health of the planet that we’re all a part of.

We appreciate the organizations that promote cycling and all the awesome bike shops that sell and maintain the bikes we ride. Some of us are even aware of local businesses that design and build cycles, such as Co-Motion, Bike Friday and Human Powered Machines. But when thinking of cycling, how many of us think of it as something beyond a way to get from point A to point B?

The first time I ever smoked pot was two weeks out of high school at a rock festival in the Atchafalaya Basin about an hour north of New Orleans. June 21, 1971. The sun was just above the western horizon on a 105-degree day. A surfer dude convinced me to give it a try.

When a trope or metaphor gets popularly misappropriated due to cultural transference, problems ensue. 

Two examples often used in mainstream Western culture are “low man on the totem pole” and the “pawn in the game.” Neither of these artifacts originally comes from Western civilization — that civilization in which cultural historical amnesia is a given norm and assimilation is a goal, thereby dooming those who buy into the concept to repeating preventable mistakes, like déjà vu all over again. 

May has traditionally been National Historic Preservation Month, a time for communities to celebrate the successes of local efforts and to recall the losses. Last year was a milestone: fifty years since the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966! 

On a rainy night in January, the National Association of Realtors published an article that should have alarmed every hopeful homeowner, empty-nester, and business entrepreneur in Eugene.

Seattle — where the median home value recently tipped past $620,000 — was named the most-constrained, least accessible housing market in the country.

But who was second?

Eugene.

My name is Caroline Lundquist; students call me Dr. L. I teach ethics and critical thinking at Lane Community College. But I may not teach them next year. Philosophy at Lane is on the chopping block. 

The Eugene 4J School District is preparing to issue a bond measure to fund building construction. Voters in either the November 2018 or May 2019 election would determine passage of the bond.

While the list of projects isn’t finalized, if the bond is approved, funds may be used to replace North Eugene High School and Edison Elementary School and to build additions on McCornack and Gilham elementary schools, among others. As a community, we are looking at investing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in replacing and upgrading school buildings. We should take this opportunity to make sure our investments last.

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns recently announced he will retire in the next month or so. His departure affords our community a critical opportunity to ensure that the leadership of our local law enforcement maintains and instills the values we believe are essential to a just and fair city. 

It is certainly true that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new U.S. Secretary of Education, poses a distinct threat to the institution of public education. She is intent on advancing the privatization, corporatization, standardization, theocratization and profit-taking that have been part of the decades-long assault on public education. Who in America is going to step up to defend the pillar of our democracy, our precious system of public education?

I have exactly 1,476 trophies, and I adore every single one of them. 

I have participation awards from every sports team I’ve been on since kindergarten, eighth-place trophies for speech and debate tournaments, and my well-loved third-place medal for a watermelon-eating competition from third grade.

How do we assign value to a forest? Is it in board feet of timber? Is it in jobs? Is it in its ability to re-grow trees?

Is it in the size of the trees? Is it in tourism? Is it in waterfalls and boulder runs? Is it in elk and deer to hunt? Is it in salmon to fish? Is it in habitat for ravens, bald eagles, osprey, northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, belted kingfishers, juncos and chickadees? Is it in foraging for chanterelles, thimbleberries, fiddle heads and stinging nettle?

Take a drive out Highway 99 to Clear Lake Road and turn west. As soon as you leave the busy industrial highway you are in another world, instantly surrounded by green, open farmland. You experience a vista that stretches all the way to the Coast Range to the west. 

That’s what I see, and maybe that’s what you see, but that’s not what the city of Eugene sees. Instead of prime farmland and green open space, Eugene envisions a 924-acre industrial park. 

One way the news media demonstrate bias is by what they report and what they leave out.

Another is the negative or positive content of articles that do make it to print. A vital role of the media is to be a watchdog and a check on power, but not enough attention is given to monitoring the fairness of our local media’s narrative.

In January the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon’s Tribal Council approved a resolution to protect TV Butte in Oakridge. Lane County has nevertheless tentatively approved a zoning change to allow the butte to be mined, ignoring oral history evidence of previous native occupation of the site.

TV Butte in Oakridge is part of a Native American village site, and native burial sites are thought to be near the butte. The Chakgeenkni-Tufti Band of Molalla Indians, whose descendants are enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon, lived at the TV Butte site for thousands of years.

“They call them huddles, Vicki, not meetings,” my sister Annabelle said over the phone. 

She was telling me about her weekend event with the L.A. Indivisible group that is organizing against Trump, and she was revved. This is my sister who was by my side in the ’60’s. 

What do kids typically experience the first day of school? Nerves. Will I make friends? Will my teacher like me? Where is the bathroom? These are the typical concerns that you’d imagine.

In the flurry of disturbing and provocative executive orders coming out of the new presidential administration, it is understandable that some of us may have lost sight of the greatest fear that many of us had at the prospect of a Trump presidency: that a thin-skinned ill-informed man would be in control of our devastating arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, recently released a report, “10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President,” with contributions from a broad range of experts on nuclear policy. In a synopsis of that report, Ploughshares lists five policy areas where we could try to steer the Trump administration to improve our nuclear policy:

It’s almost impossible to overstate how devastating the 1980s recession was for Oregon. 

The early 1980s had the largest percentage of job loss since World War II. For Oregon, this truly was the "Great Recession,” hitting the state harder than the more recent recession of 2008, and it would change Oregon forever. 

This recession would result in making economic development a permanent part of the Oregon political landscape, changing the state and fueling economic growth, for good and for bad, in ways that were almost unimaginable prior to that crisis. 

What should we make of the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education?

The answer is, perhaps, “Not very much.”

For professional educators, the choice of DeVos is a bummer but no surprise. Secretaries of education who champion the system have been rare. And yet our school system has been a robust and productive institution, worthy of pride. It does not yet live up to our dreams, but we have accomplished a great deal, plugging away at the local level.