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"Guest Viewpoint"

I’m a graduate of the University of Oregon, I’ve been a community organizer here in Eugene for years, and I help run a small local business. I wear a lot of hats around here. But no matter what hat I have on, regulating, legalizing and taxing marijuana looks like a clear winner. That’s why I’m voting “yes” on Measure 91.

In 2012 residents of Colorado and Washington bypassed their state legislatures and voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use, taking the first steps towards ending 77 years of prohibition. This one act changed the entire political landscape. For the first time a majority of Americans support legalization, and many states are already discussing change at the policy level. Measure 91, however, undercuts two of the central goals of legalization: eliminating the black market, and reducing the role of law enforcement in drug policy. As a result, even if it passes Measure 91 is bound to fail.

If the public really understood the illogic behind U.S. Forest Service management, including those endorsed by forest collaboratives, I am certain there would be more opposition to current Forest Service policies.

I fully support the concept of reduce, recycle and reuse. In fact I remodeled my 1927 house twice, supported a remodeled building for the police station, authored the reusable bag ordinance, and I have been an early supporter of reusing Civic Stadium. But sometimes that is not the best option, nor the option that makes the most sense. After hearing and analyzing the ton of information on this issue, I believe building new City Hall is the right direction for Eugene for three reasons: cost; sustainability and energy; and accessibility, functionality and community.

As one who has worked for 25 years in Oregon to increase voter choice and participation, I can say this about Measure 90: It is one of the most dangerous and deceptive election “reform” proposals I have even seen.

Why should I have to pay taxes for primary elections when I can’t vote in them? I’m registered with a minor party — not the Democrats nor the Republicans. Members of the Working Families Party, like me, and members of the Pacific Green Party, the Libertarian and others have to pay the bill for the two major parties’ closed primaries. So do independent voters not registered with any party. 

The speculation of Scotland as a sovereign state has brought up questions about the future: its economy, military, and standing amongst international organizations, to only name a few. In a sentence, the argument of the pro-independence side can be succinctly summarized to: Scotland is better off on its own.

Eugene is a beautiful, sleepy town, a place where, to quote Garrison Keillor on his recent Prairie Home Companion rebroadcast, “People are more concerned with living well than getting ahead.” The city is many things: eco-activists fed on local organics flourishing alongside a swoosh-tattooed sports empire of sparkle and grandeur, a town whose seeming ’60s Bohemianism is often driven by trustafarii dollars from L.A. and the Bay Area. 

The airlines now pack their planes so tightly that the only reasons I fly anymore are to watch fights over reclining seats or to get my clothes pressed.

City Hall was once a beautiful building – you need only to look at photos of when it was completed in 1964 to understand that. If it seems ugly now it’s because of years of official neglect. Deferred maintenance has become no maintenance. It didn’t have to be that way.

Along Seavey Loop Road winding all the way to Hwy. 58, “Stop Seavey Loop Industrial Zone” signs have cropped up over the past few weeks on almost every property. The two-lane blacktop runs through floodplain rich in farmland and natural areas nurtured by the Coast Fork of the Willamette River and Oxley Slough and overseen by Mount Pisgah rising gently in the east.

My “sex education” classes always failed me.

“Your privates are gonna get bigger and you’re gonna start smelling bad,” one of the teachers said during my fifth-grade sex-ed class. At the end, the teachers provided us with a stick of deodorant — thanks, Mr. Johnson.  

It’s summer, and that means rites-of-passage time when I do workshops for African-American related youth on preventing addiction and problems related to sexuality, whether or not you’re under the influence. I combine 21st-century knowledge with 25th-Dynasty wisdom, i.e. African Old School. It’s about keeping your spirits, your wits and your body safe, as well as safeguarding those around you. 

The average constitution worldwide only lasts 19 years and Thomas Jefferson suggested we re-write our Constitution every 25 years. Perhaps it is time that we re-write ours. How would you change the Constitution if you could craft a new one?

While much ink has already been spilled over the City Council’s proposed paid sick time policy, it’s important that our community is debating actual facts and applying appropriate context to the matter. I would like to clarify some key points.

Seen as a progressive and a civil libertarian, Sen. Ron Wyden has become the “Golden Boy” of the Democrats and risen to a position of great power within the Senate.

As the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee — think taxes — Wyden is the most powerful Senate member outside of Majority Leader. To illustrate the importance, he has raised $1.7 million in campaign funds so far during this election cycle, a record for him, and did this during a non-campaign year.

In an urban growth boundary expansion, the city of Springfield is studying location of a 362-acre industrial zone on Seavey Loop. This plan threatens farms, businesses, residences, property values, species, public recreation, sustainable development and a way of life at the gateway to Mount Pisgah. 

At a recent panel discussion, local politicians and service provider representatives addressed the pressing need for community services for the mentally ill. Unfortunately, the Legislature chose to direct human service funding to institutional care rather than community-based programs. The soon to be completed State Mental Hospital between Eugene and Junction City is the result of that funding priority decision. 

After several years and over 3,000 miles of searching, last week it was confirmed that our famed OR-7 is no longer a lone gray wolf. Not only has OR-7 found a mate, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced he has fathered at least two pups — the first wolf pups in southern Oregon in decades. Many wolf advocates and OR-7 fans missed the irony in the agency’s announcement. 

New architectural drawings reveal a beautiful, renovated field and grandstand with massive old-growth structural timbers — capturing the vision shared by civic leaders and Works Progress Administration who in 1938 designed and built Civic Stadium for public use.

I have just returned from a celebration of Christmas presented by the Eugene Cascade Chorus. As I write this column, the echo of the words “Let there be peace on Earth” lingers in my mind. If there is anything I could wish for this tired old world, it would be that sentiment.

The stakes are high for Oregonian families in the 2014 elections, and Democrats throughout the state are ready to use cutting-edge, grassroots campaign tools to win the close races in November.

For almost 20 years now I have been participating in a personal boycott of professional spectator sports, electing to watch only amateur college sporting events, particularly those that represent the school from which I graduated. But recently, I have decided to refrain from viewing some of the university-based athletic team sports that represent even my own alma mater, specifically the sports that offer multiple scholarships to out-of-state recruits in order to potentially win championships rather than educate our local youth. 

As an environmental studies major at the UO I’ve gotten very used to discussing issues of injustice and land degradation through a scholarly/ objective lens; however, I had never drawn these connections back to myself and how they affect me as an Oregonian. Never would I have imagined that a trip out to interview a community affected by pesticide drift — a predominantly middle class, white conservative community in Gold Beach — would connect directly to the working-class Latino-immigrant farmer community I grew up with in the Rogue Valley.