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"Guest Viewpoint"

It may seem strange to suggest that the path to peace is to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty regenerating the soil in our gardens and around the world. But this is more than a metaphor suggesting that building peace is like growing a healthy garden. 

The wars we fight, the deplorable state of public health and the surpassing of planetary limits leading to climate change can all be traced back to how we grow our food and view the earth as a resource base to be turned into commodities for consumption.

Homelessness and impoverishment are not law enforcement problems and cannot be mitigated by police actions. The Eugene City Council needs to stop dithering and being paralyzed by NIMBY trolls who could not care less that housing is a human right. 

What’s your “social imaginary”? In other words, as the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor defines it in his 2007 work Modern Social Imaginaries, how do you imagine your social existence, how do you fit together with others — including the natural environment, I would add — and how do you imagine things going on between you and others, the expectations normally met and the deeper ethical ideas and images that underpin those expectations?

For the past century, Planned Parenthood has transformed sexual and reproductive health and empowered millions of people worldwide to make informed health decisions — forever changing the way they live, love, learn and work. To commemorate our centennial, we are kicking off #100YearsStrong, a yearlong effort of acting, sharing and celebrating the progress Planned Parenthood has championed for women and families over the past 100 years.

Ward 1 voters need to know the truth about the two run-off candidates, Emily Semple and Josh Skov. To do so, they should consider an objective and truthful comparison of where the candidates stand on several key issues.

In the last week of September, we passed right by 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major milestone on our way to climate disruption. It’s alarming given all that’s at stake, but we have available to us now all the solutions that we need to dramatically reduce emissions and secure a livable future for us, our children and our grandchildren. 

As we approach Election Day, we are being faced with historic decisions. The results of the presidential race will have consequences beyond the next four years. Here in Oregon, voters will have a chance to influence the future of generations of children, the elderly and people with health needs. Measure 97, which would tax the largest corporations doing more than $25 million in business in Oregon, could reverse the trend of the last 25 years of disinvestment in schools, seniors and health care programs in our state.

As Benton County prepares to vote on whether to adopt ranked-choice voting for county elections, Oregonians are presented an opportunity to explore different voting systems. Ranked-choice voting has the most political traction right now, but it's only one of several alternatives.

In January 2013, I was roofied and raped at a fraternity while I was a student at the University of Oregon. The Sunday before the first day of my last winter term at the UO, I woke up naked with a man I had never wanted to be naked with, the night flooding back to me as I tried to find my clothes and leave. 

Sooner or later it happens. You write or say something and then you have to come clean and admit that you just got it wrong. In “The $7 million giveaway” I argued that our local officials got little or nothing in return for extending the enterprise zone benefits for Broadcom an additional two years.

In her Sept. 15 column entitled “Quarry on Native Lands,” Kayla Godowa-Tufti argued that the Old Hazeldell Quarry (OHQ) site, which is currently the subject of a public land use process with Lane County to allow quarry mining, is culturally significant to local Native American tribes. There are a number of factual inaccuracies that merit a response.

As we celebrate and reflect upon another year “back to school” and brace ourselves for the upcoming election season, we are reminded of George Washington’s words in his 1797 farewell address: “… as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion be enlightened.” Ours is a much different world, but Washington’s logic is just as sound today as it was then. The government we have reflects the state of public enlightenment.

What do you think when you see someone with bad teeth — big gaps or the disturbing discoloration of decay or the sunken-jaw look of too many missing teeth —  someone who covers his or her mouth when talking, someone who seems afraid to smile? Dangerous? Criminal? Drug addict? 

Well, in some cases that might be true, but in most cases it’s not. And the judgments that you and I — often unwittingly — make about people with visibly bad teeth can be a barrier to those people overcoming difficulties in their lives.

The city of Eugene has morphed a neighborhood initiative to improve pedestrian and traffic safety on south Willamette Street into an intrusive rezone of neighborhoods in that area. They call it an “up-zone.” From the perspective of many who live there, it is more appropriately called a “down-grade” — of property values, the environment and their quality of life.

I wanted to be white for three weeks in 4th grade (1965)because I was being rejected, being the only black kid in class in my elementary school in Bel Air. After three weeks I realized, wait, there’s nothing wrong with me, it’s them. 

My home training countered the non-lessons I was getting: Slaves were smart. Slaves resisted every step of the way. We were the slaves that taught ourselves to read, when it was a death sentence. 

I am baffled by the decision of the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioners to give away an additional $7 million, to Singapore-based Broadcom, on top of the $14 million the company was already getting for creating 229 jobs in the West Eugene Enterprise Zone. That’s $21 million, what they paid for the property, for 229 jobs!

When the Oregon legislative session of 2015 opened, Eugene Weekly embarked upon the bold experiment of establishing a delivery route in Salem. Each Thursday I traveled there, my first stop was the Capitol, where crowds in costumes and uniforms campaigned colorfully for their causes.

The Salem experience was thoroughly enjoyable. As the final month began, I wondered how I could top the fun, and decided to meet Kate Brown.

I’m not a fan of HRC. 

But I’m no Bernie-for-the-revolution person either. 

No election will bring us the revolution we need. Even electing Jill Stein or Sanders would do the same as electing the “Hope” and “Change” of Obama. 

There is the letter of the law, then there’s the spirit. Rep. Lew Frederick, the Oregon House’s only African American legislator, was the guiding force behind two new Oregon laws: HB 2655 (the testing opt-out bill of rights) and HB 2713 (the testing cost audit bill). 

The spirit behind the two new laws is clear: To honestly examine the costs, both financial and otherwise, of the standardized testing that dominates Oregon education and to allow parents and students to make their own informed decisions about what kind of education is best for them. 

Your Queen and Mine of the Society for the Legitimization of Ubiquitous Gastropods, Markalo Parkalo, wishes to convey warmest wishes, solstice celebration and official offerings herewith:

First, thank you for your support of my favorite nonprofit: LILA (Lane Independent Living Alliance).

On Aug. 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb rendered Hiroshima a scorched plain and burned tens of thousands in its flames. By year’s end, 140,000 irreplaceable lives had been taken. Those who managed to survive, their lives grotesquely distorted, were left to suffer serious physical and emotional aftereffects compounded by discrimination and prejudice. Nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and the ultimate inhumanity. 

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) can most accurately be summed up as a conglomerate of protests. This wasn’t simply a coming-together of Democratic delegates casting their pledged vote. This was a rallying point for many groups to come together and express their displeasure, and often rage, at a system they have grown frustrated with. 

The Lane County Board of Commissioners, at the behest of Dennis Morgan, a local businessman and conservative political activist, is considering a proposal to grant themselves authority to review Lane County citizen initiatives, which have met all legal standards for placement on the ballot. The proposal would allow the board to declare that an initiative does not meet the board standard for “county concern” and, thereby, to bar it from the ballot. 

The Lane County Commission is considering a proposed ordinance that would give five elected officials a stranglehold over the people’s local initiative power.

Let’s be clear: The initiative and referendum power belongs to the people free from government interference, as recognized by the Oregon Constitution. The people’s right to circulate petitions is core political speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.