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Slant 1-26-2012

• It would be an important change in Eugene if a chief of police would support the courts of law when they find against one of his officers as a federal jury did Jan. 23 against Sgt. Bill Solesbee. The jury decided Solesbee used excessive force against Josh Schlossberg. Chief Pete Kerns could have issued a neutral statement or resorted to “no comment” instead of saying Solesbee’s actions were justified. Maybe the police association or the radical conservatives in this community demand support of the police, no matter what they do, but that’s hardly the way to build a climate of trust for all those Eugene cops who do good work.

• Maybe all those thousands of words from speculating sports writers haven’t nailed the REAL reasons Chip Kelly was at first leaving for the NFL, then staying to coach the Ducks another year. January in Oregon makes the Florida sun very inviting; a lot of Eugeneans escape to Mexico this time of year. A quick glance at NFL coach salaries show most of them don’t make more than the cool $3 million that Kelly is pulling in this year. Or maybe Kelly’s staying because he wants to occupy his new house reportedly under construction in the Delta Oaks area. Rumors have big numbers around it: 9,000 square feet, $2 million price tag, not gated, athletic facilities. We hope it has a jump-gym where Chip can train for the BCS championship game next year.

If a Tree Falls, the documentary film about the ecologically motivated arsons across the Pacific Northwest, is up for an Oscar nod. The film features the work of Eugene videographers Tim Lewis, Albie Nash and Randy Shadowalker and features Civil Liberties Defense Center attorney Lauren Regan and longtime enviro-activist Jim Flynn, among others. The film’s garnered praise from law enforcement and activists alike.

Waldo Lake is one of our favorite canoe and hiking getaways, despite mosquito swarms reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. But while skeeters are both natural and irritating, motorboats are only irritating. An advisory committee of the Oregon Marine Board is currently reviewing OMB’s 2009 decision to ban gas motors on Waldo, presumably because of technical complaints about the decision-making process and who has legal jurisdiction over boats and floatplanes on the lake. But the people have spoken here, along with our elected officials. What sense is there in endangering one of the most pristine lakes in the world? One proposal before the committee is to allow four-stroke engines, which are cleaner, but can still pollute through leaking gas lines, dripping oil and underwater exhaust. Motor boats can sink, motors can fall off, and people can be careless handling gas and oil on docks. Let’s keep Waldo as clean as possible, and leave the whining to the mosquitoes.

• Kudos to Dave Fidanque and his staff at the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon for bringing Dan Savage from Seattle to be the keynote speaker for the 2012 Liberty Dinner at the Portland Hilton on Saturday, March 10. If you read “Savage Love” in the back of our paper every week, you know his persistent call for tolerance, openness and honesty. He’s become a national leader in supporting gay teens in their tough journey. Plus — he’s a brilliant and hilarious speaker. 

• The Oregon Conservation Network, a coalition of 50 environmental organizations in the state, unveiled its “Priorities for a Healthy Oregon” Jan. 19 in Salem. The group, associated with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, called for preserving Oregon’s Renewable Energy Standard, a program that responds to climate change by driving a shift to clean, renewable energy sources. Another priority is expanding Oregon’s marine reserves established in 2009. OCN also calls for restoring the budget of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Find out more at olcveducationfund.org

SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, editor@eugeneweekly.com