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Slant 10-11-2012

Ballots go in the mail starting Friday, Oct. 19, and our election issue, including endorsements, will be next week, Oct. 18. We’ll have more election stories right up to Nov. 2, our last issue before the Nov. 6 election. Haven’t registered to vote, or moved since you last voted? Better hurry. The deadline is next Tuesday, Oct. 16, and it’s easy to do online at oregonvotes.org or down at Lane County Elections, 275 W. 10th Ave., in Eugene. Call 682-4234.

Conservative interests are working hard to unseat Democratic incumbents Phil Barnhart and Val Hoyle in House Districts 11 and 14, among others. The Community Action Network (CAN), led by Dennis Morgan and funded by the timber industry, is writing big checks to Kelly Lovelace, Barnhart’s opponent, and on a smaller scale, to Eugene City Council candidate Juan Carlos Valle. CAN is funded by the Giustina family, Roseburg Forest Products, Seneca Jones, Swanson Bros., Delta Sand & Gravel and other resource-extracting industries. Contributing to CAN is another right-wing PAC, Promote Oregon Leadership, which is backing Lovelace and Dwight Coon, Hoyle’s opponent. Promote Oregon, in turn, gets its money from many sources including several major out-of-state insurance companies and even Union Pacific Railroad. If Barnhart and Hoyle say their campaigns are “getting railroaded” by deceptive attack ads, you will know what they mean. 

Money is also coming in to these races from the Oregon Transformation Project PAC, funded by another group of timber and land interests, including Stimson Lumber. These PACs are writing checks to each other, campaigns are sharing funds and we figure there’s pass-through Koch Brothers money buried in there somewhere. Koch Industries donations are going directly into several Oregon Republican campaigns and also the Associated Oregon Industries PAC and the Oregon Forest Industries Council PAC. The Dems have their PACs as well, but they are much more transparent. 

Candidate John Lively in the House District 12 race is still getting pounded by the Joe Pishioneri campaign for supposedly waffling on Eugene’s Toxics Right-to-Know Law. Lively, a Democrat, supports the law, but argued against it when he was a spokesman for Hyundai/Hynix back in the last century. That’s what PR people do: advocate for their employers’ interests. This is a tricky issue for the Republican Pishioneri to bring up since Lively is much stronger on environmental issues and is more likely to favor people over polluters when we elect him as our advocate in Salem. Pishioneri tells us he would support a toxics reporting law for Springfield, but only under certain conditions. And it may be telling that he continues to mistakenly call it the Toxic, not Toxics, Right-to-Know Law. 

• Our governor appoints members to the LTD Board of Directors, and an Oct. 15 deadline is coming up to apply (see the LTD website). We expect Doris Towery will be reappointed since she has only served one four-year term. Mike Eyster is wrapping up his second term and might not be reappointed since Kitzhaber prefers a two-term maximum. Dean Kortge, the lone vote on the board against the West EmX extension this week, might also be heading off since he has served two terms plus a partial term. 

Why do we have an appointed and not elected LTD Board? When LTD was formed, businesses were asked to fund it through payroll taxes, so they asked for more say in who will be running the show. We can expect the Chamber of Commerce to weigh in on the applicants, and the Oregon Senate will need to approve the governor’s picks. No formal public input is provided in the process, but anybody can lobby Chamber leadership, elected officials, anyone who has some clout, and even the governor. 

• From our cluttered sports drawer: The ASU Sun Devils may look like nothing more than the Duck footballers’ next victims, but let’s play Sun Devils’ advocate. ASU is primed to upset the Ducks. The Ducks travel to Sun Devil Stadium on Oct. 18 for Oregon’s first visit to an opponent’s home field this season. Some 70,000 people will be screaming at the Ducks. The Sun Devils have a new coach and have not lost at home. With USC up next on the schedule, the Ducks might be enjoying their lofty national ranking and overlooking the ASU threat. Sun Devils roast the Ducks, 24-17.