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Slant 10-25-2012

• Find our condensed endorsements ] in this issue, a 350-word version of last week’s 3,500 words of analysis and recommendations. Our short picks are a handy way to compare our endorsements with those of the R-G, which were also compiled this week. We differ from the daily on the regulate pot measure, corporate kicker measure, the Circuit Court write-in, Court of Appeals, Eugene City Council Ward 2 and House District 7. The R-G tries to be “balanced” with an occasional conservative thrown into the mix (or occasional liberal thrown under the bus). We don’t feel that need, particularly since the R’s have been hijacked by the radical right. 

• The daily didn’t endorse in the three EPUD races and that lack of comment might be due to EPUD’s political landscape which is an impenetrable fog bank these days. It’s hard to discern the real issues amidst the personality clashes, the flying accusations and the conflicting information being circulated. The board meetings would make a lively TV reality show. Despite the drama, EPUD customers still love their home-grown utility and can look forward to a new general manager in January, and hopefully a better functioning board after the election. 

The new board will need to look not only at EPUD’s investments and strategy in energy management and conservation, but also issues of transparency and that tricky topic of board compensation. EPUD Board members get paid $134 for every meeting they attend, plus full medical benefits with zero co-pays. Board member Katherine Schacht tried to bring up the health insurance issue but her motion died for lack of a second. Oddly enough, we hear that motion is nowhere to be found in the board minutes.

Is campaign spending overwhelming our treasured citizen initiative process in Oregon? That’s our question after hearing the update of the Citizens’ Initiative Review Oct. 19 at City Club of Eugene. Made permanent, but not funded, by the 2011 Legislature, the review is a good-faith effort using 24 randomly selected citizens to evaluate and clearly explain the actual effects of statewide ballot measures. This year, $85,000 was raised to evaluate only two measures, one the “Grange” casino proposal recently abandoned by its Canadian advocates. Meanwhile, massive out-of-state money pours in to mislead us on the measures. Not exactly what Oregonians intended in the early 1900s when they adopted the initiative.

• Our Best of Eugene Awards Show is at 7:30 pm this Friday, Oct. 26, at the McDonald Theatre downtown and everyone’s invited to Eugene’s answer to the Oscars. Doors open at 7. Advance tickets are $8 (available at EW offices at 1251 Lincoln) or $9 at the door. Proceeds will go to the “best nonprofit” category winner, as picked by our readers. Following the awards at around 9:30 will be party with music by Dreamdog, Sol Seed and Volifonix, our Next Big Thing 2012 winning band.

• From our jock drawer: Oregon Duck footballers are picked to beat the Colorado Buffs by 45 points Saturday at Autzen. Not much drama there, so we turn to other pressing questions. Will Chip Kelly be the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys? Will Kenjon Barner run far enough to become a bona fide Heisman contender? Will Oregon’s defense outscore the Colorado offense? A good defense aims to stop the other team. A really good defense aims to stop the other team and force turnovers. Oregon’s defense takes it one step further — aiming to stop the other team, force turnovers, and turn those turnovers into touchdowns. Watch for Oregon’s defense to score a touchdown to help the Ducks beat the Buffs by 30. 

• Get your fungus on! The Mushroom Festival at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum is one of our favorite local events and it’s from 10 am to 5 pm Sunday. The rains came late this year, but we hear hundreds of varieties of mushrooms have been popping up on the Coast, in the Cascades and around the valley. The folks at Pisgah tell us the long dry season means some unique ’shrooms are expected this year. The savory wild mushroom soups might go quickly, but lots of other great foods will be available, along with live music, art and plant vendors. Our Slug Queen, of course, will be there. Kids under 12 are free. Google “Mushroom Festival Eugene” for more information.