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Slant 11-29-2012

• The city of Eugene’s budget woes are in the news, and the city has been polling residents about how to raise revenues. It looks like some proposal will go before council and maybe voters soon. The polling asks lots of questions about attitudes and it appears the city is looking at what the citizens are willing to do in terms of taxes and fees, and also testing various arguments and selling points to see if they have traction. Oddly enough, despite hundreds of people shivering under bridges and bushes, no questions were asked about whether we would support new taxes or fees to provide a city shelter for the homeless, or even subsidize a bit of land for the homeless to build their own shelters. We could use some real leadership and definitive action on this matter of life and death, but it’s not coming from the city administration or our elected officials. Our amazing nonprofits and churches cannot handle the growing needs without more city help.

• Looks like our Duck Sports Department needs to pay more attention to The Oregonian or even The New York Times to find out what’s really happening in Eugene. On Nov. 25, 26 and 27, the Portland daily wrote about Chip Kelly heading out for a pro coaching job, maybe in Dallas, with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich hopefully replacing him as head UO football coach. Lots of fun speculation with columnist John Canzano saying, “I can’t see Kelly returning next season to Eugene as head coach.” Not even for $3.5 million in salary and bonuses.  

• We know The Big One is coming, but will we get useful information, such as which hospital is not surrounded by water when the dams fail in an earthquake? Lane County’s Community Emergency Notification System (CENS) was tested earlier this week, sending out text alerts and recorded phone messages to parts of south Eugene. Thanks to cell phones, land lines and computerized messaging, technology is available to communicate quickly about earthquakes, hazardous material spills, urban interface wildfires, floods, even missing kids. Coastal residents in tsunami hazard zones are very familiar with alert systems and know what to do, but we inlanders are a bit clueless. Not many people have signed up for phone calls or cell phone text alerts. Register your phone at www.lcog.org/alertme

• Fox News fired the clownish Glenn Beck last year for being too much of a conservative wingnut, but he still has a huge following, and now he has penned a horror novel, Agenda 21, that describes the tyrannical consequences of the current undermining of America. He says the evil begins at the local government level and he urges his followers to scan city council minutes and report to him key words and phrases that foretell the downfall of freedom: affordable housing, climate change, endangered species, environmental justice, resilient cities, precautionary principle, restorative justice, mixed-use development, sustainable communities, social justice, public/private partnerships, even safe routes to schools. Uh-oh. Looks like we Oregonians are doomed. Wait! Safe routes to schools?