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Slant 9-13-2012

• We’re pleased to finally see a pro-EmX group coming together in Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST). The nonprofit will soon have a website and Facebook page, and we see a broad spectrum of noted community leaders on the board of directors. BEST will be lobbying undecided Eugene city councilors in advance of the council’s upcoming key vote on the West Eugene EmX Expansion and will be supporting local mass transit well into the future. So far the only mass transit group has been Our Money Our Transit (OMOT), an unincorporated citizen group that has financed the pervasive anti-EmX signs and advertising. OMOT has hired a Washington, D.C., law firm that represents a lot of oil and gas interests. See our cover story this week.

• Just as County Commissioner Rob Handy predicted, months after the election, the investigation that was brought against him alleging he abused his office was dropped by the state Department of Justice on Sept. 11. The DOJ said it not find enough evidence to prove that Handy committed official misconduct or any other crime. The allegations were brought shortly before the election and might have led to Handy’s defeat by conservative Pat Farr. 

• The Lane County Interagency Narcotics Team crackdown on the Kannabosm medical marijuana dispensary last week is one more blatant example of why we need to reform our drug laws. This raid drives those who need medical pot to shady sources on the street, sources that are often supplied by the notorious international drug cartels that are actually a threat to our national security. Meanwhile, the Kannabosm investigation, bust and prosecution all cost money and human resources that would be better used for serious crimes. Passing Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adult personal use, won’t end our absurd and tragic national War on Drugs, but it’s a step in the right direction. 

Eugene’s built environment has been called “butt-ugly” by at least one prominent local architect. Urban renewal projects in the past sterilized our once historic downtown with concrete, and today we have no effective design standards in our city code. Developers can build just about anything they want, regardless of aesthetics, solar access or compatibility with their neighbors. But change is afoot. Last week’s upbeat City Club panel on the People’s Choice Awards for architecture and landscape architecture was a shout-out to local designers who are doing remarkable, innovative work to make our urban environment more livable and inspiring. The People’s Choice show in the Broadway Commerce Center will continue for the next few weeks, and more examples of creative local architecture can be seen in the BRING Home and Garden Tour this Sunday (see News Briefs). 

• Our Best of Eugene Awards Show is coming up Oct. 26 at the McDonald Theatre, and ticket sales are traditionally a benefit for a local nonprofit. This year a big portion of the proceeds will go to our readers’ favorite nonprofit. Be sure to vote at bestofeugene.com or see the ballot in last week’s paper.

• We heard through Lynne Fessenden of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean & Grain Project that local farmer Jeff Broadie of Lonesome Whistle had a serious accident last month while working on his combine. He will recover, but he and his family have no health insurance to pay for surgeries to repair his multiple facial fractures. Those who want to help can make checks payable to Lonesome Whistle Farm and mail to PO Box 41672, Eugene 97404. “We are also organizing volunteers for a few harvest work parties in the next month,” Fessenden says. Email isabelle@lanefood.org or call 345-0265 for work party information. 

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