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Slant 9-27-2012

The fate of the West Eugene EmX extension is pending as we go to press this week, and we hope a majority on the Eugene City Council recognize the long-term benefits of efficient rapid transit throughout the metro area. We heard Councilor George Poling was planning a motion at the Sept. 26 meeting that the EmX extension be sent back to LTD with a call for a public vote. This proposal flies in the face of comprehensive transportation planning. Decisions such as extending EmX involve many thousands of hours of research and analysis by experts in the field. Multiple government agencies must vet the plans and give their approval, and the public has multiple opportunities to weigh in. We hope everyone continues to do so. 

The numbers we heard at the City Club of Eugene meeting Sept. 21 were so sad and shocking that they are tough to absorb. Dan Bryant, pastor of the First Christian Church, William Wise, director of First Place, and Deborah Dailey, 4J School District transitional family coordinator, laid out the “epidemic” that is families without homes in Eugene. The number of homeless families is up 20 percent from last year. Last year Eugene counted 728 students without homes, Lane County documented 2,427. “Homeless” children are those who lack a fixed, regular nighttime residence. Bryant said the “public will” is not here to at least set up a place “where the homeless can be.” Both public and private sectors will need to step up and demonstrate that the will really is there to take effective action. Delays and calls for “more studies” just exacerbate the tragedy.

• Our high flying, offensive-minded Ducks showed some new twists last week: a gritty defense that shut out one of the highest scoring teams in the country and a huge running back — Colt Lyerla — who outgained Heisman candidate De’Anthony Thomas.  An impressive win over Arizona, but Oregon still makes too many mistakes to look like an elite team. The Ducks soft schedule continues this week, when Oregon travels to Seattle to take on the rebuilding WSU Cougars on Saturday evening.

• If you want to put some political money and energy into a state race in the next five weeks, sign on to re-elect Secretary of State Kate Brown. She’s the target of the same Republican forces who forced John Kitzhaber into a squeaker with Chris Dudley. This time their candidate is a doctor from Bend, Knute Buehler, and if you’ve seen his signs up the freeway, you should know that plenty of money is headed his way. Eugene’s own Jack Roberts, ironically The Oregonian’s conservative columnist, fired away at Brown last week. Former secretary of state and governor Barbara Roberts responded with a pro-Kate stand this week. Kate Brown is a talented Democrat with the potential to rise even higher in state politics and maybe that’s what’s got Republicans worried. 

Wanna be a sports writer? The Register-Guard is advertising for a lead sports columnist and the pay range is $57,850 to $64,500. The job listing is a bit odd, calling for someone who has the “cynical streak of an investigative reporter.” That leaves out all of us at EW. We are sarcastic and skeptical but never cynical. Well, hardly ever. The listing also brags that the paper has “one of the most unified staffs in the country.” Now that’s sarcasm. Pre-employment drug screening is required. Hmmm. Are they eliminating candidates who use drugs, or looking for someone to get buzzed with the jocks in the locker room? (You get your best stories that way.) We had not heard about drug testing at the R-G. Maybe it’s a silly me-too response to the privacy-invasive campaign to drug-test student athletes from college level down to middle school. But hey, good journalism jobs are hard to find. Deadline to apply is Sept. 28.