May Day is a traditional day to celebrate workers and unions.
May Day is a traditional day to celebrate workers and unions.
Below is a press release from Honor the Treaty of 1864 delving into the complex issues of salmon, land, water and the Klamath Tribe.
Klamath People, Destructive KBRA Politics and the Spiritual Battle for Water
April 30th, 2015 (Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon)
The Klamath Basin riddled with complex water issues, has yet another aspect few are aware of.
The Klamath people, their culture and spirituality are at high risk, with politics taking priority over individual tribal members inherent rights and the rights of resources and species that are integral to their Indigenous lifestyle.
In an article written by Andrea Smith in April 2013, she offers us insight into varying perspectives on the definition of sovereignty.
"Whereas nation-states are governed through domination and coercion, Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood is predicated on interrelatedness and responsibility."
As Sharon Venne explains, "Our spirituality and our responsibilities define our duties. We understand the concept of sovereignty as woven through a fabric that encompasses our spirituality and responsibility.
This is a cyclical view of sovereignty, incorporating it into our traditional philosophy and view of our responsibilities. It differs greatly from the concept of Western sovereignty which is based upon absolute power.
For us absolute power is in the Creator and the natural order of all living things; not only in human beings...
Our sovereignty is related to our connections to the earth and is inherent."
Although a government entity may be tribal, unfortunately does not mean they are advocates for the environment, spirituality or their people.
The controversial Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and associated documents do not appropriately advocate for resources that are necessary for the survival of Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin culture and have also proven to be damaging to personal relationships within the tribe.
Many tribal members no longer have contact with family and close friends over divisive and destructive KBRA politics.
Others have been denied tribal employment based solely on their stance regarding the dubious Klamath Basin water agreements.
The Klamath tribal council and "water team", otherwise known as the Klamath Tribes negotiation team (KTNT), claim the KBRA and associated agreements are a reconciliation to help heal old wounds within the Basin.
Contrary to these claims made by elected officials, tribal members are seeing anything but healing.
Water is a necessity for the survival of Klamath culture and spirituality. And as other parties to the agreements needs are met, the Klamath people and their concerns have been continuously neglected.
Last Saturday, April 25th 2015, the Klamath Tribes held a "special" general council meeting that was a closed session in Chiloquin, OR. More than 100 tribal members were in attendance.
According to attendees, not one person stood up and spoke in support of the water agreements. Once again, many tribal members vocalized the desire to withdraw from the KBRA and associated agreements entirely.
The following Tuesday the Herald and News, a publication in Klamath Falls, Oregon, released statements from Chairman Donald Gentry regarding Saturdays meeting that was supposed to remain "confidential".
According to the Herald and News, Chairman Gentry said he is "hopeful discussions and legislation will keep moving forward."
Gentry continues to claim that, "although a replacement parcel for the Mazama Forest hasn’t been identified, members have not indicated that the Tribes should pull out of the complex water agreement. To do so, the tribes have to proceed with an agreement termination process, and no such motion was made."
General Council meetings commence at 10 am and frequently do not adjourn until 5 pm or after. By the afternoon, it is not uncommon for the General Council to lose a quorum, which consists of 50 enrolled members of the Klamath Tribes (over the age of 18) or more.
Meeting attendees state that a motion to proceed with an agreement termination process was not made due to a loss of a quorum in the afternoon. The meeting was in a closed session which also limits the actions members can take.
In the wake of the loss of the Mazama Tree Farm land acquisition, draft legislation is now being proposed by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to acquire a new parcel in a desperate attempt to keep the Klamath Tribes signed onto the KBRA.
The potential parcels under consideration are currently part of the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Wyden and Merkley are allegedly working to gain the support of Congressman Greg Walden. Without republican backing, new land acquisition and these water agreements cannot proceed.
A conservation organization known as Oregon Wild who represents approximately 15,000 members and supporters of Oregon have been concerned about the environmental impacts of the KBRA. They have advocated for the wildlife refuges that have been neglected by the Bureau of Reclamation and signatory tribes, among other resources that are not properly represented within these agreements.
The wildlife refuges and marshlands, which were once parts of the former Klamath reservation (pre-termination), are gathering areas for basket making materials, as well as home to one of the main traditional food staples of the Klamath people, Wocus.
Bald eagles take refuge in these areas along with migratory birds that also utilize these areas on their seasonal flight routes.
Due to over consumption by the agricultural industry, we are not only witnessing fish kills from artificially low water flows but also bird kills and the rapid spread of diseases amongst various species.
The KBRA secures water primarily for agricultural purposes, meanwhile neglecting other resources that are in desperate need for advocacy.
Though the Klamath Tribes Treaty of 1864 is supposed to protect these other resources, Klamath tribal negotiators have turned a blind eye to resources that are vital to the continuance of Klamath culture and spirituality.
An article published by the Oregonian last Friday stated "Oregon Wild opposes the sale, citing worries about diminished public access and concerns that tribal ownership could result in logging and other industry-related habitat loss."
Oregon Wild Conservation Director Steve Pedery states "There was a tremendous mistake made in the 1950s, but the problem is 60 years have passed and this forest today has value for a tremendous range of things from ecological reasons to economic and recreational ones,"
Though the Klamath Tribes do have a Forest Management plan that was drafted in 2008, when asked how the tribes propose to manage a new parcel of land for economic development the only statements that have been given include logging and constructing a mill.
Statements such as these can be viewed as problematic to individuals who would like to see the environment and resources protected.
As previously stated, just because a government entity is tribal unfortunately does not imply they are environmental advocates or defenders.
In 1996 the Coquille Tribe was given 5,100 acres of former ancestral land. The 5,100 acre Coquille Forest, in Oregon's Coastal Mountain Range, had been Coos Bay BLM land. It was given to the tribe to manage under the same environmental laws as the BLM's public lands. The lands have since been clearcut by the tribe for economic development.
Klamath Tribal chairman Donald Gentry has made recent statements to tribal membership and the public abroad, using divisive language to portray Oregon Wild as "adversarial" to the tribes.
Oregon Wild Executive Director Sean Stevens submitted a letter to Klamath Tribes tribal council on April 22nd, 2015 regarding the proposed land transfer.
Contrary to Gentry's claims, the letter on behalf of Oregon Wild's 15,000 members and supporters, respectfully outlines the various reasons why Oregon Wild cannot support this particular land transfer but still offers alternative options and support.
Their reasons for not supporting the land transfer include loss of public access and recreation, lack of public oversight, removal of environmental safeguards, and desire to maintain America's public lands network.
Stevens continues to state, "while we are deeply concerned about proposals to dispose of Fremont-Winema National Forest lands, Oregon Wild remains supportive of The Klamath Tribes efforts to re-establish a land base, restore fish and wildlife, and develop sustainable economic opportunities.
We believe there are a number of other possibilities that would help advance these goals that should be given priority over the transfer of American public lands out of public ownership."
Alternatives for this particular land transfer include acquisition of private lands, co-operative management, preference in contracting, and a tribal restoration fund.
Stevens concludes by stating, "Oregon Wild recognizes the ugly history of the federal policy of tribal termination, and the role it played in the establishment of some portions of the Fremont-Winema National Forest and Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.
However, we believe the removal of some or all of the National Forest from America’s public lands system would create unnecessary and unproductive conflict. There are better and more attainable ways for The Klamath Tribes to achieve a land base, environmental restoration, and economic self-sufficiency.
Though we have at times been in conflict over the disposal of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Oregon Wild and The Klamath Tribes have a long history of working together for the betterment of the Klamath Basin’s fish and wildlife resources, public lands, and waters.
We stand ready to work with the Tribes again to resolve the land base issue without removing the Fremont-Winema from America’s system of public lands."
The full letter is available to view online here.
In an e-blast sent April 28th, 2015 by Klamath Tribes public information and news manager Taylor Tupper-David, Klamath Tribal council and the "water team" endorsed a letter from alleged tribal member David Hill of Portland to representatives of Oregon Wild.
This letter and endorsement has since been posted to the Klamath Tribes website and shared on the Klamath Tribes Official social media page for public view.
Hills letter contains contentious language, that many believe to be counterproductive to healthy relations with others outside and within the tribe.
Hill's letter states, "I see the problem is that Oregon Wild fails to see the huge environmental justice issue here. Are you really willing to join a sordid list of Euro-American transgressions against the original inhabitants of this land? It looks like you are. You are pitching in with "volunteers" who hunted the Indians like animals in the 1800s, with "settlers" who stole their lands, with "government" thugs who continued to steal and sell their land, e.
If you continue with this extremely insensitive stance, you are putting your credibility at great risk. It is unacceptable for the dominant white culture to continue screwing and stealing and standing in the way of tribes, and it is unacceptable that Oregon Wild would join in this long and nauseating, immoral pattern.
To not let them (the tribe) hold and manage these lands sustainably is a great racist act. Please do not be part of it."
The accusatory, inflammatory language found in Hill's letter can be extremely damaging to relationships that could help provide solutions to some of these complex issues. And the fact that this letter is endorsed by the Klamath Tribal council and "water team" is even further disturbing, unprofessional, and unproductive.
"Conservation groups and tribes with the same focus and missions of restoring and protecting lands should not be pit against each other.
This is yet another divisive move in the favor of the US Government to not be accountable for termination era practices that have resulted in loss of our subsistence lands and treaty resources.
Subsequently, these practices have resulted in the destruction of our river ways and ecosystem."
-David M. Ochoa, Klamath Tribal member
Last week a water call was made by the Klamath Tribes. Their call will help habitat in the Sprague, Wood and Sycan rivers and it will briefly raise the Upper Klamath Lake level before the Klamath Irrigation District diverts it at the A canal.
To the extent suckers are up in the tributaries, the call may help them.
However, the call will not help salmon or the wildlife refuges.
Ironically, the Klamath Tribes will be participating in a 260 mile run for the salmon that will conclude in Chiloquin on June 1st.
In the fall of 2002, 68,000 salmon died from artificially low water levels in the Klamath River.
In response to the devastating Klamath fish kill, to raise awareness of the plight of the salmon and promote health within their community, youth of Hoopa Valley and the Yurok Tribe at Hoopa Valley High School began the Great Salmon Run of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers on May 27th 2005. The original run began at the mouth of the Klamath River and ended at the south fork of the Trinity.
The run is completed in two mile segments. Each person who participates contributes two miles while carrying a baton in the shape of a salmon.
"The salmon's struggles are our struggles. For that short little run we take on their struggle."
"A lot of people may have read newspapers or may have seen the pictures.
That speaks for itself, but in the same sense you need to know the facts behind that.
You need to know what caused it so that it can be prevented."
-Erika Chase, Salmon run co-founder
From the beginning, participants have acknowledged spiritual practices and places alongside the activity of running. For instance, at the conclusion of the run, a salmon is ceremonially cooked and then eaten by designated persons.
Remembering former First Salmon ceremonies, eaters commit to not eating salmon for a year as medicine for the continuance of the salmon.
Statements made by Chairman Gentry regarding the state of the Klamath salmon claim that having the salmon gone has hurt the tribes economically because they have to buy salmon instead of fish for it.
However, the Klamath Tribes are actually struggling economically due to financial mismanagement within the tribal government.
Though Klamath people have not seen salmon in the Upper Klamath Basin in almost 100 years, the people continue to barter with tribes down river to maintain a connection to salmon in the basin. This also helps strengthen relationships between tribal communities along the river, as it has historically always been.
Unfortunately, the Klamath Tribes involvement in this years salmon run is merely for political advocacy. Tribal elected officials have been manipulating the original spiritual intention of the salmon run to gain support for Senate Bill 133, the KBRA, and associated documents.
It is disconcerting to witness the commercialization of a spiritual ceremony for political purposes.
"As a co-founder of the Salmon Run, I am for dam removal and against the KBRA.
I would feel bad if someone felt they couldn’t participate because of any particular runner or coordinator’s stance on the KBRA.
The run was founded by youth of different tribes in response to the fish kill in 2002 before the KBRA, and has also always supported non-Indian participation as well."
-Kayla Carpenter, Salmon run co-founder and Hoopa Valley tribal member
The KBRA does nothing to heal historical and spiritual damages for Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin people. By securing water primarily for agricultural purposes, the KBRA and associated documents perpetuate these damages and continue to inflict pain, trauma and division amongst our people.
As we enter into the summer drought season, there are many issues that defenders of our sacred water must prepare for and endure.
These issues are political, but most importantly spiritual.
The fight to defend our sacred water, our life source, is above all else a spiritual battle.
Outside forces will try to divide us, discourage us, and break our spirits.
But as tribal members and descendants of the Klamath Tribes, we refuse to tolerate, support or indulge in divisive language, behavior and actions.
The fate of our sacred water is in our hands.
Without our sacred water, we cease to be a people.
Honor The Treaty of 1864 is a group of like minded individuals who want to honor our ancestors and our 7th generation by protecting our resources and our rights. While these ideas are not new and many people before us stood for the same things we do, our group was officially formed in 2014. We welcome all people who support our cause.
We have some great locally grown food here in the Willamette valley. Paired with some top notch innovative chefs and a thriving fermentation culture it an exciting time to be a food lover in Eugene. Here is a look at a fantastic dinner that took place Monday at Party Downtown with wonderful German and Belgian beer chosen by Beer Steward and friendly Bier Stein bottle librarian Aaron Brussat.
As concerned Eugeneans are rushing to try to help the people of Nepal, it's hard to know what to do. Donating money is usually a sure bet, but how do you know what's a scam? The Better Business Bureau has sent out a list of what to look for (see below) and Charity Navigator does a nice job helping people to evaluate charities.
Here in Eugene, one of our sister cities is Kathmandu and the the city of Eugene website was directing people to local organization Kathmandue Relief. However, there has been some confusion about the organization and the state of Oregon has asked the city take down the link because the organization's 501c3 status that makes donations tax deductible was not current.
Dennis Ramsey of Kathmandu Relief has responded to this and says the confusion is the result of an error he is in the process of rectifying.
Here is the email from the Oregon DOJ to the complaintant:
Just wanted to let you know that we have been in touch with the City of Eugene; they have officially disassociated with Mr. Ramsey’s fundraising efforts and removed the link to his website. We informed the city that Mr. Ramsey was using the EIN associated with an inactive nonprofit organization which currently does not hold 501(c)(3) status, under the name of an organization that closed in 1995.
We have contacted Mr. Ramsey and asked him to inform any donors to date that their donations are not tax-deductible. He hasn’t responded to us yet but I anticipate that will happen in short order. I also expect changes to the website are forthcoming, but that remains to be seen.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Do you have any questions for me?
Public Affairs Coordinator Charitable Activities Section
Oregon Department of Justice
A lack of 501c3 status means that donations are not tax-deductible; it does not mean an organization cannot fundraise.
EW contacted Kathmandu Relief for clarification of its status and the status of donations and Ramsey responded:
Yes there was some confusion in our haste to get the site up and running so that we could provide immediate relief to Kathmandu. I was contacted, finally, by the Oregon DoJ today by email. It seems they have been talking to others but not me, and this could have been resolved in short order if they had simply done so. I've pasted below the email reply I sent to the DoJ just a few minutes ago.
We are trying to do good for the people of Kathmandu. This isn't any sort of scam or dishonest effort. I made the mistake of assuming that the Eugene Sister City Foundation (ESCF) had received their IRS determination letter for reinstatement of their 501c3 status, which had lapsed. All four of Eugene's Sister City orgs have been assisting Ki-Won Rhew, former President of the Chinju Committee, to deal with the mountain of paperwork. Since it has been about two years since we filed this process, I had wrongly assumed he had received the determination letter that would allow us to again use the ESCF EIN# in our fundraising efforts. It was a simple mistake, but has potentially serious consequences if not corrected. As you will see, I've corrected the mistake. We have a scheduled quarterly meeting of the Chairs of all four of Eugene's Sister Cities this Thursday. We meet regularly to try to build the umbrella org, ESCF, into a functional organization that can advance the causes of all of our sister city relationships.
Tips from the Better Busines Bureau:
CHARITY SCAMS SWIRL FOLLOWING NEPAL EARTHQUAKE
WA Officials Team Up to Warn Consumers on Donating Wisely
Lake Oswego, Ore. — April 27, 2015 — As the death toll climbs in Nepal following the massive earthquake over the weekend, Better Business Bureau along with Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are urging Washingtonians to be on guard for charity scams targeting donors.
“Anytime there’s a natural disaster, scammers will try to take advantage of people’s generosity,” said Tyler Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “When donating to charities, go with ones that are experienced at working with disaster victims.”
“Whenever tragedy occurs, whether it’s the earthquake in Nepal or last year’s landslide in Oso, many people instinctively want to help the victims,” Wyman said. “In times like these, there always seems to be rip-off artists who try to take advantage of others’ generosity. If people want to help the victims in Nepal, they should donate to charities they know and trust. Nobody wants to see this tragedy resulting in donations winding up in a scam artist’s pocket.”
“All of us in Washington and around the country have deep sympathy for the victims and their loved ones at this tragic time,” Ferguson said. “As you look to provide assistance to help those in need, be sure to exercise caution so your hard-earned dollars go to trusted charities, not to scam-artists.”
Consumer protection officials warn of fake charities that may look and sound legitimate online or even hijack the names of well-known organizations. Scammers will often pose as official charity agents and call potential donors, pressuring them to make a donation over the phone.
BBB, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s Office sympathize with the victims and their loved ones of the Nepal earthquake. All three organizations urge donors to give wisely.
- Steer clear of high-pressure demands. Take time to research charities and avoid emotional appeals that don’t explain how the charity will help victims. Contact potential charities directly.
- Use trustworthy charities. Be sure the charity is equipped and has the resources necessary to help with disaster relief. Review whether a charity meets all 20 standards of accountability at Give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Also visit the Secretary State’s Information for Donors page.
- Avoid cash donations. Write checks or pay by credit card to charities directly. Scammers will try to convince their victims to wire money or use prepaid debit cards to make a donations. Never give personal information or money to a telephone or email solicitor.
- Double-check. Watch for “pop-up” charities with unverifiable background and contact information. Unscrupulous organizations may try to trip up donors by using names that sound similar to reputable charities.
- Block social media pleas. Be wary of requests from fake victims or memorial social media accounts. Remember to verify the organization first before giving a penny.
We're in the midst of a giant opt-out movement across Eugene School District 4J's four high schools. It's a time when publicity for 4J is centered on the fact that students are purposefully chosing not to take the state-mandated, Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced test.
In light of all this attention given to not taking the tests, 4J announced this week that "Smarter Balanced tests waive Oregon college placement exams."
From the website announcement, displayed on 4J's home webpage:
But will Oregon's colleges and universities actually accept Smarter Balanced scores as equal to college placement exams? Looking at the Oregon Department of Education's website, things are a little less certain:
In support of our state’s implementation of high academic standards and corresponding assessments, Oregon community colleges and universities recently adopted preliminary statewide policies uniting Smarter Balanced test scores with placement in higher education. Now, the grade 11 Smarter Balanced assessment is a means for students to demonstrate their content readiness for entry-level college courses in mathematics and writing.
For at least the next two years, Oregon’s 17 community colleges and 7 universities may choose to waive additional placement testing for entering students if they score a 3 or higher on Smarter Balanced tests and meet requirements for continued academic rigor during grade 12. Access The Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s (HECC) news announcement for more detailed information specific to Smarter Balanced placement policies in Oregon community colleges and universities.
ODE's website says that "Oregon's 17 community colleges and 7 universities may choose to waive additional placement testing for entering students" whereas 4J's announcement says the colleges and universities "will use Smarter Balanced scores in college course placement."
Jerry Rosiek, a UO professor of education, pointed this out in an email to EW adding that Smarter Balanced doesn't count for advanced placement in college courses, like AP and IB courses, where high school students earn credits toward college. Many universities, including the UO, Rosiek points out, offer free placement exams, and universities also use the SAT or ACT to determine whether students need remedial coursework. Most colleges and universities require applicants to take the SAT or ACT.
"Since 70 percent of students are expected to fail the SBAC, it is unlikely to be that helpful to those wishing to test out of remedial courses in college," Rosiek writes.
"In fact, if low scores are reported to a college, a student might be more likely to be placed in remedial course. Given all this, it is misleading to advertise that this policy means the SBAC provides added value to a college-bound student. Any student going to college will have multiple other means to place out of remedial courses, none of which will have 70 percent fail rates."
Below is the written testimony on SB 941 submitted to the Oregon House Committee on Rules April 22 by Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.
Chair Hoyle and fellow House Rules committee members, I thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony in support of this legislation to expand Brady background checks to cover all gun sales. On behalf of our Oregon chapters and members, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence fully supports Senate Bill 941 to expand Brady background checks to prevent guns from getting into the hands of dangerous people, like felons, fugitives, and domestic abusers.
Along with this testimony, I am submitting a copy of the Brady Campaign’s latest report, which shows how effective Brady background checks have been in Oregon. Between checks conducted at federally licensed dealers, as mandated by the Brady Law passed by Congress in 1993, and with the added benefit in Oregon of background checks at gun shows, as mandated by the Citizen initiative that passed overwhelmingly in November 2000, tens of thousands of sales have been blocked to dangerous, prohibited purchasers. Undoubtedly, lives have been saved as a result. In 2013 alone, Brady background checks blocked 2,215 prohibited sales in Oregon; that’s an average of six every day.
But what our report also shows is that a new, significant issue has developed since the implementation of the Brady Law in 1994 and since Oregon closed the gun show loophole in 2000, and that is the emergence of the Internet and the ease with which criminals can now use it to buy guns. Today, online purchases represent a shockingly easy way for criminals to evade federal and state laws and buy guns without being stopped because of a Brady background check.
The Internet hosts the largest gun show on the planet – and it never closes. Armslist.com, one of the more popular sites, posts upwards of 70,000 gun advertisements at any given time, many of which can be purchased without a background check. It’s like Craigslist for guns. All a criminal needs is an email address and cash. A search of gun sales on Armslist.com in Oregon on April 13, 2015 resulted in 1,756 unlicensed seller-to-buyers advertisements that are not subject to Brady background checks.
A sale like this is documented on page eight of our report. It’s an actual advertisement on Armslist.com, posted on March 22, 2015 by an individual Oregon gun seller who advertises that his firearm is available with “no background check. Cash only.”
The corporate gun lobby will claim that criminals will always find a way to get guns, and if you pass a law requiring background checks you will only make it harder for law abiding citizens to buy guns. To be clear, that is complete and utter hogwash. First of all, background checks only prevent prohibited purchasers from buying guns – people who are already not allowed to own them. In essence, background checks are the greatest tool for enforcing the laws that already exist. And, according to the FBI, they take, on average, a mere 72 seconds to complete.
And just as importantly, background checks work. In the 21 years since the Brady Law has been implemented, 2.4 million sales have been blocked to felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and other prohibited, dangerous people. States that have expanded background checks to all gun sales, as Senate Bill 941 will do for Oregon, have seen an even greater benefit in the form of increased public safety and lives saved.
In fact, according to a recent study by Everytown for Gun Safety, states that have expanded background checks experience on average 46 percent fewer women killed by intimate partners, 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed with guns, even 48 percent fewer gun-related suicides. Clearly, background checks are effective in keeping guns out of dangerous hands.
Since the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Congress has failed the American people by failing to “Finish the Job” started with the Brady bill and expand background checks to gun shows and online sales nationally. Yet fortunately for the American people, states have started to take matters into their own hands, with five states passing new laws expanding background checks in just the last two years.
Now, thanks to Senate Bill 941, the Oregon legislature has a critical opportunity to continue this wave of momentum sweeping across the nation, to reflect the will of the overwhelming majority of Oregon voters who support expanded background checks (87 percent according to the latest polling) and, most importantly, to make Oregon a much safer state for everyone who lives, visits, or does business here.
On behalf of Sarah Brady and our Oregon members and chapters, the Brady Campaign fully supports Senate Bill 941 and I ask for your AYE vote. I thank all the committee members for the opportunity to submit written testimony.
The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Not everyone's happy about the rules set out for the April 30 4J Board Candidate Debate planned by South Eugene neighborhood associations and moderated by EW. Debate organizers say they're simply following debate guidelines as per the League of Women Voters debate format.
Colin Farnsworth, local substitute teacher running against incumbent Mary Walston for Board Position 7, says it is unfair that his debate was canceled. In an April 23 email sent to EW, entitled, "Censorship of Candidates on April 30th," Farnsworth says:
All the candidates were invited by the south Eugene Neighborhood Associations and the Chairs of the Neighborhood Leaders Counsel to participate in the 4J School Board Debate that is coming up next Thursday. Mary Walston, my opponent in the race said she couldn't attend the event due to a family conflict and asked that my participation in her absence be prohibited. The coordinators immediately agreed to her request. This has deeply frustrated me because one of the main reasons I decided to run in this race was to add the important perspective that is missing from all the other Board members and candidates: An in-class and teachers perspective to the issues surrounding education in our local public schools. This event will be one of the largest public forums available for candidates to express their platforms and their perspectives on the current problems facing our public schools. As a candidate that doesn't have a lot of money to spend, nor a campaign committee, little name recognition in the community, and no big endorsements, it seems extremely unfair that my perspective will be censored during this event and will deeply impact my chances for election.
I want people to know that I have been excluded from this event but I will be allowed to participate in the City Club of Eugene on May 8th.
A story in the R-G details how in an April 6 email to event organizers, Mary Walston expressed dismay that organizers had pre-scheduled the event for April 30 without checking candidate availability first. She requested that her opponent not be given time to speak, or that the event be rescheduled.
Juan Carlos Valle and Heather Sielicki, the event's organizers, did not reschedule the event, but said in an email back:
We are sorry you are not available for this debate during the election cycle, but we understand previous commitments. As volunteers for our neighborhood associations, our intent is to help our neighbors and all the candidates make a connection with as many neighbors as possible, to learn about the candidates and about an important topic to Eugene: Education. This and any forums we coordinate is intended to be fair and uniform. As such, we will not give preference to one candidate over another. If not all Director Position candidates are available for the debate, we will not allow any other candidate to have the floor. Position 7 will need to have all candidates participating. Same as the rest.
Sielicki tells EW that the debate is following the rules and format of debates administered by the League of Women Voters. According to the League of Women Voters' guidelines for debate, there are certain legal risks associated with allowing one candidate to debate when the other candidate is not available:
It sometimes happens that only one candidate in a contested election accepts a debate invitation or that a candidate cancels a debate appearance after agreeing to participate, leaving the debate with only one participant — often called an "empty chair" debate. If only one candidate accepts the invitation, the debate should be canceled. While cancellation is also the most prudent course of action when a candidate fails to appear at the event or backs out shortly before the debate, Leagues may need to consider whether and how to proceed should they find themselves in an empty chair debate situation.
The guidelines continue:
There are no specific guidelines from the FEC or the IRS pertaining to the ability of nonprofit organizations to sponsor an empty chair debate. (FCC regulations would preclude any broadcast coverage of such an event.) Inasmuch as an empty chair debate, by giving one candidate a forum to talk to voters all by him/herself, bestows a real benefit on that candidate, there is a risk to any League that hosting such a debate would run afoul of FEC and/or IRS rules as well as the League’s nonpartisan policy.
Elsewhere, the guidelines say:
An empty chair debate should not be conducted if all but one candidate decline the League's offer to participate in a debate. It would be very risky for the League to sponsor the debate, knowing from the start that there will be only one participant.
As such, event organizers canceled the debates in which not all candidates were available. In this case, that included a debate between Colin Farnsworth and Mary Walston for Board Position 7. This also included cancelling a debate between Eileen Nittler, Scott Landgreen and John A. Baumann for Board Position 4. Landgreen was not available April 30 to debate.
As the "Colin of my group," Nittler says, she is in a similar position and had her debate canceled because not all candidates could attend the debate. She tells EW that she's been in the loop regarding the debate from the beginning. "The way I see it," she says, "It's set up as a debate format, and you really can't have a debate with one person there. There's logic in saying we'll have candidates available, but I don't see it as censorship.
"There are other opportunities to debate, like the City Club debate," she continues. "But how would you really do that? How would you have a debate with only one person? It's really a big deal about nothing. I'm not invited to everybody's birthday. It's just a matter of practicality."
She says that a while back, she sent a letter to the editor to the Register-Guard, and the newspaper informed her that its policy is not to print letters from candidates, because then they would be required to print letters from all the other candidates. She says the situation is similar to the debate rules.
Nittler says she'll be present at the debate to table and speak with voters 6:30 pm April 30 at the Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard St.
D2 the dog was killed by a beaver trap on Friday, April 17 while on a walk at Hileman Landing County Park off River Road. The women who have owned and loved D2 for the past year want people to know that there could still be traps out there.
Mo Strader and Vonnie Willard also want the owner of the trap — which they believe was placed illegally on public land — to know what he has done, remove any other traps and let the public know when the area is safe.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, beaver may be trapped on private land without a permit because they are considered “predatory animals,” however on public lands, trapping and killing beaver is only allowed in certain areas in some counties in order to protect Coho salmon. Trapping season ended March 15, according to ODFW documents.
Strader says the trap that killed D2 was on the public side of a fence that separates the Hileman and what appears to be the land of a local farmer.
Strader volunteers with Northwest Dog Project and has several other dogs, three of them former foster dogs, like D2. D2 — named for the Star Wars robot R2D2 — was turned over to a rescue by her former family and soon became part of Strader and Willard’s pack.
Strader was house painting and having the floors redone because after fostering several litters of puppies, “It was time.” So Willard took the pack of six to Hileman to wear them out for an hour or so. Strader says they walk the dogs there at least five days a week and have been going to the park, which is popular with dog walkers, for at least three years.
Not far from the trail, Strader says, is a creek and a pond where they have seen beaver activity this year and last year. Returning from a three-mile walk, D2 ran up a little hill and across the pond.
Willard writes in a Facebook post that “as I was coming down the trail about a 1/2 mile from the parking lot I noticed she bounded across a pond that she has done probably a hundred times. All I heard was a yelp.”
Strader says the trap, which appears to be a conibear trap, killed D2 almost instantaneously. Unable to release the dog from the trap, Strader says several men helped Willard carry the dog and the trap back to the car where they were able to get it off D2’s neck.
Conibear traps at 9 inches or less are legal in Oregon in dry land. According to Trap Free Oregon they are banned on land in other states in order to prevent animals such as dogs from being caught in them. Trap Free Oregon offers instructions on how to release a dog from such a trap. Groups such as Predator Defense and Trap Free Oregon have long tried to call attention to the dangers of trapping and change Oregon's laws.
Strader says they have talked to Todd Bowen at Lane County Parks and Officer Bernard Perkins from Lane County Animal Services and the county is in contact with ODFW about the trap and D2's death.
“We do know the trap was placed illegally,” Strader says. She says there were no signs warning of trapping, though she and Willard have now placed their own signs for other dog walkers or those with children near the park gate and near the pond.
Since posting the story of D2’s death on Facebook, Strader says she is “beyond amazed” at the support. “It’s awful to have to see your dog like that and have to find a way to get a trap off her head,” she says.
“I’d like him see a picture,” she says of the person who set the trap that killed D2.
“We want the person to come forward and clarify these traps are gone,” she says, “That’s the most important thing — to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
A picture of D2 and the trap that killed her is below.
The trap that killed D2 was placed near this tree, which had signs of beaver activity, Strader says.
D2 the dog and the trap that killed her.
Meryl Streep pays tribute to Hillary Clinton at a Women in the World Conferecne in 2012.
A new pub and nightclub is set to open downtown this summer in the former space of the Lord Leebrick Theatre Company's administrative office on Broadway.
The space will have two separate entrances and feature a pub and a nightclub, each with its own bar. The owner and operators say they want it to be a community-oriented space with a cozy feel and that it had to be downtown.
"My mind kept going to a pub in southwest London," the owner says of the new venue's inspiration.
The owner has signed a five-year lease for the space, with the option to renew for another five.
To find out more, pick up a copy of the April 16 issue of Eugene Weekly.
Update, April 15: Tuesday evening Veselina Karakoleva, who does booking for The Granary, contacted EW to discuss the promotional material and the new event.
"I am so grateful that people called. It was such a shock," Karakoleva says about people contacting The Granary after seeing the controversial party flier. Karakoleva says neither she nor The Granary saw the flier before it was distributed. The Granary and Pretty in China canceled the event and in its place will be hosting a benefit for local nonprofit SASS, or Sexual Assault Support Services. All door proceeds and a percentage of dinner special sales will go to SASS.
"I decided it was the best way," Karakoleva says."We wanted to show the community what we stand for."
She adds in an email that HUB on Campus Eugene, who's logo was featured on the flier, will be handing out ribbons at the event and "joining our efforts in making this evening a successful benefit for victims of sexual assault."
This morning, EW spoke with Samantha Nash, a public relations associate for Pretty in China, the local event company whose party promotional material caused a stir around Eugene and the UO campus yesterday.
Yesterday, EW blogged about the the flier in question, promoting a party at The Granary April 16, featured a woman laying face down, seemingly passed out, surrounded by a couple beer cups.
“It was just a mistake,” Nash says. “We really did not intend for it to be tied to any sort of sexual assault.” She continues, “We are definitely going to be more sensitive about it in the future,” adding that the company took the backlash “very seriously.”
“Immediately, we were like, it has to be canceled.”
In the event’s place, Pretty in China will host a benefit to raise awareness for sexual assault and domestic abuse 9 pm Thursday, April 16, at The Granary. Nash says all event profits will be donated.
“Any money we make will be donated to survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse,” she says.
For more information about the event visit its Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week has posted that:
The University of Oregon will name Michael H. Schill, currently the dean of the University of Chicago Law School, as the university's new president today, WW has learned.
Let the games begin …