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Guest Viewpoint

February 23, 2017

In the flurry of disturbing and provocative executive orders coming out of the new presidential administration, it is understandable that some of us may have lost sight of the greatest fear that many of us had at the prospect of a Trump presidency: that a thin-skinned ill-informed man would be in control of our devastating arsenal of nuclear weapons.

February 23, 2017

It’s almost impossible to overstate how devastating the 1980s recession was for Oregon. 

The early 1980s had the largest percentage of job loss since World War II. For Oregon, this truly was the "Great Recession,” hitting the state harder than the more recent recession of 2008, and it would change Oregon forever. 

February 16, 2017

What should we make of the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education?

The answer is, perhaps, “Not very much.”

For professional educators, the choice of DeVos is a bummer but no surprise. Secretaries of education who champion the system have been rare. And yet our school system has been a robust and productive institution, worthy of pride. It does not yet live up to our dreams, but we have accomplished a great deal, plugging away at the local level.

February 16, 2017

The Eugene-Springfield Committee on Local Affairs (CoLA) of the American Institute of Architects – Southwestern Oregon Chapter commends the Eugene City Council for its decision to work with Lane County officials and pursue locating City Hall on the site of the current “butterfly” parking lot at 8th and Oak. 

February 9, 2017

Occasionally, there is a point in the history of a place that creates a before and after moment — an event that, in the aftermath, changes a place so significantly it renders it a totally different place from what it was before, forever. Like what the oil pipeline did to Alaska.  

February 9, 2017

With the election of Donald Trump we are witnessing a coup that combines white nationalism, finance capital and militarism.

The Lane Peace Center is bringing Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, to Eugene on Feb. 16. His talk, titled “Gandhi and Non-violence: Relevance for the 21st Century,” is well timed to help us gain perspective on these surreal and turbulent times.

February 2, 2017

What if you were born to live in this time, in these times? Choosing to incarnate, burdened by terrible conditions, strengthened by an indigenous strength, native to any human who can tap into it. Strength training is built on resistance. 

January 19, 2017

Dear Community Alliance for  Public Education:

Every year we hear about this “opting out” business. We aren’t big fans of standardized tests, but we don’t want our child to lose out. It says on the opt-out form that we will be missing “valuable information” about our child’s progress if she doesn’t take the test. 

Would I be preventing her teachers from knowing how she’s doing academically? 

Sincerely, A Curious & Cautious Parent

 

Dear C&C:

January 19, 2017

Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” I’ve always lived by that view. Today is no different.

And today is the sixth time I’ve been sworn in to a four year term as Lane County commissioner for the South Eugene District. I’ve also been sworn in twice as Oregon state senator and sworn in three times as Lane Community College board member. I’ve been privileged and honored to be called to public service.

But let’s face it: even by today’s low standards, that’s a lot of swearing.

January 19, 2017

We each bring all our past, including childhood traumas we have been working to heal from, to every experience we have, every day. Being arrested adds an intense fight or flight physical and psychological response that brings all of who you are into sharp focus. At least it did for me. As a child who’d been beaten with leather belts by an abusive father, I felt much of that same terror as an activist blocking oil trains from refineries in Washington state last May on the morning the police arrived in a military assault fashion at dawn, while our camp slept.

January 12, 2017

One goal of Oregon’s statewide land use program is “citizen involvement,” providing opportunities for public participation in all phases of the regulatory system. Public awareness and engagement are essential to a functional democracy.

When statewide goals and the regulations meant to support them have been corrupted, and when, as a consequence, the health, safety and welfare of the public and the environment are endangered, it is incumbent upon injured parties to seek redress through formal judicial procedures and/or by initiative petition.

January 5, 2017

A recent audit of Business Oregon, the state’s economic development department, will likely generate more local debate about economic development incentives. I spent about 15 years working for the state economic development department and, after learning about the state audit, my first reaction was: It’s about time. 

December 29, 2016

It is difficult not to lament the fate of the University of Oregon in light of the inept administrative response to what should have been seen, at worst, as a teachable moment gone awry. 

On Halloween a respected scholar, in the privacy of her own home, attempted to open a discourse about white privilege using props consisting of a blackened face, a stethoscope and a white coat.

December 29, 2016

I’ve taught interpersonal communication to college students for 20 years and I thought Gayle Landt’s viewpoint, “Difficult Conversations” [EW 12/8] gave excellent advice. But part of me thinks we’re in danger of re-fighting the last war. 

I agree we need to listen and de-escalate conflict, and that’s blue-chip advice for successful communication. But 2016 also points us toward radical steps to reinvent our habits.

I have two New Year’s resolutions I want to invite others to join.

December 22, 2016

There is an old story about a village that dedicated itself to pulling children out of a river, until one day one of their members left the project and began walking up stream. “Where are you going?” someone asks. “We need you here!”  

The deserter replies, “I am going to find out who is throwing these children into the river!” 

I am one of those who fancied going upstream to stop the growing tide of homelessness, but I am increasingly finding that I must devote my time to pulling people out of the river. I cite just this one example from the day I write this, Dec. 8.

December 15, 2016

Local democratic control over education has been under assault for three decades. Sometimes this takes the form of federal mandates to use “Common Core” curriculum and high stakes standardized tests. These have been implemented largely without regard for local feedback and by using empty threats to school funding to silence parent and teacher objections to these policies. 

December 8, 2016

So the holidays are upon us — and it is likely we will be spending time with people who understand the world very differently than we do, as evidenced in the divisions of the recent election. As The Beatles famously sang at the end of their Magical Mystery Tour album: “All you need is love!” 

November 23, 2016

As EW readers continue to regain balance after the presidential election, we want to reflect on two education-related measures: Measure 97, the tax on large corporations, and Measure 98, the high school graduation initiative.

Who won?  Large corporations, that’s who.

An estimated record $28 million was ponied up by big corporations to defeat Measure 97. We mean big:  Walmart, Ford, CVS, Boise Cascade, PGE, Weyerhaeuser, etc. 

November 17, 2016

It may seem strange to suggest that the path to peace is to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty regenerating the soil in our gardens and around the world. But this is more than a metaphor suggesting that building peace is like growing a healthy garden. 

The wars we fight, the deplorable state of public health and the surpassing of planetary limits leading to climate change can all be traced back to how we grow our food and view the earth as a resource base to be turned into commodities for consumption.

November 10, 2016

Homelessness and impoverishment are not law enforcement problems and cannot be mitigated by police actions. The Eugene City Council needs to stop dithering and being paralyzed by NIMBY trolls who could not care less that housing is a human right. 

November 3, 2016

What’s your “social imaginary”? In other words, as the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor defines it in his 2007 work Modern Social Imaginaries, how do you imagine your social existence, how do you fit together with others — including the natural environment, I would add — and how do you imagine things going on between you and others, the expectations normally met and the deeper ethical ideas and images that underpin those expectations?

November 3, 2016

For the past century, Planned Parenthood has transformed sexual and reproductive health and empowered millions of people worldwide to make informed health decisions — forever changing the way they live, love, learn and work. To commemorate our centennial, we are kicking off #100YearsStrong, a yearlong effort of acting, sharing and celebrating the progress Planned Parenthood has championed for women and families over the past 100 years.

October 27, 2016

Ward 1 voters need to know the truth about the two run-off candidates, Emily Semple and Josh Skov. To do so, they should consider an objective and truthful comparison of where the candidates stand on several key issues.

Semple supports the city’s Climate Recovery Ordinance, which puts forth a 2030 goal for the city to reduce our use of fossil fuels by 50 percent from 2010 levels. She is also a strong advocate of clean air and says EWEB’s air-polluting Seneca Biomass plant may need to be reconsidered.

October 20, 2016

In the last week of September, we passed right by 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major milestone on our way to climate disruption. It’s alarming given all that’s at stake, but we have available to us now all the solutions that we need to dramatically reduce emissions and secure a livable future for us, our children and our grandchildren.