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Guest Viewpoint

July 6, 2017

I know firsthand that running for political office costs money. As a candidate for House District 14 in West Eugene and Junction City, I made a lot of fundraising calls. I didn’t (and still don’t) mind raising money and I think I’m not too bad at it. Every candidate needs resources to explain to voters about why they’re running to serve and what ideas they have for fixing the biggest problems facing your community. 

June 28, 2017

Readers of Lucy Vinis’s June 22 viewpoint may have thought the mayor was voicing support for the citizens’ initiative petition, filed in May, that would amend the Eugene City Charter to establish an Office of an Independent elected city auditor. But the mayor’s intent, in sync with city officials, is to undermine the citizens’ effort with their own self-serving version of an audit function.

June 22, 2017

Accountability and transparency are essential to democracy. As Eugene’s mayor, I invite you to explore with me the potential benefits of a performance auditor to improve the effectiveness of city government and build the community’s trust in our public process.

Last year, while knocking on doors, I heard many express concerns about how well city government is managing resources to advance community priorities.

June 8, 2017

Here’s the deal: If you care about your community, you cannot afford to ignore economic development. 

Economic development is not a benign program implemented by well meaning people to create jobs. It is one of the prime game changers that determine the future of a community. We ignore it at our peril.  

The kind of businesses that we recruit, and how we recruit them, will play a role in determining who we are and what we become. 

June 1, 2017

Testing season is upon us — again. During April, May and June, students take weeks of Smarter Balanced Math and Language Arts tests. This is in addition to a year’s worth of other tests such as OAKS Science, EasyCBM, DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency), EDL2 (Evaluación del desarrollo de la lectura), etc.

June 1, 2017

Many of us recognize the value of bicycling. It’s fun (especially under the sun), it’s good for the health of the cyclist and it’s good for the health of the planet that we’re all a part of.

May 25, 2017

The first time I ever smoked pot was two weeks out of high school at a rock festival in the Atchafalaya Basin about an hour north of New Orleans. June 21, 1971. The sun was just above the western horizon on a 105-degree day. A surfer dude convinced me to give it a try. He thought it might help my incipient depression. As we finished the joint the sun dipped below the distant swamp line, the temperature dropped to a cool 98 degrees, I opened my eyes, really opened my eyes and saw, also for the first time, live naked female breasts. Probably about 50,000 of them.

May 25, 2017

When a trope or metaphor gets popularly misappropriated due to cultural transference, problems ensue. 

Two examples often used in mainstream Western culture are “low man on the totem pole” and the “pawn in the game.” Neither of these artifacts originally comes from Western civilization — that civilization in which cultural historical amnesia is a given norm and assimilation is a goal, thereby dooming those who buy into the concept to repeating preventable mistakes, like déjà vu all over again. 

May 11, 2017

May has traditionally been National Historic Preservation Month, a time for communities to celebrate the successes of local efforts and to recall the losses. Last year was a milestone: fifty years since the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966! 

Fifty-one doesn’t seem like such a big deal by comparison, but there is still a lot to crow about. 

April 27, 2017

On a rainy night in January, the National Association of Realtors published an article that should have alarmed every hopeful homeowner, empty-nester, and business entrepreneur in Eugene.

Seattle — where the median home value recently tipped past $620,000 — was named the most-constrained, least accessible housing market in the country.

But who was second?

Eugene.

April 27, 2017

My name is Caroline Lundquist; students call me Dr. L. I teach ethics and critical thinking at Lane Community College. But I may not teach them next year. Philosophy at Lane is on the chopping block. 

April 20, 2017

The Eugene 4J School District is preparing to issue a bond measure to fund building construction. Voters in either the November 2018 or May 2019 election would determine passage of the bond.

April 13, 2017

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns recently announced he will retire in the next month or so. His departure affords our community a critical opportunity to ensure that the leadership of our local law enforcement maintains and instills the values we believe are essential to a just and fair city. 

April 6, 2017

Democracy in Education

It is certainly true that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new U.S. Secretary of Education, poses a distinct threat to the institution of public education. She is intent on advancing the privatization, corporatization, standardization, theocratization and profit-taking that have been part of the decades-long assault on public education. Who in America is going to step up to defend the pillar of our democracy, our precious system of public education?

April 1, 2017

I have exactly 1,476 trophies, and I adore every single one of them. 

I have participation awards from every sports team I’ve been on since kindergarten, eighth-place trophies for speech and debate tournaments, and my well-loved third-place medal for a watermelon-eating competition from third grade.

These trophies are accolades of achievement, representing who I am and all that I’ve done in life.

March 30, 2017

How do we assign value to a forest? Is it in board feet of timber? Is it in jobs? Is it in its ability to re-grow trees?

Is it in the size of the trees? Is it in tourism? Is it in waterfalls and boulder runs? Is it in elk and deer to hunt? Is it in salmon to fish? Is it in habitat for ravens, bald eagles, osprey, northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, belted kingfishers, juncos and chickadees? Is it in foraging for chanterelles, thimbleberries, fiddle heads and stinging nettle?

March 16, 2017

Take a drive out Highway 99 to Clear Lake Road and turn west. As soon as you leave the busy industrial highway you are in another world, instantly surrounded by green, open farmland. You experience a vista that stretches all the way to the Coast Range to the west. 

That’s what I see, and maybe that’s what you see, but that’s not what the city of Eugene sees. Instead of prime farmland and green open space, Eugene envisions a 924-acre industrial park. 

March 16, 2017

One way the news media demonstrate bias is by what they report and what they leave out.

Another is the negative or positive content of articles that do make it to print. A vital role of the media is to be a watchdog and a check on power, but not enough attention is given to monitoring the fairness of our local media’s narrative.

March 9, 2017

In January the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon’s Tribal Council approved a resolution to protect TV Butte in Oakridge. Lane County has nevertheless tentatively approved a zoning change to allow the butte to be mined, ignoring oral history evidence of previous native occupation of the site.

March 9, 2017

“They call them huddles, Vicki, not meetings,” my sister Annabelle said over the phone. 

She was telling me about her weekend event with the L.A. Indivisible group that is organizing against Trump, and she was revved. This is my sister who was by my side in the ’60’s. 

February 23, 2017

A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country? ― George Washington

 

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.