News Briefs: Hyped Release of Shoplifter | ELF Goes Mainstream? | StoveTeam Expands Factories | Classroom Bucks Go to Duck Athletics | Climate Politics | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | War Dead |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Divinia Jelen
EW mourns the loss of Art Director Kevin Dougherty
City manager hires political poll on council
A Captive Audience
Hunting Ghosts at the Bijou
HYPED RELEASE OF SHOPLIFTER
This summer jail boosters successfully hyped the early release of an inmate later convicted of rape as a political bludgeon to increase jail deputy funding.
But what was the dangerous crime the inmate, Paul Dawson, was convicted of before he was released due to jail overcrowding? Court records show it involved shoplifting and scuffling with security guards.
Last August, Dawson stole a pair of shoes and a lanyard from the UO Duck Store, according to court records. When confronted, he apparently pushed a guard. For the shoplifting and scuffle, he was convicted of Robbery 3 (the least serious robbery), Theft 2 (of property greater than $50 in value) and Assault 4, the least serious violent crime involving a non-serious intentional, reckless or negligent injury to another. Assault 4 is a misdemeanor.
It’s unclear if Dawson would have been released after the shoplifting and misdemeanor incident even if the 84 jail beds hadn’t been cut due to a reduction in federal funding. The county has given early release to thousands of inmates involved in minor crimes over the past decades due to cuts in federal funding and local voters repeatedly rejecting tax increases for the jail.
But Lane Circuit Court Judge Gregory Foote claimed the release of the shoplifter and the subsequent rape was “as a result of a political decision” by progressive county Commissioners calling it the “irresponsible actions of a group of politicians.” Conservatives, including The Register-Guard and laid-off jail deputies and their friends, echoed the political attack.
But it didn’t appear that Foote’s colleagues thought Dawson was especially dangerous before the rape. Dawson was released after his arrest with a promise to return for his trial, which he did. In sentencing Dawson to one year, Lane Circuit Court Judge Maurice Merten ordered, “the defendant is eligible for all alternatives” and “may be considered” for “any form of temporary leave from custody, reduction in sentence, work release alternative incarceration.” The court “is not opposed to alternative sentencing sanctions at the discretion of the supervisory authority.”
The case file indicated that Dawson, 23, had a criminal history of earlier convictions for misdemeanor Assault 4, theft and criminal mischief, some as a juvenile.
Dawson spent only a day in jail before sheriff staff decided he was the safest person to release due to federal limits on the number of inmates the facility can hold.
Ironically, if Dawson had been convicted of less serious misdemeanors, he may have spent more time in jail. The city of Eugene pays the county to reserve about 20 beds at the jail for people convicted of minor crimes by the city’s municipal court. Neither the city nor the county will allow more dangerous offenders from Eugene to fill those beds reserved for minor offenses. — Alan Pittman
ELF GOES MAINSTREAM?
The former spokesman for the nebulous Earth Liberation Front, Craig Rosebraugh, is celebrating the national launch of Resistance: the Journal of the Earth Liberation Movement, an eco-friendly new magazine. The most recent issue features stories such as “Ecoterrorist of the Season: Shell” and a story called “Solidarity Actions … thanks but no thanks” discussing the Romania arson that was set in response to the Jeff “Free” Luers trial for his own Romania fire.
Rosebraugh, one of the magazine’s co-editors, made headlines as the Portland-based spokesman who issued press releases of ELF actions both locally and across the Northwest.
The magazine will be available locally at Borders and other major bookstore chains as well as at smaller independent bookstores and infoshops, Rosebraugh says. The choice to go with larger, corporate distribution stems from the goal to create “an effective, diverse and large movement to protect the planet,” he says.
The magazine is a “response to an urgent climate crisis that needs immediate and effective action,” he says. It shares its name with a newsprint publication from about nine years ago that Rosebraugh worked on here in Oregon that documented ELF activity during that time.
Rosebraugh says, “Resistance was created to inform readers not only of the dangerous state of the planet, but also the urgency of action.” The magazine, he says, features discussions on the strategy, theory, news and frontline actions of a new emerging environmental movement, which “realizes that when governments and politicians refuse to act to protect the planet, it is up to all of us to step in and protect our home.” The goal, he says, is to “remove the profit motive that is driving environmental destruction.”
With the recent upholding by a federal appeals court of the convictions of six Stop Huntingdon Cruelty activists as terrorists under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism act, despite arguments that their website’s activities were protected by the First Amendment, it is unclear whether the new magazine will encounter free speech and press issues of its own. Rosebraugh says, “If this were a just country and government, no, we would not. But when has this government ever been truly just?”
For the full interview with Rosebraugh, go to blogs.eugeneweekly.com
— Camilla Mortensen
STOVETEAM EXPANDS FACTORIES
Remember field burning? Imagine smoke like that in your house, every day, whenever you wanted to cook food or make tea.
Indoor air pollution kills 1.6 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization. In developing countries, indoor smoke can be a bigger killer, especially of children, than malaria. One thing that can help? More efficient stoves.
When the Weekly wrote about Eugene’s StoveTeam International in July 2008, founder Nancy Hughes and board member Gerry Reicher were excited about expanding production of their Ecocina stoves into more countries. Hughes says that measurements have shown the Ecocina reduces particulates by 70 percent and wood consumption by at least 50 percent.
StoveTeam began serious work in El Salvador, where factory owner Gustavo Peña was enthusiastically attempting to expand production last year. “We thought the factory would produce and sell maybe 150 stoves in the first year,” Hughes said in an interview. Instead, the factory made 6,000 stoves.
Now, there’s a factory in Guatemala (owned and operated by Guatemalans), and StoveTeam International is working with a technical school in Honduras. Volunteers and board members just returned from a trip to El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, where they’re collaborating with a group to set up a factory in Leon.
StoveTeam International scatters the seeds but doesn’t collect the fruit. “We provide information, help find the money, provide the stove design and molds,” Reicher said. Then the factory is on its own, and only if the owner wants to call the stoves “Ecocinas” does StoveTeam hold the group responsible for sticking with the design.
With the economic downturn in the U.S., funds, which have mostly come from Rotary groups and Rotary International, have dried up a bit. Local groups still provide money for factory start-ups, Hughes and Reicher said, but the international group no longer matches the donations. So they’re working harder on fundraising from individuals.
In El Salvador on their most recent trip, the vice minister for the environment spoke enthusiastically about the stoves, Reicher said. Hughes said that the last vice minister, a man, was dismissive — “He thought the Ecocina looked like a toilet!” The new vice minister, Reicher said, saw it differently.
“The Ecocina is so much hotter and does all of the things faster than before and with much less money for wood,” he said. The women and men who buy the stove see that “they can breathe, and their kids don’t get burned.” The vice minister will visit the Salvadoran factory in early November, and Hughes and Reicher have hopes for government-supported expansion.
For more information about donating or volunteering for StoveTeam, call go to www.stoveteam.org or call 729-9223. — Suzi Steffen
CLASSROOM BUCKS GO TO DUCK ATHLETICS
The UO has long claimed that its lavish athletics department is financially self-sufficient.
Turns out that’s not really true. The UO Athletics Department is receiving a $1.54 million dollar subsidy in 2008-09 from state coffers, according to the Oregon State System of Higher Education (OSSHE) budget. That’s a 32 percent increase in the athletic subsidy from the year before.
Meanwhile, the state has slashed services in a budget crisis, jacked up college tuition, shut offices and packed classrooms with the second highest pupil-to-teacher ratio in the nation. The UO spends its athletics money on a $7 million contract for its football coach, the most expensive basketball arena ever built and a paneled football locker room with a waterfall, video game consoles and other amenities that rival extravagant spas.
The athletic subsidy comes out of lottery money that the state could otherwise use to backfill its budget and avoid cuts to schools and other services. The Legislature voted in 2005 to dedicate a bigger cut of lottery proceeds to intercollegiate athletics in the state. The UO gets the biggest cut of the subsidy pot, which totaled $6.4 million in 2008-09.
The 2005 bill almost tripled the subsidy going to athletics. Teachers objected to the hit on the struggling state budget, but the sports subsidy passed the Legislature overwhelmingly. — Alan Pittman
Dale Jamieson was recently part of a panel at the UO discussing the question, “What do we do if politics fail us?” He turned that question around.
“I think we can fail politics,” he said. “If I have a single reaction to being in Oregon, it’s how much anti-government feeling there is.”
Jamieson is in residence at the UO this fall as the 2009-2010 Wayne Morse Chair at the University of Oregon. He will give a public address titled “The Moral and Political Challenges of Climate Change” at 7 pm Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 110 Knight Law Center, 15th and Agate.
Jamieson is director of the environmental studies program, professor of environmental studies and philosophy and an affiliated professor of law at NYU. An internationally acclaimed scholar on climate change, he doesn’t flinch from what he sees to be the hard truth about the world we live in.
In order to effect change, people need to be actively involved in politics, getting down to the “grubby work” of environmental and social activism, Jamieson said.
“People typically think of climate change as a scientific, social issue, but it’s a moral and political issue,” he said in an interview with EW.
His various essays, papers and talks are a plea for activism that interacts as much as it acts.
“My hope is that people will come away with a sober sense of the importance of this issue,” he said. “It is a much more complex issue than they might think. It’s not just kicking the bums out or being more ‘green.’… Basically, if we stop emitting now, it will take 1,000 years to get back to a pre-industrial environment. In essence, we’re looking to prevent problems we haven’t yet caused.”
His speech will be equal parts science and a rallying of the troops. It’s not about stopping climate change, he says, but rather learning how to live with the modern industrial world we’ve created and to “manage it intelligently.” One demonstration or extra bicycle isn’t going to change anything, he said.
“More rests on people’s shoulders than they’d like to think,” he said. — Katie Wilson
• A rally and march in support of the public option in health insurance is planned from noon to 1 pm Monday, Nov, 2, beginning at the new U.S. Courthouse and proceeding to the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at 125 E. 8th Ave. Local elected officials and other community leaders will speak.
• A rally at noon Thursday, Oct. 29, at Broadway and Willamette will urge Rep. Peter DeFazio to support small-scale fisherman and sustainable fishing. Local fishermen, environmental leaders, and community members will gather to oppose the implementation of catch share programs. More information at www.foodandwaterwatch.org/fish/oceans-policy/fair-fish
• Renowned civil rights attorney and author Evan Wolfson will give a free talk at 6 pm Wednesday, Nov. 4, at the Eugene Public Library. He is author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry and was named “One of the 100 most influential people in the world” by TIME magazine.
• The city of Eugene and the Energy Trust of Oregon are sponsoring a free workshop on “Small Home Design” from 9 to 11 am Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Eugene Public Library. More information at www.energytrust.org
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• A massive herbicide spray program is proposed by the BLM. Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for vegetation treatments using herbicides on BLM lands in Oregon are due on Dec. 1. Call BLM’s Ken Denton, EIS team leader, at (503) 808-6443 or call the BLM Eugene District Office at 683-6600. View documents at: www.blm.gov/or/plans/vegtreatmentseis/
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,356 U.S. troops killed* (4,352)
• 31,536 U.S. troops injured* (31,529)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (185)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (accurate updates NA)
• 101,141 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (102,083)
• $694.6 billion cost of war ($692.6 billion)
• $197.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($196.9 million)
• 880 U.S. troops killed* (872)
• 4,360 U.S. troops injured* (4,301)
• $230.1 billion cost of war ($225.5 million)
• $65.4 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($65.3 million)
* through Oct. 26, 2009; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
• The hypocrisy and lack of openness and integrity of the Eugene City Council majority in ousting a municipal judge serving as chairman of the Civilian Review Board is stunning. Citizens should long remember the votes of Andrea Ortiz, Alan Zelenka, Mike Clark, Jennifer Solomon, Chris Pryor and George Poling to oust Richard Brissenden for doing his job well in independently reviewing police conduct. Not one logical argument was presented for this decision. Credible independent oversight of police review in Eugene now appears dead. Resurrecting oversight could take citizen action in recalling officials who oppose police review or defeating them at reelection, citizen ballot initiatives, intense public pressure on city government, and lawsuits. We also join conservatives on The Register-Guard editorial board in calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of Tasers by Eugene police until the department ends its secrecy and develops a meaningful policy that actually restricts this dangerous, excruciating weapon.
Indiscriminate Taser use is a human rights issue, a public relations catastrophe for EPD, and a serious financial liability for the city. So far, no one in Eugene has died as the result of being Tasered, but Google “Taser lawsuits” to see the hugely expensive personal injury litigation other cities are facing.
• Speaking of Tasers, Bonny Bettman’s “Tase Me,” sung to the tune of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” was one of the highlights of the Oct. 24 Best of Eugene Awards Show, and the former city councilor dressed in a hazmat suit even got heckled. Was that police union president Willy Edewaard uncomfortable and grumbling in the front row? We heard he was there to see his musician kid perform. What he also endured was Bettman singing, Tase me/ As long and as much as you want to/ Tase me/ Then make up a ludicrous excuse/ You know/ The chief will always support you/ and then/ the mayor and council will approve … So Tase me/ for jay-walking/ and Tase me/ for talking/ and Tase me/ for not being like you.
• Our Best of Eugene Awards Show filled nearly every seat at the McDonald Theatre Saturday. Thanks to everyone who turned out to celebrate the winners tabulated from a record number of paper and online ballots. It was Eugene’s Oscars night, only with fetish chains and spanking, silly dancing and prancing, wild costumes, plenty of politics, bad jokes and miscues, and a lot of fresh new music from the top contenders in our Next Big Thing music contest. Congrats to the winning band John Giovanni. In all, it was a memorable night, the kind of funky, homegrown production that our late, great art director, Kevin Dougherty, would have loved.
We showed photos and talked about Kevin at the beginning of Saturday night’s event and his good friend Norma Sax described his deep involvement with the Oregon Country Fair. See our story on him this week on page 11. We hope everyone who knew Kevin or appreciated his work will join us, his family and the Country Fair Family at a free community celebration of his life beginning at 7 pm this Thursday, Oct. 29, at the WOW Hall (see our Calendar for more info).
• It’s only a matter of time. Some unfortunate soul will suffer a wrenching death due to the irresponsible actions of a group of politicians. That’s right, as a result of a political decision to fund the jail instead of the county Extension Service, a botulinum in a miscanned tomato will kill. If only those judges, jail deputies and conservative special interests hadn’t successfully lobbied to divert extension funding to the jail, a life could have been saved. As a their penalty, they should have to eat it.
• Hooray for the city of Eugene for getting the gold in cycling! The promotion of the city from silver to gold in cycling friendliness from the League of American Bicyclists is great news. Cycling offers big hope in reducing the city’s carbon footprint and increasing local livability. It’s also a lot of fun and creates sustainable jobs in bike building, bike shops and tourism. We’re on the right track. Now it’s time for the city to catch up to Portland and set its sights on the platinum award. Pumping a new bike master plan up with real commitments to funding and building miles and miles of new bike lanes and separated bikeways should put us over the top.
“Garage sales are my summer job,” says Divinia Jelen of Cottage Grove, who bought nail polish for four years before transforming the faded hood of her 1988 Escort into a nail-polish mural depicting western Oregon. “The central figure is Mother Earth with a water goddess superimposed. Her legs become rivers full of fish.” Jelen worked four hours a day from early September until mid-October on the painting. “It’s my first work of art,” she admits. “My artist friend Bedo drew the basic design on the hood.” An avid garage-sale art collector, Jelen covers her walls with paintings. “I take pride in rescuing them,” she says. “I use feng shui to arrange them.” Self-reliant since a neglected childhood in the north woods of Wisconsin, Jelen split for California at 13, worked as a bookkeeper and a CPA. She became a social activist and manager of the radical newspaper The Seed in Chicago (“the CIA confiscated our last paper”) and manager of a food-co-op directory in Albuquerque (“a knock at the door: ‘We want you to leave town’”). Since coming to Eugene in 1980, she has been a founding member of the East Blair Co-op, got a bachelor’s degree in geography, worked in merchandising, then retired to Cottage Grove to favor her asthma.