News Briefs: Cop Budget Cuts Pool, Library, Parks | Eugene Takes Back the Night | More State Clearcuts | Global Pot March is Saturday | New Rules for ‘Terrorist’ Prisons | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | War Dead
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Extension Risks Extinction
Measure 20-158 would keep it going
Hopey-Changey Granola Stuff
Palin merits a little protest
Happening People: Janice Zagorin
COP BUDGET CUTS POOL, LIBRARY, PARKS
Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz has proposed $3 million in cuts to popular city services while planning to increase police spending $600,000 a year and to spend $16 million in reserves to move the police department out of downtown. His recommendations will go to the city Budget Committee and then to the City Council.
Here’s the list of the more controversial proposed cuts and changes in a budget message from Ruiz released last week:
• $261,000 close Amazon pool for four weeks this season
• $402,000 cut to library services
• $404,000 cut to parkland acquisition using stormwater funds
• $160,000 increase in parking fees for UO students
• $104,000 cut to the Hult Center
• $749,000 cut to saving to reduce taxes for a new City Hall building
• $250,000 cut to planning
• $200,000 cut to animal services contract with Lane County and a voluntary dog park fee
• $153,000 cut to eliminate maintenance of bike and pedestrian paths
• $40,000 eliminate graffiti removal on private property
• $13,000 cut to promoting alternative transportation
With many recent turnovers, the city of Eugene now has the most inexperienced executive team it has had in decades. But Ruiz lavished praise on himself and his fellow city executives for work on the budget shift.
Ruiz claimed the city has moved “farther faster than at any time in its history.” The budget was the result of the “experience, knowledge and wisdom of a talented team of executives” who “worked diligently” to try to create a “fiscally sustainable budget” in the face of a “perfect storm” of a “financial hurricane,” Ruiz wrote. “We have succeeded.”
While cutting popular services, Ruiz’s budget shifts funding to programs he favors. Among those favored projects are $200,000 for the 2012 Olympic Track Trials and $200,000 in additional spending for a vague “Regional Economic Development Strategy.”
The budget does not mention the possibility of any reductions in the dramatic increase in police spending to reduce cuts to popular services. The $600,000 a year for more police spending comes from planned urban renewal tax diversion into the general fund. The $16 million for a new police building in north Eugene is from the city’s facility reserve. The City Council can legally vote to spend both funding sources on different priorities. But in the past, elected city councils have passed the unelected city managers’ proposed budgets with few changes.
Ruiz already employs six public relations people to convince the council and citizens to support his plans. His new budget proposes the addition of $250,000 for a “communication plan” to “foster awareness, support” for city decisions. — Alan Pittman
EUGENE TAKES BACK THE NIGHT THURSDAY
With eight incidents reported in the last school year, the UO is no stranger to incidents of sexual violence — a reality that Take Back the Night continues to battle each year.
Hosted by the ASUO Women’s Center, Take Back the Night’s protest, march and rally will take place at 6:30 pm Thursday, April 29 in the EMU Amphitheatre. This year’s event will focus on calling attention to the prevalence of sexual violence in the community and representing those affected.
“The point of the rally is to bring awareness to our communities that sexual violence is a huge issue that affects everyone,” said McKenna Hynes, UO Women’s Center sexual violence prevention and education coordinator. “If one in four women experience unwanted sexual contact, then that means people within our families and friends are potential survivors. This event is to get together to support them.”
Take Back the Night, an international event, began in the late ’70s when 2,000 women, representing 40 countries, rallied on the streets of Brussels for the freedom to safely walk around at night without fear of sexual violence.
The UO has observed this tradition since 1979 and has historically experienced a turnout that indicates this event’s support within the greater community. — Deborah Bloom
MORE STATE CLEARCUTS
The Oregon Board of Forestry decided in a 5-2 vote last week to increase logging on more than 630,000 acres of state forests and to change the way it permits the logging that affects endangered species on those lands.
Under the new guidelines, the amount of state forestland that will be protected and allow to mature into old forests that support threatened and endangered species will drop from 4060 percent to 3050 percent. The amount of state forest that can be clearcut is increasing from 15 to 25 percent.
The forests affected include 364,000 acres of the Tillamook, 154,000 acres of the Clatsop and 48,000 acres of the Santiam state forests. They also include 64,000 acres scattered through the Coast Range in Lane, Benton, Lincoln and Polk counties and 18,000 acres near Grants Pass.
The Board of Forestry said in a press release that it “seeks to rebalance the social, economic and environmental benefits from state forests.” Timber revenue is distributed to the counties where the trees are logged.
When logging the forests, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is required to limit the amount of threatened wildlife species “taken” (killed). This is typically managed on Oregon’s state lands via a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). According to Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild, an HCP “is a permit to harm endangered species given in exchange for minor accommodations that enhance wildlife habitat.”
Heiken says, “ODF has apparently decided that it does not want to make those accommodations, and ODF knows from experience that the Fish and Wildlife Service does not have the resources necessary to actually enforce the Endangered Species Act, so they can keep clearcutting with impunity even if it harms the public’s fish and wildlife.”
There are 40 species identified on the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests that must be managed under federal endangered species laws. The BOF says “the state will manage for endangered species on a site-specific basis.”
Heiken says, “Operating without an ESA ‘take permit’ is risky, but for ODF, it’s a risk worth taking for the sake of ‘getting the cut out’ and making a quick buck.” — Camilla Mortensen
GLOBAL POT MARCH IS SATURDAY
Marijuana legalization advocates are gathering all around the country Saturday, May 1, for the 11th Annual Global Marijuana March. In Eugene the event begins with an 11 am gathering and march at the old Federal Building, 7th and Pearl, followed by a rally and educational talks at noon. Other events are planned in Salem and Portland.
Jim Greig and Dan Koozer have been organizing the event in Eugene for the last five years, and will serve as masters of ceremonies again this year. Speakers include:
• Howard Woodridge, a retired detective known for traveling across the country by horseback talking about the failure of modern prohibition. He is co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. (He and Alice Ivany, co-chief petitioner for Initiative 28, will also speak at 4 pm at the Eugene Public Library.)
• Dr. Arthur Livermore graduated from the UO medical school in 1973 and is currently conducting cannabis research at the Falcon Cove Biology Laboratory, and is the national director for the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis.
• Jim Klahr is the chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Department of Human Services Oregon Medical Marijuana Program; CEO for Oregon Green Free; and co-chief Petitioner for I-28.
• Doug McVay has been active in drug policy reform efforts since 1983 and worked with Voter Power on the Oregon Marijuana Initiative/Ballot Measure Five campaign during the 1985-1986 election cycle as their petitioning coordinator and assistant director.
• Claire Syrett is the field organizer for the ACLU of Oregon and her organizing efforts are focused in educating and activating civil liberties supporters on many issues.
• Laird Funk was a chief petitioner for marijuana legalization measures in 1986, 1988 and 1990.
• Christine McGarvin, MSW is vice-chair of the Advisory Committee for Medical Marijuana and Chair of the ACMM Outreach Committee.
• Elvy Musikka is one of four remaining recipients of federal medical marijuana, and has spoken throughout the world about hemp and medical marijuana.
Following the rally will be a 4 pm party at the Voter Power office, 687 River Ave., with live music. $5 admission.
NEW RULES FOR ‘TERRORIST’ PRISONS
In an April 7 letter to EW from the secretly established Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Marion, Ill., where he is housed, ecosaboteur Daniel McGowan announced he has filed a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). McGowan was one of a group of activists who committed arsons and other acts of ecologically motivated sabotage across the Northwest, destroying property but not harming humans or animals. The FBI pursued the group in an investigation they dubbed “Operation Backfire.”
McGowan is part of Aref, et al. v. Holder, et al., a federal lawsuit filed against Attorney General Eric Holder, federal BOP officials and the BOP itself. The suit challenges the units’ policies and conditions, as well as the way the CMUs in Terre Haute, Ind., and Marion, Ill., were established, which the suit says was in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Rachel Meeropol of the Center for Constitutional Rights represents McGowan in the case.
McGowan was sentenced to seven years in prison on June 4, 2007, for being a lookout on one of the actions, and setting a fire on another. He has 38 months left on his sentence.
The so-called “terrorist unit” is made up primarily of Muslim men, which has led to allegations of racial profiling. Meeropol says, “Many of our Muslim clients seem to have been transferred only for practicing their religion.”
McGowan requested to be transferred out of the unit, but was denied, despite the fact that he has not received any conduct violations. “My guess is it’s some vague reason related to my charges,” he writes.
McGowan, like the four other men in the case was not allowed to examine or refute the allegations that led to his transfer to the CMU. Meeropol says, “It is extremely disturbing that the BOP is transferring prisoners into these experimental isolation units without any meaningful explanation, or way out. Daniel has a completely clean disciplinary history, so it is hard to escape the conclusion that he was transferred to the CMU primarily because of his politics and writings.”
According to the CCR, the special prison units did not undergo the required process that gives the public notice and an opportunity to comment.
A recent announcement in the Federal Register indicates the BOP is now taking public comment on the CMUs. McGowan writes the new proposed rules would restrict him and the other inmates at the units to one family-only phone call a month, one three-page letter a week and one 60-minute visit a month.
McGowan writes, the BOP’s proposed rules “will put the CMU on paper finally, but would make life here rather unbearable.”
The plaintiffs are looking forward to hearing an explanation from the BOP on why security measures demand that “Daniel should be kept from hugging his wife, and Yassin Aref, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, should be forbidden from holding his 4-year-old son,” says Meeropol.
The announcement of the CMU regulations in the Federal Register says, “CMUs are designed to provide an inmate housing unit environment that enables staff monitoring of all communication between CMU inmates and persons in the community.” A counter-terrorism unit in West Virginia was established in 2007, according to BOP documents, to monitor the mail of all “terrorist inmates” at an estimated cost of $17 million,
Communications between CMU inmates and their attorneys are privileged and not monitored. Communications between inmates like McGowan and his family, friends and newspapers like EW are monitored. McGowan’s supporters have speculated that the reason he is one of only two ecosaboteurs sent to a CMU is because he has remained outspoken on environmental and civil rights issues while in prison. — Camilla Mortensen
• An analysis of President Obama’s first year in office is a series of talks at UO, and the next talk is at 7 pm Thursday, April 29, at 110 Knight Law Center on campus. Sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center and UO Political Science Department. Speaker is Mark Peterson of UCLA talking on “A Century in the Making: Obama and the Era of Health Care Reform.”
• A sign-waving event for the Jerry Rust campaign for Lane County commissioner will begin at 4:30 pm Friday, April 30, at several locations in west Eugene. Signs will be provided. Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Wellsprings Friends School is hosting its eighth annual Peace and Justice Festival from noon to 3 pm Saturday, May 1, at the school, 3590 W. 18th Ave. in Eugene. The free May Day event will feature presentations and discussion on “How Military Expenditures Impact Our Economic Problems,” “Workers Rights and Social Justice,” “The Youth Peace Legislation Movement,” “Fair Trade,” and “Teenagers, Jobs, Fairness.” Email email@example.com or call 686-1223.
• A Coffee Party gathering to “use civil discussion to talk about issues impacting all of us” will be from 5:30 to 7 pm Tuesday, May 4, at Gary’s Coffee House 525 High St. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• ODOT did not spray on Monday, April 26, due to weather. If weather permits, ODOT will finish the metro area and start with Highway 99 South, Cloverdale and Parkway and possibly the lower portions of Highway 58 and 126 East this week. ODOT has sprayed most or all of Highway 99 North from Eugene to Junction City, I-5, Beltline (No. 569 from MP 3-13), and I-105 all within ODOT District 5 (Lane County). Call District 5 at 744-8080 or (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. See forestlanddwellers.org/News/2010-News/ODOT/
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):
• 4,397 U.S. troops killed* (4,394)
• 31,788 U.S. troops injured** (31,775)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (updates NA)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (updates NA)
• 104,682 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (104,595)
• $719.5 billion cost of war ($718.3 billion)
• $204.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($204.3 million)
• 1,041 U.S. troops killed* (1,035)
• 5,629 U.S. troops injured** (5,564)
• $267.8 billion cost of war ($266.4 billion)
• $76.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($75.8 million)
* through April 26, 2010; 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)
|Walker Ryan snapped this photo of the Elusive Albino Turkey last week in the south hills of Eugene. Chris Piché wrote about this unique bird in the April 8 EW Letters to the Editor section.|
• Look for our election endorsements next week, May 6. Ballots for the May 18 primary should be arriving in your mailbox soon. If you flip through your Voters’ Pamphlet you will see an abundance of issues and candidates in the primary. Remember that in local nonpartisan races, the candidate who gets at least 50 percent plus one vote goes on unchallenged in the November general election. So many candidates (17) have filed for the three Lane County Commission races that we expect to see some fall face-offs between the top two vote-getters. But anything can happen, good or bad, so it’s important to pay attention and vote in the primary. Some important measures are also on the ballot.
This week we’re covering the County Commission races and the Extension Service measure, and we will continue with more election stories later. Most of the local media coverage of the commission races has focused on fixing the budget, creating jobs and maintaining public safety services. Those are all important issues, but the daily grind for the board revolves much more around land use and other environmental issues. Load the commission with advocates for urban sprawl, digging up more farmland for gravel pits, recruiting more polluting industries, etc., and we’ll end up with a very different landscape 20 to 50 years from now. Economic development is another big issue and just calling for creating jobs doesn’t actually do anything. We create local jobs for local people through bolstering our education system and the arts, supporting small businesses, and creating a healthy environment where people want to live, work, do business, play and raise families.
• Journalists affect climate change through their reporting. Dennis Dimick, an OSU grad, native Oregonian and National Geographic Magazine’s executive editor for the environment was in Corvallis last week giving a talk on climate change. He also sat down with members of the media for a chat. National Geographic is not an “activist magazine,” he said, but he pushed journalists to get the real word out on the science behind global warming and stop reporting on climate change as if there were a valid alternative to the research showing its existence.
Dimick said that journalists don’t know how to report the climate change story, and that while newspapers will support a sports staff, they don’t fund science reporting. Many journalists, he said, create a false sense of balance when reporting on the environment and cite both sides equally. A scientist with years of study should get more credence than a “climate skeptic” from a think tank. “You can’t cover the environment like it’s sports or politics, he said. “It’s not the home team versus the away team.” Count: How many environment reporters versus sports reporters does your daily paper have?
• Hemp and pot activist Jack Herer died April 15 (see story last week) and there’s still no word on a local memorial gathering. We did hear this week that his prolonged illness following his heart attack in September 2009 has been a big financial drain on his family. So friends and supporters are organizing an “I Love Jack Herer” music tour and fundraiser that will kick off in Seattle April 30 and arrive in Eugene May 9. The event begins at 4:20 pm at The Muse, 21 W. 6th Ave. Janice Johnson is helping organize the tour and can be reached at 485-7646 or Google “We love the hemperor” for more information.
• We haven’t picked on the cops for long time (well, maybe a few weeks) but stories keep coming our way. The latest is from the mother of an adolescent in Eugene. Her “happy-go-lucky, smart and polite” son got busted for some minor infraction involving riding his skateboard, his primary source of transportation to school and back. No warning for his first offense; he got a summons to Juvenile Court, and his prized skateboard was confiscated. Weeks later the kid is still feeling intimidated and traumatized; he’s lost respect for the law; the case has gone into limbo, and he doesn’t know if he will ever get his skateboard back. Are Eugene streets now safer? Maybe. But one more young person now cringes when he sees a badge, gun and uniform.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, editor at eugeneweekly dot com
The oldest of six kids raised in Detroit, where her father worked for Ford, Janice Zagorin left home (and the bedroom she shared with two sisters) for good after high school. She studied history at Michigan State, intending to be a teacher, but instead moved west with her daughter Laura, eventually landing in Eugene, where the only person she knew was her ex. From 1975 until 2002 she worked for the state of Oregon, supervising 16 collectors of student loans. “I was an activist on-and-off,” says Zagorin, who joined CISCAP at its beginning. “I went to Cuba in 1980 with the Venceremos Brigade and taught a SEARCH class at the UO.” Since 2001, she has been active in Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), focusing on redirection of excess military spending to social and environmental needs. At 7 pm Thursday, May 13, in the Agate Hall Auditorium (Agate and 18th), WAND will partner with the UO Women’s Studies Department and Women’s Center in a “counter couture” fashion show: Fashioning Resistance to Militarism. “I’ll be dressed as Daritha Vader,” says Zagorin, displaying her military-budget-pie-chart lapel pin, “with a Blackwater bear claw emblem, boots and a machine gun.” Learn more at www.wandoregon.org