News Briefs: DeFazio: Afghanistan Like Vietnam | Get Wild and Hike | Fair Trade Legislation Seeks Reforms | Free Clinic Moves to Meet Needs | Camas Swale Gets Some Protection | EPA Seeks Input on Pesticide | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Lighten Up | Early Deadlines
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Panel ponders ominous state funding cuts
DEFAZIO: AFGHANASTAN LIKE VIETNAM
Congressman Peter DeFazio strongly urged the president last week to get not just a new Afghanistan general but a new policy to largely withdraw from the decade-long war.
Obama should “move toward a much less expensive, much less troop intensive strategy that would bring about a much better result in Afghanistan,” DeFazio said in a June 24 speech on the U.S. House floor.
DeFazio said he agreed with a strategy proposed by Vice President Joe Biden to withdraw most combat troops and let special forces and aircraft target the few actual al Qaeda terrorists in the country. “Let the Afghans work out their tribal and intra-tribal conflicts that they’ve been carrying on for over 600 years,” DeFazio said.
“We have a choice,” DeFazio said. “We can either get into a very long-term engagement at a cost of $30 billion a year and tremendous sacrifice by our troops on a strategy that has not worked. Or, we can re-think that strategy.”
DeFazio said the current strategy authored by ousted insubordinate general Stanley McChrystal has not worked. “His theory was that it would be a clear, hold and transfer to the Afghan police who don’t exist, to the security forces who are in disarray and to the government which doesn’t exist in any meaningful way outside of the capitol,” DeFazio said. “There is unbelievable corruption rife throughout the Karzai government, the police and security forces.”
Even Pentagon officials are now saying that the Afghan war, already the longest in U.S. history, “is going to take years and years, may require a second surge and require additional troops in Afghanistan,” DeFazio said. “Is this starting to sound like Vietnam to anyone?”— Alan Pittman
GET WILD AND HIKE
|The summit at Tidbits. Photo: Oregon Wild.|
Now that the sun (seems) to be back, it’s time to get out into the woods. Conservation organization Oregon Wild continues its series of summer hikes on Saturday, July 10, with guided hikes all around Oregon, including several within easy reach of Eugene. The 12 remaining summer hikes are free or nearly free to the public. There’s limited space, so reserve a space at http://wkly.ws/mw
“We connect the public to places we want to protect,” says Oregon Wild Roadless Wildlands Advocate Rob Klavins. This year’s hikes include a long, steep trek to the summit of Mount Bailey, a lesser-known landmark entangled in competing plans: the largest Oregon timber sale since the advent of the 2001 roadless timber rule versus the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness area. “We try to show people places that are pretty and enjoyable to go to, and sometimes to show places affected by different issues,” explains Klavins.
Less demanding hikes on Tidbits Mountain, the North Umpqua and the Rogue River Trail also feature picturesque scenery in places important in ecology or history. Oregon Wild staff will lead most of the hikes, educating hikers about the attributes and challenges of each area.
“Each hike is certainly different,” says Klavins. “We have wildflower hikes, tree identification hikes, mushroom hikes, trekking hikes, waterfalls and snowshoe hikes.” Klavins says Oregon Wild selects its various themes according to the season.
Most of the dozen hikes remaining are free to the public, but some do require a small fee. All are family-friendly, but parents should check www.oregonwild.org for each hike’s length and level of difficulty. Sign-ups open about six weeks before each hike, but they have a history of filling quickly. Klavins suggests signing up for the e-alert system that notifies hikers of list openings. — Shannon Finnell
FAIR TRADE LEGISLATION SEEKS REFORMS
Since 1994 nearly 75,000 Oregonians have lost their jobs due to NAFTA-style trade agreements. The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (OFTC) is a statewide effort to reform current trade policies through federal legislation such as the TRADE Act. Will more jobs be lost? President Obama this past weekend announced plans for a broad new trade agreement with Korea, first negotiated by the Bush administration.
TRADE is an acronym for Trade Reform Accountability and Development, and the act’s basic provisions are mandatory standards in trade agreements for a range of areas, including labor, the environment, anti-dumping, national security and states’ rights.
The OFTC’s website at http://wkly.ws/na shows the TRADE Act is supported significantly by both big labor and major environmental organizations. Endorsers include the ALF-CIO, Sierra Club, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Friends of the Earth.
What will the TRADE Act mean for Oregon? Arthur Stamoulis of the OFTC says the legislation “means more jobs, higher wages, safer food, less forced migration and a cleaner environment in Oregon and around the world.”
The act, first proposed in 2008 in both the House and Senate, restores local autonomy, giving states the power to decide how to spend citizens’ tax dollars, and institutes public regulations that are in the interest of local economies. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Jeff Merkley joined 130 lawmakers in cosponsoring the bill. Public polling in May 2008 by the Pew Research Center showed that by a ration of 6-1 Americans viewed trade agreements as destructive to local economy and the environment.
One common criticism of policies that attempt to regulate trade is that they are protectionist and harmful to developing economies.
“Working people in developing countries have been hit even harder by existing trade pacts than American workers,” says Stamoulis. “These trade deals have never been about one country benefiting over another, but rather a small minority of elites benefiting in each country at the expense of everyone else.”
Stamoulis and other critics of globalization say trade agreements have created a race to the bottom with developing nations competing against each other for the right to allow first-world multinational corporations to exploit their workers and the environment.
The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign can be found on Facebook at http://wkly.ws/nb — Phil Shackleton
FREE CLINIC MOVES TO MEET NEEDS
With the current politics surrounding health care accessibility, one Eugene clinic remains steadfast in its commitment to providing medical services to those in need.
The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic (VIM) is a non-profit organization with a staff of more than 450 volunteers that include physicians, nurses and pharmacists. Their services include free primary medical care, medication and mental health services to low-income Lane County adults who have no insurance.
“People come in with chronic pain, mental health issues, diabetes and complex diseases that aren’t being served with the general economy,” said VIM Business Manager Susie Goss. “We’re especially seeing a lot more patients due to recent cutbacks in employment.”
When the VIM clinic was established in 2001, its current location at 3321 W. 11th Ave. was sufficient to accommodate Lane County’s uninsured population. However, “we’ve seen the uninsured population progress so quickly that we are out of space,” said Goss. “We are trying to meet the needs of the community, but at times we have to wait four to six weeks to see some patients.”
In the last week of July, VIM will be switching locations to 2260 Marcola Road in Springfield to accommodate the 60,000 Lane County residents who currently have no access to affordable health care. “When people don’t have insurance, they will oftentimes go to the hospital’s emergency room,” said Goss. “It’s very costly for the patient and the hospital. Here, we want to get people the preventative care they need in order to offset a major emergency.”
The VIM clinic collaborates with more than 250 diagnostic services and specialists who accept VIM patient referrals at no cost. Ensuring the organization’s longevity are donations, grants and volunteer services.
Goss said that in order to qualify for care through the Volunteers in Medicine, a Lane County resident must fall in between 80 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, without any other insurance policies to fall back on. “We are really trying to take care of a segment of the population that is underserved.” — Deborah Bloom
CAMAS SWALE GETS SOME PROTECTION
Camas Swale has been cited as a stopover for sandhill cranes and for wintering waterfowl. Native Americans historically used the area for collecting camas bulbs.
Oregon Habitat Joint Ventures in 2004 identified the area near Creswell as a target area for conservation and restoration for its wet prairie habitat throughout the area and upland prairie and oak savanna on the fringes of the swale.
Ryan Ruggiero of McKenzie River Trust says thanks to a conservation easement with landowner Helen Hollyer, 60 acres in the area, including an unnamed tributary of Camas Swale Creek, will be protected. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and MRT to protect a property’s ecological value. Hollyer is known locally as the publisher of the Creswell Chronicle.
Ruggiero said that in addition to the riparian oak and ash forest has been allowed to grow undisturbed at what has now been named Hollyer Prairie, a 2009 survey found that the property is habitat to the threatened Kincaid’s lupine. This is the first known occurrence of the flower in the Camas Swale area, he said. The lupine is one of only two host plants for the endangered, and once thought to be extinct Fender’s blue butterfly. Ruggiero said the butterfly has not yet been sighted in the area. Camas Swale, which is in the urban-rural interface, also hosts red-legged frogs and western pond turtles, as well as cougar and elk.
The conservation easement means that the area, which is made up of several tax lots, is restricted from development such as subdivisions. The property would have to be sold as one contiguous block and uses such as grazing and forestry are also restricted. Hollyer will still be able to use the horse trails on her property and develop one future trail, Ruggiero said.
He said MRT used funds from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant the trust received in 2007 and the conservation group paid less than half of the full market value for the easement.
MRT will monitor the easement on annual basis and check to see that Hollyer and all future landowners keep to the terms of easement. Ruggiero called Hollyer an “ideal, engaged landowner;” she was already working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Coast Fork Watershed Council to preserve the land and waterway.
“The project is set up for long term success. Ruggiero said. “She’s very concerned about leaving this place to future generations.” — Camilla Mortensen
EPA SEEKS INPUT ON PESTICIDE
The Environmental Protection Agency wants to know what you think about toxic pesticides being sprayed on or near waterways like rivers and streams.
EPA is seeking public comment on the proposed permit process for pesticide application near waterways. A 2006 EPA rule was overturned in January, reversing the policy of allowing pesticides in and around waterways to be regulated according to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) rather than the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Eugene attorney, Charlie Tebbutt, hopes that citizens will take advantage of the public comment period and demand earlier evaluation of whether pesticides are indeed necessary. “The CWA’s goal is to eliminate pollution, not to continue to issue permits to allow it,” says Tebbutt, who argued the case before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA).
The Clean Water Act regulates pollutants by requiring that pesticide usage be approved prior to use. FIFRA differs from the CWA by allowing anyone to use pesticides, as long as they are applied according to the purpose and dosage of their labeling directions.
A draft of the new pesticide general permit is available for review at http://wkly.ws/ne It requires that applicants apply for a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The draft permit says “outside the scope of this permit are terrestrial applications to control pests on agricultural crops or forest floors,” which pesticide use opponents says is a problem, because after crops or forests are sprayed the residue runs off into waterways.
After EPA or NPDES approves a general permit, it assesses how much of a pesticide or herbicide can be applied and when.
According to Tebbutt, pesticide use near waterways would occur more judiciously if other alternatives were formally considered before a permit is issued.
Alternatives to pesticides and herbicides can include the use of mechanical removal of pests, traps, natural enemies and plant-based repellants. Information about control methods for various pests can be found at the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides website, http://wkly.ws/nf
Tebbutt believes that input from the public could prompt EPA to implement a more effective policy. “It’s really important that EPA hear from people who are affected by these kinds of pesticide discharges,” says Tebbutt, “and that the EPA hear loud and clear that the people want elimination of the pesticides wherever possible, and if not possible, really tight control and monitoring.”
Public comments can be submitted to www.regulations.gov until July 19, using the Doc ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2010-0257. — Shannon Finnell
• The group Keep It Beltline is organizing a one-day initiative signing campaign Thursday, July 1, to gather 83,000 valid signatures to put a measure on the ballot reversing the renaming of Beltline in Lane County. Due to legal complications and delays, the group has less than two days to gather signatures statewide. Signatures must be turned in by 5 pm Friday, July 2. Petitions will be available outside post offices and online at www.keepitbeltline.org
• The deadline is 5 pm Friday, July 2, to submit signatures to the Oregon secretary of state to get legalization of marijuana on the November ballot. Petitions can be printed out at www.cannabistaxact.org but it will be too late to mail them in. Signature gatherers can likely be found around Eugene Thursday and Friday.
• A fundraising concert for Initiative 28 seeking to expand the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act to include dispensaries will begin at 7 pm Friday, July 2 at the WOW Hall, 8th and Lincoln in Eugene. Bands include Quandry, we have guns, Vial…experiment, Stillfire and Issa. Contact Jim Greig at email@example.com
• The Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba will be stopping in Eugene on its way to challenge the U.S. embargo. A potluck and presentation will be from 6 to 8 pm Tuesday, July 6, at the Latin American Solidarity Committee office, 458 Blair Blvd. Call 485-8633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• A fundraiser and presentation on the crisis in Gaza is set for 3 pm and 5:30 pm Wednesday, July 7, at the Ben Linder room in UO EMU. Suggested donation is $5, but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. The fundraiser will help send Jessica Campbell to the West Bank to participate in the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions’ Summer Rebuilding Experience. She will join a team of Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals to rebuild destroyed Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.
• The GreenLane Sustainable Business Network will meet from noon to 1:30 pm Wednesday, July 7, at Mallard Hall, 725 W. 1st Ave. in Eugene. Speaker will be Katie Wilson, cofounder of The Hive Group, on “Communicating the Need for Climate Change.” For more information email email@example.com
• Author Alexandra Jamieson will speak on “How Veganism Will Save the World!” in a free presentation at 7 pm Friday, July 9, at McNail-Riley House, 601 W. 13th Ave. in Eugene. Jamieson is author of Living Vegan for Dummies and The Great American Detox Diet. Sponsored by the Eugene Veg Education Network, www.eugeneveg.org
• The future of the Ice Center at the Lane County Fairgrounds will be on the agenda of the Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting July 7. The board is looking at a proposal to operate the rink for another year, then turn over management to another organization. For more information, see http://wkly.ws/nc
• July 26 is the deadline for public comments to the Eugene City Council on a proposal to name the new I-5 Willamette River Bridge the “Whilamut Passage Bridge.” The council will send its nonbinding recommendation to ODOT. Comments can be sent electronically through the city website or in person at the council meetings at 7:30 pm July 12 and July 26. For more information, call 682-5010.
• 4,412 U.S. troops killed* (4,441)
• 31,865 U.S. troops injured** (31,860)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (updates NA)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (updates NA)
• 105,563 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (105,553)
• $730.1 billion cost of war ($729.4 billion)
• $207.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($207.4 million)
• 1,124 U.S. troops killed* (1,110)
• 6,469 U.S. troops injured** (6,355)
• $279.7 billion cost of war ($278.9 billion)
• $79.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($79.3 million)
* through June 25, 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)
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• ODOT will be spraying invasive species through June and July. Call Tony Kilmer (District 5) at 686-7626.
• Eastern Lane County: Rosboro LLC (746-8411) will ground spray herbicides on approximately 500 acres starting July 7 (No. 771-00586). Seneca Jones Timber (461-6245) will ground spray hundreds of acres with herbicides including 2,4-D LV6 (No. 771-00413).
• Near 10 Mile Creek and Klickitat Mountain: Roseburg Resources (935-2307) will ground spray roadsides starting July 7 (No. 781-00572).
• Near Cottage Grove: Weyerhaeuser Company (744-4684) will spray roads and roadsides near Row River, Hawley, Pitcher Creeks starting July 6 (No. 771-00582).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
City Council members who make bad analogies during meetings should be Tasered by the mayor. At the meeting on the new police Taser policy a councilor objected to even considering such a policy. She said it was like telling the public works director “what size tires we should buy.” Actually, making policy is different than ordering up specific sizes. It’s one thing to make a policy against lap dancing in the office of the public works director, which the council has authority to do. It’s another to require any lap dancing that does occur there to be performed by dancers with at least 42 inch breasts, which may violate union contracts.
EW offices will be closed Monday, July 5. The early deadline to reserve display ad space for our July 8 issue will be noon Friday, July 2. Questions? Call 484-0519.
• It’s no big surprise that homelessness in Oregon is on the rise, exacerbated by chronic unemployment. The number of homeless families with children is up 33 percent over last year. Nearly 2,000 more people were identified this year in the annual survey conducted by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and its partner agencies. About 20,000 people statewide were documented as homeless in January, with nearly 4,000 counted in Lane County alone. Those numbers do not include the thousands of people who are sleeping on floors and couches, or camping in cars, vans and tents out of sight of the surveyors.
So what do we do about it, particularly at a time when state agencies are being forced to make 9 percent budget cuts, and nonprofits are suffering through reduced donations? We can invest more tax money into social services and low-income housing, paid for by eliminating unfair tax breaks and loopholes for wealthy individuals and corporations, and we can create a more enlightened approach to costly policing and incarceration. We need more short-term shelters and permanent housing for the homeless. But even die-hard social conservatives should recognize the long-term financial impact of many thousands of Oregon children growing up in poverty with little access to good food, counseling, health care and education. Expect more crime, less productivity, and more dependence on welfare. Find a new statistical analysis of the OHCS count at http://wkly.ws/ms
• When we’re seriously talking about sending EWEB water to Veneta, it’s not exactly reassuring to hear Roger Gray, new general manager of EWEB, tell the City Club of Eugene that “water has me spooked.” Speaking on June 25, Gray said issues of water quality, reliability and security cause him to worry about the McKenzie River as Eugene’s single source, especially with the added unknowns of climate change. The choice is clear, he said, “that the entire region needs to solve the water supply issues … it is not a growth or no-growth issue.”
• We’re pleased to hear that Leslie Brockelbank’s legacy is being honored by the dedication of the Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) center in her name. The CALC House is now the Leslie Brockelbank Peace and Justice Center, in recognition of her contributions to CALC, WAND, the Maude Kerns Art Center and other community organizations (see EW cover story on Brockelbank 9/10/2009).
• The third Eugene Arts Meetup on June 23 attracted a large crowd of artists, theater folk, literary experts and interested newcomers to town to Cowfish Danceclub for coffee, cookies and (as 5 pm went by) a few cocktails. The group, started by EW arts editors Suzi Steffen and Molly Templeton as a casual place for discussion about Eugene’s arts scenes, now has a Google group (Eugene Arts; join at http://wkly.ws/nh or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added) and a Facebook page (Eugene Arts Illuminati, so named by artist Sean Äaberg, at http://wkly.ws/ng). Thanks to the Lord Leebrick’s David Mort and the UO Bookstore’s Laura White and Bruce Lundy for talking about their work and plans at the June meetup. The next meetup will be July 28, time and place TBD. We’ll probably think about music and visual arts discussions, but everyone’s welcome to talk about this “great city for the arts and outdoors.” Connect on Google or Facebook (and feel free to share arts-related announcements/discussions in both places) for more info between meetups!
• The Italians call it “clever football,” the English call it “cheating” and everyone else calls it “flopping.” One ugliness in the beautiful game that we’ve been watching is the melodrama of a player simply getting bumped and then falling to the ground as though shot in the hamstring. In some parts of the world, it’s an accepted part of the game, working within the rules to gain every advantage even if that means duping a hapless official. Others hate the spectacle and call for rules changes to punish the athletic thespians writhing on the ground. Watch the final two weeks of games and you’ll see the South Americans and Mediterraneans (if any are left after the semi-finals) are particularly adept at theatrics, while the Northern Europeans are not so clever. The northerners, led by the English, are leading the effort to legislate flopping out of the game. Do they have a point, or could it be that the upstanding Germans, Dutch and English with their technically proficient, but stuffy play are simply jealous of their southern cousins’ flair for the dramatic, whether scoring goals or pleading for undeserved justice?
A good place for watching and talking about the World Cup is around the screen in the food court of the Fifth Street Market. A plus is the presence of Borzi Marashi, owner of Café Glendi. He’s a long-time Eugene soccer leader who knows and loves the sport.
• Every week we compile fresh statistics for our War Dead listings, and try to find space for them. And every week we see numbers that reflect incredible human loss. That loss is mostly ignored. The news media are all over Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his conflicts with President Obama. But last week in Afghanistan, from Monday through Friday, 14 American soldiers died violent deaths, 114 soldiers were seriously injured (many mangled for life), an untold number of Afghans died, and $800 million was spent on a war that is unwinnable and arguably counterproductive (Gen. David Petraeus vows to not be so careful about civilian casualties). Eugene taxpayers coughed up $200,000 for the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and that was just for five days.
Each death of a young person, whether it’s from war, accident, crime or illness, means the end of one unique individual’s dreams, aspirations and relationships. Everything that person would ever do or become is erased from the human continuum.
If we must continue our foreign policy of aggression and destruction around the world, let’s draft and deploy the bad-tempered, flag-waving old war hawks and chicken hawks among us. They already have guns
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