Slant 9-6-2012

• Commentary from our Duck Desk: Duck fans saw two blowouts last Saturday: The Ducks won the first half 50-10, but got whipped by Arkansas State in the second half 24-7. That may be bad news for Duck fans hoping for a national championship. Championship teams have enough depth and competitive fire to make sure teams like Arkansas State don’t thump them, even for a half. With Fresno State coming to town next, we better hope the Ducks get better fast. And we like the terrific new yellow and green uniforms. We’re waiting for rhinestones.

Speaking of the next game, early Saturday Market patrons are enjoying a great new Duck football tradition: The footballers walk through the market early Saturday morning on game days after staying the night before at the Hilton. No Ducks have been seen getting their faces painted, but market shoppers seem to enjoy seeing them. 

The drama continues in the House District 12 race between Democrat John Lively and Republican Joe Pishioneri. Last week we wrote in this column about the Pishioneri campaign’s peculiar first TV ad, which made no sense either factually or strategically. In response, Pishioneri told the Springfield Times, “The campaign did the content of the ad … I didn’t do the research. They do the research.” Pishioneri’s campaign at this point is doing him more harm than good. The voters deserve a clear understanding of the differences between the candidates on both statewide and Springfield issues. Let’s elevate the debate.

• A big hike in parking meter fees around town and on campus has been announced, and we like the idea of encouraging people to ride bikes, walk and take the bus to campus and downtown — less congestion, cleaner air, safer streets. And we really like the city’s Sunday Streets event this weekend (see News Briefs). On the other hand, we welcome people to drive to Eugene from all over the region and metro area to shop, attend UO academic and athletic events, etc. High parking fees make Eugene more eco-friendly but less friendly for visitors, the low-income elderly and those with disabilities. Is there some way to accommodate these drivers other than suggest they bring a big bag of quarters?

• Republican Dwight Coon of Junction City has labeled his November opponent, incumbent Democrat Rep. Val Hoyle, as having an “extreme environmental agenda” in his campaign advertising. It’s kind of funny since in this column July 19 we noted that Hoyle had been named “one of the nation’s top pro-growth progressive leaders” and her rating by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters was 80 percent, good for District 14 but hardly extreme. Coon, meanwhile, is pushing the Tea Party line of deregulation and lower taxes, an agenda that many consider “extreme.”

UO and Portland State University officials say they need to have their own governing boards — that they can’t reach their “full potential” when Legislature or the State Board of Higher Education is making decisions. But other Oregon state schools are worried the universities will wind up competing with each other instead of working together. A draft report and legislation was released, with little fanfare, on Aug. 15, and the Legislature’s Joint Special Committee on University Governance is accepting public comment through Sept. 15. 

Not only are we worried that this plan for a separate board for the UO will hurt other Oregon schools and their students, we’re a little worried about who’s going to control the proposed new board. The PAC Oregonians For Higher Education Excellence has amassed more than $400,000 in contributions from Nike’s Phil Knight, Columbia Sportswear’s Tim Boyle, Pat Kilkenny and former State Board of Higher Education appointee John E. von Schlegell. Von Schlegell wrote in his 2009 resignation letter from the higher ed board that it should follow a CEO model and should not have students or other members of the academic community serving on the board. Everybody loves football, but the UO needs to be about education, not just sports. For links to the legislation and to comment, go to

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,