Slant 5-2-2013

Ballots should be arriving in local mailboxes this weekend or early next week, and we are concerned that voter turnout might not be very high, even with three money measures on the ballot. That’s a lot of money to ask for in a recession, so it’s time to think hard about what you want to fund. For us, it’s schools. This is an off-year election and the campaigns are pretty low-key compared to the presidential year overload that made small children cry, and even some adults. If you have not been following the local issues, here’s your chance to get caught up. Check out our stories this week and in recent issues, see our endorsements and visit a few relevant websites. Hey, even read the daily paper to see what its peculiar take might be. Our biggest concern is that voters don’t devour newspapers like they used to (except for our paper, of course) and newspapers are still where you find the most in-depth information on important issues. 

• Oregon has had a great, long tradition of free speech and protest, but it looks like some members of the Oregon Legislature think free speech is only for corporations. The House voted on April 20 to pass HB 2595 and 2596, which are aimed at suppressing protests by environmental activists that disrupt logging in state-owned forests. We’re kind proud that our own Cascadia Forest Defenders and Cascadia Earth First! merit their own bills in the Legislature. But without their protests more mainstream enviro groups would not have the time needed for filing the lawsuits that stop the logging, which is threatening and killing endangered species and polluting our waterways, before the corporations mow the forests down. Tell your state senator — including Sen. Floyd Prozanski, the committee chairman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bills go next — to vote down these protest bills. 

Bonny Bettman McCornack has been blasted in our paper and the R-G for meeting with the Tea Party folks, as though she supports what they do politically and she’s seeking their support to fight the city services fee. In fact, her meeting in early April with 9.12 Project Lane County was at their request, not hers. “I’ll meet with anyone who invites me,” she tells us. She’s not one to pander to any group.   

Are Beavers greener than Ducks? Both OSU and UO made The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, but neither made the Green Honor Roll of 21 colleges this year. The survey does not ask about environmental law and green architecture programs, but OSU touts several more options for alternative transportation than UO, such as preferred parking for hybrids and vehicle charging stations. OSU has 36 percent of its food budget spent on local and/or organic food while UO reports only 7 percent. OSU gets 13 percent of its school energy from renewable sources while UO gets only 4 percent. Certified green cleaning products on campus? OSU reports 20 percent, UO says 25 percent, but Southern Oregon University claims 100 percent. Steve Mital, UO’s director of sustainability, defends the Ducks’ green credentials, saying UO was on the Princeton Green Honor Roll’s top 10 colleges in 2009 and is consistently ranked high for sustainability by other groups such as the Sierra Club. Still, both UO and OSU can learn from what’s happening on other campuses. Neither university reported a waste diversion rate, a key indicator of true sustainability.