Slant 9-12-2013

Lane County Commissioners behaving badly: Pat Farr has been sniping at fellow Commissioner Pete Sorenson on his blog, calling Sorenson “high atop his self-built pedestal” for his stand on Free Speech Plaza and the homeless. Add to that Jay Bozievich’s snarktastic comments about Sorenson, city officials and local environmental groups in emails and on his Facebook page and the right-leaning side of the County Commission is looking like kids fighting in a social-media sandbox. We’re tired of the mess at the county. Parvin Butte, Free Speech Plaza, overpaid, unethical administrators and a general distrust of the politics at Lane County, to name only a few things that tell us it’s time for regime change. 

Hope is here! Emerge Oregon grad Dawn Lesley has formally announced she will challenge Bozievich (see our story 8/1 on Lesley and Emerge’s training program for progressive women candidates) in the 2014 primary. We hear from another progressive, Sandi Mann, that she will challenge Sid Leiken, and Faye Stewart is already up against a solid force in challengers Kevin Matthews, Joann Ernst and Jose Ortal. 

Unsanitary conditions and tents downtown have some Eugeneans avoiding the open markets and businesses downtown, but other shoppers are coming down in support of the small businesses. We’re hearing mixed messages about the impact of the controversy on Saturday Market and the Farmers Market. One vendor told us his business was off 30 percent in recent weeks, but Kim Still of Saturday Market says “the trend of sales at market is that there is no trend to sales at market,” and a bad day for one booth can be a record day for another booth. She says Jan Bullock’s booth of pine needle baskets sold out early Aug. 31. 

Mayor Kitty Piercy is concerned. She posted an appeal on her Facebook page this past weekend, asking her friends to “make a point” of going to both markets, “and thank them for being there with great produce and products (those peppers this weekend were a rainbow of color and variety) and make some purchases. They’ve had a trying couple weeks and really deserve community attention. Tuesday would be a good day to go to the Farmers Market. We are so lucky to have the delicious food options we have and I know many of you are avid supporters. Time to show up and give the love.” 

• On Sept. 10, less than two weeks after the event, the Lane County Parks Department canceled its three-year contract with OneEleven Events for the Kaleidoscope Music Festival, citing “noise, large amounts of trash left from the site and potential environmental damage to the park.” Noise for neighbors, livestock, pets and wildlife is a huge problem as is trash and damage to the natural beauty and environment, but we do wonder if the county should have made more effort to work with OneEleven on noise remediation and cleanup and given it a chance to figure it out. Is it possible to have a great outdoor party and keep the neighbors and natural world happy? The Oregon Country Fair puts in a lot of effort to do just that.

• After Chip Kelly’s dazzling win in his NFL opener against the Washington Redskins, he probably couldn’t care less about houses left behind in Eugene, Oregon.  But we’ve been wondering what happened to his mansion in north Eugene. Looks like Eugene neurosurgeon Andrew Kokkino and his wife, Jody, bought the palace back in mid-April for a cool $1.7 million. We don’t know what it cost Kelly to build the 6,300 sq. ft. home with its big swimming pool and indoor basketball court, but the county-assessed market value is just shy of $1 million. Kelly was raking in a few million bucks a year as Oregon’s head football coach before leaving to coach the Philadelphia Eagles for many more millions. An Oregonian story noted a while back that Kelly took a $75,000 loss on a smaller house he had bought on Roanoke Avenue when he came to UO in 2007. 

We can’t complain too much about extravagance in private residences since it creates well-paying jobs in design, construction, landscaping and ongoing maintenance, but the Kokkino home will probably never be on the BRING tour of sustainable homes and gardens. Then again, maybe slap some solar panels on that massive roof, a windmill in the yard, a greenhouse in the basketball court, rainwater collection in the pool, a neighborhood veggie garden, honey bees, chickens running around? There goes the neighborhood.

• A banner was hung on the bike bridge over I-5 near Gateway Shopping Center late last week, and it read “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.” The phrase is commonly used by white supremacy groups around the country, and this hate message deserves a response. Being anti-racist is the same as being pro-racial equality, and there’s no downside to that — unless you happen to be white and feel threatened by diversity. Racial “pride” is based on fear and ignorance.