Slant 1-8-2015

• We’ve ranted against sprawl for decades and we will likely continue to do so ad nauseam. We are not against growth, per se. People have to live somewhere, and our population is growing for a number of reasons, mostly sex. But we see no reason to encourage growth (or sex) to line the pockets of land speculators and shoddy developers. As City Councilor Betty Taylor asks, “Who profits from these plans?” We’d rather see quality of life be our community priority instead of taxpayer-subsidized growth. Highly livable Portland has a much higher population density than Eugene, and yet we are preparing to expand our urban growth boundary once again, this time gobbling precious prime farmland. If we keep having sex, the fruits and vegetables of our loins will need that farmland.

That grow-or-die mentality permeates UO as well. Absurd Ducks sports extravagance is often excused by saying it attracts more students. The lavish Erb Memorial Union renovation is intended to do the same, but add the $50-million cost to student debt. A better way to recruit better students would be to offer exceptional academics at a reasonable cost. 

Silly climate-change deniers still get an audience in The Register-Guard letters section, preaching misinformation. We’re reminded of letters that used to run in newspapers saying beating kids is a good idea. Spare the rod, etc. Or letters saying a woman’s place is in the home. Time to move on to more useful discussions.

• Makes us proud to read McKenzie Funk’s article “The Wreck of the Kulluk,” the cover story in the Jan. 4 New York Times magazine section. A nationally known environmental writer, Funk grew up in Eugene, graduating from South Eugene High School. He lays out, sometimes in excruciating detail, how Shell Oil tried to drill in the Beaufort Sea but lost out to incompetence, the hostile Arctic environment and the economics of oil. This is a cautionary tale for Oregonians facing the transport of oil, gas and coal across this state.

Some Duck fluff left over from the Rose Bowl: Oregon’s much-loved Marcus Mariota and New York’s much-loved Mario Cuomo sharing photos on the front page of The New York Times. The language against sexual violence, “No Means No,” haplessly sharing the scene after a great display of athletic violence. Some agreement with Cardale Jones, the Ohio State quarterback who tweeted: “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play football, we ain’t come to play school classes are pointless.” A certain pleasure that Alabama lost, even with $7 million-a-year Coach Nick Saban, whose alums recently bought him a $3-million house. And a suggestion: If you like to drive and shop at a quiet time, try 5:30 pm Monday, Jan. 12, when the Ducks are playing Ohio State in Dallas for the national championship.