• As we go to press this week, we don’t know who Gov. Kate Brown will appoint by Aug. 1 to be Lane County’s first female district attorney. We do know that an election for the tough job will be held in May 2016 and the incumbent, either Patty Perlow or Kamala Shugar, will have a whopping advantage. Hopefully, the unfair political attacks against Perlow for her very subordinate role in the taping of a Catholic confessional decades ago was not a factor in the governor’s choice. Assistant District Attorney Perlow should have the opportunity to run this top cop shop in our county without the direction (or lack of it) from her boss.
• Envision Eugene is the five-year public engagement process that has cost the city untold hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff time and consultant fees, all leading to predictable results: Infill a little, expand a little. The convoluted process — in lieu of visionary leadership to keep sprawl in check — will now ding taxpayers another $750,000 to figure out a residential expansion strategy. Do we not have a well-funded city Planning Division? What does it do? “The Planning Division strives to promote a livable, sustainable, beautiful and prosperous Eugene by facilitating a long-range vision for the community that is implemented through adopted plans, policies, codes and partnerships.” Great. Sounds like we’ve got it covered. That $750,000 in petty cash can go a long way to support already stretched public services.
• Eric Richardson, president of the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, and Ed Coleman, retired UO English professor, spoke to another full house of the City Club of Eugene July 24, leaving us with that sinking sense that racism is worse, rather than better in America after the election of our first African-American president. Richardson, who just returned from the national NAACP meeting in Philadelphia, spoke with new energy about continuing his fight for equal rights in this community and state. Coleman, a revered civil rights leader in Eugene for most of his life, spoke from the perspective of an advocate who is not about to give up. The audience was roughly 98 percent white.
• We write about climate chaos just about every week because it’s literally a matter of life and death for billions of people — and our local and statewide actions do make a difference. We also write about it because The Register-Guard seems to only cover this huge issue in its letters and opinion columns. Search the daily’s website for “climate change” and you won’t find much. By contrast, some days the R-G front-page headlines are all about murder, burglary and sex crimes. How many stories do we need about bodies in freezers, or the Terry Bean sex abuse case? Local broadcast news is worse. “If it bleeds, it leads,” as they say in the cynical media.
The problem, of course, is that crime and mayhem are not what define Eugene and Lane County. Someone visiting our community and picking up the daily might think we are the crime capital of the Northwest and we don’t care about our fragile environment. This focus might sell newspapers and build TV ratings, but it’s bad for business and distracts from the positive elements of our amazing and diverse communities.