Slant 5-5-2016

As we go to press, rumors are becoming more concrete that short-fingered vulgarian and presidential hopeful Donald Trump will make an appearance in Eugene the evening of Friday, May 6. A nonviolent counter-protest is in the works with more than 300 people signed on. Search “Drumpf in Eugene” on Facebook to find the event.

A curious undercurrent of sexism is running through Eugene’s mayoral race. We hear that Eugene has had a woman mayor for a long time, so it’s time for a man to be our ceremonial leader. Imagine reversing that thinking. When we had a male mayor for a long time, it was time for a woman. Unlikely perspective. This election is between two leading candidates, Lucy Vinis and Mike Clark, and should be decided on the merits of each. We repeat our endorsement of Lucy Vinis.

Bittersweet congratulations to Colt Gill and Gov. Kate Brown for bringing him to Salem to raise high school graduation rates in Oregon. We’re sorry to lose him from the superintendent’s job in the Bethel School District, but his talents should serve the state well. Hopefully, he will work on all of public education in this state, class size, length of the school day and year and number of counselors — all factors in graduation rates.

More news on the wolf legislation front: Last month, as predicted, the Oregon Court of Appeals denied an enviro legal challenge which pointed out the absurdity of removing wolves from Oregon’s endangered species list. The denial happened because Gov. Kate Brown signed into law HB 4040 — basically, the bill blocked judicial review and the lawsuit was nullified. Cascadia Wildlands countered that move with a May 2 ethics complaint, correctly calling into question the process by which HB 4040 moved through the Oregon Legislature. The enviro group says that during the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers claimed the bill would not prevent judicial review — great, except that it did prevent judicial review, ultimately leading to the nullification of the enviro lawsuit. Did lawmakers lie about the purpose of the bill? We’re glad to see Cascadia Wildlands pursuing this question.

On May 2, Eugene School District 4J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas issued a preliminary budget for the 2016-17 school year. While the budget adds counselors at the elementary level, we’re disappointed to see that it does absolutely nothing to address the growing concern of class sizes at the elementary level. The results of 4J’s recent community survey show that class size, particularly for younger students, weighs heavily on the mind of the 4J community. Ideal elementary class sizes range in the low 20s, but some kindergarten classes in 4J have 30 or more students. 4J’s survey and community meetings give a veneer of engagement, but it’s hard to believe the district is actually listening when such a pressing community concern is completely ignored in the preliminary budget.

Probably the most sobering suggestion out of the City Club of Eugene meeting on April 29 about earthquake preparedness was that we should individually decide whether we want to live in an area that may have a major disaster. If the answer is “yes,” better start preparing. Develop a family plan, organize the neighborhood, buy a portable generator, store food and water for at least three weeks in car and homes, buy fire extinguishers and radio, hire an earthquake fix on your house. We’ve decided to stay right here.

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