Letters to the Editor: 5-12-2016


I am proudly casting my vote for Val Hoyle, a pragmatic progressive running for Oregon secretary of state.

Under Val’s leadership as Oregon’s house majority leader, we got expanded sick leave coverage, we closed a giant loophole that used to allow people to purchase guns without having a background check and we passed a clean fuels bill. She led all this while successfully representing a rural, blue-collar district.

This last point is critical — this isn’t just about who can win the primary, but who can win this important statewide office. I know Rep. Hoyle to be smart, dedicated and strategic. She shares many of my values and I trust her to have the health of our families and our state’s long-term future always at the center of her focus. Please join me in voting for Val Hoyle for Oregon secretary of state.

Dawn Lesley



I enthusiastically endorse Emily Semple for Eugene City Council. Emily has spent barely a minute begging for campaign contributions. Instead, she has spent all of her time and energy actually listening to her future constituents. She possesses the humility to listen with an open mind and the courage to take a stand. I have carried her brochures and signs and witnessed her great respect for her neighbors in Ward 1.

Emily Semple’s short platform is concrete and meaningful. In my opinion, it reflects the consensus in Ward 1. This contrasts starkly with the typical stew of self-aggrandizing, vague generalities served up by politicians.

Elect Emily — she will represent you instead of lecturing you.

Paul Nicholson, Former Eugene city councilor, Eugene


I’m writing to urge you to vote “yes” for Ballot Measure 20-239. Why? Because Lane County needs extension programs.   

4-H, extension’s flagship program, teaches young people leadership, problem solving and how to be a productive community member. Today, 4-H is only available to those who can afford the $100 registration fee per club member. As an extension master gardener, I routinely help others grow their own food and garden sustainably.

Master food preservers literally save lives by providing accurate advice on food safety and preservation. Both these programs continue to exist only because of the generosity of volunteers. Meanwhile, vital extension services in forestry, commercial agriculture and small farms are scarce or non-existent due to lack of funding.

Only 1.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value would stabilize these and other high-priority programs. Isn’t it worth paying a few extra dollars a year to make 4-H more accessible and restore services in forestry, small woodlands, commercial ag, small farms, gardening, food preservation, food pantries and nutrition education?

Vote “yes” on 20-239. You will be doing yourself and Lane County a favor.

Leigh Rieder, President, Lane County Master Gardners Association, Creswell


I am surprised and dismayed at Eugene Weekly’s endorsement of Val Hoyle for secretary of state.

Hoyle showed her real colors when she not only supported but was the co-sponsor for Oregon House Bill 2666. This bill was cunningly designed to make it nearly impossible for citizens of this state to fight against the gravel industries converting Oregon’s most productive farmland into gravel pits.

Many of these gravel companies are owned by the Irish-based CRH building materials conglomerate. Hoyle’s sponsorship of a bill that so clearly supported this special interest’s short-term exploitation over the long term security of locally sourced food shows who she supports. Hoyle has already shown what she will do if she becomes one of the only three members of the Oregon State Land Board.

I am supporting Brad Avakian for secretary of state. Please do not vote for Val Hoyle!

Jon Williams, Eugene


It is encouraging that all of the Ward 1 city council candidates this year are talking about homelessness, and several are talking about broader housing issues.

But so far, Joshua Skov is the only candidate to offer a detailed strategy that addresses housing affordability and homelessness.

Skov’s housing affordability strategy takes an integrated approach, addressing homelessness, provision of affordable and workforce housing, land use and more. In particular, his strategy uses renter protections and new financing tools enabled by the state Legislature that would contribute to funding low-income housing. To learn more about his strategies for affordable housing and homelessness, check out joshuaskov.com/housing.

The Ward 1 candidates all share wonderful progressive values. But we need someone who understands policy and will solve problems with innovative solutions. Joshua Skov is the only candidate who has demonstrated this ability through his extensive civic service and community involvement.

As a renter in the Friendly area neighborhood who one day hopes to own a home here in Eugene, this is an issue that is extremely important to me and many others. We need a city councilor who understands that there is a slow-growing housing crisis and can bring forward real, implementable ideas to deal with it. I am confident that Joshua Skov is the person for the job.

Bree Nicolello, Eugene


As a nurse who’s worked in our community for since 1981, I appreciate our region’s emphasis on livability and the crucial support services we provide to our families. I believe we need strong local leadership to build on this foundation. That’s why I support James Manning for state representative of House District 14 in west Eugene and Junction City.

A retired Army veteran, James continues serving others to make our community healthier and more equitable. As chair of the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs, his leadership has inspired initiatives to help ensure all people, regardless of their ethnicity or status, can afford medical care.

James’ work advocating for disabled individuals as a board member for the Pearl Buck Center and his role on Eugene’s homelessness task force show his passion for helping our most vulnerable community members.

We need committed leaders like James who will champion our community’s values and work to improve standards so every family can meet their basic needs.

The Oregon Nurses Association and I endorse James Manning in House District 14 because of his proven track record of service and his commitment to creating a more vibrant and prosperous Eugene.

Kevyn Paul, Eugene 


Could a conservative Republican become mayor in progressive Eugene?

Mike Clark, a shrewd city councilor and mayoral candidate from north Eugene, has voted against the Climate Recovery Ordinance, against protections for the homeless, against the sick leave ordinance, against sustainable transportation and supports expanding the urban growth boundary on to surrounding farm and forest lands. Could he be our next mayor? Here’s how he could do it:

Ask your friends in the timber and real estate industries for thousands of dollars in campaign pledges early in the season, but have them wait to make their donations until after the candidate forums are over and after the voter guides are printed. By waiting, the opposition doesn’t know how much your campaign has to spend until the last minute, and your opponents have very little time to alert voters about the source of your campaign funds.

According to records from the Oregon secretary of state, on April 28 alone, just a few weeks before the election, Friends of Mike Clark received $10,000 from Murphy Plywood, $5,000 from Seneca Jones Timber Company, $8,900 from Oregon Realtors PAC and $10,000 from Spring Asset Management LLC.

Use the money to blanket the airwaves and internet with your name and message about your experience on City Council and how you want to “work together,” even if your colleagues on the City Council — the people you work with every day — don’t endorse you. With so much presidential drama, most people aren’t paying attention to local elections and will vote for a name they recognize.

Make yourself look a lot more moderate than you really are by telling voters that you just want to make some “course corrections” without stating what that means. Avoid talking about your voting record on the City Council, don’t mention that you’re a registered Republican, don’t respond to interview requests from Eugene Weekly and don’t remind voters about how much of City Council’s time you took trying to make them recite the Pledge of Allegiance at every meeting.

Seduce liberal voters in South Eugene by focusing on the controversial South Willamette zoning issue rather than pressing issues that are of concern to the entire city such as crime, supporting small businesses and homelessness.

Sit back and watch the left divide itself. Rather than rallying around Lucy Vinis, the only progressive candidate who is taking the campaign seriously, some voters in Eugene may opt to vote for a number of well-meaning candidates who filed for the position but aren’t running a campaign to win. Doing so will split the liberal vote. If Mike Clark is successful in getting more than 50 percent of the vote next week, there won’t be a runoff in November, and Eugene’s next mayor will be affiliated with the same party as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Don’t let that happen! Please join me in voting for Lucy Vinis for mayor — the only viable progressive candidate.

Allan Hancock, Eugene


As your current Ward 1 city councilor, I am endorsing Emily Semple, wholeheartedly and without any reservation, to replace me on council.

Emily is the only candidate who has consistently stood by the South Willamette neighbors in their opposition the radically negative changes city’s rezoning scheme would have imposed on their neighborhood.

Emily is the only candidate who wants to terminate the MUPTE program and believes that it should be replaced with a much more comprehensive inclusionary zoning ordinance to ensure a significant amount of affordable and work force housing.

She is the only candidate who opposes the city’s plan to annex hundreds of acres of fertile farmland by the airport to be paved over for industrial expansion.

Emily is the only candidate who wants the Downtown Urban Renewal District to end, as once promised, at the end of this year, thus freeing up $1 million a year to spend on vital city services in other neighborhoods.

Emily will insist on openness and transparency from City Hall and will be our watchdog to ensure that our tax dollars are used wisely. It’s no coincidence that she has been endorsed by Eugene Weekly, as well as by other budget hawks like Councilor Betty Taylor and former city councilors Bonny Bettman-McCornack, Paul Nicholson and David Kelly.

The choice really is Semple: We urge you to vote for Emily.

George Brownm Ward 1 city councilor, Eugene


The school is the heart of a rural community. It is where our children and our futures are established. No school is perfect. No teacher or administrator or parent is, either. We do the best we can.

Our community’s school affords us many benefits. It has provided the space for recent memorials of hundreds of local folks in mourning.

The infrastructure needs of Mapleton schools scheduled for repair or remodeling are real, practical and undeniable.

Some say, “Close the schools, let the kids go to Triangle Lake or Florence schools.” Triangle Lake is at capacity. Florence is seeking its own bond measure, and our property taxes could easily be greater than that of the Mapleton district. Don’t forget, without a local school for incoming families, your property’s market value is likely to drop.

Without a caring, local, quality learning center, kids are more likely to turn to drugs and crime.

Let’s support the Mapleton school bond. Pound for pound, it could be the best investment that we could make.

Richard Gross, Deadwood


This letter is in support of James Manning for state representative in House District 14. For as long as I have known James Manning, he has been a perfect example of strength, vision and leadership, with compassion and care for his community. He has been here a good many years and has invested a lot of time and resources into making this community great. With his drive, determination, passion and vision to change this community for the better, I know that James Manning would be a excellent choice for state representative, and I feel that it is important that everyone know who he is!

Andiel Brown, Director of UO Gospel Choirs & Ensembles, Eugene

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