Slant 8-4-2016

• Two prominent political scientists who grew up in Eugene published an op-ed piece in the Sunday, July 31, edition of The New York Times arguing that states dominated by Democrats, blue states, are “generally better for your well-being.” Paul Pierson, political science professor at Berkeley, and Jacob Hacker, of Yale, use a powerful graph to illustrate their point. Their closing paragraph: “And we should be worried, whatever our partisan tilt, that leading conservatives promote an economic model so disconnected from the true sources of prosperity.” Hacker and Pierson’s work should be fodder for the Clinton campaign in the next three months. Trump wouldn’t understand it.

• The current Eugene City Council debate over where to put the homeless rest stop that has been located near Autzen Stadium during the football off season is a good reminder during the warmth of summer that the plight of the unhoused is a year-round issue. The efforts of advocates and nonprofits such as Nightingale Health Sanctuary together with support from the city and Lane County has led to great improvements in our efforts to ensure shelter for everyone, but the fact the sanctuary can’t find a home — the city councilors voted to send it to Santa Clara and then changed their minds — tells us we have far to go when it comes to the unhoused.

• The weird court documents (see our blog) that are getting filed by Ryan Bundy in the Malheur National Wildlife occupation cases are bringing public lands issues to the forefront again. It’s not very comforting to know that a man calling himself an “idiot of the ‘Legal Society’” was a leader of an armed occupation that resulted in one death and damaged the federal land that was taken over. Constitutionalists like Bundy have argued that federal lands should be turned over to state and local officials. Look at the Elliott State Forest. It’s a state forest, but the state can’t seem to figure out how to manage it. The solution from the State Land Board? Sell it. Unless a land trust with a lot of money shows up, those public lands will wind up in private hands reducing the public’s access to recreation and the benefits to wildlife and the ecosystem. We hear from Coast Range Forest Watch that it’s not just enviros that want to see the Elliott remain in public hands. Loggers and millworkers have been among those packing the meeting rooms.

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