Defense of truth and the dog ban

• When Trump was elected in November, who could have imagined that a few short months later The New York Times would be running full-page ads in its first section in the defense of truth? The lead ad on Feb. 26 said only “Truth. It’s more important now than ever.” And who could have imagined that former President George W. Bush’s defense of the free press in a democracy would strike such a chord across this country? Yet another heartening note comes from a Feb 16-21 Quinnipiac University survey of 1,323 voters. The question: Who do you trust more to tell you the truth about important issues: President Trump or the news media? Trump, 37 percent; news media, 52 percent.

• “Don’t sit on the edge of your seat,” Mayor Lucy Vinis told the City Club of Eugene about plans for a new City Hall, responding to a question Feb. 24 after her first seven weeks in office. Vinis said the city and county are discussing a land swap and it will take “some months” before we have a deal. The new mayor said “setting a reset button on City Hall is a good thing.” We agree. After listening to her first “check-in” with the City Club, we were impressed that Eugene has lucked out with our new mayor. As Lucy Vinis put it, “Let’s get to work.”

• We wrote last month about artist Ruth Van Order (“Welcome to the Accidental Art Hotel,” Feb. 9), who is one of approximately 20 artists living in a low-income housing facility for seniors and people with disabilities in downtown Corvallis. Van Order works tirelessly on an ever-expanding, constantly evolving map that depicts a colorful utopia in which energy is clean, food is healthy and plentiful, schools are good and medicine is free to those in need. She’s been building her own perfect world out of graph paper and Scotch tape for more than a couple years now. It’s grown so vast over that time that it takes at least two people to safely unfold it. Van Order says: “It will be done when I die.” Van Order’s Technicolor dream map will be on display beginning March 3 at the Lincoln Gallery in downtown Eugene.

• Eugeneans packed Harris Hall for the Feb. 27 City Council meeting to let city leaders know exactly what they think of the recently proposed dog and smoking bans in the downtown core. More than 100 people signed up to give testimony; the vast majority spoke in opposition to the new prohibitions. Many criticized the dog ban in particular, saying the city is using it to unfairly target the city’s homeless. Dog ban opponents also argued that such a ban will be impossible for police to enforce. Longtime downtown business owner Betty Snowden said that such a measure would fail to solve the public health and safety problems these ordinances are supposedly designed to address. Whiteaker residents expressed their continued frustration with a council that seems all too content to brush downtown problems into nearby neighborhoods. Proponents of the anti-dog and anti-smoking ordinances voiced similar dissatisfaction with the council’s failure to address serious criminal behavior downtown. The two sides disagreed about whether dog and smoking bans are appropriate measures; practically everyone agreed that city officials have been kicking the can down the road for far too long.

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