From the opera to March Madness and Art Robinson

If you were dismissive, as we were, of the recent rumor that Oregon’s own Art Robinson could be named Trump’s science advisor, you might read Jane Mayer’s brilliant article in the March 27 New Yorker on “Trump’s Money Man.” That’s Robert Mercer, “a reclusive hedge fund tycoon” who rivals the Koch brothers for bankrolling extreme-right politicians. Mercer has funded Robinson in his several failed efforts to beat our Congressman Peter DeFazio. After reading this shocking article, it is clear that Pete needs our fierce support and Mercer’s money should not sully Oregon. But it could happen — Robinson could become Trump’s science advisor.

Eugene City Council may hear the public loud and clear, but that doesn’t equate to listening. A March 24 Register-Guard story discussing enthusiastic participation during council meetings noted that 74 people gave testimony — which took two and a half hours! — at the January 23 meeting. According the RG, the council has had to delay votes, and the longer public comment times have also postponed regular business during meetings. Considering the council’s willingness to ignore public testimony on the proposed dog ban, maybe the more dissent the better. “How much is too much?” the RG asked. Maybe the council should look at preemptive ways to prepare — perhaps by bringing a snack or two. Elected officials should be happier than clams when constituents turn out to participate. Take all the time you need, people of Eugene. This is what democracy looks like.

The soap opera continues at Eugene Opera, where word went out March 27 that General Director Mark Beudert will step down June 30 after ten years running the show. Earlier this year the opera, then $160,000 in debt, canceled the second half of its season, scratching two productions planned for this spring. Beudert, an opera tenor who teaches at the University of Notre Dame, pushed the organization to new artistic heights with such contemporary fare as Nixon in China and Dead Man Walking but didn’t sell enough tickets — or draw enough grants and donations — to cover the cost of one of the most expensive art forms. Next step, insiders say: promoting music director Andrew Bisantz, the man on the podium in the orchestra pit, to artistic director.

We will take these March wins, one cosmic and the others just plain fun. The collapse of Trump/Ryan/Nobody-care is the big win. We trust it’s the first in a long line of legislative disasters. Oregon basketball wins by both men and women are the fun of March Madness. Maybe the male Ducks will play Gonzaga for the championship. We will know more after Saturday night’s games. For the young female Ducks to make it to the final eight for the first time ever was terrific! Too bad they shared a bracket with UConn, who downed the Ducks for their 111th straight win.