An independent auditor, white supremacists, the new symphony director and more

• On the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 11, a strange fellow crept into Eugene Weekly’s office wearing sunglasses and a hoodie, then left a few offensive sheets of paper on our front counter and slid out without a word. White supremacists are organizing in Lane County, and they’re trying to make us afraid. It won’t work. Our community must be strong against hate and show that these creeps are right to hide their faces and silently scuttle back to the shadows. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. See our cover feature this week on antifa and some of the people they oppose.

• Quietly and without fanfare the downtown dog ban was allowed to expire. Hooray! Woof!

• It looks like creating an elected, independent city auditor will be on the spring ballot in Eugene, thanks to volunteers who last week submitted nearly 13,000 signatures — far more than the required 8,090. Also last week, the mayor’s Auditor Study Group wrapped up its research into other cities and counties that have performance auditors. The group compared how a dozen governments hire, fire, supervise and fund auditors, how audit topics are chosen, etc. The group will report to the Eugene City Council in mid-November, without recommendations.

The more we learn about independent auditors and their growing popularity, the more we appreciate how they can not only save taxpayers money but also create transparency and accountability in local government. That bodes well for passing the city auditor measure next May.

• While we had Sen. Ron Wyden on the phone the other day, we asked him if he thought impeaching Donald Trump was a possibility. Wyden said as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee he can’t discuss classified information, but he can say that there are “big developments coming up” and special counsel Robert Mueller “is going to play a big role in the days ahead.”

• New Eugene Symphony Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong has been here, there and everywhere in town since taking the post this summer. Unlike many of his predecessors on the podium, Lecce-Chong actually moved to Eugene — he’s rented an apartment downtown — and has been spending his free time getting to know the community and its people in detail. Check the EW blog for a story about his dropping in this week to conduct part of a rehearsal for the young musicians of the Eugene Springfield Youth Symphony.

• When Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns becomes chief of staff for St. Vinnie’s executive director Terry McDonald, he’ll just be following a family tradition of service. In 1973, the chief’s father, Dr. Tom Kerns, helped found Eugene’s Serenity Lane, the drug and alcohol treatment center, and that was only one of his countless contributions to this community. One of eight Kerns kids who grew up in Eugene, Pete soon will be coming at society’s problems from a new direction. We wish him well.

EWEB is in the best financial position it has been in in a decade. That’s some of the good news that EWEB General Manager Frank Lawson delivered to the City Club of Eugene Oct. 13. Considering that EWEB is the single largest taxpayer in the county, that’s really good news. Lawson said the biggest issues facing the public utility are emergency preparedness and disaster recovery and electric supply resources. He touched on aesthetic considerations such as underground or overhead lines, but maybe that’s a subject for another City Club meeting: Do we need a public advocate for an aesthetically pleasing city?

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