• There are not a lot of people in life who always greet you with a smile and exude goodwill and bonhomie no matter how stressful the day. Richard Hunt, EW’s circulation manager, was one of those people. He died suddenly over Thanksgiving weekend and we are bereft. Please read his remembrance in this issue and hold your loved ones tight.
• Our congressman, Peter DeFazio, has alerted us to one of the traps of the Republicans’ terrible tax bill if it passes into law. If the national debt goes too high under this break for the rich, DeFazio is concerned that the R’s will go after Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other pieces of this country’s safety net. Right now the bill is such a mess that responsible R’s are not supporting it. More responsible R’s, please.
• We don’t read much about this in the mainstream media, but some of the most important decisions Donald Trump’s administration will make are the judicial appointments. A battle is under way between the Trumpians and Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden over who will fill the Oregon vacancy on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the vacancy for the U.S. District Court for Oregon. So far, our senators have blocked one candidate and caused the application deadline to extend through Dec. 1 because the “judicial selection committee found that the applicant pool was not as geographically diverse as they had hoped.” Watch for the next round.
• We’re gratified to hear that former Register-Guard arts reporter Randi Bjornstad has won her arbitration against the newspaper, which fired her in September 2016 for alleged dishonesty and destruction of company property. At the time of her firing, Bjornstad, then co-president of the local chapter of Communication Workers of America/The Newspaper Guild, had been working in support of another fired reporter, entertainment writer Serena Markstrom Nugent. Bjornstad, who has been writing an arts blog, theeugenereview.com, now gets reinstated, with back pay.
“Thanks to all of you who knew me better than to believe I would act ‘dishonestly’ or in any way ‘destroy company property,’ as alleged,” she posted on Facebook. “And on this Thanksgiving Day, please be thankful for and support — now more than ever — the important role of unions in protecting the rights and welfare of workers in this country.”
• Net neutrality is such a basic part of our modern lives in the U.S. you might not have thought much about it until now. It is the basic principle that keeps your internet service provider — like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon etc. — from slowing down, blocking or even speeding up the content, applications or websites you use. The Federal Communication Commission votes on net neutrality Dec. 14. An open internet in this day and age is a huge part of free speech. But Trump FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants to get rid of net neutrality and this would allow companies to determine the content you access. Go to gofccyourself.com and you should see: 17-108 and the misleading name, “Restoring Internet Freedom.” Click “express” and tell the FCC why the free internet should remain free.
• While we hate to lose his fact-checking skills and excellent environmental coverage in Eugene Weekly, we are delighted to announce EW intern turned freelance writer Carl Segerstrom has been selected for a competitive High Country News paid internship. There he will join former EW intern Anna V. Smith who is now HCN’s assistant editor. As fans of nonprofit HCN’s environmental coverage, we are delighted to send good writers their way!