Arwen Maas-DeSpain


From ugly banners to Measure 101

• Local homeless advocate Arwen Maas-DeSpain sent us this photo taken at 11:30 pm Dec. 23 in downtown Eugene. She observes, that it was “33 degrees, Egan not open and in downtown Eugene there is an army of unused heat lamps under the shelters where people are not allowed to sleep.”

• Let’s stop selling space across our city streets for ugly banners, whatever their message. We agree that the city cannot legally pick and choose the messages on the banners, be they supporting atheists or Christians, Klansmen or civil rights advocates, but the city can decide not to sell that precious public space for any cause. That would be one small step toward a more beautiful city.

Ballots for Measure 101 will be mailed between Jan. 3 and 9. We recommend a “yes” vote well before the Jan. 23 special election deadline. If you are in doubt, simply look at the list of endorsers and don’t be fooled by the propaganda that this is a sales tax. It is not. It is a temporary assessment on insurers and some medical providers that will keep federal funding to provide health care to Oregon’s neediest citizens. Every vote is important on this one.

• After Rep. Phil Barnhart, a longtime Democratic stalwart in the Oregon Legislature, announced he wouldn’t run for his House District 11 seat again in 2018, we began to ponder who might be vying for his spot. District 11 leans liberal but has enough rural conservatives to make it a real race. We need a Dem good on social issues and the environment in that spot. We’re wondering if Kamala Shugar, an attorney who is chair for District 11 with the Democratic Party of Lane County, might throw her hat in. She’s in the district and was on the board of Emerge Oregon, which has generated such excellent female politicos such as Val Hoyle and Rep. Julie Fahey. Also in that district is Marty Wilde, the DPLC’s rules chair and a thoughtful political mind. These are a of couple strong candidates. So far, no one, Dem or Repub, has filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.

• Nobody is above the law, but a lot of chatter in the past week or two has suggested that President Trump might suddenly fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller as the investigation closes in on Trump’s shady and possibly treasonous Russian dealings. Here’s the plan from if President Trump fires Mueller for any reason: Protest at the Federal Courthouse downtown. If the news of Mueller’s firing comes out before 2 pm our time, show up at 5 pm that day at the Eugene Federal Courthouse. If the news comes out later in the day, show up at the courthouse the following day at noon. Got that? We’ll see you there.

This post has been updated.

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