Rebel flags, auditor update and other rumor-chasing notes and musings

• What’s with the Confederate flags flying from a business near Florence over the weekend? A Eugenean friend of ours asked the Florence Chamber of Commerce that question, prompting this reply: “Florence welcomes all visitors. The seasonal vendor you mention is not a chamber member and unfortunately we have no influence over them. Florence is a wonderful community made up of loving people. I hope you were able to enjoy our shops and river views.”

• The city auditor story in Eugene is a tale of power, personalities and probably fear of what an independent elected auditor might find and suggest. It was no surprise that Councilor Betty Taylor’s motion to put a new elected auditor measure on the November ballot failed July 9 with only two votes, hers and Emily Semple’s (see our story at Most of the players say the Eugene voters clearly want some kind of auditor, considering the votes for the two measures on the May ballot, and other anecdotal evidence. But it seems unlikely that a truly effective auditor, like so many other cities have, will spring from this mayor, manager and staff and City Council. What’s the next step?

• The craziness of soccer rules keeps coming out in the World Cup in Russia. For instance, when the Croatian player who scored the goal that temporarily put them ahead against Russia tore off his jersey to celebrate, he got an automatic yellow card. At the same time, the players are beating each other up and nary a yellow card is flashed. Then there’s the cruel shoot-out that has ended so many matches in this World Cup. Isn’t there a better way to find a winner?  Oh well, it’s only a game! Follow along with our soccer coverage out of Russia by Eugenean Killian Doherty at

What we’re reading: a long article from the June 2018 issue of The Atlantic magazine called “The Birth of the New American Aristocracy.” Matthew Stewart writes about the 9.9 percent who hold the most wealth in a country where the class divide is already toxic and becoming unbridgeable. We don’t agree with everything he says, but it is provocative and points to some action to take.

•  Summer is here and EW’s hallways are filled not only with staff, but on some afternoons, their kids. What are you doing with your kids now that school is out? Got suggestions for your fellow readers? Send us a letter to

• While we’re fortunate to have Congressman Peter DeFazio and senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley working for us in D.C., our greatest challenge is the November election, only four months away. That means money, phone calls, letters, door-knocking. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren keeps saying, it’s time to raise our voices louder and louder.