Dirty Politics

Summertime is upon us, and most of Eugene is vacationing or busy preparing to attend or work at the Country Fair. City Manager John Ruiz is also busy, conducting a bit of political railroading that he hopes to slip through while we are all distracted with other pursuits.

The downtown smoking ban, twice defeated by enormous public outcry in opposition, was sneakily inserted into the city agenda again — added the Friday before Monday’s meeting and quickly forwarded to be voted on July 23, the council’s last meeting before they take a long summer vacation of their own.

I manage a market downtown and to my knowledge no business owners or residents in the affected downtown core were contacted about their opinions on the issue, perhaps because we previously said “no” to the ban.

Legally mandated public comment is slated for the day after Country Fair, by design — the city manager and council clearly don’t want to hear from the public, and so plan to do so when no one can attend to express opinion.

The ban creates an unfair exclusion zone that will adversely affect already teetering downtown businesses. As there is a vaguely defined “opt-out” clause in the proposal, allow me to propose that all of downtown wishes to opt out now.

Too bad there is no such clause to opt out of our out of control city manager!

Jeffrey S Keim, Eugene

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