The Register-Guard continues its downward spiral under the ownership of GateHouse Media. EW has heard from multiple sources that the RG’s editorial pages are being gutted. The four-page Sunday Commentary section is to be eliminated, and the daily opinion pages will be reduced from two pages to one. This is heartbreaking. EW will continue to run all the letters and viewpoints we can fit, but we hope community outcry can convince GateHouse not to further diminish the RG and its community voice in pursuit of a higher profit margin.

• It is remarkable that John McCain, ever the warrior, is torturing Donald Trump even after the senator’s death. He has eclipsed Trump in the media, the cruelest cut of all for this president. McCain has banned Trump from his funeral and invited Bush and Obama to give the eulogies. He has inspired veterans organizations to insist that the White House flag fly at half-staff until after the burial. We wonder if any of this will affect Trump’s support inside and outside the Republican Party. He wasn’t without his flaws, but if the late Sen. McCain can help defeat this man he detested, for good reason, it will be the closing chapter in a truly amazing life.

• Remember “Classical Gas”? It was the instrumental solo that aspiring guitar players of a certain age tried desperately to learn after Eugene’s Mason Williams released it as a single — and won three Grammy awards — in 1968. Williams may be popularly known as a one-hit wonder, but he wrote for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Saturday Night Live, and around Eugene he’s also been a gracious gentleman, supporting the Eugene Symphony as a frequent performer at its holiday shows in the past and supporting the environment with his 1984 album Of Time and Rivers Flowing. Williams turned 80 years old last week. Happy birthday, Mason!

• Jeff Merkley is hardly a reality TV star. That’s good. In the 2020 presidential election, we the voters should want the opposite, a smart, truth-telling, hard-working, compassionate leader. Meerah Powell’s cover story this week explores Oregon’s junior senator as a candidate for that job. Political chatter suggests that he would need to gather a Kennedy-style staff. Could he do that? Is Washington Gov. Jay Insley a stronger candidate from the Northwest? Maybe. Are Merkley and Oregon too out-of-the-loop for a presidential run? Ever hear of Jimmy Carter from Georgia and Bill Clinton from Arkansas? Merkley hasn’t made the final decision. What do you think? Should Jeff Merkley be our next president?

Fall is here for the City Club of Eugene. Forums begin again on Sept. 7 at noon in the Baker Center with a look at public safety in downtown Eugene by Eugene Police Chief Skinner and Brittany Quick-Warner, director of the Chamber of Commerce. It would be nice to include the perspective of some of our local homeless advocates, to discuss a population that businesses often blame for downtown flaws. Also, working with the League of Women Voters, the club will host candidates and forums on ballot measures all this fall before the important elections in November.

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