Dan Pegoda


Election season is back! Future politicians and community advocates are starting to file for office. The Lane Community College Board of Education has four seats up for grabs — the LCC board has long been a launch pad for future politicians. Appointed member Lisa Fragala announced she is running for her seat and has the endorsement of Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Val Hoyle, state Reps. Julie Fahey and Marty Wilde, and Lane County commissioners Heather Buch and Joe Berney. The 4J school board also has seats open, and Martina Shabram has announced she is entering the race for former Mayor Jim Torrey’s seat with endorsements from former Mayor Kitty Piercy as well as Wilde and the Young Democrats. Nationally known political economist Gordon Lafer of the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center is  seeking a 4J board position as well.

• A recent study published in Nature Communications suggests that by 2080, Portland will feel more like Sacramento if greenhouse gases emissions continue at their current rate. The good news, though, is that Rep. Peter DeFazio announced last week that he would be an original co-sponsor of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which would be a massive 10-year infrastructure plan to transition the U.S. completely to renewable energy. 

• Good news from the courtroom battles to save the climate. A judge in Australia recently rejected a proposed coal mine because of its impact on the climate. The chief judge of the Land and Environment Court ruled that burning coal from the mine would increase greenhouse gas concentrations when we desperately need to be reducing them. We can only hope that governments and courts around the world grasp the wisdom of this decision.

• What we’re reading: McKenzie Funk, who grew up in Eugene and has become a nationally known writer on the environment, has a long and fascinating piece on climate change in the London Review of Books. He reviews four books on this subject, weaving the reviews with intimate details of his own family dealing with smoke caused by recent summer wildfires in the Ashland area. Go to EugeneWeekly.com for a link to the article. And if you want to discuss local action on climate change, go to the Climate Town Hall: Community Organizing for Solutions 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 21, at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Avenue. Speakers are Kitty Piercy, Rabbi Ruhi Sophia and Matt McRae, with Climate Justice panelists from NAACP, Huerto de la Familia and Our Children’s Trust. More at world.350.org/eugene.

• The City Club of Portland studies issues for years and comes up with recommendations for governing our neighbor to the north. On Feb. 10, The Oregonian printed an op-ed from the city club research committee arguing for a city manager and a move away from the commission form of government, reducing the power of the mayor. That’s interesting for those of us in Eugene talking about taking power away from our unelected city manager and giving it to the council and mayor who answer to the voters. We will watch to see whether Portland’s government goes or if it stays the same.