• We trust University of Oregon Provost Jayanth Banavar, who recently announced he’s leaving his administrative post to return to teaching physics, is a better scientist than he is a salesman. At a campus meeting April 22, Banavar valiantly tried to explain why the university is slashing budgets for arts and culture organizations and the Labor Education and Research Center while UO President Michael Schill gets a $60,000 raise and a $76,000 bonus. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Oregon Bach Festival and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History are facing cuts of 16 to 24 percent of their budgets to help make up an $11.6 million campus-wide shortfall, while LERC is on tap for a 45 percent cut. Meanwhile, of course, the $100+ million athletics department suffers not at all. Chris Pietsch’s excellent photograph that ran in The Register-Guard April 23 says it all: Banavar at the meeting with his hands up in a “What, me worry?” gesture.
• Congressman Peter DeFazio’s April 19 talk to the City Club of Eugene made us proud that he has been our congressman since 1986 and is now the powerful chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Depending on how much federal investment he can wangle, he left us optimistic that he will get something done on bridges, transit and roads while providing more jobs. DeFazio expressed
confidence in the new head of Amtrak, but reminded his audience that no transit system in the world makes money. It has to be a public service. As for the cloud of climate change over the planet, our congressman said he is taking no money from the producers of fossil fuels.
• On April 18, a Eugene audience heard a preview of an important political book by former Eugeneans Paul Pierson, professor of political science at UC Berkeley, and Princeton Professor Jacob Hacker that is to be published in the fall. Brought to speak on the UO campus by the Wayne Morse Center, Pierson painted a dark picture of how plutocrats are “calling the shots” in America. His topic was “Populism for the 1 percent: The Fall of the Republican Party and the Rise of Donald Trump,” and he talked about the need for a well-functioning Republican Party, which has to be bi-racial. We’re looking forward to reading the book.
• Two Lane County writers were finalists in the non-fiction category at Literary Arts’ Oregon Book Awards ceremony held Monday, April 22, in Portland. Creswell’s Noah Strycker (son of EW’s arts editor Bob Keefer) was chosen for his book Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest and the Biggest Year in the World, while Eugene’s Mary DeMocker was in the running with The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Alas for both of our local favorites, the award went to Portland’s Kenneth R. Coleman for his Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon. Good job, everyone.