• Bernie Sanders has been a popular candidate for president in Oregon. Eugene Weekly supported him in 2016 and we still applaud most of his message, including the call to make tuition free in public universities and colleges. He’s in a different world from the University of Oregon Board of Trustees, which recently voted to raise in-state tuition as much as 9.68 percent next year while giving raises to administrators and football coaches. The vote was 11-1 with only the student trustee dissenting. In all fairness, the state Legislature is not coming up with much for higher ed, although the Student Success Act will boost funding for K-12 education in Oregon. Like the student trustee, we ask whether administrative costs and athletic department costs cannot be trimmed sharply before we raise tuition yet again.
• Somehow several EW editorial staffers are on President Donald Trump’s email list. His latest missive starts off “Here are just a few of the CRAZY ideas that the clown car of SOCIALIST Democrat candidates have proposed,” (we have left his random capitalizations in for your reading pleasure.) The list includes: “The $93 TRILLION Green New Deal; giving convicted terrorists the right to vote; getting rid of the Electoral College; abolishing ICE and moving to Open Borders; raising taxes over 90 percent.” Given that by “terrorists” Trump probably means people he doesn’t like, we are kinda enthused about the way the clown car is driving. Now if the Dems would just do some of the things Trump accuses them of, we’d be getting somewhere.
• The first candidate is out there in what is likely to be a crowded field for Pete Sorenson’s seat on the Lane County Commission. Former mayor Kitty Piercy is hosting a kick-off party for Laurie Trieger, who would be a good replacement for Pete and strong for south Eugene. What else have you got, Eugene?
• Some interesting tidbits from the May 20 Eugene City Council work session. First, in discussing the city’s “Resolution in Support of Juliana v. U.S. Youth Plaintiffs,” (which passed 7-1), Councilor Mike Clark said, “Yeah, I’m gonna vote against this but I wanted to make it absolutely crystal clear that I admire these young people’s work.” He went on to add that, while he admired their efforts on behalf of something they have as a deeply held belief, he thinks “Professor Mary Woods’ trust doctrine is absolute legal nonsense, and I thank God that the United States Supreme Court is composed the way it is, and it doesn’t have a chance in the world.”
Clark got a little weirder when it came to the Resolution Endorsing Green New Deal brought up by Councilor Emily Semple, who brought forward a resolution supporting the Green New Deal. Clark said that, although he could support some of its concepts, some were “nonsensical” and, he added, “I and a few million of my friends would probably fight very, very strongly and defend with our lives seeing our country change that way, so um, nah, I couldn’t support this.” Then he laughed.
Pryor also voted against it, saying it was a subject the council hadn’t talk about. It passed 6-2.
• On June 10, the City Council will hold a public hearing to decide who is responsible for the “planting strip,” that is, the area between the sidewalk and the curb. This will be specifically in regards to maintenance of that space. Is this a way to discuss whether the city has the right to kick the homeless off that strip, even if a business or homeowner is OK with their presence?
• It’s a little dangerous to go to the 17th Biennial Made for Interiors Home Furnishings Group Show at Maude Kerns Art Center. Walking through the opening, we dreamed of selling off our tired furniture and moving these beautiful tables, chairs and lamps into our house. Even a handcrafted nightlight for $90 is special. The show ends June 21.
• Passing the important 4J school levy by nearly 72 percent was the top takeaway from the recent election. Defeat of the courthouse bond was predictable, partly because liberals who would normally vote for a new courthouse said they would rather put resources into housing the homeless. Here’s an out-of-the-box suggestion we heard: Build a new courthouse of three or four floors, and add three or four more floors of low-cost housing. That likely would pass in Eugene.
• Look out for the bronze birch borer. The beetle is rapidly destroying birch trees in this region, and so far no remedy has been found. The city will remove diseased trees if they are on city right-of-way — otherwise, the owner will have to take them down. Sadly, the white-barked trees near Hendrick’s Park that gave Birch Lane its name are disappearing.