Election Day has come and gone; only one in five Eugene voters bothered to cast ballots. After the City Council passed a payroll tax for public safety without voter input, councilors added a cap to limit the use of the tax — and put that on the ballot. Eighty-two percent of voters approved the cap. In other news, Kentucky might have a Democratic governor, despite President Donald Trump’s last-ditch campaign efforts — and Democrats have taken control of Virginia for the first time in decades. Democracy still works, but we have to vote.

Do you have a two-week supply of water and food set aside in case of a natural disaster like an earthquake? Think like you were going on a two-week camping trip. What would you need? That was one of the suggestions that came out of the City Club of Eugene meeting Nov. 1 on the topic “Is Your Utility Disaster-Resilient?” Rodney Price, chief operating officer of EWEB, and Joe Karney, senior director of engineering for Northwest Natural Gas, talked about some of the problems like Eugene’s single source of water, the McKenzie River. EWEB was looking into a second water source on the Willamette River, and even owns the property, but is currently focusing on the neighborhood emergency water stations as a cheaper and more immediate solution. A second source treatment plant is in EWEB’s capital budget starting in 2025. Price did say that “we’re looking at opening talks” on the Willamette. What about putting electrical lines underground? Do you know the resources in your neighborhood — who has a chainsaw, for instance? This was a valuable meeting with huge questions.

A key dirty word in the 2020 elections seems to be “socialist.” Cozy fundraising letters from Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham and the rest of their ilk, are mistakenly landing in the mailboxes of some Eugene lefties. The last one from Graham was about “Big Government Socialist Democrats,” “Socialist Welfare State,” and “…far-reaching, radical, destructive, Socialist path.” Buckle up, you scary Eugene socialists. November 2020 is not far away.

• We were having a gorgeous fall with multicolored leaves and blue skies, and then the air quality went bad in Eugene and Springfield. It’s a result of air stagnation, but it’s also a chilling (sneezing, coughing) reminder that the Trump administration has been rolling back environmental protections — most recently moving ahead with leaving the Paris Accords dealing with mitigating greenhouse gas emissions as well as adaptation and finance. Fires and floods from climate change are already horrendous, we don’t need bad air to be another part of our new normal. 

• Animal lovers at Eugene Weekly (that would basically be everyone) have been following the Creswell horse neglect case with horror. Sixty-one horses have been seized, and multiple dead horses have been found on the property. As felony charges are pending, we have more questions than answers: Why did Lane County take so long to step in? Why didn’t the owners — who are now suddenly concerned with the welfare of the animals and filing suit to get them back — do something? What can we as a community do to stop this from happening in the future? One thing that can be done is prosecute severe neglect as a criminal charge, something Lane County is doing in this case but rarely has before.