Our heroes can have feet of clay. Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted out a link to coverage of the 2003 rape allegation against Kobe Bryant after the death of the future Hall of Fame basketball player, his daughter and others in a helicopter crash Jan. 26. Sonmez, herself a sexual assault survivor, was then viciously attacked on social media. Her boss, famed editor Marty Baron, sent her a note saying, “A real lack of judgment to tweet this. Please stop. You’re hurting this institution by doing this.” Sonmez, who also tweeted a screenshot of the threats from sports fans in her inbox, was then briefly placed on leave. A news organization and a news reporter’s job is to seek and tell the truth, even when it’s hard to hear. 

• Gov. Kate Brown spoke at a special City Club of Eugene meeting about the upcoming legislative short session. One of the issues she brought up was climate change, which she said is the “issue of our time.” The state needs science-based cap and trade legislation, she said, and what lawmakers are drafting right now would take into consideration rural Oregonians who need time to adjust to increased costs of fuel. Asked about the Jordan Cove LNG project, Brown maintained her neutral stance. Her speech was brief, and she kept saying it was so people could run home and watch the women’s basketball Civil War. Eugene Weekly had arranged for a post-event interview with Brown, but she left in a hurry. Maybe she’s a basketball fan, but not all our readers make it to City Club.

• Besides offering an upbeat program in a downbeat time, the City Club of Eugene put out some provocative ideas on Jan. 24 as part of its “super week,” when Diane Retallack, Sabrina Madison-Cannon and Francesco Lecce-Chong talked about the concert music scene in Eugene. Retallack, artistic director of the Eugene concert choir, wondered about transforming the EWEB building into a concert hall.  She said we need a concert hall seating about 1,500 people. Lecce-Chong, music director and conductor of the Eugene symphony, talked about his goal “to put music back in the schools.” Madison-Cannon, dean of the UO School of Music and Dance, mentioned developing a masters degree in music therapy at the UO.

Eugene Weekly Calendar Editor Dan Buckwalter has added an Oregon sports section at the end of the regular calendar telling you all you really need to know: the schedules in the coming week of the University of Oregon’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. What better escape, two hours at a time, than to see some of the best college basketball in the country?

• After meeting for an hour with Congressman Peter DeFazio and two staff members in our office, we were reminded again of the urgency of changing the majority in the U. S. Senate. As chair of the House transportation and infrastructure committee, DeFazio could move on countless measures to deal with the climate crisis if the Senate would not block. It’s possible to have a Democratic majority, but November 2020 is a long ways away.