Web Letters – Election Edition II


Ward 1 constituents cannot improve upon Emily Semple’s representation on Eugene City Council. 

Semple has been strong in addressing downtown business concerns, advocating for the unhoused population, supporting sustainability efforts and endorsing environmental measures. 

Semple works hard in preparing for Council meetings  and respectfully engages with her colleagues. Let’s keep Semple in the position she competently serves as, Ward 1 City Councilor.

Deborah Noble



I’ve been a Ward 1 voter and member of the Jefferson Westside Neighbors for over 30 years. In this year’s primary, there’s no candidate that would serve Ward 1 voters better than the incumbent, Councilor Emily Semple.

I’ve watched Councilor Semple and candidates Eliza Kashinsky and Tim Morris in action, and Semple stands out as the thoughtful, experienced person who carries on the legacy of George Brown and Bonny Bettman, Ward 1’s capable past councilors. Semple knows her ward and trusts her constituents’ judgement and good faith. Semple is a strong progressive; however, she’s mindful that effective government actions arise from the citizens, not by top-down dictates stemming from an “I know best attitude.”

In contrast, I’ve heard Kashinsky repeatedly criticizing her own neighborhood organization and demanding that her self-righteous views prevail instead of welcoming her own neighbors’ participation in decision making. Kashinsky has been a disruptive and antagonistic presence in neighborhood meetings displaying contempt for those of us who have lived in, and fought for, our neighborhood over many years.

In my experience, Morris has done little to engage and understand the broader Ward 1 community. His involvement has been limited, and his positions appear to simply parrot Lane County Democratic Party’s out-of-touch dogma. Morris isn’t a strong supporter of Eugene’s neighborhood organizations, and he appears to favor the state imposing radical upzoning of Ward 1’s neighborhoods.

We’re fortunate to have a capable Ward 1 councilor in Semple, and no challenger comes close.

Janice Gotchall



When Lucy Vinis first ran for Mayor in 2016, I expected she would provide steady, insightful leadership for building the consensus to move Eugene forward. She has done that and more — including her current performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike the current occupant of the White House, Vinis’s style of leadership doesn’t focus attention on herself. Instead, she listens to the experts and those with varying viewpoints about the options for moving forward. Then she helps her fellow members of the City Council to come together and make the critical decisions that our city needs.

On the issues of housing, economic development, homelessness, climate change, public safety and the future of our downtown core, Eugene is making substantial progress. Much of that progress is due to Mayor Vinis’s leadership.

Long before the pandemic came to Oregon, Vinis saw the connection between public health and homelessness. Eugene, Springfield and Lane County previously had been considering public hand-washing stations, but Vinis’s leadership helped get them out quickly this spring to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We continue to need Mayor Vinis’s competence and vision for the future of this city.

Every voter should support the re-election of Vinis as mayor of Eugene.

David Fidanque



There are seven mayoral candidates: The incumbent, who claims to be progressive but who has consistently served the Chamber of Commerce, Realtors, and industry lobbyists with her lack of leadership, and who, after creating the disaster of Camp 99, opened discussion about the Park Blocks, City Hall, and an avenue that would lead to the RiverFront Development. And then six others: Robert Patterson, Thomas Hiura, Stacey Westover, Matthew Yook, Benjamin Ricker and Zondie Zinke.

In order for the incumbent not to get a free pass to November, she must get less than 50 percent of the vote. Vinis is well-funded. The alternative candidates are not. It is unlikely that all six together can get over 50 percent to force an election in November.  

Eugene must move from the right of center. It must end its elitism, the control of lobbyists and landowners on our policy. And that move needs to be more than empty campaign rhetoric. We must have a continued conversation till November. And that means not voting for the incumbent.

Yes, true, I hope the person who carries on will thoroughly vet city policy and the current lack of leadership. Because I live with her, I’m pretty sure that person should be Zinke. If you know her, you know what I’m talking about — integrity, heart and incisive intelligence.

But I back all the alternative candidates — because we need the conversation. The time to act is now. Join the candidate of your choice. Canvass. Make signs. Post and write. Vote alternative. Let’s have a mayoral election in November.

Otis Haschemeyer



City Councilor Emily Semple has long volunteered on the city Sustainability Commission, where as a commissioner I work with her. On environment and sustainability she has helped us get things done. Example: Semple called a work session, and helped the city pass a ban on cancer causing Styrofoam in Eugene fast food service  — something Portland had done in 1983! She led through to passage the recent Youth Led Climate Emergency city resolution.   

Councilor Semple has also proved her capability to work well with others on City Council and on the Budget Commission and Sustainability Commission. This year she has been chosen president of the city council.  

I often agree with progressive Semple on city issues. But when I don’t, I appreciate her willingness to speak directly to the issue. That is, her views are honest and caring.

Such a voice is important to retain on city council this May.

Ralph McDonald



The next few years will be challenging as Eugene works to recover from the COVID crisis even while also addressing our ongoing challenges of housing, homelessness and climate change. These times call for decisive, action-oriented leadership, and Eliza Kashinsky will bring that leadership to City Council.

Like many of us, Kashinsky has grown frustrated at watching city leaders endlessly discuss, study and plan to solve urgent problems, yet shy away from taking real, meaningful action. Kashinsky knows that a City Councilor is elected not just to talk about problems, but to solve them — and she’s clearly up to the task.

Kashinsky does her homework, learns quickly, listens to all sides, and finds solutions that everyone can live with—and then carefully evaluates the results to fix anything that isn’t working. This is how she has helped the staff at South Lane Mental Health respond to COVID 19 in her day job, and it’s how she will help bring Eugene together to solve problems in the difficult years ahead.

Elect Kashinsky to City Council in Ward One.

Sue Wolling



The voters in Eugene’s Ward 1 have an easy choice for City Council this May: Keep the experienced councilor you have! Emily Semple has proven herself to be a dedicated, hard-working and conscientious public servant who understands that serving well means staying approachable and open minded, doing your homework, listening to all constituents and asking the right questions. After four years on the job, Councilor Semple is deserving of a second term and is well-positioned to have even greater effectiveness in a second term.

The pandemic we are enduring has brought America’s deep faults and frailties into sharp focus. We are seeing more clearly the value of smart and caring leadership at every level. Semple has her priorities straight and has demonstrated a strong commitment to alleviating hardship, homelessness and environmental degradation. 

She has shown an understanding that top-down “trickle-down” policies, such as blanket up-zoning, will not bring the results we must achieve. Especially regarding the need for affordable housing and livable neighborhoods, misguided policies can easily make things worse. The burden of fixing poverty and its effects has to be shared equitably, not cast solely upon those inhabiting the next rung or two up the economic ladder. Emily Semple gets this and she is the city councilor I want to see in the Ward 1 seat as we emerge from this collective cocoon.

Pam Wooddell



I am supporting Randy Groves for the Eugene City Council because I know his proven leadership and experience are absolutely essential to be an effective member of the council. I am also supporting Groves because I know of his deep commitment to kids and youth in our community. As a member of the Eugene 4J School Board, I know it is important to bring this priority and perspective to the work of the council.

Groves cares about our community.  For over 36 years, as a member of the Eugene Fire Department, he served and protected the members of this community while putting his own health and safety on the line every day.

I have known Groves over 20 years, beginning when we were colleagues at the City of Eugene. In his role as the chief of the fire department, his work ethic, pragmatic principles, and level-headed leadership always impressed me.  I also know Groves as a parent of two outstanding 4J graduates; his daughter served as the student board member from Churchill High, and his son, coached by Groves, was an outstanding baseball player at Churchill. Groves has always supported and continues to seek more ways to be supportive of the youth in the community. Groves isn’t a politician, he is a father, a leader, a public servant who has had years of dedicated service to our community. Join me in supporting Groves for the Eugene City Council.

Mary Walston



I met Kate Davidson when she was Director of Lost Valley Educational Center. Both our families were home-schooling our kids. We worked together on the board of LEARN – Lane Education and Resource Network, a network of homeschoolers in rural Lane County. She brought creative ideas, passion, extraordinary energy and competence to this process. We became good friends. 

Davidson went on to become the main driver in the creation of a library out in Dexter — starting out with a trailer and moldy old paperbacks, she ultimately manifested a brand-new building with sparkling new resources for our underserved community. Her energy and hard work brought tax-supported library services to over 10,000 people in southern Lane County.

Davidson continued her journey of bettering our community by serving on various boards and city committees, volunteering in 4J, managing her consulting firm and pursuing a master’s degree in public policy. She recently worked for Sponsor’s Inc., where she recruited 80 volunteer mentors in less than a year. 

I’ve always been impressed with my friend’s ability to bring people together, and to lead with bold ideas.  I was pleased when she decided to run for City Council. I can think of no one better suited to the role of City Councilor for the progressive voices of Ward 2. I urge you to join me in voting for Davidson.

Keith Sheldon



Our upcoming May elections include a bond measure that would fund healthcare profession program expansion and other workforce training at Lane Community College. It’s critical that we vote yes and invest in this essential community resource.

Even now, in our state of emergency, LCC continues to train nurses and EMTs who are essential for pandemic response efforts. Bond funding would unlock matching funds from the state to build a new health professions building and expand these programs.

Once we start to relax the lockdown, LCC will be indispensable in getting folks back to work as our community’s affordable place to learn new skills. Bond funding would help update technical education and workforce retraining programs. I can speak firsthand to LCC preparing students well for the workforce — I just wrapped up summer internship hiring, and the best candidates I interviewed were all LCC grads.

It’s admittedly a tough time to make this ask of the community. That’s why the college will form a bond oversight committee, made up of community members, to ensure responsible stewardship of public funds. With this bond, general fund money could be spent elsewhere, helping reduce and postpone future tuition increases. Vote yes for LCC in May!

Aaron Shatzer



Last week, Register-Guard editors printed a puzzling endorsement for the upcoming primary between Doyle Canning and Rep. Peter DeFazio. They correctly point out that Canning is passionate about climate change, immigration and health care and that DeFazio is not.

They endorsed DeFazio anyway, citing his seniority and calling Canning an untested newcomer. In their argument, they admit that DeFazio is moderate by Oregon standards but progressive nationally. Their proof is that he was a cosponsor of the Green New Deal. Do they not know the GND was championed by a freshman representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an untested newcomer who unseated the fourth-most powerful-Democrat in the House? 

What good is seniority from moderate Democrats when they will leave it to freshmen progressives to do the actual leading anyway? On the very same day that the RG printed this dopey endorsement, 30 representatives signed a letter to FERC requesting a moratorium on approval and construction of oil and gas pipelines such as the Jordan Cove Project. The letter was penned by another untested newcomer, Ilhan Omar, and signed by all four freshmen representatives known as “The Squad.” DeFazio did not sign.

Right now, tens of millions of Americans are losing their jobs in a system where healthcare is tied to employment and leading polluters are taking advantage of relaxed regulations to shove pipelines down our throats. Despite what out of touch editors tell us, we need representatives that are passionate about health care and climate change, now more than ever. 

Colin Moran



By her service, Emily Semple has earned reelection as Ward 1 City Councilor. Eugene faces serious challenges, and now is not the time to gamble on a neophyte. We need a councilor with experience and a proven track record.

Councilor Semple deeply understands the voters of Ward 1. She has lived and raised her children in Ward 1 for 30 years. Semple is a small business owner, a former Slug Queen, a veteran of Occupy and a long-time community activist.

Semple has demonstrated the ability to work with city staff, community groups, local businesses, and other councilors to address our most pressing challenges. She was instrumental in providing increased funding for police and emergency responders; has helped improve downtown with more restrooms and year-around program funding; she ensured Saturday Market would remain during the Park Blocks renovation; introduced and passed city ordinances limiting disposable food packaging; and has advanced robust support for our unhoused community members as well as limiting impacts on residents and businesses.

Councilor Semple supports partnering with residents and developers to increase affordable housing. As an active member of the Jefferson Westside Neighbors, Semple has been a solid ally and dependable volunteer, literally willing to get her hands dirty, pulling weeds and spreading mulch at Monroe Park. Most recently Semple helped JWN volunteers produce 200 personal-sized bottles of hand sanitizer that were donated to residents of Cornerstone Community Housing.

Councilor Semple has the experience and track record to best serve Ward 1.

Ted M. Coopman

Chair, Jefferson Westside Neighbors Board 



After much consideration in the race for District Attorney, it is our belief that James Cleavenger would be the best choice. We have read letters and statements written by the current DA and they’re all the typical “I’ve been here many years, my opponent has not” babble. To us, that’s the main reason she should be replaced. Tunnel vision gets smaller when any person is in a position too long. It becomes less about what is good for the community and more about preserving the status quo. Cleavenger will breathe fresh air into a stale department.

I worked as a 911 dispatcher for several years and for a department that received “no file letters” from the current DA, who frequently chose not to file charges due to lack of funds or other excuses. We know the percentage of “no files” are much higher in rural communities, and Cleavenger is passionate about fixing this. He cares about people and has been an excellent police officer in several communities, as well as an experienced attorney. His Medal of Honor was well-deserved and heroic, but Cleavenger even does the little things, like digging folks out of their driveways during the 2019 Snowpocalypse.  

Although we’ll be sad when he leaves our community and police department when he wins, it is with pride and excitement that we endorse Cleavenger to become our new District Attorney

Help us change Lane County’s future.

Ken and Jan Hooker



Many of us remember the prologue to the popular drama Law & Order that states, “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

In real life, the District Attorney’s office has a profound impact on the safety and health of our community. For the past five years, Patty Perlow has served faithfully in the role of District Attorney, and she has earned my vote for re-election this May.

Perlow shows a strong commitment to reducing disparities and inequities caused by mass incarceration by using our treatment courts — Drug Court, Veterans Court and Mental Health Court — to give people experiencing addiction or mental health symptoms the opportunity to receive treatment instead of a prison sentence. 

In my career as a program director at Emergence Addiction and Behavioral Therapies, I work closely with the interdisciplinary treatment court team, which includes the District Attorney’s office. Every day I see our District Attorney looking out for the health and safety of both people involved in the justice system and the community at large. Every day I watch people in our treatment program change, grow and get their lives back on track.

DA Perlow is a true champion for giving people a second chance, and I am proud to vote for her on May 19.

Chris Wig