• Live streams, like those of the Boop Troop and Tre Stewart, the subject of this week’s cover feature, have brought up so many complex questions during the Black Lives Matter-related protests that have been ongoing since George Floyd was killed in late May. It was the long and deeply disturbing video of Floyd’s torture and murder by the police that brought the BLM movement to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic. So who is the media? What should be documented? Can people of color stay safe from the police as they protest if they are videoed? At the same time, the current masking requirement is kind of helpful in terms of personal privacy. And if the media, live streamers and photographers don’t document what goes on at rallies and protests, then does that mean the narrative lies in the words of law enforcement and what they release to the public? One thing is for sure: No real media would open-carry a gun to a protest as did one man at the “No Feds No Fascists” protest on July 26 here in Eugene. The media might be biased, the media might be wrong sometimes, but at Eugene Weekly we don’t hide our biases, and we correct our errors. The media might find ourselves in the line of fire while reporting on a story, but we fire back with our words and our photos, never with a gun.
• On Monday, July 27, the Eugene City Council finally took action on whether STAR voting could be referred to the November ballot after delaying the issue for weeks. STAR voting supporters had collected signatures to put the “score then automatic runoff” election alternative on the ballot, but the election office struck out several signatures, saying they didn’t resemble what it had on record. The city councilors were tied in their vote (with councilors Emily Semple, Greg Evans, Mike Clark and Betty Taylor in favor of referring), so Mayor Lucy Vinis broke the tie, voting against the referral. It’s too bad Vinis and the rest of the councilors don’t believe Eugene voters are capable of making their own decisions — STAR would’ve been great in the crowded mayoral 2020 primary race.
• What can I do? If you can’t protest on our streets, but want to affect the world come November, go to Mobilize.us to find out where you can phonebank or write letters or work for the candidates who will make a difference. You also can go to websites of specific candidates you are willing to give some time. There are fewer than 100 days before Nov. 3.
• Eugene Police Auditor Mark Gissiner tossed out the most provocative proposal to come out of the City Club of Eugene forum July 24 on “Accountability and Transparency in Local Law Enforcement.” Auditor since 2009, Gissiner’s career has deftly woven its way through police accountability. Now he says that we should “re-engineer police departments.” What does that mean? Police should be more like social workers? More funding and use of CAHOOTS? More use of film? Less use of a military model? We’d love more detail, as well as more female and gender-nonbinary voices on the topic of policing out there — the City Club forum was fascinating, but we know there are women in the police force, and we have been told they are rarely the subject of citizen complaints.
• We love our letters to the editor. We also get a weird enjoyment out of the hate mail the writers don’t want published. We are still not entirely sure what about our recent Local and Vocal opinion issue got a reader calling our editor “nasty. nasty. nasty.” But it wasn’t just the editor — the writer also told us to “all go rot in hell.” Was it the first Black Girl From Eugene column? The restaurant suggesting Tuesday date night? Maybe the retired judge denouncing Trump? Speaking of denouncing Trump, another reader is super unthrilled by Eugene Weekly’s anti-Trump tendencies (apparently no one told them we are the liberal rag) and calls to defund the police. They informed us they will no longer read us and just use EW to start campfires. Valid, but hey, they’re still picking us up. We bet they still at least try the soduko before lighting the match.
• The arts keep us going through hard times. When former dancer Eunice Scruggs turned 100 earlier this month, her grandson asked Eugene Ballet, whose season has been curtailed by the pandemic, if she might be able to connect with one of their dance classes on Zoom. The ballet did so much more: Four dancers, beautifully costumed and properly masked, showed up in front of Scruggs’ Eugene home, presented her with a birthday card and did a surprise sidewalk performance in her honor. Scruggs, who performed in London during World War II, was “thrilled,” a friend reports.
Corrections/Clarifications: EW incorrectly reported the number of acres Seneca timber company could have access to in the Pedal Power timber sale (“Pedaling Along” 07/23). Seneca was the only bidder for the 109 acres of federal timber on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.