If you like to watch Rick Steves on OPB Saturday nights as we do, you probably were surprised, as we were, when he devoted an entire half-hour segment on Jan. 8 to the rise of Adolf Hitler and fascism in Germany. That was quite a switch from his usual cheerful travel talks. A cautionary tale, perhaps.
• Speaking of what we’re watching: Check out Gentefied on Netflix. The series follows three cousins and their grandfather, Casimiro “Pop” Morales, as they struggle to keep open the family’s taqueria in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, and keep the feds from deporting Pop. The dramedy is in English and Spanish, and our one pet peeve is that the creative and prolific use of curses in Spanish is not that well reflected in the English subtitles. The show’s co-creators, Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, are first generation Chicanos, and the writing and storyline reflects that, making the two-season series about the Morales family sadly realistic while fun and wonderful.
• Big changes are ahead for leadership of the Oregon Legislature. House Speaker Tina Kotek is resigning from the Legislature to run for governor. We hear the names being tossed around to fill that speaker position are, possibly, local Rep. Julie Fahey, and more firmly, Reps. Janelle Bynum and Dan Rayfield. Kotek steps down Jan. 21 as the longest-tenured speaker in Oregon legislative history. Senate President Peter Courtney has announced that he will not run again. Maybe our own Sen. Floyd Prozanski could move into the powerful Senate president spot? We’ll see.
• University of Oregon President Michael Schill will discuss “Lessons from the Pandemic: UO’s Impact on the Next Normal” at noon Friday, Jan. 14, at the City Club of Eugene’s weekly forum at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. Proof of vaccination and booster required; mask must be worn to attend in person. No lunch provided and seating is limited. You can also participate virtually: Go to CityClubofEugene.org to sign up to ask a question via Zoom and City Club’s Facebook page to watch the live stream. Schill will give an update on the UO where in-person instruction and activities successfully resumed this fall.
• Follow the money: Nicholas Kristof has collected $2.5 million for his gubernatorial campaign, which is now on hold after Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan ruled Jan. 6 that he doesn’t meet the state Constitution’s three-year residency requirement for office. While the state Supreme Court considers his lawsuit seeking to be allowed to run, even though he voted as a New Yorker in 2020, we’ve been wondering what he might do with all that money should he lose in court. Kristof has made his reputation by writing about the poor and oppressed around the world. What if he donated all $2.5 million to an Oregon charity helping the homeless? St. Vincent de Paul comes to mind, though many others also deserve help. That would be a more graceful move than his insistence that Fagan’s common-sense decision was politically motivated.
• If you’re looking for ways to remember Betty White that go past rewatching Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, consider joining the Betty White Challenge, a call for people to donate to animal shelters on her birthday, Jan. 17. Lane County has several to choose from: Greenhill Humane Society, Northwest Dog Project, SARA’s Treasures and Oregon Coast Humane Society in Florence — to name a few.
• The holidays are over but the cold weather is not. Thank you to all the folks who have dropped off warm clothing, gloves, tarps, tents and anything else our unhoused neighbors need to stay dry and warm. Our third pickup truck load of items for White Bird Clinic’s “Drive to Stay Warm” is about to get taken directly to those who need it by White Bird. We are still accepting donations at Eugene Weekly’s 1251 Lincoln Street office. Thank you, to all you wonderful community members who have dropped off items!