Did you hear that the Eugene Public Library is no longer charging late fees? It’s joined libraries across the nation removing barriers to using their services. Cards that were blocked because of overdue fines are again free to use, the library says. Books more than 30 days overdue will be marked as lost and accounts will be charged for their replacement. And as long as we are talking libraries, the free Libby app lets anyone with a library card check out books online as well as listen to audiobooks for free.
• WTF on the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade. Support the choices made by those of us with a uterus. Support Planned Parenthood and the doctors that provide abortions. Support the right to choose.
• National media tells us that school boards are in the frontline of conflict in America right now. Critical race theory, book banning, parental involvement and more are areas of misinformation and passionate disagreement. But here in Eugene’s District 4J, those are not the points of conflict. While there is a spectrum of progressive values on the board, we don’t know of anyone who wants to ban books or ban teaching about racism. But the board’s dysfunction delayed the search for a new superintendent. It will be interesting to see what effect newly appointed board members, Keerti Hasija Kauffman and Michelle Hsu, will have on the dynamic. And the superintendent search has now moved along. The four finalists are: Andy Dey, director of secondary education, Eugene School District 4J; Lin Johnson III, doctoral candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Iton Udosenata, assistant superintendent, Salem-Keizer Public Schools and former North Eugene High School principal; Cydney Vandercar, interim superintendent, Eugene School District 4J.
• On April 27, the Lane, Coos, Curry, Douglas Building Trades Council came together to honor Lane County Commissioner Joe Berney as its first-ever “Working Class Champion.” The collection of unions — whose member union groups include electrical workers, plumbers, carpenters and more — has wanted to issue this award but didn’t know who to begin with, Kail Zuschlag of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers says. “Now is the time because we haven’t had a champion like this before,” he adds. “Joe didn’t give us a choice. He’s the people’s champion. The worker’s champion.” Berney is facing challenger David Loveall in the May 17 primary election, and EW has endorsed Berney for the race. Visit EugeneWeekly.com to read the whole story.
• EW election correction and update: the union that represents Lane County workers, AFSCME, has endorsed both candidates for the Lane County assessor position, Faith Bowlsby and Mary Vuksich-Shafer. And on May 2, Democrat Jerry Rust announced that he would run as a write-in candidate for the Oregon House District 9 seat against Boomer Wright. That district represents portions of Coos, Douglas, Lane and Lincoln counties.
• Also on the election front, apparently Alek Skarlatos’ campaign has assigned a “tracker” to follow the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic primary in the 4th Congressional District, Val Hoyle. In an election season where even fellow Democratic candidates are snarkier than usual about their opponents, Hoyle’s campaign is taking the high road in dealing with someone basically assigned to trip Hoyle up and catch her saying things they can use against her. The campaign is posing #PicturesWithMyTracker as Hoyle takes a photo with him each time. She also greets the tracker and points him out when he shows up. American Rising Corp., a research and communications firm, hires trackers to film candidates at public events, among other things.
• We heard an astute observation on the ethics of imagery from a fellow reader of The Register-Guard. On Sunday, May 1, a front-page print edition story headlined “‘Dramatic’ Rise in Youth Gun Violence” was illustrated with a huge picture of a gun held by what could be a young hand. Do images like that bring on more youth gun violence by seeming to glorify it? It’s a good question for both journalists and readers to ponder.
• Republicans running for House Districts 12 and 14 will be in the candidate forum at the City Club of Eugene noon Friday, May 6, at the First United Methodist Church at 1376 Olive Street. KLCC News Director Rachel McDonald will moderate the forum. No lunch. If you can’t attend, you can watch the live stream or listen on KLCC Monday night at 7 pm.