Here at Eugene Weekly, we love our letter writers, but with COVID still hurting our advertisers — and thus our page count — we can’t fit all the letters fit to print in print. Here are online extra letters, focusing on the May 17 primary election.
TOBIAS READ OVERSAW OREGON’S INVESTMENT IN SPY COMPANY
Many Oregonians have probably heard of NSO Group, the Israeli company whose product, Pegasus spyware, has been used globally to hack into the cellphones of journalists, activists, diplomats and heads of state. But how many know that Oregon’s employee pension fund is NSO’s largest indirect investor, following the 2017 decision by the Oregon Investment Council to approve a $233 million investment in the company?
It has already been well documented that NSO provides surveillance technology that enables grave human rights abuses around the world. Last year the Biden administration placed the spyware company on a U.S. blacklist, citing its provision of spyware technology to authoritarian regimes for “transnational repression.” As a result, U.S. businesses are prohibited from doing business with NSO. At the same time, the credit rating agency Moody’s has warned that NSO was at risk of defaulting on about $500 million in debt, which would force the group into insolvency.
Considering the widespread acknowledgment, including by our federal government, of this company’s complicity in human rights abuses, what is Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read’s justification for continuing a relationship with NSO? The Oregon State Treasury has released statements, including that they are “deeply disturbed by reports about developments concerning NSO Group,” but why hasn’t Read terminated this partnership? Though Read may be busy campaigning for governor, still, as Oregon’s State treasurer, the buck stops with him.
KOTEK FOR OREGON’S ENVIRONMENT
As a student at the University of Oregon and an inhabitant of this beautiful state, I believe we must protect the natural environment, including the many gifts it has given us. I spend much of my free time outdoors because nature provides me with mental clarity and physical benefits. I am extremely grateful not only for Oregon’s beautiful environment but also Oregonians’ strong efforts to maintain a healthy relationship with and to protect our planet.
Seeing the worsening effects of climate change combined with our lack of action as a global society against it, I have become increasingly worried about the future of our great state. The recent summer fires are going to continue and worsen if we do not carry on with our statewide attitude of being fierce climate champions. Our attitude has defined the state of Oregon and Oregonians for quite some time. We must keep it this way. Oregon is a national leader when it comes to green energy, conservation and ecological awareness.
If we do not elect Tina Kotek as our Democratic representative in the race for governor then there is a threat for all of our monumental progress to be erased. Kotek is the only candidate prioritizing climate action. In 2021, she championed the 100 percent Clean Energy for All bill, which sets us on a path to 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. I’m voting for Kotek to be our next governor because she is a climate champion and the right person to lead Oregon.
HOYLE FOR CONGRESS
While I’m sad to see Rep. Peter DeFazio hang up his spurs, I’m excited that Val Hoyle might represent our district in Congress.
That’s why I was so disappointed to see the negative ads from Doyle Canning’s campaign. As a desperate last-minute move, Canning is taking one more shot at Hoyle’s support long ago for the defunct Jordan Cove natural gas project, falsely implying that it’s what she stands for now. While I agree that the pipeline was a terrible idea and deserved its fate, Hoyle has committed to not supporting any new fossil fuel projects and is taking no money from the fossil fuel industry. That’s important context for voters to know.
Hoyle is also the only candidate in this race with a record of passing legislation supporting our climate. In the legislature, she led the charge to establish Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program and supported the bill to make Oregon the first state in the country to ban coal power and strengthen our Renewable Portfolio Standard to require utilities to source more clean electricity.
Like many elected officials whose background is fighting for working families, Hoyle’s position on climate issues has gotten stronger in recent years as we’ve all learned more about the urgency of the climate crisis and the promise of a renewable energy future. I’m glad she’s willing to listen and learn and evolve on important issues, something I wish more politicians would do. She’s got my vote.
CANNING CAN KEEP CD4 DEMOCRATIC
As a two-term Oregon Secretary of State and 15-year state legislator from the southern Oregon coast, I know what it takes to win competitive elections in a tough year: It takes a fighter, a leader, an authentic voice for Democrats with the charisma to inspire and the grit to campaign relentlessly up and down this district; a candidate who out-of-state billionaires don’t buy. That’s why Democrat Doyle Canning is our best candidate for beating Republican Alek Skarlatos this fall.
One of her competitors, Val Hoyle, took over $10,000 from Jordan Cove, a foreign-owned corporation. It wanted to build a 280-mile gas pipeline across Coos and Douglas Counties using eminent domain to take private land and damage Oregon’s clean air and water. Now Hoyle is being promoted by a billionaire with a dark money Super PAC Web3 Forward to pay for advertisements on TV.
Canning is campaigning in every county and has the support of grassroots progressive groups and local elected leaders all over the district. Canning has standing-room-only events in Roseburg barns, Port Orford living rooms and Eugene backyards. She takes no funds from the fossil fuel industry, Big Pharma or any corporate lobbyists and will clearly represent you and me.
Due to redistricting, CD 4 has picked up Democratic stronghold coastal Lincoln County and shed traditionally Republican turf in Josephine and southern Douglas counties. There is now a 9-point advantage for Democrats, but we can’t take anything for granted. We need a strong candidate that is an authentic leader, and that’s Doyle Canning.
CANNING FOR CONGRESS
I attended a Doyle Canning for Congress open house in our neighborhood in south Eugene. I was very impressed by the many questions asked by the attendees on the critical issues we face as a community, as a state, and as a nation. Doyle’s answers were equally thoughtful. She did not dodge a single one of these questions.
Doyle seems to have a thorough understanding on the issues — homelessness, climate change, healthcare and cost of living for seniors, and freedom of choice for women, to mention a few. We need a leader who will represent us in Congress. We don’t need the status quo where the representatives do the bidding for big oil, for big Pharma and for the ultra rich. She is not being supported by dark money or big business. As a University of Oregon Law School graduate, as a community organizer, as a mother of two children, she will represent us — the common citizens of District 4. I felt like she is committed to representing our needs and so she deserves our vote in the May 17 primary.
DON’T PUT A BIGOT ON THE COURT OF APPEALS
The contested election for Oregon’s Court of Appeals, Position 3, deserves our attention. The challenger to incumbent Darleen Ortega is a former Marion County circuit judge named Vance Day. As a judge, Day refused to officiate at same-sex marriages, even after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause applies to same-sex couples who are seeking to marry.
So we now have a religious bigot who failed to carry out his duty to practice in accordance with the law seeking election to our state’s Court of Appeals. Ortega must be re-elected.
DAWN LESLEY FOR LANE COUNTY COMMISSION
I am writing to urge my fellow West Lane County residents to vote for Dawn Lesley as our next County Commissioner. Lesley has a well thought out agenda that aims to correct problems and create a better future for our children and grandchildren. Her goal is to reach across the divides of current politics and bring our communities together to get the work done. Her agenda includes disaster preparedness, access to broadband internet, affordable housing, reduction of fossil fuel dependence, protection of agricultural lands from development and improvement of water quality.
Lesley’s opponent, Ryan Ceniga, has a focus on timber extraction, and when asked in a recent candidate forum to comment on climate change, he admitted that the climate seems to be warming, but declined to draw a connection between global warming and human activity.
Need I say more?
Through the uncertainty of the last few years, including COVID and wildfires, Commissioner Joe Berney has been a steady, pragmatic leader that continues to get things done for Springfield, and all of Lane County. Berney believes that no one should have to live paycheck to paycheck. That’s why he created, and passed at the state and county level, a community benefits agreement that makes sure that when public agencies contract for work, they hire local and provide good wages and full-family healthcare.
Treating people fairly and putting values into action is what Berney is all about, and he has my vote to remain the Lane County Commissioner for Springfield. Berney is an open and engaging individual. I have had various people who have met and worked with him remark to me how refreshing and easy he is to work with. Berney cares deeply about all of us.
Sally J. Storm
MOLINA CAN BEST SERVE SPRINGFIELD
Please join me in voting for Mark Molina for Springfield City Council. His volunteer work for Springfield City Club, the city of Springfield and Willamalane Budget Committees, Red Cross and other local charities and boards demonstrates his commitment to our community. He listens to citizens and will act with the best interests of all Springfield residents. He is a U.S. Army veteran, and this group needs representation on our council.
His opponent has demonstrated some skills in government but does not bring the same depth of service, dedication and engagement as Molina. She is an employee of the city of Eugene working with land development interests. How can she serve the citizens of Springfield, whose interests are often in conflict with Eugene’s?
Given her relationship with land developers, how can she participate in discussions and decisions relating to these developers and construction companies that don’t present a potential conflict of interest? Will she continually recuse herself from these discussions and decisions, or will the citizens be expected to believe that she is truly unbiased either for or against applicants?
Molina is by far the best choice. We can be sure that he operates with the best interests of Springfield families.