The March 17 program on “The Innocence Project” at the City Club of Eugene should have dispelled forever any support for capital punishment among the people who attended or listened on KLCC. So many men and women are wrongfully convicted, and only through the work of folks like the Innocence Project are they finally released. We’re glad that Gov. Tina Kotek has continued the moratorium on executions begun by her predecessors in the governor’s office, John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown. Don’t miss this week’s meeting with the two candidates running for the Ward 7 Eugene City Council seat, Lyndsie Leech and Barbie Walker, noon Friday, March 24 in the Maple Room, Inn at the 5th.
• Usually we are excited to see so many local candidates in the race for school board elections in May. This year we are curious as to just how many of them are running because they want to attack public education. Nine candidates are running for four board positions in Eugene School District 4J, whose board has had sparks over issues of transparency, racism and more recently health education. Public education is one of the most important issues in this cranky country, and we must carefully watch where these candidates want to take it. EW will be interviewing and endorsing. Head over to LaneCounty.org/elections to check out school board candidates across the county — we hear the Siuslaw and Fern Ridge races are getting very political.
• We can’t imagine you haven’t been following the Churchill High School sex ed assignment controversy. We have, and our first thought is: Always question the screen shot. Like memes, when something seems obvious, it’s probably wrong, and in this case it’s a chance for ultra-right conservatives to attack sex education. Check out the reporting by local alt media site DoubleSided Media, which actually reached out to the folks behind the Our Whole Lives curriculum to verify if the sexual fantasy was indeed an assignment. OWL responded, “The assignment in question was an unauthorized, out-of-context adaptation of a facilitated group activity in Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education for Grades 10-12, 1st ed., which is out of print.” Read the full story at DoubleSidedMedia.com.
• For the most part, The New York Times only seems to notice the University of Oregon for its athletic accomplishments. But we were impressed to see an interview March 20 with the UO’s department of philosophy chair Colin Koopman. Koopman spoke about how our data exists in the internet world and how inequality arises from the interpretation of this information that represents us, from credit scores to social media. We enjoyed his 2019 book How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person, and we’re looking forward to his upcoming book Data Equals.
• The Weekly loves our readers, and we’ve been enjoying the dialogue with the folks who get our EW Extra and Local and Vocal newsletters. Last week, one reader told us what’s on his mind is Eugene Police Department’s use of an F150 pickup truck on the Riverbank Path. He said while the officer did politely pull the gas-guzzler over to let him pass, doing so left a rut in the grass. He wanted to know why EPD doesn’t use a more appropriate vehicle, writing, “It would seem that motorcycles, scooters, ebikes, even an Arcimoto FUV, would be way more acceptable in a pedestrian trail.” EPD tells us the trucks are used for the many tasks of parks officers, “including transporting equipment and people, including people in custody,” and that “occasionally the officers need to access areas that are not generally accessible by roads, using the bike path. When they do this, they drive with due regard for the safety of others using the path.”
• March Madness is in full swing, and if your NCAA Men’s Tournament bracket is in tatters, we understand (special thanks to Creighton, Princeton and Florida Atlantic University for that). Yet Lane Community College can claim a title. The Titans’ women’s basketball team March 19 handily defeated Green River College to win the Northwest Athletic Conference trophy and finish 32-1 on the year. And while the University of Oregon’s men’s team was eliminated March 21 from the National Invitational Tournament, the women’s team is still in the hunt for its NIT title.