Local Elections, Local Voices

Writers from Eugene, Springfield and Vida weigh in on 4J, Eugene City Council and the Lane Community College Board


4J Board

Jenny Jonak is running for a seat on the 4J School Board. I know Jonak, and took a look at her website. Imagine my surprise to see she is endorsed by both former mayor (and former president of the 4J School Board) Jim Torrey, a Republican, and former Mayor Kitty Piercy, a Democrat. She is also endorsed by the current mayor. I have never seen that before in a Eugene election.

I carefully read her campaign statement. It reads like none I have ever read. Jonak tells me she crafted it herself, and did not let it be edited or enhanced by the campaign crew. “People can vote for me or not.”

Jonak has three grade school-age kids. What a sincere pleasure it is to interact with them, around books. How they help their mom carry the stacks of books out to the car is good reason to be around books.

Jonak also planted 4,000 bulbs on their family property as a healthy workout in the morning. At the moment she is inundated with thousands of perfect blooms. She can’t give them away quick enough, so has been bringing a dozen gorgeous bouquets by the bookstore every day, for us to distribute. The Winston Churchill narcissus are particularly poignant.

I gave one bouquet to an elder. She told me it was the anniversary of the death of her mother, who died many years ago. It was a most meaningful moment for her, as it was for everyone present.

It will be a most meaningful moment when Jonak is elected to the Eugene 4J School Board.

Scott Landfield
Tsunami Books


In his first term, Gordon Lafer has demonstrated the ability to partner with a range of 4J stakeholders to create positive change for our students: elementary and middle-school librarians in lower-resourced schools, elevating the voices of 4J employees, and the creation of a construction education program. In his second term he will work to lobby Salem to fund schools at the levels that our community’s children deserve. This kind of change demands the commitment and hard work that Lafer will put in. Vote Gordon Lafer for 4J School Board.

David Wacks
Katharine Gallagher


As a retired District 4J teacher, I am so glad that Gordon Lafer is running once again for the school board. I loved being a teacher. I loved my students, and I took great pleasure in our journey of learning together. I have been saddened to see the way that education has changed in 4J over the past decade: Excessive testing, curriculum narrowing, the ignoring of the best of early child development practices, a top-down district approach and the marginalizing of teacher creativity and innovation.

I respect Lafer’s brave, pragmatic and effective leadership in trying to restore 4J to a district where students are engaged in their learning, where teachers are respected, and where the joy of learning is returned to its proper place. Thank you, Gordon, for your leadership and vision.

Katherine Gorham


Having served on the 4J School Board for 12 years, I’ve never lost interest in 4J or concern for its policy makers. I’m pleased that I can enthusiastically endorse four candidates for the 4J School Board to be elected in May. They each bring the qualities I’ve always felt best serve the 4J community: curiosity, open mind, good listener, and commitment to put in the time to explore the first three.

I am supporting Tom DiLiberto, position 1; Gordon Lafer, position 4; Jenny Jonak, position 5; and Morgan Munro, position 7.

Each of these candidates brings collaborative skills, experience in problem-solving and commitment to their collaborative partners. I’ve heard them speak, more than once, and was impressed with the compassion of spirit and openness of mind that each of these four demonstrated. They recognize that, with the exception of Lafer, they are not experienced board members and, thus, have a lot to learn. That’s true and important to be humble enough to admit it.

DiLiberto brings the perspective of having actually been a classroom teacher. It’s a perspective that is critical to the work charged to the board and too often not heard.

There isn’t space to speak about each of my favorite candidates but I hope I’ve piqued your interest to explore them more for yourself. Please be informed and vote. Onward!

Jay Moseley

City Council Ward 7


For most of my life, I’ve been involved in family and community work, rather than politics. But over the past several years, I realized that who represents voters on Eugene’s City Council can have major impacts on my community.

When I noticed that the two individuals who announced their candidacies for Ward 7 councilor had lived in our ward for only a little over a year, I was concerned. When it became clear that outside political and business groups were heavily financing both candidates, I decided to offer an alternative. Our elected representative shouldn’t be bought by any organizations or businesses. What can I offer? Simply this — I’m not beholden to any outside interest, and I’m committed to representing the folks I’ve lived beside for decades.

I know there are strong differences of opinion among our community members. But I trust Ward 7 voters to make decisions in an open, democratic way — as long as we have a councilor who listens to all of us as she decides how to vote on critical issues.

 I have the experience and judgment to serve as an effective councilor. Having been a teacher, I’ve worked with families of many backgrounds and interests. You don’t succeed in that profession without learning how to work with people. I’ve also been in the halls of Eugene city government; for example, in my work with the Public Works Department to initiate the study of a “Quiet Zone.”

Ward 7 voters have a choice in this election.

Janet Ayres
Candidate for Ward 7 Eugene City Councilor

Lane Community College Board of Directors


Bob Baldwin is the most qualified candidate to vote for in Lane Community College’s Board of Education Position 6. Baldwin was a graduate of LCC in 1984, and has worked at LCC for the past 25 years in a variety of roles. He was LCC’s purchasing coordinator, president of the classified staff union, and a part-time faculty member. Baldwin has attended hundreds of LCC board meetings and has clocked thousands of hours over his 25-year career working with LCC administration, unions, and various committees. Simply put, Baldwin has put in the necessary work to understand how LCC operates and what will be required for our community college to thrive and truly work for everyone.

Meanwhile, his opponent, Kevin Alltucker, has zero experience working at LCC. Alltucker’s campaign is bankrolled by private interests and big business, which has no place in our public learning institutions. Alltucker’s campaign also touts “Access For All.” But let’s not forget Alltucker designed the Community Safety Initiative Payroll Tax. This wage tax currently pumps millions of dollars each year into the Eugene Police Department, so it’s no surprise the police endorse Alltucker. Don’t let Alltucker fool you. Our community doesn’t need more cops with guns on campus

Baldwin, by comparison, is accepting no big-business donations or endorsements from cops. Bob Baldwin is a pure LCC candidate with the experience and endorsements from unions and educators to back him up. Baldwin for LCC Position 6.

Patricia Burbaum


I am writing this letter to support Zach Mulholland for Lane Community College Zone 2.

Having gone to community college, he understands the importance of affordable education and has the acumen to tackle budgetary challenges we face. With a proposed underfunding of community colleges from the state budget, we essentially will have to do more with even less. While maintaining affordable higher education in a world where everything has increased in price. And we need skilled board members to strategically and thoughtfully forge a path for our community college in this post pandemic world.

Mulholland has been involved in numerous successful campaigns including making his community college the first in the nation to purchase 100 percent renewable electricity. We have climate goals at LCC, and recently passed an associates in Energy Management program. Whose starting wage is up to $60,000 a year. Mulholland’s background and knowledge will add to the conversations we need to have about climate. Climate justice depends on higher education training the next generation of green jobs and institutions having a direct impact on greenhouse gas reduction in our community.

Former student advocates make great board members. Mulholland has the support of the classified professionals, faculty, former and current board members of Lane Community College. And as a board member, I am proud to endorse Mulholland and ask Lane County voters to elect him.

Austin Folnagy

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