Alan Pittman is the News Editor for Eugene Weekly.
News of a whale washing up on the beach at Devil's Elbow has given the media an excuse to talk about video of ODOT mistakenly blowing up a previous whale. So...here's the old video, seen 1.3 million times on YouTube:
Now, if only the brilliant engineers at ODOT could learn from their other stinking mistakes and take a new approach to global warming.
The Eugene City Council voted unanimously to consider delaying the imposition of pending street assessments to look for a fairer way to finance the projects.
The Eugene City Council voted unanimously to send the recommendations of a subcommittee on the Police Auditor to a public hearing.
The Eugene City Council voted 6-1 tonight to give WG development another six months to commit to a project to fill the pit across from the downtown library with a office and retail project.
The council rejected a recommendation by City Manager Jon Ruiz to instead pursue a student housing project proposed for the site by Opus development.
While students at the UO Emerald appear to have ended their strike and are working on resolving differences with the board, the newspaper, like many today, still faces big financial hurdles.
Thatâ€™s clear from a look at the non-profit paperâ€™s tax forms, which are public documents by law. The most recent return available, for the year ending June 30, 2007, shows:
- The Emerald had $917,231 in revenue on $965,142 in expenses for a deficit of $47,911 (p. 1). A tax return from two years earlier (2005) shows a $34,457 deficit with revenue of $907,954.
- The paper had $115,822 in cash and $586,840 in stock after covering its 2007 deficit (p. 4). That stock endowment may have fallen dramatically this year.
- The previous general manager had a salary of $65,000 plus about $8,693 in benefits in 2007 (p. 27).
- The paper paid about 75 students a total of $843,060 in 2007 (p. 3).
Hereâ€™s a look at the 2007 Emerald tax document:
UO Emerald Taxes 2007
Eugene Police say they cited three adults and four juveniles for drug possession and/or sales at Sheldon High School today.
Police cited Matthew Pankey, 24, Christopher Pankey, 21, and Daniel Grossman, 23, for alleged possession and or delivery of marijuana, meth, and/or cocaine, according to an EPD press release. The police alleged they found less than 40 grams of the drugs in their vehicle. Police took Matthew Pankey to jail and cited and released the other two.
Police also cited a 15-year-old for alleged possession and delivery of marijuana and cited three Sheldon students for purchasing pot.
According to police, the 15-year old alleged he had been asked to sell pot by Matthew Pankey. When Pankey showed up at Ronâ€™s Grill across from the high school during the lunch hour, the juvenile believed he was there to collect money from the pot sales and called his mother, according to police. The mother arrived and she and the three adults got into a dispute, according to EPD. Someone called the police, and they responded.
In 2007 64 percent of Eugene voters defeated a city scheme to use the state's "urban renewal" law to divert $40 million from school and government services and taxpayers to subsidize parking garages and other hand outs for chain-store developers downtown.
Now, the state Legislature is considering a bill to limit Portland's ability to use the tax diversion financing, Willamette Week reports.
Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen told WW he objects to a Portland idea to spend up to $40 million in urban renewal to subsidize a private developer's major league soccer project. "The city is talking about taking money from school kids and the poor to fund a soccer stadium."
Portland Democrat Nick Kahl has proposed a bill that would require Portland to get county approval for the tax diversion and allow urban renewal money to be spent on social services like helping the homeless.
The bill apparently wouldn't apply to Eugene. But it could be amended. Using urban renewal for the Eugene public library has been popular with voters here. But diverting school and social service money to destroy historic buildings and trees to build ugly parking garages for developers has not. In 2007 local Rep. Paul Holvey and County Commissioner Peter Sorenson said they were interested in legislative reform.
Statewide a total of about $165 million a year in tax money is diverted for "urban renewal." That diversion is now occurring at a time when schools are cutting instruction days and/or increasing class sizes and state and local governments are complaining they lack funding for basic safety and social services.
Is rat shit organic food?
According to the USDA, it may be. The New York Times reports:
clipped from www.nytimes.com
Texas officials last month fired a state worker who served as a certifier because a plant owned by the Peanut Corporation of America â€” the company at the center of the salmonella outbreak â€” was allowed to keep its organic certification although it did not have a state health certificate.
A private certifier took nearly seven months to recommend that the U.S.D.A. revoke the organic certification of the peanut companyâ€™s Georgia plant, and then did so only after the company was in the thick of a massive food recall.
Despite supposedly heavier inspections by USDA, the Peanut Corporation of America's salmonella products contaminated the nation's organic food supply prompting large numbers of recalls. Local company Golden Temple recalled more than 15,000 of its Wha Guru Chew Peanut Cashew bars. GloryBee also recalled a number of organic peanut products.
To remind its organic inspectors that rat shit isn't in fact organic food, the USDA sent out a memo the NYT quoted:
clipped from www.nytimes.com
â€œFor example, while we do not expect organic inspectors to be able to detect salmonella or other pathogens,â€ Ms. Robinson wrote, â€œtheir potential sources should be obvious from such evidence as bird, rodent and other animal feces or other pest infestations.â€