Alan Pittman's blog
Local Congressman Peter DeFazio is a national leader of the progressive revolt on Capitol Hill against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.
He explained why on the House floor:
John McCain said the mistake in Vietnam was that the U.S. didn't go all out, invading and bombing north Vietnam. Historians say that could have lead to massive casualties and war with China's huge army.
A fellow Vietnam POW said McCain's an unstable hot head:
McCain has also said (joked?) he wants to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran:
McCain's VP choice Sarah Palin, an old heartbeat from the Presidency, implied the U.S. should go to war with Russia over tiny South Ossetia:
All of this has lead many to fear a McCain/Palin armageddon. But so far Obama has shied away from calls for tough ads on the issue. Here's the famous one that worked for Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War:
Another bicyclist has been struck by a car, this time he survived.
According to a police press release, Thea Peck, 36, was cited by police Monday, July 21 after she struck cyclist Daniel Rasmussen, 22, in a crosswalk near the 30th Ave. Albertsons, sending the biker to the hospital. EPD ticketed Peck for allegedly committing the violations of "Careless Driving" and "Passing a Stopped Vehicle at a Crosswalk."
Here's the EPD description of the 10:42 am accident:
"Investigating officers found that the bicyclist, Daniel Rasmussen, was crossing 30th Avenue southbound in a marked crosswalk on the west side of the intersection. Two drivers (one heading south on Alder Street, one heading east on 30th Avenue) stopped their vehicles to allow Rasmussen to cross. A third driver, Thea Peck, was eastbound on 30th Avenue in her silver Honda Odyssey, accelerating in the right-hand lane. She passed the stopped car in the left-hand lane, entered the crosswalk, and struck Rasmussen in the intersection."
Here's a Google Map of the intersection.
Last month a car struck and killed David Minor, 27, in front of Kinkos at 13th and Willamette. Police alleged that Minor turned in front of the car and did not cite the driver.
The Register-Guard plans to reduce its workforce by about 12 percent, or 30 positions.
In a statement on the R-G website, the paper's publisher Tony Baker blamed a downturn in the local economy and an increase in newsprint prices for the cuts.
R-G Newspaper Guild Co-President Randi Bjornstad, a reporter at the paper, said that Baker told a general staff meeting today that the paper would cut about 30 workers due to soft sales and circulation in the economic downturn.
Itâ€™s unclear if the R-Gâ€™s newsroom will be impacted by the reduction. The newsroom is already â€œleanâ€ with a few vacant positions left unfilled, Bjornstad said. â€œWe donâ€™t know.â€
Management expects about half the reduction will come from not filling vacant positions and buyouts and about half from actual layoffs, according to Bjornstad.
The R-G has about 20 news reporters, not including sports, and the Newspaper Guild represents about half of the about 260 employees at the newspaper, according to Bjornstad. The Guild contract specifies that involuntary layoffs are done by seniority, she said.
Bjornstad said Baker mentioned the recent 10 percent workforce cut at the McClatchy chain of 28 dailies in his announcement.
Many of the nationâ€™s newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post, have recently announced workforce cuts due to a decline in profits from the down economy and lost advertising to the internet.
â€œItâ€™s pretty much like everywhere else,â€ Bjornstad said.
Baker â€œexpects things to bounce back,â€ Bjornstad said. The paper has suffered similar cuts in the past, but not in at least a decade, she said. â€œItâ€™s been a long time.â€
Eugene's riverfront bike trails are one of the most popular things ever built in Eugene. Last Sunday saw a wide range of Eugeneans out enjoying the sunny weather and riverside parks. Thanks to a video camera strapped to the handlebars with an old inner tube and songs from Mal Webb and David Rovics, here's a quick tour:
Five developers or community groups have submitted proposals to fill the eyesore Sears pit and adjacent parking lot on the half block across from the downtown library.
The proposals to the city include a six-story student apartment building, a five story office/apartment mix, a green housing and transportation center, a hip hotel with 105-120 rooms and a community/art/housing center.
The Eugene Redevelopment Advisory Committee will review the proposals from 4:30 to 7 pm Thursday, June 19, at the Sloat Room in the Atrium Building downtown. The City Council plans to consider the proposals at a work session July 16. For the complete proposals, surf to the city website.
Hereâ€™s a rundown of the pit proposals:
â€¢ Opus â€” six-story student apartment building
The $40-million, 200,000 square-foot Opus project has 60 parking spaces embedded on the ground floor and a coffee shop with apartments for 472 students above. The developer says it will pay the city $482,360 for the half-block site. Opus wants the following city subsidies/actions: a 10-year property tax break, closing and selling a public alley, expedited permits, bulk leasing of 100 spaces in the Broadway Place Garage across the street, capping of permit and development fees at $100,000 and two reserved curbside spaces for ZipCars, a car sharing service.
Opus wrote that the project will â€œactivateâ€ the retail area downtown with new residents. The students will be â€œrelying heavily on bicycles and busses for their daily commuting.â€
Opus said a market study it commissioned and recent news stories show high demand for student housing in the area. Opus wants to start the project this year and finish it by the spring of 2010. â€œThe timing is critical.â€
Here's a look at the Opus ground floor, about half parking:
The ground-level of the west side of the Opus apartment building largely presents an unfriendly blank wall to pedestrians:
â€¢ WG â€” five-story office/apartment mix
Local developers Wally Graff and Nathan Philips propose two floors of offices topped by three floors of apartments. The $28-million, 200,000 square-foot, mixed-use project includes 83 apartments and 65 embedded parking spaces. Pacific University, which offers teacher education in Eugene, intends to occupy a â€œsignificant portionâ€ of the office space, according to WG.
WG wants the following subsidies from taxpayers: give the half-block to them for $1, parking rental agreement for Broadway Place, reduced development charges, 10-year tax break, pay for alley and any off-site improvements, consider below-market loan, consider brownfield grant or loan, assistance with market analysis, expanded policing downtown and any potential environmental mitigation of the site.
WG wrote the project will â€œenlivenâ€ the area and increase â€œeyes-onâ€ security. The building includes a police kiosk, small cafÃ©, wide-sidewalks, street trees and a â€œquasi public urban plazaâ€ with event space towards the library. The project may offer bus passes and â€œcould meetâ€ LEED Silver status for green building, according to WG.
The local developers say they have backing from banks and $10 million from unnamed investors for the project. If a planned market study shows lack of demand, WG said it may take a â€œphasedâ€ approach, building only half of the project first.
WG has parking underground in the pit and embedded on the groundfloor, which also includes a plaza facing the library:
Here's another view of the five stroy building from the library:
The west side of the WG project is also not pedestrian-friendly:
â€¢ Jim Wilcox â€” Green Housing Transit Center
Local resident Wilcox proposes an environmental and community-oriented â€œTranovation Center.â€ The proposal has many green elements including: solar powered electric vehicle charging and parking; electric vehicle sales and service; a â€œBikeStationâ€ with secure bike parking, repair, rentals and changing rooms; a car sharing service; a theater/community education facility; green housing; an indoor/outdoor farmers market; and an environmental transportation R&D center for UO and OSU engineers. The passive and active solar facility will generate as much power as it uses and offer car-free living, according to Wilcox.
Wilcox writes his proposal â€œlacks many technical requirementsâ€ the city asked for. He wrote: â€œThis will not be a simple project. It will require participation by the City of Eugene, LCC, LTD, the U of O and OSU, private investors, downtown citizens and business owners. The City can make an investment by procuring an initial fleet of electric vehicles that could be charged in this location.â€
â€¢ Canterbury Group â€” Hip hotel with 105-120 rooms
Canterbury proposes to build a $10-million, â€œlifestyleâ€ hotel for the â€œAloftâ€ unit of the large Starwood Hotels chain. The Aloft vision includes a â€œlobby with a lively communal setting and a barâ€ and a futuristic, luxury â€œloft-inspired design and free flowing energy.â€
The proposal includes the following taxpayer subsidies: no property taxes; city help with permitting and no delays; and land subsidized so that the developer will pay only $175,000 for the half block.
Canterbury said the project will enliven the area with an architectural landmark, use green building materials, attract redevelopment and create tax revenues.
â€¢ Energy Village â€” community center/housing
Energy Village is a â€œgrass rootsâ€ group of local progressive people proposing a community/education/art center and housing project with a broad spectrum of community-based tenants. The proposal is â€œexploring design conceptsâ€ including possible: modern art museum; rooftop gardens; public park space; education programs, youth programs; childcare; music lessons; jazz jam space; artist workshops and classrooms; and sustainable clothing workshops, classrooms and boutique.
The Energy Village proposal states, â€œWe are currently engaged in a capital campaign for private investment, which we then hope to match with public funds.â€ The proposal says it will help revive downtown with â€œcreative classâ€ people and provide jobs while providing â€œtruly affordable housing,â€ learning opportunities and a â€œvibrant, inclusiveâ€ community center. The proposal, â€œembodies the philosophy of creativity and independence that Eugene is known for and plays it forward in a way that is edgy and truly progressive.â€
To email the mayor and council with comments on the proposals, click here.
A woman named Loving died last month, a pioneer in the fight for equal rights to marriage. She was black, but the parallels of her case to the current fight for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples are striking.
In 1958, Virginia deputies broke into Mildred Loving and her white husband's bedroom shinning flashlights and carted the couple off to jail for breaking the state's laws against interracial marriage. Arguing that God did not intend for the races to mix, a Virginia judge convicted the Lovings of felonies, fined them and banned them from the state.
The couple later appealed, and in 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the interracial marriage bans in Virginia and other states as violations of the Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.
Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the unanimous decision. The court found marriage discrimination "odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality." Warren wrote, "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital
personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."
Last year Mildred Loving issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of her Supreme Court victory calling for equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
Last month the California Supreme Court overturned that state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. In 1948, the same court was the first to overturn a state interracial marriage ban, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court two decades later.
Which of these did the Eugene planning department require a conditional use permit (CUP) for?
The Dharmalaya Meditation Center, straw bale backyard shelter for quiet retreats:
The UO's 12,500-seat basketball arena, at roughly $250 million, the most expensive arena ever built with plans for games, rock concerts and other mass events almost every weekend:
The Eugene planning department required a CUP for the meditation center but not for the huge arena. Both decisions were thrown out on appeal by a hearings official. Now the arena requires a permit and the meditation center does not.
Did the city of Eugene get bad legal advice on this? The city doesn't have any attorneys on staff. It gets almost all its legal advice from the private law firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C.
Harrang Long's president is Bill Gary. Gary served with his friend UO President Dave Frohnmayer as his top deputy when Frohnmayer was Oregon attorney general.
In the past , Gary and his firm have denied any conflicts of interest between the private firm's work for the city and private clients.