Alan Pittman's blog

Kitty Piercy, Jim Torrey, Jim Ray and Nick Urhausen faced off in a taped mayor's debate hosted by Fox TV on May 14.

Questions came from the candidates and a media panel from Eugene Weekly, The Register Guard, KLCC and FOX TV.

Fox plans to broadcast the one-hour debate on Saturday, May 17 from 6-7 pm. KEVU-TV will also air the debate on Saturday from 7-8 pm.

To listen to the debate audio, check our podcast.

For those of you who missed the City Club mayor's debate, the audio can be found at the KLCC website . Mayor Kitty Piercy had to read her opening and closing statements fast, but she emailed out the words, if you didn't catch them:

Piercy's Opening Two-Minute Statement

I love Eugene and enjoy being your Mayor, moving our community forward with optimism and determination.

I’ve looked at the deluge of Jim Torrey ads and I frankly don’t recognize his Eugene. Neither should you, it’s fictional.

The truth is that while the world is not a perfect place, Eugene has moved forward.

In just three years, we’ve put in place an economic development plan based on sustainable green jobs and practices. And, our work’s been recognized. National Geographic’s Green Guide named Eugene America’s #1 green city (" a power house of green industry") and Popular Science chose Eugene as #5 green city. At the same time Forbes chose us #36 out of the top 200 American cities to do business in and Fortune chose us as one of the nation’s top 100 cities to start a small business in.

We’re working together in all new and inclusive ways. Together we settled an LTD strike, passed a parks bond and library levy, brought two Olympic Track and Field Trials to Eugene and leaders from environment, business, and government are working together on traffic solutions for West Eugene for the first time in over 20 years. I have reached across all wards of this community in over 6,000 meetings and opened city hall to all.

There are old problems left from the Torrey years that I’ve worked steadily to resolve. In just 3 years, we’ve completed over $17 million dollars in road repairs and pothole fills. We’ve worked to reestablish trust in our police with the civilian review board. We’ve begun reinvigorating our downtown, refurbishing the old Symantec building and filling it with 200 new employees and built the new Westtown on 8th affordable housing.

We’re challenged by the county’s financial woes and will work with them to serve our people and keep our community safe. Eugene will continue to move forward, responding to the challenges and the opportunities before us. This is the Eugene I know and love.

Piercy's Closing Two-Minute Statement

You have real stark choices between us. This is a pitched battle for Eugene’s future. Do we want unbridled growth or to continue down a path of smart growth that ensures good jobs and livability?

The money tells the story clearly. Jim Torrey has piles of money from construction and development interests who would just like to construct and build without constraint.

I am backed by over 800 individuals, (with average contributions of about $130) who are committed to growing thoughtfully in ways that benefit us all, not simply the few.

I’ve been threatened over my efforts to protect our wetlands and headwaters for future generations. Did I let threats keep me from doing what I think is right. No.

And let’s speak truth. The last four years have been full of optimism and rebuilding pride in our community. We are nationally known for our green practices and good business environment. We’re facing the future – not the past.

Let’s not forget the mean spiritedness of the "gang of nine;" public battles in the streets; losing our hospital and Glenwood; the closing of stores downtown; the Lara/Magaña case; and the failure to fully address street repairs.

Is this the world you want back?

We are deeply affected by national policies on federal timber payments, tax cuts and the war in Iraq. My opponent supported this president and this war.

I have worked with the entire city council. When I became Mayor, the council had but one shared goal. Now there are 11, each with a work plan.

The most ridiculous thing being said is that in this community we have stopped talking to each other. That is simply not true. Folks of all stripes are working on downtown revitalization; doable traffic solutions in West Eugene; headwaters protection; and homelessness.

I am proud of this community. We are reopening storefronts and revitalizing our downtown. We are filling potholes and building affordable housing. We are building parks and supporting our library. We are creating new jobs and keeping our economy healthy in challenging times. We are working with partners at all levels in ever more productive ways. We are protecting all the things that make this such a great community.

Barack Obama spoke to a cheering crowd of roughly 5,000 at the UO on Friday night.

Here's a link to audio of his speech with video clips of the rally.

obama clinton

Eugene is Obama country, judging by federal campaign contribution data.

Barack Obama has raised about four times more money here from about four times more contributions. Through the end of March, Obama reported raising $114,622 from 955 donations from Eugene. Hillary Clinton raised $29,111 in donations from 224 contributions from Eugene.

Obama’s contributions averaged $120. Clinton’s averaged $224.

Nearly a third of Clinton’s contributions came from donors identifying themselves as retired. Obama reported 17 percent of his donors were retired.

Some retirees may list themselves as not employed. About a quarter of Obama’s contributors listed themselves as retired or not employed, while half of Clinton’s contributors listed themselves as retired or not employed.

Only 2 percent of Clinton’s donors identified their employer as the University of Oregon. About 11 percent of Obama’s money came from professors and other UO employees.

About 5 percent of Clinton’s Eugene donations listed employment as mom or homemaker. Only one Obama donor listed themselves that way.

With Jim Torrey running for mayor again, local videographer Tim Lewis has posted a reminder on YouTube of what it was like under Torrey. The video features dramatic footage of the June 1st incident in 1997 in which Eugene police emptied every can of pepper spray they had on non-violent tree sitters standing in the way of the Broadway Place project downtown.

For more information on the event, here's a link to EW's coverage of its 5th-year anniversary:

The city settled a lawsuit by some of the protesters for $30,000 and reduced somewhat the use of pepper spray on non-violent demonstrators. But the city and EPD never apologized or admitted that they did anything wrong. Now EPD is armed with tasers with no ban on using them against demonstrators.

Lewis has also published other videos on YouTube and plans to do more. Search the site for "picture Eugene."

TV news watchers may soon see less car wrecks, fires, cop chases and other "if it bleeds it leads" coverage on local broadcasts.

The Eugene police department sent out a memo May 5 to local media on the upcoming switch of police radio to digital. That means the old analog scanners that TV reporters use won't work.

Even with digital scanners, EPD Capt. Chuck Tilby writes that "some frequencies will be encrypted in compliance with the new Oregon Consumer Theft Protection Act passed by the legislature in 2007. Eventually all channels may be encrypted."

This may not be a great loss. Local TV news has long been derided for lazy, fear-mongering scanner chasing that fills local news with titillating gore without real reporting or news value.

Then again, scanners brought us the OJ car chase, but they sometimes also offer an important public eye for police accountability. Here's a recent example from Philadelphia:

Tilby writes that "another program that we've been working on, while not equaling the usefulness of a newsroom scanner, may provide some supplemental assistance to you in newsgathering. Soon to be released will be a Eugene Police internet activity log that will be refreshed as calls clear, instead of every 24 hours."

In Portland, scanner audio is on the internet.

This week's EW has a story about the mayor's race that includes information about a recent political attack ad by Jim Torrey. Here's the ad with fact checking by EW:

UO President Dave Frohnmayer has announced that he will resign by the summer of 2009.

Here's an email he sent out to UO faculty and staff this morning:

Dear Colleagues:

Today I formally notified Chancellor George Pernsteiner and Governor Ted
Kulongoski of my intention to retire as President of the University of
Oregon at the conclusion of the 2008/09 academic year. It has been a
great privilege to work with truly stellar faculty, staff, students and
alumni for nearly a decade and a half. I intend to return to teaching and
other assignments after I step down in summer, 2009.

I have given extended notice of my decision to allow ample time yet this
quarter and through the summer for a smooth search and transition process.
I have the utmost confidence that a presidential opportunity at this
internationally recognized institution will draw the attention of the
finest academic leaders. In recent days I have conferred with faculty
leaders to assure that our campus dialogue about immediate needs and
future priorities can command our focused attention in the next year.

It has been nearly twenty years since a full-fledged presidential search
has taken place for this campus. We are armed with the results of many
important perspectives, such as our recently concluded decennial
accreditation self-study, our Campaign Oregon strategic plan, and the
campus profiles that have been thoughtfully prepared for provost,
vice-presidential and dean searches. Nonetheless, the forthcoming search
process will provide a healthy period of reflection and engagement as the
university develops plans for a major leadership transition.

As you may know, the State Board of Higher Education conducts presidential
searches. I have spoken with the Board leadership to gain assurance that
our strongest and best voices will be heard. I expect that the Chancellor
will meet with faculty leadership in the near future to map out next
steps, and I hope that our campus engagement will be broadly based.

I am eternally grateful for the literally thousands of you who have
brought joy, energy and inspiration to the work of the university. You
have endured sustained economic privation; collaborated thoughtfully on
new initiatives; worked ceaselessly to improve our teaching and research;
greeted students, their families and the larger community with warmth and
good spirit; made our buildings and grounds places of serene beauty; and
celebrated the achievements of each other with an enduring sense of pride
and community. Lynn and I are grateful beyond measure for the many acts
of kindness in our times of family loss and grief and in moments of shared
pride for the university.

We endeavor always to improve even more. I look forward to working with
you in these next months.

Warmest wishes,
Dave Frohnmayer

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