Al Gore sent his top environmental advisor to Eugene last month to ask for the support of greens. What Katy McGinty, the administration's former lead person on logging and environmental issues, got was a lot of questions, complaints and a dead fish.
McGinty sat down with a room packed with local environmental leaders for a brown bag lunch at the UO. No one was eating, there was too much to talk about.
Dressed in a red power dress suit, McGinty tells the group that with the candidates neck and neck, Gore needs "passionate" support from grassroots environmentalists. On the environment, "there's a Grand Canyon of difference" between Bush and Gore, she says.
But local forest activists who've seen truckloads of old growth coming out of National Forests for the past eight years say their hearts aren't with Gore.
James Johnston of the Sierra Club holds up a picture of an 800-year-old cedar slated to be logged nearby under the Clinton/Gore forest plan that McGinty engineered. The difference between Gore and Bush is that Gore would cut down all the remaining 10 percent of old growth in 30 years while Bush would take 15 years, he says. Without Gore taking a stand against logging all old-growth, "my heart and my head are elsewhere."
Don St. Clair, founder of the local group Greens for Gore, warns McGinty that the vice-president "really needs to reach out to the 8 percent that are supporting [Ralph] Nader." Gore isn't popular among many local grassroots environmentalists, he says. "I have friends that won't even talk to me now because of my support for Al Gore."
St. Claire says the more he finds out about Gore's environmental record, "I feel worse and worse." If Gore wants to win the Nader votes, "we got to see some substantive stuff."
Francis Eatherington of Umpqua Watersheds tells McGinty that the Clinton/Gore administration needs to act right now to correct problems in their Forest Plan. In the Snog sale in southern Oregon, the Forest Service has gone against it's own biologists and threatened a logging company with financial penalties if it doesn't hurry up and cut the ancient forest, she says. "The Forest Service feels mandated to log all the remaining old growth."
Several other local environmentalists question Gore's stands in support of the WTO and free trade over the environment. "He speaks one thing, but he's doing another," says one disgruntled green. "We can't accept that."
A woman with Greens for Gore praises Gore's best-selling eco-book, Earth in the Balance. "We like the book, we just want him to walk the talk."
While Eugene greens criticize Gore for logging old growth, McGinty says that when she met with The Oregonian newspaper's editorial board, "they castigated me for our failure to deliver timber." She says the Clinton/Gore Forest Plan meant a huge reduction in logging in a very short period. "In some communities that haven't diversified their economies at all, we've dramatically changed their lives in only six short years."
McGinty says Gore has denounced the salvage rider bill signed into law by the Clinton/Gore administration. The bill wouldn't have been signed because of its harm to old-growth ecosystems, but it was attached to legislation with funding for flood victims and troops in Bosnia, she says.
But she says the administration did fail in not opposing the rider immediately and forcefully. "We expressed that opposition a little too late."
Gore now wants to go beyond Clinton's new policy of protecting roadless areas by eliminating loopholes such as allowing new roads in pristine areas of Alaska's Tongass National Forest, McGinty says.
For those who see little difference between Bush and Gore, she warns, "If George Bush was president, there could be 20 billion board feet coming out of these forests, trust me, no problem."
As for Nader, McGinty praises him as a "tremendous advocate" for consumers, but says he can't compare to Gore on the environment. Gore, for example, stood firm, "rather than have the arctic [wildlife] refuge opened up for another fix for our fossil fuel addiction" and even hobbled to a world population conference with a torn Achilles tendon. When it comes to Gore's record of decades of work for the environment, "I don't think there's anyone in public life that can hold a candle to it."
On the WTO/IMF trade issues, Gore has opposed anti-environmental amendments and loopholes in treaties and fast-track legislation, McGinty says. "Al Gore stands full square for the democratization of these institutions."
But McGinty's talk doesn't appear to win over the audience. UO environmental law Professor John Bonine chastises McGinty for using campaign rhetoric that wouldn't work on the informed group of environmental leaders. Bonine says McGinty should have been writing down notes to take back to Gore and show him what he needs to do to win the hearts of environmentalists.
Bonine says he supports Gore, but "he sometimes shaves and cuts to get elected." When it comes to the environment, Bonine says Gore should practice not just "the politics of the possible" but the "politics of leadership."
After the lunch-time meeting, McGinty moves on to an even bigger roomful of prospective Nader supporters. In response to a question about the Green Party candidate, McGinty tells the crowd of 200 students and community members in the EMU, "I know your principles are pulling you in one direction. I'm telling you it's not a realistic direction." McGinty says Gore's environmental record, including holding some of the first hearings on global warming 20 years ago, "will stand on its own two feet." But especially with a Republican Congress, "is it the case that you can change the world in one night? No."
McGinty repeats some of the earlier lunchtime rhetoric, including the story about the torn tendon. She tells the crowd, "If you care about the environment, this is the most important vote of your life…. Be impassioned and get out to vote."
But many of the most passionate environmentalists in the room say they aren't hot to vote for Gore.
Ruth Duemler stands up to complain that with the Clinton/Gore administration increasing the highway speed limit and releasing strategic petroleum reserves, Gore appears more concerned about cheap gas than gas guzzlers. "I haven't heard the word conservation used once. We're not thinking about global warming."
A man in a Nader T-shirt says, "If I thought there was any resemblance between Earth in the Balance and the last seven years, I would vote Democratic." He says the administration has pushed the largest interstate expansion since Eisenhower and says McGinty used to work as a lobbyist for the American Chemical Society.
"No, I was a fellow," says McGinty. "The American Chemical Society is an academic institution, not a commercial institution."
Actually, according to the ACS website, the group lobbies on bills of interest to the chemical industry and 60 percent of its members are directly from industry.
As for global warming, "that may be true" that the administration supported a big increase in freeway construction, McGinty says, but Gore also supported increases in funding for alternative transportation.
Responding to a question from a young woman about Occidental Petroleum hurting natives while oil drilling in Columbia, McGinty denies Gore owns stock in the company. She says Gore's father was on the board of the corporation and left stock for Gore's mother.
Responding to other questions, McGinty says signing the salvage rider into law was the "biggest mistake" of the Clinton administration. "There are few things that have broken my heart as much as that salvage rider," she says. Gore would fight harder and earlier against another such rider, but McGinty says that if she claimed Gore would never again sign a piece of harmful legislation attached to an important bill, "I'd be lying."
McGinty emphasized that Gore "is not for a complete ban on all commercial logging on public lands." The Forest Service should change its priority from logging, she says, but "the purpose of the national forest is multiple use."
McGinty also says, at this time, Gore doesn't support breaching dams to save endangered Snake and Columbia river salmon runs. Logging and fish habitat improvements could work, she says. "It isn't a silver bullet to say, if we just blow up the dams, we'll save the salmon."
But to at least one person in the room this explanation smells politically fishy. A calm, clean-cut young man walks up to McGinty after her talk with out-stretched arms, presenting her a two-foot long glistening dead salmon.
"No, get back," Gore campaign aids
shout, stepping between McGinty and the fish. McGinty comes
back and yells at the man, "I could have fallen!" before a
plain clothes policeman escorts the man and fish from the
building. "It's just a dead salmon," the protester says.
"It's a very important part of our heritage."
The Gore campaign's Nader strategy revolves around a repeated warning: "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush."
Gore supporters warn that voting for Nader will take votes from Gore and throw the tight election to Bush who will be a nightmare for abortion rights and other progressive causes.
That argument may hold up in big swing states with lots of electoral votes, but doesn't make sense in little Oregon.
Of the 538 electoral college votes in the nation, a presidential candidate needs 270 to win. Oregon has only 7 electoral votes. Presidential elections have come that close only three times in American history, according to National Archives records. The last time Oregon could have mattered was in 1876.
In the last two decades, the winner-take-all system of electoral votes in each state has meant huge 200-vote or larger margins for winning candidates.
While a vote for Bush or Gore may
be wasted as far as who wins the election, Nader supporters
point out that each vote for Nader will count toward the 5
percent nationwide vote that the Green Party needs to get
millions of dollars in federal matching funds in 2004.
Naderites deride "Gush/Bore" as one in the same corporate-controlled political party.
"The most dangerous merger in our history is nearly compete: the willing takeover of Democrats and Republicans by multinationals, creating one corporate party," says Ken Grimsley of the local Nader campaign.
It's not quite that bad. There are still plenty of big policy differences between Al Gore and George Bush. The Republican and Democrat have taken very different stands on issues like abortion, tax breaks for the rich, gun control and school vouchers.
But still, the Nader people have a
point. On important matters from campaign finance to
corporate welfare, Gore and Bush are strikingly similar,
while Nader stands apart, offering voters a choice. Based on
campaign statements and materials, here's a rundown of the
Gore and Bush support some tweaking of campaign finance laws with things like bans on soft money and better disclosure. But in what Nader derides as "legalized bribery," both candidates have raised piles of money from special interests, the wealthy and corporations. Bush leads so far with $177 million compared to Gore's $127 million. Some of the same big corporations have contributed large donations to both candidates.
By comparison, Nader has raised
$3.5 million, mostly from small individual donations. He has
refused corporate and soft money contributions. Nader wants
a radical overhaul of campaign finance laws including
publicly financed campaigns and free access to public
airwaves for candidates.
Gore and Bush are big supporters of the WTO, NAFTA, GATT, China trade, and globalization.
Nader calls the NAFTA and GATT trade treaties "among the most fetid examples of political cowardice and collusion between elected representatives and big business of the past 35 years."
Nader says he's all for free trade but not the "corporate managed" trade system we have now of "utilizing dictatorially repressed labor costs in bad environmental conditions, basically, do anything you can or anything you want in this dictatorship, as long as you grease the wheels."
Nader wants an overhaul of the
nation's trade laws, treaties and international institutions
to support environmental, consumer and worker
Bush and Gore recently debated who would increase the Pentagon budget the most.
"I will do whatever is necessary in order to make sure our forces stay the strongest in the world," Gore boasted. "In fact, in my ten-year budget proposal I've set aside more than twice as much for this purpose as Governor Bush has in his proposal."
Nader wants deep immediate cuts in
military spending. "President Bush declared the end of the
Cold War 10 years ago and we still have a Cold War budget.
We still have a budget that's going over $300 billion as if
we still have enemies called the Soviet Union. When are we
going to demobilize? What about the peace dividend?"
Gore and Bush support the war on drugs and the death penalty.
Nader calls the war on drugs an expensive failure that has discriminated against minorities and cost $150 billion in the last decade. He points to a RAND study that found that drug treatment is seven times more cost-effective than arresting and jailing, 10 times more effective than interdiction, and 23 times more effective than attacking drugs at their source.
Nader faults Gore and Bush for ignoring the serious problem of corporate crime which has cost the nation billions of dollars in fraud and thousands of lives in corporate "violence" through dangerous products, pollution, working conditions and actions.
"Clinton and Gore talk about street
crime and putting more police on the streets, but not about
corporate crime and putting more prosecutors in the suites,"
Gore and Bush support only relatively minor tweaking of the existing health care system through either HMO regulation or tax incentives.
Nader wants to replace the insurance industry system with a universal, publicly financed system similar to Canada's.
"In 1993, there were 35 million
Americans without healthcare coverage and there are now
about 46 million Americans. Now, the healthcare system is
riddled with inefficiencies, monopolistic practices and
waste," Nader says.
Gore and Bush have been criticized by environmentalists. Gore has been blasted for logging old growth with the Northwest Forest Plan and the Salvage Rider, for putting corporate free trade over the environment, and for failing to increase car gas mileage (CAFE) standards. Bush is much worse, with an abysmal environmental record as governor of Texas.
Nader wants to stop all logging on federal lands. "Enjoy these forests now and for future generations rather than destroy them for 3 percent of the nation's annual timber harvest and $1.2 billion of annual taxpayer subsidies to the timber barons."
Nader wants to overhaul trade rules
in favor of the environment and increase gas mileage
requirements for new cars to an average of 45 mpg in the
next five years. While Gore has supported releasing oil from
the Strategic Petroleum reserve to reduce gas prices, Nader
wants an increase in gas taxes to reduce gas guzzling.
Both Bush and Gore want to get tough on kids with more batteries of required standardized tests in schools.
Nader opposes more standardized
tests and instead favors increasing spending to help
Bush and Gore love to talk about welfare "reform" for the poor, but haven't proposed any major crackdown on corporate welfare.
Nader says he'll fight to end corporate welfare programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. He also favors an "excess profits" tax on oil companies who have seen profits skyrocket with recent increases in gas prices.
Nader wants to increase taxes on corporations in general. In the 1950s, he says, corporate income taxes funded about 25 percent of the federal budget; now that's down to 6 or 7 percent.
"I want to be president for a very simple reason," says Nader. "Because this country needs a very strong progressive movement that challenges the accepted concentration of power and wealth in the hands of global corporations who dominate our government, our workplace, our environment and many other areas of our political economy." -- AP
Fall rains threaten, but even in winter the Willamette Valley receives plenty of sun to help heat household water and swimming pools, cut utility bills and even generate electricity. The latest in renewable solar energy will be showcased in five Eugene houses this Saturday, Oct. 14, part of the annual National Tour of Solar Homes (see details below).
Costs for natural gas just rose 28 percent, and electricity rose 8 percent earlier this year. The tour encourages people to fight back by decreasing usage, explore how to lower bills by heating hot water, adding passive solar elements to warm a house and getting solar electric power through a photovoltaic system.
These are the potential savings for home owners who add solar:
* 50-60 percent off annual hot water heating costs;
* 80-90 percent off the annual cost of heating a swimming pool;
* 20 percent off annual space heat costs by adding passive solar windows.
Tom Scott, board member of the Solar Energy Association of Oregon and owner of the Energy Service Center, says solar electricity through the addition of photovoltaic panels and batteries is still not economically effective for people already hooked up "on the grid." It pays only in certain cases, such as using solar panels to operate distant gates or in isolated building parcels where bringing in an electric line is too expensive.
"The economics just are not there yet. We are an oil-driven country, the last to promote incentives to solar as we do to oil," Scott says. "We even send armies to keep our oil lines open. Think of the cost of that. But we give no money for solar, so the customer still has to pay the raw price."
Changing economics of traditional power sources will drive the purchase of solar technologies in the future, he predicts. Californians are reeling from the skyrocketing costs of deregulation, requiring bail-outs from state funds. Brownouts on the East Coast illustrate the results of over-dependence on electricity. Effects of the growing ozone hole may cause governments to re-value clean solar energy.
"The only way to improve things is to keep hooking people into solar," Scott notes. "Cost is not the only consideration. How cost effective is a second bathroom or a new car? People who want solar electricity can start with one PV panel and one battery and add from there."
Oregon recently passed a Net Metering Bill that allows electric customers who generate power to run their meters backwards and get down to a zero-cost basis. Few reach that goal in Oregon. Scott grants that solar electricity will always be limited by our weak winter sun, but dependence on utility companies can easily be lessened.
Until the end of 2001, the state will continue to offer $1,500 tax credits to install solar systems that conserve electricity. Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) still lends up to $4,000 in a five-year interest-free loan to install a solar hot water heating system. EWEB also offers free consultation for the design of passive solar building and remodeling.
The city of Eugene offers no incentives, but does have solar access provisions in its land use code. That code is at the end stages of revision by the City Council, which is considering changes that prioritize density and in-fill over solar access.
Steve Still, energy management specialist with EWEB, is trying to convince council members to adopt an alternative "Green Points" type program to guide developers in building new construction. Solar power would be one way to earn green points, along with recycling, sustainability and other green technologies. Enough green points would earn an approved permit.
Solar regulations continue to be an
item of controversy in many Oregon communities, although
some are holding the line, such as Ashland where new
construction cannot deprive neighbors of solar access. The
capital of solar power in the U.S. is Stelle, Ill., which
uses more solar energy per capita than any other community
in the country. In addition to prevalent use of solar hot
water and solar electric, the town has wind installations
that power the phone company, water plant and a local
Internet service provider.
Take the Tour
Tickets are available at EWEB, the UO Solar Information Center, or the Energy Service Center, 399 E. 10th Ave. in Eugene. Call Scott at 302-6808 for more information, or check out the Oregon tour website at www.solaror.org
Oregon Sen. Wayne Morse was born 100 years ago Oct. 20 and his centennial is being commemorated by a campaign to create a new and expanded Free Speech Platform in front of Harris Hall at 8th and Oak downtown. A traveling exhibit on the life and times of Morse will be on display during the month of October in the County Courthouse lobby, and a gathering is planned at the site at noon Friday, Oct. 20. Congressman Peter DeFazio and others plan to speak at the centennial event.
The memorial idea came in the 1980s from Scott Bartlett, a former Morse aide and long-time Eugene activist, and picked up steam as the centennial date grew closer. Bartlett is now living in Eugene and is involved in the project, along with Sally Nunn, Lane County Commissioner Bill Dwyer, former commissioner Jerry Rust, and dozens of others.
Private as well as public funding is being sought to help pay for the park renovation and Morse statue. Organizers say they have received $65,000 in donations so far and have another $20,000 to $30,000 in "hard pledges." Their goal is $180,000
Rust, a member of the Wayne Morse Historical Park Board, says the original completion date for the statue and park work was Oct. 20, "but we were obviously over-optimistic." He figures the project will be completed in February or March, "so there is still time to buy pavers."
Part of the fund-raising comes from the sale of engraved granite pavers and plaques for gifts of $50, $500 or $1,000. Larger stones can have a quote about free speech, human rights or social justice, and will include the name of the contributing individual or business. Medallions from Aurora Glass Factory are also available for a minimum $25 donation.
Internationally known sculptor Gabriel Ponzenelli of Mexico has completed the life-size clay sculpture of Morse that will be cast in bronze and shipped to Eugene. Rust is spearheading the $80,000 statue project and is gathering funds for the final payment to the foundry in order to "liberate" Morse and bring him home.
The parks board was shown two scale models when the sculptor visited Eugene in May. The board opted for the "speaking" pose, showing Morse with his hand raised to make a point. The other, more static pose showed Morse standing with his hat in one hand and an overcoat over his arm.
"It's all about words, and what words can do," says Rust, referring to the speaking pose. Rust says Morse, known as "The Tiger of the Senate," was a master at speaking and his words had a dramatic impact on not only the future of Oregon, but also the nation and the world.
For more information, or to contribute to the project,
call 682-4203, send a check to Wayne Morse Historical Park
Corporation, 595 Crest Dr., Eugene 97405 or visit
www.efn.org/~wlmorse -- TJT
The site is www.oregonunited.org and features one- or two-sentence blurbs on each measure, and the name of the sponsor. The measures are divided into "yes" and "no" sections, and related websites are included for those who want more information. For example: "Measure 93: This complex measure would require voter approval for thousands of small taxes and fees, such as hairdresser licenses, that most Oregonians don't pay. Even opposed by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce. www.ouroregon.org"
For those who do not have web access, or want hard copies
to hand out at neighborhood meetings, a stack of printouts
of the guide should be available this week at Paul's Bicycle
Way of Life stores around town. -- TJT
The Teamsters' charges arise out of an effort on the part of workers in the newspaper's distribution department to gain union representation. Sixty employees work in the department.
"These workers came to us wanting a voice at work, better pay and opportunities," says union representative Stefan Ostrach. "We had overwhelming support. Twenty-three people showed up at the first meeting and within a couple of days 60 percent had signed up. But then management came down hard and squashed the campaign."
The NLRB complaint says Tony Baker, editor and publisher of the R-G, held employee meetings and in addition to promising wage increases, made promises to hear employee grievances, provide requested additional training and provide food at employee meetings. Baker then wrote a letter on June 7 soliciting employees to withdraw support for the union. The complaint also states management fired Kama Cox for engaging in union activities and "to discourage employees from engaging in those activities." Cox is a union supporter and single parent who was fired for "absenteeism" when she stayed home to care for a sick child.
Baker declined an EW request for comments on the complaint.
The complaint further states that the R-G has "failed and refused to recognize or bargain with the Union as the exclusive collective bargaining agent of the Unit [the collective of workers]. By the acts described above ... Respondent [R-G] has engaged in unfair labor practices affecting commerce..."
"The Guard likes to claim to be a 'citizen of the community,'" says Ostrach. "But they are showing themselves to be corporate outlaws who refuse to accept that employees in a free country have the right to form unions and act together for their mutual benefit."
A Eugene hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7 in which the R-G
will be able to answer the charges. Public hearings on two
earlier NLRB complaints against the R-G are set to begin
Oct. 24 in Eugene; and a rally with the Teamsters is planned
for noon Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Wayne Morse Free Speech
Platform at the Courthouse. Call 746-6500 for details.
* If you notice an incredibly long line snaking through downtown Eugene come November, it may be because Carte de Frisco is planning to reopen at Willamette and Broadway. Since closing their downtown location a few years ago, Frisco's has opened only during the Eugene Celebration and Lane County Fair. It seems the lines for their tasty chicken sandwiches smothered in peanut sauce and topped with grated cabbage get longer and more worth it each year.
* Moretti's Italian Restaurant opened on Sept. 4 at
Hilyard and Franklin in the old Izzy's Pizza Building. Local
Izzy's franchise owner Lisa Earls has decided to strike out
on her own. Moretti's serves your classic Italian from
ravioli to fettucine to pizza (New York-style, of course).
If you'd like to chat about food in Eugene, send your morsels to firstname.lastname@example.org, 484-0519, ext. 26 or 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.
Dozens of people have spent thousands of hours crafting our first magazine and we had a blast putting it together. Well, maybe "blast" isn't quite the right word, but we had fun. We planned to publish 84 pages, but thanks to our enthusiastic advertisers, we were able to add 16 more glorious pages and lots of color.
Look inside. The Annual Manual includes lots of fun stuff and thousands of items of useful information gleaned from hundreds of sources. For example, what's the website for Sponsors? It's in there. What do FRESH and ESSN stand for? What's the e-mail address for your neighborhood leader? What's the best hair salon, best neighborhood, best bike path, best picnic spot, best live theater? How do you contact LandWatch or Copwatch or the Outdoor Lighting Advisory Group? It's all in there, from the obvious to the obscure. Keep it next to your phone book.
Alas, omissions and outdated information are inevitable in such a publication. Please let us know and we will update our web version of the magazine, soon to appear at www.eugeneweekly.com
Cruisin' the Annual Manual also provides a terrific overview of "The Eugene Experience" for locals and visitors alike. We live in a most unique town and the Annual Manual captures it like no other publication we have ever seen.
The concept is modeled after magazines in successful alternative weeklies in other parts of the country, originating with the Isthmus newspaper in Madison, Wis., which this year published its 19th Annual Manual. Our thanks to Isthmus for allowing us to borrow some of their ideas.
The Annual Manual is printed on recycled paper and is recyclable.
Wayne Morse will finally get some of the recognition he deserves in a new Free Speech Platform in front of Harris Hall. It's important that our late, great senator not be forgotten, and we hope all of you will join us in supporting this project by buying commemorative paver bricks and plaques. See how to contribute in our news story on page 8.
Morse embodied Oregon's independent, maverick spirit. He used his voice and his substantial clout to support progressive causes in his time. His courageous stands against McCarthyism in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s were followed by monumental work for civil rights, human rights and social justice. He was a staunch supporter of the UO and the Eugene community until his death in 1974. We owe him more than we can imagine.
It's worth noting that the liberal Morse is held in high esteem even by some conservative business interests. Seneca timber baron Aaron Jones is a major donor to the project. Morse, in his day, supported legislation that built dams and roads and kept major timber companies from monopolizing the harvest of plentiful trees. Small timber companies flourished, and they have not forgotten, even though times and values have changed.
We gotta hand it to our friendly rivals at The
Register-Guard for at least entering last week's Eugene's
Commute Challenge 2000. R-G employees work way the hell out
Beltline by I-5 where bicycles and pedestrians are as rare
as warm thoughts in Bill Sizemore's head. Six hardy
individuals out of the R-G's 270 employees managed to get to
work by some means other than single-occupancy smogmobiles
Oct. 5. Chances are the sizeable R-G afternoon shift didn't
get counted. EW tallied a respectable 15 out of 22, leaving
our parking lot nearly empty. Hats off to Bike Friday, WBGS
Architecture, AccuTel, Hyundai, PeaceHealth, NCAP, two UO
departments and two city of Eugene departments for winning
in their categories. It was a good exercise in more ways
than one, and points out one more downside to sprawl.
Building businesses on the outskirts not only sucks the life
out of the community center but limits options for people
getting to work and back.
"In or out." I hold the screen door open and issue my ultimatum with all the authority I like to imagine I have. My cat sniffs the air, rotates her radar ears, and checks for whatever it is cats check: rain, traffic, dogs in the vicinity, some neighbor opening a can of tuna. She may scurry outside or launch into a bout of personal grooming. There's no point trying to force her to decide.
One time I got impatient with her prolonged deliberations. It was cold out and I had just stuck my arm into the winter chill to retrieve the morning paper. Bella stood in the crack of the doorway surveying the world. Icy air rushed in and expensive heat poured out. I was in no mood. With the inside edge of my slippered foot I scooted her out and pulled the door closed behind her.
That incident is one of the few memories my cat retains. Now, before she'll even approach the door to begin her assessment of the world beyond it, she has to first determine that she is safe from "The Foot." Then she'll glance outside, sniff the air, and sit on the threshold, poised in indecision.
People are as peculiar as cats. They can hover indefinitely on the brink of coming out of the closet. When someone is agonizing over whether to come out, it's tempting to wish "The Foot" would just swoop through and end the debate. Frequently, when we finally do come out to our families or co-workers, they reply, "We wondered when you were going to tell us." Still, we can sit in the doorway for years. Even someone as flamingly gay as Liberace went to the grave clinging to the myth that he was just "eccentric." Shoving someone out when they're not ready rarely helps.
I knew a woman in college who, from her side-parted butch haircut down to the heavy gold pinky ring, seemed to be a DD -- definite dyke. Next to her sure-footed swagger, John Wayne would have looked prissy. Jo strode the hallowed halls wearing dress shirts and slacks, and silver-framed tinted aviators that darkened in the harsh fluorescent classroom lights. She was shy though, and kept to herself.
One time in a research methods class, Jo gave me what I thought was a sign. A tuft of her fine blond hair had fallen forward when she hunched over her text book. She pushed the wayward forelock back with a broad, full-palmed diagonal swoop that I took to be an intentional flashing of the pinky ring, as in, "I'm gay. If you receive this signal, please come talk to me."
After class I tried to strike up a conversation, "Hi, did you know the campus gay and lesbian center is having an open house today?" That's me, all tact and subtlety.
Her rebuff was cold and swift, "Sorry honey. I'm not that way."
She'd denied this assumption before. She knew how to dodge "The Foot." It is possible that I'd read her wrong. Maybe she was just a tough-looking straight woman. Or maybe she just wasn't ready. When gay hero Harvey Milk urged us to "Burst down those closet doors once and for all and start to fight," I came out. Actually, I was never in. I went from clueless to full-blown in no time. Twenty-five years ago, a guest panelist in my college Women's Health class smiled and said proudly, "I am a lesbian." I nearly fell out of my seat. I had never heard the term used in a positive way. Suddenly I was standing in the doorway of a whole new world.
After class I told the instructor that the panel made me feel unsettled and confused. My instructor's words changed my life, "I think you'd make a wonderful lesbian." It was like saying to Cinderella, "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo."
Months later, I experienced the sexual side of homosexuality. A group of friends, all co-workers at our local Women's Center, had gone for a moonlight swim one hot summer night. One of the women, Katie, swam up behind me and purred, "Would you like to come home with me and make love?"
Indecision was not one of the feelings that surged through me. My official lesbian papers were notarized that night.
My coming out was made possible by people who were willing to hold the door open. A lesbian panelist declared her identity matter-of-factly, free of shame. An understanding and open-minded instructor gave me a positive association and pointed out the option. A sexually comfortable co-worker helped me turn the theoretical into the actual by sharing primal pleasure.
I was one of the fortunate ones. I did not need "The Foot." I sniffed the air and the world beyond seemed welcoming, safe, exciting. I was so delighted about this transformation and my immersion into an affirming supportive subculture, that I stepped right out and stayed here. I will always be grateful to those women for holding the door open at the right time. I hope, when she was ready, someone did the same for Jo.
Sally Sheklow has been a part of the Eugene community since 1972 and is a member of the WYMPROV! comedy troupe. Her column, which began at EW, is gaining national attention and was recently picked up by The Desert Post of Palm Springs., The Citizen of Cincinatti, The Ripsaw News of Duluth, and Pride Magazine in Seattle, Chicago and Denver.
Oh for certain, Hitler, Stalin, Kahn and others have, but they are gone. Besides, they are not locals!
These people are responsible for children dying, lives ruined, and parent's grieving and not just a few, but rather millions!
While your paper continues to glorify and romanticize these creeps, we should remember the despicable things they have done. The quote from Ken Babbs should put it into perspective: "We try to uphold the psychedelic movement. We have not backed off." The bus Furthur is in all reality, a hearse that carries the souls of millions of youth from all over the world.
Kesey, Leary and company have their place in history that Ken seems so consumed with; it's right there with Adolph, Genghis, Joseph and Mao! Just ask any parent who has lost their child to drugs.
John E. English
KLCC pretends to be a champion of truth but blatantly misleads for money. In an ad they ran, they state how "in a decade of corporate media takeovers," that freedom depends on "truly independent media" and claim that they take this "very seriously."
The truth is, the news they broadcast by National Public Radio (NPR) is financed by large corporate donors that are announced as contributors right on the air. NPR's coverage of the news pretty much follows the corporate owned press, except with more fluff stories. NPR will commonly interview corporate representatives on controversial issues, take their word for what the opposition's position is, or not even mention that there is an opposing view. NPR has also joined in the near blackout of information from Ralph Nader. Since the major party-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates has shut Nader out, despite the fact that a majority of Americans want him in the debates, why doesn't NPR step forward to give him a forum?
During KLCC's last fund-raiser, I called their program manager to complain about a similar ad they ran. He did not dispute my assertion that NPR was not free from corporate influence, he just told me the ad was trying to make a point so they could raise money! If KLCC is as serious as they say about freedom of information and truth, why don't they use a news service that is not parroting the corporate line, or at least stop pretending that they already are?
Starting off Clean
There is no escaping it -- without campaign finance reform. Ballot Measure 6, the Oregon Political Accountability Act, is the mechanism that will change the way today's politics works. It will halt the rising cost of campaigns; strengthen public confidence in democracy; and it will ensure that any qualified citizen can run for office. Vote "yes" on Ballot Measure 6.
More and more the outcome of elections is determined by buying sound-bites on TV. I am discouraged and dismayed that this boils down to decisions made in boardrooms or by rich individuals who give candidates much larger contributions than most of us can provide or think are appropriate. Fewer and fewer qualified people, especially young people, bother to vote, because, in my opinion, they don't feel that their vote would be effective, whereas a $50,000 contribution would afford easy access to a politician.
Measure 6 is a bipartisan attempt to make a more equal arena for voters (and candidates). The government already regulates and funds elections; it makes sense that they should do the same for campaigns. Vote "yes" on Measure 6.
Lining Their Pockets
Measure 6 gets to the heart of the issue of shady campaign financing and politicians catering to special interests, issues that have made myself and others apathetic to the political world. I no longer trust candidates to say or even know what they really think about the issues anymore. There always seems to be an eye to the contributors lining their pockets. Measure 6 would be a vital first step to dismantling this reality.
Already this measure is working in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and Arizona. By limiting campaign spending to the same amount of money for all candidates, it has helped restore some of the democratic principles this country was founded on. Qualified normal citizens would qualify for campaign funding if they demonstrate wide public support. The measure would enable new candidates to run for office without encouraging extremists holding unpopular political views.
The challenge for passing this measure is to educate people over how little this would cost us, the taxpayers. It would cost less than $5 per voter. Five dollars is significant to me, yet I see it as an investment. It would start a trend where there are fewer secrets about politics and it would increase political involvement of everyday normal citizens. Most importantly, it would begin to deliver political candidates into the hands of their constituency.
She helped bring to a successful close the 14-year struggle of Harlow Neighbors to obtain Oregon Department of Transportation partial funding for a soundwall on the north side of Interstate 105 from Interstate 5 to just short of Coburg Road. She is also deeply involved with Game Farm Neighbors in Springfield regarding improvement of the interchange at Beltline and I-5 and Beltline and Gateway.
A member of the State Transportation Committee, she carries clout and expertise in transportation matters. Add to this her work on public disclosure of pesticide use, crackdown on payday loan companies, and extended tax deferral for disabled senior homeowners, and the voter has good reason to send her back to Salem for two more years.
Subverting Our Mores
The state would most likely lose such lawsuits, deservedly so. This has happened increasingly in our nation where states and school districts fail to include non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among its protections. The OCA measure would go further, putting teachers and administrators at risk of being fired or even jailed for performing their duties in an ethical and unbiased manner.
The OCA treasury would be better spent providing private-school scholarships or financial assistance to promote home-schooling for those who want to pass on their narrow world views to their own offspring.
For the sake of the clear majority of us, I hope Measure 9 is soundly defeated. If it were to pass, I predict it will be overturned on constitutional grounds, but only after inflicting great harm. Vote "no" on 9.
Forcing True Reform
But Al Gore represents the far more profound burial of our health and well-being. As he joins with oil, pharmaceutical and military multi-nationals, his image of left-of-center politics will be maintained while democracy rots. Corporate media and suppression of free speech will never recover as the Democratic party supports America's apathy and ignorance through their greedy campaign tactics. If Gore really believed anything he was saying (and he wasn't bought by big business) he would welcome discourse with varying viewpoints.
If Ralph Nader was allowed equal airtime on corporate and "National Public" media along with debate time, more than 90 percent of America would vote for him. He's exactly what people say they want in a candidate. Leadership, integrity, honesty, reform, education, the environment, health care, campaign finance reform, women and minority inclusion, and pro-choice is his life while all and more of this has deteriorated under present leadership. If we want epidemic child poverty, clear-cuts, school decay, health care exclusion, censorship, media obscenity, prisons, anti-choice policies, factory farm pollution with animal abuse, oil dependence, and military madness to define our future forever in an intractable corporate stranglehold, vote for Gore. But perhaps for the last time, this year we have a viable choice.
Ralph Nader's misguided rhetoric insists that there is no difference between Al Gore and his right wing opponent. However, the debate clearly demonstrated Gore's long-term and ongoing commitment to an environmentally sound energy policy. He stressed developing alternative energy sources, absolutely refuted the notion that we have to destroy some of our last pristine wilderness to reach energy security, and kept an open mind to anything that would help preserve our precious salmon.
Unfortunately, in what is shaping up to be one of the closest presidential races in memory, voting for the "environmental" party will have the result of turning our environment over to someone who can't even pronounce the word.
The Naderites stress that we should vote our conscience. I couldn't agree more. The environmental devastation that Bush Junior will cause should weigh heavily on the conscience of any environmentally concerned citizen who considers voting for Nader. Vote for the Greens in local elections. But for the sake of the trees, for the sake of the salmon, for the sake of the air and the water, vote for Al Gore for president.
Men need safe rides? Sure. My advice to any man who feels up to starting a Saferide program for men? Go for it.
My observation of the attitude expressed in the quoted line? Male privilege sure is easy to flaunt (and even easier to deny when a response like this is issued, I'm willing to bet).
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