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News: Tax Gift to Hynix: Internal documents reveal just how city staff screwed up.
News: Business Decision: Health workers question closing.
News: Double Jeopardy: Spotted owl remains on the brink.
News: Undercovered #23: More war news that escapes mainstream attention.
Happening People: Cary Thompson
Speaking to the Eugene City Club July 19, Register-Guard Executive Editor Jim Godbold praised the "core values" of his employers, the Baker family, and defended the business from accusations that the owners are trying to "bust" the employees' union.
"I absolutely don't buy into the notion that the paper is attempting to bust the union, to have it decertified, to try to make it go away," said Godbold. "I'm privy to conversations about labor negotiations at the highest levels with family members and there is no thought about busting the union."
Ç The closure of Eugene's All Women's Health Services clinic doesn't make sense and the lack of candor and communication from its administration and board only fuels speculation. Why is it a good "business decision" to eliminate relatively profitable abortion services in Eugene, where options are few, but maintain them in Portland, where options are many? Did the imminent unionization of workers have anything to do with the closure? Was an exhaustive search conducted for a new medical director? We urge the AWHS board and administration to openly address these issues and more. Meanwhile, we support any efforts to establish a new non-profit women's health clinic in Eugene to provide these essential services.
Ç Gotta hand it to R-G Executive Editor Jim Godbold for standing up at City Club last week and defending his turf. He managed to side-step the tough questions, saying he's not allowed to comment on the specifics of labor negotiations, but now he's on record saying, among other things, that the R-G is returning to investigative reporting after more than a dozen years. The big questions, of course, are what will they investigate and how deep will they go? Chances are it won't be the hidden costs of sprawl, the folly of tax breaks for Hynix, conflicts of interest within city and county government, PeaceHealth finances, or spending on Duck athletics vs. academics. Will the R-G really prod its sacred cows? And with six less staff writers than they had in 2000? Of course they can. It's a matter of priorities and commitment.
Ç Oregon school funding remains a tangled mess and Gov. Kitzhaber is showing integrity and conviction in holding out for permanent solutions. The tax-phobic R's in Salem figure the economy will bounce right back, so let's just borrow against the future and tighten our belts. But it might be years before we see a healthy economy again, and squeezing our education system will only add to our long-term economic woes. The best solution is likely the simplest — a progressive income tax hike dedicated to education.
Ç Last week's "Treadmarks" column about the new breed of zippy little station wagons came to us from Jim Motavelli with the headline "Rice Rocket." It slipped by us, but a reader of Asian heritage called it to our attention. Would we call a car made in Mexico a "Beanmobile"? Good point. Any time we poke fun at cultural stereotypes we reinforce them. Our apologies.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, email@example.com
But Eugene Newspaper Guild President Adele Berlinski responded after the talk, saying, "As my mother always said, actions speak louder than words. When a company hires a union-busting attorney, drags out negotiations for years and breaks labor law repeatedly, I'd say they want to gut or eviscerate the union, at the very least."
The R-G has been ruled guilty in 15 federal unfair labor practices complaints, and when a City Club member asked about it, Godbold said, "It has to do with obviously some real differences of opinion about what's OK in terms of labor practices. … they [the owners] still believe significantly enough in the correctness of their actions that they are appealing every one, so it's not like the case has been resolved completely yet."
Berlinski noted the company has already lost five appeals in court, "and we expect them to lose more."
"Whatever you may have heard," Godbold said, "I can promise you one thing: Both parties to these difficult negotiations are acting with what they genuinely believe are the best interests of their constituents at heart. This isn't about good guys and bad guys. The issues that separate the two sides now are fundamentally philosophical, not economic."
When asked to elaborate on what those philosophical differences were, he declined, saying he was not allowed to speak on the specifics of the negotiations.
City Club member Maryann Holser asked how has the quality of the R-G's news coverage has been affected by the current economic situation and labor dispute. Godbold said he couldn't speak for Guild members, but "from the point of view of a supervisor and an editor, I haven't seen a diminishing of the quality of their work at all. They have been as professional and as energetic and as incredible as they were when they were working under a signed contract."
Berlinski disagreed, saying "lots of good people have left the newsroom and other departments" during these stressful times, including Suzi Prozanski, Lance Robertson, Kimber Williams and Elaine Bebe-Lapriore. "The copy desk has lost half its staff in the past 26 months. High quality newspaper workers won't be attracted to the Guard, given our problems. The Guard has a bad reputation in the industry as a workplace right now."
Godbold also spoke on the R-G's slipping revenues and readership, challenges facing family-owned newspapers today, the paper's policy of not publishing letters on its labor battles, and plans for the R-G to resume investigative reporting.
City Club talks are taped and usually broadcast on KLCC-FM the following Monday, but this talk has been delayed for airing until 6:30 pm Monday, July 29.
— Ted Taylor
Cities such as San Francisco that enact living wage laws above minimum wage are reducing poverty rates for the working poor, according to a study released this spring by the Public Policy Institute of California. The study is discussed in the latest issue of Business Ethics magazine, www.business-ethics.com/
More than 60 U.S. cities, counties and public agencies have adopted living wage policies since 1994.
"Living wages actually reduce poverty," says author David Neumark, an economics professor at Michigan State University. "If someone's getting up on a soapbox saying these are a disaster," he says, "there's really no evidence." For more information, visit www.ppic.org
Health Care for All-Oregon announced this week that single-payer health insurance will be on Oregon's November ballot. Local organizer Ruth Duemler says the grassroots group turned in 98,001 signatures and sampling of 1,000 ballots by the secretary of state's office indicated that 87 percent of the ballots were valid, more than enough to qualify.
The group now faces an opposition campaign likely well funded by the insurance industry and other business interests. If it passes, the measure would establish a statewide insurance company funded by a combination of employer and progressive income taxes.
With wildfires destroying homes and forests at an alarming rate this summer, a collection of 148 U.S. conservation groups sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service July 18 clarifying their positions concerning wildfire management on public lands. The groups say recent media reports and statements by federal and state officials have mistakenly criticized the environmental community as opposing most fire management strategies, according to the Environmental News Service.
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Websitings is a list of useful and sometimes quirky web sites. See a complete list with hot links at www.eugeneweekly.com/websitings.html Care to contribute to the list? Send suggested sites and a short description to firstname.lastname@example.org
The groups emphasize in the letter that they have always supported "common sense approaches designed to effectively protect homes and communities from fire," including prescribed burning and reduction of underbrush.
The letter says most environmental groups only oppose "those projects that would log old-growth trees in the name of fire protection." The letter also points out that "industrial logging does not fireproof a forest," citing the disastrous Rodeo-Chediski fire in Arizona as an example. The forest that burned is heavily logged and roaded.
Oregon environmental groups are sponsoring Wilderness Week, which began July 19 and continues through this weekend. Upcoming hikes and camping trips include Brice Creek, Murderer's Creek, the Siskiyous, Lemolo, Memaloose Lake, the Copper Salmon wilderness and other wild places. The guided outings include tours of unique areas that are unprotected from logging and road-building.
All the hikes, events and contact information are listed on the website (www.oregonwild.org/wweek2002.html). For the Brice Creek hike Friday, July 26, call 767-1368. The outings are free and transportation is provided by carpooling.
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Gift to Hynix
Internal documents reveal just how city staff screwed up.
BY ALAN PITTMAN
In February, the Eugene City Council narrowly voted to give Hynix a new $2.2 million tax break. At the time, councilors were unaware that Hynix was successfully appealing its taxes with the state, costing the city about $480,000 this year in lost revenues.
City staff knew about the tax appeal but didn't tell the council. When news of the appeal broke after the vote, councilors said the staff should not have withheld information from the council that would have changed the tax break decision. Several councilors asked acting City Manager Jim Carlson for a detailed explanation, but remained unsatisfied.
Citizens for Public Accountability obtained hundreds of pages of city documents related to the Hynix tax appeal using the state Public Records Law. The internal city e-mails and memos reveal:
Ç City officials had detailed knowledge of the appeal
months before the council vote.
Ç A math error lead to an underestimate of the appeal's financial impact on the city.
Ç One city staffer twice recommended telling the council about the appeal without success.
Ç City staff hid their detailed knowledge of the appeal when a KVAL TV reporter broke the story.
What follows is a chronology of what the documents show.
On Nov. 30, 2001, Hynix acting CEO M.H. Huh writes a letter to the state tax court appealing the corporation's taxes. On Dec. 26, the Hynix tax appeal is formally filed with the tax court. The short public document says Hynix wants a reduction of its assessed value from $752 million to $500 million.
Jan. 16, 2002, Lane County commercial appraiser Chip Cool e-mails city treasury officer Sue Cutsogeorge warning that according to the state Department of Revenue (DOR), Hynix's taxable value will be reduced by about $60 million resulting in a "substantial refund." Cutsogeorge e-mails back, "We are obviously very interested in knowing what's going on with the taxes for this facility." Cool refers Cutsogeorge to DOR for more information, "We have to be careful with disclosure and confidentiality issues in regard to industrial facilities as well as being sensitive to [DOR's] review and negotiation process."
Jan. 17, Cutsogeorge e-mails three other city finance and development staffers alerting them of the Hynix appeal. Based on the $60 million figure, Cutsogeorge calculates that the impact of the tax appeal on the city could be about $100,000. Her calculations later prove wrong.
Jan. 17, Cecil Preuit, senior industrial appraiser at DOR, e-mails Cutsogeorge with more information on Hynix's appeal. "It has pretty convincingly been shown that Hynix reported some of their business cost as new capitalized improvements."
Jan. 17, Cutsogeorge e-mails Cool saying she understands that basic information about Hynix's appeal is not confidential. Cool e-mails back clarifying, "only when we get into the specifics of the basis for the appeal and the info being submitted for review by the company are we treading into the confidential areas."
Jan. 18, Cutsogeorge e-mails city finance and development staff relaying information from Cool. "We determined that it is OK to let folks know that Hynix appealed their value ... but we shouldn't provide any specifics about why or about the estimate of the potential impact. So if we wanted to mention this in the staff notes [to the City Council], we should say that they paid $xx in taxes for the current year but they have appealed their assessed value and the amount may be reduced if the appeal is successful."
Jan. 18, Cutsogeorge e-mails city development staffer Denny Braud, repeating her suggestion that the staff notes briefing the City Council on the Hynix tax waiver decision include information on the tax appeal. "I would also suggest adding at the end of that paragraph a sentence saying that they have appealed their assessed value and they could receive a refund this year if the appeal is successful." But on Jan. 23, Cutsogeorge e-mails Braud, praising his draft of the council briefing that doesn't mention the tax appeal. "This really looks good." The final version of the council briefing for a Jan. 30 meeting makes no mention of the appeal.
Feb. 19, Cutsogeorge and Braud exchange e-mails again discussing the uncertainty of the Hynix tax revenue estimates being sent to the City Council due to the pending appeal.
Feb. 20, the City Council approves an additional $2.2 million in tax breaks for Hynix. The vote is 4-4 with the mayor breaking the tie.
April 17, Cutsogeorge e-mails acting city manager Jim Carlson and city development and finance staff describing a call from KVAL TV news reporter Cathryn Stephens. "I told her we didn't have any information about the amount.... [Finance manager] Dee Ann [Hardt] left me a message saying that she didn't tell her anything either."
Cutsogeorge writes that Stephens has a tax court document indicating Hynix wants its value reduced by $250 million. "It surprised me that she could get something from tax court, since I've been told by the county and the state that information about an appeal on industrial property is confidential."
Cutsogeorge says Stephens questioned why the council wasn't told of the appeal before they granted the Hynix tax break. "I didn't respond to her assertions/questions."
April 17, Cutsogeorge e-mails Hardt estimating the impact of the tax appeal to the city could be $400,000 if Hynix's value is reduced by $250 million and half of that value is not exempt under previous tax breaks. "My math appears to have been wrong in the first [Jan. 17] calculation … sorry about that." Cutsogeorge also tells Hardt that "my research on the [tax appeal] process indicates that this information should not be confidential."
April 17, Hardt e-mails Carlson that staff knew about the appeal in January but didn't tell the council. Cutsogeorge "brought up the point that we could consider including some language in the exemption AIS [council briefing] about Hynix's tax appeal. I didn't make any additional effort to have this information included in the AIS."
April 19, Carlson e-mails the council and budget committee with his explanation of what happened. Carlson says staff knew about the appeal in January but based on "sketchy information" estimated the impact at only $100,000, an amount that was "was not felt to be too important." Carlson says, "With the benefit of hindsight, we should have at least raised the issue for full information, even though we would not have known what the impact of the appeal would be." Carlson does not mention Cutsogeorge's e-mailed admission of a math error.
April 23, Councilor Gary Rayor e-mails Carlson, saying he "definitely" wouldn't have provided the swing vote for the Hynix tax break if he'd known of the pending tax appeal. "Withholding related legal information by whomever is a serious breach of judgement and duty."
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Health workers question closing.
BY JACQUELYN LEWIS
The permanent closure of the All Women's Health Services (AWHS) clinic in Eugene July 16 sent out a shock wave that still resonates throughout the entire community. The shutdown was a surprise to the organization's employees and patients, the medical community and local pro-choice organizations.
AWHS is a non-profit feminist organization dedicated to providing women-controlled healthcare. The clinic provided a variety of services, including annual exams, STD screening, donor insemination, pregnancy testing and abortions. The organization operates another clinic in Portland, which will remain open.
Lois Smith, executive director in Portland, says the reasoning behind the Eugene shutdown "can be summarized as a strategic business decision we've made for the organization." Smith, who was unavailable for follow-up comments this week, also says the closure will allow the Portland clinic to concentrate on a more full spectrum of women's healthcare. However, former employees and community members speculate otherwise.
Employees were called into a mandatory meeting the morning of July 16, where Smith told them the clinic was officially closed.
"It was completely a shock to all of us," says Sarah Macrorie, a former health worker at the clinic. She says the employees were simply given their last paychecks and unemployment handbooks.
"There was a pretty broad range of reactions," Macrorie says. "Some people started crying immediately." While Macrorie says she felt "thoroughly insulted," her immediate reaction was to ask questions. "All the answers I got were really unsatisfactory," she says. "They were really vague. Everything you do is a business decision, and I feel shafted by that answer."
Former clinic coordinator Penny O'Leary says she became physically ill upon hearing of the clinic's shutdown. "We felt like we were making a difference," she says, "and that dedication was stamped out in such a cruel, harsh and sudden way. I just can't believe it. If it was purely a business decision, one would think they would have made arrangements ahead of time. It was baffling."
According to O'Leary, Smith pointed to Medical Director Sarah Hendrickson's resignation as one reason for the closure. Hendrickson planned to leave the clinic at the end of July, and AWHS was searching for a replacement. However, Macrorie says the search was insufficient. "My understanding was that a good effort was not made."
O'Leary says employees' impending unionization could have been a deciding factor in the board of directors' decision. "We had authorized the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) to recognize us as a bargaining unit," she says. "We were working with the women in Portland and we were afraid for our jobs." O'Leary says employees planned to file union papers July 8 and attend a board meeting the next day to announce their plans. Later, the employees were told the meeting would be closed and they would not be allowed to attend.
"Many of us felt that the AWHS Board of Directors and administration chose to shut down the Eugene facility rather than address staff and community concerns," wrote former employee Bayla Ostrach, in a Register-Guard column July 22.
O'Leary says concerns included a recent change in the pay scale. Under the former system, workers could receive a 50-cent raise for each of five skill levels. However, under the new system, employees were limited to one raise per year. The organization also reduced employees' hours over the past year.
O'Leary says AWHS may have been facing even more significant financial struggles. "It didn't look like a business doing well," she says, pointing to the $99,000 the business was expected to lose in 2002. However, she says, the Eugene clinic performed more abortions than the Portland facility. "Those clients pay more per visit," she says. "I don't know how closing the Eugene clinic is going to benefit their business."
"I think the administration was looking for an excuse," Macrorie says, "and they found one, whatever that may have been. I do think it had to do with the fact we were making trouble for them."
Macrorie says the clinic was also providing abortions in a "harsh environment" for such services, adding, "We have a conservative Catholic medical organization running this town."
Smith says AWHS will be coordinating follow-up care with clients in Portland. However, O'Leary thinks the Portland facility is already understaffed and appointment slots are booked until the end of August.
"As it is, nearly 40 women would have come to Eugene AWHS for abortions this weekend," wrote Ostrach. "… the time and money it will take to make an appointment in Portland may mean the difference between having an abortion and being forced to bear a child they cannot care for." She also calls AWHS's decision an "abandonment of care" and says many patients who recently had abortions and already paid follow-up fees will have to pay another physician if they are unable to travel to Portland.
Smith says AWHS "will continue to work with the pro-choice community in Eugene and Lane County."
Macrorie is optimistic, saying, "The position is ripe for another clinic to open, and there will be plenty of support. We have a void, but that void will be filled."
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Spotted owl remains on the brink.
BY ORNA IZAKSON
Remember the northern spotted owl, the bird on whose behalf logging once halted on national forests in Oregon? You haven't thought about the bird for almost a decade. It's time to think again.
New lawsuits, the eight-year-old Northwest Forest Plan, bigger, badder birds and current logging all are threatening the spotted owl, which has become the poster-bird for the fight to protect ancient forests.
The issue has been rising in prominence in the past couple of weeks. First, activists discovered an owl family including a baby on the edge of the controversial Berry Patch timber sale in the Willamette National Forest.
The owl family and its still-dependent owlet were a startling reminder that the landmark 1994 Northwest Forest Plan allows owl habitat to be obliterated and owl populations to decline based on the prediction that in 50 to 70 years both the habitat and the birds will rebound.
The plan considered three categories of habitat for the owl: protected areas such as wilderness, matrix lands that are supposed to be the source of all or most timber volume, and "late successional reserves" (LSRs) where the Forest Service is growing trees that will eventually become good owl habitat.
The problem, explains Susan Jane Brown of the Vancouver, Wash.-based Gifford Pinchot Task Force, is that the plan expected all the suitable owl habitat on matrix lands to be cut in 20 years, while the LSRs wouldn't offer good habitat to replace it for 80-100 years — a sizeable gap for a species on the brink.
"What do you do for the next 60-80 years if you're a spotted owl?" she asks. "You go extinct because there isn't any habitat on state or private lands."
According to Doug Heiken of the Oregon Natural Resources Council — one of the first groups that worked to protect the owl — this period of greater risk "is the Northwest Forest Plan's dirty little secret."
The case of the Berry Patch owl family is a particularly striking example of how the Forest Plan reduced protections for individual owls. Usually, the Endangered Species Act (under which the owl is protected) would require much larger buffers around the imperiled birds. According to Mike Gebben, a wildlife biologist with the Willamette National Forest, owlets at the age of the one near Berry Patch may be able to fly by the time logging started on June 16, but usually can't even feed themselves reliably until as late as September.
In the LSRs, owls would have a window through Sept. 30 to get out of the way of logging, Gebben explained. The birds also would have had bigger buffers, too, if they'd been found before the plan went into effect in 1994.
"It's kind of like double jeopardy for these birds," says Shannon Wilson, a forest-issues coordinator with the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club. "They're in matrix and they were found post 1994 … They're just these extra spotted owls that (the USFS) didn't plan to manage around."
Wilson notes that, according to USFS documents, substantially more owls live on matrix lands than in LSRs or wilderness. As of Sept. 1997, 505 owl pairs lived in protected areas of western Oregon national public lands from the Willamette National Forest north, with 100 of those in wilderness. By contrast, 675 pairs were unprotected, meaning they lived on matrix lands or were found after 1994.
But things could get worse for the owls. A lawsuit by the Western Council of Industrial Workers (WCIW) is forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — the federal agency responsible for recovering imperiled plants and critters — to reevaluate the status of the owl and the marbled murrelet, another old-growth-dependent bird. In the process, the suit is challenging the basis of both birds' protection under the ESA and asking that any habitat designated as critical to their survival be revoked.
As many predicted before Bush took office, the new White House is being far less than aggressive when faced with lawsuits that suit its positions. Bush's Justice Department — whose job it is to defend agency decisions such as the listings — has repeatedly settled cases by reducing protection for species rather than fighting them.
The WCIW lawsuit is in federal court in Eugene before Judge Ann Aiken. A coalition of environmental groups has asked to intervene in the case, concerned that the Bush administration will accede to industry interests over the needs of imperiled species.
"We have to be at the table to protect the public interest and protect the species," Heiken says. "There is a precedent here. They could come to some very dramatic conclusion in a settlement that takes away the very heart of the protective measures for the spotted owl and the marbled murrelet."
Brown, for her part, is very worried.
"I really fear for the owl," she says. "I think that the Bush administration is just salivating over the opportunity to delist the owl … We've got owl populations that are just crashing.
In short, she says, "I think the owl is screwed. But we'll continue to fight what the Bush administration wants to do."
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More war news that escapes mainstream attention.
BY KATE ROGERS GESSERT
Ç French government sources predict an early U.S. attack on Iraq, in time for fall elections (Ha'aretz). In past weeks there have been repeated exchanges of fire between U.S. and U.K. planes and Iraqi ground artillery. According to Iraqi sources, one Iraqi man was killed and six injured July 14 (AP); on July 17, five people died and 17 were injured in the bombing of an Iraqi residential neighborhood (Times of India).
Ç Afghan civilians and humanitarian aid workers are targets of violence in northern Afghanistan as followers of rival warlords rape, rob, shoot, extort, and steal farmland. Forced labor, sexual violence, and forcible recruitment make life difficult at local camps for displaced Afghans. Once again, people are calling for an expansion of the international security force now working in Kabul (Human Rights Watch).
Ç The U.S. and Britain are seceretly paying huge sums of money to Afghan warlords to persuade them to support Karzai's fledgling government. "You do not buy warlords in Afghanistan," explained a source in the British Foreign Office. "You 'rent' them for a period." Commanders have been promised a $40,000 pickup truck each in exchange for proof they have killed Taliban or al-Qaeda members. Meanwhile, peacekeeping forces are limited and funds for emergency help and reconstruction are running low (Guardian).
Ç From May to mid-July, Palestinians killed 74 Israeli civilians, 18 younger than 18, and 98 Palestinian civilians, 24 under 18, were killed by the IDF (B'tselem).
Ç On the West Bank, under ongoing Israeli military occupation, international observer-activists continue to ride in ambulances, stay with Palestinian families, visit families living in houses occupied by the IDF, march with Palestinians protesting 24-hour curfews, accompany trucks of food and water containers past road blocks into sealed-off villages, escort Palestinians to hospitals and family gardens, and teach children in improvised summer camps. Although some internationals have been harassed, beaten, shot, and imprisoned, more than 1,000 have come to the West Bank (International Solidarity Movement).
Ç To date, 250 to 1,000 internationals from many countries have been denied entry to Israel — not only observers, but doctors, nurses, legislators, and administrators from organizations such as CARE., Save the Children, and U.N. Humanitarian Affairs Office. More than 120 internationals have been deported, many forbidden to return for 10 years (ISM and Al-Ahram Weekly).
Ç Israeli Rami Elhanan, whose daughter, 14, was killed by a suicide bomber, works with Bereaved Parents for Peace. Members of this Israeli-Palestinian organization recently laid 1,000 coffins, each draped with an Israeli or Palestinian flag, at New York's U.N. headquarters. "What is the point of revenge?" asks Elhanan. "Will it bring back my daughter?... Everybody knows what the solution will be. We will withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, the Palestinians will get the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there will be no right of return for the Palestinian refugees, and Jerusalem will be divided. The only question now is how many people will die before this happens ... Up to last week there were 2,007 casualties [since September 2000]. Among them are 266 Palestinian children... and 60 Israeli kids. This is the price of not making peace..." (Independent).
Ç In recent articles, Israelis are confronting social and economic costs of the occupation. Gila Svirksy writes of Israel's recession, rising inflation and unemployment, low funding for social and environmental programs, limits on free speech, growing racism, increases in violent crimes, and violence among schoolchildren (Coalition of Women For Peace.) Daphna Levit of Ben Gurion University outlines ways for a country to "avoid the grueling financial demands of [responsible] economic government. .. Focus on and exploit national fear ... by issuing continual and ominous warnings of imminent attacks ... If the voters are sufficiently terrified and anxious about their prospects for survival, they will back you all the way to national bankruptcy."
Ç B'tselem has released a new report, "Land Grab," showing that settlements occupy 1.7 percent of West Bank land and control 42 percent. More than 60 percent of Israelis now support evacuation of all or most settlements, as well as unilateral withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank and Gaza.
Ç Palestinian academics and public figures have called for an end to suicide bombings: "It is our national responsibility to issue this appeal in the light of the dangerous situation engulfing the Palestinian people ... Suicide bombings deepen the hatred and widen the gap between Palestinian and Israeli people ..." (Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between Peoples).
Ç The Israeli occupation is enabled by U.S. weapons and military aid, $1.8 billion in 2002, $2.1 billion proposed for 2003. The U.S. also supports Israel's own defense industry, granting billions of dollars in recent years to develop Israeli aircraft, anti-missile lasers and missiles, and Merkava tanks, with engines now produced in the U.S. by General Dynamics. In addition, Israel receives free American Excess Defense Articles, including, from 1994 to 2001, thousands of machine guns and grenade launchers and 64,000 M-16 rifles (Foreign Policy in Focus).
Ç Any country receiving U.S. military aid must spend all or most of the money purchasing weapons from U.S. companies. Israel has bought 237 F-16 fighter jets, with 102 more on order from Lockheed Martin at $34.7 million each. It also buys Apache gunship helicopters from Boeing at $14.5 million each. Other weapons in the Israeli arsenal include Phantom and Eagle fighter jets, sold by Boeing for $18.4 million and $38 million respectively, Cobra attack helicopters from Bell Textron at $10.7 million, Sea Stallion and Blackhawk helicopters from Sikorsky, and missiles: Boeing's $40,000 Hellfires and Raytheon's Mavericks, Sidewinders, Sparrows, and Patriots, ranging from $84,000 to $600,000 each (Foreign Policy in Focus).
Shortly after he moved to Eugene in 1969, Californian Cary Thompson found work at the Willamette People's Co-op across from Edison School. "They had cheaper and better-nutrution food, and the people owned it," he says. "I got excited about alternative lifestyles." A year later, he helped start a commune west of town, the Rainbow Valley Wild Chicken Ranch. "The house was a wreck," he recalls. "I stayed there about a year." Following a stint at the Health Food and Pool Store, Thompson opened his own New Frontier Market in '73, when the Frontier Market went vacant. "We were among the first to combine a neighborhood convenience store with bulk foods and organic produce," he notes. Thompson opened the Red Barn in '82 and helped launch Oasis in '87 — "I was buyer and spiritual advisor." As a member of Eugene's Sister City Committee in the early '90s, he took an interest in fair-traded craft items and opened Greater Goods with partner Joan Kleban. Thompson's current volunteer project, the Helios Resource Network, aims to provide networking resources and a meeting location for small non-profit organizations. — Paul Neevel
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