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School candidates on the May 20 ballot. Please vote!

Below are our picks among the contested races on the May 20 mail-in election for Lane Community College and Eugene public schools board positions. Ballot drop-off sites are listed in the ballot envelopes for last-minute voters.

LCC Board Zone 1
Rich Cunningham. Zone 1 stretches from the Bethel area of Eugene west to Florence. Cunningham is a Bethel insurance broker and father of two disabled children. He has experience serving on a school board in Rhode Island and has made strong, but unsuccessful runs for the Eugene City Council and Bethel School Board. In his campaign, Cunningham has called for increased efficiency to address the college's deep budget problems but has also advocated increasing revenue through reducing video poker commissions paid to businesses and through a county vehicle registration fee. He spoke out against opponent Rob Spooner's idea to cut women's programs at LCC to save money.

Spooner is the owner of Oregon Coast magazine and a Florence conservative. Cunningham's other opponent, Paul Holman, is a conservative real estate broker, former owner of the Siuslaw News and former Florence Chamber of Commerce president. Cunningham is a moderate endorsed by the local Democratic Party, County Commissioner Peter Sorenson and, us.

LCC Board, Zone 2
Nadia Sindi. As a member of the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee, the Citizen Involvement Committee and the 4J Equity Committee representing Middle Eastern students, Sindi has proven herself an impassioned representative. Sindi is committed to opening the lines of communication between LCC students, faculty, and staff as they negotiate solutions to the current budget crisis. This emphasis on communication and Sindi's dedication to increasingly important issues of diversity make her our pick for Zone 2.

LCC Board, Position 6
Roger Hall. His experience is critical at this tough time. Three different boards have elected Hall chairman over his 12-year service on the LCC board. Other candidates may claim "new" ideas, but the ideas should be examined for viability. It takes time and work to figure that out. Hall is endorsed by Demo party of Lane county, American Federation of Teachers of Oregon, and LCC Employees Federation.

LCC Board, Position 7
Mike Rose. A faculty member at LCC for 29 years, Rose knows the college inside out. He has served carefully on the board for four years. We're lucky to have his perspective at this time when the state continues to irresponsibly shred public education.

Eugene School District 4J, Position 5
Tom Herrmann. He ran for the board two years ago and lost. After that defeat, he could have picked up his marbles and gone home, but he has continued the grinding work of the budget committee, now for a total of five years, the last two as chair. We're in favor of moving his expertise up to the next level. We also want to suggest that Curt Smith, the other candidate for position 5, apply for the budget committee with an eye to the future.

Time to move on.

I can't wait to have PERS done; the nastiness — the anger, the scapegoating, the innuendo — has greatly outweighed the positive comments I've received. Sometimes this can be a tough life. Within hours after giving the hardest speech of my life on the Senate floor, I received supportive calls from Mike Lehman and Bryan Johnston; we were all freshmen in the House in 1995 and we've retained a close friendship. The next day Bryan sent me this e-mail:

Tony, It was good to see you last night. I'm sorry you have to go through your current ordeal. I was troubled by not being able to give you the Emerson quote, so I looked it up:

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

By his definition, and it is one I accept, you've led a very successful life. My sense of it, though is that we both could have survived a little while longer without understanding what the "betrayal of false friends" line meant.

My response was: That's all very kind Bryan, but it's a damn eulogy — something usually reserved for the posthumous.

The week from hell concluded with the governor signing the three major PERS pieces on Friday. This met next Tuesday's deadline for the PERS Board to instruct the actuary to lower the employer rates for next year, saving state and local government and school boards $670 million next biennium. I told the employers not to rush to spend the money; we made these bills as constitutional as possible, but they would be challenged and some aspects would probably be overturned — put the savings in escrow! The lawyer from the employer's side, Harrang Long's Bill Gary, thinks it'll all pass constitutional muster. Our problem was the conflicting opinions we got from legislative counsel and the Attorney General's Office. Bottom line: For the next year we will await a court decision. Meanwhile the last piece, a successor retirement plan for new employees, is in front of us.

It's time to move on. As I said in my floor speech Thursday: "To the business community who said they wouldn't support tax reform until PERS is fixed … it's done. Now do your job." Thursday afternoon in my Senate Rules Committee, I was able to present my bill to reduce the video poker lottery commission to save essential services. It's important to note that an identical bill of Representative Rosenbaum's can't even get a hearing on the House side. Even as late as yesterday, the House leadership is still in denial regarding the budget. "Raising taxes is not the answer, Speaker Minnis says" was the R-G headline. A few moderate Republicans are working up a plan that includes going after some of the tax expenditure loopholes, adding a little beer and wine tax; a little here, a little there. But it's not enough. My goal is to get education, human services and public safety back to the funding level we were at after the second special session.

Note to self: Don't ever show up at home again on a Friday night — after being gone all week in Salem — with a used bowling pin in your hand on Mother's Day weekend. "What the hell is that?" said my sweetie. "It's a bowling pin; it was given to me by a bunch of angry public employees." "Is it a reward?" she asked. "No, actually it's because of the PERS fix I supported; these nice people asked me to ponder the anatomically impossible deed of placing this thing sideways up one of my apertures, so I brought it home to practice." "Let me get this right, a gang of angry folks marched into the capitol to spread a bunch of bad chi? And they think this will help bring about something good?" she pondered. "It's called lobbying," I replied weakly. "Some of those folks wouldn't know a Rufous-sided Towhee from a Black-headed Grosbeak when it comes to PERS anyhow," she opined. "Now, get up to the barn and build me another horse stall," she ordered. "Do something constructive. It's great to have you and Simon home for the weekend."

Yes, my love, it's great to be home, as well.

Sen. Tony Corcoran of Cottage Grove represents portions of Lane and Douglas counties in Senate District 4, which includes the UO area. He can be reached at


Last Man on Earth
Visions of bar women kept dancing in my head.

Where do lesbians come from? Are we born this way? Do we choose it? Is there a maniacal Dr. Dykenstein in some cliffside la-BOR-atory piecing together exhumed body parts and jolting them to life on stormy nights with a giant Hitachi Magic Wand?

Born, chosen or created, lesbians roam the earth trying to find each other. Not an easy task in a world where all our identifying hairstyles become mainstream fashion. If we are lucky enough to detect others of our kind, we must initiate contact.

But some of us are slow. I may have stayed lost in hetspace forever if it hadn't been for my final boyfriend. He was kind and gentle — nothing like the other overpowering, self-absorbed, clit-ignorant college boys I knew.

We hiked to our special woodland hideout where I braided wildflowers into his long silky hair. We pranced and spun in the meadow. We were stardust. We were golden. OK, we were high.

Boyfriend lived across from an all-woman communal household where he bought his monthly lid. Those women didn't like men coming over, so I was the weed runner. I crossed the street with his money folded up in the pocket of my long tie-dyed skirt.

The pot-women were friendly. I enjoyed visiting the commune but had to get back across the street to enjoy the purchase with my far-out guy.

Boyfriend was a good dancer, meaning he'd slip off into his own world while I did the same. We liked to go out dancing, but I always got hit on at straight clubs. Not being the "keep your hands off my woman" sort of man, Boyfriend suggested we try our town's only gay bar. I had no idea my own queer streak was as wide as k.d. lang's vocal range, but somehow I felt right at home among the bar's strong, confident, man-less women. But I also felt kind of sorry for them because they didn't have a great guy like my long-haired swirly boy groovin' over there in the corner of the dance floor.

When Boyfriend and I went back to his place, visions of the bar women kept dancing in my head. Boyfriend agreed to pretend we were both women and indulged my request for dickless sex. I had one terrific guy.

The next day in our woodland hideout, my dancing queen gently suggested I might be a lesbian. How could that be? Had I failed to conform to my het conditioning? Was I turning into one of those dirty queers kids joked about on the school bus? Boyfriend's comment stung. But the idea was planted.

Back at the bar, Boyfriend danced and I studied the bar dykes. Was I like them? I didn't walk or dress tough. I was terrible at shooting pool. I didn't even own one single bandana. I couldn't be a lesbian.

But I got all tingly imagining what kissing one would feel like. I kept dashing off to the women's restroom hoping one of those bar dykes would pounce and smooch me into submission. I never mentioned that fantasy to Boyfriend, but he had my number.

His requests for my weed-running services mysteriously increased. He sent me over to the commune so often, I ended up staying the night. One of the roommates shared her bed with me and taught me everything I needed to know about being a happy lesbian. Real happy!

After college Boyfriend moved away. I like to think his next girlfriend directed him toward the Radical Faeries with whom he traipsed off to dance in the woods with his kindred spirits.

The "born vs. choice" argument reminds me of him. Was I born this way? Did I choose it? Or did I just happen to have a wonderful boyfriend who steered me toward my natural destiny? If you run into him swirling around some dance floor, please thank him for me. I may have forgotten to do that.

"Living Out" began in EW and now appears in more than a dozen publications. To enroll in Sally Sheklow's summer term writing classes contact the LCC continuing education program at



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