News Briefs: Citizens Fight for Freedom of Song | Healthy City For Women | Genesis Juice will Continue Flowing | Undercovered #38: Saddam's Capture | Mother Kali's Staying Afloat | Early Deadlines |

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes.



CITIZENS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM OF SONG

An ad hoc coalition of organizers from various community groups has been meeting to discuss possible solutions to proposed Ordinance 20303, which prohibits the gathering of 25 or more persons downtown without a permit. An ordinance to this effect has been in place since 1972, but the City Council recently amended it to incorporate an even larger parcel of downtown: from 6th to 11th avenues and from High to Lincoln streets.

The expansion of limits on free assembly and free speech has created alarm among many Eugene citizens.

The ad hoc coalition, after meeting at Harris Hall on Dec. 8 to discuss possible action, asked attorney Brian Michaels and ACLU Executive Director Dave Fidanque to draft a letter to Eugene's acting City Attorney, Jerome Lidz, asking that the city wait to enforce parts of the new law until community concerns have been addressed.

The ordinance is set to take effect Dec. 24.

The letter states, in part, "After having reviewed the ordinance, it is our opinion the Permit requirement for meetings/assemblies of more than 25 people and other sections relating to free expression and assembly are unenforceable in their current form."

The letter was mailed Dec. 13 and requests a reply no later than Friday, Dec. 19.

"Earlier, we agreed to withdraw our opposition to the ordinance and work with City staff to minimize the negative impacts on constitutionally protected expression and assembly," Fidanque says, "but after reviewing the analysis by local attorney Brian Michaels of the interaction between the new ordinance and existing sections of the City code, we agree the constitutional defects can't be fixed without making revisions to the ordinance."

Coalition members will hold another meeting at 5 pm, Dec. 19 at Cozmic Pizza (8th and Charnelton) to discuss further action.

One planned event occurs on Dec. 24 to mark the first day of the ordinance's enactment. Citizens will gather at 4:30 pm at Cozmic Pizza, assemble in groups of 25 or more without permits and go Christmas caroling in the restricted downtown area.

Organizers say challenging an unjust law by singing carols is "a great way to celebrate the holidays." — Aria Seligmann

 

HEALTHY CITY FOR WOMEN

Eugene is one of the best cities in the nation for women to live in, according to rankings by SELF magazine, circulation 941,000. The magazine recently cited Eugene's "crisp air, pure water and clear skies" in rating the city #1 for best environment. Other factors included Eugene's eco-friendly new public library, aggressive recycling, storm-water programs, efforts to promote walking and biking to work, and in-shape residents enjoying it all. Alan Pittman

 

GENESIS JUICE WILL CONTINUE FLOWING

As 2004 approaches, longtime lovers of Genesis Juice can rest assured that their favorite raw juice drinks will be around for at least a little while longer.

In September, members of the Genesis Juice Cooperative learned they had been operating in violation of the FDA's Juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Law (HACCP), which requires that juice producers, except for very small businesses, meet a five-log pathogen reduction standard using either pasteurization or an alternative method to reduce the presence of hazardous bacteria such as E. coli. A five-log standard means that the juice must achieve at least a 100,000-fold decrease in the number of microorganisms. Alternatives to pasteurization include using UV light or high pressure to reduce pathogens.

Genesis failed to meet the "very small business" standards and was considering possible closure.

But the business was spared because the FDA regulation is passed down to the states to enforce, and Oregon has no such regulation — yet.

Phyllis Wagner, a representative for Congressman DeFazio, said that Genesis is in the clear for the time being.

"Currently, the states have no guidelines to enforce [HACCP], and it takes a few years to come up with these types of regulations," she says.

Alan Bennet, of the FDA Portland post, says "the HACCP rules are being phased in with small manufacturers," and although he could not comment on the fate of Genesis Juice Cooperative, he said that Oregon will adopt FDA rules that will eventually be enforced.

Opponents of the HACCP regulations, including Genesis, feel that pasteurization and the alternatives degrade the nutritional value and alter the flavor of the juice. — Karman Ratliff

 

UNDERCOVERED #38: SADDAM'S CAPTURE

We "got" Saddam Hussein. The cost so far includes 530 dead coalition soldiers, 7,700 to 9,776 Iraqi civilians, 11,000 Iraqi soldiers, 39,600 bombs dropped, $103 billion spent, 2,150 wounded GIs (www.iraqometer.com)and more than 6,800 others medically evacuated (UPI).

To reduce U.S. casualties, Operation Iron Hammer, launched in November, employs bombing raids, razor wire and checkpoints encircling Iraqi villages, demolishing houses where resistance activity is suspected, and imprisoning relatives of suspected fighters. But according to U.S. Lt. Col. Sassoman, Iraq, "With a heavy dose of fear and violence and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them" (New York Times).

On the West Bank, International Solidarity Movement volunteers are currently picking large rocks out of a field near Jenin, accompanying Palestinian farmers who could not plow their land near an Israeli settlement for three years because Israeli soldiers were shooting at them.

Nonviolent Peaceforce, founded in 1999, is training an international corps of civilian peacekeepers "to prevent death and destruction in conflict areas, creating safe space for local groups to struggle nonviolently and seek peaceful resolutions." In November the first peacekeepers reached Sri Lanka, the pilot site, where they will live and work for two years. The Peaceforce has issued 100,000 Peace Bonds, earth-friendly gifts for $10 each. In 2010, when they mature, investors will have a strong Peaceforce (www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org). Kate Rogers Gessert

 

MOTHER KALI'S STAYING AFLOAT

Like many small, independent bookstores, Mother Kali's has met with some financial troubles recently and is struggling to stay afloat. But the community has stepped up to lend its support.

A recent fund-raising dinner at the Keystone Café garnered the tome mart a sweet $1,300. Next, a "generous benefactor" came forth to offer rent help for the next two months.

"Both of these developments will give us time to explore options for the future of the store," says Mother Kali's Tracy Scharn.

Scharn hopes that storewide discounts in December and the textbook rush of January will place the shop in good stead. An art show fund-raiser at the store from 1 to 6 pm Saturday, Dec. 20 will celebrate Solstice and also support the store.

Scharn and the rest of Mother Kali's staff say they are grateful to the individuals and businesses, including Sweet Life Patisserie, Cascade Candle Company, Rhythm and Blooms, the Village School, Aramark, and Keystone Café for the encouragement.

"At a time when independent bookstores are struggling to compete against large chains, it is wonderful to see the community come out to support Eugene's feminist independent bookstore," says Scharn. — AS

 

EARLY DEADLINES

Both Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Thursdays this year, so EW will be printed early and distributed on the last two Wednesdays of the year. The deadline was Dec. 17 for the Dec. 24 issue, and noon Wednesday, Dec. 24 for the Dec. 31 issue. The early deadlines apply to both ad reservations and Calendar/Club submissions. Questions? Call 484-0519.

 

SLANT

Good turnout for the Dec. 10 demonstration in front of the Wal-Mart store on West 11th, and the TV news crews were there with their bright lights and cameras. Labor organizers counted about 200 people in the shivering crowd, including some curious shoppers — and that's what it's all about, raising public awareness about low wages, poor benefits and predatory business practices. Wal-Mart discussion continues when Jeff Golden of Jefferson Public Radio comes to town for a free open forum from 7 to 9 pm Friday at Café Paradiso. This time of the year we can all use reminders about why we need to support our locally owned businesses and such enterprises as the Holiday Market at the Fairgrounds this weekend. The job you save could be your own.

Saddam Hussein's capture this week will go down as one of those great and dramatic moments in history, providing juicy fodder for tell-all books, late-night talk show jokes and made-for-TV movies. But will the public get the whole story about how the U.S. supported and armed this dictator, then spent billions, killed thousands and alienated allies to depose him? Let's hope future history books will provide more meaningful and balanced context than we are currently getting in TV news, the growing medium of choice for most Americans.

Progressive Rich Cunningham is lacing up his running shoes again. He hasn't filed yet, but he's formed a fund-raising committee to test support for a race against incumbent County Commissioner Bobby Green in 2004. This will be Cunningham's third try. He lost to Paul Holman for the LCC Board last May, and again to Jennifer Solomon for City Council Ward 6 (Bethel) in 2002. Cunningham moved here a few years ago with his family from Rhode Island and has been trying to plug into local politics and public service. He's picked a tough opponent with a potentially heavy war chest. We remember Green's well-funded name-recognition media blitz that overwhelmed the more issues-based campaigning of Kitty Piercy in 2000. Green is popular, affable and good on social issues and human rights, but a challenger such as Cunningham or Tim Hermach will hopefully hold Green's feet to the fire on environmental and land use issues.

Martha Lane Roberts, a Creswell progressive, is quietly building support for what appears to be a strong campaign for Tom Lininger's old East Lane County Commission seat currently filled by appointee Don Hampton. Who will she be up against in the May primary? Perennial politician Cedric Hayden for sure, and Mark Herbert of Springfield, but we hear Faye Stewart II of Cottage Grove hasn't turned in his petition yet. Meanwhile, Mike Bonner is the only candidate to file so far for Floyd Prozanski's soon to be vacant 8th District House seat (but lots of folks, including former Councilor Gary Rayor, are seeking the short-term appointment), and Pat Farr has not filed for re-election to the 14th District.

The "Bust Bush Boutique" we wrote about last week generated about $510 along with donations of more hats, shirts and other items of clothing to be turned into peacewear. Organizer Carol Berg says she hopes to raise a total of $1,000 for Eugene PeaceWorks' Committee to Counter Military Recruiting. The "mobile boutique" will continue from 10 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday, Dec. 19-20, at 2510 Augusta St. in the Laurel Valley neighborhood.


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, editor@eugeneweekly.com

 

 


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