Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes.
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
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
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
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
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
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.