Eugene growth, the Supreme Court, e-bikes, UGB and Oregon22

2022-07-10 23:11:30 By : Ms. Devon zhu

What a couple of weeks for the Supreme Court. Paving the way for more children to be born into households that cannot support them, opening up streets to indiscriminate carrying of concealed weapons and taking away the government’s ability to address environmental and climate-related issues based on current scientific understanding, returning regulation power to a generally uninformed Congress. 

Much of this comes from a supposed “originalist” reading of the Constitution. Why would the rich landowners writing that document ever think about poorer, unwed women facing unwanted pregnancies or about their children to be born into difficult circumstances? Why would they ever think about concealed weapons when guns were not concealable and could only fire one or two rounds before reloading? Why would the founders ever think about the need for broad environmental regulations when the country was hardly settled and offered untold, natural riches?   

To claim to make “originalist” decisions in today’s world is an absurdity. Couple this with a Congress crippled by campaign donations, gerrymandering and filibusters, and the Supreme Court has become essentially an appointed, de facto legislature of nine people, totally out of touch with the needs and desires of Americans.   

Is this the democracy we want? 

In John Quilter's column (Guest View, June 19), he proposes that we expand the Eugene urban growth boundary to build new housing on the edge of town in order to address the affordable housing crisis. There are a number of problems with this proposal.  

First, low-density suburban neighborhoods are a poor long-term financial investment for a city, because the cost of maintaining the infrastructure for such neighborhoods is not supported by the low property taxes they generate. Meaning that while developers and homeowners do generate wealth from these neighborhoods, they are a net loss for the community.  

Second, this proposal attempts to address the affordable housing problem while totally disregarding the significant problem of climate change, which requires us to shift toward denser, more walkable urban development. We can, in fact, build new housing, generate wealth and work toward mitigating climate change, all at the same time. The way we do it, though, is by building our community up together, not by spreading ourselves thin. 

On June 22, the Eugene 4J School Board unanimously passed a number of decisions that demonstrate a new direction for our district and laid to rest any idea that this board is “dysfunctional" or too politically divided to take action. 

1. Approved a five-year pilot on hiring three librarians for selected elementary schools, which had been debated for years. It passed 7-0.  

2. Permitted the superintendent to use state allowances for instructional minutes to include parent conferences, recess and teacher professional development. This had also been discussed for more than a year. It passed 7-0.  

3. Cemented into permanent policy the right for teachers to give parents their professional opinion on standardized tests, 7-0.  

4. Approved a new secondary social studies curriculum recommended by teachers that introduces much more diverse sources, 7-0. 

5. Banned concealed handguns on school property, 7-0. 

6. Named members Maya Rabasa and Gordon Lafer as the next chair and vice chair, 7-0. 

7. Approved the contract for new Superintendent Andy Dey, former 4J director of secondary education. It passed 7-0. 

Thanks to the Eugene 4J School Board members for their tireless work on behalf of our community. To a healthy, happy school year in the fall. 

With the world track championships coming to Eugene, now is a wonderful time to look at the reality of the world. In the coming weeks, we will likely see a beautiful picture of the world coming together to compete, showing their best side. But we cannot forget that this is not the reality that everyone faces. 

Nearly 700 million people around the world live in extreme poverty, making less than $1.90 a day. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused many to fall below that line across the globe. The numbers seem daunting, but they can be fought. We have the power to make changes, whether that be by getting involved with nonprofits or asking our leaders to do more. 

As we see the best of the world coming to Eugene in the coming weeks, we need to keep discussing the problems in it and how we can solve them. The worlds will certainly give back to our community, but what can we give back to the world? 

Lithium. “White gold.” This lightweight, reactive metal is essential to the future of batteries, not only to power the burgeoning fleet of electronic vehicles worldwide, but also for batteries that will store power for private homes when the wind and solar sources of energy are dormant. 

Prepare to be seduced by mining companies, few of them domestic and all of them trying to attract capital investment. 

In a remote and scenic corner of Oregon’s “outback,“ in the McDermitt Caldera, the rush is on. Several companies have filed claims to operate open-pit mines in the area, promising jobs and schools for the locals while downplaying the environmental destruction that will follow. The ground water will go away or be poisoned in an already arid region, locals will lose their livelihoods and species like the greater sage grouse will be one step closer to extinction.  

While lithium is essential to our future, open pit mining is not the answer. Other methods of extracting this metal are available.  

If you care to keep public lands public and not hollowed out pits of pollution, please educate yourselves and email your concerns to your representatives. They will listen when public awareness is raised. 

Regarding a letter asking for the ban of e-bikes on the bike paths, I agree. I must ride our bike paths in Eugene and Springfield three to four times a week, and I’m convinced we’re just waiting for an accident to happen.   Our bike paths are no place for any motorized bikes or scooters. People are walking their dogs, parents are pushing strollers, toddlers are learning how to navigate and the elderly are trying to stay fit walking these paths.   While I doubt the offenders will read this, if speed is necessary, choose the streets and don’t put the lives of others at risk.   Rita Lombard, Eugene 

The July 2  AP story about Biden discussing abortion access was encouraging. It is a good idea to have the Indian nations take up the mantle of women’s freedom. Because they have autonomy, Indian nations can have casinos even though the state might outlaw them. Similarly, they could have Planned Parenthood providing maternal care. The same for federal sites.  

Will patriotic women wanting freedom move to blue states? Will career criminals flock to the red states now that their police and courts are overwhelmed prosecuting pregnant women, their doctors and teachers wanting to teach the truth? Will those states be devastated by pollution now that the EPA can’t regulate?  

I can understand why Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema oppose abolishing the filibuster because Democrats might need it if the Republicans take over the Senate. Why not change it to the best of three options with ranked-choice voting? If they can’t get 60 votes, have the Democrats make one bill, the Republicans another and an independent panel pick the best ideas of both for a third. Then rank first, second and third choices.  

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