Politics & Government

Politics & Government

Meeting:  October 18, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  October 21, 2013

Maurice Cox, former City Councilor and Mayor of Charlottesville, VA, and now Director of the Tulane City Center Initiative in New Orleans, LA.

U.S. House of Representatives

Representative Peter DeFazio was in Eugene today (Friday) to give a recap of the government shutdown and look forward to the next legislative hurdles.

Congressman DeFazio expressed relief to be at home for a long weekend, and to be done with what he called the disruptive, unnecessary and expensive shutdown. DeFazio said tourists, timber workers and retirees were among those who contacted him with questions and concerns over the past three weeks. He said the shutdown caused a broad range of unexpected consequences.

Rachael McDonald

A paving project on a portion of Eugene's Willamette Street includes new bike lanes and some other changes.

The project includes the stretch of street between 18th and 23rd avenues. It's the portion that passes by the shuttered Civic Stadium. Reed Dunbar is a transportation planner with the City of Eugene.

Oregonians will be considering a relatively thin ballot in the coming weeks, dominated by local measures.

In Eugene, voters in the 4000 households in the River Road Park and Recreation District will decide whether to continue supporting their community center.  

The River Road Park and Recreation District covers about 8 square miles in north Eugene. The district's original tax base eroded over the past few decades as the City of Eugene annexed properties in the area.  

Timber companies filed a lawsuit Monday against the federal government. They claim there is no legal reason to suspend logging during the partial government shutdown.

The American Forest Resource Council joined Murphy Timber Company, High Cascades Inc., and South Bay Timber in the lawsuit. It seeks an injunction to lift the ban on logging during the government shutdown. AFRC Spokeswoman Ann Forest Burns says there is no provision in the contracts that says logging must be stopped on projects already approved. She says the lack of timber will hurt workers and mills.

Meeting:  October 11, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  October 13, 2013

Guest Speakers: Alley Valkyrie, activist and community organizer; Pat Farr, Lane County Commission; and

Professor Ofer Raban, University of Oregon School of Law

Photo Courtesy of The City of Eugene

The City of Eugene is facing a multi-million dollar gap in its budget, so it's asking residents' help to shape a solution. A series of community meetings starting this week are being held at local high schools to discuss the situation.

Last year, Eugene voters defeated a City service fee. To balance the budget, funds were transferred from its Reserve account. But, that fix was only supposed to fill the gap for one year. City Councilor Claire Syrett says if they are not able to find some new solutions, they might be back in the same position as last year.

March Against Monsanto Rally In Eugene

Oct 13, 2013
Photo by Desmond O'Boyle

About three hundred people attended a rally in downtown Eugene Saturday as part of a worldwide "March Against Monsanto" protest.

Concern has steadily grown over the use of Genetically Modified Organisms being used in farming practices. The agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto is the main proponent of such practices. The Oregon Senate has approved a bill limiting the ability for counties to ban the use of GMO's. Organizer and spokeswoman Sabrina Siegel says politicians need to stop taking money from big businesses.

Lane County

The Lane County Board of Commissioners will use a Washington State recruitment firm to find candidates for their new Administrator.

Meeting:  Friday, October 4, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  Monday, October 7, 2013

Digital Privacy and the NSA - Who Is Reading Your E-mail and What You Can Do About It

Guest Speakers: Seth Woolley and Kyu Ho Youm

The first Friday Forum of October focuses on practical privacy in the digital age. Is privacy possible? If so, how can you protect yours?

Rachael McDonald

Homeless people who've pitched their tents around town in small communities they're calling "Whovilles" met with the Mayor of Eugene Monday. The group wants the city to lift or change its camping ban.

Currently a group of about 30 people is camped at Hilyard and Broadway in Eugene. Whoville representatives met Mayor Kitty Piercy and asked her if they can stay there. Police have cited the campers for violating Eugene's camping ban.

City Of Eugene Seeks Budget Input

Oct 7, 2013

The City of Eugene is inviting the community to attend workshops devoted to shaping the budget. Eugene is currently facing a significant gap due to the recent recession and low property tax revenues. The deficit in the general fund over the past four years has caused the city to decrease its expenses by $24 million. Last year, the city faced a similar gap of $5.3 million and was forced to dip into the reserve fund. There will be five workshops in all, the first at South Eugene High School on October 15th.

Oregon Military Department Affected By Shutdown

Oct 4, 2013

Approximately 1,000 full-time personnel in the Oregon Military Department are being furloughed due to the government shutdown.

The Oregon Military Department is comprised of Citizen-Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians. The shutdown will affect training activities, equipment maintenance, and efficiency at military bases. Capt. Stephen Bomar says to maintain readiness they are forming plans in case the shutdown is prolonged.

"Grand Bargain" Passes Oregon Legislature

Oct 2, 2013

The so-called "Grand Bargain" has passed in Salem. Oregon lawmakers have approved all five of the bills on their special session agenda. The package includes targeted tax hikes and tax breaks, as well as cuts to pensions for some retired public employees.

Many of the bills passed with very narrow margins. And some lawmakers who voted for the measures said they were doing so against their better judgment. Here's Republican representative Sal Esquivel.

Rachael McDonald

A group called "Support Local Food Rights" is one step closer to placing a measure on the November 2014 ballot in Lane County. Their initiative would restrict Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, from being planted in the county.

The group's original ballot measure for its "Local Food System Ordinance" was rejected by the County Clerk because it addressed more than one subject.
Kneeland: "We're very excited that we've worked in cooperation with the county to submit an initiative that has been approved for the single subject rule."

Special Session Bills Finally On The Move

Oct 1, 2013

The five bills on the agenda for Oregon's special legislative session are finally on the move. Nearly two full days after lawmakers arrived in Salem, a legislative panel voted Tuesday evening to advance the measures out to the floor. The full legislature could vote on them Wednesday.

http://defazio.house.gov/

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio is blasting Republicans in the US House for forcing a government shutdown. 

But in a speech on the House floor Tuesday, the Democrat said he's even more concerned Republicans, with the support of wealthy contributors, are threatening to block an increase in debt ceiling.  

The government shutdown may not have immediate impacts on most Oregonians. But, officials say, if it continues for several weeks, veterans and others who depend on federal programs could be affected. Jason Davis is with Lane County Health and Human Services.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

Next to immigration reform, Latino advocates in Oregon say the second most important issue in their community is undocumented immigrants being allowed to drive legally. Currently they can't, but a new state law—set to take effect in January—would allow it. A group that aims to stop the law from taking hold and refer the question to voters, faces a deadline this Friday.

Meeting:  Friday, September 27, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Speakers: Representatives of Fred Meyer, the YMCA, and School District 4J to be announced

Eugene School District 4J categorized the 10-acre site as surplus property in 2002. About three years ago, 4J had three responses to its request for proposals to purchase, lease, or trade the property. All were declined.

Once again this fall, those who seek to preserve the historic stadium will vie with those who propose commercial and organizational developments.

Cover Oregon

On Tuesday, October 1st, Oregon launches its health insurance exchange program-- a key piece of President Obama's health care overhaul. It's called Cover Oregon.

Michael Cox describes the program in a nutshell:

Cox: "Cover Oregon is an online marketplace where customers can come, shop for health insurance, compare plans side by side, access financial help, and get enrolled in coverage, starting in October."

Cox is a communications specialist with Cover Oregon.
He says their goal is to make the process easy.

Lane County has released a report on the investigation into fired County Administrator Liane Richardson.

Oregon Capitol Building Turns 75 Years Old

Sep 27, 2013
Chris Lehman

You've seen those safety posters marking so many days since a workplace injury. Oregon's state capitol building could have one that says "75 years without burning to the ground!" The original two went up in flames. Now, a series of events scheduled next week will mark the 75th anniversary of Oregon's third and longest standing state capitol. The celebration comes as lawmakers consider a $300 million overhaul.

Frankie Bell is perhaps the ultimate state capitol tour guide. She's worked in the building for more than half its existence.

City of Eugene

Filing opened earlier in September for candidates hoping to run for local office.  There was a smattering of activity, but the only incumbent to declare candidacy early on was Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart.

Now two more incumbents have made it official.

Eugene City Councilor George Poling says he will run for a fourth term.  Poling represents Ward 4 – northeast Eugene – and currently serves on the LTD–EMX Steering committee and the Travel Lane County Committee. 

City of Eugene.

The Eugene City Council Monday voted 6 to 2 to allow small homeless camps. I spoke with City Councilor Claire Syrett Tuesday to get more details on the ordinance. Syrett says it was proposed by City Manager John Ruiz who will bring the council a list of potential sites on public or private property or religious and non-profit organizations.
Claire Syrett spoke with KLCC's Rachael McDonald.

First, it was Washington and Colorado. Now, Oregon is in the running to legalize marijuana. Supporters are gathering signatures for a pair of initiatives to allow pot for recreational purposes. But here’s something that hasn’t happened in any other state: Oregon lawmakers are actually thinking seriously about taking on the issue.

Federal Cuts To Food Stamp Program Will Hurt Oregon

Sep 23, 2013

Last week, the House of Representatives voted to cut nearly 40 billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAPS. The decision will influence more than 800,000 Oregonians currently enrolled in the program.

San Diego Is Biggest Entry Point For Mexican Meth

Sep 19, 2013
Jill Repogle

This week we’re looking at the illegal drug trade along the west coast. In this third story in our series, reporter Jill Replogle from Fronteras: The Changing America Desk, looks at San Diego, California’s role in the methamphetamine trade. More than 70 percent of methamphetamine illegally trafficked into the U.S. passes through U.S.-Mexico border crossings in the San Diego area. And as Jill reports, that’s despite laws in both countries designed to crack down on the drug.

Customs and Border Protection agents here at the San Ysidro Port of Entry face a tough balancing act.

This story originally aired on September 17, 2013.

Newport Considers Selling Off Visual Arts Center

Sep 16, 2013
City of Newport

Originally published: September 16, 2013

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