This has been an exhausting week for all of us watching
the Presidential Election unfold. The first week of the month is always a
breather for Council because it’s the one week every month with no Council
meetings. Even without Council meetings my week was full and encouraging.
On Wednesday, I joined other elected officials and community leaders in the
Rally for Democracy calling for a complete count of all votes. The
gathering was peaceful and inspiring. That day, November 4th, was also
the day that the US officially withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement.
As a Climate Mayor, I joined several other mayors in releasing a video
announcing our continuing commitment to addressing climate change with the
refrain “We are still in.”
On Thursday, I joined my colleagues from LTD, Springfield, Lane County and
Coburg on the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC) in agreeing to include
greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions as an integral part of our transportation
planning goals. This may not sound big, but the MPC applies for and
oversees the expenditure of federal and state funds on transportation
The committee has long invested in active transportation and transit, for
example, directing funds for Safe Routes to School, road safety improvements
and bike paths. Speaking with a united voice about our commitment to
reducing GHG emissions strengthens our position to leverage both state and
federal dollars for the kinds investments we need to address climate change.
With DeFazio’s reelection, he retains his role as Chair of the Transportation
and Infrastructure Committee, which can only help to support our local efforts
to invest in GHG reducing transportation strategies.
Later in the day, I joined other colleagues from Springfield, Florence, and
Lane County in the Public Safety Coordinating Council. This is
another federally mandated body, like the MPC, that applies for and oversees
the expenditure of federal and state funds for public safety. This
month’s meeting began with the first of a series of discussions of
diversity, equity and inclusion in public safety.
For many of those seated at the table, our failures to address upstream
solutions in education, mental health, and addiction treatment are reflected in
the demand for the work they do – in Child Protective Services, the jail,
parole and court system -- and the disproportionate number of people of color
who are adversely impacted by the criminal justice system. This initial conversation
as revealing as well as powerful and moving.
Lastly, today (Friday) I joined a meeting of Mayors and CEO’s for Housing
Investment to talk about our strategies post-election to increase federal
commitment to affordable housing and solutions to homelessness. Mayors
across the country face similar challenges and combining our voices and
experience strengthens our chances of shifting policies at the national level.
I’m encouraged by the momentum and commitment to fair representation, to
addressing climate change, racial justice and the need for housing for
everyone. Eugene can lead the way as we are not in this alone in.
Let’s all try to breathe a little deeper this weekend after an
edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting week. There is important work to do and we
in Eugene are in a good position to do it.