Here’s a new feature we call: “Rewind.” We’re taking a look back through a treasure trove of video recordings made by Todd Boyle. From August, 2020, the People’s Forum:
[00:00:12] Todd Boyle: Hello everybody. I’m Todd Boyle. And this is a 2020 version of a People’s Forum. It’s a response to the city council and county commissioners going on a break, and everything isn’t exactly finished. There’s still stuff to be done. People should have a right to give public comments even though the city council isn’t here.
I came to give my public comment on the issue of housing and homelessness. The evidence is overwhelming that we have thousands of people who are homeless because they’re right out on the streets. Especially out in west Eugene, you can see large encampments and the less visible problem is as many as five times that many people may be near homelessness, either paying more rent than they can afford, people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The root of the problem here is land. And our problem with land in Oregon, it goes back to the 1843 Donation Land Claims Act and the way the Oregon territory’s was settled by Washington DC, basically declaring open season on all the land in ,Oregon saying that whoever comes and settles here can have 640 acres. That’s a square mile. All they have to do is just come and occupy the land. And of course, this was an enormous incentive, for a whole bunch of fairly selfish and bloodthirsty, ambitious people to come and occupy the land and then claim it as their own. And to this day, every inch of private property dates back to that giveaway of land. And at this point in our history, the land owners, including the residents of Eugene and other west coast cities, are entrenched, holding lot sizes large, and a variety of other policies to hold up land prices.
Now people build tiny houses for around $10,000 to $15,000. And the reason they build them is because that’s the way they want to live. They need 1000 square feet of land. And in fact, outside the city limits, so by LCC, the city has bought twenty-five thousand one-thousand- square foot parcels at an average cost of $200 each. That’s right. You could have a thousand square feet for your tiny house at a cost of $200, free and clear, no mortgage. You can live there for the rest of your life. Your property taxes on a $200 parcel would be what, a hundred dollars a year. The city and county only do this on a wholesale basis, and they will be eventually transferred into much, much higher cost units in other words, the land will be bid up to market prices.
And so what I’m basically calling for is for the county and city to take a much firmer stand, to make smaller parcels available to people so that they can build and occupy housing for themselves.
[00:02:50] Ibrahim Coulibaly: Hello, my name is Ibrahim Coulibaly. I live in Eugene. Today I would like to talk about the police reform. We are under the false impression in Eugene our police department is working well, but we have seen many times people complaining about the police brutality and even some deadly encounters with (Charlie) Landeros and (Eliborio) Rodriguez and (Brian) Babb.
I would like the City Council to consider ordering an audit, have a outside investigator or outside organization come to investigate how Eugene Police investigate themselves because we have received a lot of complaints, in Eugene and the NAACP. We have received a lot of complaints against certain police officers, but they are still in. And we don’t know how those complaints have been investigated and what are the findings? So please consider hiring an outside organization to assess Eugene police department on how they assess themselves and how they handle a citizens complaint against police officers.
[00:04:10] Karl Eysenbach: My name’s Karl Eysenbach, and I feel like I’m in a good position to put things into perspective. I first came to Oregon in 1972. Hah! . My radicalism was founded in the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968, and I have seen a lot of history and I put on my Facebook page the other day, S O S. Now wasn’t really talking about myself, I was talking about the state of America, you know, in my lifetime, I’ve seen dangerous, dangerous times. I’ve seen the McCarthy period of the 1950s. I’ve seen the unrest of the 1960s. The only time in my lifetime, where I’ve ever seen a more dangerous period was during the Cuban missile crisis and we are living in extremely dangerous times.
One of the reasons why things are as dangerous as they are, it’s not just because of the polarization between the left and the right in this country, but we see the civil conflicts, the civil unrest. What we’re seeing now more than we’ve ever seen by a factor maybe 10 times are the number of agent provocateurs, sleeper agents. Maybe even right-wing extremists acting in concert. Some of the worst government officials in the world. And the whole point is to destabilize this country, to get it to the point, where it’s willing to accept fascism.
And they’re doing a very good job of it. And there are a variety of strategies that people can take. But to me, It seems that the best strategy for all of us to follow right now is the fact that we need to go to our social networks. I want people to make a list of every person in your network who’s a relative, who’s a friend, who’s a person of influence somebody that you feel maybe you should talk to. Because in the pandemic that we’re in, it’s very easy to get isolated, it’s so easy to overthink things. When we overthink things, it’s easy to get baseless conspiracy theories, and the only antidote that is to talk to our other people, and find out what they think and share our feelings with them. And I think that if people do this, we are at least doing what we will be capable of doing about fighting fascism in the United States.
[00:06:53] Julie Lambert: My name’s Julie Lambert and I’m a producer with our local radio station, which is known as KEPW 97.3 FM. It’s called KEPW.org because it’s Eugene PeaceWorks Community Radio. And we need all of our community to be as involved as they want to be. If you would like to be a producer, we have room for you. If you are a musician, we can rent it. We are all volunteer-run, listener-supported, independent community radio. We are a true resource for the voices in our community to be heard. And we also feature shows such as Democracy Now and Alternative Radio, sharing vital information about current affairs. We need your support to stay on the air and become the best that we can be. With our community and with your support, we will be the station that you want us to be.
[00:07:51] John Q: This has been Todd Boyle’s Rewind: a public forum from August 2020. See the full video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_74STaqOLtY .