Spanning the State: Off our asses, Edition

Carla Axtman

One of the things I enjoy about contributing to BlueOregon is the fact that I have a platform with which I can raise awareness about things that I think matter. Last week, I did so with a petition telling the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end Clear Channel's license to broadcast KPOJ (Click through on that link and sign it, please). The reason? From the FCC's website:

In exchange for obtaining a valuable license to operate a broadcast station using the public airwaves, each radio and television licensee is required by law to operate its station in the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” This means that it must air programming that is responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license.

To do so, each station licensee must affirmatively identify those needs and problems and then specifically treat those local matters that it deems to be significant in the news, public affairs, political and other programming that it airs.

A year ago, Clear Channel yanked the only commercial progressive talk format at KPOJ in favor of adding a third sports radio station in Portland. While Portland is a sport's town, it's at least as much of a progressive town. Seems to me a pretty clear violation of Clear Channel's responsibility to the public for their use of our publicly-owned airwaves.

Please go sign the petition.

Will the FCC listen? Doubtful. They're historically not terribly responsive to their oversight role. But if they don't, we'll have thousands of signatures from people who stood up and demanded this change. We can take that power and use it to ask our elected representatives in DC to take a hard look at the way the FCC does business.

I suppose I could just sit around on my ass and gripe about these issues instead of actually attempting to do something about it. That's apparently what the avalanche of naysayers and others who grouse at me would prefer. It's much easier to be a keyboard commando who lobs verbal bombs from the safety of a cushy computer chair than to do any kind of real work to lay the groundwork for change.

That's where you come in. Take action and sign the petition. This is an opportunity for us to create a real discussion around an entrenched problem. And that can lead to important, substantive action. We have to make it start somewhere. Let's do it here.

And now, let's Span the State!

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A very important and very ugly story is brewing within the Clatskanie School District. Last August, three families filed suit against the district saying that a principal and other administration officials failed to take action against ongoing physical and sexual harassment. A fourth family just joined the suit. Girls at the Clastskanie Middle-High School were allegedly pressured by boys to send nude photos of themselves to boyfriends, which were then passed around throughout the school. As a result, harassment and bullying toward the girls escalated. What happened to these girls, even after their parents tried to intervene, is disgusting and horrible. It's a story that forces us to take stock of our communities and our values...and shows us how much work we still have to do to eliminate this kind of behavior.

The City of Eugene is hoping to capitalize on the desire for bicycle commuting. They've applied for an almost $1 million grant through the Oregon Department of Transportation to launch a public bike share program. The program would include 170 bikes and 24 stations throughout downtown Eugene. Oregon is a pioneer in bike sharing, with Portland hosting one of the first community bicycle programs in the country back in 1994.

Central Oregon is on an economic rise. According to the Central Oregon business index (a project developed by the Bend Bulletin newspaper and the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Economics), key economic indicators show an upswing. The index uses travel & tourism, payroll figures and home sales, among others to make the determination. The big news? A 16 percent rise in estimated lodging revenue over the same period in 2012, showing a substantial return of tourists to the area.

Could it be Oregon vs Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? Doesn't look like it.

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