My Speech At City Council 2-11-19


John Thielking

Ward 1

There is a series of three public hearings scheduled for February 19th, 2019 at 7:30PM at Harris Hall 125 E 8th Ave, Eugene, Oregon, concerning the Construction Excise Tax, Anti Panhandling ordinance and expansion of the nuisance ordinance.  I am opposed to all three proposals in their current forms. The CET should be imposed at a robust 1% from the get go. With the possibility of new technologies such as 3D printing that will dramatically lower construction costs, there soon will be no reason to bother building anything that has the current profit margin of less than 1%.  


I am currently gathering signatures with opt in options for people to be contacted on two informal petitions against both the anti panhandling ordinance proposal and the revision of the nuisance ordinance proposal.  As of Sunday night Feb 10th, I have personally gathered 294 signatures on the petition against the anti panhandling ordinance, with 179 of those signatures gathered when there was an opt in option on the form. Of the 179 people in that group there are 71 opt ins who wanted to be contacted by the campaign, or about a 40% opt in rate. The petition against the nuisance ordinance expansion started circulating on Friday Feb 8th and currently has 58 signatures with 25 opt ins. I’m hoping to eventually collect many more signatures and opt ins on both petitions, as even just on Sunday alone I had 4 or 5 people get copies of both petitions to make copies of and circulate themselves. Over half of the other people circulating the petitions have the versions with the opt in feature. I will be making phone calls and sending emails to the various opt ins to see if they will make it to the hearing on Feb 19th.

I am opposed to the antipanhandling ordinance because it violates the 1st amendment rights of both the pedestrian and the motorist. I believe that the transfer of items to and from vehicles by pedestrians is so safe that it really doesn’t need any additional regulation.  But if you were going to be concerned about traffic safety, there should be something in the ordinance about transferring fliers from pedestrians to vehicles or at least cover the big loophole that would allow a driver to hand an item to someone seated on a bike without penalty.

The nuisance ordinance expansion looks to me like an attempt to turn the whole city of Eugene into one giant homeowner’s association. Rat and mice infestations are a problem for many home owners, not just the ones at the bottom who have trash filled yards that the health inspector from the Eugene nanny state might want to write a ticket for. I have a relative who lives in a condo that is as clean on the inside as the local hospital, yet she regularly sees signs of rats in the garage.  Would you sanction her if this ordinance were in effect in her community? It looks to me like the nuisance ordinance is just an excuse to drive poor people who have small problems with their ability to maintain their properties out of the city. For many of these people, including myself in the residences I have occupied over the past two decades, these places are the last places of refuge before the people living there would be cast out onto the street.

Download The Petitions

These are the petitions against the anti-panhandling and nuisance ordinances that will have hearings ate Harris Hall on Feb 19th at 7:30PM.  Feel free to download them and print them out. At this late date it would be best to make copies of any completed petitions and mail them to the PO Box on the petitions, while handing in the originals to city council on Feb 19th.