| “CHINTZY” CHIEF? |
- There’s disappointment inside the Portland Police Bureau over a decision from the chief’s office to send just two honor guard officers to the March 27 funeral of four Oakland cops killed in the line of duty. Ashamed to send just two reps when a city like Boston sent more than 50, Portland’s police union paid for three more officers to represent the city. Criminalist Ken Jones says some cops saw it as a “pretty piss-poor decision” for a fellow West Coast agency to send just two to a funeral when the four killings were one of the worst police tragedies in recent memory. Chief Rosie Sizer says budget cuts made it impossible to send more. “You can say it was chintzy,” Sizer says, “but we did it. We sent two officers.”
- Portland Public Schools’ board of education this week denied the renewal application of Leadership Entrepreneurship Public Charter High School. The board cited financial concerns for the three-year-old school in its 6-1 vote killing the charter. But student, parent and teacher advocates for LEP argued PPS was using outdated figures and unfair policies that squeezed the charter school’s budget (see “Charter Duel,” WW, March 25, 2009). Board member Ruth Adkins encouraged LEP to appeal the decision and provide new financial data to support renewal. “I am pleased and hopeful that we will get it soon,” said Adam Reid, a co-founder of the 250-student school in the Buckman neighborhood.
- Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, one of the leaders in expanding the bottle bill in 2007 to include water bottles, is now taking on the powerful beverage-distribution industry. Distributors keep the money from unclaimed bottle deposits, a total the state estimates to range between $20 million and $30 million annually. Dingfelder and her fellow Northeast Portland Democrat, Rep. Michael Dembrow, are pushing House Bill 3465, which would let the state—rather than distributors—keep that money. That’s the practice in about half the states with bottle bills. Beverage lobbyist Paul Romain, who opposes the bill, says the distributors are using the money from unclaimed deposits for bottle redemption centers.
- No April Fool: House Judiciary members punished rookie state Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) for tardiness to hearings. How? By nominating the Oregon Bus Project co-founder to carry House Bill 2529, which would require those convicted of bestiality to register as sex offenders. On the floor, the normally loquacious Smith said, “It’s a good bill; should pass.”
(HB 3465 was amended to remove any reference to bestiality before it went to the House floor. WW regrets the error.)
- And the “Pollie” for Best Volunteer Recruitment and Best Use of Humor in an Automated Call goes to…the Bus Project. The Oregon nonprofit last weekend won two Pollie Awards—a big deal for people in political campaigns—from the American Association of Political Consultants for a “Trick or Vote” campaign—and a reminder phone call—that drew thousands of volunteers last Halloween in a costumed crusade to get people to vote. Also, a short Bus Project-produced film, “Maybe it’s Your Civic Duty Not to Vote,” was nominated for an award. Two hooves up from Smith.