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IMAGE: Byron Beck
- While Attorney General John Kroger’s office maintains silence about his criminal investigation into Mayor Sam Adams, City Hall watchers are furiously sifting tea leaves for clues.The latest: Adams abruptly took down his personal Facebook page this week, leading to speculation that he is shielding his hundreds of “friends” from being contacted or identified when Kroger’s report is issued. Mayoral spokesman Roy Kaufmann says the page is down while Adams tries to combine it with his political Facebook page.
- On the move: Austin Raglione, chief of staff to Tom Potter when he was mayor, leaves Portland this week for a four-month stint in Kiev as a U.S. Department of Justice contractor working to upgrade Ukrainian law enforcement systems. Another longtime political name shifting jobs is state elections director John Lindback. He is leaving the Oregon Secretary of State’s office after eight years to work from Oregon for the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Charitable Trust on a voter registration modernization project.
- News worth Twittering: A former Multnomah County senior HR manager is suing the county for $1.1 million, claiming he was fired March 31 for investigating a homophobic text message. According to the lawsuit filed by Arnold Quigley, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 88 union members had complained that Keith Johnson, the county IT department’s executive manager, threatened to replace union employees with non-union workers. Union members also complained Johnson wrote a text message saying, “People at the gym feel I am gay; I am getting a good workout running back and forth to keep away.” The lawsuit says Quigley was fired after Chief Information Officer Sherry Swackhamer worried about Quigley’s probe into Johnson’s messages. Assistant county attorney Jenny Morf declined comment on the suit filed May 15.
- Guns and Democrats: U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) both voted last week for an amendment that would let states determine if firearms should be permitted in U.S. national parks. Calling it a states’ rights issue, Wyden and Merkley were part of a 67-29 majority OK-ing the guns amendment to the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act of 2009. The idea faces possible opposition from the House and President Obama, whose administration in April agreed to halt implementation of a similar rule promoted by the Bush administration. The National Parks Conservation Association calls the new proposal “much more radical” than the Bush administration rule since states could allow concealed firearms as well as shotguns, rifles and semi-automatic weapons in national parks.
- Mayor Sam Adams may have shelved the debate about banning plastic bags (see “Paper or Plastic,” WW, April 11, 2007) in Portland. But the children of Gilkey International Middle School are ready to continue the debate. Teacher Minda McCandless is bringing 13 of her sixth-grade students to City Council this Wednesday, May 20, to present their three months’ worth of research into the pros and cons of banning plastic grocery bags. Key among those findings, says McCandless, is that 1 million plastic bags are used per minute around the world.