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March 17th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

In Regular Need Of Both Randy Leonard And Reconciliation.

     
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  • Commissioner Randy Leonard has a new plan to arm Water Bureau security guards. Using an obscure state provision, Leonard wants the guards to become “special” police officers, according to Ty Kovatch, his chief of staff. Leonard had previously wanted those guards to become state-sanctioned peace officers with the same powers as Portland Police personnel. But Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Police Chief Rosie Sizer voiced concerns about that idea. Leonard’s new move still would allow the Water Bureau’s 20-some guards to carry guns. But they could make arrests only on Water Bureau property. The proposal doesn’t need City Council approval. “The safety of our officers is also a responsibility of ours,” Kovatch says. “We’re faced with making another choice.”

  • The Cold War between Beijing and Portland continues after City Commissioner Randy Leonard’s push to designate March 10 as “Tibet Awareness Day.” Since our story last week (“Seven Days in Tibet”) about the Chinese consulate in San Francisco and local Chinese interests failing to make the City Council back off its proclamation, the government-controlled Chinese press has issued threats of retaliation. Among its warnings? Trail Blazers games could be banned from China’s huge TV market. Leonard—who tried to coach a Chinese delegation to City Hall on how Beijing could better deal with Tibet—remains defiant. A recipient of a thank-you letter from the Dalai Lama’s U.S. representative, Leonard calls the Chinese reaction “not sophisticated.” Image courtesy of pankajmistry.com.

  • It is the spring of discontent at Oregon NARAL, the state’s leading pro-choice advocacy group. Five board members and deputy director Laura Taylor resigned this week. The departures reportedly stem from unhappiness with executive director Michele Stranger Hunter, who did not return WW’s calls. Board President Alice Bartelt refused to comment; past president Linda Love says Stranger Hunter is an “extraordinary executive director.” 

  • City Council will consider quadrupling the value of its contract with the company that provides parking pay stations in Portland. That $4.5 million contract, with Cale Parking Systems USA, is scheduled to expire in June 2011. If Council approves a contract extension at its March 17 meeting, the contract value will grow to $20 million and run through June 2016.

  • Forget any weather predictions: It’s Sunshine Week in Oregon. Our state earns a middling C grade for government transparency on a report card issued by Sunshine Review, an Illinois-based group. And so WW and the Oregon/Southwest Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists are co-sponsoring a rockin’ fundraiser at 9 pm this Thursday, March 18, at Berbati’s Pan with Pep Assembly, Bombs Into You, and the Angry Orts. (Revenue from the $5 event goes toward SPJ’s advocacy work). On Saturday, March 20, at 1 pm in the Central Library, SPJ will host a free forum called “Sunshine Lessons: How Open is Oregon Government?”
 
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