1. The campaign to recall Mayor Sam Adams started using paid signature gatherers last weekend. But that’s not the only news coming from the mostly volunteer group. Earlier this month, the campaign also sent 24-second automated phone messages from former state Sen. Avel Gordly to Portlanders who signed last year’s recall petition. The messages encouraged those people to provide new signatures. As of last week, recallers had 10,000 signatures—less than one-third of the 32,000-plus valid signatures they must turn in by April 20.
  2. Fred Leonhardt, who wrote speeches for former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, penned an angry note last week to Attorney General John Kroger. After the arrest of an alleged child rapist, Kroger issued a statement saying, “children have a right to be safe in our community and when people take advantage of them sexually, it’s tragic and alters that child’s life forever.” Leonhardt questioned why Kroger had not applied that same standard when he gave the keynote address at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event this year honoring the Rev. Matt Hennessee. Hennessee’s promising political career ended abruptly in 2005 when The Oregonian reported he’d sexually abused a minor relative a decade earlier. Leonhardt, a harsh critic of Goldschmidt, chided Kroger for joining elected officials such as Mayor Sam Adams and Metro Council President David Bragdon, in burnishing Hennessee’s rep. Kroger says he accepted the invite to honor King and noted he was among hundreds in attendance.
  3. About 200 people marked the seventh anniversary of the Iraq War with a protest rally March 20 in Terry Schrunk Plaza downtown. Demonstrators, some carrying signs saying “Stop Afghan Death” and “Free Palestine,” also spoke out against the increased U.S. presence in Afghanistan. The crowd then marched through the streets, chanting, “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation.”
  4. An unidentified staffer in Mayor Sam Adams’ office was disciplined last week after using the mayor’s City of Portland-issued credit card to make an October purchase at Spartacus Leathers, a sex shop. Spokesman Roy Kaufmann says a junior-level staffer spent $18.90 on two masks for a masquerade ball where the mayor was to get an award. Adams, however, did not attend the event. Portland’s budget office flagged the purchase last fall. After the mayor’s office produced the receipt, the budget office dropped its inquiry. The staffer wrote a check to the city March 19, a day after wweek.com reported the expense.
  1. The dust-up between Stumptown and China over the Portland City Council’s decision to make March 10 “Tibet Awareness Day” has taken another strange twist. After the Beijing daily Global Times published a March 12 story threatening the blocking of Trail Blazers broadcasts in China, a Chinese sportscaster backed off his blog campaign encouraging retaliation against Portland. According to a translation by Tacoma blogger Sinologistical Violoncellist, sportscaster Yu Jia blogged a retraction that urged people to instead pay attention to “achievements now taking place in the National Congresses” in Beijing. “It’s hard to imagine what prompted this message, but the author becomes quiet thereafter on the Portland-Tibet issue,” the Tacoma blogger notes.
  2. Last weekend, Portland tried to get noticed in the nationwide competition to be selected as the trial city for Google’s super-fast fiber optic internet. Portland’s plan to woo the Goo? Set the Guinness world record for longest game of telephone. At least 615 people were needed to break the record, but on a sunny Saturday only about 50 showed up to participate. Impressed yet, Google?
  3. Ross Day is gathering signatures to ask voters to change the 2011 legislative redistricting that follows the census, which is now starting to kick into action. Day, a conservative vote canvasser, expects both major parties to oppose his constitutional amendment, which would take away responsibility for redistricting from the legislature and secretary of state. His amendment would make redistricting the responsibility of a panel of retired circuit court judges, one from each congressional district. Day says he’d like Oregon to follow California and Washington in taking partisan politics out of redistricting. “I expect the measure to qualify for the November ballot with ease,” Day says.
  4. State Rep. Jim Weidner (R-McMinnville) won’t face any consequences for violating a House rule by accepting a political contribution during the February special session. For there to be any discipline, House Clerk Ramona Kenady says a member must lodge an official complaint and none did. Kenady says Weidner consulted her and she advised him to return the $300 contribution he received on Feb. 9 from Idaho Power. Records show Weidner did so on March 11. “It’s my understanding that the whole thing was a mistake,” say House Republican spokesman Nick Smith.