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April 7th, 2010 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

News That Needs No Severance Pay.


  • Portland Public Schools’ department for teaching English to immigrant and refugee students, already under state scrutiny for its performance, faces a new controversy. The department wants to shift about $1 million to pay for 12 new English-as-a-second-language teachers. To do so, however, 23 positions must be cut for bilingual educational assistants. The timing of that move is awkward. PPS will hold a budget hearing April 12 to discuss the change, which won’t be finalized until May. But on April 13, the educational assistants were supposed to help out at a meeting to discuss high-school redesign with non-English-speaking parents. After calls from educational assistants to boycott that meeting, it has been postponed. A PPS spokesman says the postponement is unrelated to budget concerns.

  • Normalizing relations: City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade and Police Chief Rosie Sizer will meet this week to move forward on upcoming changes to the Independent Police Review Division. City Council last week voted 5-0 to give new powers to IPR to begin investigations of police actions despite loud objections from Sizer. The chief was in Great Britain for a law enforcement conference when Griffin-Valade and Commissioner Randy Leonard released their plan for beefed-up police oversight. Sizer called that process “at the very least unseemly, at the worst deplorable.”

  • As first reported on wweek.com, the Portland City Council is set to consider on Wednesday, April 7, whether to pay 170,000 to settle a nipple-related lawsuit by Nicole Whitley. The former police cadet sued the city (“Breasts, Bras and Videotape,” WW, Aug. 8, 2007), saying instructors at the state police academy singled her out and ordered her to wear extra layers because her nipples were visible through her shirt. Whitley’s 2007 lawsuit claims the police bureau didn’t hire her after she complained about her treatment.

  • Sisters of the Road came out last week in opposition to Mayor Sam Adams’ new sidewalk proposal for downtown, the Rose Quarter and the Lloyd District. The advocacy group says it will oppose the proposal (see “Q&A: Brendan Phillips,” WW, March 31, 2010) when it comes before council this month because it would “unfairly target people experiencing homelessness and/or those experiencing poverty.”

  • Nike is suing Vince Lombardi’s son and daughter in a dispute over a speech. The lawsuit filed March 10 in Washington County Circuit Court says Nike paid $150,000 in June 2008 for audio recordings of a speech by the late Green Bay football coaching legend. Email records indicate the speech appeared in a book written by Lombardi’s son, Vince Jr. That audio tape of the speech turned out not to exist. CMG Worldwide, the Indiana-based agent for Lombardi’s children, calls Nike’s assertions “laughable.” CMG chairman and CEO Mark Roesler tells Murmurs Nike’s beef “all goes back to an attorney for over a quarter century with Nike claiming that he did not have time to read the contract because he was going on vacation.” The lawsuit seeks at least the original transaction amount in damages. Image courtesy www.vincelombardi.com.

  • State Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland) plans to re-introduce a bill next year that would require Oregon’s Corrections Department to determine where prison inmates lived before their imprisonment. That determination matters because, as Shields notes, the 2010 census is otherwise counting inmates’ prison homes as their address. And in Oregon, that means the roughly 14,000 state prison inmates are counted as living in districts with large prison populations—such as in Salem and Pendleton. Shields says that deprives a true census count for urban neighborhoods where many inmates lived before.
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