Marijuana activist Paul Stanford is hitting back at the Oregon Department of Justice, which arrested Stanford this month on charges of failing to pay taxes for two years (see Murmurs, WW, March 9, 2011). In a March 21 court motion to dismiss the charges, Stanford accuses the DOJ of a politically motivated hit job and a public smear campaign to hamper Stanfordâs efforts to legalize marijuana. Stanford further alleges he was prevented from paying taxes because a bookkeeper he believes was also a clandestine law-enforcement agent destroyed records from his chain of medical-marijuana clinics. âI will definitely be pleading not guilty, and Iâm very confident that I will be exonerated,â Stanford says. DOJ spokesman Tony Green declined to comment.
At least one candidate in the May 17 election for Portland School Board opposes the $548 million school construction bond voters will also consider on that same ballot. Larry Lawson, a network security manager who wants to unseat incumbent Ruth Adkins, called the Portland Public Schools bond proposal âa joke of a levy on taxpayers.â Lawsonâs comment on a Listserv for parents concerned about Portland schools wasnât all he had to say. He also suggested that students should help renovate the districtâs 85 buildings. âGod forbid the âentitledâ generation should actually have to do manual labor.â Bond campaign spokesman Ben Unger responded: âOur problemsâasbestos pipes, heavy oil boilers and structural water leaksâneed attention from construction experts to keep our kids safe.â
One of Oregonâs most prolific debt-collection lawyers has been shut down by the state. Derrick McGavic, who faced multiple lawsuits for alleged violations of the 1978 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (see âThe Debt Effect,â WW, Feb. 6, 2008), was under investigation by the Department of Justice after the state agency got more than 90 consumer complaints against him. McGavic agreed to resign from the bar, dissolve his Eugene law firm and pay $70,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. The DOJ found he falsified affidavits, arbitrarily increased fees, repeatedly called debtors who had requested not to be called and purposely confused the identity of creditors in documentation to delay consumersâ response.
While Basic Rights Oregon readies to launch a statewide TV ad campaign next week for same-sex marriage rights, First Unitarian Church of Portland this weekend will mark the seventh anniversary of the brief time in 2004 when Multnomah County granted 3,000-plus marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The so-called âPolitics of Loveâ celebration March 25-27 at 1034 SW 13th Ave. will include a viewing Saturday of Gen Silent, a documentary about aging same-sex couplesâ struggles. The churchâs Sunday-morning services will include anniversary receptions for those married in 2004 and other same-sex couples. For more details, go to firstunitarianportland.org/our-programs/social-justice.
A big backer of last yearâs unsuccessful effort to retain public campaign finance in Portland elections isnât certain that 2012 is the best time to put the question back on the ballot (see âSecond Life,â WW, March 16, 2011). New Seasons co-founder Brian Rohter, who donated more than $5,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to the 2010 campaign, said next year seems too soon. âIâm just not sure that itâs the right time to bring it back,â Rohter says. âIt seems the people just spoke.â
CORRECTION: Last weekâs cover story about environmental activist Stiv Wilson gave an incorrect name for one of the co-founders of Wend magazine. His name is Ian Marshall. WW regrets the error.