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January 16th, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Lainie Block Wilker Recruiting PPS School Board Candidates

All the news that’s fit to update.

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  • High overtime spending in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will be part of an upcoming county audit. As WW reported, deputies use overtime to add tens of thousands of dollars to their pay (“Overtime Busts,” WW, Jan. 9, 2013).  Daniel Carrithers, a corrections sergeant, nearly doubled his salary with overtime, making him, at $182,008, the county’s highest-paid employee. “We’ll be looking for outliers in statistical terms, and we’ll ask management why that occurred,” Multnomah County Auditor Steve March tells WW. Some situations may be appropriate, March says. “In other cases,” he adds, “it’s someone gaming the system.” 
  • The two newest members of the Metro Council are concerned about gun shows held at the Expo Center. Metro reporter Nick Christensen broke the news that Councilor Bob Stacey is raising questions about the regional government’s contract with Collectors West, which hosts gun shows six times a year at the Expo Center, which Metro operates. Stacey tells WW that Councilor Sam Chase is also asking “why are we doing that in light of what’s happening in the culture and the country.” Metro Council President Tom Hughes says canceling the contract won’t stop gun shows and that the Expo Center can do a better job of hosting the shows than other local venues. WW visited the December show and documented how sales of AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles skyrocketed in the wake of mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut (“Gunfire Sale,” WW, Dec. 19, 2012).
  • Schools activist Lainie Block Wilker (“Voices,” WW, Jan. 2, 2013) is actively recruiting a slate of School Board candidates to reform Portland Public Schools in the May 21 election. Three board seats—currently held by Martin Gonzales, Pam Knowles and Trudy Sargent—are up for grabs. Wilker, a persistent critic of PPS, says she doesn’t have time to run herself but is urging others to streamline the district, beef up course offerings and “replace Superintendent Carole Smith and her executive team.” The current board praised Smith in an October review and extended her contract for three years. The filing window for candidates in the May election opens Feb. 9.
  • Portland Fire & Rescue is pursuing a $120,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to keep funding its educational campaign against illegal fireworks. Last summer, Portland and four other fire departments spent $70,000 on a media blitz warning Oregonians not to set off illegal bottle rockets and mortars available (and legal) in Washington (“Fahrenheit 4th of July,” WW, June 27, 2012) for 2014. A coalition of agencies ranging from police departments to animal shelters has pledged to match 25 percent of the grant.
 
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