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March 19th, 2014 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: More News About Deputies Than You Can Handle.

  • Multnomah County corrections deputies earlier this month voted narrowly not to endorse Sheriff Dan Staton for re-election. The vote, first reported at wweek.com, marks a major shift for the Multnomah County Corrections Deputies Association, Staton’s biggest backer in 2010. Union leadership says Staton—running unopposed on the May ballot—has been an absentee sheriff when it comes to running the jail, the operations of which account for more than 80 percent of the sheriff’s budget. “That vote is portrayed as a vote of no confidence,” outgoing union president Shawn Skeels tells WW. “His No. 1 function is to maintain his jails. But the working conditions are the worst they have ever been.” Skeels says the union will hold a revote next month at the request of some Staton supporters whose ballots were not included. Skeels anticipates the revote will draw out more disgruntled deputies as well. Staton says he was surprised to hear the criticism. “My job is to address concerns of the community,” he says, noting that he will work to understand the union’s issues with his leadership. “It’s a trigger to see what I’m missing.”
  • It’s not often one labor group endorses competing candidates, but that’s what happened in the race for Multnomah County chair. In November, the Seattle-based Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters endorsed Jim Francesconi in the county chair’s race. Last week, Carpenters Local 156, which represents Oregon and counties in Southwest Washington, endorsed Deborah Kafoury in the same race. The local and regional unions are otherwise at each other’s throats, battling in federal court over the council’s 2012 takeover of the local. “Members chose who they thought was the best candidate,” says Pete Savage of Local 156.
  • The return of arena football to the Rose Quarter was a little bumpy March 17, when the Portland Thunder lost its season opener 64-34 to the San Jose ThunderCats at Moda Center. Team owner Terry Emmert did have something to celebrate: an announced attendance of 8,509, nearly matching the average of the city’s last Arena Football League team, the Portland Forest Dragons. One innovation predicted by Emmert (“Touchdown Terry,” WW, March 5, 2014) has yet to arrive: People attending the game found no evidence of “Thunder Sticks,” pepperoni made from Emmert’s herd of water buffalo. 
  • Who knew Portland had a “deputy mayor”? That’s what Mayor Charlie Hales’ chief of staff, Gail Shibley, has been calling herself, according to city business cards she’s had printed up.  “No, we don’t have a deputy mayor. That is not a title that exists,” says Hales spokesman Dana Haynes. So why is Shibley using the title? Haynes says Shibley only uses the cards for international travel, including a recent trip to Poland. “Apparently, we got advised that when traveling overseas, her [chief of staff] title doesn’t translate,” he says.
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