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March 10th, 2004 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Flipping and flopping.

signature gatherers
* One of many intriguing subplots in the gay-marriage flap is mayoral candidate Jim Francesconi's shifting stance on the subject. On March 1, in response to a WW questionnaire, Francesconi opposed a federal ban on gay marriage, saying, "Such decisions should be left to the states." Asked whether he personally supported gay marriage, he instead expressed his preference that gays be allowed a "civil union," i.e., less-than-marriage status. On March 3, after his main opponent, Tom Potter, strongly endorsed gay marriage, Francesconi changed his position, saying, "Government can't tell churches or citizens whether gay marriage is right or wrong." And Francesconi seemed almost to endorse gay marriage, saying, "All citizens should have the same legal protections and benefits under the law, call it 'civil union' or call it 'marriage.'"

* Fans of local "blogs" (weblogs to the uninitiated) have long found much to consider at the site maintained by local lawyer Jack Bogdanski. But Bogdanski's musings about local news have taken a wackier turn of late. At the page titled 1221 SW 4th (http://bojack.org/1221/), which happens to be the address of City Hall, readers can now read the innermost thoughts of Portland's city commissioners. A recent posting by "Erik": "Gay marriage--damn, why didn't I think of that."

* Former WWer Maureen O'Hagan is a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the public-service category. O'Hagan, now a staffer with the Seattle Times, took a year to report "Coaches Who Prey." It was worth the wait, as she found that of the 159 coaches in Washington fired or reprimanded for sexual misconduct, 98 had landed new jobs in the business of girls' coaching. Her series, co-written with Christine Willmsen, edged out numerous other nominees, including this year's Oregonian Pulitzer bid exploring the high rate of child deaths among Warm Springs Indians.

* Longtime local radio host Lars Larson may be nationally syndicated these days, but the conservative gab guru has not forgotten the "little people." When emailed press releases go out to Portland's media outlets, including Larson, he sometimes hits "reply all" to spread his thoughts to lucky locals. On March 5, after the Portland Police Bureau sent out a mug shot, Larson, peeved at the county's gay-marriage stance, asked, "Will mugs be available of [county commissioners] Linn, Naito, Cruz and De Steffey for their eventual arraignment?" On March 2, responding to a press release concerning a wanted woman who rammed patrol cars while attempting to escape, Larson wrote: "Kendra wanna be?"

* Two weeks ago WW discussed the problem of signature gatherers who lie shamelessly (see Rogue of the Week) to get your John Hancock. Well, we forgot to mention that not only is it dishonest, it violates Oregon law. If you've had a signature gatherer lie to you, then you should submit a description of the incident, as well as of the sleazy signature gatherer in question, to the Secretary of State's office, Elections Division, 141 State Capitol, Salem, 97310.

* The Hollywood Star is a trusty chronicler of Northeast Portland goings-on, but East Burnside Street just might mark the southern boundary of its comfort zone. "A new Italian Restaurant, Il Piatto, has opened at 2348 SE Ankeny," reports the neighborhood monthly in its March issue. That's no news to Il Piatto regulars, who have been sating their portabella-polenta cravings at the homey Ankeny spot for the past 10 years. At press time, Murmurs was unable to confirm that a new restaurant, Huber's, has opened on Southwest 3rd Avenue.

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