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February 13th, 2002 WWeek Editorial Staff | News Stories
 

Murmurs

Official Sponsor of the 2002 Not-so-Special Session

     
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* Word at Multnomah County HQ is that two top mental-health officials are being investigated. Sources say county employees have complained that Peter Davidson, the recently appointed medical director of the behavioral-health division, and Seth Lyon, manager of the county's managed-care plan, made racist and sexist statements in the workplace. County Counsel Thomas Sponsler says that the allegations came from several employees and involve a number of instances of the alleged misconduct. Robert Phillips, the county's Equal Employment Opportunity officer, says county employees "threw in everything including the kitchen sink." The county expects the investigation to be completed by the end of next week.

* Daily Grind employees voted last week to unionize--well, sort of. After a 15-14 vote to join the Industrial Workers of the World, Wes Perkins, owner of the health-food store, is challenging one vote. If successful, his challenge would make the vote fall below the majority needed to form a union. The dispute now moves to the National Labor Relations Board. No date has been set.

* The saddest sight on the opening day of the special legislative session: KPAM's Victor Boc, cleaning up after a largely ignored live broadcast from the main floor of the capitol building and watching as KXL's Lars Larson launched his show 10 paces away. Unlike Boc, Larson had the sense to set up some speakers so that people in the building could hear what he was saying. Within two minutes, Larson had a crowd of 50 folks listening to his rant against big government. Good policy analysis? No way. Good political theater? You bet.

* Mark Hemstreet has disappeared. Harry Merlo is sitting this one out. But Loren Parks, the reclusive Aloha money man, is still writing checks to the "right" people. The Money in Politics Research Action Project estimates that Parks has ponied up nearly one-third of the $600,000 raised to qualify the current crop of citizens' initiatives. The money has gone directly to a pair of Don McIntire's measures (relating to liquor stores and judicial elections) and to Oregon Taxpayers United, which is bankrolling several initiatives backed by Bill Sizemore. All the dirty details are available at oregonfollowthemoney.org.

* Steve Novick's crusade to keep the state safe from direct democracy got a boost from the state Supreme Court last week. Novick, a former legislative staffer who now works for Multnomah County chairwoman Diane Linn, has long argued that ballot measures which cut taxes should be required to disclose that they also cut spending. Last week, the Supremes agreed, ruling that ballot statements about the effects of a "yes" vote on a proposed tax cut must include a reminder to voters that less money collected means less money for public programs.

* For a guy whose textile fortune is quickly unraveling, the Rev. Dr. Bob Pamplin can still throw around the small change. At last week's one-year anniversary party for the Portland Tribune, Pamplin handed out $100 bills to staffers. That's twice what he slipped them a year ago. Now, if we could just get paid to read the thing....

CORRECTION:
Last week, in a report on the possibility that Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle might stop booking misdemeanors due to overcrowding, Murmurs incorrectly identified burglary as a misdemeanor. It is a felony. Murmurs regrets the error.

 
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